If you haven’t heard already, Dota 2 is getting a new hero by the end of next month, with another soon to follow in the first quarter of next year.
That sure got me excited, especially when considering that there hasn’t been much to be excited about in the game since The International 2020 (TI10) was delayed to next year. With the tournament not happening until next August, many — including me — feared that we won’t be seeing a new hero for a long time too.
But thankfully, Dota 2’s streak of annually releasing new heroes will still continue this year. In fact, I have been so excited about it that I did a bit of digging in order to get some clues on just who the new heroes might be.
Here’s what I found:
The two upcoming heroes could either be a mind-controlling hero, a bird-type hero, an ‘inventor’ hero, or… a forgotten hero from Dota 1.
The clues on the possible identities of the new heroes can be found within the voice responses of Mars and Snapfire, as well as the voice packs that came with the Wraith King, Queen of Pain, and Windranger Arcanas from the TI10 Battle Pass.
Those voice responses are unused, so you won’t be able to hear them in-game. Thankfully, the Dota 2 Wiki has a compilation of all hero voice lines in the game that you can listen to. Here are links to the voice response pages for Mars, Snapfire, the Wraith King Arcana, the Queen of Pain Arcana, and the Windranger Arcana.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the voice lines that clue us in on the possible identities of the upcoming heroes. Let’s start with the mind-controlling hero that I’ll give the codename ‘Puppet Master.’
We know one of the new heroes has mind control powers of some sort because Mars says as much in an unused response for when he kills said mind-controlling hero:
Snapfire, Queen of Pain, and Windranger also have similar lines referring to someone who can somehow take control over other heroes. Here’s what Snapfire says when she kills him:
Queen of Pain also has lines that imply some sort of mind control, with an added detail that the one being mind-controlled is essentially rendered mindless by it.
Windranger also has a line for when she kills the mind-controlling hero.
Now, the reason why I codenamed the mind-controlling hero as the ‘Puppet Master’ is because of this line from Mars:
Mars says those lines when he meets the mind-controlling hero as an ally. Him saying that he doesn’t see any strings seems to me like the mind-controlling hero controls the minds of other heroes as if they were puppets, hence Puppet Master. Or maybe the Puppet Master is manifesting as a puppet but is also capable of controlling other heroes…?
I don’t know, but it’s a very interesting concept for a hero and I’m excited to see how mind control mechanics can be implemented in the game.
Moving on, the second possible hero seems to be a bird, so I’ll give it the codename ‘Birdy.’ Yeah, it’s a bit inane but the defining characteristic of this hero seems to be that it’s just a plain old bird.
Wraith King essentially confirms that this particular hero is either a bird or has bird-like characteristics by describing it as “tiny” and pointing out that it has “hollow bones.”
The bones of birds have pockets of air in them that help provide the large amount of oxygen they need in order to fly, which makes them seem ‘hollow’ to someone like Wraith King, who likes to dine on the bone marrow of his fallen enemies.
Queen of Pain also has lines where she refers to a “precious” forest creature one would see in story books. That creature could very well be a bird, the likes of which you would see flocking to, and singing alongside, fairy tale characters like Snow White — the kind of thing that a demon like Queen of Pain also hates.
Windranger has a line that may refer to a bird. In it, she assures whoever she’s talking that she doesn’t loose her arrows at “critters” she doesn’t plan on eating. As a denizen of the forest, it wouldn’t be strange for Windranger to eat birds and other small forest animals to survive. But ants? That one’s weird. No wonder SirActionSlacks hates her.
Now, a hero being a plain old bird sounds like an awfully boring concept on paper, but I’m not one to knock it. I’m sure there will be other elements to it that we just can’t see from what these voice lines tell us. I mean, it won’t be the first Dota 2 hero whose core design concept is a ‘bird.’ Phoenix is a bird, a sentient star that chose to take the form of a fiery bird, but yes, still a bird.
Plus, a bird somehow becoming a hero still fits in the universe of the game. I mean, the spectrum of hero designs in Dota has the likes of Enigma, a personification of one of the fundamental forces of the universe, on one end and the likes of Sniper, a dude with a gun, on the other. A bird hero will blend in just fine.
Next up is a hero with a knack for inventing, as there are multiple lines referring to his inventions. When Queen of Pain kills this particular hero, she mockingly asks him if he can invent his way out of being killed.
A line from Snapfire also supports the identity of this possible hero as being an inventor, as she gives him some advice on improving his “designs” when they meet as allies.
Wraith King’s lines are a bit more vague, but him talking about to “parts” and “tools” can still point to an inventor-type hero.
This inventor hero may already even exist in the Dota universe, just in a different game. Meet Mazzie:
I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t know that she exists though, since she’s from Artifact, the uh… not-that-successful card game made by Valve that is set in the Dota 2 universe.
Anyway, Mazzie sports the appearance of your typical engineer-slash-inventor, complete with the assortment of wrenches lining her pockets. She also appears to be piloting a steam-powered mechanical suit, similar to the one being used by an existing Dota 2 hero, Timbersaw.
Speaking of Timbersaw, him and Mazzie are part of the same race, the Keenfolk. The Keenfolk are a race of diminutive humanoids — think Dota 2’s version of Tolkienian dwarves on steroids — that are known for their expertise in alchemy, explosives, engineering, machinery, and other physical sciences, basically the stuff inventors are concerned about.
Despite the wide variation of their appearances, other Dota 2 heroes that belong in the Keenfolk race include: Alchemist, Clockwerk, Gyrocopter, Snapfire, Sniper, Techies, and Tinker.
While this new ‘inventor’ hero may not end up being Mazzie, there’s a very good chance that he’ll be yet another Keenfolk joining Dota 2’s extensive roster of heroes.
Finally, one of Queen of Pain’s lines seems to imply that a long-forgotten hero from the early days of the original DotA mod for Warcraft III may soon reappear in Dota 2. Real Dota old heads should know who this line is referring to:
Okay, I admit it’s a long shot, but as soon as I saw this line I had to ask myself, “What hero would possibly have being rich as his motivation to join the War of the Ancients (aside from Alchemist who is already in the game)?”
The answer: Maverick the Gambler.
“Who?” you young’ns might ask. Well, Gambler might very well be the most polarizing hero in the history of the game — yes, even more so than Techies or Pudge — for the simple fact that his abilities revolve around accruing and betting gold.
To see what I mean, just look at his abilities:
It’s hard to think that such a crazy hero would ever be ported to Dota 2 without being massively reworked, and even then it’s still a long shot. But hey, one can dream, right?
It’s great that the Dota 2 community still has something good to look forward to this year, but man, the end of November can’t come soon enough. Say, if one of my guesses here ended up being right, will Valve give me a free Arcana?