As a member of Alliance's winning squad at TI3, Gustav 's4' Magnusson needs no introduction at all. Often playfully referred to as the son of Magnus due to his fortuitous name that conveniently reflects the skill he shows on the hero, s4 is without a doubt one of the best mid players in the world today.
However, he is most famous for his expert drafting, a skill that has played no small role in helping Alliance dominate the scene in the past year. Today, as he takes the stage to lead Alliance into their first North American LAN, and indeed, their first big test since TI3, you get to ask him whatever you like.
While s4 obviously won't be able to respond during MLG, this thread will be open throughout the weekend so you can follow him and his team and post your questions here. After the games at Columbus draw to a close, we will pick the 20 best questions you have posted here and send them straight to Gustav himself.
Excited? You should be. Let's make those questions count, TL!
s4's killer drafts often help put his team in the lead from the get go.
Want to ask something? We'll do it for you. Just post your question in this thread. Our editors will pick the 20 best questions from this thread and s4 will answer them, after which the answers will be slotted in below.
Ask away, TL!
- Down 1-2 to Na`Vi in TI3 grand finals, you last picked Night Stalker, and it was the first time that hero had appeared in the tournament. What was your thought process and was it a risky clutch option? Since 6.79 you've only run Night Stalker in the side-lanes. What in the new patch made going mid less viable? [lzma]It was a pretty safe option considering we've used it a lot previously. The thought process behind the pick was to bait Na`Vi into 5-manning early when nighttime starts and use Night Stalker as a bait/tank with Wisp tether wand/bottle.
- How has winning TI3 affected you as a progamer? Do you have increased confidence? Has the insane prize money ever diminished your motivation to improve as a player or did it actually drive you more? [Bogeyman]It was a good boost for my finances With consecutive wins comes confidence, but I have to say a big part why we did well at TI3 is the confidence we had in-game.
- What did you spend your barrel of cash on? [TaNaa]Nothing actually, I just received the money this week, and yes it came with a barrel.
- What is your opinion of team DK? Any thoughts on their playstyle when compared to the rest of China? [KH1031]I think DK is strong in China because they don’t play Chinese Dota, which is 5-manning to take towers early. It seems to me that DK cares a lot about experience/levels in their games.
- Dota to me is the most complex game and fun game that I have ever played. In my opinion people always try to categorize complex systems to try to understand them, when categories might never capture all possible ways of looking at the system. For example, we talk in terms of roles and positions (1, 2 ,3 ,4 and 5), we have common agreements on hero builds and use terms like gank, push and teamfight.
My question is: When you draft, how much do you think in terms of categories (like: "we should pick a push/teamfight/support/offlane hero next")? And how much do you think about synergies (the whole being more than just the sum of its parts), like N’aix+Furion or other combos that give rise to special situations in game? [Jamann]Roles helps a lot when drafting, so you can use it as a system. I have my own system when drafting. For example are we thinking about initiation? Do we need initiation if we're deathballing the other team? Probably not. Do we lack anti-push? If so get ready to take fights early.
- What are the top 5 principles to good drafting, in your opinion? [Web_cole]1) Stuns are important.
2) Don't draft too greedy which leads to being dominated in laning phase.
3) Think about what you're giving your opponent--make good trades.
4) Have a gameplan when drafting.
5) Don't make your teammates play heroes they don't want to and listen what they have to say.
- What's your main approach when you draft for alliance? Do you guys talk and decide as five, do you do it alone, or is it mostly your decisions with Loda or someone else suggesting things for you to consider? Because it feels like people not being able to deal with the way you (Alliance) draft has been key to your success. [DV G]I listen to everyone in the team for suggestions and ideas, and I ask them about things if I'm unsure.
- I'm very curious about your amazing game direction. You simply seem to be the best at game direction and decision-making. How do you minimize the loss if you face a very strong laner like Dendi or Mushi? Often that the midlane player cannot carry the game tempo if he lost at mid, but if you do so, how can you still have a good impact, especially in the midgame?
Do you have any tips for better decision making and play making? I always see generic answers like "analyze the situation and communicate better with teammates", so it would be great if you could give us a more detailed answer. [Snakesneaks]Regarding the midlane question, play to win the game, not the lane.
Maximize what you can do with your spells e.g. try to hit more targets with AoE spells. Split up attention when chasing heroes, since there's no need to overkill someone if you can catch another hero. Pay attention where your enemies are always (even when you're fighting heroes), because rotations gets kills.
- Here's a question for team development that I think all amateur teams have problems with: what are the key elements to keep in mind while drafting against an opponents team you have not played before? [kembangan]Don't go outside your comfort zone to counter something you don't understand well.
- Are you ever going to draft Omniknight, Dazzle, Disruptor, Huskar, Sniper, Silencer? Those heroes rarely get playtime. What is needed for them to be played more? Even with faster paced games and higher aggression in 6.79, I still think PL should be coming back a little to the meta, but I don't see him. Why is that? [Jotoco]Of course. All of those heroes are strong except Sniper.
- Hi s4! In tournaments following TI3, I have gotten the feeling that Alliance’s Wisp combos, PA+Magnus, PL+Kotl and Akke's Chen have been put in a "pre-6.79, do-not-use-box" without really testing them out. Have these past glory compositions performed badly in scrims or have they just been forgotten? [leffe]No, just needed to change skill/item build for some heroes (like for Wisp), so we needed more practice.
- What are your thoughts on post-6.79 Io? Fnatic are running it with a Tiny, which is proving to be really successful, and yet I’m still to see you draft it, which I feel is a shame. You guys were the best Wisp users by far, in my opinion. [hifriend]Fnatic skilled Wisp the same in 6.78 as in 6.79 so I'm not surprised they have success with it. Other teams just need to go away from maxing tether first.
- After having watched numerous first person perspectives of professional players, I have found that your style of mechanics is the most unique. How did you master camera movement with your mouse wheel button? How did you develop your style of play? [Pasargadae]It just came naturally, I feel like I can see more in teamfights with that mechanic.
- Would you pick Kaolin for yourself if he was in CM? How would you build him? [nojok]Haven't played the hero yet. I avoid playing against that hero by picking and repicking him in public games.
- Hello Gustav! Where would you have been without nTH? Do you think you would have found a different path to becoming a viable TI3 winner with others, instead of your current teammates? [lyxarn]No, I wouldn't be able to play without the Bulldog by my side
- When you originally started out Dota, did you think you would be this successful in rivaling the very top tier dominant Chinese teams? Also, how does it feel now playing with people you probably looked up to, like Loda and Akke? [Fleuria]I have a very competitive mindset so I believed myself even when I wasn't big. It feels good to play with the legendary Lokke :D
- If you were to play a role that wasn't mid, what role would you play and why? And of course, if you weren't mid, who on Alliance would play mid and why? [Sn0_Man]Probably support or offlane because the heroes fit me pretty well.
- Who would you want to meet under the mistletoe this holiday season? Have you met any cute girls when you go to tournaments? What do you think of your fangirls who try to contact you? [Butterscotch]Haha of course, but what will Bulldog say about this?
- If one of the Dota hero lores was made into a movie, which hero would you choose? And which actor would you cast to play that hero? [EpiK]I don't know the hero, but it’s gotta be Nicolas Cage right?
- What are [A]'s spirit Dota heroes? Not necessarily the heroes they play best on, but character-wise which players correspond to which heroes? [Bisu-Fan]EGM Rubick hoodie
Akke Lina because he's considered hot by many people
Loda N’aix rage(r)
Bulldog and me Ogre Magi
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Banner image by: R1CH