Mars: New Dota 2 hero release date, what we know and theories

Dota 2

5/3/2019 UPDATE: Dota fans celebrate as Mars is finally released

Mars will be the new hero released in Dota and is expected to arrive imminently. Mars will be the 117th hero in the game and is highly anticipated among the community. Here’s what we know, some of the rumours and one fan's interesting theory around the release of Mars.

Mars release date

The exact release date is not known but a tweet by Wykrhm Reddy, a trusted source of Valve updates, said Mars would be released at the end of February or early March 2019.

That update came in January, at the same time the 7.21 patch balance update and new ranked season updates were announced.

Given that the month of March takes its name from Mars, the Roman god of war, could March 1 be the release date? Yes, we are clutching at straws for clues a bit here.

What are the rumours?

At TI8 Valve showed a trailer for two new heroes, Grimstroke and Mars. They immediately release Grimstroke with a promise that Mars would follow in Winter.

Rumour has it that Mars will be a Strength hero, likely to be played as a core in either the offlane or as carry, with the speculation that you’ll be able to summon your own army of units to do battle. The leaked skill, Phalanx may be a displacement spell that allows you to push enemies away similar to Pudge’s hook but in the opposite direction.


Previous hero releases

Mars will be only the fifth new hero to Dota 2 never released in the original mod for Warcraft 3, joining Monkey King from December 2016, Dark Willow & Pangolier released in October 2017 and, most recently, Grimstroke during The International 8 in August 2018.

What about the meta?

It’s difficult to say how Mars will affect gameplay, but the most recent heroes have all proved to be disruptive to the meta even after multiple balance changes by Valve. We often see both public and professional games dominated by the likes of Monkey King and Pangolier.

New hero releases in Dota 2 are few and far between these days so each one brings a mixture of trepidation and excitement to the community as they breathe new life into the game and upset the current power balance.

A time for heroes


Heroes are the essential element of Dota 2, as the course of the match is dependent on their intervention and right now there are 116 heroes available on Dota 2 (not including Mars). They have one of three primary attributes: Strength, Agility, and Intelligence. Every point added to a hero's primary attribute increases that hero's attack damage.

The Sorla Khan theory

Dota 2 and Artifact fan Riley - an active member of the Luckbox discord community - has a theory about Mars.

Riley says: "After thousands of hours in Dota 2 and 100+ hours in the Dota universe-set TCG Artifact, I have a solid theory that explains why the upcoming Dota 2 hero will be the currently Artifact-exclusive hero Sorla Khan. On terms on mythology, Mars, which is always thematically associated with war, fits Sorla Khan's lore in which she and her Red Mist Army have the singular purpose of creating and spreading war across the world, thus her heroic title and special ability in the game, 'Warmonger'.

“This theory was developed quite a bit on Reddit threads, but it dissipated quickly without fully developing to a deep discussion due to the Mars teaser trailer on 2018, and most of the community perceives it as too-visually different.

“I beg to disagree. As we learnt from the 2016 Monkey King trailer, trailers can be very misleading, although I see the trailer actually supports my theory. The trailer shows a hero in possession of an army, and that the entire trailer is covered in red mists (Red Mist Army, anyone?).

“The hero is also shown to wield a spear and shield - Sorla Khan's weapon of choice. The idea of the difference in stature leads to my idea of the twist that earned Sorla Khan the title ‘Mars’ since Artifact lore is canonically a prequel to the Dota 2 lore, there are room for a major plot point to happen between where Sorla will gain access to godlike powers (my theory is through an armorlike artifact, explaining the change of her stature). The best example of such drastic change happening is Legion Commander's lore, especially her arcana's lore (her army got wiped by demons and she got demon powers).

The inclusion of an Artifact-exclusive hero on one of their most popular titles makes total sense in such a plan

“Finally, it makes total sense in Valve's point of view. Artifact is the first game Valve released in years and it's not looking great in terms of PR work done. Im 100% positive Valve has plans to address this (there's no such thing as a game too dead - remember Rainbow Six Siege?), and the inclusion of an Artifact-exclusive hero on one of their most popular titles makes total sense in such a plan.

“The last thing I would like to point out is how the Strength-type hero has almost zero female representation, in an era where the most popular games address topics like gender diversity. It may look like Valve is the last company to give a damn about this, but hey, remember that they turned Legion Commander from male to female in Dota 2 to have a female hero in their all-male Strength hero panel.”

Agree with Riley? Disagree? Join the debate in the Luckbox Discord server.

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