Medusa is one of the most-picked and dominant heroes at the Berlin Major, but why? And how?

In case you’ve missed it, or been living under a rock, Medusa is kinda broken in Dota 2 now, especially at the Berlin Major. Starting out with just a 9% pick and ban rate, the Medusa rose in prominence to a 84.2% contest rate by the final day of the Group Stage. And with that came a 76% win-rate in pro games (DreamLeague Season 19 and Berlin Major). 

But why has a hero that starts the game with 120 health and can be instantly deleted risen to such heights? Here’s the breakdown on the tyranny of Medusa at the Berlin Major and in Dota 2 patch 7.33:

(All stats were sourced from datDota, and correct of 01/05/2023)

Medusa dies instantly in lane — but it doesn't matter

(Image via Valve)
(Image via Valve)

We were right about Medusa’s changes being a buff, but wrong about her being strong in lane. Her laning phase is now a high-risk, high-reward situation, where if you can survive it, you can scale into your broken late game.

But you’re literally a creep at level one, with sub 120 health. And even at level 6, you’re sporting just 230hp and barely enough mana. This leads to hilarious situations like Medusa being deleted by an Axe at level six.

Even at level 30, Medusa only has 428 base health, and no strength gain, but it doesn’t matter. The Mana Shield is practically broken late game. It effectively gives Medusa an unbreakable shield with no easy counters. Because Medusa starts with a level in Mana Shield, and it has a unique incoming damage reduction, it stacks with any other damage reduction stats. And just read the tool tip: 98% damage reduction, so long as you have mana! Incredible.

Medusa was already a great carry, but this change can effectively make her immortal in the late game. She regains mana with Mystic Snake, and things like Wand Charges, Arcane Boots, Guardian Greaves, Mangos,  etc. are twice as effective on her due to basically replenishing her effective health.

How do you counter Medusa in Dota 2 patch 7.33?

(Image via Valve)
(Image via Valve)

So the obvious question is what do you do to stop this Medusa? Well, this isn’t mythology, and a Mirror Shield isn’t enough to defeat Dota 2’s Medusa, although it might help a bit. 

Punish Medusa's weak early game

  • While Medusa scales, her early game is still weak. If you can prevent her from getting levels, which are even more important than CS in patch 7.33, you can stall her late game. If you stall it enough, you can win the game before she gets started. And the best way to do this is to…

Pick heroes with inherent mana drain or executes

  • Just do what Jake “SirActionSlacks” Kanner suggests! Lion and Mana Drain. You could use similar logic to pick the Anti-Mage, which should be a natural counter to Medusa, although has early game issues.
  • Or even use the Axe execute that’s gone viral. Perhaps blow her up with Techies. Or Nyx Assassin. Her low health pool means that if you can find a way to get through her Mana Shield, you can kill her.

Itemize against her!

  • The other way to potentially beat Medusa is to itemize against her. BKB and Linken’s Sphere are very effective against Medusa as defensive options. Diffusal Blade is a good active option, with the Disperser upgrade making it a great late game item, it’s a strong pickup against her.

Final Thoughts

The Snake Lady is broken in this patch so it's going to take time for people to figure out how to play against her effectively. In theory, Medusa should suffer if tri-laned against, or bullied early. But the amount of catch-up mechanics and farm in the 7.33 map makes her hard to keep down. In anycase, this is a strong hero right now, and if you can’t beat her, might as well start playing her!

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