Help Support Our Growing Community

DOTAFire is a community that lives to help every Dota 2 player take their game to the next level by having open access to all our tools and resources. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting us in your ad blocker!

Want to support DOTAFire with an ad-free experience? You can support us ad-free for less than $1 a month!

Go Ad-Free
Smitefire logo

Join the leading DOTA 2 community.
Create and share Hero Guides and Builds.

Create an MFN Account


120 Votes

Gorgonzola (ANTI alt-tab)

September 10, 2014 by Sp12
Comments: 40    |    Views: 695663    |   

Build 1
Build 2
Build 3
Build 4

Linken's Manta

DotA2 Hero: Medusa

Hero Skills

Split Shot

13 14 15 17

Mystic Snake

2 3 5 7

Mana Shield

8 9 10 12

Stone Gaze

6 11 16


1 4 18


I'm Sp12 -- I write guides here and can be found streaming at; if you have any questions/comments feel free to post at either. My solo ranked MMR is currently ~5.5K.

This is a set of builds for Medusa, who is relatively balanced as a niche carry. She is a durable, teamfight/AoE focused hard carry. By hard carry I mean hard -- she's often brought up in discussions about the scariest late game hero, with an amazing EHP and DPS steroid along with a gamebreaking ultimate. If you're not familiar with the hero I would recommend the wikipedia article.

Each build gets it's own minisection for you to check out, so consider this an anti-alt-tab guide. They are sourced from the various Dota 1 scenes and my personal experience. The formatting for this guide is matched heavily with my Faceless Void guide, which you can check out if you play him.


Medusa is one of the few heroes in dota that could be called a tank, a word which applies not only to her durability but also her DPS. Medusa is an OK laning carry (600 range), though she lacks an escape mechanism before level 6. Mystic Snake crushes poorly positioned dual and trilanes, while Mana Shield allows you to be somewhat durable in lane and scales incredibly lategame. Split Shot does little early but reduce your last hitting power and push the lane, but late game takes your AoE DPS and puts you on Gyrocoptor's level without an attack limit. Her ultimate, Stone Gaze is an amazing (game breaking) skill that makes her difficult to gank without instant disables and makes teamfighting into her impossible. She crushes BKB dependent melee heroes and illusion carries alike.

As a hero Medusa is unique in that she benefits from every stat -- strength gives more HP, agility gives armor, damage, and IAS, while intelligence gives her effective HP. Generally, the most popular build that still gets used a lot in Dota 1 is Linken's Sphere+ Manta Style, but it's focused more towards a slower meta, and there are a several other builds worth checking out.



  • Very bad stats (14 base strength) and mediocre stat growth (1.65 strength and 2.5 agility)
  • Takes many items to get out of control
  • Entirely item dependent
  • Slow
  • Gets rocked by Anti-Mage and other sources of manaburn
  • Ultimate deals no damage by itself
  • Mana shield does not apply damage reductions

Brief Playnotes

I'm not going to list out skills/whatnot, there's a well maintained wiki, excellent videos, and replays of how to play Medusa. An easy way to get better is to watch replays on player perspective -- filter recent games for Medusa and very high skill level. I will cover some of the points/tricks people are less aware of, even at higher levels.

