Medusa has been out of meta for a very long time. The hero was so unpopular, she is played in pubs at a less than 5% pick rate. So, it is even more surprising to see her make a comeback in a patch where Anti-Mage is running rampant through pubs.
There was never a question whether Medusa could win a games given enough time and farm. The question t was always whether Medusa would be able to get to that point. And the latest patch addressed this issue head-on, with multiple changes to the way hero works in the early game.
Split Shot received a very fitting rework, making it a passive that now deals full damage the primary target. The total amount of damage dealt went from 400% to 325% of Medusa’s attack damage, but her ability to focus a single target has been increased.
Secondary targets now receive less damage and there are less targets affected, but realistically the effective damage on heroes you actually want to attack has increased — it was rare for all five members of the enemy team to stand within a striking distance of Medusa.
Apart from receiving a Split Shot overhaul, Medusa had her talents changed as well. These changes had a comparable if not larger effect on the hero’s win rate, since in most instances they are straight up buffs to the previous ones.
For example, her new level 10 talents are either +25 Attack Damage or 12% Evasion, with a rather obvious choice for the majority of games. Previously, the choice was similarly obvious, but provided only +15 damage or +12 Intelligence.
At level 15 Medusa now gets +30 Attack Speed, instead of +20 in 7.06, with an alternative of increased mana steal from Mystic Snake.
Level 20 is now +800 Mana instead of +500 mana. It also gives a decent alternative of +2.5s of Stone Gaze duration which has its merits in specific games, where you need to outwait some enemy ability, while disengaging safely.
Finally, level 25, which previously gave a measly +1s Stone Gaze duration or +25% lifesteal now either provides seven extra Split Shot targets, for when you need to outpush really fast, or the ability for Split Shot to get full benefits of Attack Modifiers.
The latter talent is especially powerful and should generally be the go-to choice unless there is a specific game scenario. It currently has a 5.4% win rate differential with the alternative and these stats are easily explained.
Being able to apply status effects and fully utilize attack modifiers turn the hero into even bigger late-game threat. She can now slow multiple targets with Eye of Skadi, proc multiple instances of MKB magic damage, and heal for 81.25% of her attack damage from the Satanic passive alone. This value rises to 650% of her attack damage during the Unholy Rage.
The new Medusa is a hero who farms faster, courtesy of a Split Shot and Talents reworks, deals more damage in the early stages with higher AS and Damage bonuses from talents and is a scarier foe in the later stages of the game with increased survivability from either of the level 20 talents.
Come level 25 she also gets to a point where she can only be killed if disabled, otherwise her lifesteal will allow her to persevere through pretty much any amount of damage.
The hero is currently close to 54% win rate in 3-5k brackets, with a sudden dropoff to 45% in 5k+ games, where the pace might be too high for her to truly shine.
She is at her best when played mid, but with a position one carry role in mind, hence less greedy “utility” safelaners are preferable in a Medusa lineup. The hero remains very vulnerable in the early game and still needs time to come online, but no longer is she a burden on her team for 30 minutes — this time has been cut down almost in half.
On top of it, there are ways to “activate” Medusa a lot earlier and a Mask of Madness build has been used to a great success in several qualifier matches in the past two weeks. Not only does the item majorly accelerate the farm of the hero, but it also increases her teamfight potential once she reaches level 10 and the +25 attack damage. Moreover, it can be later disassembled for a faster Satanic and Butterfly combo.
Overall it makes for a powerful hero who is at her best when several conditions are met. She is not a safe first pick, she will still have troubles against both Anti-Mage and Nyx Assassin, as well as any heavy pushing lineups and she still needs babysitting in the mid lane — Mana Shield gives time for TP rotations, rather than ensures safe escape. But a good Medusa game with an adequate player is close to impossible to lose post 30-minute mark.