Starcraft II pro player NaNiwa leaves Quantic

Swedish Protoss player leaves fourth team in two years, sources say Dignitas his most likely new home.

Swedish Starcraft II superstar Johan "NaNiwa" Luchessi is once more looking for a new home after being granted release from his contract with his team, Quantic Gaming. The Protoss player's departure from Quantic ends an 8-month rollercoaster which saw NaNiwa controversially removed from the GomTV Global Starcraft II League just days after being signed, and having reached the Quarterfinals in back-to-back events for the highest league, Code S.

NaNiwa (right) with his former Quantic teammate, Sase.

"Johan Lucchesi asked to be released from his contract today," Quantic Gaming CEO Mark Ferraz said in a statement. "Quantic has granted this request effective immediately. While we believe that Johan has thrived in his relationship with our family, we do not believe in holding players who no longer wish to be with us. We are grateful for the time he has spent with us and we are proud of the growth he has shown as a player and as a member of this community."

Quantic was NaNiwa's fourth team in less than two years, having been transferred over by Complexity in December of last year. His time in Complexity saw him earn second place at the Major League Gaming 2011 Championships main event, while at the same time beating repeat GSL champions Jung “Mvp” Jong Hyun and Lim "NesTea" Jae Duk in the MLG Global Invitational. Dignitas was his home before that, where he made his first big splash at a major event by winning MLG Dallas going undefeated. He has also appeared in the rosters of Empire, MeetYourMakers, Serious Gaming, and others during his WarCraft III days. Now, the search begins once again.

"Despite people’s popular belief, I have no ill feelings towards Quantic, nor do they have any ill feelings towards me," NaNiwa told GameSpot. "Usually when people say these words, they don’t mean it, but I believe I’m known as a guy who’s 'no bulls***.' I’m very grateful for the time I had in Quantic, but I felt that I wanted to value my own happiness above not doing anything about it, so I decided to try my luck in other places. Quantic kept everything they promised me and me to them. I sincerely wish them the best!"

One of NaNiwa’s initial draws in signing to Quantic was that of team Captain Kim “Sase” Hammar, a fellow Swedish Protoss player with a Warcraft III pedigree, someone NaNiwa called a very dear friend on his signing day. Sase had been living and training in South Korea, a major factor for NaNiwa who wanted to make the move himself, but he didn’t want to live alone. Sources close to the team and both players say that they had a falling out, which is directly related to NaNiwa’s departure. NaNiwa will not be return to the StarTale team house after returning from his Swedish World Championship Series trip. Quantic, NaNiwa, and Sase declined comment on the matter.

NaNiwa’s track record of bouncing from team to team, and sometimes-abrasive personality has made him a tough fit for teams to sign, including Quantic. One team executive told GameSpot Quantic had attempted to sell NaNiwa for the last 4-5 months. As of this publication, teams Complexity, Team Liquid, Fnatic, SK Gaming, Mousesports, and FXOpen are not bidding. Sources have one of NaNiwa’s former teams, Dignitas, as the most likely candidate, as NaNiwa still has a good relationship with Dignitas Owner Michael O’Dell. Evil Geniuses were looking to make a move themselves prior to his release, but did not come to terms with Quantic. They are said to be completely out of the running now.

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