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126 Votes

Crystal Maiden - A Chilly Ride

September 12, 2015 by Nubtrain
Comments: 59    |    Views: 941772    |   

Build 1
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Build 5

The Babysitter + Jungle Build

DotA2 Hero: Crystal Maiden

Hero Skills

Crystal Nova

3 4 5 7


1 10 12 13

Arcane Aura

2 6 8 9

Freezing Field



14 15 16 17 18

Introduction to Crystal Maiden

Hello and welcome to Nubtrain's guide to Crystal Maiden, one the best support heroes in the game and one of my favorites. Crystal Maiden offers a ton of utility while providing excellent support in all aspects of the game. Crystal Maiden leaves her friends side for a moment to help others in need while not needing much for herself, making Crystal Maiden a rare gem in the neverending battles. Crystal Maiden is able to soothe your spirit from long exchanges of spells or freeze bullies from attack your friends to slowing down the course of battle, Crystal Maiden is a solid pick in any line-up.


Born in a temperate realm, raised with her fiery older sister Lina, Rylai the Crystal Maiden soon found that her innate elemental affinity to ice created trouble for all those around her. Wellsprings and mountain rivers froze in moments if she stopped to rest nearby; ripening crops were bitten by frost, and fruiting orchards turned to mazes of ice and came crashing down, spoiled. When their exasperated parents packed Lina off to the equator, Rylai found herself banished to the cold northern realm of Icewrack, where she was taken in by an Ice Wizard who had carved himself a hermitage at the crown of the Blueheart Glacier. After long study, the wizard pronounced her ready for solitary practice and left her to take his place, descending into the glacier to hibernate for a thousand years. Her mastery of the Frozen Arts has only deepened since that time, and now her skills are unmatched.

Pro and Cons


  • Global mana-regeneration
  • No item dependencies
  • Good CC abilities
  • Doesn't need exp. to be good
  • Can jungle for extra income


  • EXTREMELY Squishy
  • Doesn't have an actual stun
  • Ultimate cost a ton of mana
  • Low starting intelligence
  • Extremely low movement speed


Crystal Nova

A burst of damaging frost slows enemy movement and attack rate in the targeted area.
Cooldown: 15 Seconds, Damage: 100/150/200/250, Type: Magical, Cast Range: 700, AoE: 400, Movespeed Slow: 30%, Att.speed slow: 30, Duration: 3.5/4/4.5/5, Manacost: 100/120/140/160

This spell has a strong 30% slow to both movement speed and 30 point reduction to attack speed, making
Crystal Nova good at controlling the flow of battle.. I get one level early since Crystal Maiden's other abilities provide better benefits early on. I'll only max Crystal Nova first if team is going for early tower/engagements.


Encases an enemy unit in ice, prohibiting movement and attack, while dealing 50 damage every half-second. Lasts 10 seconds on creeps level 6 or lower.
Cast Range: 500, DPS: 100, Hero Duration: 1.5/2/2.5/3, Creep Duration: 10, Cooldown: 10/9/8/7, Manacost: 115/125/140/150

Frostbite acts like a root so heroes will still be able to cast spells unless it's a type of blink. Good counter against, auto-attackers, blinkers and interrupts channeling. Slightly cheaper in mana cost and does more damage than
Crystal Nova to a single target but the range is really low. Frostbite does very well against creep controllers like Chen and Enchantress to an extent. Frostbite is helpful at securing a bit of farm in the early game when Crystal Maiden is utterly broke.

Arcane Aura

Gives additional mana regeneration to all friendly units on the map. This bonus is doubled on Crystal Maiden.
Range: Global, Allies Mana Regen: 1/1.5/2/2.5

An incredibly helpful global passive that helps many heroes like
Skywrath Mage spam that much more. Stacks with Ring of Basilius and an incredible passive that should not be underestimated and highly recommended to have more ranks into aura if engaging a lot. Crystal Maiden gets double the amount of mana regeneration!


Causes many random icy explosions in an area surrounding Rylai. Enemy units in the Freezing Field are slowed. Can be improved by Aghanim's Scepter
Range: Global, Allies Mana Regen: 1/1.5/2/2.5

A strong ultimate that is held back by the hefty mana cost of this ultimate. You can pick 1 level of
Freezing Field early to help with damage. Recommended not to increase anymore more levels or you'll starve for mana.

