Gustav “s4” Magnusson is a Swedish professional Dota 2 player who is currently playing for OG. He is highly regarded for his Magnus and Puck plays.
After first successes in professional Heroes of Newerth, he switched over to Dota 2 to pursue his luck there. After an initial period of orientation he joined No Tidehunter at the end of 2012, which was an immediate success, ultimately leading up to winning The International 3 in 2013.
Heroes of Newerth
Initial Success with LION
s4 played Heroes of Newerth in team ADON that was later picked up by Lions eSport Klubb together with, the Ninjas in Pyjamas players Era and jonassomfan, as well as Mynuts. In HoN, s4 was best known for playing a utility core, most often in the middle lane. His best heroes included the HoN equivalents of Leshrac, Tiny and most notoriously Beastmaster, a hero which he popularized with his play. After qualifying for the NASL Season 2 Grand Finals in Ontario, California, he was unable to attend due to visa difficulties. His team decided to remove s4 from the roster, and went on to win the tournament against a team comprised of Loda, Akke, H4nn1, Mag1X and Powzilla.
s4 later played alongside Loda and Akke as well as strangby and Niqua in a team called Experience Gaming, before transitioning to Dota 2.
Breakout onto the scene with No Tidehunter (2012)
s4 started his Dota 2 career in early 2012 joining Team Empire who at the time were experimenting with lineups. However, after only 2 months Empire switched players again and s4 created The Tough Bananas together with Balsam who he knew from playing WC3 back in 2003. Despite a disappointing DreamHack Summer 2012 for the team, where they only managed to win against Keita Gaming with two losses to Darer and mousesports, they were picked up by Copenhagen Wolves in July. A month after their new sponsorship the team participated in the Samsung European Encounter. After beating uebelst gamynGand mTw, they were defeated by We haz Asian in the Winner’s Final. In the Loser’s Finals, the rematch against mTw went in their favor, but they only managed a second place in the end. Following this tournament, s4 left the team in September to form No Tidehuntertogether with AdmiralBulldog, EternaLEnVy, Black^ and kizzles. After winning their first tournament, The Revenge #1, they also qualified for ESWC 2012 and Thor Open 2012.
kizzles retired soon after and Black^ left the team in October 2012 to join Team Zero. Swedish veterans and former teammates Loda and Akke filled the spots. Subsequent statements were made by Loda saying that he wanted to play with s4, who he considered to be the best mid player in Sweden. The roster changes caused the team to have to give up their spot for ESWC 2012. Initial results included a first-round elimination at the joinDota Special Masters II and a second place finish at AVerMedia Dota 2 Cup against Evil Geniuses, where s4 played Dark Seer and Templar Assassin exclusively.
Two weeks later, No Tidehunter participated in DreamHack Winter 2012, which was the tournament that made s4 famous for his Magnus play. Their group consisted of Evil Geniuses, 4 Friends + Chrillee and Rigg3D. In the Group Stage games, s4 played Magnus twice and fell back on Templar Assassin after Magnus was banned. Against Absolute Legends in the Quarterfinals, s4’s Magnus and Templar Assassin were banned and after another great Dark Seer performance and that hero also being banned, he closed out the series with a Beastmaster 2-0. Team Empire in the Semifinals chose not to ban Magnus and was quickly defeated 2-0. Finally, in the Grand Finals, No Tidehunter was matched up against Evil Geniuses once again. EG was wise enough to ban or firstpick Magnus, but s4 again just fell back on Templar Assassin in game one and Dark Seer in game two. The former went into EG’s favor, after a string of unfortunate team fights, which led to a team whipe around the 20 minute mark with a 4-12 lead for the opponents. No Tidehunter fought valiantly, trying to pull the game back into their favor, but the strong team fight lineup centered around Faceless Void and Enigma ended up being too strong. Game two, with the tournament life on the line, s4 devised a high-risk opener revolving around AdmiralBulldog’s Nature’s Prophet suiciding to Roshan at Level 1 baiting EG into checking the Roshan pit and the rest of No Tidehunter backstabbing EG as they went to interrupt the alleged Roshan attempt. This play leg to two early kills for No Tidehunter, which allowed them to expand this lead and finally even out the series. With s4’s three core heroes being a crucial part of No Tidehunter’s game plan, EG denied all three in the final game. A strong Queen of Painperformance closed out the series with a 2-1 victory and their first title under their belt.
The innovative Roshan bait strategy that was credited to s4 rose to instant fame and was rewarded with Team Liquid’s Biggest Play 2012Award.
