Dota Best Guides


Rylai Crestfall, The Crystal Maiden Guide by key_

Written by admin on October 2nd, 2008

This guide was written by key_, thanks!

By: key_
Updated for Dota: 6.54b
Artwork by: irving-zero (

Hi there, I’m key_ (aka strikes_) and this is my first guide. It will talk about the many aspects of Rylai, the Crystal Maiden.
I’ve chosen to write a Crystal Maiden guide because the only guide even close to being up to date is TheJoe’s guide… and since that’s like 10 versions out of date and no other guides have been made it’s about time there be one. That and I wanna try my hand at guide writing. This guide will mention different skill builds but focus on the recommended (cookie-cutter skill build) which will work for all levels of play.


I. A closer look at Rylai
II. Her skills
III. Skill builds
IV. Item Build
V. Other Mentionables
VI. Gameplay, General Tips and Spell Strategy
VII. Things to watch out for
VIII. Early Game
IX. Mid Game
X. Late Game
XI. Replays
XII. Conclusion

I. A Closer look at Rylai

Rylai Crestfall – The Crystal Maiden
Range: 600 | | Move Speed: 280 | Primary: INT
Str: 16 + 1.7 | Agi: 16 + 1.6 | Int: 21 + 2.9
Damage: 38 – 44 | HP: 454 | Mana: 273
HP Regen: 0.73 | Mana Regen: 0.85
Attack Speed: 1.43 (+ 16% IAS) | Armor: 1.2

Looking at her stats, she doesn’t have much to offer beyond her range does she? and good intel growth… but that’s about it. Why play Rylai? she has two strong single target spells and the classic OMGWTF TRIPLE KILL!! ultimate. Oh, and she’s fun to play tongue.gif Since her spells lose effectiveness (damage wise) later on, it is important to utilize those skills as much as possible earlier in the game.
Conclusion: She has pretty decent lane control and she is a very strong ganker. She should be trying to gank a lot.
II. Skills

Frost Nova (V)

Blasts a target enemy unit with ice while also damaging units in 200 AoE while slowing movement speed and attack speed by 40% for 4 seconds. Deals magic damage.
Level 1 – 50 target damage and 75 nova damage.
Level 2 – 100 target damage and 100 nova damage.
Level 3 – 125 target damage and 125 nova damage.
Level 4 – 175 target damage and 125 nova damage.
Mana Cost: 100/ 130/ 155/ 185
Cooldown: 11

This is a strong nuke with high mana cost, and relatively low cooldown. The target will take ‘target’ damage and ‘nova’ damage, units within the AoE take ‘nova’ damage and will also be slowed.

Frostbite (E)

Freezes the target in a case of ice, prohibiting movement and attacking. Deals 70 magic damage per second.
Level 1 – Lasts 1.5 seconds.
Level 2 – Lasts 2 seconds.
Level 3 – Lasts 2.5 seconds.
Level 4 – Lasts 3 seconds.
Mana Cost: 115/ 125/ 140/ 150
Cooldown: 10

Your signature skill, nearly everything you do will start off with this. Units cannot move or attack while encased in Rylai’s prison of ice.
Units can still cast spells while frostbitten and single-cast their orbs.
The only exceptions off the top of my head are blink, QoP and Antimage cannot blink when frozen. Blink strike still works but the unit will not attack. (blink strike damage still occurs) Potm can still leap.
Sylla’s bear/creep will be trapped and damaged for about 10 seconds, which completely nullifies them being a threat while dealing 700 (!!) damage to it. Do keep this in mind when playing against Chen or Syllabear.

Brilliance Aura ®

Gives additional (base) mana regeneration to all friendly units.
Level 1 – Adds 0.6 mana regeneration.
Level 2 – Adds 1.2 mana regeneration.
Level 3 – Adds 1.8 mana regeneration.
Level 4 – Adds 2.4 mana regeneration.
Mana Cost:

Finally, after about a billion changes this skill is no longer completely useless. The regeneration is constant, meaning no matter how much intel you have, Brilliance Aura will always regen X amount. Where X depends on its level.
This aura stacks with the Ring of Basilius’ Brilliance Aura.