Item and Skill Builds (Needs updating but still relevant)

Starting items



Begin your purchase with a set of Tango and Healing Salve for lane sustainability. You really want to save your Healing Salve until you run out of Tangoes incase your carry needs to heal. The Clarity potion will help you keep up with mana since you should be harassing the enemy with a few spells until you've leveled up Arcane Aura.

If you're the one to buy a courier, you must buy the first set of Sentry Wards as highest priority and have the other support get the Observer Ward. You'll need the Sentry Ward to remove any potential wards that will block the pull camp and of course any invisible heroes that happens to be up against you.

Crystal Maiden doesn't need much levels to be efficient and has good roaming potentials thanks to two strong CROWD CONTROL abilities. So be active and don't fret when you're underleveled, that's the least of your concerns. Tip: Carry a Town Portal Scroll at all times.

EARLY Game Purchases


Your main priority over any other item is buying wards for both vision and counter-warding. After you have accumulated enough gold, your other major purchase is a Tranquil Boots and/or Magic Wand. The boots will help you stay in lane much longer and provides a good amount of movement speed to start roaming if your carry doesn't need much babysitting. Magic Wand is also a good choice if you happen to be fighting often and the charges accumulated over time might just save you from death when otherwise not. I often buy both since it's usually hard for Crystal Maiden to have any extra spending money!

MID/LATE Game Purchases


Next major item is Mekansm, provides a strong heal and is pretty much required for any hero playing support. If someone already has Mekansm then buy Drum of Endurance instead. Two Mekansms do not stack so don't waste the money. After you have made the drums you're free to choose from the Luxury items. Both items provide great benefits to help boost your team's advantage over the opposition. By the time I get the last core item, the game is almost finished so don't feel weird when you have so little items. You're squishy and unless your team is dominating, you won't have much gold at all since you're an easy target.


The point of this build is to efficiently maximize as much cheap HP items as possible to increase your potential survivability. You can upgrade one Bracer into a Drum of Endurance or substitute one Bracer for a Urn of Shadow if you happen to have the gold early - mid game. You'll still want to prioritize buying wards above anything else but this would be your item build if all core items were already purchased by another player.

Skill Builds

There are builds adjusted for different situations and it'll be bad to only include one build. There are many styles of play like being abusive or defensive. Like I wrote earlier, you CAN pick up ONE level of Freezing Field for some extra burst damage but be warned, you'll be focus fired really hard.

Very Aggressive

Level 1 - Crystal Nova
Level 2 - Frostbite
Level 3 - Crystal Nova
Level 4 - Frostbite
Level 5 - Crystal Nova
Level 6 - Frostbite
Level 7 - Crystal Nova
Level 8+ Adjust accordingly

Notes: For early first blood/tower, might
want to buy some
Clarity potions.
Good build for roaming!

Passive Aggressive

Level 1 - Crystal Nova
Level 2 - Frostbite
Level 3 - Crystal Nova
Level 4 - Arcane Aura
Level 5 - Crystal Nova
Level 6 - Arcane Aura
Level 7 - Crystal Nova
Level 8+ Adjust accordingly

Notes: Possible for very eary
first blood. Harass lane with
auto-attacks and
Crystal Nova.

Luxury Items

Luxury items for support heroes are hard to get since you'll have no farm and holds true for most supports. If your team is dominating and you're raking in all the assist gold with some gank/accidental kills here are the items you'll want

  • Ghost Scepter - Highly recommended if you're getting focused by auto-attackers. Helps you survive for 5 seconds longer against physical attacks but makes you much more susceptible to magic damage.
  • Pipe of Insight - Quite expensive and if nobody else is getting for some reason, you buy it. Crystal Maiden isn't a good carrier for pipe since she's innately squishy and it's better to focus on buying wards or other items.
  • Scythe of Vyse - Another expensive item that you'll probably never be able to get unless you're rolling in gold, adds an extra CC for both offensive and defensive purposes.
  • Blink Dagger - If somehow you're able to survive teamfights to save up for this then great, a decent escape and an amazing initiation tool.
  • Aghanim's Scepter - Did you buy any wards at all? Provides a lot of stats that Crystal Maiden need and upgrades your expensive ultimate into a stronger expensive ultimate...

