A quick guide to Dota 2’s neutral items

Dota 2 heroes grow stronger with the items that they carry in their inventory. Given the scarcity of gold to get the necessary upgrades, every Dota 2 player has to plan their budget according to which stats are helpful now and how the item is useful later. Getting the right ingredients in order does wonders for scaling from early to late game. 

One set of items was introduced in patch 7.23. These cannot be purchased from the store and each side can only get them at random. They are called ‘neutral items’ and they can only drop at random from neutral creeps that spawn in jungle camps. Neutral items add a new element to Dota 2’s already-complex itemization mechanic. 

On one hand, it’s a free item with stats, passive abilities, or active abilities that are just as impactful as standard builds. On the other hand, there’s a wide variety and you can only get them at random so there’s a chance that the enemy’s loot is better than yours. Here are more details about neutral items so you can be more familiar with them.

Neutral items are distributed to five tiers

The first vital information is that neutral items are distributed into five tiers in Dota 2. Rather than adding a slightly improved version of the previous sets, each one has a completely different selection than the last. Neutral items look like a fancy gilded box with colour-coded handles based on tiers:

  • Tier 1 is grey
  • Tier 2 is green
  • Tier 3 is blue
  • Tier 4 is purple
  • Tier 5 is orange

Tier 1 is the lowest in the hierarchy and it appears in the first 7-minute mark of the game with a 14% drop rate. Every other tier from 2 to 4 appears 10-minutes apart from the previous one and each of them have a 10% drop rate. The drop rate for each tier is increased by triple if the unit killed is an ancient creep.

Although a later tier is generally stronger than the last, many items from each set are still so useful even until the game ends. Notable items in Tier 1 include the Trusty Shovel, Keen Optic, and Pig Pole which can be useful for most heroes throughout the game.

Neutral items drop rules

The only element that can make getting neutral items is its rules about dropping either from neutral creeps or from heroes. One of the most important is that only five neutral items per tier can drop for each team. That’s a total of 25 items if the game goes on long enough, but that doesn’t usually happen. 

Consumable neutral items are mostly retired since patch 7.30 but the rules regarding them still persist and will apply to future additions. That rule states that only one consumable neutral item appears per tier for each side in a match. This ensures that players have more chances to claim permanent items that can serve them until the end of the match.

Neutral items dropping limit

Neutral items only drop if they are slain by a real hero or an illusion/clone of the hero within 750 radius. This discourages split farming using cloning heroes like Phantom Lancer or with an illusion rune. Neutral items also won’t drop if there is an enemy hero within 1200 radius from the killed creep. Enemy illusions don’t count so items can still drop in their presence.

Players are encouraged to let their clones or damage per second (DPS) kill neutral creeps for multi-tasking purposes. That’s because items won’t drop if the killer starts channeling Boots of Travel or Town Portal Scroll. This is a safety feature to prevent having to cancel a valuable teleportation ability just to pick up a neutral item.

Taking over a neutral creep won’t cause a neutral item to drop from the dominated unit even if they die later. They have to belong in the neutral faction to be eligible for dropping a neutral item. This also ensures that heroes like Chen, the Holy Knight, don’t make the enemy team stronger when they kill a creep that he has persuaded. 

Sharing neutral items

Every neutral item can be shared without any limitations. You may have a courier pick it up, drop it on the floor for an ally, or move it directly to a nearby ally. It also comes with a neat feature that lets you teleport it to the team stash using only a right-click menu prompt. Despite the animation, the action is instant so enemies don’t have a chance to steal it. 

Stolen neutral items are also usable and shareable. However, they cannot be stored on the stash even if there are vacant slots. Using the right-click menu will only teleport the stolen item to your team’s fountain. The ability to teleport neutral items is available from anywhere on the map. Depending on the current Dota 2 patch, transferring neutral items to the stash can be disabled by the presence of enemy heroes. 

Neutral items usage

Neutral items won’t take a slot in your inventory so you can continue to use your favourite item build from before patch 7.23 and still gain additional effects. Instead, there is an additional slot for a neutral item which can be seen at the far right of the inventory panel. They can be kept in the backpack, together with other items, or a courier’s inventory slot. 

Every hero can only use one neutral item at a time because of this setup. As stated, some provide stat boosts and passive abilities that don’t need any special conditions. They can just stay at the item slot to stay effective. Neutral items with active abilities can be cast like any item ability in Dota 2. The difference is that there is no default hotkey so you have to set it up.