Oct 23
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Oct 24
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7:00 am
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Oct 25
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Oct 26
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Dota 2 Items Guide: How to Buy and Use Dota 2 Items

Patrick Bonifacio

Just as in any MOBA title out there, items form the heart and soul of Dota 2 alongside all the heroes in the game. No hero can function entirely without items, and some like hard carries and mid laners depend on them heavily. With over 200 unique items in the game, it can become difficult to keep all of them in mind at once.

Dota 2 Items Alchemist

Items make up a large part of Dota 2's overall gameplay, and are extremely important to success and victory. (Image courtesy Valve)

That’s where we at Hotspawn come in with this general guide to all the items in Dota 2, which will detail why they’re so important. Items contribute immensely to your team’s win condition, and correct itemization makes a huge difference here. So strap yourself in, as we take you on a tour around the in-game shop and all its offerings.

What Are Dota 2’s Items?

Simply put, items are pieces of in-game equipment that go into a hero’s inventory. Items in Dota 2 can range from basic restoratives like the Healing Salve, all the way to game-ending weapons like the Divine Rapier. Items are universally used to augment a hero’s attributes, patching up their weaknesses while furthering their strengths along the way.

Some items even grant special abilities, which can be either passive or active depending on the items themselves. Dragon Lance, for example, passively increases the attack range of ranged heroes while increasing their strength and agility. Scythe of Vyse meanwhile gives a hero access to Hex, providing them with an instant disable.

Most items can be purchased from the Base Shop. Each team has one Base Shop located in their base. In order to access the Base Shop, heroes must be within its effective radius, which stretches just outside the Fountain. There also exists the Secret Shop, two of which are located near each team’s Ancient neutral creep camps. The Secret Shop sells exclusive items that cannot be bought in the Base Shop, some of which are required for certain item recipes.

Items available in the Base and Secret Shops can all be purchased with gold. To open either one, press your Shop hotkey (found in the game options under Hotkeys) while inside the shop radius. Then, right click the item you want to purchase.

What Are Item Recipes?

While all items in the game technically stand on their own, one of the goals of each player is to eventually combine smaller items into bigger, more powerful ones. This is facilitated by the recipe system, which automatically combines components that build into a larger whole.

Take Crystalys, for example. It is built using a Broadsword, Blades of Attack, and a recipe worth 500 gold. All three components, including the recipe, are found in the Base Shop. Purchasing all three and having them in your inventory at once will cause them to merge, creating Crystalys. In contrast to just the reagents themselves, Crystalys gives more bonus attack damage (32 versus 21), and grants its wielder Critical Strike. Therefore, most if not all recipe items in the game are greater than the sum of their parts.

Some recipe items don’t require buying recipes at all, though. Soul Booster for example combines automatically without a separate recipe, which means it can be built on the spot with its components from the Secret Shop.

At any rate, recipe items are the end goal when it comes to item progression. They are more slot-efficient after all, making it a good idea to have multiple recipe items in the late game.

Why Are Items So Important?

The effect of items in Dota 2 cannot be understated. They are a natural part of each hero’s progression and scaling throughout a game, especially in the mid to late game. Early on, consumable items also provide heroes with a way to sustain themselves in the lane. Without consumables, heroes would have to constantly walk back to base just to heal. This is a way less efficient use of one’s time, compared to using healing items in the laning phase.

It wouldn’t be a stretch at all to say that items can change the complexion of a Dota 2 match. Just like choosing the right heroes and making the right plays, the right item choices can make or break a team’s campaign. Some items even function as certain heroes’ win conditions, where they suddenly get the ability to carry games on their own with specific items.

This, in fact, is the reason why there is a separation between core and support heroes in the game. Cores are given more farm priority precisely because they get more out of buying expensive items quickly compared to supports.

It also wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Dota 2 in particular has some of the most powerful items in any MOBA title. Things like Black King Bar and the aforementioned Scythe of Vyse can decide games all on their own. It is therefore crucial and even mandatory to know most, if not all of the items in the game by heart.

What Are The Different Types of Dota 2 Items?

