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Dota 2 Mars Guide: How to March Into Battle as the God of War - Esportsranks
Dota 2 Mars Guide: How to March Into Battle as the God of War

Make the gods proud and march into the battle of the ancients as the god of war with our Dota 2 mars guide.

When 7.21c finally released in early March, a lot of Dota 2 fans felt betrayed. After all, months ago, Valve had promised that the new Dota 2 hero, Mars, would be arriving between the middle of February to early March. However, just a few days later, Valve decided to surprise everybody by releasing Mars.

The literal god of war (and son of Zeus), the game classifies Mars as an aggressive and durable melee-carry who, unlike the likes of other recently-released Dota 2 heroes, is pretty straightforward. He doesn’t really have any complex mechanics. He’s simply a hero that loves to fight and his tool kit is based around that. He’s like the classic Dota 2 heroes, Bristleback and Dragon Knight, who like to get up in your face and brawl.

If you’re interested to learn how to play the new Dota 2 hero, Mars, then you’ve come to the right place.

Below, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about Mars, from where should you play him, and how should you play him and what kind of items should you build for him.

Dota 2 Mars Guide — What Are Mars’ Abilities?

Dota 2 Mars

Mars has four abilities: Spear of Mars (Q), God’s Rebuke (W), Bulwark (Passive — E), and his ultimate, Arena of Blood (R).

Spear of Mars

  • Damage — 100 / 175 / 250 / 325
  • Impale Stun Duration 1.6 / 2 / 2.4 / 2.8
  • Mana Cost: 100
  • Cooldown 14 seconds

Mars throws his spear in a straight line, hitting and knocking back every unit it hits. Heroes hit by the spear are pushed back and can be impaled on rocks and trees, leaving them stunned for a couple of seconds. Keep in mind that using the Iron Branch won’t work with the ability. However, you can impale enemy heroes using other abilities, like Nature’s Prophet and his Sprout, as well as in conjunction with Mars’ ultimate, Arena of Blood.

God’s Rebuke

  • Critical Damage: 160 / 200 / 240 / 280%
  • Mana Cost: 55 / 60 / 65 / 70
  • Cooldown: 16 / 14 / 12 / 10 seconds

Mars stomps his abnormally large shield onto the ground, dealing critical damage to units caught in the area in front of him. The ability also has True Strike, which means, it will never miss, making it perfect for heroes who have evasion abilities, such as Phantom Assassin.


  • Front Damage Reduction: 25 / 40 / 55 / 70%
  • Side Damage Reduction: 12 / 20 / 27 / 35%

This is pretty much like Bristleback’s, well, Bristleback skill, but instead of applying damage reduction to any type of damage, Bulwark only works against physical attacks. So, don’t get any wrong idea of tanking Lion’s Finger of Death, or Lina’s Laguna Blade. You’ll be in for a world of hurt if you do that.

Arena of Blood

  • Spear Damage: 150 / 200 / 250
  • Mana Cost: 200
  • Cooldown: 90 / 75 / 60 seconds

Being the God of War, Mars can do a lot of things, including, resurrect the dead. Or, at least, those who were part of his former army, the Ash Legion.

Using Arena of Blood, the new Dota 2 hero can summon a circular arena that prevents enemies from going in and out of it. Any enemy attempting to go outside while the Arena of Blood is still active will get skewered for 150 / 200 / 250 damage.

Dota 2 Mars Guide: Mid, Safe or Offlane?

Dota 2 Mars

Our Dota 2 Mars guide is mostly optimized for playing Mars in the offlane, not in the safe or middle lane. (Valve / Dota 2)

Mars is a hero that has excellent tank potential against certain lineups despite lacking a lot of items, and he’s got decent wave clear, allowing him to farm fast, both in the lane and in the jungle. Give him farm, and Mars is an absolute monster that can easily take over games , which makes the safe lane viable. However, the offlane feels like the natural position for this hulking brute.

The thing is, Mars isn’t a squishy hero, nor is he hard enough of a carry to be able to benefit as much from a lot of farm priority. Putting Mars in the safe lane means putting your team on a timer, because he does fall off eventually.

The middle lane is a good idea, albeit, when only against certain matchups. Mars can clear waves relatively fast, has decent attack damage, and is an excellent laner. The issue? Mars isn’t exactly the sort of hero to make rotations. He’s got limited mobility. He’s a hero best played as someone who forces rotations to come to him, therefore making space for his other teammates by drawing the attention of the enemy team. Even if you can do that in the middle lane, that’s a job that you can still do as effectively from the offlane.

Not to mention, by playing Mars in the offlane, you can make life miserable for the opponent’s safe lane carry and force them to make rotations there, freeing your team’s other two cores.

Dota 2 Mars Guide: Abilities and Talent

  • Spear of Mars: Levels 1, 3, 5, 7
  • God’s Rebuke: Levels 2, 4, 8, 9
  • Bulwark: Levels 11, 13, 14, 16
  • Arena of Blood: Levels 6, 12, 18

As for the Talent Tree, opt for the following choices: +8 Strength, +8 Armor, Spear Stun Lasts +1.5 seconds, God’s Rebuke +80% Crit.

