With very little warning or fanfare, Mars – son of Zeus and god of war – has marched into battle in Dota 2.
We knew Mars was coming, but we weren’t quite sure if it’d be February or March. Apparently, Valve opted for the middle of the two and picked the very beginning of March. Hands up if you were expecting it to be sometime in June. Being that March is the month of Mars, that seem quite fitting, though.
Life On Mars
So, abilities! The winner of 2019’s Ganondorf look-alike contest has four, all of which are relatively simple to understand. His Q, Spear of Mars, has him lob his spear. This inflicts damage on everything it goes through and knocks the first hero it hits back a short way. If that hero collides with a tree, cliff, or building, they’re skewered by the spear and stunned for between 1.6 and 2.8 seconds based on ability level.
His W, God’s Rebuke, has Mars use his shield to whack all enemies in a frontal arc. This inflicts damage and knockback… but, uh, also a few other things. Firstly, it has True Strike. Secondly, it does bonus damage to heroes. And thirdly, the damage it inflicts is a crit based on his attack damage. At ability level four, it’ll do 280% critical damage.
His E, Bulwark, is a passive. This reduces damage from all physical attacks Mars takes from the front and side, to a mildly silly extent at high levels. It’s only physical attack damage, but still: at ability level four, Mars takes 70% less damage from frontal attacks and 35% less from attacks from the side. Apparently, you’re going to want to spread out to take him down.
Doing that might prove tricky because of his ultimate, though. Arena of Blood summons a circle of warriors from Ash Legion around him, which block enemy attacks and movement. Heroes approaching the edge of this arena will be hit and knocked back by the Ash Legion warriors, essentially forcing those within the circle to fight him, while those outside can’t right-click their way in.
In Every Dota 2 Match For The Next Month
He’s useful in all sorts of ways, then. If players can master the combination of God’s Rebuke and Spear of Mars (especially with a Blink Dagger for initial positioning) then, depending on cast time, he should be able to stun with relative ease. He’s going to be tanky and tough to take down from the front once he starts ramping up, and his ability to wall off part of a fight brings back memories of Earthshaker’s heyday.
Talent-wise, he can either go for raw damage or opt for more tanky utility. At level 10, he’s got an option between +20 Movement speed or +8 Strength. At 15, he can opt for +8 Armor or +35 Damage. Then, at 20, Spear of Mars can either stun for an additional 1.5 seconds, or inflict +150 damage. Finally, at level 25, God’s Rebuke can have a +80% crit bonus, or Arena of Blood can grant his team +100 HP regen. Which is silly.
Meanwhile: Drow Ranger
Thankfully, he seems to be the only thing in this patch so I don’t need to go into detail about how Windranger has suddenly become a melee agility hero and how Clarity has been reworked into a damage item or anything. The only other addition, in fact, is that Drow Ranger finally has a remodel. I haven’t really looked at this myself, but as long as it doesn’t break any of my lovely cosmetics, I’m fine with it.
Both Mars and the Drow Ranger remodel should be in Dota 2 right now. You can see Mars’ abilities in action over on the official Dota 2 blog.