Medusa's real sexy, eh?
Medusa is infamous for her being one of the hardest carries in the game, having the ability to tank significant amounts of damage as well as deal damage to multiple heroes at once as well as having an amazing ultimate. She also is one of the few heroes that benefits from getting all stats and their features.
Medusa is slightly held back by her poor stat gain, with her Primary Agility growth rate being a mediocre 2.5 per level. She heavily requires farm to be the unstoppable murder machine late game, and several of her skills already allow her to farm easily.
While being a hard carry presents some difficulty, Medusa isn't too complex to play, but requires carefulness, patience, and high skill with last hitting. She is also quite squishy without items, and shouldn't be focused on in fights naturally as the carry.
One of the Hardest Carries in the Game
Capable of Heavy AOE Damage
Has a Powerful Ultimate
Has a Decent Harass Tool
Not Difficult to Play
Can Be Disturbingly Tanky
Very Squishy Early
Has Low Starting Damage
VERY Item Dependent
Lacks a Decent Escape
Countered Heavily by Mana Burn
Split Shot is an ability that is toggleable, and causes Medusa's basic attacks to split off into 5 separate shots which can hit up to 5 targets at the same time, at the cost of her attacks dealing only a percentage of her total damage. This skill allows Medusa to farm exceptionally well and push quickly with items. At max level, each shot will deal 80% of Med's total damage. Due to this, your DPS can be increased up to 400% in team fights, which is almost unrivaled in power late game.
Keep in mind thst Unique Attack Modifiers and some bonus attack effects, like Critical Strike, only work on the main unit you attack. The shots will split off to attack the closest targets to the main target, and Illusions will gain Split Shot if the skill is toggled on before the illusions are made.
Another bonus tidbit is that this skill is considered a Transformation Ability, meaning you can dodge projectiles and stuns with enough practice.
Mystic Snake is a powerful nuke that is really effective in lane as Medusa. When cast on an enemy, an inescapable Snake will rush and strike the unit, at max level dealing 200 damage, and then bounce to any nearby units. Each successive bounce will increase the damage dealt by 25%, up to a max of 6 bounces, which then equates to 450 magical damage on the final bounce. This skill also will steal 50 Mana from any target that has mana when hit, and 25% more mana will be stolen if the snake bounces to successive targets, stealing a max total of 476 at level 7.
This skill is what allows Medusa to harass and last hit relatively well early game, and due to the somewhat spammy nature of this spell (11 second cooldown), you can be a consistent threat. Use it to secure last hits while harassing heroes, which can almost refund the Mana cost completely if it hits a ranged creep and at least one hero. This skill does push the lane, so also be careful using it in easily gankeable areas.
An interesting thing to note is that Snake will do Pure Damage instead of Magical while units are under the effect of Stone Gaze, allowing a lot more damage to be done.
And Mana Shield is the Part 2 of Medusa's claim to fame as a Hard Carry. You can toggle this ability, and when it's on it will reduce 50% of all damage done to Medusa's HP, and cause her to lose Mana for the other 50%. At max level, each point of Mana will absorb 2.25 damage. So if Medusa would, for example, be hit for 300 damage, she would lose 150 hp and (150/2.25) ~67 Mana, not taking into account resistances. This occurs before other forms of damage reduction, like Armor, so getting an AC or something will cause Med to lose less HP, but not less Mana.
This is partly a reason why all stats benefit Medusa. More intelligence and Mana along with more Health and Armor cause this skill to be ridiculously strong later, with Med gaining thousands of effective HP with enough items.
This skill, following 6.78, has become a very powerful tool for initiation and damage. After activating Stone Gaze, any enemy that looks at Medusa, within a cone around her face, will be slowed and have their attack speed reduced by 50%. Along with this, any unit that looks within her general direction for at least 2 seconds total will be turned to stone for 3 seconds. This is a rather unique status, as the unit will be under the same restrictions as being stunned (no attacking, moving, using items or abilities) but will have 100% Magic Resistance. However, they also will take bonus damage from physical attacks up to a maximum of 50% at level 3.
This spell has great synergy with other characters that rely on physical damage. It's a bit expensive early on, so keep in mind both your situation and Mana pool when going for solo kills.
Getting levels of Stats at levels 1 and 4 is usually a good idea in order to offset early squishiness and last hit difficulty, or 2 and 4 for the Split Shot first build.
In most cases I opt to max out Mystic Snake first as the damage and mana drain beomes more irrelevant as the game progresses. This is why in builds 2 and 3 it isn't leveled until level 22 and up, as stats until that point would be more useful.
Maxing Mana Shield first in a difficult lane allows you to sustain yourself without worry of being bone dry in Mana aside from your ult, but it does make you slightly more reliant than you already are on items for damage early on. As such, getting this skill second is preferred, as you will begin to have a Mana pool to support it at that point.
Finally, maxing out Split Shot is good if you have uncontested farm or are jungling ancients, both of which are rare and usually going with build 1 or 2 is more successful.
All of the builds I listed above are situational, and therefore one should adapt their build depending on opponents, farm, etc.
Medusa is obviously a carry, and thus requires carry items to be effective. She also happens to highly versatile in her item build, with only a few items (Like Divine Rapier, Butterfly, and Manta Style) being absolutely core on her.
In lane, one must above all survive and farm so that Medusa won't be a useless pile of **** come mid game. Focus on living through harass and last hitting.
Don't underestimate the power of Mystic Snake at level 7, as it will always kill the ranged creep of a wave and take a significant portion of Mana from enemy heroes, making it especially nice on heroes like skeleton king, Sven, or Lifestealer who have expensive spells early on.
Your ult is expensive at this point and shouldn't be used all the time without regen, though it does make you and other allies hit harder and can guarantee a kill or escape.
By the 20 minute mark, you should at least have one major item farmed up and can actively participate in fights and pushing. Mystic Snake is helpful still at this point, guaranteeing you farm after a few attacks with Split Shot. Always keep it on during pushing, but off when pursuing single targets.
Mana Shield is a must to keep on in teamfights, otherwise you will die pretty quickly when focused. Use your ult as an initiation, and then have you and your team wreck stoned enemies in the next 6 seconds.
At some point, you'll have to stop buying expensive things and start saving up for buyback. At this point, you should be frustrating to pick off and able to deal a load of damage. If you accumulate way more gold than needed for buyback and no end's in sight, start getting a Rapier to hopefully end the game in your favor as soon as possible. The later the game goes, the more powerful Medusa will become, and eventually you should be able to outcarry most enemy heroes if you're not too far behind.
Here's a video walkthrough of sorts on Ancient Jungling, courtesy of Na'Vi.
Medusa can be super strong, super tanky, and push hard, allowing her to be one of the best carries in the game. She's easy to learn, but somewhat difficult to master. She's not picked super often, but can prove to be worthy of one's patience and dedication.
Anything you think is inaccurate or could use some sprucing up? Let me know in the comments as feedback is welcome.
Thanks for reading my guide, i highly appreciate it, and I look forward to revising and making more guides in the future!
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