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Altair's Guide to the Rylai, The Crystal Maiden

September 20, 2014 by Altair139
Comments: 2    |    Views: 19406    |   

Hero Build

DotA2 Hero: Crystal Maiden

Purchase Order

Starting Item

Animal Courier
Observer Ward
Healing Salve
Iron Branch

Early game

Boots of Speed
Magic Stick
Iron Branch
Ring of Protection
Town Portal Scroll
Smoke of Deceit

Mid game

Tranquil Boots
Magic Stick
Town Portal Scroll
Observer Ward
Smoke of Deceit

From Mid game onwards/Core items

Tranquil Boots
Blink Dagger
Magic Stick
Town Portal Scroll
Smoke of Deceit


Force Staff
Aghanim's Scepter
Scythe of Vyse
Shiva's Guard
Ghost Scepter
Drum of Endurance
Veil of Discord
Rod of Atos

Situational Items

Black King Bar
Pipe of Insight
Urn of Shadows
Eul's Scepter of Divinity

Invisible opponents

Sentry Ward
Dust of Appearance
Gem of True Sight

Hero Skills

Crystal Nova

1 4 6 7


2 5 8 9

Arcane Aura

3 11 12 13

Freezing Field

10 14 16


15 17 18

Altair's Guide to the Rylai, The Crystal Maiden

September 20, 2014


Hi and welcome to my guide for Rylai, the Crystal Maiden. This is a fairly easy hero to play and I didn't plan to write this any time soon. However I got a request and here you go, dedicated to the girl who have used Rylai for 200 games but still suck at it.
Rylai is a hard support who can do well without hardly any item at all. She got a good stun, can roam and gank, can jungle if needed,... however not many people can use her effectively due to her biggest weakness: Squishy. Here's a detailed version of her strengths and weaknesses:
- Can do well without items or even underleveled
- Can gank from level 1 and keep doing so till late game
- Nice global aura that solves mana problem for many Arcane Aura
- Got a nice reliable stun Frostbite
- long ranged and AOE nuke Crystal Nova
- With correct position and team fight, her ultimate Freezing Field can do a massive amount of AOE damage that can change the game

- Super squishy due to her stupid strength and agility gains
- Horrible stats
- Stun range not very long
- Very slow, her movement speed is at 280
- The recent nerf to her starting int makes her less effective in early gank
- Attack animation is one of the worst in Dota, makes it almost impossible to last hit when you need money

Skill builds

As a hard support, her skill builds can be very versatile and depends on your team as well as your opponent's team.

This is an AOE nuke that can be used to harass your opponent's carry or simply help pushing a lane. The 15s cooldown is neither short or long for a nuke so use it wisely to control your mana pool. The nice thing about this skill is that it can hit an opponent at a maximum of 1100 range (700 cast range + 400 aoe) and that it provides vision to check rosh pit or simply searching for a juking opponent. You can max this first to maximise the damage output when you go around ganking.

Frostbite is a nice stun that make the opponents unable to run/attack and is also a nice jungling tool. However its limit is that enemy can still cast spells and its range is only 500, which is very short for a slow hero like Crystal Maiden. I usually max this after Crystal Nova because of the above limitations and it doesn't scale as well as Crystal Nova. However: Max this first if your opponent is an Anti mage or Queen of Pain. Because even though Frostbite's victim can cast spells, they cannot Blink, maxing out Frostbite will increase your % of success in ganking these guys.

This is a very good global passive as your team mates can still benefit from you even if you're not around. I usually get 1 early level in this and max other 2 skills first before adding this because this skill does not help much in ganking. However if your line up has more casters like Lina or Shadow Shaman you can put 2 points in early game, that's fine. Maxing this out early will hurt your ganking potential thus strongly not recommended.

This ultimate is actually a very nice AOE spells, however it has 2 weaknesses: 1. It's a channeling spells, 2. It costs a lot of mana at early levels. Most of the times you need a very good position in order to cast this without being interrupted, as well as a large mana pool. I normally won't get this at 6 and wait till I max out 2 other active skills first because I dont have enough mana to use this most of the times, especially when I'm active ganking. Despite all these weaknesses, this spell can totally be game-changing if your team can create space for you to execute it on the opponents.

