Dota 2 has many heroes to pick from, but measuring exactly how many is more complicated than you might think.
As of patch 7.31b, Dota 2 has 123 playable heroes in the game. Each hero has a unique set of abilities, stats, talents, Aghanim’s upgrades, and more. All heroes are completely free to play. While not all are available in the esports version of Dota 2, Valve continues to churn out at least one new playable character every year for Dota 2.
The most recent Dota 2 hero is Primal Beast, who arrived in February 2022. Other recent additions are Marci, Dawnbreaker, and Hoodwink in that order.
Esports fans don’t get to see quite as many Dota 2 characters as do casual players. Only 121 heroes are enabled in captain’s mode. Marci and Primal Beast are banned from competitive play until Valve officially approves of their inclusion.
Dota 2 first launched as a beta test with fewer than 46 heroes, meaning that 77 heroes have been added over more than a decade, bringing the total number of Dota 2 heroes to 123.
At the very first edition of The International in 2011, pro players got to pick between just 46 heroes. Several icons of the game, including Io, Juggernaut, Techies, and Meepo, were yet to be added. Valve then quickly began the task of porting every hero over from the original Dota. That project finally ended with the release of Abyssal Underlord in August 2016.
Since then, Valve has added 11 original heroes starting with Monkey King in late 2016 and leading up to Primal Beast in February 2022. Brand new Dota 2 characters are added either individually or in pairs during big updates. Pairs of new heroes include Snapfire and Void Spirit, or Dark Willow and Pangolier.
Marci is technically Dota 2’s first crossover character. She is based on the Dragon’s Blood original character of the same name, taken from the Dota 2-inspired Netflix show.
Dota 2 usually gets two new heroes every year with some exceptions. Three new heroes were added to Dota 2 in 2019, one in 2020, and two in 2021. Only one has been released thus far in 2022, and no one knows how many more Dota 2 heroes could come out by the end of the year.
New heroes used to be added much more often when Dota 2 was still being actively ported over to the Source engine. Now Valve has to come up with entirely new kits with little to base them off of. New heroes tend to be at least a little imbalanced at launch, but generally become integral parts of the game within a matter of months.
Primal Beast’s release date of February 23 may hint toward more heroes coming this year than the standard two. The last time new heroes were added so early in the year was Terrorblade and Phoenix in early 2014. Four heroes came out that year, so it’s possible that three heroes will be added in 2022 instead of the usual two.