That is a name synonymous with Dota 2. He is the unofficial poster boy for Valve’s premier MMO, one of the game’s first big superstars, known for his flashy plays on mid staples and off-meta picks, such as his infamous Pudge.
Ever since his career started in Dota 2, however, Dendi has only played officially for one team, Natus Vincere. He has stuck through the team for better or for worse and was the last surviving member of the lineup that won the very first The International in Gamescom 2011. And though it’s clear that his best days are already behind him — Dendi has failed to lead Natus Vincere to a TI berth for the past two years — many expected him to remain loyal to the black and yellow until the inevitable end of his career. But, with Natus Vincere already confirming their roster for the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit, Dendi’s fate for the new season is now all but confirmed.
With no news yet as of what the “Supamida” plans on doing for next season, we took the liberty of speculating what it might be. Why? Because we’re bored. Also, because we’re a little worried about what Dota 2 would become without Dendi.
Re-sign With Natus Vincere
Yes. Natus Vincere’s latest roster doesn’t include a Danil ‘Dendi‘ Ishutin in it. Replacing him in the middle lane is the relatively unknown player, Idan ‘MagicaL’ Vardanyan, who was most recently ranked #55 on the Solo MMR season leaderboards. But, that doesn’t mean there’s no space left for the 28-year-old Ukrainian mid superstar.
Natus Vincere’s latest roster is still missing a position 4 roaming support player, a role that Dendi could fit in quite nicely. Of course, he is not a support player. He is a mid laner and a decent one at that. His aggressive and flashy style has made for some of the most unforgettable plays in Dota 2 history. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t adjust and switch roles.
After all, way back in the early days of his career, with Clement ‘Puppey‘ Ivanov as his captain on Natus Vincere, he was not one to shy away from playing support heroes with playmaking potential in the middle lane, like Enigma and Rubick. We haven’t seen much of that lately, as he has focused on playing the more typical mid heroes, but the fact that he’s done so means that he can probably do it again.
While this means that Natus Vincere will have to spend the early parts of next season with a relatively new roster with one of their players playing out of position, it does at least give fans and critics alike to see Dendi finally give in to public demand and try his luck in another role.
Join Another Team
Dendi is no stranger to standing in for other teams throughout his eight years with Natus Vincere. Most recently, he was spotted playing for Vega Squadron as a stand-in during the BTS Summer Cup back in June.
So, it stands to reason that there is a chance that we might see him playing for another org next season, but the question is, where?
Well, for starters, it’s probably not outside the CIS region. Historically, CIS players have never really ventured out of their home region. When they did, it wasn’t really met with success. The ongoing that the Ukrainian Dota 2 player Roman ‘Resolut1on‘ Fominok experienced since moving to North America back in 2016 to play for TI6 runner-ups Digital Chaos is more of an exception rather than the rule.
From what we’ve seen this season, Dendi still has what it takes to go toe-to-toe against his younger contemporaries in the middle lane. All he needs is a good team around him. Given his still-decent play and the recognition that he will bring to the next org he joins, it’s only a matter of time before another CIS team decides to pick him up.
Form His Own Squad With Other Free Agents
Dendi isn’t the only CIS player that’s not without a team for next season. Nearly all of the previous Natus Vincere players have yet to find themselves a new home, and given how common it is for free-agent players to band up together and wait for a sponsor instead of joining a team, why can’t Dendi do it himself?
We’re not saying that he should pull a Puppey and start his own team, although that should be interesting to see, to say the least. Instead, what we’re saying is that a team made up of CIS free agents wouldn’t really do half-bad, especially in the top-heavy CIS region and if they manage to find themselves a good captain.
Who knows? Dendi could team up with former Natus Vincere teammates, Victor ‘GeneRaL‘ Nigrini and Ilya ‘Lil‘ Ilyuk, and make a run for a spot in the DPC tournaments via the CIS qualifiers. Although Virtus.Pro, and to some extent, Winstrike, will likely be the frontrunners for a spot in the Majors in the CIS qualifiers next season, a spot for the Minors will be fair play for the rest of the CIS teams.
Dendi may have publicly said many times before that he’s not in it for the money, but come on? He is easily one of the most recognizable figures in all of Dota 2, and he’ll get his fair share of subs while streaming — he already has more than half a million followers on Twitch without really putting much effort — without really doing anything else other than playing Dota 2.
Streaming for a couple of years without having to deal with the stress of travelling around all of the time while getting a chance to play the game he loves would make for a tremendous experience and a nice way to cash out of his career before moving on to the next stage, whatever that may be.
As the unofficial face of Dota 2, the announcement of Dendi retiring from the game will send shockwaves throughout the entire community. Many will mourn. Many will be sad. We’ll see tribute after tribute as people list down his achievements and wish him luck in whatever he chooses to do next in his life.
As a longtime fan who played Dota 2 after seeing Free-To-Play, I wouldn’t even want to consider, but it will happen, sooner or later, so might as well get it over with, right?
What do you think everybody’s favourite Pudge player will do next? Will we see Dendi on a new team? If so, which team would you like to see Dendi playing for next season? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.