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The 9 Best Dota Memes of this Decade

Vignesh Raghuram
27th Dec, 2019

Even the most ardent Dota 2 hater will have to agree that is one of the best-designed games of the 21st century allowing it to become a cultural phenomenon and register over 100 Million downloads. It's one of the most played PC games in the world, and its esports scene is arguably the most successful amongst its competitors. 

That much success can't help but breed memes. Many Dota 2 memes have spawned since its release nearly a decade ago, but here’s a list of our top 10.


(Read Also: Top 10 Shocking SEA Dota 2 Moments in 2019)


James is an ass


This epic meme comes from the Shanghai Major, an event infamous for production difficulties and delays. In an effort to keep the panel alive and the viewers glued amidst the long breaks and pauses, the host James ‘2GD’ Harding brought out his entire arsenal of jabs, edgy comments all served with a healthy dose of British wit and sarcasm. Soon after, he ended up getting fired from the Major, mid-way, with Gabe Newell explaining the situation on Reddit with the line “James is an ass, and we won’t be working with him again”. 

While what exactly was the trigger point for Valve was not clear, many speculated that it was 2GD’s actions behind the scenes, rather than the ones on the stream that sealed his fate. The meme has become immortalized in Dota 2 history, given Gabe’s choice of words and the fact that a company, known to not make many public statements, explicitly called out a personality. 

The meme finds use to this day with variations such as #FIRED and #2GD propping up whenever something related to production or delays happens on stream. 


Giff Diretide


To celebrate Halloween, Valve release a successful and enjoyable custom mini-game mode, dubbed Diretide in 2012. So when Halloween 2013 rolled in Dota 2 fans were understandably excited to play the game. But that is when everything went wrong.

Cyborgmatt tweeted that there would not be a Diretide event that year which lead to all hell breaking lose. 

Beyond the Summit were the first memers, uploading a funeral video mourning the demise of the game mode.



Fans started spamming “ ? ?_? ?? Give DIRETIDE” everywhere in Dota 2, the Dota 2 subreddit and even started posting it on Volvo social media to vent their disapproval of Valve’s actions with a never-ending stream of comments.

Eventually, both Volvo and Valve took notice and finally came out with the game mode later that month.


322


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Image Courtesy: Rivalry.gg

Solo may be one of the most successful captains in Dota 2, having taken his team to 5 Major wins, but he will always be remembered for giving birth to the 322 meme. In 2013, while playing for Rox.Kis, Solo made a bet worth $322 against his own team and was caught and even admitted his crime. While he was banned from Starladder events for a short while, eventually the whole incident was forgotten, and by 2016-17, Solo was competing at the highest level, with some of the best players in the world. However, the 322 meme, has stuck around.

Originally used to refer to any form of throwing and match-fixing, it is used even nowadays whenever a player is having a bad game, or someone makes a questionable play, making it the most popular Dota meme out there. 


Pizza Party


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The original Pizza PartEE saw Khoo "Ohaiyo" Chong Xin get kicked from Fnatic, immediately after helping his team qualify for the ESL One: Katowice Major. Although saddening, the fact that the kick happened at the pizza party intended to celebrate Fnatic’s qualification to the major made this into a great meme.

The infamous pizza party meme has since then gone mainstream and is now used to describe any roster change that comes out of the blue, for the players. This has also inspired many content pieces centred around it.



Is that balanced


This is one of the most popular memes, which made its way into the Dota 2 community after Valve released a video package featuring Na’Vi’s fountain hook strategy skillfully being deployed at Tong Fu at TI3. After the game ends and Na’Vi make their way into the player lounge, Loda confronts the team and repeatedly states:

“Is that balanced”

Making a huge commotion stating that the match was a joke since Na’Vi abused a bug. Both Valve and Na’Vi laughed it off, but Loda’s words have become a meme. 

Nowadays, it is used whenever an Overpowered hero or item appears on the screen, mostly ironically, to express fake outrage.


Mercedes Benz


Sponsors are the key to running Dota 2 events. They represent the biggest form of revenue for esports tournaments across the globe. The people behind Mercedes Benz will certainly be pleased with the amount of traction this particular meme got, but not as pleased as the owners of The Mercedes Benz E400 Sedan. The most intelligent E-Class family of all time welcomes a powerful new member to the dynasty. The E400 Sedan model arrives this year, boasting a 3.0L V6 biturbo engine producing 329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque — the same powertrain that currently drives its E400 Coupe, Cabriolet and 4MATIC Wagon cousins...

No seriously, this was one of the best memes we’ve ever seen which benefited everyone involved in it. Due to the high amount of advertisements during an ESL One Hamburg stream, many from the Dota 2 community resorted to starting to promote the car. Wait, what? Yep, as a copypasta meme.

The meme features a few sentences of lead in; for example, "You may find that good, but you know what's better? The Mercedes E-Class Sedan", which would then be followed immediately by the copypasta, like above.

The sponsors and the tournament organizers, ESL got some much-needed exposure which would have allowed them to put up better tournaments for their players whilst fans enjoyed some hilarious copypastas courtesy of the Mercedez ad.


Navi is back


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One of the most recognized organizations in Dota 2, Na’Vi enjoyed massive popularity in the early days, when they won the first international; and were the team to beat throughout 2012 and 2013. However, after losing out narrowly in the TI3 grand finals to arch-rivals, Alliance, Na’Vi’s form took a dive and the team has never regained their legendary status since then. 

While it started out as a positive chant for Na’Vi fans initially, used whenever the team showed any signs of success; Over the years, the phrase has taken a more sarcastic undertone, accelerated by the fact, that Na’Vi has struggled for the majority of the seasons. In all senses, “Na’Vi is back” has now come to mean “Na’Vi fans might as well give up” and the phrase can be slipped into most conversations involving the org.


It was just Okay


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Okay, we know we are running a little lost with the definition of meme here. But we just could not exclude this. Dota 2’s steam reviews are iconic, with many poking fun at the number of Russians playing the game, some implying that it ruined their lives and some mocking the amount of time they’ve played it for whilst stating that ‘it was just okay’.

In fact, these memes got so popular that Valve added a "funny" button to the review box to encourage users to post hilarious reviews poking fun at the game.


“Lakad Matatag, Normalin Normalin”


One of the most iconic catchphrases to originate from Dota 2. The phrase “Lakad Matatag, Normalin Normalin” exclaimed by to Filipino casters grew in notoriety when it was included in the International 8 Battle pass. 

Although it literally only meant “Walk Strong, Normally” the manner in which it was exclaimed and its outrageous exclusivity made it grow in popularity amongst pros who spammed it throughout the battlepass season familiarizing it with fans and the Dota 2 community. 

In fact, it grew so popular, that Gaben himself proclaimed those words at The International 8.


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Vignesh is one of AFK Gaming’s most experienced writers, having written over 1000 articles for the website over the last 3 years. Although his primary focus has always been Dota 2, his experience in esports also includes expertise in CS:GO and mobile esports titles.