The team followed up their success at DreamHack Winter with their participation at Thor Open only two weeks later. Their group again featured 4 Friends + Chrillee, as well as ROOT Gaming and Out of Tangos. Their first match against OoT showed the opponents were aware of the danger that s4 emitted, banning Templar Assassin and, after a Dark Seer ban from No Tidehunter, snatched away the Magnus. s4 fell back on a very strong Rubick performance, to win their first match. Game 2 against 4FC again featured first phase bans of Magnus and Templar Assassin, upon which s4 played Dark Seer. Finally, s4’s Magnus was left open against ROOT due to a Lone Druid ban targeted at AdmiralBulldog. Again, s4 dominated mid and No Tidehunter secured their first place in the group. In the Semifinals they met Pulse eSports. Pulse targeted EternalEnvy’s Undying and AdmiralBulldog’s offlane heroes in their bans and s4 had full choice of heroes, playing Magnus in game 1 and Templar Assassin in game 2 in a 2-0 sweep. In the Grand Finals against Fnatic.EU s4 was denied his Magnus in the series and both his Rubick and Dark Seer were not enough to win No Tidehunter the second title in a matter of two weeks.
Nonetheless, No Tidehunter had put up a good showing and gathered a big fanbase, s4 himself at the forefront with his magnificent mid lane play.
A Fistful of Tangoes
With a lull after the second place at Thor Open and EternalEnvy taking a break on a vacation in China during the Christmas break, the team did not have any results to speak of for a while. Instead, s4 participated in Beyond the Summit’s 8 man 1v1 A Fistful of Tangoes Invitational alongside some of the best 1v1 players from the western scene. In his first matchup s4 played Shadow Fiend against Fear’s Tinker and had little success, due to Tinker’s Laser ability. On the back of a strong creepscore lead, Fear drew firstblood. s4 was able to overcome the creepscore lead, but an untimely second death denied his chance to come back into the match. Next, s4 found himself in the Loser’s Bracket against KuroKy, fielding his Demon Witch Lion against Queen of Pain. With KuroKy diving the tier 1 tower at the two minute mark, his overextension was abused by s4 who quickly found a firstblood. The creepscore battle was still won by KuroKy initially, but calm and collected play allowed s4 to overcome it. With both players fiercly harassing each other, KuroKy was forced to deny himself to Roshan, which allowed s4 to keep up. Ultimately, KuroKy went on another dive, trying to even up the kill score, but a timely Magic Stick followed by a Finger of Death secured s4 his victory. In the reversed matchup in game two KuroKy went for an obscure Earth Spike and stats build. s4 took an early creepscore lead and drew firstblood after 4 minutes. Diving into the tier 2 tower, he closed out the series only two minutes later with his second kill, eliminating KuroKy. Against Korok, s4 found himself on Puck in a game one that slowly slipped through his fingers. Korok’s Queen of Pain steadily improved a slight creepscore advantage over the first 10 minutes, before going aggressive on him, and taking two quick kills in a matter of 2 minutes, putting the series at 0-1. Hungry for revenge, s4 managed a dominant lead in the reverse matchup, firstblooding Korok only 3 minutes in. In a desperate attempt, Korok overestimated his damage output and fell to s4 the second time only a minute later, evening up the series. In the deciding match, the two went up against each other in a Shadow Fiend mirror matchup without items. s4 steadily built a creepscore lead over the first few minutes, before the two went at each others throat. Korok narrowly lost the man fight and s4 took the series 2-1. The Tournament was delayed at this point, until the beginning of February.
In Loser’s Round 3 of A Fistful of Tangoes, s4 was matched up against SingSing who had prepared a strategy. s4 had been using his courier to block creeps as his hero was checking for the first rune. Sing on his Shadow Fiend attempted to take advantage of this by trying to kill the courier between the tier 1 and tier 2 towers. s4 was onto it though, microing his courier out of the way and intercepting Sing with his PudgeRot ability, taking firstblood. Despite building a slight creepscore lead, Sing’s redemption was denied, as s4 took the second kill 5 minutes into the match. In the reverse matchup s4 managed to build a steady creepscore lead, and bullied Sing’s Pudge around heavily. With an entire level advantage, s4 was able to spill firstblood before Sing was able to get his Ultimate and follow it up with a tower kill. Sing went for a desperate attempt to get back into the series, but with a good amount of Magic Wand charges, he narrowly escaped the death and closed out the series 2-0. Now sitting among the Top 3, s4’s Windranger was up against SyndereN’s Luna. With an even game until the 7 minute mark, s4 started ramping up creep kills and denies, putting him in a solid lead. As SyndereN moved in with Eclipse the for firstblood under s4’s tower, s4’s creepwave arrived right as he was about to get killed. s4 turned it around on SyndereN, snatching the firstblood away from him, followed by a second kill shortly after. In the reverse matchup s4 dominated SyndereN, taking a quick firstblood two minutes in and building a strong lead off of it, ultimately closing the series after a sneaky second kill using his Ultimate.
