has teamed up with SlashStrike and Metafy to bring you the most comprehensive guide there is on Medusa in Dota 2 Patch 7.33c

It’s been quite some time since Berlin Major yet Medusa is still terrorizing your pub games. People found success playing her in all five positions, from hard carry to hard support. This is a telltale sign of an overpowered hero, and it did not take long for IceFrog to drop patch 7.33c in response. A couple of nerfs to her early levels of Mana Shield proved to be an elegant solution, drastically weakening support Medusa while maintaining the same late-game powerhouse identity of core Medusa.

Still, the unique mechanics surrounding the new Mana Shield are clearly here to stay, and so we have prepared a comprehensive Medusa guide to help you understand the hero, giving you the upper hand when playing either with or against her.

This guide was written with special help from Stoyan "SlashStrike" Kralchev and Metafy. SlashStrike contributed in the writing and formatting of this article, and much of the wording is his own. SlashStrike is currently the top-rated Dota 2 coach on the Metafy platform, peaking at over 8k MMR and top 43 on the EU Leaderboards.

Despite a nerf, Medusa is still one of the most-played heroes in Dota 2

(Image via Dotabuff)
(Image via Dotabuff)

Medusa’s win and pick rate had a significant jump within the last month days, specifically starting April 26, a day after patch 7.33 release. Her win rate, which used to hover around less than 50 percent, went all the way to the 60 percent rate. Meanwhile, her pick rate went from three percent to around 20 percent. Those are some of the highest peaks seen in a hero. In ranked matchmaking alone, there were a total of over 47 thousand Medusa games in the last month. So why in the world is she that popular right now?

The impenetrable Mana Shield

(Image via
(Image via

If you haven’t already realized, there were a number of changes made to Medusa’s kit, particularly her Mana Shield. Mana Shield is now a passive ability that she starts with at level one, and it absorbs a massive 98% of incoming damage - her strength, however, has been reduced to 0 with 0 gained per level. This means that her mana pool now essentially replaces her HP pool, which opens up a large number of unique interactions.

  • Increasing / decreasing her armor and magic resistance has no effect on her
  • Increasing / decreasing her lifesteal and hp regeneration has no effect on her
  • Regular HP healing (i.e. Oracle, Omniknight, etc.) has no effect on her
  • Mana restoration (i.e. KotL, Pugna) is equivalent to HP healing for her
  • When Mana Shield is maxed, eating a Mango and restoring 100 mana is the equivalent of a 360hp heal for Medusa

Mana burn is now an even bigger counter to her, but that is something that very few heroes have access to - deal with them, and you can crush anyone. 

Medusa Core Build Guide for Dota 2 Patch 7.33c

(Image via Valve/
(Image via Valve/

Not much has changed regarding the best way to build Medusa as a core, with the exception being some newly valuable early game items:

  • Magic Wand, Ring of Basilius, Mangoes and Raindrops all provide valuable cheap mana, which is the equivalent of cheap HP when it comes to Medusa. 
  • Power Treads and Manta Style are still the two most important items that you want every game. Medusa's illusions are incredibly tanky because Mana Shield works on them, making the item a must-have.
  • Eye of Skadi and Butterfly are the most common items to follow up with, in either order. (Note: evasion (offered by Butterfly) is the only defense that works with Mana Shield, making you far tankier versus auto attacks - unlike any boosts to armor / hp / regeneration, etc. that do not work with Mana Shield.)
  • For games that require some additional mobility, you may also want to go for a Hurricane Pike or a Silver Edge.
  • Daedalus, MKB and Mjollnir are the most common choices for greatly increasing your DPS output in the lategame. The on-hit effects of all 3 items work perfectly with your level 25 talent, "Split Shot Uses Modifiers".

Ultimately, Medusa is naturally very hard to focus and kill thanks to Mana Shield and Stone Gaze, so building some all stats and then high amounts of damage makes her a huge threat.

A common mistake that you should avoid is building too defensively - being unkillable is pointless if your DPS is not threatening and the enemy can simply ignore you. 

Medusa Offlane build guide for Dota 2

(Image via Valve)
(Image via Valve)

On the other hand, Medusa can be played on the offlane as well. It is less recommended and certainly has a lower win rate than a typical safelane Medusa, but offlane Medusa can still make do. The main difference is that you aim to frontline and focus on buffing your Mystic Snake rather than counting on Split Shot, by building the following items: 

  • Arcane Boots
  • Phylactery
  • Veil of Discord
  • Aghanim's Scepter
  • Aghanim's Shard

These items also increase your mana pool and mana regeneration, making you far tankier earlier in the game. You can also build the typical offlane aura items to buff your team if absolutely necessary, but keep in mind they all benefit Medusa less than other heroes:

  • Guardian Greaves' mana restore is nice, but the HP restore and the armor don't work with your Mana Shield and therefore don't make you tankier.
  • Pipe of Insight helps your team, but you do not benefit at all from the HP regen and magic resistance, since they don't work with Mana Shield either.
  • Crimson Guard is perhaps the worst, since
    1. Its passive benefits (HP, HP regen and armor) do not benefit Medusa at all
    2. Part of the damage it blocks is based on the user's strength - and Medusa is the only hero in the game with 0 starting strength and 0 strength gain.

Medusa support build Guide for Dota 2 Patch 7.33c

(Image via Valve/
(Image via Valve/

Support Medusa got heavily nerfed and is definitely not so strong anymore. However, in the famous words of two-time TI champion N0tail: "Dota is a weird game, anything can work!"

Just be prepared for a lot of disgruntled teammates who will berate you and tell you that the only reason you are playing Medusa support is just so you can copy pro players. Speaking of pro players, there was only one player who played Medusa support at Berlin Major: Kartik "Kitrak" Rathi who stood in for OG. For his build, the two key items he went for are Drum of Endurance and Solar Crest.

Apart from those, any common support item that is useful for the team and also gives you at least some stats / mana regeneration can be decent, such as Arcane Boots, Pavise, Force Staff, Lotus Orb, etc.

Keep in mind that making the enemy think it's a core pick and baiting counterpicks is one of (if not the only) main reasons pro players run unusual heroes as a pos5, including Medusa. This benefit is harder to take advantage of in solo queue, so be careful when trying this at home!

Countering Medusa

As the only way to bring a Medusa down is by burning her mana, any hero that has such an ability, or enjoys buying a Diffusal Blade, works well. Anti Mage, Phantom Lancer, Slark and Windranger are some of the most popular counter options for core players. As for supports, Lion, Lich and Bane have the ability to burn mana, with the latter two burning a percentage of mana, making their abilities scale well versus her.

Nyx Assassin deserves a special mention, since his ultimate Vendetta removes 50% of the target's max mana on hit, which can be the equivalent of a 4000+ damage nuke versus a lategame Medusa.

Still, Medusa's counters are not only few and far between, they are also hard to pull off. She remains a hero to be feared, requiring good teamwork in order to be dealt with. Since that is not something you can count on in your solo-queue games, your safest bet will be to ban her!

And that's our comprehensive Medusa guide for Dota 2, with special thanks to Metafy and SlashStrike. If you want more top-level guides from Metafy's number one Dota 2 coach, check out SlashStrike's coaching page coach page on Metafy, with training plans, live coaching sessions, and replay reviews. Also be sure to check out Metafy's exclusive Dota 2 courses with Taiga, Topson, 23 Savage, and more!