TI6 News: an Open Letter of Appreciation to Dendi

The whole crew assembled (youtube screencap)
The whole crew assembled (youtube screencap) /

After finishing in the bottom half of the Group Stage, Navi is eliminated in the first match of the Lower Bracket by Liquid. We bid Dendi a fond farewell.

All aboard!
All aboard! /

I think that a lot of people out there dislike Navi/Dendi solely because of their popularity. Even so, the team and the player have done a lot of good for the pro scene of DotA.

But since it’s easy to forget the good and hop on the sarcasm powered meme-train that often directs our community, I’d like to take a moment to point some things out.

Navi and Dendi have provided stability we need

There have been articles on this before, so I don’t want to belabor this point, but eSports has had an issue with stability since its inception. Rosters constantly seem to be in a state of flux, teams like Virtus Pro up and fold out of the blue, and there has been a chronic lack of central leadership from Valve.

Not that Valve hasn’t done a mind boggling good job with TI6, but one excellent international tournament does not a legitimate sports league make.

All of these factors have contributed to the doubt investors feel toward eSports. But Navi has been around since 2009, and Dendi has been a member on their squad since 2010. This is one of the best examples of stability in eSports today!

We need more of these kinds of teams if we ever hope for eSports to break free of obscurity and enter into the mainstream. But besides all that…

Dendi is a human face in an impersonal, digital land

Who else but Dendi would shrug into a Pudge costume and burst from it to get the crowd pumped? Puppey? I think not. And sure, some other player could have done it, but to what effect? Who would we have gotten as excited about as Dendi?

I'm talking, of course, about the Pudge mask in the background.
I’m talking, of course, about the Pudge mask in the background. /

No one.

He’s fantastic PR for the pro scene. His playful manner and positivity are a nice counterpoint to the negativity and rabble rousing we get in chats, on streams, and in forums. Even the fluff video he made of his family trip to their summer home was enough to thaw the hearts of some of the coldest ice-trolls out there on the Internet.

If you haven’t seen that clip, check out what I’m talking about below. It’s only three minutes long. Go on – give it a click.

‘Grats, Dendi. We appreciate you

For bringing some extra warmth and humanity to DotA, Danil Ishutin, I thank you. I get so tired, sometimes, of the posturing and trash talk. It was heartwarming to see you in such chipper spirits throughout The International, even reconnecting with old teammates in the face of defeat.

You’re exactly the kind of player I want to cheer for, which is exactly why I’ll continue to do so. Don’t lose faith. TI7 and the rise of Navi, for sure!