China and Europe have always been the dominant regions in Dota. While the West relies on GOAT captains like Clement "Puppey" Ivanov
and Kuro "KuroKy" Takhasomi
to raise teams up to the top tier, Eastern teams prize legacy talent exemplified by role-codifiers like Xu "fy" Linsen
and Zhang "Eurus" Chengjun.
Unfortunately, that respect for legacy combined with the desire for innovation means that when players in China get overvalued, they get really overvalued.
These are the top five overrated players in China, sorted by career earnings.
- Ru "RedPanda" Zhihao
CDA League Season 1 - $31,313
Current team: 4 Angry Men
4 Angry Men were slated to be the ultimate CN superteam, with a top-three player for every position. The team only holds up to that status if you're willing to let RedPanda slip. The former captain of Sparking Arrow Gaming
played a role in the team’s online success, but it’s nowhere near enough to justify a slot on China’s biggest superteam since Team DK, though I suppose every Chinese superteam needs a Lei "MMY!" Zengrong.
Sparking Arrow was close to CDEC’s
level of relying on their cores. Zhong "GodKing" Liushuai
and Liu "白学家" Yuhao
were the team’s actual breadwinners and they both wound up on other Tier 2 teams. RedPanda’s personal style of picking a Position 4 in the safelane just doesn’t add up with the rest of the squad. The captainship of 4AM will definitely be going to fy.
- Du "Monet" Peng
Dota2 Professional League 2017 S2 - $51,185
Current team: Team Aster
Wang "Ame" Chunyu
is one of few modern Chinese carries still holding the Chinese late-game torch, and it's going to be a long time before he passes it to Monet. His previous team Royal Never Give Up went from regular podium finishes to bombing out after midlaner Xue "September" Zhichuan’s
departure in March. Despite 4 Angry Men freeing up five more top positions in China, Monet was one of few players to be demoted in the shuffle. It’s probably because he plays like a booster.
His carry ability is above-average once he’s got 28k net worth, but Monet’s impact only really starts when the late game has already begun. Plenty of other carries like Jin "flyfly" Zhiyi
and RNG replacement GodKing can throw their weight around in the late game while keeping the first half-hour in mind. His flavorless hero pool of Sven and Faceless Void doesn’t help Monet’s case, nor do his “pocket picks” of Morphling and Arc Warden.
- Ren "eLeVeN" Yangwei
ESL One Mumbai 2019 - $135,000
Current team: Vici Gaming
The Chinese scene has an interesting relationship with its older players; icons either become coaches or stick around on Tier 2 teams and ride out to retirement. Old eLeVeN is one of the clearest examples of those “Vince Carter and the Raptors” relationships, but just how far can his previous success take him? Before being picked up by Vici last September the offlaner hadn’t been contracted since 2017. He was the fifth-best player on the old PSG.LGD
lineup and he will keep that title on Vici.
eLeVeN’s age is starting to show in 2020, best exemplified by his unwillingness to play meta heroes. No Clockwerk, no Phoenix, and his Mars record is somehow 0-4. This is all disregarding his weird role-swap Broodmother performance
yesterday at Dota Pit S3.
I’m all for respecting the oldheads of the Chinese scene, but if they keep asking for Batrider, just move them to Pos 4. His promotion was the most baffling move of the Chinese shuffle.
- Liu "Sylar" Jiajun
Total earnings: $1,211,391
Biggest championship: i-League Season 3 - $213,806
Current team: Free agent
While the brutality of his kick from the new 4 Angry Men roster cannot be understated, it's almost impossible to argue against the decision. While Sylar has retained more Carry chops than some other senior players, the idea of him playing Position 1 for the most stacked roster in China was far-fetched from the start. His biggest championship win was in 2015, and his carry pool of Spectre, Juggernaut, and Ursa is ripped straight from that year’s metagame.
victories at DPL-CDA Pro League S1 and S2
might point to a 2020 rebound for Sylar if you scrubbed both TI winners and the 10k midlaner from both trophies’ inscriptions. Sylar’s classic style just doesn’t stack up the way it used to. It's a shame to kick him while he’s down, but 4AM.Eurus puts China in a much better position to finally take back the Aegis.
- Yang "Chalice"' Shenyi
Total earnings: $1,857,097
Biggest championship: EPICENTER XL - $500,000
Current team: EHOME
Chalice might be the most carried player in the history of Chinese Dota. Despite earning close to $2,000,000, Chalice has never been a top-three player on his team. It’s easy to point to the superstar squad that was the old PSG.LGD and say that fourth best is a compliment, but even now on EHOME he looks cuttable. Find me an EHOME fan who wouldn’t drop him in a second for Daryl “iceiceice” Peng.
Between his awkward stint as LGD’s Position 1 and his inability to impact the late game, it’s hard to justify the insanely stacked teams he finds himself on. Chalice's biggest impact on the offlane meta is making people think 2/5/12 Clockwerks are the ones really winning games of Dota. I have no doubt that he’ll bring consistency to EHOME’s younger players, but championships will be a different story entirely.