The rise of Clinkz with Dota 2 patch 7.30
Dota 2 patch 7.30 has brought Clinkz, a once forgotten hero, back in contention in the professional scene.
Every Dota 2 patch has a bunch of winners and losers in terms of heroes, and a lot of times, they aren’t evident at the very beginning. Certain changes, which may look bad, can turn out to be better than expected. That is exactly the case with the Bone Fletcher, Clinkz. In his case, things have turned out to be a LOT better than most would have expected.
Clinkz has always been a subject of IceFrog’s experiments for a good part of the last three years. Changes, new abilities, nerfs that appear as buffs - the whole package! The result has been the hero being absent from the professional scene for the last three years (the last major sighting was at TI8). When Dota 2 patch 7.30 was released, Clinkz received a number of changes, one of which was a new ability called Burning Barrage in place of Strafe (surprise, surprise).
At first glance, Burning Barrage seems underwhelming. One of the best things the old Clinkz could do was sneak up on the backline and finish off a hero or two using Strafe. With that ability now taken away, what was he going to do? Burning Barrage is a channeling ability, and while playing a vulnerable carry like Clinkz, you don’t want to be standing in one place while using your ability. The first thoughts weren’t positive, and it was reflected by Evil Genius support Andreas “Cri1t” Nielsen’s tweet-
As it turns out though, Crit and everyone who doubted him was wrong! The hero has been doing very well in pubs as well as at ESL One Fall. When the patch was first released, Clinkz’s win rate plunged by around 4% from around 52% to 48%. But once people learned how to play the new version of Clinkz, the win rate has steadily been increasing and has surpassed that of the previous patch.
In professional games on Dota 2 patch 7.30, Clinkz has 12 wins out of 15 (80% win rate) with 9 wins out of 9 games at ESL One Fall!
So why is the new Clinkz with Burning Barrage so good? The simple answer is, he can now farm a heck of a lot faster than most carries. Here’s a quick look at what we are dealing with:
Clinkz average GPM in professional games-
From patch 7.20 to patch 7.29: 454
Patch 7.30: 699 (767 at ESL One Fall)
Burning Barrage has made Clinkz the male version of Medusa in a sense, by giving him the ability to farm lanes and neutral stacks at an unforeseen rate. Even though the skill applies a 40% damage reduction, it applies attack modifiers to every arrow and every enemy target. That is a level 25 talent for Medusa, which Clinkz just gets with his new skill! So with a Maelstrom, even with the damage reduction of his attack damage, Clinkz does a crazy amount of damage to creeps. The more the creeps, the more the Maelstrom procs, and the more the overall damage. Additionally, because of the increased range as compared to his normal right clicks, he can clear creep waves from the shadows, which was something he couldn’t do too easily earlier.
The skill build for the new Clinkz involves maxing out Searing Arrows while having two levels in Burning Barrage and one in Skeleton Walk. Burning Barrage is the second skill to be maxed out. Alternately, in cases where your support has a huge number of stacks ready in the jungle for you (does that ever happen in pubs?!), maxing out Burning Barrage first is an option because of the lower cooldown.
The item build for the new Clinkz, when played as the safe lane carry, is turning out to be pretty standard. Maelstrom is always the first item, because not only does it help you farm, but it also helps dish out a lot of damage in team fights. And the damage is a good mix of physical and magical, which makes it hard to play against.
The second item is typically a Dragon Lance, as it gives the hero some stats and adds to his attack range, including the rage of Burning Barrage (taking it from 900 to 1040). Dragon Lance is followed up with an Eye of Skadi, which not only gives Clinkz a good deal of stats, but it applies a slow to all enemies stuck in the 200 width of Burning Barrage, making it difficult for them to get out of it. Skadi is a great way to ensure heroes take a good chunk of the Burning Barrage damage if there is no lockdown available.
Following Skadi is the Aghanim’s Shard, which summons two Skeleton Archers each time Clinkz leaves Skeleton Walk, but it is fine to forgo this item in case you are always at the back of the fight and aren’t really getting too close to any of the enemy heroes. In that case, the call would either be BKB or Daedalus, depending on how the game is going. Daedalus has a chance to apply a critical strike on every arrow of Burning Barrage on every enemy! Seems quite good, eh?!
But in PSG.LGD’s 2-1 win against Team Spirit, showed that they can run the Clinkz in the mid lane as well when Ning “xiao8” Zhang played it in the position 2 role. In that case, he got Glepnir (which was buffed in patch 7.30) and the Aghanim’s Scepter. If you can get multiple heroes rooted with the Glepnir, it sets up an easy way to unload the Burning Barrage on them and with Burning Army in and around, it just adds to the damage. The Chinese team implemented this strategy twice with success, so there is definitely more than one way to play the hero.
After a long time, Clinkz is looking good in pubs as well as in professional games. Looking at his win rate at ESL One Fall, he is bound to get the nerf hammer in patch 7.30c.
The only hope is, it isn’t too harsh and is still a strong pick at TI10. For now, though, the hero is on fire, literally and figuratively.