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2018 had some defining moment in Dota 2, but for most of the community the departure of Danil ‘Dendi’ Ishutin from the Natus Vincere lineup was definitely one of the biggest. With a legacy built up over many years, a smile that everyone knew and an intense passion for the game, the poster-child of Dota 2 finally stepped away from the team which he stood with for 8 years just a few months ago – but he’s not left the game entirely.

Way back in 2006 when DotA had just begun to emerge into the lives of most, that’s when Dendi found his first professional team for the game. It was another 4 years before Dota 2 was released to the world and when it was, Dendi was ready to take it by storm. His journey to the top was nothing short of spectacular – in a matter of months he, alongside Na’Vi, were making history at the first ever TI event. A sum of $1,000,000 as the prize pool was completely unheard of in esports at the time and Dota 2 never looked back. The International 2011 would see Dendi and Na’Vi plant their flag at the pinnacle of the Dota 2 world as they fought through every obstacle in their way and claimed the spoils – and his journey had only just begun.

Not leaving Na’Vi behind after that, Dendi continued to impress at the following two iterations of The International – coming 2nd at both and playing in one of the most memorable grand finals at TI3 against Alliance. It was only at the end of 2013 that Na’Vi begun to fade away but Dendi stood strong with the team through countless roster changes. There were small glimmers of hope along the way, headlines reading “Na’Vi is back” would litter the esports world whenever the team came close to winning an event – but unfortunately, they never seemed to quite make it back to the top.

Fast forward to September 2018 after Na’Vi had failed to qualify for TI for only the second time in its eight years running:

In a video announcing roster changes from the organization’s CEO Yevhen Zolotarov, it was confirmed that Dendi would no longer be a part of the team. After 8 years playing for a single organization, breaking records and winning tournaments, Dendi decided to move to inactive on the roster but not retire from the game completely.

Since departing from Na’Vi, Dendi has played for the likes of Vega Squadron but more importantly, rejoined his ex-team mate Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov at Team Secret as a stand-in during the Maincast Autumn Brawl. While Dendi still searches for a new team, we can only hope that he finds one and shows us his fantastic skills once again.

Here are some of Dendi’s most memorable achievements and moments (in my own humble opinion):


  • The International 2012 – ‘The Play’.


  • Dendi Taunts Puppey with a ‘Gangnam Style’ Dance – The International 2013 All-Star Match


  • The International 2015 – Dendi is the Pudge chosen to join the All Star Match


  • Dendi currently holds the record for the most games played under the same organization – with 1560 at Natus Vincere.


  • He also is the only player to have attended 6 TI events under the same banner and remains one of the most famous and influential players in the Dota 2 community.

2018 may have seen some major drama in the Dota 2 world, but the departure of Dendi from Na’Vi, a legacy built over 8 years, that’s what we should remember.

headline image credit: Starladder

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