After a long winter, and many promises that our latest hero would be entering the arena soon™, Mars, the God of War, has been added to the Dota 2 multiverse. This large and in charge hero exemplifies the mythological God, from his famous shield and Athenian helmet, to his red and ember color scheme.
Let’s break down this tank and see how he’ll fit into any given lineup.
At first glance, Mars’ abilities are reminiscent of other heroes and don’t feel unique to the game. But although they echo other heroes, in combination Mars is an indomitable tank who is able to disable enemies in a flash, and is unrelenting in his push to fight.
Spear of Mars
Mars’ first ability, Spear of Mars, is a combination of Grimstroke’s “Stroke of Fate” or Magnus’ “Skewer” with Mirana’s “Sacred Arrow”. Mars throws his spear in the direction he’s facing damaging all enemies in his path. Unique to Mars, when the spear makes contact with the first enemy (creep or enemy hero) it skewers the unit and pushes it backwards. If the unit collides with a piece of the terrain, like a tree or a cliff, the unit will be stunned for a period of time. This ability works on both visible and invisible heroes which is great for countering a gank attempt or a pesky invisible Riki.
Nothing says Roman mythology like a disapproving God. Mars’ second ability appropriately called God’s Rebuke is an AoE knockback that deals critical damage and additional bonus damage to heroes. When activated, Mars pushes back his enemies back in a 140º arc dealing up to 280 percent critical damage. This nasty wave clearing ability is crucial when Mars activates his ultimate as the combination between his ultimate and God’s Rebuke is just unfair.
The definition of a bulwark is a defensive wall and Mars’ third ability is on-point with this definition. Bulwark is a passive ability that reducing the incoming damage that Mars would take depending on where the damage is physically coming from. Much like Bristlebacks’ “Bristleback” ability, Bulwark reduces the incoming damage from the front and sides of Mars to a varying degree. For damage that is coming from the front of Mars, the damage can be reduced to up to 70 percent. Damage coming from the side of Mars is reduced to up to 35 percent—half of the front damage. Whereas Bristleback’s ability is a defensive ability, Bulwark was designed to keep Mars in battle. The God of War is relentless is his attack and Bulwark intends to keep him in battle for as long as possible.
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Arena of Blood
If the name of Mar’s ability doesn’t instill fear, then knowing what his ultimate ability is capable of sure will! When activated Arena of Blood creates an impenetrable arena or circle around Mars that prevents heroes from escaping his attacks, prevents incoming damage from outside of the circle, and disallows help from the outside world. This circle is composed of undead warriors from the Ash Legion, and they prevent any interaction from anything or anyone from the outside world. Currently this ability can be abused in fountain dives as it doesn’t allow for the fountain damage to go through and it also disallows tower damage to getting through the impenetrable arena.
All of Mars’ abilities are meant to be used together. When Arena of Blood is activated, heroes trapped inside the arena can be skewered against the wall by using Spear of Mars. Then Arena of Blood activates and inflicts more damage to the hero after taking the damage from Spear of Mars. And if the hero wants to fight back, Mars will be taking 70 percent less damage if they face him head on in the arena. And this doesn’t even cover his interactions with other heroes.
It’s really refreshing to see this new hero being added to the game. I joked about waiting all winter for Mars but in truth Dota 2 fans have been waiting since the International last August. He’s going to be a little unbalanced to start with, and of course he’s going to be in every game you queue for from now until he gets nerfed. So good luck queuing up during the coming weeks and I hope that you get to try out this larger than life God sometime soon!