Mars, the first son of Heaven, was added to Dota 2 in March 2019. He was added to Captain's Mode in 7.22 and has been a staple of the pro scene ever since.
Mars is one of the most popular off-laners in Dota 2. He has been one of the most picked heroes for the latter part of 2020 and early 2021. The hero received some nerfs in 7.29, meaning he has fallen out of favor recently, but Mars is still a viable hero.
Mars has a versatile tool kit. His first skill, Spear of Mars, is a skill shot where the hero launches a spear, damaging every enemy it hits. The first opponent hit is skewered to it and pushed back, and if the spear hits a tree or building, the enemy will be impaled and stunned.
His second skill, God's Rebuke, is an AOE nuke where Mars attacks enemies in front of him, knocking them back and dealing a critical strike. His third skill, Bulwark, reduces incoming damage when Mars is hit from the front or the side.
Mars' ultimate, Arena of Blood, summons an arena of 550 radius, which blocks enemy movement and attacks. Any enemy that touches the inside edge of the arena gets attacked by spears that deal damage and knock them back.
How to play Mars in Dota 2
As one of the better off-laners in Dota 2, this hero plays a vital role in every game. It is the job of good Mars players to initiate fights, create space, and make the game easier for their carry. Mars is a good jungler, but it is recommended to farm risky areas and push waves instead.
Whenever the enemy is out of position, Mars can jump them and quickly kill them with his ultimate. Arena of Blood is one of the best skills in Dota 2 at the moment, and it can protect allies in addition to trapping helpless enemies.
Mars' early game
Players should start the game with a Quelling Blade, some regeneration, and stat items. Mars' innate durability can be amplified by making a bracer. He has decent base damage and with the bracer, contesting last hits and denies with the enemy carry is very easy.
One way to guarantee a win in the lane is to spear enemies back into Mars' tower. The tower is one of the biggest sources of damage in Dota 2's early game. If an enemy can be impaled into it, it is a guaranteed kill. Supports with a disabling ability synergize best with Mars as they can combine their skills.
A bottle can be helpful to maximize efficiency while farming since Mars has a tiny mana pool.
Mars' mid game
Eul's Scepter is the best possible item for Mars. It is one of the only items in Dota 2 that ignores Status Resistance, making it the perfect item to combine other skills with. In Mars' case, Eul's is the ideal set-up for Spear of Mars to stun enemies. He can even combine Eul's and Spear with his ultimate.
Blink Dagger is another core item for Mars. It allows him to get the jump on enemies and leaves them with no chance to escape. An Aghanim's Shard-upgraded Spear can impale two enemies, which becomes very useful during team fights. Black King Bar gives magic immunity, which is one of Mars' only weaknesses.
Desolator is a good choice if Mars' team lacks damage, while other situational items include auras like Vladimir's Offering and Pipe of Insight. Solar Crest is also outstanding on this hero, and by mid-game, Mars' goal should be to enable his team's carry to win fights and control the map.
Mars' late game
Mars doesn't really have late-game core items. All items in the late game are situational, depending on what the team needs. Mars is one of the most durable heroes in Dota 2, and a Heart of Tarrasque or Shiva's Guard can make him even more long-lasting.
Blink Dagger can be upgraded to Overwhelming Blink, which can deal some bonus damage and make Mars gain bonus strength. An Assault Cuirass or Lotus Orb can help both Mars and his team during fights, while an Aghanim's Scepter increases his damage output a lot.
In the late game, Mars players should focus on catching the enemy carry in their arena and making sure their carry is safe. Arena is one of the best skills in Dota 2, and a clutch Arena can decide the outcome of the game.
As one of the most popular off-laners in Dota 2, Mars can be played in a very versatile role. He can be a damage dealer, initiator, or tank. Arena of Blood can be used for a variety of purposes, from killing enemies to saving allies.
His nerf in Dota 2 7.29 wasn't too severe, and hopefully, Mars can bounce back.
Also read: How to play Lifestealer in Dota 2 7.29b?