Credit: B8 Esports

The curious case of Dendi and B8

Dendi – a name deeply etched into the coveted atrium of Dota, and once part of the dominant NAVI, winners of the inaugural The International 2011 and reigning supreme throughout the early years of Dota 2, suddenly finds himself in an unusual conundrum.

A conundrum that has seen the once prolific and charismatic star, intricately loved and admired by the community, slowly fade into the limbo – a place with no sight or light.

Dendi, the de facto face of Dota, has been through countless vicissitudes that have discouraged many to step down from their pedestal and call it quits.

Yet, Dendi still holds on as his unwavering hope and determination encourages him to continue on a path he forged a long time ago.

Dendi stuck onto NAVI and refused to deboard the sinking ship until it was time – to finally let go of the affinity towards his org and wander on to a new path.

A path leading to a new journey that would eventually see Dendi – the player, evolve into Dendi – the entrepreneur.

Deciding to curate his own destiny, Dendi started his own organisation; B8 Esports, to much fanfare. However, the pieces of the puzzle didn’t seem to fall in place owing to numerous circumstances.

It would be fair to say that B8 has never been able to establish a firm grip ever since its inception, especially Dota 2.

Roster changes, performance instability, controversy surrounding the Division I slot, and lacklustre gameplay in general has plagued B8’s fortune or lack thereof.

B8’s 18 series losing streak in 2020, a few months after its inception, was surpassed by B8’s current roster.

Accumulating a 21 series losing streak in 2021/22, B8 finally broke their own curse by securing a 2-0 win against IVY in season 7 of the Dota 2 Champions League.

Fortunately, they prevented themselves from becoming the team with the longest losing streak and etching their name in the history books – a record currently held by Avalon_Club with 22 losses and 9 draws in 2016.

Much to B8 and Dendi’s chagrin, the inability to decode the formula for success and replicate it successfully in games has been a thorn in the flesh.

Plenty of questions arise. What does B8 lack?

Is there a fault in Dendi’s leadership or is he no longer the menace that he used to be? Is he too attached and unable to visualise the success of his own organisation?

It is a well known fact that most esports orgs lose money and many have shuttered owing to lack of success or sustainability.

Is it time for Dendi to step down and focus on curating B8 into a successful org by leading in the most literal sense, by dipping toes into the management side of things?

After all, creating a sustainable future is the most important thing.