Danil "Dendi" Ishutin is a name that needs no introduction. Having made his professional Dota debut in 2007, the 29-year-old Ukranian has played with Natus Vincere since 2010, and he quickly became the face of the organisation, helping them win The International and finish runner-up for the next two years of the competition.
Since then, the team has been in a state of steady decline, and Dendi took to Twitter today to post a massive Twitlonger to provide some more insight to his friends and fans, although his future with NaVi is still unclear. We've translated the key points from Russian to English below.
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Hello everybody. I’ve been wanting to write something about the hate and other stuff for a long time. I finally got to it, because I feel like I have to do this now in order to deflect a lot of stupid things people have been writing for years now.
I haven’t been doing this because people tend to listen only to those who are on the top. We have been very much at the bottom of a hole for a long time now. I’ve been waiting for the moment when we will finally play well :) We had some light shining through, but the moment never really came, so I will have to talk about this from our hole ^_^
On the reason for hate
It was always difficult for me to understand how a person can hate or dislike someone who did nothing wrong to them? Or who they know nothing about? I keep asking myself this. Let’s imagine that you are a hater! Or someone who hates me.
My first questions is: “How did I wrong you?” You don’t know me. I don’t know you. I play Dota and live my life :) You seem to be [doing so] too...
I realized a long time ago that you can't be liked by everyone. Doesn’t matter how hard you try, or what you do or how you act, there will always be people who will not like you, who will be jealous of you, or something along those lines. That’s why it is important to be right and honest to yourself. I’m not perfect, I have made and am making mistakes like all people, but I've always tried to be a good person, first and foremost.
Hating NaVi and hyping on any negative developments regarding this organization is a trend. You can’t deny that. It became one around 2014 and it continues to grow. Why? It is a difficult question. In my opinion, it is firstly ENVY. People envy the success of other people and they get mad that someone is getting attention and recognition unjustly by their opinion.
[...] We have everyone [necessary] to change things for the better, if only public opinion masters (talent and commentators) weren’t supporting the hate, jumping on the hype train, and promoting themselves through this.
On the monetary question
I want to break another myth. I am not making and never made any percentage from sponsorship contracts with the organization. My salary during the 2015-2016 season was smaller than the guys from VP had (back when we performed much more confidently). EG and Team Secret guys were probably getting twice as much. If I had left Na`Vi, then I would’ve easily gotten a much bigger salary.
I never asked my organization to raise my salary. Completely trusting NaVi was, and still is, the most important thing. I saw that they wanted and want to evolve, constantly increasing the staff, improving practice conditions for the teams, and so on. I was and still am a part of NaVi and I always wanted my home organization, which I put so many years and emotions into, to grow.
If I really would’ve wanted to earn as much as I could, then I most likely wouldn’t be playing in NaVi right now, probably since 2014 or 2015 even. [...] Even my personal stream would’ve been making me more money, but I want to do what I love, what brings me joy.
On the “media selling out”
During all my time [in NaVi], I made almost no effort in the direction of media, while having a ton of opportunity for it. I could’ve been developing my social media stuff, visiting different TV shows (which I’ve been often asked to be a guest at), writing blogs and so on. I made a whole lot from a couple of blogs at The International 2015 and then at WDC 2016 or 2017. [...] But then all the practice and hate dissuaded me from doing anything like this.
[...] I simply live and do what I like :) If the organization asks me to do an interview or make a video, then I do that.
On rumours of ruling in NaVi
[...] During all my time in NaVi, I’ve been against any kind of change 80 percent of the time. Starting back with ArsArt and LightOfHeaven and ending with LeBron.
ZeroGravity once said that I’m a very conservative person. Maybe that is true in some way, but I just get attached to people. That is probably my biggest hindrance. It makes it difficult for me to pass over people, and I think of others more than I think of myself.
During my time in NaVi, I had the mindset that any problem could be (and should be) fixed. You should be changing something only in cases when it is impossible. I always was for giving more chances to one player or another, so we could fix some problem.
I didn’t always agree with the decisions of NaVi about changing players. But making the right decision is very difficult and I understand that NaVi always tried to pick the best possible option for everybody.
On the question of age
[...] Esports is relatively young and there aren’t many older players around. Why? Because you used to not be able to support your family and future.
Times change and there will be more and more aged players, because more and more money comes to esports. I think that age is bullshit. The most important thing is how the player feels: his health and his motivation. The age problem is usually set in changing interests and the appearance of other problems (family related, etc.). There are people who get tired from the game, but they keep trying to stay afloat because it is profitable. But this approach will never return them to the top or bring them to victories.
I will be honest! I spend three times more time on Dota than before. Back in 2012-2013, we could not practice at all and still beat everyone. Now, we spend 40 days together at a time at bootcamps and events. We play practice games together and a ton individually almost every day. When we come home, we continue to play.
No, I am not complaining ! :) On the contrary! I get a ton of joy from all this. I don’t see any problems with age except the plain old LAZINESS and EXCUSES before your own self. Every one of us choses our own priorities. If you put Dota on top of everything else (partying, vacations, travel), then I personally don’t see any age problems. But everyone’s got their own opinion.
On switching roles
I play Dota because I LOVE this game and I get a ton of joy from it. I’m not doing this for money, fame or anything else. I will continue playing it on the pro level as long as I continue loving this game. I don’t think that anybody else has the right to decide when I should retire or what role should I play. I play mid because I like to! I will continue playing mid as long as I think I should be.
You can’t affect it in any way. You are free to have your opinions and believe that your way will be better for me and my team, but I play on a role that I want to play.
On leadership, coordination and draft
In my opinion, a leader (captain) is a person who earns respect and authority from others, a person who will lead the team to victory and who will be able to support the team in difficult times.
