Valve recently posted a status update about the final few weeks of the year. There’s information about the restart of the Dota Pro Circuit in January, a new Dota Plus season, and a tiny tidbit about the next hero coming to Dota 2.
There’s just one hint: the newest hero will be a “she.” It’s just a small crumb of information, but it’s not going to stop us from overanalyzing the wide range of possibilities presented. She’s going to be a woman, but will she be a mortal, demon, or god?
Here are the possible candidates for Dota 2’s new hero in December.
“The Dota card game,” Artifact, wasn’t a success by most metrics of the word, but it did have stellar art. It also introduced a ton of lore and new characters into the Dota 2 universe.
During Artifact’s extremely brief burst in the limelight, Kanna was one of its most unique, powerful, and popular heroes.
Known as the Priestess of the Dire, her hero ability, Bringer of Conquest, negated the random nature of creep deployment, instead bringing every melee creep to her lane. Kanna’s signature card, Prey on the Weak, summoned a Hound of War for each damaged unit, allowing the player to overwhelm the board in a single turn.
Kanna does have a direct reference in-game from Juggernaut’s Arcana voice pack, who questions Phantom Lancer about “rumors of Kanna’s return.”
She could be an interesting summon-based hero that requires micro skills to fully capitalize on her potential. While Dota 2 has many heroes with varying degrees of micro skills needed, every one of them was ported over from the original Frozen Throne mod. Kanna could be the first original micro-intensive character developed for the game and there will certainly be some hardcore—few, but some—Artifact fans hankering for her inclusion.
Another Artifact hero and leader of the fearsome Red Mist army, Sorla Khan thirsts for blood and the head of her predecessor, Mogul Khan the Axe.
A warrior of the highest pedigree, Sorla understands that structures are the true lifeblood of the battlefield. It’s why her Warmonger ability allows her to personally deal more damage to towers and provides Assault Ladders for her allies to lay siege.
It’s little wonder that such a fierce combatant has earned her fair share of fame. Dark Willow, Pangolier, Juggernaut’s Arcana, and Pudge’s Arcana all talk about Sorla’s unreasonable single-mindedness for bloodshed. She could prove to be a powerful bruiser in Dota 2 and could turn won fights swiftly into objectives with increased sieging damage.
It’s possible that her cosmetic similarities with Axe might prompt Dota 2’s developers to turn her into a Persona rather than a new hero. There’s already a precedent for genderbending a character as long as they still retain distinct design similarities, such as Anti-Mage’s student, Wei.
Artifact isn’t the only game to expand on the Dota 2 universe. A quick visit to Dota Underlords’ White Spire can help us shed more light on the matter.
December’s upcoming hero might be a secret to many, but Anessix has probably already heard of it and will be ready and willing to divulge it, should you pay the correct price.
The Mistress of Secrets is one of four currently released Underlords for the autobattler and the only female. She commands numerous heroes on the battlefield but has potent abilities of her own.
Anessix always has a companion by her side, whether it’s a run-of-the-mill Demon Archer or a significantly larger and scarier Demonic Golem. Her own blood can be used to revitalize or instill offensive fury in her soldiers. Last but not least, her deadly Enthrall commands her forces to wail on a designated target—only to bring them back from the dead as the newest addition to her ranks.
She’s also associated with the Court of Ristul and knows the Queen of Pain.
Unfortunately, it seems like Anessix is keeping her secrets too close to her chest. Queen of Pain makes no reference to her in both her base and Arcane voice lines and neither does any Dota 2 hero.
She does have an interesting double-edged kit that could make her a high-risk, high-reward support if she ever appears in the battle between the Ancients rather than fighting over control of a crime-infested town.
Akasha, the Queen of Pain, is a well-traveled and well-met demon. On the journeys to obtain her hellish new Arcana, she met Vanessa, who’s only human but still immensely dangerous.
The “cunning mortal occultist” managed to enslave the heir to a demon clan, forcing him to be at Vanessa’s beck and call.
Wei’s voice lines align with Akasha’s assessment of Vanessa, painting her as a shrewd wizard who isn’t against breaking a few moral codes to get her way. Anti-Mage and his disciple is evidently xenophobic, however, so take Wei’s evaluation with a pinch of salt.
Little is known about her actual abilities, but a hero that can convert her enemies, even temporarily, could be an interesting addition to the Dota 2 roster, opening up a new avenue of counterplay.
Freya the Valkyrie
An unlikely source might have leaked the name of the upcoming hero: Freya. Less than a week ago, a Reddit user posted a screengrab of a message from the Steam support team. An eagle-eyed user commented that support team members were named after Dota 2 heroes and that this particular one was named Freya, suggesting that the name itself is already in the game’s dictionary. Apparently, a Reddit thread two years ago already places Freya as a possible name for Steam support since then, so she could have been in the works far longer than anticipated.
In Norse mythology, Freya, or Freyja in Old Norse, means The Lady. The battle-hardened people believed that those who fell in battle ascended to heaven: half to the more commonly-known Valhalla, Odin’s great hall, and half to Fólkvangr, Freya’s heavenly meadow.
More than three months ago, a curious user discovered lines of code referring to Valkyrie in the game files. They theorized that Mars’ voice lines about his past love point to Freya, who’s associated with love and war. Yes, Dota 2 doesn’t really respect mythological boundaries, but we already knew that with Mars’ many voice lines directed at Zeus that suggest a long and complicated father-son relationship.
Plus, last year’s The International held in Shanghai introduced Void Spirit, a hero inspired from Asian mythology. TI10 was originally scheduled to be held in a Nordic country, specifically Stockholm, Sweden. Introducing Freya there does seem appropriate.
There’s a compelling trove of circumstantial evidence and myths that have built up around the next hero’s suspected arrival, especially considering that she doesn’t quite get as much references from other Dota 2-related properties unlike the other heroes on this list. But would a mythical Norse god about to bring war to the mortal realm have it any other way?
Speculation aside, all these heroes will make a fine addition to the stable of Dota 2 heroes with their varied skillsets and designs. There can only be one 120th hero, however, and fans will find out come mid-December barring any further delays from Valve.