Valve might have distracted you with all the system and hero changes, but the new batch of neutral items is the real highlight of Dota 2 patch 7.30.
Dota 2 continues to push the envelope with neutral items nearly two years after their introduction. Patch 7.30 rotated out a ton of weaker options and replaced them with the most busted set of neutrals yet. Each side getting five per bracket means that the strongest neutrals will be more impactful than ever. These neutral items could determine which team wins the lion’s share of The International 2021’s $40 million prize pool.
Thanks to the hardworking folks over at Valve, you can now get a free Force Staff at seven minutes. Tumbler’s Toy allows a hero to reposition themself 300 units forward, ignoring impassable terrain. The new tier-one item’s greatest strength is how it will change early ganks. Aggressively positioned mid-laners can save their bacon or use it offensively to take enemies by surprise. The magical rocking horse is both whimsical and powerful, plus it gives a cool 200 mana.
It seems like Valve made an effort to make tier ones more exciting. They removed a lot of the stat sticks and replaced them with situationally useful actives. Pig Pole allows players to hex themselves for a brief boost in movement speed. The cooldown and mana cost are low enough to use multiple times in a gank, but the self-silence and mute means this will usually wind up in a support’s inventory.
Moving up to tier two, Brigand’s Blade seems completely broken on certain heroes. The item grants seven bonus physical damage per 10% of max health the target is missing, up to 63 for characters with characters that have lost 90% or more of their max health. That’s a nice bonus on most heroes, but Troll Warlord, Ursa, and Bloodseeker become absolute monsters with Brigand’s Blade. Windranger is now one of the scariest heroes in Dota 2 once tier two neutrals start dropping.
Dark Willow’s signature item was made for aggressive supports like her. The item deals 20 DPS for seven seconds and tracks an enemy hero. While this sounds like an ideal item for roaming supports, it’s most potent in the hands of a hard-hitting carry. This allows Sven, Phantom Assassin, and Magnus to get one last meaty right-click, bonus damage and all, on a fleeing opponent. If you ever see a Tiny with Fae Grenade on the enemy team, run.
It’s easy to look at Blast Rig and immediately think of what tanky offlaners like Axe and Bristleback can do with it. Those combos are potent, but Blast Rig’s real potential lies in its ability to keep supports alive. Jumping the backline becomes much more difficult when you get automatically nuked and blinded, and it greatly hinders heroes like Storm Spirit who need to be able to land Overloads in order to really nuke down an enemy hero. Blast Rig is going to shut down a ton of ganks both in your pubs and at TI10.
Tier four contains many of the best neutral items players will regularly see, so any new addition will shake up the late game. Ascetic’s Cap is a passive defensive item that grants 50% status resistance for three seconds upon being debuffed by an enemy hero. The shocking part of the effect is its cooldown. 30 seconds is extremely short once you remember that Aeon Disk’s cooldown can exceed two minutes now. Ascetic’s Cap is an excellent item for both vulnerable cores and supports.
Witchbane is an Aeon Disk that works for your entire team. This tier-four neutral item’s name implies that it’s used to counter caster mids like Lina and Storm Spirit, but it’s really just a second Black King Bar for your carry. Shackles, silence, Meteor Hammer, Hex, and more get completely shut down. Throw in the max mana-dependent damage and anti-illusion properties and Witchbane is going to frustrate a lot more than just witches.
The only addition to the tier-five Neutral Items is Arcanist’s Armor, another extremely powerful defensive item. Upon activation, it grants a 35% damage reflection aura for all nearby friendly units, including creeps. It also grants a gob of armor and magic resistance to the entire team as an aura. Five-man Blademail strategies are a common joke in Dota 2, but now players can reflect back an insane amount of damage for free. Pop this before a Kunkka uses Tidebringer to clear a wave and wait for the tips to roll in.