The Babysitter's Goal

We'll be discussing your role in the lane and guide you through step by step process of what you need to know to become a great supporter.

GOAL #1: Creep Stacking

The goal of creep stacking is to help maintain lane equilibrium and deny as much EXP as possible. (Recommending at least two stacks) Creep stacking is also another way for you to gain some EXP while you let your carry take most or all of it in lane. Even then if the carry comes to last hit the neutral creeps, let them take it.

When lane is pushed further into their side of the playing field, pull the creeps at the timing of
:52 and dragged them as far away from their camp as possible. Which will result in another group of creeps to spawn. Watch for enemy creep waves starting to take momentum of the lane, that usually leads to their minions pushing directly towards the tower so you'll need to distract/kite them away.

GOAL #2: Maintaining Equilibrium

Crystal Maiden's second goal is to maintain lane equilibrium as best as possible for the best farm your lane partner can receive. The closer the minions are toward your tower, the more protected the lane is and the easier for you to avoid ganks. Begin to attack your own minions at or below 50% so your minions can die faster which forces the lane to push towards your favor.
Insert video here

Avoid hitting the enemy even once because with one hit you're providing more momentum and pushing for your lane which will force you to pull creeps towards your lane sooner. Any decent enemy support will have warded the closest neutral creep spawn so when you're in this situation, killing your own minions at the start of 50-% is the best option. So one of your top priorities is to keep minion waves at an even push, your carry will naturally hit creeps to get the kills so make it your priority to deny and harrass. When enemy minion waves are getting closer to the tower, do not pull neutral creeps or you'll force yourself to kite around your tower while you take a decent chunk of minion damage.

GOAL #3: Harassment and Defense

Crystal Maiden's third goal is to trade blows with the enemy heroes, your attack/spell range is good and have some mana regeneration to throw a couple of spells around. Be cautious not to over-extend beyond your own creep wave, you HP is very low and easily susceptible to quick ganks or retaliations. Carry a Town Portal Scroll to quickly defend other lanes if they're getting attacked. Don't forget to spend money on Observer Wards to either avoid ganks or prepare for a counter-attack.


In a tri-lane setup, you need two heroes who can do well at early levels while having the carry farm the easy lane as best as possible(Top:DIRE/Bot:Sentinel) and Crystal Maiden is a very good choice. Like I've stated many times before, Crystal Maiden does very well without a lot of levels and she's also a strong early game hero. What I've typed earlier in this section applies to tri-lane and takes it to a more aggressive style. You main goal is to try and give your carry absolute free-farm while getting some kills.
[insert video hero]

You have two situations when you're fighting in a tri-lane. A solo hard laner, like Windrunner or another tri-lane setup like Visage, Vengeful Spirit and Earthshaker...

The Hard-lane Solor

The hard-lanes main job is to survive and scrap whatever they can. If s/he cannot do that then that person should stop taking hard-lanes. Heroes who do very well in hard-lanes are those who have an escape like Mirana or have some sort of ability to avoid danger and farm like Clockwerk). Note: If it's a Beastmaster in hard-bot lane, he's mostly likely stacking ancients.

Windrunner - - - - -

In this situation, you trade blows with that solo and win. If you can get that player to use Healing Salve before you do, you're in good shape. Though you have decent spell range, maximize distance between you and the enemy with Crystal Nova's AoE as an extension of its range.
insert picture here

If they decide to try and get in the last hit, throw some free auto-hits to push that player back. Like mentioned earlier don't get hit by minions and stack as much as possible to force equilibrium. If your tri-lane is going wonderfully then you can continue to stack creeps or "go out to chill"

The Other Tri-Hards

Abuse your enemies with Crystal Nova since it has a decent range with big AoE then have a second hero who can stun, allowing you stronger lane control. Great partners are other support heroes who follow the same rules as you, don't need much levels to be effective; like Earthshaker. Don't forget to throw in auto-attacks after casting some novas so you're not out-of-mana(oom) when a big fight begins.
insert video here

