Xu "BurNIng" Zhilei is a Chinese professional Dota 2 player who is currently the co-founder of Team Aster.
He is regarded as one of the best and most experienced carry players in the world, winning several carry awards and international championships throughout the years.
BurNIng grew up in Tongling, the Anhui Province east in China. He was introduced to DotA by his friends at the end of 2007. He started an online team called TTI and played a lot of public games.
It wasn't until October 2008 that he started playing DotA professionally, after having been approached by CaNt's manager fashao to join the team.
BurNIng started his professional DotA career joining a Shanghai-based team called CaNt in October 2008 with teammates such as LongDD.
A team which had recent success winning CIG 2008 over EHOME just a month before BurNIng joined them.
The team had some ups and downs. Placing second in Makes Game Colorful 2008 China losing 1-2 to team Fnatic from Indonesia in the finals was one of the biggest achievements for the team.
BurNIng left the team shortly after MGC 2008.
The 28th of November 2008 Clan 7L was formed, mostly made up by previous CaNt members like BurNIng LongDD, N3komatA and now with Pan “Ruru” Jie as their manager.
They went on to win the 2009 G-League tournament, netting BurNIngs first major championship win beating the biggest Chinese team EHOME on their way to victory.
They then went on to win 2009 Tianyi cup beating PS in the finals, netting BurNIng's first big international win. The day after, the 20th of April 2009, the team disbanded due to disagreements between the players as well as the management.
After 7L, while former teammates, N3komatA and LongDD, found a new home at CityHunter, BurNIng spent time roaming between teams like F4, TTI, AEON, SHE, and Ks.cn. As BurNIng hopped between teams, the CityHunter team established itself as one if the biggest rivals to EHOME, which had now acquired DGC. Since both teams were seeking the strongest players to supplement their strength, the former 7L teammates tried to reach out to BurNIng, and a bidding war erupted to secure his services. While for a few moments, it looked like EHOME was on the verge of signing BurNIng, it was CityHunter that ultimately won out.
Back together with several of his former teammates in CityHunter they participated in IEM IV – Chengdu where they got 4th place and SMM Grand National 2009 where they placed 5-6th.
A disappointing period results wise for BurNIng and in January 2010 he received an offer to join EHOME.
EHOME's performance wasn't up where they wanted, 3rd place in the SMM Grand Finals was not what they were looking for so they replaced DGC with BurNIng.
After BurNIng's arrival EHOME went on to win the ESWC Chinese qualifiers and then winning the main event itself. 2010 was a dominating year for EHOME. After winning the ESWC they also won the IEM V – Shanghai, the SMM Grand National 2010 and the World Gamemaster Tournament 2010.
Early in 2011 BurNIng and KingJ left the successful EHOME and joined Team DK. Rumors has it that Team DK provided much better financial support for their members than what EHOME did and that was one of the reasons for the switch.
The new team wasn't an immediate success. They got second place in G-League 2011 Season 1 and a third in ECL Season 2. The team expected more and it didn't take long until changes were made, bringing back BurNIng's former teammate LongDD. The team went on to win G-League 2011 Season 2, World DotA Championship 2011 and G-League 2011 Season 3.
Team DK never received an invite for The International 2011. The reason for this has been rumored to be roster instability as well as visa issues.
In March 2012 Team DK transitioned into playing Dota 2.
It took a while for BurNIng and his team to get notable results in Dota 2. However they were the first team to get an invite to The International 2012 on the 9th of May. BurNIng had the following statement regarding the invite: "When we received the invitation naturally we felt excited and exhilarated. But after settling down, we know we shouldn't be happy this early. Getting a Visa is no easy task, our performance are of no competition to the top teams in Dota 2 right now. We will increase our efforts to train and improve our skills."
Only a few days after receiving the invite they would get their first decent result placing 2nd in the JoinDOTA Masters/VII losing 1-2 to EHOME in the finals, and about a month before The International 2012 they won their first tournament when they beat TongFu 3-0 in the It's Gosu Mini Madness cup.
At The International 2012, Team DK had a good groupstage ending up with a 11-3 map score. BurNIng was playing Morphling, Anti-Mage and Lone Druid in most of the games at The International 2012 and his Anti-Mage had a 100% win rate. In the playoffs they got knocked down to the loser's bracket in the first round after being defeated by the defending champions Natus Vincere 2-1. From the loser bracket they proceeded to win against Darer, TongFu, and Zenith before losing to Invictus Gaming which would go on to win the tournament. The end result was 4th place for Team DK.
After The International 2012 BurNIng's teammates LongDD and Zippo were replaced with Dai and QQQ from EHOME. The year ended with two 2nd place finishes in G-1 Champions League Season 4 and World Cyber Games 2012. In 2013, Team DK had a 4th place finish in G-1 Champions League Season 5 followed by a 2nd place in the big Dota 2 Super League and another 4th place in Alienware Cup.
A big Dota 2 championship was eluding BurNIng. Hoping The International 2013 was going to be the tournament to win he publicly told about his plans to retire after the upcoming International.