So, Mars is a hero like Bristleback, but, we’re not putting any points on Bulwark early on? Yes. The reason? It’s pretty simple. A simple Stout Shield and some regeneration items are enough to help you survive in the lane for the first 12 minutes or so. Putting points early on Bulwark will only prevent you from playing as aggressively as you should, which minimizes your impact on your lane.

Spear of Mars and God’s Rebuke are excellent harassment tools. They do relatively high damage, and have low cooldowns. You can use either one or both to zone out enemies, or farm creeps. You can even use Spear of Mars to set-up kills on enemy heroes.

Also, if you pick up Bulwark first, or even worse, max it out, you’re essentially a sitting duck if you happen to fall behind in terms of farm or levels, which can happen because you can’t flash farm as fast without either one of Spear of Mars and God’s Rebuke. It doesn’t matter if they don’t do a lot of damage to you if you don’t do a lot of damage to them in return, so you’re better off using both Spear of Mars and God’s Rebuke as aggressively as you can during the laning phase as you try to outlevel your enemies.

Dota 2 Mars Guide: Items

Mars is a tank, first and foremost. Yes, he can dish out a lot of damage with the right items. However, Mars is most effective when he plants himself in a lane and all but dares anyone to challenge him. And, because he’s naturally tanky, it’ll take more than one hero to take him down, or lest, the enemy team risks trading a death or two for nothing.

Even if Mars is a literal god though, he does have weaknesses.

Case in point, Dota 2 Mars has a low mana pool, limited mobility, and is also quite vulnerable to magic. This is why, you’re going to itemize to help cover up Mars’ weaknesses while also improving on his strengths.


  • Soul Ring — Having a Soul Ring allows you to trade your health for more mana, making it easier for you to use Spear of Mars and God’s Rebuke to harass enemy heroes while also granting you a bit of regen in return. Buy this ASAP.
  • Vladimir’s Offering — More often than not, Vladimir’s Offering should be your next item after the Soul Ring because it’s got everything you need — more mana for higher harass and kill potential, as well as more armor and lifesteal for added survivability.
  • Blink Dagger — It actually feels quite tempting to build Shadow Blade on Mars, but don’t. You’ve got excellent burst damage potential, and unless you’re playing in the lower ranks where people don’t really buy detection much, you’re better off buying a Blink Dagger so you can initiate from afar to isolate and take down the enemy back lines.
  • Heaven’s Halberd — A typical utility-core item that allows you to disable enemy cores while also giving you a bit more survivability.
  • Hood of Defiance — The answer to all of Mars’ magic resistance woes, the Hood of Defiance is a great pick-up after the Soul Ring in case you’re up against a lot of magic-based nuke. As an added bonus, you can upgrade this to a full Pipe of Insight down the line.
  • Crimson Guard — Good luck trying to take Mars down as a physical damage right-clicker once he has an early Crimson Guard. The amount of damage negotiation Mars gets from Crimson Guard and Bulwark is just insane. You can literally tank the fountain while the active is on.

Luxury Items

  • Mjollnir — A godly weapon for the god of war, Mjolnir also fits as it adds a powerful spell damage to God’s Rebuke and normal attacks while also giving Mars even more kill potential while inside the Arena of Blood because of the attack speed bonus and Static Charge.
  • Radiance Radiance isn’t a must-have item on Mars, but, if you can build it on the hero without really sacrificing any of your core items, then feel free to do so. Mars is already an intimidating presence as it is in fights, and having Radiance only makes him even more scary.
  • Assault Cuirass — More armor + more attack speed + aura. What more do you need?
  • Heart of Tarrasque — Duh?

Honourable Mentions

  • Rod of Atos — If you need an excuse to build more than one Bracer, the Rod of Atos is a pretty good reason.
  • Hand of Midas — If you’ve got the money to spare, or, if you plan on roaming around the map or fighting as a team while making space for one or two of your team’s cores, Hand of Midas allows you to keep up with the farm and help you to stay ahead in terms of levels.
  • Armlet of Mordiggian — A common pick-up for Mars players who like to run the hero in the middle lane, Armlet of Mordiggian gives you strength, damage, and armor, which are all great for a Mars that wants to keep on taking the fight to enemy heroes.
  • Drum of Endurance — For those who’d like to go all-in on the aura build, Drum of Endurance can be useful. It’s just that, it feels like more of a delay than anything else.
  • Solar Crest Solar Crest would’ve been a good item for Mars if only, like Drum of Endurance, it didn’t feel unnecessary or overkill. The item does still have it use on the hero, however. For example, you can pick up Solar Crest if your team composition isn’t necessarily great at taking down Roshan.

What do you think of our Dota 2 Mars Guide? Do you think Dota 2 Mars will get a significant nerf in the next patch before he is added to captain’s mode? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.

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