The brains behind esports’ $1 million winning team

This was the biggest year ever for esports.

Screengrab via dota2ti/Twitch

This was the biggest year ever for esports. Competitive gaming has more players, a bigger audience, and a brighter future than ever before. Over a period of 10 days, the Daily Dot will profile people who’ve fueled this unprecedented growth, from top players to industry visionaries. 

In earlier pieces, we looked at Cosmo Wright, the king of speedrunnning, and League of Legends star so good his nickname is simply “God.” Today, we’d like you to meet one of the winners of the biggest cash prize in eSports history.

As the highest-earning eSports player of 2013, the Swedish Dota 2 star Gustav “S4” Magnusson is an obvious contender for this series. As the captain of the world championship team that won the biggest prize in eSports history—after competing in one of the greatest matches in eSports history—he’s a lock.

The fact that he’s now at the center of one of the greatest rivalries in eSports doesn’t hurt, either.

Alliance, the Dota 2 squad owned by Evil Geniuses’s Alex Garfield, is a Swedish all-star squad designed from the ground up to win big. Magnusson was the last piece of the puzzle to be added before the team was officially unveiled in April 2013.

Under Magnusson’s guidance, the team immediately went on a gold medal tear. They won an impressive eight tournaments from April to July, quickly establishing themselves as the best team in the world heading into The International, an event boasting $2.8 million in prizes.

After an unmatched, undefeated 14-0 run through the tournament’s preliminary rounds, Magnusson’s Alliance tore through a playoff bracket consisting of every top team in the world.

The finals were a fitting match between the Swedish stars and Natus Vincere, a Ukranian squad that has been to all three world championship finals for Dota 2. To no one’s surprise, Magnusson played a key role going solo up against Dendi, the legendary talent from the Ukranian side. After an hour-long match that swayed back and forth on every decision, the Swedes eventually emerged triumphant.

Magnusson was so ecstatic to win that, when the idea of victory finally dawned on him near the end of the game, he temporarily lost feeling everywhere but his legs. He recovered enough to march onto the stage, however, where he raised the trophy. When thousands of fans cheered the million dollar win, Magnusson screamed right back.