At The International 2013 Team DK had once again a good group stage ending up with a 10-4 score. And in the playoffs this time they won their first upper bracket game, defeating last year's champion Invictus Gaming 2-1. They then went on to play the so far undefeated Alliance and became the first team to take a game of team Alliance. However, in the lower bracket they lost 2-1 against the surprise team Orange Esports and were knocked out, finishing 5-6th. BurNIng said during an interview at the International that the regiment previously announced wasn't on his mind and he had not made a final decision for it yet. BurNIng was playing Weaver and Lifestealer the most this International. He had two Anti-Mage games and still a 100% winrate with that hero at The International 2013.
After The International 2013 was done BurNIng decided not to retire, however changes were needed in Team DK resulting in the removal of rOtk, Super, QQQ and Dai from the team, leaving only BurNIng left on Team DK
It was later confirmed that Dai would still be playing for Team DK and they would be adding LaNm, Mushi and iceiceice as their last 3 members.
The new Team DK's first real test came at the MLG Championship Columbus. They looked solid and performed very well all the way to the Grand Finals. In the Grand Finals they lost in the end to Speed Gaming 1-2. BurNIng posted on Weibo after the result that Champion was not in his fate.
About a month later BurNIng finally got his Dota 2 championship when Team DK won the WPC ACE Dota 2 League 2013, winning the biggest prize money outside The International. They did this with an amazing comeback after losing the first 3 matches against Invictus Gaming. They went on to win the remaining 4 matches making it 4-3 in favor of Team DK in the end. Around a half month later they went on to win the G-League 2013. This time they stomped Invictus Gaming 3-0 in the Finals.
After qualifying for SLTV Starseries Season IX, BurNIng and his team was looking to win their first international tournament in Dota 2. And after their recent results in China they were one of the biggest favorites. They did not disappoint and won it convincingly not losing a single match. BurNIng played a different carry every game, showing off his extensive hero pool.
After the success in Star Ladder they got to the finals in the WPC ACE Dota 2 League 2014. Being defending champions, many had high hopes for Team DK in the finals against Invictus Gaming, however this time Invictus Gaming managed to win pretty convincingly 4-1 over Team DK.
About a week later BurNIng and his team participated in The Summit where they had been invited to play alongside 5 other international teams. Doing well in the groupstages as well as in the playoffs up until the finals they were once again the favorites to win. Evil Geniuses did however prove to be too strong for BurNIng and his teammates, beating Team DK 3-2 in the end.
After The Summit, Team DK participated in ECL 2014 Spring, the CDEC New Star Challenge and the V Games Tournament, winning 1st place in all 3 tournaments, and defeating Newbee in the grand finals in all of them.
Team DK were invited to The International 2014. They finished the group stages (phase 2) with a record of 10-5 (3rd place), therefore qualifying them for the Round 3 match of Stage 3. After defeating Cloud9 2-0 in this match, including winning game two in 11 minutes, Team DK qualified for the upper bracket of TI4.
In the upper bracket of TI4, Team DK played against Evil Geniuses where they lost 2-0 and were relegated to the lower bracket to play against LGD Gaming. In the 1st game of LGD Gaming vs Team DK, LGD made a shocking comeback and managed to win in 66 minutes despite the massive gold and experience leads Team DK accumulated. However, the next day, DK won 2 games in a row handily and moved to the next round to play against Vici Gaming. In the next round against Vici Gaming, Team DK were knocked out 2-0 and finished 4th place in The International 2014 and after TI4 ended, BurNIng retired from professional Dota on August 17th, 2014.
After BurNIng's retirement, Team DK went their separate ways and BurNIng became a coach for Team DK's new, young team.
After The International 2014, many players, including BurNIng joined teams consisting entirely or mostly of players who retired. BurNIng formed Big God along with xiao8, rOtk, LaNm and originally mikasa, who was replaced by pubstar iceice. Eventually, the team began preparation for the Dota 2 Asia Championships. This tournament became dubbed as "The International of China" or a "Mini-TI" because it had a $3,000,000+ prize pool and was hosted by Perfect World, the publisher of Dota 2 in China. BurNIng and Big God finished 3rd place in the DAC Asian Qualifier, qualifying them for the group stages. At the event itself, Big God achieved a 4th place finish, and the players soon parted ways after the retirees had shown their resurgence.
Joining Invictus Gaming again, Burning was able to seize a second place finish at Starladder, but held many lacklustre performances in the following premier tournaments heading into The International 2015, where IG could only claim 9th - 12th. Leaving IG to join Vici Gaming, Burning held strong early momentum finishing 2nd at Nanyang and 3rd at The Summit 4. The team, however, began faltering at 2016, where Burning was hit by a last place finish at Shanghai, and was unable to qualify for Manila and The International 2016. Burning would then spend the later half of 2016 failing to qualify for premier tournaments after rejoining Invictus Gaming in the post-International shuffle.
At 2017, IG reached its first stride in years with a 4th place finish at Dota Pit which was then followed by the team's qualification to Kiev and the Manila Masters. The team then performed admirably in the Dota Asian Championships, where IG finished at the top of their group, and defeated OG in a clean sweep at the grand finals. At the Kiev Major, IG was off to a hot start with a strong group performance. At the main stage, they proceeded to eliminate Boston's runners-up Mouzsports and Team Liquid before being eliminated by Virtus Pro. Notably, it was only Invictus Gaming that managed to take a full series off of the winners, OG, in another full sweep.