How neutral denies work in Dota 2 and how to abuse it

By Kenneth Williams


Aug 29, 2023

Reading time: 2 min

Neutral denies are one of the most misunderstood mechanics in Dota 2, but they can be game-winning plays if pulled off properly.

Dota 2 is full of complicated mechanics. From hundreds of unique interactions to thousands of unexpected synergies, there’s always something to get you out of a difficult spot. In the case of neutral denies, this unintended mechanic allows players to purposefully die to jungle creeps. But why would you ever want to intentionally kill yourself to a neutral? The reasons are numerous, and knowing when and why to kill yourself can make the difference in a close game.

In Dota 2, a neutral deny is when a player dies to a jungle creep, Roshan, or a Tormentor, intentionally or otherwise. This results in zero gold or experience going to the enemy team, though notably, the denied hero does not get a complimentary TP Scroll when they die.

To neutral deny yourself, the most common method is to attack a nearby jungle creep and hope it deals the final blow. This is most common in the laning stage when damage and health totals are low and jungle camps are always nearby. This also works with Roshan and the Tormentor, though the hero will need to attack the Tormentor themselves to proc the damage.

Are neutral denies ever a good idea in Dota 2?

Neutral denies are useful for a wide variety of purposes in Dota 2, with resource restoration and killstreak denies being the most common.

The most common time to intentionally die to creeps is during a fight where enemy heroes will kill you otherwise. If a mid laner has a big streak and is close to death, they may choose to die to a Hellbear rather than give the gold and experience to the enemy team. However, this act does not eliminate the killstreak, and the next time they die to a hero, it will still grant all of the accumulated bounty.

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For some heroes in Dota 2, neutral denies are a common method of refreshing their resources in the laning stage. Skywrath Mage is probably the most common practitioner. The idea is that he spends all of his mana harassing the enemy laners, then dies to either a jungle creep or enemy tower to respawn and repeat the process. In this case, dying to the tower results in a longer respawn time while a creep doesn’t grant a TP Scroll.

Lastly, hero denies are a less common way to get a similar result as neutral denies. There are only a small handful of times this is possible. Allies affected by the following three spells are able to be denied once they go below 25% max health.

  • Doom – Doom
  • Queen of Pain – Shadow Strike
  • Venomancer – Venomous Gale


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