Roshan gives players free items, but there are occasions where it’s better for Dota 2 players to break an item instead of picking it up.
A recent Dota Pro Circuit match between Team Liquid and Tundra Esports had an odd circumstance. While playing as Marci, Tundra’s Martin “Saksa” Sazdov found himself holding a dropped Aghanim’s Shard by Roshan. Rather than using it, he dropped it on the ground and broke it.
The decision drew laughs from the commentary desk, but also confusion from fans. While some assumed Saksa was trolling, being silly, or even griefing, that’s not actually the case. There are some very specific circumstances where this is a tactically sound decision.
When should you break items in Dota 2?
Breaking items in Dota 2 can be done to reduce a player’s net worth.
Breaking items is traditionally done by trolls to guarantee a loss for their team, but there is a tactical application. When an item is broken, it lowers the player’s net worth accordingly. This isn’t the case if the item is dropped on the ground or moved to a player’s stash.
This applies to Aghanim’s Shard as well, as it increases the user’s net worth when used. For heroes with a bad Aghanim’s Shard upgrade, this actually serves as a handicap rather than a benefit.
In Marci’s case, Aghanim’s Shard changes Rebound to allow players to essentially use it as a second Dispose. This is highly situational in the best of cases, but is outright bad for a position four Marci. This made Saksa’s decision to break the item a smart one. In this vein, there are some situations where breaking an enemy’s item is a bad idea.
There are certain situations where players might drop an item on the ground. This could be done to manage inventory or increase the efficacy of healing. If an enemy snatches the item, they’re best served by simply moving it to their stash and leaving it there. By having the enemy’s item in their stash, this still counts against the owner’s net worth and drives up their buyback cost and death timer.