One of the most surprising additions to Dota 2 in this year’s battle pass, and one of the most poorly explained, is the new Sideshop mini-game.
Sideshop might look familiar for those who played Dota Auto Chess or the various knockoffs it inspired, such as Dota Underlords or Teamfight Tactics, but it’s going to be a mystery to everyone else. Even for those who actually play auto-battlers, there’s no real instructions on how the reward system works.
It’s worth looking over the game and giving a quick breakdown on how Sideshop works, and how to earn the best rewards.
The goal of Dota 2 Sideshop is to build up three-star units, similar to auto-battler games.
Players are given the chance to purchase units with a new “gold” currency that is exclusive to the battle pass. Players are presented the opportunity to buy different heroes that cost varying amounts of gold based on their tier, but players can also spend two gold to be given a new set of units for purchase.
If players collect three one-star units, those units will fuse together to create a single two-star unit. Similarly, three two-star units will transform into one three-star unit. Building up three-star units is the best way for players to earn rewards.
Rewards are purchased with either red or blue gems.
Red gems offer players smaller rewards, such as extra consumables, cheap skins, and couriers. Blue gems offer significantly greater rewards including Immortal Treasures, Trusts of the Benefactor, and even Arcana skins.
Players can almost directly convert gold into red gems by selling one, but they gain a bonus by selling them as three-star units.
For example, Anti-Mage is a tier-one unit that can be purchased for one gold, and sold for one red gem. A two-star Anti-Mage costs three gold to build, and can be sold for three red gems. However a three-star Anti-Mage costs nine gold to build, but is sold for 18 red gems.
Tier-two units and better offer greater bonuses for building two and three-star units, but three-star units offer the greatest return by far across all tiers.
The biggest reward in Sideshop is a random Arcana, which costs a whopping 35 blue gems. The only way to obtain blue gems in Sideshop is to by building up tier-four or five units up to three stars. A three-star tier-four unit yields one blue gem, while a three-star tier-five yields three.
This is verydifficult to accomplish, as high-tier units are significantly rarer than low-tier units, forcing players to spend more gold rolling for those heroes. But this is still the best way to get quality skins from Sideshop.
The good news is that there isn’t really any sort of fear for players that fall short of getting the Arcana. If a player amasses blue gems but can’t collect all 35, they can easily liquidate those gems into Immortal Treasures that can be purchased for one gem each. So even if they can’t obtain the Arcana, they can still earn some extra chances at getting the elusive ultra-rare rewards like the new Abscesserator for Pudge.
When it comes to the Sideshop, players are ultimately faced with a choice. Do they want to play for BP points or blue gem rewards? Trying to do both is simply a waste of gold for anyone that isn’t a completionist with thousands of dollars to burn.
For frugal players that bought the basic $10 version of the TI10 Battle Pass and don’t plan to spend much more on levels, it’s worth focusing in on the low-tier units. There are achievements that offer BP rewards that can net a few extra levels, and getting some extra skins and couriers is never a bad thing. More importantly, getting multiple blue gems is nearly impossible without the gold acquired through purchasing hundreds of levels.
For those who dropped the money to guarantee they acquire all of the Arcana and Hero Persona skins in the TI10 Battle Pass, the play to make is completely ignoring tier-one through three units and instead honing in on the tier-four and five units that can net blue gems. While completing all of the achievements related to Sideshop can net 13 levels, that’s almost nothing when the Windranger Arcana demands that players reach level 575.
Honing in on blue gems and the greater rewards that come with them is by far the best way to use gold for players that don’t need levels.