Even though Crystal Nova's spell range is pretty far thanks to is AoE, Frostbite has a shorter cast range. If you're not careful enemy tri-laners will take advantage of that window of opportunity to retaliate if you're not careful. Remember you're squishy, you're suppose to stay alive to keep your carry alive and die when you're keeping the carry alive!
insert video here

Going Out to Chill

Roaming is to travel around the map and pressure all lanes by ganking with the idea for a kill. Helps reduce the power of a stronger enemy lane to... not so strong! For example, roaming is great at interrupting heroes like Templar Assassin from getting easy gold. Crystal Maiden is not as strong as Vengeful Spirit or Earthshaker but is still good at roaming none-the-less. When roaming, you're giving your lane partner more experience and work well in tri-lane setups since Crystal Maiden does not need a lot of levels.

Ganking and Pushing

Your number one objective while roaming is to pressure all lanes with ganks, hoping for a kill. Look for lanes that are pushed and take advantage of the distance between the enemy hero and tower. Have your ally start off the engagement if possible because Crystal Maiden has terrible movement speed so enemy heroes might retreat before anything happens. That's also another reason why we have Smoke of Deceit, helps avoid the obvious early ward at the easy lanes, you can tell from the enemy support items.

After you have successfully ganked and killed someone, push their tower immediately. Don't destroy the easy lane tower unless you're in a pushing team comp because your carry needs to farm easier. The enemy tower will help stop your creep momentum and if you destroy it, you're forcing your carry to farm in jungle or other lanes. Farming deep inside enemy territory is very risky and slows down the farm the carry would be getting if you did not destroy easy lane tower... so don't destroy tower yet.

Hunting the Jungler

If the other team has a jungler like Lycanthrope, go to their jungle with another ally and start blocking off neutral creep spawns. Have your teammate (Prefer another roaming hero) get some wards and completely block off spawn camps. This will force enemy jungler to either buy sentry wards (unlikely), start laning or sneak into your own jungle. Some will probably lane but if enemy jungler goes to your jungle instead then perfect. You'll have every opportunity to gank and completely destroy their farm. Be secretive about this endeavor, if they know you're in their jungle it might become riskier to do the counter-jungling.

Jungle Wars

Instead of harassing him outright, let them waste their hp/mana tanking the neutrals and wait to steal the last hit with Crystal Nova. You'll not only slow down their farm, you're wasting their efforts while harassing, that's called a triple-play bundle.

Even though it's not a Crystal Maiden video, here's a video from Purge that features him doing well roaming as a support and counter-jungling the enemy Lycanthrope

Warding, Sights to Behold!

Warding itself has an extensive amount of information needed so I'll be covering the popular areas that are very contested. Credits goes to GSO for the mini-map information and screenshots(temporary until I get my own) at team-dignitas and for providing such an awesome guide to warding, could not have wrote it any better so thank you. here's the direct link to warding.

I definitely recommend the read, very extensive and informative, covers almost everything.


  • Rune Wards
  • Ubercliffs
  • Lane/aggressive/defensive/ wards
  • Jungle wards
  • Push wards
  • Situational

Radiant Side

In this spot, you'll see the ancient's location offering a huge Field of Vision, both top river and middle lane(Obviously the ancients too). Very useful to check if someone is doing ancients and it's also one of Pudge's hook spots, so if you happen to spot him perfect!

A very popular spot for the Dire side to get vision on the Radiant side, often counter warded but provides great vision for rune spot/river/bot jungle.

Here you'll get a big FoV of top river but not nearly as good as other spots since it doesn't show neutral spots nor a good vision of paths. Great ward spot if you're getting counter-warded frequently.

Another spot on the Radiant side that the Dire team uses often. Checks for rune, unveils FoW and helps check if anyone is going for Roshan. Very contested and often re-warded.

Used mostly as a defensive ward by dire's hard lane solo. Greatly helps avoid ganks and gives vision to rune spot.

Good place that reveals rune spot, bottom river and above both cliffs. A very popular spot and is often counter-warded.

