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While some of the best Dota 2 teams in the world are competing at the MDL Chengdu Major, other rosters are finalizing and preparing to play in the second round of qualifiers for the Dota Pro Circuit.
One of the biggest names left in free agency, Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, is among the players who decided now was the time to make a move. He’s joined a new group of players that will compete in the qualifiers.
Dendi will be playing on a Viet Flashbacks stack that lost three of its players who played in the CIS closed qualifiers for the MDL Chengdu Major. That roster was eliminated in the group stage, but the Natus Vincere legend isn’t the only player looking to make it further than that.
- Alik “V-Tune” Vorobey
- Alexey “nongrata” Vasilyev
- Rinat “KingR” Abdullin
- Nikola “LeBronDota” Popović
KingR and nongrata are both returning for another go at the qualifiers while Dendi is joining them alongside one of his former Na’Vi teammates, LeBronDota, and V-Tune.
V-Tune played extremely well for HellRaisers, who made it into the Dota Summit 11 Minor and ended up placing third. But he was only playing on loan to that organization and returned to free agency soon after the event.
That trio brings a lot of firepower to pair with two CIS veterans who have already had some success this year. With how scrambled Virtus Pro and Na’Vi look this year, the region is wide open for anyone to take, which is probably part of Dendi’s reasoning for making this move.
Joining a stack goes against what the Dota superstar said his plans for the season were. In an interview with The Esports Observer from October, Dendi said his goal was to create his own team rather than playing for someone else again.
“I saw how organizations and teams grew in different directions and I wasn’t always agreeing with everything that was happening,” Dendi said. “I want to do something that everyone will enjoy. It would be something I would be sure in and would have my full trust, my full power, I would give myself completely to this thing.”
This could still be the start of something if the team does well and Dendi can convince his ragtag teammates to form a stack that can stick together for more than a single tournament.
If not, we could see another long absence from one of Dota’s best personalities.