One powerful Dota 2 hero controls Berlin Major’s meta but keeps escaping bans

Look away, or you'll turn to stone.
Image via Valve

We’re getting to the business end of Dota 2’s Berlin Major, with one of 9 Pandas or Gaimin Gladiators confirming their spot in the grand final in May 6’s upper bracket final. But the biggest story coming out of the German capital isn’t who will win; as far as hero trends are concerned, despite numerous chances to ban her, the Gorgon’s going gangbusters.

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Medusa continues to tear apart her matches on the Berlin stage, with her win rate ballooning to 77 percent after 22 matches, according to Dota 2 statistics tracking site Spectral.

Opening the tournament with three straight losses, it was Gaimin’s dyrachyo that sparked the goldrush for Medusa—and yet, it would take a few more Dota 2 matchdays before her ban rate began matching her win rate.

Related: Live updates from the Dota 2 ESL One Berlin Major

The jury was still out on Medusa’s biggest shortcoming: her early game. The idea that a carry player would show up in the lane with less than 300 health for the first 10 minutes sounded ludicrous to most Dota 2 gamers. But changes to ‘Dusa’s Mana Shield brought by the 7.33b update, plus a smorgasbord of defensive auras her teammates can apply means by 20 minutes, the Gorgon can be nigh unkillable.

Another boost to her viability is how early she can now come online. With the map expanded in Dota’s New Frontiers patch, there’s plenty more farm to be had for Medusa. Medusa would complete her Power Treads, thus boosting her base HP below her Mana Shield, then rush straight for a Manta Style.

Manta illusions quicken her farm speed, and with the illusions now receiving her Mana Shield, she could effectively begin fighting as early as 20 minutes. Previous versions of the Gorgon had her needing far more resources before becoming effective in fights.

The Berlin Major analyst panel spoke at length on the topic, with former Team Secret and Quincy Crew off-laner Maurice “KheZu” Gutmann calling 7.33b’s Medusa a “top three most broken hero Dota has had” since he had begun playing.

The desk likened Medusa’s current dominance to that of Lina at the Major in Peru. Lina posted a respectable 61 percent win rate in 51 matches, but unlike Medusa in Berlin, she was exclusively picked or banned inside the first draft stage.

Also unlike Medusa, Lina was contested in a mind-boggling 97 percent of all matches at the Lima Major, with 130 first-phase bans. If a team let Lina through—which few did—she was picked immediately. Here in Berlin, Medusa has been given a wider berth.

Related: RAMZES leading 9 Pandas to surprising dominance at Berlin Major

Teams have concocted numerous approaches to dealing with Medusa, with 9 Pandas defeating the Gorgon in all three of their meetings in Berlin thus far. From the outside, a combination of heavy spell damage burst, disarming items like Heaven’s Halberd, and carries that scale with attack speed has been their go-to with great effect.

Other teams opted for mana burn with Diffusal Blade or Lion’s Mana Drain in an effort to break down Medusa’s Mana Shield as quickly as possible. In any case, we are expecting Medusa’s 7.33b buff to be adjusted somewhat following the Major’s conclusion on May 8.

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Author

Nicholas Taifalos
Weekend editor for Dot Esports. Nick, better known as Taffy, began his esports career in commentary, switching to journalism with a focus on Oceanic esports, particularly Counter-Strike and Dota. Email: nicholas@dotesports.com