Name: Crystal Maiden
Magic The Gathering color: Azzorious (Blue-White)
Likes: Ursa , winter, Pixar's Frozen, Haste runes, Icees, Sven , the new patch
Dislikes: Lina , summer, anything with fire, losing her hair when she dies, getting yelled at
Crystal Maiden is one of my favorite supports in the game, even though her base movespeed is about as fast as a drugged snail. She has an awesome AOE damage and slow spell, a disable, a passive aura that makes everyone love you, and a pretty awesome teamfight spell. Normally when you pick her people will try to go for a 4 man carry team, which is just ridiculous in my opinion. They expect you to buy ALL the wards AND upgrade the courier AND buy all the dust, smoke, and sentries, and sorry, buddy, I'm an unruly support guy, it's not gonna fly with me. Buy your own dust, mine's on cooldown, you moron. So I'd suggest you pick her last when half your team is established so people don't get any stupid ideas in pub matches.
Either way, just like Azzorious, the entire point of CM is to control. Control the board, win the game. She doesn't right click, she doesn't Dagon , she makes it to where anyone stupid enough to be out of position gets killed by whoever her carry is.
I've added this li'l chapter bit for her because she is a hero worthy of Ranked Matches (and yes Enigma is worthy of ranked matches, but what the guide does and says goes for both ranked and pub). I think I played most of my TBD games as her or Witch Doctor and I did rather well considering the 'mishaps' with people not understanding how their lanes worked and other things such as that.
First off, for any brand new players (who should always support in the beginning of their Dota career), I expect you to play at least 5 or so games with the dear Maiden in order to get a better grip on how she operates before you take her into a ranked match. My score with her before I went into ranked was 13-4, and there were still some losses everyone blamed me for, so hopefully you feel confident with her. Ranked matches are what everyone calls the "Tryhard" matches, meaning you do buy dust, you try to smoke gank, you block the safelane's pull camp, you deward whenever possible, and yes, you gank the jungle if someone's in there.
Crystal Maiden's role in a Ranked Match (assuming your team has at least one more support-ish person)
-buy Observer Ward
-buy Sentry Ward
-ward top rune if you're Radiant, bot Rune if you're Dire
-use remaining ward to block the enemy safelane pull camp
If there's an enemy jungler such as Enigma or Nature's Prophet , use both wards to block the big creep camps, which will slow them down and give everyone vision. Now that runes spawn at both ends of the river, mid really doesn't have a problem anymore, even though this means people should constantly call out whenever they think mid is missing.
For the rest of the Ranked Match, just remember to play smart and follow this guide.
Unlike Enigma, Crystal Maiden has a few downsides to being her, the biggest being her inadequate movespeed of 280, which means someone like Chaos Knight or Luna can chase her down and slaughter her until she has her Tranquil Boots . Also she's extremely squishy due to her poor STR gain and her AGI mixed with her long attack animation means last-hitting is frankly out of the question. However, she is still a very strong support and as cute as a button with a lot of utility at her disposal, which makes a good CM something to consider.
When to pick Crystal Maiden
Your team is mana dependant, but can stack better than most late game
Your team's lanes have good ganking potential
If the enemy team is more likely to target someone else more important than you in a teamfight
If the enemy team also has squishy supports
Your team knows what they're doing
When not to pick CM
The enemy team has a lot of stuns/disables
The enemy team has overall a higher movespeed than you
The enemy team has a lot of burst damage or silences
The enemy team has heroes that can go invisible
Consulting the green, a mana dependent team where the hard carry is Chaos Knight or the safelane has a Wraith King can be won on Arcane Aura alone. Having recently played CK I was able to do my business wrecking the enemy base, but constantly having to go back to the fountain to heal my mana pool just dragged the game out. CM makes a great ganker, surprisingly, because she uses Frostbite on an enemy to open, your lane starts bashing them and layering anything they have on top of that, and then Crystal Nova to do some extra damage and slow the enemy, then her work is done and her Tranqs are still on and she just runs away. Very little danger involved. Also, your team has to know what they're doing, because CM is one of the few supports that I can't transition into a semi-carry, though I've seen people try, it doesn't work unless she gets a Godlike spree, which, incidentally, I've also seen before.
On the red, it's fairly obvious by now that she's going to be helpless against high movespeed in the early game and worse off against someone like Bounty Hunter or Clinkz and worst of all, Riki anytime in the mid game. There are tankier heroes with disables and slows that would be better suited to deal with heroes like these. Tinker is the worst for CM. Now let's get to it.
It's time for a fun update!
If I haven't mentioned it before, Crystal Maiden can jungle, and recently I've been playing her so much that I've gotten tons of last hits with her in games as well as a high positive KDA ratio, and I attribute this to hybrid jungling.
Frostbite does approximately a million damage to all creeps excluding the ancients, and it freezes them in place for 10 seconds. What does this mean? It means easy Tranquil Boots for our dear maiden. If you're already pulling and you have no jungler, there's no reason to let that free gold and experience to go to waste. And the quicker she gets her movespeed, the more useful she is. Plus the experience for the carry is boosted while none is sacrificed for the maiden.
