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Dota 2 Items Guide: How to Buy & Use Dota 2 Items

Patrick Bonifacio

While heroes are the heart and soul of any MOBA like Dota 2, items are the meat and potatoes. No hero in the game can function without items, as even those with low farm priority like supports need them. Core heroes like hard carries and mid laners, on the other hand, revolve almost entirely around purchasing expensive items.

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)

With items being such an important part of Dota 2, knowing most, if not all of them by heart is key to making the right decisions in-game. After all, along with your team’s hero composition, Dota 2 items make or break your win condition.

Correct itemization and playing around your item choices, therefore, is crucial to victory. And with over 200 unique items to play with, remembering them all in the heat of battle can be a daunting task. But that’s why we’re here with our general guide to all of the items in Dota 2. Read on to see what items are all about and how to use them as effectively as possible.

What Are Items in Dota 2?

Simply put, items are pieces of in-game equipment or consumables that go into a hero’s inventory. These can range from basic restoratives such as the Healing Salve, to mid-game “stat sticks” like Sange and Yasha, all the way to game-ending relics like the Divine Rapier. No matter how big or small, items serve more or less the same purpose. Heroes use them universally to augment their attributes, patching up their respective weaknesses while enhancing their strengths along the way.

Some Dota items even grant special abilities, which may be either passive or active depending on the items themselves. Dragon Lance, for example, grants the wielder a greater attack range, assuming they’re a ranged hero. At the same time, it grants them additional strength and agility. Scythe of Vyse, meanwhile, gives the wielder access to Hex, providing them with an instant disable that targets enemy heroes.

Every hero can purchase any item in Dota 2, so long as the items are found in the shops. The most commonly-used shop is the Base Shop, which houses the majority of the game’s purchasable items. Both sides have their own respective Base Shops inside their bases. In order to access the Base Shop, heroes must be within its effective radius, which stretches a very short distance 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 contains exclusive items which are not found in the Base Shop, some of which are required to build certain items.

In order to purchase items from either the Base Shop or Secret Shop, heroes must have the requisite amount of gold for the items they wish to buy. To open either one, press the Shop hotkey (found in the game options under Hotkeys) while inside the shop radius. Then, simply right click the item you want to buy.

What Are Dota 2 Item Recipes?

While all items in the game technically stand on their own, one of the goals of each player in Dota 2 is to eventually combine smaller items into bigger, more powerful ones. This is facilitated by the recipe system, which automatically merges component items into a larger whole.

For example, the item Crystalys requires a Broadsword, Blades of Attack, and a recipe worth 500 gold to build. Purchasing these components — all of which are found in the Base Shop — will trigger the recipe system to combine them into Crystalys.

On their own, these components give small bonuses to whomever is wielding them. But when combined to form Crystalys, they become greater than the sum of their parts. Crystalys grants more bonus attack damage than Broadsword and Blades of Attack combined, while also granting the wielder Critical Strike.

Some recipe items don’t require buying separate recipes at all. Soul Booster, for example, combines from Point Booster, Vitality Booster, and Energy Booster automatically without any additional cost. This means that heroes can build Soul Booster on the spot with its components from the Secret Shop, without having to return to the Base Shop just to buy a recipe.

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 Dota 2 Items So Important?

The effect of items in Dota 2 is hard to overstate. They are a natural part of each hero’s progression and scaling throughout any given game, especially in the mid to late stages. Early on, restorative consumables provide heroes with some much-needed sustenance in the laning phase. If they didn’t exist, heroes would have to walk back to the Fountain just to heal, which causes them to miss out on valuable experience points and gold.

It goes without saying that items can change the very complexion of a Dota 2 match. Just like choosing the right heroes and making the right plays, proper itemization can make or break a team’s campaign. Many expensive recipe items even function as win conditions for certain heroes, where they suddenly become capable of carrying games on their own with specific items.

This point is, in fact, the reason why there is a separation between core and support heroes in the game in the first place. Cores tend to get higher farm priority and more resources on the map, precisely because they get more out of buying expensive items as quickly as possible compared to supports.

It’s also worth noting that in comparison to other MOBA titles, Dota 2 has some of the most powerful and impactful items out there. The Black King Bar is perhaps the greatest example of this, as it renders the wielder immune to almost every spell in the game for up to 10 seconds. The aforementioned Scythe of Vyse, meanwhile, can allow a team to get the jump on a crucial target and close out a game as such.

It is therefore practically mandatory for players to know most, if not all of the items in the game by heart.

What Are the Different Types of Dota 2 Items?

Fortunately for us, Valve took the time to separate the many items into distinct categories during Dota 2’s development. This makes things way easier to digest compared to the Warcraft III days. The categories and their respective descriptions are as follows:



Consumables are exactly what they say on the tin: items that disappear after exhausting their capacity. This group of items is all about restoratives, which as mentioned before are important for sustaining oneself during the laning phase.

Dota 2 Items Rubick

Image Credit: Valve

There are some non-restoratives here, though. Utility items like Observer Wards, Town Portal Scrolls, and Tomes of Knowledge also call this category home.


The Attributes category is home to trinkets that boost a hero’s stats — those being strength, agility, and intelligence. Relatively cheap in cost, the items here are stepping stones most useful in the early-to-mid game, and are some of the most efficient items for your gold.

These are some of the least slot-efficient, items, though. Typically, you’ll want to build them into more expensive items later in the game in order to free up inventory slots.


The Equipment category also contains low-cost items, but this time they focus on secondary stats like attack damage and armor. Much like the items in Attributes, these items are cost-effective in the early-to-mid game, and build into larger recipe items later on.


