Is Dota 2’s Former Pudge Poster Boy Dendi Losing His Touch?

  • Linux
  • OS X
  • Windows
  • Action
  • Combat
  • Survival
Does he still have it?
Does he still have it? B8

There was a time in the history of Dota 2 that when the name Dendi was mentioned, it caused both fear and excitement. The fear came from players with how skilled he was with the game. The excitement was from the fans who back then couldn’t get enough of his antics.

Since then, the glory days the player known as Danil “Dendi” Ishutin haven't been what they used to be. This brings to mind questions of whether Dendi is losing his magic touch and if it is time for him to retire.

Going back to his early days, Dendi was part of Natus Vincere, where he helped to establish the team as one of the best in the world, especially after winning the first The International tournament. Na’Vi had the chance to be a two-time, possibly three-time, TI champion, but was beaten by Invictus Gaming in TI2 and Alliance in TI3. TI3 in particular was memorable for fans with Na’Vi introducing the now infamous “fountain hook” with then team captain Clement “Puppey” Ivanov.

After that, the performance from Na’Vi started to drop with disappointing results in TI5 and TI6. Eventually they even failed to qualify for TI7 and failed yet again for TI8. By 2018, Na’Vi put Dendi on an inactive status and finally let him go in 2019.

Everyone thought that Dendi would retire by this time. However, to everyone’s surprise, he announced in January of this year that he was organizing his own team. Dendi even came out with a video and it was revealed that the team would be named B8, with him serving as team captain.

So what has happened since then? Well, the team hasn’t been performing as expected. They have had some exciting matches, but the end result has pretty much been the same, which has resulted in finishes near the bottom of tournament standings. In the recent BTS Pro Series Season 3, B8 finished dead last. The team lost 0-2 against seven teams and managed to get a 1-1 draw on one team.

In terms of roster, the team hasn’t been strong here as well. The full roster was announced in February, but by March already had one member replaced. By May, two members left. Dendi later signed up four new players by June.

So going back to the question, is Dendi losing his touch? It’s probably a yes and a no. We say no because it’s clear the skill is still there. One can argue that there are a lot of new players who are just as good, or even better. However, many of his contemporaries continue to have success in the competitive scene.

We also say yes he is, but qualify it. The fact that Dendi is playing at position 2 and remains the team captain is difficult to balance. Many of the top teams have their team captains playing support usually at positions 4 or 5. There are exceptions, but that’s been the general trend. It’s really difficult to direct the team, especially if you’re the one in the middle of the fight.

So how can Dendi and B8 get out of the hole that they’ve dug themselves in? Two ways, really. The first is that despite being the owner, Dendi will need to give up the role of team captain, especially if he wants to continue playing position 2. He then needs to find team members that he trusts. The second option is to remain team captain, but drop to positions 4 or 5. This would also be difficult given his playstyle.

So what happens now? Guess we’ll have to see what Dendi plans and hopefully he gets his second shot at stardom. Then again, we’ll always have that “fountain hook.”

Join the Discussion
Top Stories