Shows vision for rune spot and a glimpse at Radiant jungle but mainly used by Dire to counter junglers like Enchantress by stopping the spawn of their big camps.

Provides 360 degree Field of Vision, shows Tier 2 tower at mid and a bit of bottom jungle. Used for both offensive and defensive purposes and counter-warded a lot mostly by the Radiant side(obviosuly).

Apparently called the "Magic Bush", this spot gives very good vision for incoming ganks/jungler. Blocks two camps, the big and medium spawn. (Found out this spot at GSO's guide, so please take a look!)

Dire Side

A common ward spot and watches over top river and some vision into Dire's jungle. Mostly used spot by the Radiant offensively and defensively by Dire.

Another good spot to watch rune spot at top river and also gives a good amount of vision at middle lane. Also watches for the Dire's jungle entrance which is very helpful to lookout for if someone is about to come initiate on your mid.

Another spot on the Dire side that watches over Roshan, Radiant's side and rune spot. Also probably one the better spots to place especially if you're about to do Roshan.

Great spot to watch over Dire's spot and provides a ton of vision. Very good at watching top 2 tower and coverage for teamfights!

Best Friends, Mean Jerks and Co-Workers

Heroes that greatly benefit from Crystal Maiden are heroes who love the extra mana regeneration like Storm Spirit and those who need a good setup for easy kills like Juggernaut. Crystal Maiden is very good at dealing with heroes who blink like Queen of Pain and Anti-Mage since their blinks are disabled in the meantime. The biggest weakness that Crystal Maiden has is health points, she's incredibly squishy and strong burst damage heroes like Zeus are very troublesome. There are also other great roaming "co-workers" that rival Crystal Maiden's potential, a highly recommended relationship!

Some examples of your best friends, mean jerks and great co-workers are...

The Best Friends

The Mean Jerks

The Co-Workers

Crystal Maiden offers a lot of support and no doubt she has great friends. Heroes who can utilize her slows and frozen root are heroes like Juggernaut who can maximize damage with Blade Fury . While roaming, Crystal Maiden has best pals to stroll with like the handsome Earthshaker or the cute Vengeful Spirit whom all don't need a lot of levels to be efficient.

Examples of other strong frienemies are:

- Lycanthrope - Skeleton King - - - - - -

Crystal Maiden is also a very good counter against melee bullies like Slardar and heroes who have strong mobility like Queen of Pain and Anti-Mage. Many of the mentioned friends are also scary enemies when in opposite teams so please position yourself carefully so it'll be much harder for them to kill you. Crystal Maiden is good at controlling the fight when allowed to so make positioning the top most importance during all stages of the game.

An extremely strong counter to everything Crystal Maiden does. Good Pudge players will take advantage of your incredibly slow movement speed and Dismember you into pieces. A full combo from Pudge will destroy you and if you don't position yourself correctly, you might feed the whole game to Pudge and it will increase Flesh Heap stacks.

Frostbite is a root and will not stop Pudge from casting any spells so he can still easily hook another player or you into his grasp. Crystal Maiden also has to be in close range to cast Frostbite so this opens a window of opportunity for an easy kill on you. Crystal Maiden's weaknesses is what everything a Pudge hooks for so pay attention and constantly ward.

Replay Examples

This game is a good example of why you're easy food for Pudge player. Even if I positioned myself away, since my movement speed is awful, Pudge focused me pretty good. I was sad the whole game :(!

Match ID: 63417943

Update Notes

Update #4: Updated some typos and mistakes in the skillbuild. Reworked starting items and added some more notes to a few sections.

Update #3: Reworked some item selections and added some common "End Game" builds

Update #2: Added more information in "Best Friends, Mean Jerks and Co-Workers"

Update #1: Added ward section
7/30/2012 - Released guide!


Hopefully this guide will help you understand Crystal Maiden a bit better and become a better support player in general. Check out my first guide that I ever wrote!

All I need to add are some more video examples, information and warding spots then this guide will be officially finished until then, good luck in all your games!

P.S: Did you like the color scheme?
P.S.S: If there is anything else you would like me to add, leave it in the comments!

Check out my channels if you want to help support me, I sometimes stream and would appreciate if you said hi!


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