  • Orb effects only apply to your primary target while split-shotting
  • Medusa can farm camps/lanes with ease via split shot, so expect pretty solid gold per minute after your first damage item.
  • Make sure you stack jungle camps. Snake is much more efficient with 7 targets than 2 in both damage and getting your mana back. Split shot also hits 6 targets at once, so it's more efficient if you stack first. Stacking is critical to maximizing your farm rate as medusa.
  • This hero wrecks ancient camps with split shot -- try to get your team to stack if they're in the area around ~:53
  • Both satyr camps give you mana back from mystic snake, and provide a good way to regenerate mana for the builds that skip an early Perseverance or Arcane Boots.
  • Your utlimate has a significant mana cost and cast animation -- be careful with your HP, mana, and positioning to make sure you have enough of a buffer to react
  • Gaze goes thru BKB, making you very strong against BKB right clickers like Phantom Assassin or Lifestealer that rely on magic immunity.
  • Shield comes before most damage amplifications/reductions, making MoM quite viable on her.
  • Stone gaze does damage to illusions before amplification, meaning stone gaze deals thousands of actual damage to illusions. It kills non-double heart CK/Siren/Manta illusions and wipes/prevents PL from building an illusion army for 5 seconds.
  • Snake will bounce to the closest target, so with some decent timing you can try to hit the enemy hero as one of the last hit by your snake while laning. Snake counts illusions as units for the manasteal and damage increase
  • At level 4 Mystic Snake will do 200*(1.25^6)=763 damage before reduction on its last bounce. That's like a Laguna Blade. In some ways this skill is designed to counter aggressive trilanes and push lineups
  • Split shot is a transformation spell, so you can use it to dodge stuns/projectiles. Get it early against Sven if your reaction time is good. This interaction is currently a known bug in Dota 2, but supposedly will be fixed
  • Carry a TP scroll
  • If an item has an Ultimate Orb in it, it's probably good for you
  • Early split shot is bad unless you have a reason for it. Mid game it lets you farm and split push incredibly well. Late game it increases your DPS 300%
  • At some point you must have buyback even if it means not finishing your third luxury

No really, how do I play this bro?

Medusa is both a very easy and very hard hero to play. Medusa is a hard carry -- that is, a farming right click hero that will destroy once she has a level/item advantage. As is the case with most hard carries, do not pick her unless you like to farm and can do so competently while your team makes significant room for you. You should be very good at last hitting, map awareness, and stacking/jungle mechanics.

That said, she's pretty easy to play. Split shot means you have no issue flash farming, while mana shield gives you durability to play with. Mystic snake is your lane control and is ridiculously powerful and not that hard to use.

Basically, early game you should play passively (thought make sure to use your 600 range to harass) until level 3 (level 2 snake), or preferably level 5 (with level 3 snake), at which point you can start making back enough mana with 2 heroes in lane to let you control your lane. Your early regen (RoH, Basi, arcanes, HoIW, lifesteal, whatever) combined with mana shield and snake should allow you to attrition win most lane matchups. Farm and push your lane if they leave, making sure to use your ultimate if it's needed -- 90 seconds is not that long of a cooldown for an assured escape.

Around levels 8-11 you will be ganked or pushed into. Make sure to turn on mana shield as needed for survivability, and use snake to push/counterpush/farm/teamfight. Carry a tp scroll in case another lane is getting pushed. If you get ganked you can typically stone the enemies then run or TP out. Stack ancients once you have a HoTD.

Make sure your map awareness is good since you should be the enemy team's top gank target. Once you have items you become very hard to deal with without counters.

I don't really get the wiki's explanation of mana shield....

It takes half of the incoming damage and turns it into mana drain without applying damage reduction.

For example, if you get hit with a 300 damage Spirit Lance, you will lose (300/2*=150*0.75 (magic resistance)) = 113HP, and 150/2.5 (no magic resistance reduction)= ~60 mana. If someone whacks you for 50 damage you'll take ((25*.82) (base armor)) = 20.5 damage, and lose 25/2.5 = 10 mana. Late game you might have 20+ armor, so you'll end up taking less HP loss than mana loss.

You will only reduce half the incoming damage, which means theoretically there's a point where your mana pool no longer needs to be larger since you'll run out of HP first, however, as you are an agility hero you'll have significant armor reductions for your HP and you want mana to cast spells, so a good rule of thumb is to aim to increase your MP to be between 1.5x and 2x your HP pool. You will find that you almost always run out of MP before you run out of HP in later engagements, especially with lifesteal, manta actives, and potential refresher ultimates.

Be Adaptable!

Another important note is that skill and item build are not a one-size deal. If you go mid a bottle would make sense. If you're getting free farm in lane and your team is pushing heavily maybe early split shot levels should take priority; maybe you can get a midas since their offlane is bad. If you're being trilane babysat but they have a strong ganker you should probably max shield at 7. There isn't a way for me to offer alternative skill builds, but know that you can be successful with many different ones.

