Written by Gamefy’s Sosa, this is a piece looking at what makes YYF so successful in what he does, and what he does for iG. (Spoiler: he’s steady, reliable). Translations in a few places are altered slightly to keep the flow of the writing smoother for reading. Haven’t done one of these types of articles in a while, so, enjoy.
Awareness rating: SS
YYF has a very comprehensive and complete understanding of the game, second to no other player. YYF nowadays as a player relies more on his experience and understanding of the game, as opposed to mechanics, to defeat opponents. In the 3 position, he has an understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, quirks in abilities, when a hero is strongest, and how the hero plays with the rest of the team, as well as concise and reasonable item choices, YYF has it all. On the battlefield, it is exceedingly rare to find him unaware of what he can do to perform what is needed. In the 3 position, worldwide, if YYF was ever placed 2nd, we believe that no one would ever dare to claim number one.
Rhythm rating: S
With the nickname of “Stone Buddha”, YYF’s playstyle overall leans towards steady. Like baseline-style players in tennis, YYF rarely gets in over his head, rarely makes errors. Illustrating this, in 1v1 laning situations, he will typically choose his own growth over denying the opponent, often resulting in both sides of the lane getting fat in early game, then he utilizes his experience and ability to defeat the opponent in mid-game. In an off-lane situation, YYF’s plays even more steadily and safely; he’d rather be level one at five minutes in than to give up a kill to the other team. Even with a slow start in early game, YYF has the ability to quickly make up lost ground afterwards to ensure a strong mid-game. A long tenure in the 3 position has since dulled a bit of YYF’s early-career aggression and tempo dictating ability and instinct. Even back when he was in LGD at solo mid, compared to the other solo mid star of the time, Dai, he always seemed a bit less powerful in these skills, often falling behind. Despite all this, YYF’s game on Beastmaster, with a level 7 gem for map control, going on a killing spree across the map, is something that the world saw, and all remember to this day.
Mechanics rating: SS
In terms of flashiness, YYF’s general performances can’t be rated alongside examples such as 430’s Invoker, PIS’ Nevermore, or Dai’s Lion. But what YYF can offer is the fact that when he’s on a hero, he practically makes no errors in execution, ensuring that every hero’s every ability is used to its maximum. His positioning on Bounty Hunter for example, he’s always in the action, always takes a lot of damage, yet rarely dies. His Windrunner, with a frighteningly high success rate on shackleshots, regardless of whether he’s been playing uphill or downhill, in his hands, the shackleshot is a steady 3.5 second stun. And at TI2 his panda was the cavalry that rode in to save the world, and ultimately place him and his performance at the top by way of the championship.
Heroes diversity: SS
As a 1-2-3 position style player, YYF’s hero roster is huge. Never can a team hope to counter YYF by bans and picks, because he can play far too many heroes. The reasoning behind this ability of his is simple: he works hard, he has the passion, and outside of Dota, YYF practically has no other hobbies. When there is no training and no competition going on, YYF is mostly playing pubs. He takes pub games very seriously: large amounts of his experience and thoughts on the game originate from inspiration gained in pub games. One thing doesn’t work in a competitive match? He’ll go and develop a new tactic. Knowing many heroes, apart from not allowing opponents to counter him, can also provide more diversity to a team’s strategies in game. No matter if it’s an aggressive in your face ganking style, or a teamfight style, or a puhsing style, or a protect the hard carry style… YYF’s 3 position can always provide a suitable level or support for the team in helping the rest of them open up the path to victory.
Playing uphill: SS
No matter if you’re an amateur team or you are iG, there will always be times when you must play uphill, against the odds. Of course, when playing downhill with everything in your favor, well, everyone is 430, but the key is that playing uphill, not everyone can be like YYF. YYF’s biggest strength is that he does not falter against massive pressure. He doesn’t die, and always, always performs. He’s steady, steady, steady. From online matches, to million dollar offline matches, from G-League group matches where iG rolled through, to TI2’s loser’s bracket facing a 4 BKB and 6-slotted Morphling, YYF maintains caution in victory and steadfastness in defeat, leading his team to make the huge comeback. Even if he may be human before the game starts, once he’s got his mouse in hand, he becomes “Stone Buddha” YYF.
Last hits: 95
YYF has deep fundamentals when it comes to last hitting. Long time experience in pubs, plus his early experience in LGD as their carry… in Dota where economy is important and hard to come by, last hitting is a very important requirement for every player.
Laning ability isn’t necessarily the best part of YYF’s play, yet his laning is absolutely not weak, and in 1v1 lanes he will rarely lose. In 1v3 situations in the off-lane, YYF also utilizes all of his experience and knowledge of how heroes play, along with cautious and watertight positioning, to ensure safety and not allow the other side to feed off of him.
In small fights, his ability to quickly analyze the situation and take into account all parties’ positioning and statuses, and then decide whether to fight, who to target, whether to retreat, and overall positioning, has YYF a cut above the rest. His ability to handle all of these considerations in a short amount of time makes decision-making his greatest strength. In what can be said to be the most important teamfight of YYF’s career, the fight of the Panda with three lives, he perfectly displayed this by soaking up as much damage as possible while hitting the most important targets, and then quickly bought back when he died to blink back in, thus countering the opponent’s biggest push almost singlehandedly. If his buyback had been just two seconds later, the opponent would’ve dragged the fight past BKB, and the result would’ve been far different.
Positioning in Dota is not less important than any other skill. Those deaths caused by poor positioning, or inability to contribute to a fight on time, are things that occur in almost every match. It’s important for every pro player, and YYF’s since making it professionally has been known for reducing unforced errors caused by poor positioning. This is the key to his steadiness, for an offlane player, positioning is the one thing that ensures he can grow while avoiding unnecessary loss. Watch some of YYF’s positioning, and you will learn much.
Ability usage: 94
Not as flashy as ‘pianist’ 430, not as brilliantly aggressive as PIS, yet YYF is, of course, steady. His Bounty Hunter is guaranteed to have all the right abilities on the right targets, and his Windrunner will rarely be seen missing a shackleshot, or his Dark Seer a whiffed wall. On the battlefield, YYF’s usage of abilities will always fulfill their potential.
Ever since Smoke of Deceit was added, the map has in general lacked any safe haven apart from perhaps the fountain. So how to maintain safe last hitting while there are heroes missing on the map, instead of blindly hiding in fright, relies on something of an instinct for ganks. What is the opponent doing now that they’ve disappeared? Every player draws their own conclusions. Within pro players, YYF is very reliable in this, yet DK’s BurNIng seems to have taken it to another level from years of avoiding ganks.
Overall: Steady, reliable, no real weakness is YYF, and these are also the biggest assets that have helped him to where he is today. As a 3 position, he has played the position to the utmost. Even though his style leans towards safe and thus means he is a bit less suited to big-picture strategic decisions, his on-the-fly decisions in smaller fights within the game itself are without equal. In iG, they rarely rely on a single source for their leadership like LGD does. Every player has his own decisions, yet over a long period of training they’ve built up a great understanding, and thus have inherently increased their ability to execute as a team. This was ultimately the reason behind iG’s rise to power in 2012.