Dota 2 Basics Part 2: Bang for your Buck [Starting Game Itemization]


How to make the most of your starting gold

Red Bull E-Sports Zone (RBEZ) is proud to bring you yet another installment of our Dota 2 guide - and this time around we are talking about early game itemization and how to spend your initial gold.

Your initial starting gold is 625 after selecting your hero; 525 gold if you reselect your hero; if you randomly select you get 825 gold, while swapping heroes with another player starts you with 725 gold.

What you choose to spend your money on is really dependent on which hero you're playing, your role, the lane you're focusing on and what you expect to be facing. If you’re unsure of how to deal with a particular situation or an unusual combination of heroes, then just remain with the generic, always useful basic items.

Let’s start with these basic items that are useful to everyone:

Tango costs 125 gold, and this HP regeneration item has 4 charges that are shareable, making it an almost indispensable item. This item allows you to remain longer in the lane to gain valuable XP and last hits during the early stages of the game.

The Salve is your HP refill that is cost effective at 110 gold per Salve and takes into effect faster than Tangoes. However, you must avoid damage when using it or you'll lose the healing buff.

An Enchanted Mango costs 125 gold and increases your passive HP regeneration per second until it is fully consumed. When the Enchanted Mango is consumed, it gives you an instant boost of 150 mana, allowing for a quick escape or that last needed mana to cast an ability during the most crucial moment.

A clarity potion functions like a Tango, but specifically for mana. The big difference is that like when using a Salve, you must avoid damage or else the buff gets cancelled.

Iron Branch is your basic all-purpose stat item that slightly increases all of your stats for a ridiculously cheap item. For 50 gold the investment is minimal and it’s also useful for completing certain recipes and generally used to fill your empty slots. The stat increase to your HP and Mana pool allows you to cast an extra spell or survive a gank that would've otherwise left you watching a respawn timer.

The Stout Shield boasts as an amazing damage reduction item for 200 gold - a steal for an item that any melee hero can use. Especially useful on carries that are expected to get harassments in a lane.

The Ring of Protection is an alternative to the Stout Shield that costs a little less at 175 gold and builds into a Ring of Basilius or Tranquil Boots, depending on your playstyle.

Role Specific Items:

At only 100 gold, this is one of the most important utility items in the game that generally supports and benefit the whole team. The whole team gets a transporter for items, reducing time to travel back and forth between fountain or shops. The courier brings the item to your feet all the while freeing up your time to farm valuable creeps and experience.

Quelling Blade is a 200 gold melee hero investment that can be used for three types of function. First, a farming tool that can be built into a Battle Fury; second, a method to cut trees for juking/ganking, and third, building an Iron Talon for jungling, the Quelling Blade is versatile and offers options to the discerning melee hero.

Smoke of Deceit sells for a measly 50 gold, and is bought by the supports with extra gold. The ensuing smoke allows the team to gank while under a cloak of invisibility that allows passage through creeps and observer wards undetected.  

Observers are 65 gold a piece and Sentry Wards are 200 for two. Observer Wards give you a better vision of a usually shrouded map, allowing you to avoid enemy flanking maneuvers or surprises. While Sentry Wards as useful to remove enemy wards and their vision of the map, while also doubling as detection for invisible heroes.


Usually reserved for middle lane heroes, the Null Talisman and Wraith Band are cheap enough at 470 and 485 gold each that you can still buy one with a set of Tangoes from your starting gold. They provide a decent stat gain, and when paired with their respective INT and AGI hero they give 9 bonus damage, a much needed boost for easier last hitting, denying creeps that otherwise dominate the lane.

A 400 gold option for offlane heroes to give them the needed edge in speed, Boots of Speed are necessary to escape the lane and avoid early ganks. This is generally useful if the enemy team lacks ‘disables’ in your offlane, and you have an escape mechanism ready.

Examples and Lanes/Roles:


  • Stout Shield
  • Tango
  • Salve
  • Two Iron Branches


  • Null Talisman
  • Tango


  • Stout Shield
  • Tango
  • Salve
  • Mango
  • Iron Branch

Support 1

  • Animal Courier
  • Two Observer Wards
  • Clarity
  • Two Sets of Tangoes

Support 2

  • Sentries
  • Smoke of Deceit
  • Tango
  • Clarity
  • Two Iron Branches

Support Melee Jungler

  • Iron Talon
  • Tango


Till next time,

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