Steven R. September 10, 2018
After eight long years with the organization, Danil "Dendi" Ishutin is no longer a member of Natus Vincere's active roster.
The news was announced over the weekend as part of a first wave of roster shakeups that follow each year’s installment of The International. It comes as part of a larger retooling of the Na`Vi Dota 2 roster, which struggled in 2018.
Dendi has been the star of Na`Vi’s Dota division since 2010. He became the most popular figure in the game through his aggressive style of midlane play and consistent successes. Alongside captain Clement "Puppey" Ivanov and carry Alexander "XBOCT" Dashkevich, Dendi helped carve out one of the few dynasties in Dota 2, helping to bring the team to the grand finals of the first three TI tournaments.
Those high times were followed by steadily declining lows. The last four years have seen Na`Vi go from a contender to a shaky team, most recently washing out of the CIS open qualifiers for TI8. The common denominator during that stretch was Dendi’s presence and while there’s little question that the veteran is still talented, things just haven’t worked in years.
Na`Vi currently has four players penned in to compete during the 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit season. Vladislav "Crystallize" Krystanek is the sole remaining player from last season’s roster, and will rejoin Akbar "SoNNeikO" Butaev. Meanwhile, Evgeniy "Blizzy" Ree will come aboard from Vega Squadron while young upstart Ivan “MagicaL” Vardanyan will take Dendi’s spot mid. The team currently has an open support player spot.
As for Dendi, it is currently unclear where he will land. Though he is no longer a part of the Na`Vi active roster, he has not officially been declared a free agent. A trade to another organization is a possibility, as is Dendi taking a hiatus from competition or becoming a streamer for Na`Vi.
Either way, this marks the end of one of Dota 2’s great institutions.