In 'The Toil of Foreign SC2's King Beyond the Wall' I tell the story of NaNiwa's StarCraft2 career, from the beta up until his runner-up finish at IEM VIII New York on Sunday.
From the introduction:
"In his second finals appearance of 2013 NaNiwa fell, not without incident, to the Korean Zerg prodigy. As Jeff Goldblum's character in Jurassic Park had told us: 'Life finds a way'. Once more his dream of a significant international title remained just a burning desire, boiling over underneath an otherwise frosty cool exterior. The foreign scene's would-be king could still not be truly crowned."
The early EPS scandal and being removed from MYM:
"The significant outcome of the failed German trip was that NaNiwa found himself removed from his team. With a reputation for bad manners, a poor initial offline performance and having been removed from a league for being unable to follow the rules, NaNiwa found himself facing the very real possibility that his StarCraft2 professional gaming career was little more than a brief flare-up."
Rolling over MLG Dallas 2011:
"In Dallas NaNiwa was imperious, running through opponents as if they were made of nothing but the warm Texas wind. From the open bracket to pool play he did not suffer a map loss, tossing aside all who came before him. In the championship bracket he rolled over KiWiKaKi and SeleCT to reach the final. His eventual was the aforementioned KiWiKaKi and, despite suffering two map losses, the Canadian could not stop the force of NaNiwa. The map record for the Swedish Protoss at the end of the tournament was a staggering 26:2, with the only losses being those incurred in the final itself."
Facing NesTea in the MLG Global Invitational Final:
"Such an upset win would have been enough to have caused a stir for any foreign player, but now NaNiwa had to face his own worst match-up in the final, where NesTea awaited. Facing another multiple time GSL champion NaNiwa again repeated the feat, winning 2:1 to take the title. Sadly, for NaNiwa, this specialist event was strong on paper, thanks to the pedigree of the champions in the small field, but it was a mere sideshow in the fact of the MLG championship set to begin the next day. Today was not the right day to beat GSL champions"
Reaching his first GSL Code S Ro8:
"Days later NaNiwa was back in Korea for his Ro16 group. Only three foreigners had ever reached the Ro8 of a GSL, and only HuK had accomplished the feat in the last 12 months. Beating out Genius, who the Swede was proving quite the foil for, he then took down Terran Virus to move on from the group and into the bracket stage. Not only had NaNiwa not lost a series so far in this GSL, but he had managed to steer clear of his kryptonite: Korean Zergs. When the Ro8 was set with only Protoss and Terran one could see how the Swede felt confident he could go all the way."
Facing Jaedong at Dreamhack Stockholm:
"Taking out TLO and SortOf in the playoffs NaNiwa reached the semi-finals, where his opponent was Jaedong. Much like Flash, Jaedong was best known as one of the greatest winners in the history of BW, boasting every kind of title imaginable in SC2's predecessor. Even more intimidating was that, as a member of Alliance, NaNiwa had been training in the EG-TL house, with Alliance being covertly linked to Evil Geniuses' organisation. There he had faced Jaedong and lost to him."
NaNiwa's challenging bracket at IEM VIII New York:
"In many ways this could be NaNiwa's GSL, his chance to win a tournament stacked with only Koreans and with elite level competition barring him from an individual league crown. The chance that his elimination from Code A and inability to enter WCS Korea had seemingly taken from him now sat before him, if he could but seize it."
The entire piece can be read at Team Acer.