Neutral items got a much-needed makeover in Dota 2 7.33, but players aren’t taking a liking to Valve’s shiny new toys.
After years of tinkering from Valve, neutral items finally feel like a solidified part of Dota 2. Their current form is a far cry from the anarchy of their release, with garbage disposal Lone Druids and overpowered Huskars grabbing as many as they could. With the addition of the token system as a new mechanic in patch 7.33, they’re fairer than ever before.
However, the newest additions to the bunch are still seeing startlingly little play. Are they really as bad as their pick rates would suggest?
Dota 2 patch 7.33 added, among many other things, seven new neutral items for players to consider. They are as follows in ascending order of tier, along with their popularity compared to all items according to Dotabuff:
- Spark of Courage – 203rd most popular
- Duelist Gloves – 194th most popular
- Gossamer Cape – 131st most popular
- Dandelion Amulet – 85th most popular
- Defiant Shell – 129th most popular
- Vindicator’s Axe – 101st most popular
- Martyr’s Plate – 156th most popular
7.33 neutral items still have insanely low pick rates
All seven of the new 7.33 neutral items are incredibly unpopular, with staggeringly low pick and win rates.
The most popular of the bunch is Dandelion Amulet, which provides 300 mana, 25 move speed, and an active that provides a 300 magical damage shield. It’s versatile and perfect for supports, which makes it stand out against the crowd.
Many of the newest neutrals simply have too specific use cases or are eclipsed by alternatives in the same tier. Take Spark of Courage for example. It either grants bonus damage or armor, but never at the same time. Meanwhile, Broom Handle grants both all the time, along with a nice attack range boost. For intelligence heroes, such as most supports, Arcane Ring does an even better job.
Valve seems to have taken a particular interest in items that change roles depending on the player’s situation. Vindicator’s Axe grants bonuses when the equipped hero is silenced or stunned, which are positions no one wants to be in. Gossamer Cape’s primary feature is only activated upon being attacked, something no hero wants to deal with. Without an enemy hero nearby, Duelist Gloves don’t really do much at all.
Some of their unpopularity can also be attributed to players sticking with what they know. This is especially true for Dota Plus users, who consistently get older items recommended over new ones. Spell Prism has stood the test of time as one of the most popular neutral items, with more than 9 million games in 7.33. Compare that to the most popular pick of the new batch, which is Dandelion Amulet at just over 5 million.
Valve has access to even better numbers, and the developer is likely monitoring the situation closely. Expect to see reworks or number buffs for the new items in 7.33d or beyond, and maybe some retractions in the next numbered patch.