The One Who Gave Dota a Face: A Tribute to Dendi
You’ve heard of him. You’ve seen his face. You’ve witnessed the crowds going wild when he pulls off sick plays no one has ever even thought of doing before.
He is none other than Ukrainian Dota star Danil Ishutin, otherwise known by his in-game name "Dendi". For 8 years, he was star player of Natus Vincere (or Na’Vi), but has now left the once-celebrated champions of the first International tournament in favour of being a free agent and setting his sights on some new future paths. However, he will still be present at The International 2019 as an analyst with the official Russian broadcast. In honour of Dendi and to wish him well with his future endeavours, let’s look back on his greatest moments from days long gone.
5. “The Play”
Regarded by many as the most flawless moment in professional Dota, this moment involves the entirety of the Na’Vi roster in The International 2012 against China’s Invictus Gaming (IG). The play starts with IG tryna smoke gank Na’Vi with a Naga Siren-Tidehunter ult combo. They catch Na’Vi on Radiant’s bot lane, and the Naga lets loose. As the Song ends, IG’s Dark Seer pulls off a 4-man Vacuum, but Na’Vi’s Enigma was well prepared, and popped his Black King Bar to repel the oncoming Ravage. Na’Vi pulled off a 4-man black hole, with Dendi’s Rubick Telekinesis capturing the remaining Lina, and Na’Vi wiped the floor with IG’s heroes. Everything happened under a minute, but it was a glorious, crowd-clamouring minute that’s been irrevocably burned into every Dota fan's mind ever since.
4. Oppa Dendi Style
In the same tournament, Dendi played in an All-Star Match against his then captain and bff, Puppey. Before the match started, he claimed that he could “kick his (Puppey’s) ass, finally!”. Sure enough, he landed a perfect Pudge Hook on Puppey, and finished him off with the help of his team mates. He then pauses the game to enact the “Gangnam Style” dance in front of Puppey’s gaming booth. Classic Dendi.
3. Million Dollar Dream Coil
Dendi pulled off the original long before s4’s Million Dollar Dream Coil. This was waaayyyy back in the first International circa 2011, during Game 4 of the grand finals in which Na’Vi faced Ehome. While Na’Vi were contesting Roshan, Ehome moved in to ambush them. Dendi Orbs out of the Pit and Jaunts, follows it up with a Rift and Dream Coil, capturing 4 of Ehome’s players, ending in a clean wipe with buybacks to boot.
2. Cosplaying as The Butcher
This light-hearted entry happened during The International 5 in the All-Star Match, in which the host Kaci drafted a Pudge cosplayer from the crowd to join Team ChuaN against Team N0tail. The cosplayer sat beside Puppey, and was revealed to be *drumroll please* DENDI?! Afterwards, Dendi and Puppey shared a genuine ‘aww’ moment in which they both stared at each other with gentleness and respect in their eyes. A truly kokoro-warming sight.
1. The Fountain Hook
Now, we simply can’t have a Dendi list without mentioning the Fountain Hook, now can we? During Upper Bracket semi-finals of The International 2013, where Na’Vi found themselves up against TongFu, a historic event took place. Something so amazingly brilliant yet so seemingly immoral. Puppey’s Chen and Dendi’s Pudge gave rise to the Fountain Hook, where Chen’s Recall paired with Pudge’s Meat Hook would send snared enemies flying straight towards Na’Vi’s fountain. The gold and experience advantage held by TongFu faded with each Hook, and Na’Vi emerged victorious at the end of it all. This created a lot of controversy and dispute against Na’Vi’s win, but it was a win nevertheless.
And thus ends our Dendi tribute. We at Salty News Network hope you enjoyed taking this nostalgic trip back to the good old days with us, and once again wish the legend himself all the best. Good luck out there Dendi, and thank you for showing us that Dota isn't just all numbers and strategy, you cheeky little trickster.
BONUS: G O O D