As the Dota 2 ESL One Berlin Major enters the playoffs this week and players continue to adapt to changes brought about by Valve’s New Frontiers update, one hero, in particular, has teams turning to stone in their seats.
Medusa has recorded an absurd 76 percent win rate across 21 matches at the tournament, with her 7.33b buff to her Mana Shield forcing teams to explore different avenues to deal with the snake-slinging bow master. One such answer—at least for Team Spirit’s Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov—came in the team’s first playoff match on May 1.
Collapse entered game two against Gaimin Gladiators with Axe, whose Culling Blade ultimate instantly executes an enemy if their health is below a certain threshold. Medusa’s main 7.33 change saw her lose her entire base health pool, with her mana essentially acting as her health with very high damage resistance.
But Axe’s Culling Blade cares not for mana—it checks for health. And with Gaimin’s dyrachyo opting to set his Power Treads to Agility instead of Strength, his Medusa did not reach the minimum HP threshold come level six.
So Axe did what he does best: dunked on the ‘Dusa in one fell swoop.
Dyrachyo immediately realized his error and facepalmed as commentator ODPixel exclaimed, “It feels so good seeing that stupid snake lady get one shot. The whole community let out a collective sigh right there.”
Unfortunately for Collapse and Team Spirit, the instakill would be one of few highlights in the Dota 2 battle with dyrachyo’s Medusa ultimately catching back up and leading Gaimin Gladiators to a 2-0 victory, sending Spirit into the lower bracket.
Medusa has commanded the meta since her rework and subsequent 7.33b buffs—but while moments like Team Spirit’s Axe dunk have popped up, one team has been successful on multiple occasions against the Gorgon.
The Pandas, led by RAMZES, have handed Medusa three of her five losses in Berlin. Building their carries for attack speed, utilizing items like Diffusal Blade for mana burn and Heaven’s Halberd for its disarm ability, and choosing to lock down the Medusa and deal with her team first has been 9 Panda’s answer to the hero thus far.
It’s proven a fruitful venture for the squad, who will take on reigning TI champions Tundra Esports in the upper bracket semifinals on May 3. Team Spirit, meanwhile, will take their Axe strategy into their May 2 lower bracket match vs. Team Aster.
And for your next match, maybe consider these tricks to beat Medusa.