OpenAI Dota 2 bot beats Dendi in showmatch at The International

This weekend’s Dota 2 International in Seattle saw many upsets, but perhaps none bigger than in an intermission before an LGD / Liquid match which saw Na’Vi star Danil ‘Dendi’ Ishutin get beaten by an AI.

Not one of Dota 2’s famously poor bots, mind you. This bot is developed by OpenAI, a bot which has been learning how to play 1v1 mid. Ishutin is one of Na’Vi’s most popular mid heroes, and he came down to the stage to thumping bass, emulating a boxer to mass applause.

OpenAI’s bot learnt from playing against itself a whole lot, with the OpenAI team telling it what was good and bad, and this International has seen the bot rolling through pro players backstage.

This is the first Dota 2 International tournament that Ishutin hasn’t qualified for, but this turned out to be the tougher contests at the Key Arena, and, as the video below shows — starting at 7:30 — the bot quickly overpowers the star midlaner, starving him out of creeps and then beating him to level three.

The hero the pair are playing is Shadow Fiend, a character heavily reliant on last hits and denies as this powers up future attacks, while the ground based explosion is a high damage skillshot that’s relatively tricky to land.

This makes it all the more impressive for the bot to take out Dendi, but I can’t help but find it a little boring to watch. The bot plays it safe, and after Dendi’s first death bullies him out in a few seconds. However, it was a safe victory, without any of the flair we often see in competitive Dota 2. I, for one, don’t welcome our new robot overlords. 

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