Danil “Dendi” Ishuten has represented the NaVi [Natus Vincere] organization for six years. That’s a longer career than any job I’ve had, that’s for sure. Dendi is now the only player to attend every TI as a member of the same organization. In a scene that’s notorious for constant roster shuffles, Dendi’s dedication to NaVi is remarkable.
You can learn a little bit about Dendi’s life in Free to Play, a documentary about Dota2 that’s available through Steam or on Youtube. He also gives great interviews and is apparently super nice to fans – pretty much an all around awesome guy. Players like Fear are certainly well-loved in the Western scene, but Dendi is basically the Godfather. Well… someone better liked and less threatening than the Godfather, but you get the idea.
Dendi gets his own chant. His popularity extends far beyond the CIS and EU regions.
A “special guest” appeared during TI5’s All-Star match.
With the elimination of Invictus Gaming during Main Qualifiers, NaVi is now the only team that has attended all 6 Internationals. It’s been a rough couple of years for NaVi fans since TI3. When I started following Dota right before TI4, I couldn’t figure out what the hype around NaVi was all about. I watched Free to Play and made a point to learn a little more about the history of this young sport. Now I get it. It seems like the Long Dark Winter may be over for NaVi fans. Only Dendi remains from the TI winning roster, but the squad is looking really good right now.
Regardless of where Dendi and the NaVi squad place at TI, they will always be a huge part of the foundation of professional Dota2. Good luck to Dendi, Ditya Ra, GeneRal, SoNNeikO, and Artstyle!
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Six Year Crew
A special mention goes to Rasmus “MiSeRy” Filipsen – he will also be attending his sixth International this year. MiSeRy will be headed to Seattle with team #6 – he’s been on six unique teams attending TIs. MiSeRy’s gotten a lot of flak, especially during his time on Team Secret, but he keeps qualifying for The International year after year. I’m excited to see him play with lovable underdog team Digital Chaos.
Oh, I made myself sad. I miss Cloud9.
Other players earning their six year stripes at TI6:
- IceIceIce *
* EHOME is headed to Seattle, but they have to slug it out with Execration, Complexity, and Escape Gaming for a wildcard spot before the main event. Some count this as attending TI, some don’t.