While Dota 2 definitely revolves around its pool of 115 heroes, its collection of 155 purchasable items is just as important to learn and get used to. After all, a lot of heroes get enhanced strength and power from a select few items, while some heroes are nothing at all without their core equipment.
In fact, items are a large part of why each hero’s “net worth”—their total value in terms of both items and gold in hand—is added up and used as a measure of how far ahead one team is compared to the other. When watching professional Dota 2 games, you will often hear the shoutcasters looking at the net worth graph in order to help them tell the story of the game, and how the team with the net worth deficit can hope to mount a comeback.
Not all items are created equally, of course. Some items are designed to be good only in the hands of certain heroes, and borderline useless on some others. Knowing the difference between what items are useful to your chosen character and what would otherwise be a total waste of money is crucial to winning Dota 2 games—and is a big part of the decision-making that makes Dota 2 so complex.
Thankfully, IceFrog and Valve have gone out of their way to help guide new players somewhat with regards to which items belong on which heroes, by categorizing each item under a label. For example, items that would benefit support heroes are aptly labeled “Support” items. On the other hand, items that would better suit a hard carry that needs to deal physical damage in the late game are placed under the label “Weapons”.
Of course, just because an item is placed in a category that goes well with a certain hero type, doesn’t mean that every item in that category is immediately a good fit for all heroes of that type. It still boils down to each hero’s design and how well their kit synergizes with certain items. The set of specific pieces of equipment that form a hero’s optimal inventory, therefore, is called the “item build”.
Dota 2 Item Build
As mentioned above, a hero’s item build largely depends on their design, attributes, natural strengths and weaknesses, and set of unique abilities. For the most part, a hero’s item build will seek to enhance their strengths, augmenting their given abilities further or adding a certain mechanic that would make their abilities extremely devastating. A good example of this is Ember Spirit, whose Sleight of Fist ability is made incredibly powerful by the cleave mechanic of Battle Fury.
Just as often, though, a hero’s item build also looks to shore up any glaring weaknesses. Melee hard carries in particular come to mind in this regard, due to their natural tendency to get kited around with slows, stuns, and disables. To address this weakness, carries can purchase protective items such as Black King Bar, Linken’s Sphere, and even Aeon Disk. These items allow them to rampage through the enemy team unimpeded, for the most part.
It is also worth noting that, more often than not, heroes should gradually go through their item builds rather than save a huge pile of gold in the early game to skip ahead to their endgame equipment. This is highly recommended, due to the fact that not getting any other items in between that provide utility or otherwise help your hero survive (or farm faster, in the case of carries and other core positions) means that your hero is extremely vulnerable to gank attempts.
Remember that gold loss is a thing in Dota 2, unlike in competing titles such as League of Legends. The more your hero dies, the less gold it will have overall, which will delay your item progression quite heavily. This will, eventually, cause you and your team to fall behind significantly, making victory a much more difficult thing to attain.
For the most part, beginners can consult in-game guides for the most common, cookie cutter item builds for each hero. The in-game guides can be accessed through the shop window, which includes an area where you can select the most popular guides. We recommend turning to Michael “Torte de Lini” Cohen’s item guides, which are updated every patch by the man himself. Though they may not have the most optimal builds for every situation, they are a good place to start nonetheless.
Dota 2 has a large complement of weapons, suits of armor, magic trinkets, and plenty of other mystical items for heroes to purchase and play with. These items serve to bolster the power of every hero in the game, with some heroes like hard carries being more dependent on items than others. The reason that gold from last hits exists is to facilitate the acquisition of items, which enhance heroes’ respective properties, abilities, and overall strength
Without items, some heroes would be easy prey for those that don’t require them as much—and some items can even turn entire games around due to how powerful they are. Things like Black King Bar, Blink Dagger, and Daedalus come to mind in this regard, and such items are what separate Dota 2 from its competitors in the MOBA genre. Some items in Dota 2 would be absolutely broken in other MOBAs, in fact.
Because of the sheer number of items, though, it can be quite difficult to remember them all—which is where this item guide comes in. We’ve divided the items in the lists below according to their in-game classifications, which were created by Valve when Dota 2 was released.
As the name implies, consumable items disappear once used, as opposed to permanent items like weapons and armor. They do, however, provide health and mana regeneration, vision and detection (in the case of Observer and Sentry Wards), and a way to quickly travel across the map (Town Portal Scrolls).
The exception to the rule is the Bottle, which does not go away after having all of its charges used up. Instead, it stays in the hero’s inventory, and is refilled when that hero is in their team’s fountain, or when there is a rune inside.
|Animal Courier||Clarity||Town Portal Scroll||Enchanted Mango|
|Faerie Fire||Observer Wards||Smoke of Deceit||Tango|
|Sentry Ward||Healing Salve||Tome of Knowledge||Dust of Appearance|
Items in this section are simple trinkets that provide a flat increase to a hero’s attributes. Affectionately known as “stat sticks”, some of these items can be very cost-effective in the early and mid game, and are essential for survival and sustainability out in the field. In the laning phase, they can help heroes immensely on their own.