Coming from the Loser’s Bracket into the Grand Final against Fear, who had put s4 into the Loser’s Bracket to begin with, s4 had to win two Bo3 rounds, while Fear only needed one. After a very even Puck versus Queen of Pain game one, s4’s Puck was able to narrowly take firstblood 6 minutes into the game. Off the back of that economic lead, s4 took a creepscore lead and ultimately dove Fear’s tier 1 tower to take the first game. Game two in the reverse matchup featured a narrow creepscore lead of s4. After a battle at the top rune, s4 was about to take firstblood, faking his Sonic Wave twice to bait Fear into Phase Shift, without any luck. Due to his low health he was forced to take action, which Fear abused, dodging s4’s ultimate and taking the firstblood away from s4. Despite this disadvantage, s4 was able to increase his creepscore lead, but as he dove Fear with his Ultimate up again, Fear showed his prowess in predicting s4’s spell use, dodging a Scream of Pain, silencing him under the tower, and killing him with a well placed Dream Coil. With s4’s tournament win on the line, he was once again forced into a Shadow Fiend mirror matchup. This time items were allowed. More than trippling Fear’s creepscore in the first few waves, Fear was forced into attempting to win by taking firstblood on the back of a haste rune. s4’s lead was too much to overcome, though, resulting in s4 taking the first series 2-1, and evening the playing field. Game one of the second series featured s4 on Shadow Fiend again, against Fear’s Viper. Fear absolutely demolished s4 in the first few minutes, with s4 getting his second creep kill only three minutes into the match. On the back of a two level lead, s4 had to tap out after two kills. The reverse matchup did not go nearly as one-sided, with s4 still being able to take a lead on Viper. As Fear dove s4’s tier one tower, achiving a firstblood with a haste and illusion rune at his disposal, he still fell to s4’s strong DoT spells. With Fear’s Shadow Fiend reaching crucial level 8 around 10 minutes in, s4 still tried to go in for the win, despite having to fight uphill. Fear’s Shadow Razes ended up being way too much damage output, and s4 had to concede defeat, taking second place in this 1v1 tournament.
Roster changes and the formation of [A]lliance
Toward the end of January, No Tidehunter showed up in 4PL PlayDota2 Cup #19, but their journey took an end in the Quarterfinals against 3D!Clan, who went on to win the €400 winner takes all prize.
In February No Tidehunter was invited to a new Cup by ESL called RaidCall EMS One Spring Season, with a series of four smaller tournaments functioning as qualifiers to the main Event boasting a $35,000 prizepool. Eager for their next title, No Tidehunter started out decent in RaidCall EMS One Spring Cup #1, making their way into the Semifinals against EYES ON U and Kaipi. With Natus Vincere as their next enemy, the team decided on a greedy line-up, sporting an s4 Templar Assassin in the middle lane. With Na`Vi’s Phantom Lancer going for an early game build and some unfortunate failed ganks, No Tidehunter tapped out before hitting the 18 minute mark, resulting in a 3rd/4th position. A week later, RaidCall EMS One Spring Cup #2 took place with both Fnatic.EU and Na`Vi not attending. No Tidehunter took this chance and waltzed into the Final through Aurochs, Out of Tangos and Re-defining Madness, where Team Empire was awaiting them emerging from the other side of the bracket. On the back of another great Magnus performance, No Tidehunter took a quick 1-0 lead. Game two featured another Magnus pick, but this time for Bulldog. s4 instead took Nightstalker into the middle lane. After an unfortunate teamfight in the top lane, Empire’s incredibly farmed Alchemist took three kills and the top lane barracks. With great composure No Tidehunter nearly pulled it back, but they ultimately had to concede game 2, tiing the series. s4 laned Queen of Pain middle in the last game of the series and finished with a strong 10/2/2 performance together with Loda’s Phantom Lancer, earning a 2-1 victory over Team Empire.
