The International 2023 rolls on and while fans are excited to see the best teams in Dota 2 face off, they’re also looking forward to the probable reveal of new heroes. This year, those heroes might be from Newerth.
Dota 2 doesn’t get new heroes all that often at this point, but when it does they’re first revealed at The International. From Void Spirit to Marci to Muerta, new heroes are typically unveiled before crowning a new championship team. This year likely won’t be any different, but who will the next character, or characters, be? Valve has actually given some hints.
Dota 2’s content updates have typically been defined by Valve’s inability to actually coordinate with itself. This has been seen in a number of different ways, ranging from major balance patches shipping hours before significant Dota 2 esports matches to Dawnbreaker getting revealed right after Marci became a fan favorite in DOTA: Dragons Blood. 2023 has seen Valve actually drop hints and teases about future content, and that provides an actual ability to predict what might get added to the game.
Heroes of Newerth-themed characters may be revealed as the next Dota 2 hero at TI12
Blog posts in Dota 2 have hinted at new content in recent months and they could be pointing to the next new hero. The most likely candidate is arguably a Dota 2 equivalent of Heroes of Newerth’s Puppet Master.
There are two notable examples of this, including a “censored” hero name that appeared in August’s Summer Client Update and a mysterious ticket that appeared in artwork used in the New Frontiers Update blog post. The ticket in particular is the most notable and ties into an incomplete hero that was discovered by data miners codenamed “Ring Master.” Ring Master replaced Puppet Master whose name would fit the circus theme of the ticket, another unreleased hero that was discovered by data miners.
Valve has experimented with a version of the hero for years now. Puppet Master was uncovered alongside more than 20 other in-development heroes in a data mine in 2019. These data-mined hero names have teased new releases in the game. A hero codenamed “Hoplite” likely became Mars and “Valkyrie” was probably a prototype of Dawnbreaker
Puppet Master isn’t the only character that has been discovered in data mines and isn’t the only hero of Newerth that could get a Dota 2 homage.
Another prototype hero that was discovered in Dota 2 by data miners more recently is “Bird Samurai,” which fits alphabetically with the “censored” hero. An anthropomorphic bird character conjures up memories of Prophet from Heroes of Newerth but their leaked abilities included “Avian Assault” and “Plumage Parry,” with Prophet being a caster.
The most advanced character from the 2019 data mine next to Puppet Master was “Vampire.” The vampire theme and ability names line up to some degree with Dampeer, an anthropomorphized bat built around lifesteal.
Players likely won’t have to wait long for confirmation of the next Dota 2 hero. The reveal will likely come alongside the TI12 finals weekend on October 28 and 29. The reveal of new heroes may also be accompanied by larger events in Dota 2 like those seen in the game’s early years, with Valve stating that the scaling back of the TI Battle Pass was designed to create more development bandwidth for in-game events. Whether that proves true or if it’s just a cash grab from Dota 2 esports remains to be seen.