Dota 2 Tips: Mars, The God of War, One Month After Release

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Dota 2 Tips: Mars, The God of War, One Month After Release

It has been around one month since Valve introduced Mars, the Roman God of War, into Dota 2. Naturally, during the first few days after his release, he was among the most picked heroes during all of our games.  According to DotaBuff, Mars is still the most picked hero in the Ancient and Divine-Immortal brackets as of today. What’s more, he is also one of the most successful heroes in terms of win rating.

Today, we're going to go through some of the most common builds, lanes, combos and counters for Mars to help you get the best out of the Roman God of War.

Laning and Items

Even though the hero was “advertised” by Valve as a carry, seeing him in the safe-lane is a fairly rare sight. In fact, Mars shines the most when he is put in the off-lane. That’s why he has around 73% off-lane presence backed up with ~55% win rating. On the contrary, his safe-lane win rating is below 50%.

What is interesting is the fact that Mars has the highest win rating in the mid lane, even though many of the top tier mid heroes don’t have that many problems against him.

Of course, the main reason for his success in the off-lane is the fact that Mars is a strength hero. In addition, his talents and abilities also help him to survive longer and do a ton of damage. Due to this, he is able to protect himself and farm at the same time, something which is of utmost importance in the 1v2 or 2v3 off-lane scenario.


Unlike some of the new heroes that completely shift their item builds as time goes on, the item choices for Mars has been pretty standard since day one.

Unlike your typical offlaner, Mars usually goes for some damage items early on, including items such as Phase Boots, for example.  One of his core items is a Blink Dagger simply because it gives the hero some sort of mobility. This is essential in order to place a good ultimate in a team fight. As soon as he has Blink, Mars becomes the main initiator on your team.

Getting some sort of life-steal is also a good idea because it works wonders with his second ability. That’s why the third most popular item that people buy for Mars is Vladimir’s Offering. Depending on the game, Mars can choose to either build himself as a damage dealer or a typical off-lane aura carrier. That’s why you can see some people getting Desolator, Satanic and S&Y, whereas others opt for Guardian’s  Greeves, Crimson Guard and more.

Combos with other heroes

Mars can pretty much combo with any hero that do any sort of AoE Damage. Apart from your typical Invoker, Shadow Fiend and Jakiro combos, here are a few that you might have not seen that often.



An easy and yet effective way to kill someone while Arena Of Blood is active is using Sinister Gaze on him. This will force the enemy hero to constantly “hit himself” for the duration of the spell. Also, let’s not forget combining the two ults – Chain Frost can be devastating if it’s used at the right time.


Skywrath Mage

Sky works with pretty much every hero that has some sort of a crowd control mechanism for the enemies. In this case, Mars can get up to a 3.8-second stun (when you get the talent) with his spear. This means only one thing – a full Mystic Flamer is coming at you.

Keeper of the light

A properly used Kotl ult combined with Arena Of Blood can only mean one thing – you've got a won team fight on your hands. The tricky part is that Will-O-Wisp has to be placed in a way to force the enemies to get out of the circle. By doing that they will get damaged by Mars.


Dark Willow


The Dark Willow/Mars Combo is definitely one of the most annoying things to come across in Dota nowadays. Combining the ultimate of the two heroes results in a hilarious but deadly scenario for their opponents.


Like every other hero, Mars has plenty of counters out there that can make your games incredibly difficult. In general, all spellcasters are deadly to Mars because his passive spell is useless against magical damage. Funnily enough, his biggest in-game foe, Zeus (since both of them are Gods),  is probably one of Mars biggest counters.



Batrider is considered to be one of the most annoying heroes to play against in general. That said, he is just on another level of annoyance when matched up against Mars. The reason for that is Batrider's heavy magical damage completely ignores Mars' Bulwark. What’s more, Sticky Napalm slows the turn rate a lot, which makes it extremely difficult for Mars to face Batrider. And of course, he can always use Firefly and just escape from Arena Of Blood.



The nightmare of every strength-based hero, Timbersaw can easily demolish the God of War. Timber’s entire damage is magical, which means that it ignores Bulwark. However, Mars can also be deadly for Timber if he has a lot of damage items, especially if he has no stacks on his passive spell.



Another difficult hero to play against as Mars is Huskar, as he can easily zone Mars out using Burning Spear’s magical damage. In addition, Life Break’s percentage-based magical damage bypasses Bulwark and can also be used to escape Arena Of Blood.



Similar to Huskar, Ursa is one of the few heroes that can successfully lane against Mars. Fury swipes can be extremely deadly when they stack up, even despite the fact that Mars has tons of physical damage reduction.  Additionally, if Ursa gets an Aghanim’s Scepter, he can dispel Spear of Mars.

All in all, Mars is a pretty solid hero. That’s why I expect that he will continue to be one of the most popular picks until he gets “nerfed to the ground”. Until then, enjoy stunning people for four seconds.

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Dota 2 Tips: Mars, The God of War, One Month After Release
Zlosterr has been a fan of esports for many years and mainly focuses on Dota 2. He has more than five years of experience writing Dota 2 content for numerous platforms. Besides being a passionate fan of the game, he's also played for various amateur teams.