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)

iG wishes a Happy Chinese New Year to all!


Only translated the Dota team’s greetings. Their section starts at 1:00 in. Before them is the LoL team, after them is the SC2 team, as well as iG team administration.

Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year to all who celebrate! It’s truly the happiest, most boisterous time of the year in many Asian cultures. 🙂


Dotaland weekly recap: Jan 31 — Feb 6, 2013

Still a relatively slow week, as we’re now in the final days of the year of the Dragon. Next up is the year of the Snake, and our players and teams across China have all taken to their homes to celebrate the passing of the year with their friends and family. This week saw news of an earthquake and the perseverence of Dota players in the face of it, a video from 820, an analysis of YYF, and a few other things. Check it all out at Dotaland!

Feb 1

Earthquake uncovers best Dota teammates ever

There was a mild earthquake in China, and this guy’s teammates at the time played through it for the sake of finishing the game. Foolish? Perhaps, but the line between bravery and folly is thin.

Feb 3

Gamefy playstyle and skills analysis of iG.YYF

Pretty in depth look at the machine that is iG.YYF. A good read if you’re always looking to pick at the details of what make great players who they are.

Feb 4

820: Behind the Glory

In this video, where we’ve provided translated subtitles, 820 shows up and updates fans a bit on his latest tribulations and triumphs since his retirement.

Feb 5

Gamefy Best of 2012 vote

Otherwise known as the “iG team of the year 2012” vote. You can go vote for iG too, just click the link. Oh, and there are some other players listed as well, for some odd reason.

Chinese Dota2 beta codes steadily approaching

Players can now check via a page provided by Perfect World whether or not they’ve made it into the first two waves of beta invites.

Players can now find out whether they’ve been accepted to the Chinese Dota2 beta…

Going to the query page provided by Perfect World, and entering the email addressed used to sign up now allows players to check if they’ve been accepted in the first two waves of beta invites going out. Beta invite waves are currently in the third wave (note that no actual invites have gone out, but being able to check status means it is close and will probably come on schedule in March). Know any Dota players in China? Let them know; if they haven’t signed up yet, refer them here, the more the merrier!


iG.YYF playstyle and skills analysis by Gamefy


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.

Overall ability:

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.

Individual skill:

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: 90

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.

Decisions: 98

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: 96

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.

Counter-gank: 90

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.

Best teammates ever: Dotaers play through an earthquake in Liaoning, China


Dotaland note: Thinking about ragequitting? Think again. Read this story of Dota players that played through a recent earthquake in China, as told by one of their teammates in that game…

What would you do if there was an earthquake? It would seem that the first thought in most people’s minds would be to escape to somewhere safe, yet there are also those whose answers to this question may be a little less typical: first make a post on weibo, or withdraw savings from the bank, or call their significant other… Well, last week there was a 5.1 magnitude quake in Liaoning province. Fortunately there were no casualties, but we’ve since learned that in the midst of the shaking, at least one Dota player refused to leave his game and persisted until the end. What an amazing teammate!

The happenings as described by one of their teammates in game:

“At the time I happened to be playing Dota on the 11 platform. Where I was, in Dalian, had no shaking from this quake so I didn’t know right away that there had been an earthquake. However, due to my lovely teammates, I quickly learned of it.”

“The opposing team was Weaver, Warlock, Skeleton King, Lion, and Keeper. We were Alchemist (me), Storm Spirit, Silencer, Centaur Warrunner, and Jakiro. Their Keeper had been following me in lanes since the beginning of the game, wherever I went, he went. And the Lion and Weaver would also visit me from time to time, the result being that I died three times right off the bat, so I went straight to the jungle afterwards to play some single-player with the jungle creeps.”

“Fortunately, our Storm Spirit was beastly, and kept us close; the match went on quite evenly. As the game went on and respective tactics came online, under the leadership of our Storm Spirit bro, we slowly gained an upper hand. Later on though, our Jakiro disconnected, and with Weaver and Skeleton King as two late game carries on the other side, I began to have worries in my heart.”

“It was when I was again in the jungle fighting off a crowd of creeps that it happened: our Centaur Warrunner let out a cry of ‘earthquake!’. I was confused at first, there are ten heroes here and there’s no Sand King?? Is this a new way of referring to some other tactic? And then our Storm Spirit and Silencer both echoed this statement, and I finally understood that there had been a real earthquake outside.”

Key points of chat screenshot:

Alchemist: “where are you guys located?”
Centaur: “Shenyang” (Liaoning province)Storm: “Liaoning”
Silencer: “Shenyang”
Centaur: “After we finish this game, I’ll rush downstairs”

“Seeing this, I was touched; what professionalism, dedication! Centaur Warrunner bro, you are gambling your life to play Dota here!”

“Realizing that I had originally lost hope after our Jakiro disconnected, and then seeing this dedication, I was more than a little bit embarrased with myself. Silencer added on to the brave face my teammates had put up, boldly stating ‘What is there to fear? I’m on the 29th floor and I’m not even scared’. Truly amazed, I imagined in my mind a wobbling room on the 29th floor of a tall building, with my teammates risking their lives for Dota inside the room. That is truly dedication! These are godlike teammates! And I suddenly found an infinite spring of energy within me! Lothar’s, Mjolnir, Skull Basher, with smoke we successfully ganked a Weaver.”

“After that, under the leadership of our six-slotted Storm Spirit, our Silencer with Aegis, with me tagging along, we sucecssfully broke all three lanes of barracks. These three teammates of mine in this game have really left an impression on me. This was gambling with their lives to play out a Dota game, godlike teammates! To them I say, I hope you are all safe and sound!”

PS: Even though the spirit and dedication displayed here was admirable, it is still recommended to get to a safe place first in times of natural disaster.