Thankfully, the developers over at Valve have taken the time to separate the numerous items into categories, making them easier to digest overall. The categories and their descriptions are as follows:

Basics

Consumables

Consumable items are exactly what you would expect: items that have a limited number of uses. This group of items is mostly about restorativesm and are important for keeping oneself alive in the laning phase. Non-healing consumables like Observer Wards, Town Portal Scrolls, and Tomes of Knowledge are also included in this group.

Attributes

The Attributes category is home to trinkets that directly increase a hero’s stats, particularly strength, agility, and intelligence. Relatively cheap in cost, items here are great for increasing your survivability and effectiveness in the early game. They are some of the least slot-efficient items around though, so they are typically merged into bigger items later in the game.

Equipment

Equipment includes low-cost items focused primarily on increasing attack damage, armor, or attack speed. A lot of what is found here is actually quite cost-effective in the early to mid game, with many even leading into better recipe items later on. Gloves of Haste for example is one of the components for Power Treads.

Miscellaneous

The Miscellaneous category houses items similar to the Attributes group, but the items here increase secondary stats instead. Ring of Reegen for example increases a hero’s passive health regeneration slightly. Sage’s Mask does the same for mana regeneration. Wind Lace on the other hand increases movement speed, as does Boots of Speed.

Secret

Contains all the items found in the Secret Shop. Nearly all of the items here are used to build into some of the most expensive items in the entire game. Ring of Health is especially notable, as it is a very popular early regen item for carries.

Upgrades

Accessories

Accessories include recipe items built primarily with components from the Attributes category. These are great for boosting your effectiveness in the early game, while also saving on item slots. Magic Wand is perhaps the best example of this, as it combines three separate items into one convenient early game package.

Support

Items under the support category generally include aura items or items with active healing abilities.  Arcane Boots, Spirit Vessel, and Pipe of Insight are among the most prevalent from this group. As the name implies, they are suited more for support heroes, though off lane heroes can also find use for some of the selections here.

Magical

If your hero is geared towards dealing magic damage and using their spells often, you’ll want to look towards this category. Things like Aether Lens, Veil of Discord, and Refresher Orb all help spellcasters become more lethal. There are also some support-friendly items in here though, such as Force Staff and Glimmer Cape.

Armor

Need to beef up and take more hits, whether physical or magical? Look no further than the Armor category. The ubiquitous Black King Bar calls this group home, while others like Shiva’s Guard and Assault Cuirass serve a more offensive role.

Weapons

The good stuff. Items in the Weapons branch build directly from the Equipment category and really help cores dish out late game damage. Some of the items here are more suited for early game farming though, with Battle Fury and Radiance helping to accelerate a carry’s gold income.

Artifacts

Items under the Artifacts branch are known for having attack modifiers built into them. Attack modifiers change the way a hero’s regular attack works, giving it additional properties. Satanic for example adds passive lifesteal, while Skull Basher gives heroes a chance to stun targets on hit.

What Are Dota 2 Neutral Items?

Aside from the items that you can buy from the Base Shop and Secret Shop, there also exist neutral items. These items drop from neutral creeps at a rate of around 10 percent for regular neutrals, and 30 percent for Ancients. Unlike regular items, heroes can only equip one neutral item at a time, though this is compensated for by a dedicated neutral item slot. Undesired or otherwise unused neutral items can be teleported to a dedicated neutral item stash in the Fountain from anywhere on the map, as long as it is within a friendly hero’s inventory.

Neutral items come in five separate tiers, which are enabled one by one as the in-game clock reaches certain timestamps. The first tier of neutral items for instance drops between the seven and 17-minute marks. The second tier meanwhile drops 17 minutes into the game, and so on. Each tier drops more powerful items, some of which are so strong they can decide entire games by themselves. Each tier is limited to four drops per game, though, so it is impossible for an entire team to all have neutral items from one tier at the same time.

Patrick Bonifacio

Patrick Bonifacio

Patrick has been playing Dota since the dawn of time, having started with the original custom game for WarCraft III. He primarily plays safe lane and solo mid, preferring to leave the glorious task of playing support to others.

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