Holy Mary, Mother of Joseph - this year's Winter update for Dota 2, dubbed "The Balance of Power", is looking insane! The first of many, many new introductions is Arc Warden, the penultimate hero to be ported from the original Dota: All Stars! As a controller of energy, Zet the Arc Warden is able to mess with his opponents using slows, evasion, and creating exact duplicates of himself - items and all! In keeping with the "energy" theme, Zeus is not one to be overshadowed, bringing along his impressive new Arcana item as voted for during The International 2015. The item features an all-new base model, particle effects, sounds, and the usual explosive fanfare we have all come to expect from £20+ cosmetics. Zeus' most recent travels are explored further in "The Sundered Moon", the most recent in an ever-growing list of excellent Dota 2 comics. Although Winter and Christmas are typically associated with snow and cold weather, The Balance of Power seems to feature more sand and heatwaves than anything else, introducing the highly-anticipated Desert Terrain map alongside an unexpected Music Pack, and a new Desert Colosseum to reinvigorate the game mode introduced this October during the Halloween update. One of the biggest features missing from the Reborn Source 2 client ever since it launched has been the ability to examine hero stats, effectively forcing users to travel to third party websites such as DotaBuff just to get even the most basic look at their gameplay scores. That's all in the past now, however, as the "Stats" listing on a player's Dota profile thoroughly outlines all of their hero wins, losses, streaks, and rankings, alongside numerous other useful statistics. While the Store and main menu user interfaces may have changed once again, nobody is going to really pay any attention to them for the next few days, as Dota's in-game map has once again changed, introducing new paths, flanking routes, and opportunities for battle! One other key addition includes two new neutral camp locations, one close to each of the Secret Shops. Earth Spirit, Oracle, and Terrorblade have all also been enabled in Captain's Mode, allowing them to be used in the competitive scene. But wait, we're FAR from over, as The Balance of Power update also introduces a new rune, known as the "Arcane Rune", which reduces all spell cooldowns and mana costs for 50 seconds, while a quartet of new items should help mix battles up even further. These items include "Faerie Fire", which increase damage or health (when consumed), "Dragon Lance", which extends the attack reach of ranged heroes, "Aether Lens", which boosts mana, magic resistance, and health regeneration, and the "Iron Talon", which improves armour while also allowing players to cut down trees. Item additions are always nice, but the changing faces of old friends is just as interesting, and there's plenty of new abilities to go around with the introduction of the 6.86 balance patch! Riki's new "Tricks of the Trade" ultimate allows him to quickly damage all enemy units in an area of effect. Faceless Void's new "Time Dilation" offers him the ability to freeze enemy debuffs and cooldowns at the cost of his "Backtrack" ability, which has been removed. Also removed is Doom's "Level Death" ability, which has been replaced by "Infernal Blade", allowing him to ministun opponents for 0.3 seconds before dealing large amounts of damage over a 4 second period. Death Prophet has also been provided with a large 4 second damage dealer. Known as "Spirit Siphon", which replaces her "Witchcraft" passive, the ability slows the enemy target while draining their health as long as they remain within a 300 unit distance from Death Prophet. The ever-neglected Lone Druid has also had an ability replaced, this time costing him "Synergy". The new "Savage Roar" ability increases the movement speed of enemy heroes and forces them to run towards their fountain, likely making for some hilarious moments. The ridiculously massive Balance of Power update includes so many more changes we can't even attempt to go into them, but new features such as the ability to plant trees with Iron Branches and plenty of new Aghanim's Scepter features are definitely ones to watch! The update has since been released to the main game client, so head on over to see just how much has changed!