Easy Steps for the hybrid jungle CM:
1. attack the big creep in the large camp.
2. Have it chase you a bit.
3. Frostbite the big creep and give it one or two right clicks
4. Mercilessly attack the smaller creeps (or potato behr)
5. Watch the timer and remember to try and stack around the :54 time.
A good CM will just stack it and wait for enough mana to frost them again. This is the only sense where I would say to get a point in Arcane Aura at level 2, but You could just pack Clarity potions for yourself. Also these creeps allow you to buy wards and the courier upgrade.
The biggest early game goal you're going to have is reaching level 3 before dying. If you looked at the skill build, you don't skip your disable and your slow, whoever says 'giff arcane aura now' when you just spawned in the fountain isn't going to be worth your time. You are freezing your enemy for a 1.5 duration, which is a pretty high count considering, and your Crystal Nova is an AOE slow for creeps and heroes alike, which means she has one of the highest gank potentials in the game at just level two. At level's 3-5 you can start maxing your arcane aura so everyone will shut up. I sometimes do that, but most times I go the 1-2-2 build for that extra half second of stun when I'm trying to kill someone.
So, buy all your starting items, place your wards, and have someone block the creeps while you wait patiently at a rune spot for a rune. Hopefully it's a Bounty or a Haste rune. Now when you get to your lane, focus on learning CM's attack animation by only denying creeps. You aren't allowed to last hit unless your lane is deserted. If high kill potential is there, for example, you're running with a disable stun/slow lane or there's a Centaur Warrunner you are supporting, then you are going to have to be extra vigilant in timing and lane awareness. If your lane is pushed up, don't do it. If your lane is pulled, go for it.
Radiant Double Pulling Ultra Super Secret Delicious Crazy Wailmer Technique:
In the safelane, you can pull your creeps through to the medium/large camp by eating one of the trees at the back of the small camp, waiting until the total health of the neutral creeps is around 600 health (more if there's a catapult involved), and then bringing the medium neutrals through the trees and to your creep wave. Just remember that messing it up results in a near double wave, which pushes your lane up farther. Practice, young grasshopper.
Assuming you haven't died and not that you have got a kill, and you've gotten at least one bounty rune, you should have your Tranquil Boots fairly quickly, and unfortunately for everyone else boots are just a tad more important than the Flying Courier upgrade. After which of course, now you are the ward queen. Buy wards within a minute of the old ones going out so you always have vision, and at this time you should be able to gank a lane or two, and, maybe if you're lucky, someone will help you out. If you end up stealing first blood by accident, immediately buy the courier upgrade to make everyone forget how pissed they are that they got out right clicked by a Crystal Maiden .
If someone else is buying Mekansm then you should immediately begin saving for Eul's, because the extra CC which allows more kills and escapes and the movespeed for the slow gal is beautiful when it comes to having to get to a teamfight quicker. Otherwise, get the Mek for extra healing and attributes. Some people get Drums of Endurance for CM so the carries that need it get an extra slot and it gives her some decent stats and, you guessed it, more movespeed. I usually don't get these unless I feel like I will need the extra stats.
Eul's Scepter of Divinity I mentioned this before in a comment in one of my guides, but it's probably my favorite item in the game besides Sange and Yasha , which I've developed a new love for due to it's STR AGI synergy. Eul's gives you +40 movement speed, 150% more mana gen, and some INT to boot for just stats. It's active works on you AND your enemies, which interrupts teleports and channeled abilities from a very good distance and I like to go fast (insert Sonic joke here). Now CM doesn't really need the mana gen, but she does need the movespeed, and it's a cheaper alternative to Scythe of Vyse . Honestly, with Mek, Tranqs, and Euk's, CM is offically online for the rest of the game, so get Eul's as soon as you can.
Crystal Maiden falls off really hard late game, especially against tanks such as Pudge , Wraith King , Dragon Knight , and others, because she doesn't have much damage output, magical or physical when all the carries are fed and all the supports are buying items now. Black King Bar is a decent item on Crystal Maiden, because it gives her some extra health, but honestly, people will just right click her down in the middle of a teamfight, so it won't matter anyway. Aghanim's Scepter gives you that extra health and attributes plus allows your ultimate to be relevant later in the game, and in the attribute's corner is also Scythe of Vyse, which gives you MORE mana gen that CM already has and another CC, which allows people to attack the target that you have targeted rather than having to wait around and see if they'll blink away in time to save himself. A Blink Dagger is something that is allowed in my opinion when a Crystal Maiden has helped in plenty of early ganks and fights, and allows her to initiate with Frostbite while her team follows up from behind. Rod of Atos , yet another CC item which gives some extra bite to CM's right click and allows her to slow her opponents down pretty well on a small cooldown. Also it gives her some extra health, so if I were to pick an items to go for after Eul's, it would probably be this one.
In ending this guide, don't forget to buy wards whenever they're up, and place them smartly, deward when you see enemies warding, and most of all, have fun. If you are doing everything right, you'll be able to end the game before you have to buy your luxury items. Here's to everyone who likes to support.
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