DK.BurNIng playstyle and skills analysis by Gamefy


This is following the previous analysis by Gamefy of iG.YYF, translated here

Xu Zhilei (徐志雷), renowned Dota player from Anhui province. Ever since making a name for himself, he’s been under the intense bright-white of media lights. From his first achievements with  7L, then an explosion in fame during his Ch time, to ten titles with EHOME, nine titles with DK, and four finals appearances in the re-formatted G-League — with two resulting in wins — this steadiness in his performances and results have brought him the formidable title of being “Number 1 carry in the world”. In 2012, with the meteoric rise of iG, BurNIng’s star has faded somewhat, yet he still remains within the top echelons of professional Dota players by virtue of his exceptional individual ability, even earning the greatest of honors in the form of IceFrog naming Anti-Mage after him in-game.

Overall ability:

Awareness rating: SS

For a carry player, economy and space to farm and grow provided by teammates’ protection are the most important aspects influencing a team. While your teammates go to great lengths to provide these conditions for the carry, it is the carry’s responsibility to best make use of the conditions and turn them into effective items and resources to in turn contribute to the team; this is something that every carry must learn and practice. BurNIng is a prime example of a carry that has this ability — he very rarely makes the wrong choice in itemization, has great laning ability, and possesses deep knowledge in the details and key points of the heroes he plays (for example, getting Quelling Blade at start on Alchemist in order to play aggressively in lane). Additionally, he has the ability to adapt item choices in accordance to what is happening on the battlefield: for example in 2010 with EHOME, his choice to go Diffusal Blade on Alchemist in order to help Dai’s Sniper escape from the powers of Sheepstick was heralded by viewers everywhere. In that same year, his full-agility Morphling with Ethereal Blade wiping PIS’ Nevermore in mere seconds, can be said to be a highlight of his career.

Rhythm rating: A

BurNIng has never been a great one when it comes to dictating tempo and rhythm in a match. In matches, he rarely is the one to direct the entire team’s actions, and as such he is more of a legendary warrior than a unifying general. His style leans more towards focusing on his own growth and farm in early and mid game rather than pressuring the opponent. His is a safe playstyle: if the chances of failing a tower dive are more than 20%, then he will pretty much not go for it. Since going pro he has rarely played a number 2 position, instead it is the norm that when he does finally emerge from farming to fight, he is able to dictate the entire match. His mega-fat Anti-Mage was caught on camera at TI2 and surely left a great impression for fans all around the world.

Mechanics rating: S

Dota is definitely not a game where mechanics are everything, but without a solid base of fundamentals in mechanics, you will have nothing to play on. At BurNIng’s peak, he was an absolutely ideal carry player, with superb laning, top level last-hitting, quick reflexes, and perfect late-game team-fight decision making. His experience playing Chen during his time with Ch, plus his early experience in competitive Warcraft, gave him a great base in terms of micro and control. To put it in simple terms, BurNIng is a giant farmer that can effectively perform in teamfights, but some major mistakes and lacks of communication in 2012 are worth further consideration, because the small details determine everything.

Heroes diversity: S

As a top tier carry, hot picks in the current version include Anti-Mage, Faceless Void, Lone Druid, Phantom Lancer, etc, and these are all heroes that our man Xu Zhilei is closely familiar with, and can unleash all of the potential of. But if his own team fails to grab any of these carries for him, and instead gives him mid-game heroes such as Naix or Luna, his performances betray an obvious unfamiliarity with the styles required to play these team-fight centric carries. His Naix falls in fierceness to YYF’s, his Luna makes her presence less felt than either Zhou’s or Sylar’s, in the first half of 2012 his Chaos Knight was weaker than Hao’s. And so these are all places where the “universe’s number 1 carry” can make improvements. In the increasingly fast, increasingly team-fight oriented modern Dota versions, strictly afk-farming for a super late game carry is a very easily countered strategy. Finally, his understanding of Anti-Mage’s core item choices nowadays also seems to have fallen behind Zhou by a little bit.

Playing uphill: SS

BurNIng in 2010 and 2011 won 19 different titles. Amongst those wins, how many times did we see him ‘save the world’ in situations where his team were at a large disadvantage in early game, utilizing his amazing late-game ability to come back. No matter if it’s an online competition with thousands of viewers or an online tournament, BurNIng has always been calm and serene, in both ways: he can not only ignore massive pressure and harrassment in times of being behind, but also ignore a huge advantage for his team. What this means is that he never allows the big picture of what’s going on around him to affect his individual performance and execution, and thus very rarely fails to recover from a terrible start. This makes him the most mature, stable carry player. As for his latest three competitions since Anti-Mage was named (G-League, G-1 League, and WCG) where he has yet to use Anti-Mage, whether the reasoning behind this choice is because his team has never needed it or he is afraid of the pressure behind it, if you’re reading this BurNIng, I would like to know too.

Individual skill:

Last hitting: 97

For the universe’s greatest carry, his last hits are something that you need not worry about at all. Even though it isn’t as impossibly amazing as ZSMJ’s farming, BurNIng’s last hitting regardless of under tower, free lane, or under lane pressure, can and does always satisfy. In terms of fundamentals, when given free-farm he’s even more reliable, so if you want to practice last hitting, please peruse BurNIng’s vods, it’s beyond worth it! Taking a popular saying, BurNIng belongs to the class of players that “can be outplayed, but can never be out-farmed; can be pressured, but can never be stopped from farming”.