Miscellaneous, meanwhile, refers to items similar to those in Attributes, and Equipment, but these increase secondary stats like health, mana, and passive regeneration. Ring of Regen for example, increases a hero’s passive health regeneration by +1.25 per second.

Dota 2 Items Blink Dagger

Image Credit: Valve

On the other hand, there’s also Boots of Speed, which increases movement speed by +45.


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.

The location of the Secret Shop also creates a bit of risk for anyone operating in the safe lane. Take Anti-Mage in the carry position, for example. Since Ring of Health is a component of Battle Fury (his signature farming item), Anti-Mage has to either walk through the jungle in order to stay safe on his way to the Secret Shop, or risk getting caught out with Blink (W) on cooldown in order to speed up the process.

Keep this in mind especially if you’re playing carry. Dota 2 is one of the few remaining MOBAs out there where you lose gold upon death, so sometimes it’s better to forgo a little bit of farm and experience in the lane to ensure your survival on a trip to the Secret Shop.



The Accessories category includes recipe items built primarily with components from the Attributes section of the shop. These are bar none the most important items within the first 10 minutes of the game, with trinkets like Bracer and Wraith Band providing plenty of additional stats for the cost and number of slots.

Magic Wand is another great example. Since it combines cost-effective items that would otherwise take three separate slots into one item, it allows heroes to have more slots to play with for bigger items later on.


Items under the support category generally include aura items or items with active defensive abilities. Some of the more notable items in this space are Arcane Boots (restores mana in an area of effect), Spirit Vessel (heals allied heroes over time), and Pipe of Insight (projects a barrier against magic damage in an area of effect).

Crystal Maiden

Image Credit: Valve

As the name implies, these items are more suited to support heroes, though off lane heroes can also find use for some of them.


If your hero is geared towards dealing magic damage with spells, you’ll want to look towards this category. Trinkets like Aether Lens, Veil of Discord, and Refresher Orb all serve spellcasters well in terms of their offensive capabilities.

There are some support-friendly items in here as well. Force Staff, perhaps one of the best utility items in the game, makes this category its home. Glimmer Cape may also be found under this category.


Taking too much damage, whether physical or magical? Look no further than the Armor category. The ubiquitous Black King Bar is found here, while others like Shiva’s Guard and Assault Cuirass combine both offense and defense into one convenient package.


This is where the fun begins. Items in the Weapons branch build from components in the Equipment category, and are geared towards core heroes that need late game damage. Crystalys and its upgraded form Daedalus are among the most notable here.


Image Credit: Valve

There are, however, some items in this category that serve more as farm accelerators than DPS items. Battle Fury and Radiance, for example, are meant to be built early on rather than later in the game, as they are designed more for killing creeps than heroes.


This is a special category of purchasable items, as they all have one thing in common: passive attack modifiers. Formerly called orb effects in Warcraft III, attack modifiers add special properties to a hero’s regular attack (right clicks), such as lifesteal, armor reduction, and more.

What Are Dota 2 Neutral Items?

Alongside the items that you can normally purchase from the shops on the map, there also exist Dota 2 neutral items. In contrast to store-bought items, though, players cannot buy neutral items; instead, neutral items drop from neutral creeps at a base rate of around 10 percent. This chance increases to 30 percent when killing Ancient neutral creeps.

Also unlike regular items, Dota neutral items do not take up inventory space in the usual manner. They instead have their own dedicated item slot, of which each hero only has one. Therefore, heroes can only equip one neutral item at any given time. Teams can choose to teleport undesired or otherwise unused neutral items to the neutral item stash, which is found in the Fountain. Neutral items are fully shareable between allied heroes, unlike regular items.

Dota neutral items come in five separate tiers, which are enabled by the game one by one as the in-game clock hits certain timestamps. For example, the first tier of neutral items becomes available from the seven-minute mark onwards. The second tier then becomes available at the 17-minute mark, and so on.

Each tier houses more and more powerful items. In fact, tier 4 and tier 5 items are actually so strong that they can decide games all on their own. However, each tier is limited to four drops in a single game, so it is impossible for a team to possess more than four items from the same tier.

Roshan’s Items

There are also a select few items in the game that don’t fall under purchasable items or neutral items. Most of these items drop from Roshan, the strongest creep on the map and one of the most important mid-to-late game objectives in Dota 2.

The most notable item Roshan drops is the Aegis of the Immortal, which prevents the wielder’s death once and respawns them where they died with full health and mana. The Aegis is perhaps the single most important item in the game when it comes to closing out matches, so it’s a good idea to at least contest possession at some point. Note that once picked up, the Aegis cannot be dropped, transferred, or sold. It also expires five minutes after pickup.

On his second death, Roshan drops the Aegis as well as an Aghanim’s Shard. This Aghanim’s Shard functions exactly the same way as the store-bought version, but requires manual consumption. It is not subject to the 15 minute time delay as the regular version.

Upon Roshan’s third death within the same game, he also drops Cheese, and either Aghanim’s Blessing or Refresher Shard alongside the Aegis.

When used, Cheese instantly restores 2,500 HP and 1,500 mana. This makes it useful for going toe-to-toe with enemy core heroes, as you can simply heal back up to full after taking damage. Note, however, that you cannot use Cheese if stunned or disabled.

Roshan’s Aghanim’s Blessing works exactly the same way as the regular version, but likewise requires manual consumption. Refresher Shard works like Cheese, but resets most cooldowns upon use instead. Cheese drops every time after Roshan’s third death onwards, as well as both Aghanim’s Blessing and Refresher Shard.

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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