Valve has announced a new hero for Dota 2, Grimstroke, who is available to play right now. He fills a support role and is particularly good at disabling heroes with ranged attacks. Flaunting a horned demon mask and a giant, mystical paintbrush, Grimstroke has a design inspired by Japanese mythology, with lots of references to spirits and souls. There’s a wonderful artistic flair to his abilities that evoke Japanese calligraphy, too, with his attacks being telegraphed with splatters of ink as he glides through the battlefield.
This inky theming also seeps into the announcement trailer where Grimstroke’s backstory is visualised through splashes of red and black ink. The lore behind Grimstroke is further explained on the official Dota 2 website and, uh, it’s pretty creepy. Grimstroke sacrificed his entire race for power, and now they “exist only as inky revenants, bound forever to his brush.” If that doesn’t spook you enough know that one of his abilities, Phantom’s Embrace, unleashes the phantom of his former lover, who latches onto enemies and scratches at their faces. Charming.
Grimstroke’s Q ability is Stroke of Fate. It’s a projectile of black ink that streaks across the battlefield that damages and slows any enemies in its path. This damage increases with each enemy that the attack hits.
Phantom’s Embrace – that creepy, disturbing ability – is bound to W and releases a phantom that latches onto the enemy, damaging and silencing it. If the phantom lasts the latch duration it causes heavy damage to the victim and then returns to Grimstroke, at which point the ability’s cooldown is refreshed.
Pressing E unleashes Ink Swell, which covers an ally in ink, silencing and disarming them but increasing their movement speed and granting them immunity to attacks. Any enemies near the inky tendris will get damage over time, and after three seconds the tendrils will burst, causing damage to and stunning nearby enemies.
And finally, R controls Soulbind, which lets Grimstroke bind an enemy target to its nearest ally, preventing the two victims from moving away from each other. With the two heroes chained together, when one is hit with a unit-targeted spell, both heroes are affected. If the link is broken before it expires, the bind will shoot out from the original target and once again attach to an ally hero in bind range.
Valve is also planning on releasing another character, Mars. The second hero is teased at the beginning of the trailer and will be available to play later this year.