Laning: 95

B-god’s laning is absolutely first class. Amongst the big three carries, his solo ability is undoubtedly the strongest, and he rarely allows the opponent to control him. Fast reflexes, lots of experience in using vision and positioning, he’s a scarily reliable all-around carry player. His Lone Druid, especially, regardless of whether he’s on the safe lane with support or solo mid, can always reliably farm out core items and levels. BurNIning plays very aggressively in lane, yet rarely gambles his own life — if the chances of him dying while getting a kill surpass 30% then it is certain that BurNIng will choose to back off and ensure his own growth.

Decisions: 91

BurNIng has always been good at making decisions based on the situation in-game. His timing in entering the fray as a carry has always been seen as a textbook example for other players to learn from. With such perfect timing in each teamfight, Burning Show Time is thus born. Yet, going into Dota2, BurNIng has been repeatedly tripped up by tiny details in items and execution, sure to be a lifelong regret. The greatest example of this was in G-League versus LGD, in the second game DK had taken a comprehensive advantage and BurNIng’s Phantom Lancer was six-slotted, yet failed to consider the cooldown on his Boots of Travel and thus he was forced to walk back to the fight after buying back. But all was too late as in the time being, his teammates, Cheese and Aegis in hand, fell one by one to the might that was Anti-Mage, who had himself bought back and rejoined the fight faster. At that moment, BurNIng’s fans must’ve been shocked beyond the point of words. One TP scroll, a 12 second cooldown, all of BurNIng’s short-fallings and regrets of 2012 embodied within.

Positioning: 96

Positioning is a Dota player’s most basic action, achieved by only moving and clicking the mouse. But truly understanding the intracacies of positioning is not something that every player learns to the same level. Over-extending and getting picked off, staying too far back and missing out on combos, these can be seen in almost every match. Using positioning to take the least amount of damage, or using it to bait the opponent, these are all basics for every player yet some of the hardest things to get right. BurNIng’s positioning as a carry could be said to be one of a kind during his peak, rarely ever showing any mistakes. Always in the right place to get kills, always perfectly getting into or withdrawing from a fight, thus fully projecting a carry’s strength. Especially worth mentioning is his control of blink heroes, on those heroes B-god indeed has practically no weaknesses.

Ability usage: 90

Perhaps because of his role, BurNIng is not a player centered around his ability to use abilities. More often, it is by his farming, laning, experience, and reliability in his role to influence matches. It seems that he rarely appears in flashy top 10 compilations. Heroes like Naix and Chaos Knight that rely quite a bit on technique and abilities usage, BurNIng has significant room for improvement. Still, his understanding of how to use the ults of Faceless Void and Anti-Mage is exceptional, always effective.

Counter-gank: 98

Top, top-tier counter ganking sense. He very rarely ever gets caught in a gank; it’s almost as if BurNIng has a gank-radar installed inside him. Once the opponent disappears off the map he can pretty much figure out where they’ve gone, what path they’re going to take for a smoke gank, where he should blink to safety if they do find him, and whether his teammates can come support in time. These are all things that require greast amounts of practice and training. With Smoke becoming an ever more important item, experience becomes all the more important, and his talent becomes the separating factor for players looking to be the best.

Current version Carry scores:

Anti-mage: 98 — IceFrog honors him, a B-god named hero. Understanding of the hero is practically watertight.
Lone Druid: 97 — DK’s 9 title run in 2011 had this as their signature hero. Steady 16 minute radiance, IceFrog personally praised
Faceless Void: 95 — Lots of spectacular plays, excellent usage of the ult
Phantom Lancer: 92 — A new-age carry, not many examples of success. BurNIng had a chance to make a name with this hero, but one mistake with Boots of Travel, and the result is sadness.
Luna: 90 — Not many uses, solid performances.

Overall: 96

Overall BurNIng’s main strengths are reliability as a carry. Aggressive, tempo-dictating plays are relatively rarer compared to other carries. Teams that BurNIng has played for basically all revolve around him as the core in their strategy. His style leans toward helping himself over the team early on, and he certainly possesses the skill to go 1v5. All the titles over the years have said more than anything else. Compared to his old rival in Zhou, B-god has more attributes as a carry, and whenever he’s played as a super late-game role he usually performs excellently. Zhou instead has transitioned into more of a team-fight carry, sacrificing more of his own growth in games. Both carry players have their reasons for their styles, but it is clear that in current versions, having more heroes farmed up provides more room for error. In 2013, when BurNIng once again meets his old rival in Zhou, whether he can regain old glory and break iG’s current dominance will depend on whether he can cut out key mistakes, whether he can escape from real-life issues, whether he can play his Anti-Mage of old again. 2013’s G-League, TI3, we look forward to BurNIng’s answer.

Transfer value estimate: 150000-200000 RMB (considering his age, plus rumors of retirement, his estimated value is lower than his actual ability would otherwise dictate, plus he’s currently steady with DK and chances of a transfer are miniscule)

2 thoughts on “DK.BurNIng playstyle and skills analysis by Gamefy

  1. Pingback: Dotaland weekly recap: Feb 6 — Feb 13, 2013 « Dota 2 CN — Dotaland!

  2. Pingback: Dotaland weekly recap: Feb 7 — Feb 13, 2013 « Dota 2 CN — Dotaland!

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