Medusa is a strong meta hero, but looking at stats, she seems inferior to several other hyper-carries, including conceptually similar Luna. There is one major difference between the heroes, however: Medusa has a disable, and it seems the players who leverage her Aghanim’s Scepter and Shard perform above average in high level pubs. This is what we want to discuss today.
There are three reasons Aghanim’s upgrade on Medusa is so strong. The first one is simple: Scepter gives all stats and Medusa is one of the few heroes who benefits from all three attributes. Nothing from the Scepter is wasted on her.
The second reason is the access to a disable. Fully charged, it is over two seconds of stun and +50% auto-attack damage amplification. It means Medusa can be a follow-up disable for her team and even a counter-initiator.
Her Aghanim’s Shard also frequently means that Medusa can be a counter-initiator even if she is the target of the initiation and it is the third reason Aghanim’s Scepter is so good on her. The single-target snake from Cold Blooded is annoying to deal with for a lot of heroes, including most supports and even some carries.
All of this together makes for a hero who is tricky to initiate on and even harder to kill. You can initiate with BKBs to avoid getting petrified by the first snake, but then BKB-piercing Stone Gaze can come into play.
You can try to get rid of the surrounding heroes first, leaving Medusa for later, but this approach is similarly problematic: during this fight you will be subject to a constant barrage of Mystic Snakes and auto-attacks, and given how fast Medusa farms, these auto-attacks will probably hurt.
You can try to bait out Stone Gaze, disengage and re-engage afterward, but it is easier said than done. Moreover, especially in pubs, this can result in half the team running away and half staying in the fight, making for an even worse situation.
Basically, what we are trying to say is that Medusa is one of the strongest, if not the strongest hero in the game, tactically speaking. She is a carry with exceptional survivability, access to powerful disables and a team-fight turning ultimate.
In her final form, she is almost impossible to deal with head-on and while shutting her down early is always ideal, it is not always feasible. Hence we need a flowchart of things to do, if Medusa has already approached critical mass.
Medusa has one big weakness: she is “swift as the wolves of Icewrack”. With her 275 starting MS and no MS talents she can and should be avoided in unfavorable engagements. Moreover, her low movement speed and general lack of mobility should absolutely be abused strategically: forcing Medusa to react and commit a TP usually means the other side of the map should be open for favorable teamfights: it will take Medusa a while to get there.
Split-pushing is close to being extinct, but it is a great way to force the enemy into mistakes. Divide and Conquer should be the general motto versus Medusa: it is hard enough dealing with the hero on her own, but with proper support and catch from the enemy team, chances of a successful engagement for your team are pretty low.
And don’t try to initiate on Medusa if you are not sure you will be able to kill before she turns the fight around. With enough disables it is possible to chain-stun the hero to a point where she won’t be able to retaliate, but if she does manage to get a Mystic Snake + Stone Gaze off, it is best to start running away: she will most likely have most of her mana back and will be ready to fight.
The biggest problems start if and when Medusa is allowed to play proactively, rather than reactively. If she and her team can safely group up and start moving forward as a unit, that is where the real problems begin. It is best to prevent the enemy from getting there by constantly clearing out waves and forcing reactions across the map with pushing heroes, but it is not always possible.
In this scenario, against a decently farmed Medusa sieging your high ground, we believe the best course of action is to ignore her, concentrating on the backlines. Buy a smoke if you need to wrap around, poke with long-range spells on secondary targets, but don’t engage on Medusa.
If you are able to start a teamfight with several clean kills on supports, perhaps you will be able to leverage your numerical advantage. In other scenarios, resetting the board back to a game of cat and mouse is preferable.
What do you think of Medusa? Do you have advice of your own on how to deal with the hero? If so, share them in the comment section below. Please.