With the second EMS Spring Cup out of the way and EternalEnvy being replaced with EGM, s4 took over the captain role for the team. No Tidehunter had only 5 days to prepare for RaidCAll EMS One Spring Cup #3, which also featured more prominent European teams Na`Vi and Fnatic.EU. After leaving 4 Friends and Chrillee and Absolute Legends, Fnatic.EU met them in the Semifinals. Magnus being a standard ban against No Tidehunter at this point meant s4 resorting to Dark Seer for the mid-lane, facing H4nn1’s Shadow Fiend in mid and winning the lane and the game, getting to the Finals for a second time in a row. This also secured their participation in the Main Event. Their opponent of the Finals would be Na`Vi, who consequently banned Magnus in the encounter. s4 chose Nightstalkter for the middle lane, laning against Dendi’s Rubick. Good ganking by s4’s team secured an early 9-6 lead, which spiralled into a 30-7 over the course of the next 20 minutes, closing out the game with a strong performance. In game two, s4’s Queen of Pain crushed Dendi’s Dark Seer and proceeded to participate in most of the early game kills. Na`Vi was unable to pull the game back into their favor and lost the second game along with the series.
With two weeks time to train for RaidCAll EMS One Spring Cup #4, it came to no surprise that No Tidehunter found themselves in the Semifinals, after taking down Aurochs and Kaipi in quick fashion. The Semifinals featured RoX, who let s4’s Magnus through the first banning phase, warranting a firstpick for No Tidehunter. In lane against Sharfik’s Puck the two went at it head on, resulting in an early firstblood by s4, turning around a kill attempt by the opponent’s Puck. Playing an active role in the early to mid game, s4 again participated in most of the kills happening, allowing Load’s Shadow Fiend and AdmiralBulldog’s Lone Druid get out of control. Despite two failed attempts at pushing high-ground and the enemy Gyrocopter farming a Divine Rapier, No Tidehunter managed to kill him and take the Rapier along with the series away from RoX. The third consecutive EMS One Spring Cup Finals matched No Tidehunter up against Virtus.Pro. A rather slow first game featuring yet another s4 Magnus favored No Tidehunter, due to a freefarming Antimage. With no similar flash-farm hero on VP’s side, the game was a straight forward victory for s4’s team. Neglecting to firstpick Magnus in game two allowed VP to snatch the hero away from s4. Instead he fell back on Beastmaster for the middle-lane matchup against Storm Spirit. An early game rotation by Storm Spirit resulted in firstblood against Loda’s Riki and a solo kill against s4’s Beastmaster only a minute later. These key pickoffs allowed Storm Spirit to snowball, while s4 never took off. With VP taking middle barracks at 20 minutes in, No Tidehunter tapped out. The early draft of Game three went similar to the previous game, with No Tidehunter neglecting Magnus, and VP picking it up. Instead, s4 went middle on Queen of Pain, up against Puck. Taking a lead against Puck in the first five minutes s4 managed to escape an aggressive kill attempt of Crazy, bottling up an invisibility rune and turning it around. On the back of this s4 become active all over the map, but good rotations from VP allowed them to take a kill lead. But after a lull where each team farmed up and No Tidehunter outfarming VP, it took No Tidehunter two teamfights to catch back up to VP in terms of levels. With s4’s Queen of Pain and Loda’s Gyrocopter topping the Networth charts by a good margin and EGM’s Wisp buffing Loda up, another lost teamfight at Roshan had VP tapping out, because they were now severely behind on all fronts. No Tidehunter won the last EMS One Spring Cup in first place and the third Spring Cup in a row as well, topping the EMS One Spring Cup Ranking, going in as first seed to the Main tournament to be played in the middle of March.
No Tidehunter continued to improve through early 2013. With some incredible plays of s4’s Magnus they went on a winning spree in the weeks following the roster change. By this time s4 was considered by many one of the best mid players in the West and perhaps even the world. Winning StarLadder Season 5 cemented No Tidehunter’s position as one of the best teams in the West.
The team announced their secret sponsor in April 2013 and they proceeded to sweep both the DreamHack Dota2 Invitational, the The Premier League Season 4, as well as the prestigious G-1 Champions League Western Qualifiers.
The International 2013 – Early 2014
At The International 2013, Alliance proved to be the most dominant team in the event, going without nearly undefeated, suffering only 3 game losses, one to team DK and the latter 2 against Na’Vi at the tournament’s grand finals. In the tournament’s final game, S4’s performance was highly acclaimed, and he casted multiple, critical, Dream Coils with Puck, that allowed Alliance to comeback into the game, which were eventually dubbed the “Million-Dollar Dream Coil”.