Early game

As a hard support, you have to buy one of these first 2, or both: Animal Courier, Observer Ward. It's better if another support help you buy one of these so that you have more money to buy essential items though. Sometimes, you might want to buy Sentry Ward too, to deward your opponent's attempt to block your camp for pulling. Then buy a Tango and Healing Salve to keep you healthy in lane/help your carry heal up, and use the leftover money to buy some Iron Branch, stats is never bad. If you wanna go straight roaming and ganking at level 1, you can skip a Healing Salve to get more stats item.
You should place 1 ward at the rune spot to help your mid control rune, then another one at enemy's jungle so that your offlane wont be ganked easily, then if you have Sentry Ward you can either try to deward your opponent's wards or just block their camp so that they cannot pull.
If you have to babysit your carry, you have to know how to pull and stack camp, you can find out here:

There is a few reasons why you should DOUBLE pull:
- Deny you opponent's offlane exp and gold from your lane creep, as they will die to neutral creeps
- Stop your lane from pushing so that your opponent's creep will always be on our side of the map, easier for your carry to last hit
- This is your only source of exp and gold early game as your carry have to get full exp and gold from lane creeps

Remember, try NOT to do single pull without stacking the easy camp, because not only the easy camp will not kill all of your creeps, your next wave of creeps will arrive at the same time when your previous wave killed the easy camp, so your lane will push much faster and this is bad for your carry as he cant farm with an early pushing lane.
Make sure you keep an eye on your carry too in case your opponents dive on him, save him when it's necessary.
When your opponent's lane creeps reach your tower, simply hit them once then run back, DON'T LET THE CREEPS HIT YOUR TOWER, this is a mistake that many new players ignore. Letting them hit even just a few seconds will make your tower's hp drop slowly and make it available for your opponents to dive on the tower as it gets weaker.

If you wanna go gank early with Crystal Maiden, make sure you know the basics of ganking, including vision awareness aka predict ward's position, positioning, mana control, etc... You can watch this video first as it covers most of the basic concepts of ganking:
Ganking guide

Get a boot as soon as possible then upgrade it to a Tranquil Boots as it greatly increases your HP regen, so you can gank continuously. It also solves your low movement speed problem and cheap to get. After that get a Magic Stick to keep you alive with some burst HP/mana, then a Bracer for some cheap HP, since you're too squishy. Always have a Town Portal Scroll with you to help your team when they're in need or be more available in ganking. Also bring Smoke of Deceit if you can afford as it will make you easier to gank especially when your opponent has a lot of wards on the map. If nobody has upgraded the courier yet, make sure you do it asap to make it easier for the mid guy to bottle crow.

Mid game

Now the first major item you should aim to get is a Blink Dagger. This will make you a LOT more mobile and can make you a fearsome initiator as it solves the short range problem of your Frostbite. Moreover, with the buff that now you can blink to dodge projectile, this can save you from many projectiles spells like Assassinate, Storm Hammer or Heat Seeking Missile. You also can blink into the trees or cliff and use Freezing Field. To sum up, this is the best item you can get for Crystal Maiden, dont hesitate to get it if you can.

If you have been dying a lot, consider Force Staff as an alternative as it's safer to farm up even though as a whole it's more expensive than Blink Dagger

Continue ganking as much as possible to make space for your carry to farm up his items. If you're near your core items and want some safer farms, you can go jungle and use Frostbite to farm. Dont spend too much time here though as your team needs you to gank.

Around level 10-11 you should have some 1 or 2 points in Freezing Field for emergency situation. Let's discuss more about when and how to use it correctly.
Since your ultimate is a channeling spell, you need to take note of:
1. Your position, so that you won't be targeted easily by disables or right click damages
2. Enemy's disablers, make sure they are not around 700-1000 range from you to make sure your Freezing Field won't be interrupted.
3. Your team's disablers, if they have already disabled some enemy's heroes and need extra damages to bring them down, dont hesitate to use Freezing Field. Dont forget to Frostbite any hero around who's not disabled yet.

Here are some examples of a good Freezing Field:
Puppey's Freezing Field Ultra Kill.
Here puppey had to make sure Enigma had already used his stun, and Rubick was far away so that he couldn't go back and interrupt Freezing Field in time -> condition 2 is cleared. He also blinked in just a moment after Windranger used her Shackleshot to disable 2 heroes -> condition 3 is cleared. Thus this is a very devastating Freezing Field and absolutely game-changing.

