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Inspired by Vici Gaming's recent DreamLeague Season 11 win, we take a look at three veteran Chinese Dota 2 players and their hallmark heroes in our latest episode of Iconic Duos. Welcome to the fourth episode in our Iconic Duos series! While we always consider reader input on which duos to write about, many of the suggestions we have received are repeats of combinations we have already discussed (Dendi and Pudge, I'm looking at you).

There are also many hero combinations that have been requested, but we have already looked at that specific player, just not the accompanied hero; so while we will get to them (rest assured, Fy/Rubick will happen!) we simply need more time to cover a broader base of players. Until then, feel free to check out our other episodes.

Burning & Anti-Mage

Almost no other player is as synonymous with a hero. He has carved his name into the annals of Dota 2 through years of playing and coaching. Whenever his name is brought up, everyone instantly thinks about his most iconic hero. Whether it's The Emperor, or B-God, he goes by many names, but simply put, he is a legend. I am of course talking about Xu 'BurNIng' Zhilei.

It should come as a surprise, then, that the man who is basically Anti-Mage incarnate actually has fairly moderate stats with the hero. He only has 60 professional matches on the blinking carry, and has personally played six other heroes more: Juggernaut, Naix, Gyrocopter, Weaver, Morphling and Luna. Globally, he has the third most games played on Magina, as Chen 'Hao' Zhihao has 62 while Dominik 'Black^' Reitmeier has a whopping 114. In addition, he only has a 58.33% winrate on Anti-Mage.

All of these stats, however, mislead exactly why the old school Carry player is renowned for his Anti-Mage. It is not the quantity of his play so much as the quality. He has the highest average GPM of the top five Anti-Mage players at 681, and also has the highest XPM average of the top five at 679. He also, of course, has the single game record for highest GPM on AM at 1040, which he pulled off against OG at The Kiev Major. He also has the best KDA in the top five of 5.64.

And yet, even these statistics do not quite surmise his greatness on the hero. He in so many ways pioneered Anti-Mage play, and had such a good feel for the hero he could drum up near-impossible comebacks when necessary. His awareness is on another level in Dota 2, as it has been said that in China he has the affectionate nickname "Radar B" because of his uncanny prescience in when and where to blink. No matter the lineup he was facing, a Burning Anti-Mage pick always felt like a trump card in some way or another. When everything is said and done, one thing is undeniable: Burning is Anti-Mage.

A little bit of trivia: Burning's name comes from Maria Arredondo's song Burning; the song was introduced to him by his first girlfriend.

LaNm & Earthshaker

When Zhi Cheng 'LaNm' Zhang's name is brought up, generally three heroes are thought of: Rubick, Lion, and Earthshaker. This is for good reason, as these are his three most played heroes; Rubick in 97 games, Lion in 79 games, and Earthshaker in 57 games. On top of this, he has very strong stats on all three heroes (of course he does, he is one of the most well known Support players of all time). So why is his Eartshaker so legendary? Because of what he was able to accomplish on the hero in top tier tournaments.

For some numbers, LaNm is actually only fourth in games played on the hero globally, which isn't terribly surprising considering his top three. Xu 'Fy' Linsen, Wang 'SanSheng' Zhaohui, and Yazied 'YapzOr' Jaradat have all played more ES games, with Yapzor holding the most at 88 compared to LaNm's 57. He does, however, have a 64.91% winrate, second only to Fy's 68.25% in the top five, and he also has a kill average to death average of 2.60 - 4.46 as well as with a whopping assist average of 12.30. Lastly he has the highest elo shift of any player on Eartshaker at +8.91.

What is unsaid in those statistics is his penchant for incredibly clutch, often game-saving Echo Slams. His patience on the field of battle was always unmatched, able to have a sixth sense for when the best opportunity to blink in and lockdown the enemy team would be. Many barracks were saved and many highgrounds were defended on the back of LaNm Earthshaker, and it is precisely why it is his most iconic hero.

rOtk & Clockwerk

In honour of Vici Gaming's recent tournament victory, we decided to take a look at their intrepid coach's iconic hero. The veteran Offlaner is known for a few different heroes, but Bai 'rOtK' Fan is by far best known for his dazzling Clockwerk. However, it is only his third most hero played at 90 professional outings; his Tidehunter has seen 104 played games while his Dark Seer has seen 125.

Furthermore, for being so well known for the hero, he only has the fourth most professional games at 90. Sam 'Bulba' Sosale has the most with 158, followed by Andrey 'Mag' Chipenko at 143 and Saahil 'Universe' Arora at 109. rOtk does have a 60.00% winrate on Rattletrap (second to Mag's 63.94% in the top five) as well as a top five-best elo shift of +4.79. His kill to death averages are 3.00 to 5.82; however, he has a top five best assist average of 11.58, which shows exactly why he is renowned on the hero.

In many games rOtk was able to make some impossible hooks and serve up otherwise incredibly difficult kills for his team. His maneuverability on the little tin man was unparalleled, which allowed him to make some equally jaw-dropping plays. As a player, he was always willing to die so that his Carry would live, all in the name of victory. He was also an excellent tempo setter and was great at isolating key heroes in fights. His high assist average is a testament to exactly how he played Clockwerk: selflessly, but with style.

Which hero-player duo would you like to see in the next edition?

Photo Credit - ESL - Helena Kristiansson/ EPICENTER/ StarLadder

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