Is Dendi the Greatest of All Time?


Navi Dendi Might be the Most Popular Dota Player of All Time. But is He the Best?

Danil “Dendi” Ishutin has been the midlaner for Natus Vincere (Navi) since the team’s inception, coinciding with the unveiling of Dota 2.  His career has seen peaks and valleys as Navi’s successes have ebbed and flowed over the lifespan of competitive Dota 2. Dendi is the only player to remain on Navi for the entirety of the team’s existence, and has consistently been seen as a strong midlaner. But is he the best player of all time?

The Case For Dendi GOAT

Dendi led Navi to victory at the very first International, and second place finishes the following two years. His numerous other tournament wins include first place finishes at Starladder, the Dota 2 Champion’s League, and Dreamleague. Dendi was (and continues to be) a pioneering Dota player, bringing new champions and builds to the top of competitive play. Known most infamously for his Pudge, Dendi is also notoriously effective on heroes like Invoker, Puck, and Mirana. Dendi also holds the record for the second most kills ever in a competitive game (40, with Templar Assassin), falling just four short of 1st place holder Illidan… in a game less than half as long.

The Case Against Dendi GOAT

Dendi has definitely been a bellwether for Navi’s performance, but that hasn’t always been a good thing. Since The International 2013, Navi has struggled to stay afloat in top tier competitive Dota. Embarrassingly, the team missed out on qualifying for The International 2015, and were thus left completely out of the running for the world title (though Dendi did manage to sneak into the event’s All-Star Game regardless). While Dendi was once known as a superstar mechanical player, there’s no doubt that he has since been surpassed in this regard by younger, flashier players like Miracle and Arteezy. Dendi fans might be affronted by these comparisons, but ask yourself: if you wanted to assemble the best possible team of Dota players, would Dendi be on it?