Hand of Midas is good on any of these builds if you're getting freefarm. Most of these build can have a BKB added, but I'd rather tank magic nukes than have my team eat them. Obviously if the enemy team has mass stuns/aoe nukes you can grab one.

Boots of Travel are obvious pickups lategame after your 2nd tier four item, but can also be gotten early in a 4 protect 1 strat to maximize your farm. I should mention that even though I list power treads or arcanes in all of these builds, you can easily go straight from brown boots to travels.

Linken's Manta

This build is safe if a bit old-fashioned. I do not advocate it if you are comfortable with the hero unless it makes sense in a given game.

Fast RoH makes you survivable early and builds into Perseverance which lets you control your lane with Mystic Snake while also giving more survivability via Mana Shield. Your DPS comes from your split-shotting illusions, which are later augmented with stat items. Linken's tells the other team that you're going to be farming/pushing constantly and that an attempt to gank you will be difficult due to Linkens+ Stone Gaze. Linken's obviously helps your survivability. Your basic core costs 10K (~25 minutes) and gives good stats but serves more as an extensible base for you to stack more items on top of.

Medusa has to focus on farming early, but at level 3 you can contribute some damage/lane control with your snake. The stats give you more right click power, armor, HP, and mana, but as mentioned feel free to replace them with shield, which does give you more EHP against physical attacks.

Once you have a damage/stat item or two and split shot you can farm entire waves/camps faster than a battlefury carrier. Medusa needs a ton of farm, coming online with only Linken's and manta but performing much better with a Butterfly and Eye of Skadi. Butterfly gives evasion and DPS, Skadi gives slow, tank, and DPS.


This build is more high risk/reward version of the above. This is for people who are comfortable with the hero.

Farm in your lane, get a fast arcanes+basilius for mana regen and a HoTD for lifesteal and jungle stacks. You finish your soul booster to fill in your pools. I like to get maelstrom next since it's so efficient this patch. Extensions are listed. Put Mjollnir active on yourself for hilarity.


Very modern build abusing the fact that MoM amplifies after mana shield.

Play conservatively in lane, once you have MoM you can jungle rather efficiently.

After DE you have to decide on BKB, MKB, or Rapier next. MKB is safe, BKB is safer, and Rapier is crazy. For rapier try to get an aegis after a good push/teamfight and buy it in the pit. You must have 2+ friends with you at all times once you have rapier.

Typical Agi Carry Build (Phase Drums Aquila HoTD Manta)

You see this build on every ranged agility carry. It makes sense -- it's pretty good.

Early basilius for last hitting, phase boots for laning, Aquila for stats and regen, drums for movespeed, HoTD for farming and stacking. Order doesn't matter as long as you have enough HP regen to not have to get HoTD first.

Unlike most carries though, you don't generally get BKB.

Manta is your first big item. Make sure you play as an ultimate dependant hero -- farm and split push while ult is down, split push aggressively and teamfight when it's up. Farm luxuries and win the game.

What are my mid-game items?

You may feel like you're useless farming forever. You're probably right, but that's the hero. If you're looking to be more active early here your primary choices:

Armlet of Mordiggian -- lots of durability, DPS, and regen in one slot for a low price. If you go this you must make things happen in the next 10 minutes
Drum of Endurance -- a more cost effective ultimate orb, it offers +9 to all stats, damage, an aura and the active. Biggest downside is that it's not an ultimate orb, so it can't built into your Skadi/Manta/Linken's/Sheep.
Demon Edge -- Casual damage to increase your farm, builds into good late game items
Helm of the Dominator -- lifesteal, upgrades into satanic, pretty mandatory if you go rapier. Lets you farm forever with split shot and stack ancients
Mask of Madness -- Very strong with mana shield, increases your farm and teamfight presence
Yasha -- gives a good set of stats, movespeed, and builds into Manta
Maelstrom -- cost efficient AoE damage
Shadow Blade -- Active is an OK escape tool but pretty good for initiation. Situational, but fun
Soul Booster -- cost effective, gives great HP/mana pools along with ~80% of a perseverance after completion. Can build into a Bloodstone. Great early-midgame durability item
Ultimate Orb -- builds into your lategame items, a stepping stone with stats