To be a captain, you must have certain personal qualities. Some people have these qualities from birth, some people have to develop them. For example, I am quite a soft person and can’t walk over others. I don’t want to enter conflicts and it’s much easier for me to find a compromise, rather than defending my opinion (though sometimes I can be stubborn).
I consider myself a good teammate. I think I can enter any team and turn into reality the vision of the drafted, to the maximum [of their potential].
A drafter and a captain are two different functions, which are held by DIFFERENT people. Sometimes, one person does all three, someone each one does their own, sometimes the functions are shared between multiple people. There is a different understanding of what is right and it works differently in different places. There are NO perfect schematics or controls. That’s why it is very funny to see people discuss this, [and] think that their way is the best. As usual, public opinion masters force their own thoughts into the masses.
I've played with ArtStyle, Puppey, SoNNeikO, Pajkatt, PSM, FNG. All of them were good in their own way and did things completely differently.
In-game calls and coordination are made by completely different players. The team choses which ideas and directions to take in a game. What should be done in a particular moment? These kinds of decisions are made by every single player. Some decisions are small (where to go for a gank), some are big (go to Roshan or push towers). Some decisions flow into others.
Supports have a much easier time coordinating in the first 10 minutes of a games, since their mind is not leaded with a ton of micro-intensive tasks. They move around the map much more and have time to think about what they or their teammates should do.
From there, the decisions could be made by a player of any role, depending on who wants to lead the team and who the players are willing to trust. That’s where a very important skill comes into play: “FAITH”. In my opinion, it is one of the most important skills of a player (if not the most important). Without faith in your teammates you will get nowhere. If you don’t believe that your teammate will destroy his opponents on a lane, then he will lose. If you don’t believe that you will win a teamfight, then you will lose. And so on and so forth. That is VERY difficult.
You can earn respect with authority or victories or something else. But you also could also simply have FAITH. It is quite difficult, you have to know or learn how to do that. Our EGO and ARROGANCE often prevents us from it. We think that we know something better or do something better than others.
Drafter is also a separate role. Naturally, it is better for the person who coordinates the most to be drafting. The drafter usually imagines some kind of a picture during his draft, and its the team’s job to paint it in-game. But that is not necessarily, it could be done by two different people.
It is important to believe in an idea and try to execute it, preparing games together moving in one direction. It is difficult to do when you have varying opinions and everybody is pulling the sheet towards themselves, and everyone wants to be Miracle.
In some teams, drafts are done by coaches (a bunch of Chinese teams, maybe Mineski, I don’t remember). In some, it’s done by position 5 supports. In others — by a carry (RAMZES666 in VP).
I tried to take the drafting role myself in the last two months. I tried to become the team’s captain. I tried to coordinate more than usual ([it] didn’t really work too well, you have to learn all these kind of things).
I improved a lot as a drafter and learned a lot about myself (but I’m still not that good). I became a captain to an extent, since as I said above it doesn’t always depend on me. While I might lack certain qualities, I tried my best to develop them. It was a very heavy job for me.
It possibly would’ve worked out better in different conditions. But I myself understand that I would be much better in the role of a player and great teammate.
All of you: viewers, analysts, casters, are staying behind the players' backs. You can’t possibly know what is happening in a team. You can’t know who drafts for sure. You can’t know who makes what decisions, and who is really the captain, and who is a hidden leader.
That’s why I’m asking you to not make assumptions. We often take one side or the other based on someone else’s opinion. Sometimes those people have nothing to do with the question at hand.
On the team
After our last roster, the changes to our performance were a complete failure. I’m very sad and upset that it happened this way. But life goes on and many things await us in the future (be it together or separately).
I want to apologize to everyone who genuinely supported us and cheered for us with all their strength. I am certain that each one of us truly tried, but we never managed to actually become a team. Everyone has their own opinion on why it turned out this way...
I will personally say that I am not ashamed of my own play. I tried my absolute best through all the stress and responsibility that I had. Yes, many things could’ve been done better, played better, decided better. Everyone makes mistakes. :)
A team wins together and loses together! We have eight people: five players, an analyst, coach and manager. I could’ve gone into detail and brought out a lot of dirty laundry, but I won’t.
Why did we lose? I think we have two main reasons (and a tooooooooon of secondary ones):
1: We are not a team (and never managed to become one in the time we had). It involves a lot of things. From believing in each other, helping each other, understanding and so on, to simple friendship. We couldn’t find common ground (which prevents the team from working properly).
2: In the game we lost, we lost our drafts (which is 70 percent of success in Dota right now). We lost, and we did so quite shamefully.
But neither the defeat, nor the giant hate can break me. I will continue to do what I love and what I like. I am sincerely thankful to those who are supporting me and cheering for my despite everything.
I don’t know what will happen later, if I will continue playing in NaVi or in another team, but I know for sure that I will continue walking my road with my head held high.
On future plans
I wore myself out during the last year. I was putting in more and more effort, marching on through exhaustion and illness.
Now I’m planning to have a good rest before the next season. To heal, to reset myself in terms of morale, and start working even harder. I don’t know where my fate will throw me. I haven’t decided where I will be playing or with who yet. At this time I’m not even planning to think about it. Will I be staying in NaVi? Time will tell. It doesn’t depend on me alone.
I plan to play pubs, maybe stream for you and answer a few questions that I decided not to raise here or those I simply forgot about. Maybe I will review some of our matches.
Remember, don’t waste your time on hate, envy and other emotions like this. We live only once. Your Danya.
With Dendi's future seemingly up in the air, NaVi fans might have an anxious wait ahead of them until more information comes to light from the organisation. The team failed to qualify for The International 2018 earlier this month, leading to an outburst of backlash from the community.