As Valve hosts the 4th Annual International, for its wildly popular MOBA, Dota 2, a fog of uncertainty hangs over the KeyArena. There are many who would debate whether Dota 2 players, or any competitive gamer, would qualify as an “athlete”, but it seems like this argument can be put to bed as the world of Dota 2 experiences its first true scandal. Valve has confirmed it will be investigating Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, a member of Dota 2’s premiere team, Na’Vi, for taking Human Growth Hormone and anabolic steroids to improve his play over the last two years.
“Valve is a company which takes Dota 2, and its players, very seriously,” said a solemn Gabe Newell while speaking to press during the tournament. “We plan to launch a thorough investigation, with pee tests, blood samples, and x-rays, however one would investigate taking HGH and anorexic steroid, or whatever it is called.” After a brief pause, Newell saw a hand go up in the audience and was quick to follow up with, “And I will not be taking questions about Half-Life 3.”
For years man has invented sports to entertain themselves and, equally as long, man has cheated at sports for their own personal benefit. Scandals involving performance enhancing drugs has affected Major League Baseball and the National Football League, now it would seem Dota 2 is just another sport to add to the list of institutions which must mark their record books with an asterisk.
“Umm, as far as I know, there is nothing in Dota’s rules which prevent me from taking HGH, anabolic steroids, or any other drug,” Dendi nonchalantly commented when asked about the accusations. “I’m not saying I did do it. I’m just saying, even if I did, which I am not admitting, it wouldn’t be illegal. Plenty of great people took steroids and the public applauded them. Look at Captain America? Right? Without performance enhancing drugs we would all currently be living under the reign of Hydra. Don’t see people asking him about the HGH he might or might not have taken.”
While many are not jumping to conclusions and allowing the Dota 2 player to remain innocent till proven guilty, this writer is ready to jump on the “guilty train”. Reports have surfaced indicating Dendi has recently been having rage tantrums where he throws objects at strangers, hurdling everything from garbage cans to stray cats at innocent pedestrians. The effects of the substances are also noticeable in the player’s physique. In the past year, he has gone from the scrawny kid fans adored, to an intimidating specimen of muscle and mass. Just a glance at these pictures, taken a year from each other, should demonstrate the difference.
Further supporting these claims is Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, Dendi’s Na’Vi teammate, who confessed to witnessing troubling mood swings. “One second we’re all cool, getting something to eat at a restaurant, the next he’s challenging people to fights, begging strangers to hit him in the face. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned. I once saw him tackle a police horse to the ground because it was ‘talking smack’. I just hope it isn’t affecting his play.”
Puppey’s fears might have come to fruition as Na’Vi suffered an early exit from the tournament this year, being defeated by Cloud 9 in their first main event match. For Na’Vi it is a surprising early exit as the team has participated in the Grand Final of every previous International. One might argue that Na’vi’s loss might prove Deni’s innocence, but there is more to this case than just “facts”.
Dota 2 is a truly demanding game, one which requires great reflexes and precise hand movements. Thus, one might ask themselves, why a player would take a performance enhancing drug that focuses on strength? We asked Dr. Wally Thomasson at the Institute for Things About Drugs and Other Stuff who explained, “While Human Growth Hormone and anabolic steroids are primarily used to build muscle – wait, what was it you wanted me to say? Oh no, wait, I got it. While Human Growth Hormone and anabolic steroids are primarily used to build muscle, it can also build muscle in your hands and eyes, making you better at thing which use hands and eyes. So you know, you’re just better at everything. Can I get my Big Mac now? You said I could super-size it.”
With such overwhelming evidence and eyewitness accounts, the accusations seem irrefutable. It is shocking to see how hard Dendi has fallen since Na’Vi won The International Championship in 2011. But is it really his fault? Is it not the fault of fans who have put too much pressure on young men in a game that used to be fun? While we point the accusatory finger at Dendi, mayhaps we should also take a long look in the mirror, then turn away from the mirror and continue to point the accusatory finger.
“I like to think I finally validated this sport,” Dendi proudly stated, “Every sport isn’t really professional until it has had scandal like this. Now we just need someone to bottom out like Tiger Woods or invent a fake girlfriend like Manti Te’o and we can finally get ourselves a national TV contract and some labor disputes.”
Newell took time to assure people Dendi’s alleged (or definite, probably definite) drug use shouldn’t stop people from loving Dota. “We at Valve are not ready to take any drastic actions. We will wait for the outcome of the investigation and if guilty we will deal with it internally. Probably by killing him.” After an assistant leaned in for a private word with Newell he redacted the possible punishment of killing, “I mean, we’ll probably do something else, like exile him to Antarctica or something. And I’ll fucking do it.”
We know ya will, Gabe.
Is Dendi guilty? Definitely. Are there more scandals deep in the bowels of Dota 2? We are certain of it. In less than five years, the Dota 2 scene has become a hive of bribery and villainy. We will be sure to expose more of the seedy dealings inside of Dota 2 in the coming weeks.
This article is (obviously) written in jest. Dota players don’t do drugs, Gabe Newell is an android posing as a human, and if there is a Dota scandal it probably has to do with Brewmaster, sketchy-ass Brewmaster. As a fan of The International and Na’Vi, I hope to see them back in the Grand Final next year. If you think I’m a terrible person, please let me know in the comments below.