Often newer players think of Crystal Maiden as a ***** support who doesn't even enter fights and is basically just a pack mule for wards and arcane aura. Well if you play her like this you're a ***** and aren't tapping into the raw murderous power of Commander Rylai, team captain and enormous monster. (in other words this is a noobs guide to utilizing Maiden's early game potential).
Before I get into the meat and potatoes of playing Commander Rylai let us first toss through some of the items.
I can see clearly now the rain is gone
This is your ****ing bread and butter and also maiden's strongest defensive item. Many people new to maiden/support/dota begrudgingly buy these for their team like they're pitching into a kids college fund and toss it away with loathing every 16 minutes when they re-ward the rune spawn.
You aren't buying these for your ungrateful ****head teamates, you're buying these for you. As you may know Commander Rylai is fragile. She explodes into ice dust if people look at her wrong and her base movement speed makes a steamroller look like the a rocket car. (they had to do this because she is such an animal). This means your best defense isn't blowing 2 grand on a vanguard to buy yourself an extra 3 seconds to waddle helplessly back towards a tower. It is to not ****ing be there when the hungry anal rapists show up looking for some maiden tang. Whether you be roaming around the dark dangerous jungle filled with pissed off brazilians or just sitting in your lane spoonfeeding your carry gold while a unannounced ganker pays a visit you'll want warning. Nothing is a stronger defense than never being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Remember that young commander.
I purposely left this vague, the same way I don't even finish the skill build. A lot of playing maiden early is adapting to your situation. If you're going to be babysitting a carry for a bit I usually stack up some branches so I have more denying power and can actually harass without my ice balls bouncing off peoples faces because of my pathetic stats. Usually just toss some healing items onto that build as well for obvious reasons, you're going to be the target of a lot of hatred if you play aggressive in your lane. If you're going against a jungling machine (naix, lycan) or even potentially a carry furion it is worth buying a ****load of wards off the break to deny the hell out of their farm. (you can even just chase them around in the woods throwing your own "farm" away to destroy a lycan's farm. it's oh so worth it. I recommend carrying a TP scroll though because you're slow enough that if you're deep behind enemy lines you'll get run down/cut off trying to bail from a swoop and squat and getting scotty to beam you up is probably going to save your life).
You're a wizard harry!
This is self explanatory, beast item. Will absolutely save your life and can also turn an unsuccessful gank into a successful one using it as burst mana.
Kicks fo' ya *****
An incredibly beast item for Commander Rylei that gets no love from the other guides. The 80 move speed is amazing for crystal maiden's slow *** and these shoes are incredibly cheap. This allows more cash for buying up wards and tranq also allows you to top yourself off constantly (a maiden without full health is in the DANJA ZONNEEEE) and since it is less expensive it allows you to more rapidly get a hold of your urn or bracer giving you the health from treads for roughly the same net price. (1025 + 525 = 1550 for tranq + bracer vs 1450 for just treads) Also you can break tranq later and use the ring of regen for mech and the boots to craft into whatever other boot you want later. Also if you're a huge beast and want to push your lane or just get might morphing powerrangers harass you can get a soul ring and use tranq to make up the lost health for nova spam in lane. (I don't recommend doing this unless you feel manly)
Wait isn't that for gankers?
Rylai is a ganker! I used to just get a bracer early game for the health and later turn it into a jango's, but as a early game roamer/general nerd slayer carrying an urn on you can be a life saver (or life ender for the enemy). Not only does the urn supply you with extra mana regen it also lets you heal up yourself/your teamates after jumping into their lane for a gank. If it gets messy and someone gets out of the tower range with 5% health you urning them will allow them to stay in lane and not have to go back (which can kind of sap away the momentum of the gank). the main purpose of the bracer anyway was the extra health which urn brings to the table with much more for not much extra cashola. If you plan to build a drum and someone else has an urn you can skip this item but I personally love it. This will comprise your true core when it matters the early/mid game where you'll be playing support/roamer/ganker setting up the pins for your late game heros to knock down. So get used to these items they are to Commander Rylei as CV-47s are to terrorists.
I'll quickly cover the other items in the guide since at this point you should have slain everybody and collected all that sweet *** gold so really it starts to all turn into luxury.
These are just solid mid-late game stat sticks with great support abilties. Pick up whichever you prefer for the situation. If your team already has a mek obviously don't try and pick up another because the effect has an internal cooldown. A mek is a very strong choice for your team, but if you're having gold problems and already have a bracer a drum is also a good choice and cheap aswell. If you can see that you won't be able to get the mekansm (expensive for rylai) in a reasonable amount of time don't feel obligated to attempt to farm for it.
I love this item, it is a cheap item that gives maiden some more much needed move speed but also gives you another cc or potentially a way to shield yourself from burst. I've survived plenty of times seeing some ****head sandking start up his ulti and then about to jump on me and I get the last laugh by cycloning myself. Or more often going into a teamfight and everyone is trying to lockout/stun the big controller and you get a 2.5 second cc on the carry. I think this item is just ****ing peaches and cream.
The "are you getting raped" section is fairly obvious, if you're getting eaten and you just need some health on the double and you're way under where you should be so your inventory isn't full up then buy up some bracers to shield your pretty face.
This guide is still under construction, I don't think it really needs to have a "how to roam and gank" section because that isn't a maiden specific thing.
Crystal Nova: A burst of damaging frost slows enemy movement and attack rate in the targeted area.
Duration: 3.5 / 4 / 4.5 / 5
Damage: 100 / 150 / 200 / 250
Movement Speed Slow: 30%
Attack Speed Slow: 20%
Mana Cost: 100 / 120 / 140 / 160 Cooldown Time: 15
Frostbite: Encases an enemy unit in ice, prohibiting movement and attack, while dealing damage per second.
Duration: 1.5 / 2 / 2.5 / 3
Damage Per Second: 70
Mana Cost: 115 / 125 / 140 / 150 Cooldown Time: 10
Arcane Aura: Gives additional mana regeneration to all friendly units on the map.
Mana Regeneration: 0.5 / 1 / 1.5 / 2
Freezing Field: CHANNELED - Surrounds Crystal Maiden with random icy explosions that slow enemies and deal massive damage. Lasts 4 seconds.
Radius: 685 / 215 (Total AOE / Explosions AOE)
Damage: 105 / 170 / 250 (damage with Aghanim's: 170 / 250 / 310)
Movement Speed Slow: 30%
Attack Speed Slow: 20%
Mana Cost: 200 / 400 / 600 Cooldown Time: 150 / 120 / 90