SyndereN gives his thoughts on the state of neutral items in Dota 2 and wonders whether or not they should be removed.

On the popular Dota podcast “We Say Things”, host Troels Lyngholt "syndereN" Nielsen, had some strong thoughts about neutral items. SyndereN expressed his displeasure with neutrals in the section where co-host Shannon "SUNSfan" Scotten and himself were discussing their favorite changes to heroes. Some of these changes included the condensing of Invoker’s spells to just 10 and making sure Techies mines aren’t infinitely stackable.

Are Neutral Items Bad?

But syndereN also lamented that in some ways “[he] thinks Dota is getting a bit too crazy.” While giving praise for the introduction of talents into the game, calling them his “favorite… maybe of all time” he then brought the hammer down on neutrals. He went as far as to say that “after all this time I still don’t think they add any value to the game” adding that “[he] wouldn’t hate to see them go.”

"After all this time, I still don't think Neutral Items add value to the game for me. I wouldn't hate to see them go."

Synderen on the impact of Neutral Items

SyndereN’s words come on the eve of what is expected to be a large balance patch coming up after the Nemestice Battlepass ends. It’s unlikely Valve will remove the items entirely, considering the impact that would have on the players at the International. However, it is worth thinking about in terms of the future of the game.

Luck has always been in Dota

Dota itself has always included elements of luck embedded into it. For example, the Roshan timer controls whether or not he will spawn almost immediate, or after a longer period of time. Neutral items offer a similar luck factor, when they drop after killing a neutral camp. Although luck is a system in the game, it can frustrate some players when you get a set of bad neutral items. For example, you may be a carry player who really wants to get the Possessed Mask, but the best you can do is an Ironwood Tree. The enemy team may even get better ones.

Roshan via Liquidpedia
Roshan via Liquidpedia

In addition, some neutral items are just too powerful. At one point Ironwood Tree was so broken on Timbersaw that you could conceivably keep it for the whole game even above higher tier neutral items. If you’re a position 5 player, all you need to do is find a Philosopher’s Stone. That is pretty musch all you need. Or you get stuck taking whatever neutrals your cores didn’t want.

"They're like stronger than the player"

Synderen on Tier 5 Neutrals

Late game neutrals are too strong

SyndereN himself focused on the Tier 5 neutral items that drop at the 52-minute mark. While conceding that pro games with Tier 5s can have “hype moments” sometimes these items can make or break your game. He went on to say that some of these items require players to be “superhuman", elaborating that the items in many cases can be “stronger than the player.”

One example could be Ballista, which gives you a mini stun on all of your ranged attacks. On heroes like Lina or Windranger, who can accelerate their attack speed to a massive degree, the item is basically broken. There are very little ways to outplay an item that perma stuns you before you can do anything.

Tier 5 Neutral Items Courtesy of PCGamesN
Tier 5 Neutral Items Courtesy of PCGamesN

Perma stun? Sounds Fun!

However neutrals can, in some cases, be ridiculously fun. Perma stunning your opponent when your not on the receiving end does have its appeal. Similarly, they help prevent games from going too long by giving teams just the edge they need to end the game. Plus, it gives you something extra to find when you are power farming through the jungle.

"There should be another way to end the game, like buildings becoming vulnerable"

Synderen on late Game Dota

This is what syndereN thinks are "the best and worst things" about Tier 5 neutrals. They do end the game but should that be how the game ends, with one team getting an "Apex or Ex Machina and making an insane teamfight." SyndereN went on to say that "there should be another way to end the game, like buildings becoming vulnerable or something."

What do you think? Do you agree with syndereN? Should Icefrog remove neutrals from the game? Reach out to us on socials!