There’s an old saying in the Dota 2 community: the true reward of learning to play the game is the ability to watch it. The game is fundamentally built on teamwork, and there’s a lot more of it in pro matches than in the average ranked games. Legendary squads like TI3 Alliance and TI6 Wings’ became famous for their unique team play, spreading resources evenly and prioritizing intricate synergies respectively.
In China, we’re seeing the resurgence of another kind of teamwork. The four-protect-one strategy
has become the go-to for multiple top eastern teams. Characterized by going Godlike or going home, teams are throwing everything they can behind one core and hoping for the best. The two teams that exemplify the modern four-protect-one strategy are CDEC
and Royal Never Give Up.
Their respective carries, Wang “Ame” Chunyu
and Du “Monet” Peng,
are some of the scariest players in the world.
Their hard carry-centric approach to the game might become the standard 7.27. They’re both young players, and they represent the next generation of China’s great players. Let’s review their careers and see how China’s dueling carries match up.
Ame: CDEC’s trump card
The more experienced of the two, 2020 marks the fifth year of Ame’s competitive career. He’s grown from China’s prodigal son into its most ruthless core player. Known for his on-and-off feud with old-school master Xu "BurNIng" Zhilei, Ame hopes to secure a legacy as China’s most iconic carry.
The rest of CDEC knows what he can do and exploits it. There are rare games where midlaner Guo “Xm” Hongcheng
takes over, but by default, Ame’s job is to win the game for his team. He was traded from PSG.LGD to CDEC Gaming earlier this year with the express intent of being their hard carry. Their recent gold finish
at OGA Dota PIT Season 2
proves the investment was worth it.
The current patch has fared well for Ame. His comfort pick Spectre sits at a 67% win rate in tournaments. His role necessitates hard carries, and Naga Siren and Morphling make up his primary pool.
Monet: RNG’s rising star
Currently sitting at #1
on the Chinese MMR leaderboards, Monet has quickly found his way into the Chinese Dota pantheon. He was the driving force behind their breakout performance at The International 2019. Western fans might recognize him from his curious professional headshot or his backtalk at TI7.
While young, he’s far from inexperienced. Longtime fans will remember the glory days of LFY and their bronze finish at TI7. Monet was rocking the boat then, but now he’s found a stable spot at the top of China’s food chain. He’s led Royal Never Give Up to podium finishes at their last four events.
In 7.27, Monet was one of the first carry players to bring out the Terrorblade. He averages a 712 GPM on the hero when he can play him; TB is also his most banned hero. His most common hero for the patch is Spectre, same as Ame.
The new era of carry
Western fans don’t think of individualism when it comes to Chinese Dota, but China’s recent shift towards concentrating their resources on one player is exactly that. It’s less about star power and more about the metagame reflecting what Chinese Dota values; sacrifice for the team. Monet and Ame aren’t solo-carrying their teams to victory; they're just doing the job their squad asks of them.
Both carry players have had great results in 7.27, further boosting their rivalry. The previous patch saw RNG win most of their encounters, but the rescaling of early game gold has favored CDEC Gaming. They won their clash at DPL-CDA Season 2
and again in the bracket at OGA Dota PITSeason 2.
When they aren’t going against each other, the two players couldn’t be more similar. In addition to their communal hero pool, they win and lose at the same time. RNG’s games have averaged 54 minutes and seven seconds for this patch. CDEC is less than 15 seconds faster. As for their differences, they mostly lie in how their team plays around them. RNG tends to waffle between supporting Monet and midlaner Gao "Setsu" Zhenxiong in the laning phase. CDEC’s supports know exactly who to TP for. Ame is his team’s primary win condition, while Monet goes mode farmer when his team needs it.
If both of these teams continue to perform, we could see the rest of the region follow suit. Once it gets a chance to perform on the world stage, the Chinese four-protect-one style could take over the world.
Want to see these players in actions? The DPL-CDA Professional League
features every top Chinese team battling for approximately $185,000 USD.