Naniwa explains his infamous Katowice walk-out
One of StarCraft 2’s most successful and controversial international figures has finally spoken out about his shocking exit from IEM Katowice, one of the year's biggest esports tournaments.
Johan “Naniwa” Lucchesi captured two StarCraft 2 MLG titles during his time as a competitive player and was one of the few players from outside of Korea to finish in the top eight of a Code S league, Korea’s highest level of StarCraft play.
But those accomplishments are not the first thing most fans think of when Lucchesi’s name is brought up.
Lucchesi’s last big competition was March’s IEM World Championship in Katowice, Poland. Shortly before the tournament, Lucchesi vocally expressed his dissatisfaction with the game. Then, during his opening match with Choi “Polt” Seong Hun, Lucchesi abruptly conceded the game and forfeited his place in the tournament, walking off stage to a chorus of boos from attending spectators.
Thursday, Lucchesi took to his blog on StarCraft community site Team Liquid to attempt to explain himself.
Katowice was “probably one of my biggest disappointments," Lucchesi wrote.
While he professed his love for the game of StarCraft, noting that he spent between 12 and 16 hours each day practicing, he called out what he sees as persisitent issues in the game that cut into its fun.
He made the post not to speak to his “haters,” Lucchesi wrote, but rather to put an end to the rampant speculation that followed his exit.
The blame, Lucchesi said, laid partially at the feet of his team, Alliance, which forced him to attend the event even after he had lost his passion for the game.
“I felt absolutely zero passion for the game at (IEM Katowice) and unfortuanately I’m not the kind of guy who can force myself when I lose passion for something,” he wrote.
While spot at the event to a player more willing to participate, saying that “if (other players) were better than me the would have qualified.”
Lucchesi added that he was disappointed he didn't show fans his best game. That explanation is similar to the one he gave after infamously using a suicidal probe rush strategy against Lim “NesTea” Jae Duk at the Blizzard Cup, when the two played after each had been mathematically eliminated from the competition.
“If I had the chance to do it all again, I would definitely rather take a fine from EG/Alliance than go through with what actually happened,” Lucchesi said.
Screengrab via YouTube/ESL