Akke's Freezing Field vs LGD in International 3.
Here is another good Freezing Field by akke. In order to execute this he has to position himself perfectly and did it at a crucial moment of the fight. First his team mates had to make sure Nyx Assassin was disabled with Ensnare and silenced so that he couldn't interrupt your channel -> condition 3 is cleared. Then Bane and Magnus had used their ultimates on the core heroes and Visage's bat had already stunned them, thus enemy's disablers were used up -> condition 2 is cleared. Finally he positioned himself behind the trees so that they couldn't see him while still in range for Freezing Field -> condition 1 is cleared. Hence this also became a very devastating Freezing Field

Late game and extension items

Now you should have Tranquil Boots and Blink Dagger, and can start working on your next items depend on the situation your team is in.
Mekansm pick this up if nobody in your team has one or is planning to build one. Crystal Maiden is not a good Mekansm carrier though because of her super squishy nature, but it's still good to have one regardless.
Force Staff This is an alternative if you can't farm up a Blink Dagger, some times you need both to be more mobile and Force Staff can save your team mates too.
Ghost Scepter is a very nice pick up as it gives you some stats, and it's good against right click opponents. Ghost Scepter and Freezing Field is a nice combo if your opponents are dominantly right click heroes.
Shiva's Guard: 15 nifty armor so that you become tankier, 30 int is great for any int heroes and its active is good against right click heroes, a very nice item but however a bit expensive.
Drum of Endurance cheaper alternatives for bulks. Plus the aura can also helps your team a great deal.
Aghanim's Scepter If you're confident in your positioning, this is a fine pick up, it also gives some nice stats. However, this is still expensive for a hard support to get.
Scythe of Vyse, Bloodstone and Rod of Atos are quite self-explanatory, but these are very luxurious and normally if you can purchase these the game is already ending.

Situational Items and Rejected Items

Black King Bar If your opponents have a lot of nukes/disables and you have enough money, buy this and you can use Freezing Field in peace.
Pipe of Insight same purpose as above but this will help your team better. A must buy to counter heavy nukes/aoe line-up
Urn of Shadows This gives same str as a bracer but can heal your team mates. A good item for ganking but dont buy it if another team mate of yours has already gotten this. Aim for a Mekansm instead
Eul's Scepter of Divinity sometimes you just need more disable or just simply to break your opponent's Linken's Sphere. This also dispel some debuff on you when you use it on yourself, then you can blink away to escape.
Necronomicon for detecting invisible heroes or to fast push, most of the times you can't farm up to get this though.
Phase Boots this is workable however the +24 damage is a bit wasted. 1350 gold for just the phase active is a bit expensive in my opinion
Power Treads well cheap hp, fine, workable

Rejected Items:
Vladmir's Offering This helps your carries, however the chance of you dying first in team fight is quite high, thus buying this can result in a waste of money if you always die early.
Vanguard you're not a tank
Arcane Boots well you can argue this might be workable for more hungry mana team mates. However it doesnt solve your low movement speed problem, make you more vulnerable without armor, and also more expensive than Tranquil Boots
Blade Mail again, you're not a tank
Shadow Blade It just never works in my skill bracket lol. Even though you can channel your Freezing Field then use this item, most of the times I will get dusted or just get impaled.

Friends and Foes

Faceless Void, Magnus, Enigma, Tidehunter: these guys with their AOE disables will create a lot of space for you to position yourself and use Freezing Field
Pugna You guys can totally help each other as you can Frostbite for him to use Decrepify, Nether Blast and Life Drain, while he can Decrepify yourself when you're using Freezing Field
Omniknight He can repel so that you can use Freezing Field without being interrupted (not safe from mini-bash like Headshot though)
Wraith King He just loves your Arcane Aura

Any heroes that possess a strong nuke like Lina, Lion, Zeus can nuke you down very fast and remove you from team fight
Nyx Assassin He can Mana Burn your mana, and can run into your Freezing Field with Spiked Carapace to interrupt your channel.
Bloodseeker He can silence you from afar and make you stand still with Rupture, you become kinda useless afterwards.
Silencer As a spell caster, nobody likes Silencer.
Doom well, of course. Luckily for you mostt of the times he will doom your carries, not you.

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