Most of these items are components of recipes for more powerful equipment, which can give a distinct advantage later in the game.
|Iron Branch||Gauntlets of Strength||Mantle of Intelligence||Slippers of Agility|
|Circlet||Band of Elvenskin||Belt of Strength||Robe of the Magi|
|Blade of Alacrity||Ogre Axe||Staff of Wizardry|
Items classified as armaments are mostly geared towards directly increasing a hero’s attack damage or armor. These can be useful at almost all stages of the game, especially when incorporated into some of the best weapons and protective items for the late game.
There are a few exceptions, however. Quelling Blade, for example, amplifies a hero’s damage against creeps only. Orb of Venom applies a damage over time effect rather than directly increasing attack damage, and Blight Stone reduces the target’s armor in order to indirectly amplify damage. On the protective side, Stout Shield blocks damage at random, as opposed to armor which reduces incoming physical damage at all times.
|Ring of Protection||Quelling Blade||Stout Shield||Infused Raindrop|
|Orb of Venom||Blight Stone||Blades of Attack||Chainmail|
|Quarterstaff||Helm of Iron Will||Javelin||Broadsword|
Items in this classification increase a hero’s “secondary” attributes, which refers to things like movement speed, regeneration, attack speed, and more. Some of the items found here also grant heroes special effects, such as in the case of Morbid Mask with its passive lifesteal and Blink Dagger with its active teleportation ability.
|Magic Stick||Wind Lace||Ring of Regen||Sage’s Mask|
|Boots of Speed||Gloves of Haste||Cloak||Ring of Health|
|Void Stone||Gem of True Sight||Morbid Mask||Shadow Amulet|
|Ghost Scepter||Blink Dagger|
Recipes in the Common section typically include components from the Attributes section. Most items in this category further increase a hero’s stats, with some providing special effects such as in the case of Soul Ring’s Sacrifice ability or Phase Boots’ Phase.
|Magic Wand||Bracer||Null Talisman||Wraith Band|
|Soul Ring||Phase Boots||Power Treads||Oblivion Staff|
|Perseverance||Hand of Midas||Boots of Travel||Moon Shard|
Pieces in this category are typically used by support heroes, in order to heal or restore health and mana to themselves or their teammates. Most, if not all of the items here also have some sort of passive aura, which radiate outward from the hero that wields them. These auras provide passive benefits to allied heroes within the radius.
|Ring of Basilius||Headdress||Buckler||Urn of Shadows|
|Ring of Aquila||Tranquil Boots||Medallion of Courage||Arcane Boots|
|Drum of Endurance||Vladimir’s Offering||Mekansm||Spirit Vessel|
|Pipe of Insight||Guardian Greaves|
Caster items are exactly what they say on the tin. This category is composed of items that assist magic-heavy heroes, either by enhancing their ability to cast spells or increasing their intelligence, mana regeneration, and available mana.
|Glimmer Cape||Force Staff||Veil of Discord||Aether Lens|
|Necronomicon||Solar Crest||Dagon||Eul’s Scepter of Divinity|
|Rod of Atos||Orchid Malevolence||Aghanim’s Scepter||Nullifier|
|Refresher Orb||Scythe of Vyse||Octarine Core|
The Armor category of item upgrades takes the items from the Armaments section a step further, at least on the protective side. Black King Bar, one of the best items in the entire game, calls this category home—as do some other notable pieces such as Manta Style and Assault Cuirass.
|Hood of Defiance||Vanguard||Blade Mail||Soul Booster|
|Aeon Disk||Crimson Guard||Black King Bar||Lotus Orb|
|Hurricane Pike||Shiva’s Guard||Bloodstone||Linken’s Sphere|
|Heart of Tarrasque||Assault Cuirass|
Just like the Armor category, the Weapons section of the item shop holds upgrades for the damage-increasing pieces in the Armaments section. Most of the items here focus on either adding more raw attack power or multiplying a hero’s attack damage, and so they are mostly reserved for hard carries.
Because of the insane price tags on these items, most of them will be out of heroes’ reach until the late game. Heroes that gravitate toward these items will therefore look to focus on farming early rather than get into engagements that could slow down their item progression.
|Crystalys||Armlet of Mordiggian||Meteor Hammer||Shadow Blade|
|Skull Basher||Monkey King Bar||Battle Fury||Ethereal Blade|
|Divine Rapier||Abyssal Blade||Bloodthorn|
The final category in the list of all items in Dota 2, the Artifacts section contains almost nothing but weapons that apply attack modifiers to a hero’s regular attack—with a few exceptions. Formerly called “orb effects” in DotA Allstars, attack modifiers change the on-hit properties of a hero’s attack, which can be anything from a passive slow (Eye of Skadi) or chain lightning (Maelstrom and Mjollnir).
With the right pick from this category, certain core heroes can really take their physical damage output to the next level.
|Dragon Lance||Kaya||Mask of Madness||Helm of the Dominator|
|Diffusal Blade||Desolator||Heaven’s Halberd||Sange and Yasha|
|Eye of Skadi||Satanic||Mjollnir|
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