DiMAGA. Grubby. MC. MMA. Mvp. NaNiwa. TLO. Welm. Not names from a Snow White-Wu Tang crossover, but the eight European pros nominated by StarCraft II players as their favourites of the year. One of them received marginally more votes than the others, though. They play Protoss. They're in this article's header image, and the tags. Can you guess who it is?
It’s King in the North Johan ‘NaNiwa’ Lucchesi - the north in question being Sweden. NaNiwa became the only foreigner to enter the WCS Global Finals at BlizzCon this year after an effective qualifying cocktail of what Blizzard summarise as “both skill and luck”.
“Just three weeks prior to BlizzCon, he fought tooth and nail to take points out of IEM-New York in his last WCS-sanctioned tournament,” they write, “and then watched intensely as every remaining Premier League and Season 3 Finals result unfolded in his favor.”
NaNiwa flew in for a play-in game on the eve of the finals, not knowing whether he’d even appear at BlizzCon before returning home.
“I had to fly 25 hours just to play a tiebreaker?”, he complained in a Blizzard interview at the time. “If you lose this match then you have to go home another 25 hours and you don’t get anything.”
In the event, he won his play-in against Revival 3-0, and continued on to Blizzard headquarters for the finals.
Here’s Blizzard’s chosen cross-section of his finest work this year:
NaNiwa seems like a natural enough choice - he’s certainly been the WCS’ most visible EU player this year. But perhaps you had somebody else in mind?