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Tier-five neutral items in Dota 2 are overpowered by design. They serve as extremely useful tools that are only available late in the game to break up stalemates. A bug with the Mirror Shield, however, might have made a game impossible to lose.
The Mirror Shield in its current iteration blocks most single-target spells toward its bearer, also reflecting the spell back at its target. It has a cooldown of eight seconds when equipped to a hero.
Much to a Reddit user’s chagrin, however, the player discovered a bug in the game that makes it so that illusions, while unable to reflect spells, don’t have a cooldown on the item and consistently block targetted spells.
The player’s ally, handling a Zeus, was unable to cast any of his spells on Phantom Lancer’s illusions. Coupled with Phantom Lancer’s ability to consistently generate illusions, the Lancer was practically invincible since his enemies were ill-equipped with non-targeted spells or physical damage to take down the obnoxious hero.
This meant that Phantom Lancer’s team was able to fight back against a ridiculous 60,000 gold advantage and eventually win the game.
Previously, illusions were able to reflect the spells. Since no illusion in the game is capable of using items, it was promptly removed. The fix seems to have removed the reflecting part but has caused this buggy side effect to occur.
Part of the tier-five neutral items that were introduced in the Outlanders update, the Mirror Shield has already gone through multiple reworks in a few months due to the item’s unparalleled versatility. While it serves as a defensive item that functions as an even better counterpart to Linken’s Sphere, it also provides a sizeable stat boost that makes it suitable for a Crystal Maiden to Medusa.
The scarcity of tier-five neutral items means that it becomes incredibly difficult for Valve to collect data on how the items work. Since the items can only be found after a game hits the 60-minute mark, few players manage to get up close and personal with them. While players can spawn the items in demo mode, it’s not easy to gauge the item’s worth and strength without it being in a real-game situation.
Regardless, this bug is certainly a game-breaking one that’s capable of swinging a game entirely in one team’s favor. Expect to see the bug fixed soon and expect more changes and problems with tier-five neutral items.