After winning The International, s4 and Alliance continued to place highly in other tournaments such as; Starladder, DreamLeague and DreamHack. Joining his team, s4 entered the fourth International as the defending champions.
The International 2014 – 2015
At TI4, s4 started the tournament by participating in solo tournament. In the first round S4, defeated defending champion iceiceice 2-0, then came back from a 0-1 deficit against Arteezy to win the match 2-1, and finally emerged victorious 2-1 against Ferrari_430 and won the trophy.
In the main, tournament, however, the team hit a major roadblock, and shockingly departed at the group stages, unable to make it to the main event. After which, s4 departed from Alliance to join Puppey, Kuroky, BigDaddy and Fly in forming Team Secret. With Team Secret, s4 continued to win multiple tournaments, taking first at ESL One Frankfurt, MarsTv Dota League, and the Summit, s4 and his team became favorites to win The International 2015. The team, however, was disappointed by a 7th-8th place departure at the hands of Virtus Pro. The team eventually suffered a meltdown, and all members excluding Puppey departed from Secret. s4 would eventually return to Alliance once again, though the team would suffer a 9th-12th placing at the Frankfurt Major.
In mid-December of 2015, EGM returned to complete the reform Alliance’s International-winning squad of 2013. The team showed early signs of life, taking first at both, the World Cyber Arena and Starladder.
The Shanghai Major and post-The International 2016
Despite its resurgence, s4 and the rest of Alliance soon hit a slump at the Shanghai Major, taking only 7th-8th, a blow that the team never seemed to recover from. Following Shanghai, the team continued to have mediocre to disappointing results at EPICENTER, the Manila Major and ESL One Frankfurt. The team only achieved a 9th-12th place finish at The International 2016, a highly demoralizing result to the team.
Following The International 2016, s4 played for Alliance one final time at the European qualifiers for the World Cyber Arena, though the team departed mid-way and disbanded a second time. Leaving Alliance once more, s4 joined OG as an offlaner.
|2017-04-30||1st||Premier||The Kiev Major 2017||3 : 2||$1,000,000|
|2016-12-10||1st||Premier||The Boston Major 2016||3 : 1||$1,000,000|
|2016-01-17||1st||Premier||StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 1||2 : 0||$120,891|
|2015-12-20||1st||Premier||World Cyber Arena 2015||3 : 2||$370,200|
|2015-08-06||7 – 8th||Premier||The International 2015||1 : 2||$829,333|
|2015-06-21||1st||Premier||ESL One Frankfurt 2015||3 : 1||$118,481|
|2015-06-07||1st||Premier||MarsTV Dota 2 League 2015 Spring||3 : 1||$108,816.75|
|2015-05-17||1st||Premier||The Summit 3||3 : 1||$115,466|
|2014-12-21||1st||Premier||XMG Captains Draft 2.0||3 : 2||$96,860|
|2013-08-11||1st||Premier||The International 2013||3 : 2||$1,437,190|
- Team Liquid Dota 2 Awards
- Team Liquid Dota 2 Awards 2013: Best Ganker
- Team Liquid Dota 2 Awards 2013: Best Play
- Team Liquid Dota 2 Awards 2013: Best Captain/Drafter
- Team Liquid Dota 2 Awards 2013: Team of the Year (with Alliance)
- Team Liquid Dota 2 Awards 2012: Best Play (with nth)
- JoinDOTA Awards
- joinDOTA Awards 2014: Best Mid Solo
- joinDOTA Awards 2013: Best Mid Solo
- joinDOTA Awards 2013: Best Play
- joinDOTA Awards 2013: Best Team (with Alliance)
- GosuAwards Dota 2
- GosuAwards 2013: Best Mid Solo
- GosuAwards 2013: Community’s choice: Best Mid Solo
- GosuAwards 2013: Best Team (with Alliance)
- GosuAwards 2013: Community’s choice: Best Team (with Alliance)
- onGamers Dota 2 Awards
- 2013 onGamers Dota 2 Awards: Team of the Year (with Alliance)
- Nicknamed by the community as the “Son of Magnus”, both, because of his great Magnus play, and because his last name (Magnusson) translates to Son of Magnus.
- He is the second player to win a TI and a Valve Major (after Puppey), as he won The International 2013 with Alliance and The Boston and Kiev Majors with OG. Since then, the record has only been matched by Miracle-.