Highly decorated and renowned for his mid-lane role, the 23-year-old Swedish player Gustav “s4” Magnusson is aiming for his second TI championship title. His spectacular rise to the top was cultivated by strong family support. In his TI5 player profile, Gustav opens the doors to his home, introduces us to his father and two brothers, talks about Alliance at TI3 and his future goals.
Rather successful as a Heroes of Newerth professional player, Gustav made a seamless transition to Dota 2 in 2012.
In the early fall of that year, the new Swedish mid-laner formed No Tidehunter, with another Swedish player, Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg.
They would be shortly joined by Gustav’s former HoN teammates and fellow Swedes as well, Jonathan “Loda” Berg and Joakim “Akke” Akterhall.
After No Tidehunter was picked up and renamed Alliance, Gustav led his team through an incredible year, seizing victories in merely every tournament they participated in, including the most prestigious one, The International 3.
s4’s “million dollar dream coil” essentially won Alliance the TI3 Grand Finals. s4 was on fire and became one of the quintessential names for the mid-lane role.
The season leading to The International 4 would prove to be somewhat less successful for the Swedish champions. After an eleventh-twelfth place finish at TI4, the famed mid-lane player would depart from the team, embarking on a new journey: Team Secret.
Following Team Secret’s disappointing performance at StarLadder Season 12, s4 took on the role of captain and drafter, leading the team to four consecutive LAN wins. Secret has quickly taken the Dota 2 scene by storm and looks completely unstoppable as they strive to attain the highly coveted Aegis of Champions at TI5.
For Gustav “s4” Magnusson, the passion for gaming hit at an early early. s4’s father remembers waking up late at night to see the light glowing from underneath 5-year-old Gustav’s door on a school night. He would open the door and say: “Gustav, for God’s sake, turn off the computer, it’s school time tomorrow!” However, s4 admits he wasn’t playing much when he was a kid, but was mainly watching.
Coming from a family that has always been into PCs and gaming in general, it’s not much of a surprise that Gustav would eventually pursue a career in esports. More surprising perhaps though, is the level of commitment and support that he received from his family.
When Gustav made the decision to play Dota, become the best in the world at it and play more than anyone else, his father recalls comparing it to a more traditional sport career, hockey:
Well, maybe this is like a hockey player. If you let them do what they love and push them, then maybe this could work to be something great.
Reaching The International 3 with Alliance was quite an achievement in itself, but when he got as far as the Grand Finals, all eyes were on Gustav back at home. His family and his entire neighborhood were proud and anxious for the results. Alliance took the championship title that year. “That was the best feeling – that’s the coolest thing with ending tournaments, it’s when all the pressure goes away,” s4 says.
Everyone expected that Alliance would continue to do as well in The International 4 as they did in TI3, but that wasn’t the case. “It was a disaster,” Gustav’s father recalls. Defending champions Alliance came in a disappointing eleventh-twelfth place. That would be a fatal blow to the team and, as the captain, s4 claims much of the responsibility for them not being ready and trying too hard to fix and change things before the event. He reached out to his family after The International 4, and sought their advice before joining Team Secret.
I don’t want to stay still in my life. I want to try something new all the time, and if I stayed with that team another year, I would have regretted it.
For Gustav, winning TI is everything. His family continues to support and encourage him, being his rock, his sounding board and his biggest fans.
Winning TI is everything right now. That’s my next goal in my Dota career: to get two TI wins under my belt – which no one has.
Watch Gustav “s4” Magnusson’s TI5 player profile:
Read an in-depth profile feature about Team Secret: Short history of TI5 utter favorites