The viability of Clinkz in the professional scene and high-level pub games has been heavily debated ever since 6.82. The removal of UAM properties on Searing Arrows has opened up a great deal of possibilities, while small incremental buffs have put the hero on the radar for both casual and professional players. It is not until slightly before TI5, however, that we got to see the hero played competitively on a regular basis and now he fills a rather specific niche and can be considered one of the best picks in very specific scenarios.
The global average win rate for the hero is definitely not impressive—46.79% doesn’t even qualify the hero for the “situational tier”. At the same time, the win rate of the hero in very high skill games only is at a very respectable 49.85%. Moreover, as the average MMR of a game increases, so does the Clinkz’s win rate and in 4k+ games it is slightly over 50%, making for a surprisingly well-rounded hero. His global average pick rate has followed a very peculiar trend after the Shanghai Major grand finals but has returned to the initial values since. Overall the hero is picked more often in the lowest and the highest brackets, with less attention in the 3-5k mmr range.
Clinkz is a rather versatile core when it comes to laning. Under different circumstances he can be played in any lane. His full potential is generally unlocked in the mid or safe lane, however, since the offlane position is currently better suited for heroes which are not as tempo-dependant.
His global role is not of a typical carry hero—the hero should rarely be afk-farming and is better utilised as a ganker and split-pusher. This the hero a couple of interesting and unique properties:
As a hero with one of the highest solo kill potential in the game, Clinkz can and will pull a great deal of resources from the enemy supports as well as frequently force the enemy team to stay closer together. This generally disrupts both the Gold and XP economy of the enemy, especially if Clinkz manages to get a hold of the tempo early on. Smart global positioning is key—at any time a good Clinkz player should either be split-pushing or finding pick-offs, while getting farm in the process.
This also opens up a lane for your supports to farm and get XP in—greedy supports or supports who can scale extremely well with extra income and levels are probably a better pairing for Clinkz, compared to supports which are limited in their presence in the later stages of the game.
By constantly applying global pressure, Clinkz can ensure a very uniform growth of his team’s net worth and create a great deal of space. This is very important, since the hero is rather ill-suited for direct 5v5 confrontations in the later stages of the game—by then his damage output remains rather high, but the single target nature of it will generally ensure only a 1v1 trade for the enemy squishy hero, considering how squishy Clinkz himself is, even under the effects of Death Pact
There is no “most efficient” agreed on build for Clinkz. Most professional players in the Shanghai Major have followed one general rule however. They would get 1-1-1 at level 3 and then would either go on maxing Searing Arrows or Skeleton Walk, before getting any extra points in [missing skill: clinkz-strafe-5259].
The choice between maxing Searing Arrows or Skeleton Walk comes down to the enemy Clinkz is facing—if he can allow himself to remain relatively safe without the extra MS, going for higher damage is a valid option. Safety remains a priority, however, since the hero, as mentioned previously, is extremely dependent on tempo.
The “new” Build
Ever since the rework of Searing Arrows a new build has emerged, which has greatly solidified Clinkz’s position as a tempo control hero with high split-pushing capabilities. This build allows the hero to become one of the strongest 1v1 heroes in the game as well as take towers extremely fast.
Soul Ring/ Medallion of Courage+ Desolator gives a decent mana sustain and incredible amounts of damage to a purely auto-attacking hero. This build can be often complemented with a Ring of Aquila or even Drum of Endurance if extra stats are necessary.
Later progression is completely dependant on the line-up Clinkz is facing. More often than not, it will involve a Black King Bar which is a staple item for most core heroes. Some of the unorthodox yet effective options include Blink Dagger, which provides the hero with immense amounts of extra mobility, and Scythe of Vyse, which is a rare pick-up on non-intelligence heroes, but is heavily underrated as a general core item.
Diffusal Blade deserves a special mention, since more often than not it will be one of the best choices. Not only does it provide a decent DPS boost, but it also can serve as a way of escaping Dust of Appearance and later on as a way to deal with Ghost Scepters. Being prepared in advance for potential disruptions to the plan of solo pick-offs is necessary to maintain good tempo control. It is important to note, however, that using it as a generic slow is ill-advised, due to the limited nature of the Diffusal Blade.
The “old” build
Previously, Clinkz players have been mainly seen rushing Orchid Malevolence. The item provided much needed mana regeneration and some mana pool as well as having a good DPS boosting utility active. Even though this build has fallen out of favor lately, it is still situationally good as a way to counter enemy mobile heroes.
While this build provides comparable DPS for a slightly higher price, it does take away a great deal of the split-pushing capabilities of the hero, making macro-plays that more complicated. In general terms, it is not the best idea to get into a game thinking about this build as a priority—there are better cores to deal with the enemy mobile heroes. It is an option if, during the draft the enemy team has decided to double-down on heroes with escapes and the choice is between having the potential for solo kills and having very limited killing capabilities. Otherwise, it is generally better to utilise the “new” build and pick Clinkz accordingly and definitely not as one of the first two-three picks.
The amount of versatility in drafting brought by this patch has been a topic for a decent amount of time already. Clinkz is somewhat of an exception to this rule—regardless of the meta, he has been filling this situational niche ever since the buffs in 6.82. As it stands, the hero is in a really good place balance-wise with scenarios where he can be the dominant force he is supposed to be.
What has potentially made the hero slightly more popular lately is the popularity of heroes with “charm” and “summon” abilities as well as the increase in Helm of the Dominator purchases. Clinkz can get so much more from creeps with bigger HP pools. As an example, a 1000 HP creep would have its HP increased to 1400 through HotD, resulting in a 32 damage and 320 HP boost when using Death Pact.