You keep saying our typical extensions

And by that I mean any of the situational/preference items listed. Medusa can be built so many ways since she benefits from every stat, so what you get depends pretty much entirely on the game and enemy team composition. So here's a list with a quick analysis:

Assault Cuirass -- easy buildup with big armor and IAS increases. An option for a push lineup or to synergize with another physical DPS carry. In a lot of ways butterfly does the same thing but better, since evasion works with mana shield, but the -armor is incredible your ultimate
Abyssal Blade -- good vs. melee right clickers if BKB alone isn't enough, lots of safe damage and potential for a desperation rapier
Black King Bar -- some HP and damage, the active magic immunity lets you stand there and DPS and is crucial against some ultimates like Epicenter or Ravage. On the other hand, in some games is overlapped extensively by Linken's sphere or is obviated by spells like Black Hole
Bloodstone -- lots of HP and Mana, along with regen. Easy buildup and a cost on par with Linken's, one major issue is the lack of damage. Bloodpact is pretty solid, especially as a snowball item
Butterfly -- evasion along with tons of damage, this item offers both tons of durability as well as DPS. If you need some durability with your first major DPS item get this over Mjollnir
Deadalus -- a procing item, but fixed with Dota 2. It doesn't crit on anyone but the main target, so it's actually mildly underwhelming compared with rapier. Of course it doesn't drop on death
Divine Rapier -- lategame damage item that lets you melt everyone in a 600 AoE. You must build survivability and lifesteal first
Eye of Skadi -- one of the best items for Medusa, this gives lots of HP and mana along with 25 of every stat. Slow orb is great for ensuring there's no escape even after your ultimate
Helm of the Dominator -- lifesteal, upgrades into satanic, pretty mandatory if you go rapier. An early HoTD can be used to stack the ancient camp, which can be cleared with split shot
Heaven's Halberd -- gives HP and damage but in a lot of ways is outclassed by butterfly. The disable is pretty good against right clickers, as is the evasion, but it's not an item I build personally unless I'm up against a void
Linken's Sphere -- single spell block along with stats and regen. The buildup isn't that great, but perseverance is a nice early item. A bit situational, but definitely good if you're up against scary single-targets (that don't have to be ultimates) like Nether Swap, Open Wounds, Spectral Dagger, Reality Rift, Fiend's Grip, Hex, or others
Manta Style -- gives a good set of stats, movespeed, along with the manta split for free pushing, farming, spell dodging, confusion, and DPS-boosts in a teamfight. Scales with every stat item you get, but arguable since you want +damage items it's mediocre
Mjollnir -- a great item since the AoE change, huge amounts of magic damage
Monkey King Bar -- another procing damage item that's not the best considering it's interaction with split shot, it is solid +damage and offers the minibash and truestrike
Satanic -- gives more HP, lifesteal, a well as a great teamfight active. Expensive but good late game
Scythe of Vyse -- surprisingly good on Medusa despite being an agility carry, the extra mana, stats, regen, and awesome active make it a great item if a bit expensive
Refresher Orb -- quite a bit of DPS, regen, and an amazing active
Soul Booster -- cost effective, gives great HP/mana pools along with ~80% of a perseverance after completion. Can build into a Bloodstone. Great early-midgame durability item

So, you'll have to make your analysis of the game in order to determine what to get, but any of these will work with Medusa to some extent.


So there's some playstyles for Medusa. If you have any questions/comments/criticisms feel free to post them. At the very least I'd like a comment why if you feel like downvoting :P. If you feel it was worth the read a vote up helps get builds seen more.

Quick Comment (42) View Comments

You need to log in before commenting.

Similar Guides
Featured Heroes

Quick Comment (42) View Comments

You need to log in before commenting.

DOTAFire is the place to find the perfect build guide to take your game to the next level. Learn how to play a new hero, or fine tune your favorite DotA hero’s build and strategy.

Copyright © 2019 DOTAFire | All Rights Reserved