The competitive Dota 2 scene's post-The International 10 (TI10) roster shuffle continue as Alliance announced on Monday (25 October) that team captain and offlaner Gustav "s4" Magnusson has parted ways with the team.
With s4's departure, Alliance's Dota 2 roster is now down to just star carry player Nikolay "Nikobaby" Nikolov and position 4 support Simon "Handsken" Haag after midlaner Linus "Limmp" Blomdin and Belarusian position 5 support player Artsiom "fng" Barshak left the team last Thursday (21 October).
Alliance will be looking to revamp its roster after they followed up a dominant showing in the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) regular seasons with lacklustre performances in the Majors and at TI10.
Alliance finished second and first in the two seasons of the upper division of the DPC's Western European regional league. However, the team only managed to finish 13th in the ONE Esports Singapore Major in April and 9th-12th in the WePlay AniMajor in June.
In TI10, Alliance barely managed to qualify for the Main Event with a 4-12 record in the Group Stage before getting knocked out of the tournament by T1 in the second round of the lower bracket.
"S4 is a legend not only to Alliance but in the Dota scene and his return to the organisation played a massive part in helping the team qualify for The International 10. Despite many challenges, S4 delivered in his captain role from the offlane. While being an unconventional position for a captain the DPC seasons with Alliance were a massive success finishing second and first place respectively over the two seasons," Alliance chief strategy officer Kelly Ong said in a statement.
“It’s always sad to say goodbye to a friend. Especially a friend as special and important to Alliance’s history as the son of Magnus himself, S4. We all wanted more from this TI but that doesn’t mean we didn’t give it our all this year. Because we did. Everyone that reaches this prestigious event does," added Alliance CEO and co-founder Jonathan “Loda” Berg.
S4 was instrumental in Alliance's run to becoming the champions in TI3 in the organisation's first year of existence as the team's midlaner. He left the team for the first time in September 2014, a year after their win at TI3, before returning for a second stint from 2015 to 2016. S4's third and most recent stint with Alliance began in April last year.
The post-TI10 roster shuffle
The competitive Dota 2 scene revolves around TI, Dota 2's yearly world championship tournament that has regularly broken the record for the biggest prize pool for a single esports event year after year. TI10 featured a US$40 million prize pool, with the lion's share of US$18.2 million as well as the coveted Aegis of Champions going to champions Team Spirit.
The yearly post-TI roster shuffles came as a result of the importance of TI to the game's competitive scene, with teams that either failed to qualify or placed poorly in the tournament often revamping their rosters in preparation for another run at the Aegis of Champions.
TI's importance in the scene has even manifested itself in how contracts between players and their organisations are structured, with most contracts ending with the conclusion of TI. This arrangement has allowed both teams and players to explore their options and better prepare for the next iteration of the DPC and TI.
The next DPC is expected to start in December, though Dota 2 developer Valve Software has yet to officially announce its schedule. This year's post-TI shuffle, as a result, is also expected to take place from October until November as rosters become locked shortly before the DPC begins.