I'm quite upset about the way lilbow played and, perhaps, the way he prepared for the match...He said in the interview he's looking forward to Legacy of the Void and that he wants to be the best in it. I feel that is exactly the attitude foreigners always have...."I'm focusing on the future and I want to become the best some day", but if you want to become the best you have to be the best now and as soon as possible. I know it's hard to practice [HotS] because everyone is switching to Legacy of the Void, but he could have put in more effort.- Dario "TLO" Wunsch after Lilbow's defeat in the 2015 WCS Finals.
Let's start with that last statement. I bet it was hard for Lilbow to practice on the ladder as players have started to migrate to Legacy of the Void. There are always custom games, though. I'll play devil's advocate for a second and assume Lilbow asked every foreign pro in the scene to help him. We should be livid that the top tier players in the community would leave him out to dry and not offer their hand to help him in his Round of 16 match against Life. Now let's strap on our logic pants for a minute - I find it hard to believe there were many pros who would have done such a thing, if any at all.
I 100% believe Lilbow played hard against Life, but I do not believe he tried. Trying involves your performance during AND leading up to the match at hand.
If Lilbow takes a victory or high placement at DreamHack, people are going to say "See! See! It paid off!" Unless Lilbow also cleans house in all of 2016 - not just WCS, but DH, IEM, and Gfinity, but in particular WCS Season 1 for 2016 - he didn't gain anything from shrugging off yesterday's match.
It's his choice.
It sure is. If he believed, 100%, this is what was right then so be it. That doesn't make him immune to criticism. He made a decision, he chose to share that decision publicly - he will be judged for good or bad.
But..but, the head start!
Every race, especially Protoss, has underwent heavy changes the last month and a half. The asymmetrical balance of StarCraft dictates that, in MOST cases these critical changes will require builds and unit compositions for ALL races to be changed every time a unit is changed for ONE race (assuming the unit changed is part of the XvX match up). There is the valid point of learning the economy and becoming familiar with how units work (i.e. controlling disruptors, especially the new one), but I see nothing that Lilbow could have gained from playing LotV full time pre-Blizzcon that he couldn't have acquired from maybe 1-2 hours of LotV a day while practicing for Life and then going HAM after Blizzcon. If he does well in season 1 and falls off in season 2, is everyone going to say #worth when thinking back to this moment?
The one thing Lilbow supporters and dissenters seem to all agree on is he shouldn't have openly stated how he approached Blizzcon. But let's make something clear for this section. This is about personal accountability in his actions and what they say of him and how he feels about WCS and his fans.
Blizzard and ESL employees - from the community managers to Carmac; from people editing videos of Lilbow to those making sure he's taken care of during the event. Every one of them was told "none of this mattered enough for me to prepare." This wasn't just Lilbow deciding to not respect his match, he was showing a lack of respect for the most prestigious event of the year. His chances of winning should have played no role in that.
I'll give Lilbow the benefit of the doubt and assume when he said people who didn't agree with him were cockroaches, he was just a tad angry. But in case he wasn't, perhaps we're dealing with something a little more than bad judgement. News flash, if a football player fucks up, their fans don't suddenly become any less "true fans" if they call them on it.
You, as a fan of Lilbow, have every right to be upset. People put their heart into supporting their favorite players, especially at an event like this. Does he owe you anything? Yes. He owes you enough decency to not go down 3:0 and then try to assuage his ego by blaming it (stupidly) on his lack of practice.
This is a big deal for many folks because Lilbow was our Foreign Hope. He left WCS S3 a Champion with a Champion's mentality. I talked to Dayshi a lot about Lilbow at Gfinity, and he said that Lilbow believed he could win Blizzcon and that he was gunning for a very high finish. What the fuck happened? That was on September 24th/25th. The WCS brackets were released October 6th. Did Lilbow see his opponent and think "Well, shit, never mind. I'll just go play Legacy." That's not how a champion approaches competition and that's not how a professional shows respect for his fans or his sport.