It seems only recently we were asking a question of “Why does no one play Clinkz?” and… we are sorry. In an attempt to make the hero more viable in the professional scene, Valve has created one of the most powerful pubstompers in the game, who is currently terrorizing matches of all skill levels.
That said, he is extremely reliant on Searing Arrows to get last hits, since he starts the game with 40 attack damage. That means that he theoretically shouldn’t be able to deny any creeps, if he wants to last hit any creeps in the first wave he needs to forgo both his defensive abilities and that his harass damage is not going to be overwhelming.
Considering all this, playing aggressively against Clinkz at the start of the laning stage is preferable. If your heroes allow for it, and you really should go for strong lanes in the current meta, do your best to both zone out Clinkz and get as many denies as possible. Given his attack damage, Clinkz likely won’t be able to consistently deny his own creeps, especially under pressure. Prioritize denying your own creeps, rather than getting last hits, since it will allow you to get most XP in lane, while starving out Clinkz.
Ideally, you want a significant level advantage over Clinkz at the early stages of the game. The hero can’t farm jungle or quickly push waves and most of his economy relies on getting kills in the early midgame. Deny him this opportunity and you will have a massive timing window, where your teamfight is going to be overwhelmingly more powerful.
Clinkz preys on solo targets and split-pushing lineups, while his teamfight potential is very limited at all stages of the game. Grouping up early, taking and defending objectives and generally playing as a team is the most important aspect of countering Clinkz.
It is easy to say all that, but in reality pubs are extremely unpredictable, players frequently pick whatever they feel like playing, rather than what suits the team best and coordination is almost non-existent. Try your best to change that.
When playing support, stick to your most vulnerable carry and do your best to protect him. That means wards, close positioning and willingness to sacrifice yourself to save your teammate. Constantly following allied Anti-Mage around the map, staying in the jungle out of XP range and still getting flamed for “feeding” is not the most engaging gameplay, but it has to be done.
When playing a core, you will be mostly responsible for team movements in the second half of the game. Your team relies on you, for the most part it will want to follow you and you have to be mindful of that. Even when playing heroes who rely on getting pickoffs, try to stay relatively close to your teammates when playing against Clinkz. With proper items Clinkz’s damage output on a solo target is almost unparalleled, so don’t give him unnecessary opportunities.
There are two main Clinkz builds—one revolving around Orchid Malevolence and Nullifier, one around an early Scythe of Vyse. Very little can be done about the latter, especially by a support. The former, while providing higher DPS and being more popular, can be countered with several items.
As a support, If you see enemy Clinkz going Orchid it means that you should be trying to get at least some form of dispel as soon as possible. Early Eul’s works very well, but if you can afford it going for Lotus Orb is probably a better deal.
This type of Clinkz heavily relies on being able to burst down an enemy core with an Orchid, Nullifier, Strafe combo and preventing it means he just wasted several cooldowns and can’t find properly for at least another 20 seconds. Lotus Orb fully dispels Nullifier mute and Orchid silence, allowing your teammate to retaliate or escape.
It is worth noting that very late into the game, once Clinkz is level 25, it is actually better to use Eul’s on Clinkz, rather than to save yourself. If done fast enough it prevents a lot of damage and also fully dispels the long Strafe buff. If your micro allows for it, you can also go for Necronomicon 3, as it gives you both the necessary True Sight and another source of non-projectile based dispel.
Glimmer Cape is also an option, but the problem with the item is that when taking into account reaction time and fade delay, there is a chance Clinkz will be able to deal enough damage to kill a squishy target. It also doesn’t mitigate most of the damage from Clinkz if he has True Sight—at best you will be reducing the Orchid Soul Burn damage.
As a carry, having at least one defensive item is a must. Linken's Sphere is good against Scythe Clinkz and helps a great deal against Orchid+Nullifier one. An early Black King Bar can also be quite decent, but not necessarily as a way of countering Clinkz specifically, but as a way of ending game earlier. Manta Style is also great against Clinkzs in lower-level games which frequently silence first and use Nullifier second from high range, allowing you to react to silence with Manta dispel, while also disjointing the Nullifier mute projectile.
As a utility core, Heaven's Halberd can be very problematic for Clinkz to deal with, while also making you more survivable if you are the target of initiation. Necronomicon (level 3) is also an option, while Armor increasing items, such as Vladmir's Offering, Solar Crest or Assault Cuirass can help dealing with Clinkz’s focus fire.
Finally, there is Aeon Disk, which many people like against Clinkz. While it is certainly helpful in the earlier stages of the game, a good Clinkz will most likely be vary of this item and will hold on to his Nullifier until after the Aeon proc. In a sense, it is a more passive Eul’s that can lose all of its defensive capabilities, while not offering an offensive one. If you can react quickly enough and your hero has access to cast range increasing talents or naturally builds into Aether Lens, Eul’s is a cheaper and more versatile alternative.
Clinkz is a pubstomper hero that is still unlikely to be played professionally. Highest levels of play can exploit every single weakness of the hero and find ways of dealing with him and Clinkz has a lot of weaknesses.
The problem is that pub players are a lot less willing to adapt, improvise and coordinate, even in Divine+ rankings. Clinkz is not unfair, he can be dealt with—your whole team just has to be willing to play Dota as a team game.
The hero is currently in more than 10% of all our pub games and already players starting to react, accounting for his presence and being more willing to play as a unit. In a game of Dota there is very little you can do about the other four members of your team, but each of them still wants to win and if you are willing to cooperate, make sacrifices and keep your cool even if things go wrong, maybe they will be too.