Freezing Field (Z)

Causes 10 icy explosions per second in 675 AoE surrounding Rylai. Channeling. Lasts 4 seconds.
Level 1 – Each explosion deals 105 magic damage.
Level 2 – Each explosion deals 170 magic damage.
Level 3 – Each explosion deals 250 magic damage.
Level 4 (With Aghanim Scepter) – Each explosion deals 310 magic damage.
Mana Cost: 300/ 400/ 600
Cooldown: 150/120/90

A powerful, powerful ultimate. Kinda pretty too. Opposing units within the AoE will be slowed. Be careful, this spell will completely stop if you’re stunned, cast another spell, move, or press stop/hold position. This skill will not be used as much as you might think, so we shall do our best in getting greatest effectiveness when it is cast, which shall be explained later in the guide.
As of 6.54, it no longer looks OMGISHATBRICKS epic. totally lame if you ask me. >.<
For those who want to know how Freezing Field works as of 6.54, check out the spoiler.

Spoiler! How Freezing Field works –Click here to view–
Notes >

* Freezing Field’s slow is applied every 0.1 seconds to all enemies in the AOE, and lasts for 1 second.
* Every 0.1 seconds, Freezing Field randomly selects a distance between 125 and 635. A random angle is also selected in a quadrant around Rylai, with the spell cycling through each quadrant in turn. In other words, an angle between 0 and 90 degrees will be selected for one “explosion,” followed by an angle between 90 and 180 degrees for the next explosion, and so on, returning to a quadrant every 4 explosions. The axes corresponding to 0, 90, 180, and 270 degrees consequently have twice the chance to be selected. All enemy targets within 190 AOE of the target point defined by the distance and angle are then damaged with the stated Spell damage. A total of 40 explosions are created, with a maximum of 20 hitting a stationary enemy unit.
* Freezing Field’s slow AOE and damage distribution have the shape of a circle.
* Freezing Field deals Magical damage which is reduced by the target’s Spell Resistance and is blocked by Spell Immunity.

…and wtf did the spoiler mean?

Basically, the explosions are more evenly spread out compared to before; meaning there will be less of those billion-explosions-hitting-the-same-spot. Making this skill stronger in teams in terms of spreading the damage inside the aoe, but weaker in dealing with smaller groups.

III. Skill Builds

Here is the recommended skill build:

Level 1 – Frostbite
Level 2 – Frost Nova
Level 3 – Frostbite
Level 4 – Frost Nova/Brilliance Aura
Level 5 – Frost Nova
Level 6 – Frostbite
Level 7 – Frost Nova
Level 8 – Frostbite
Level 9 – Stats/Brilliance Aura
Level 10 – Freezing Field
Level 11 – Freezing Field
Level 12-15 – Stats
Level 16 – Freezing Field
Level 17-21 – Stats
Level 22+: Whatever’s left

Pretty standard skill build, but let’s look into explanations a bit more.
Frost Nova:

Your nuke and a strong slow. It’s maxed before Frostbite because it comes with huge damage. Frostbite’s duration is pretty decent even at level two (2 seconds) which is more than enough time for combo/running/whatever.

Learned first because it can help you escape, or set up level 1 ganks. Maxed second because of duration.
Brilliance Aura:

This is where it gets a bit icky. Some say the regen is junk and don’t ever get it. However I disagree. 0.60 regeneration provides a good, solid flow of mana for you and your allies. It’s learned at level 4 when her frostbite has good duration and she can use Frost Nova to slow. I don’t think points beyond level 1 is needed so I advise against doing so, because her other skills are powerful and should be maxed basically ASAP, stats are also pretty important. Alternatively you can put a point in at level 9 once your other skills are maxed, which is when more ganking begins.
Note: If you’re so content in leveling up brilliance aura then you should alternate between levels (eg. aura/stats/aura/stats) because there shouldn’t be a demand for mana regen high enough to force you to put 4 straight points into it.

Picking Brilliance Aura is completely up to the player and their playstyle, but I will give some reasons on why to learn/level it:

- you have many casters in your lineup, free regen to everyone is always welcome.

- it could help someone who is jungling and/or anyone roaming, also regenerates allied creep/units

- anyone who has a basilius/sharing in its aura will have a bunch of additional regen ontop of it.

Freezing Field:

This is saved for later levels simply because Rylai does not have the mana to support it at early levels; especially with two spells you will be casting often.

The Roamer:

Here’s another skill build. This skill build can be used for anyone who intends to roam with Crystal Maiden. It is highly recommended you are playing higher levels of dota when using this strategy because without good allies… roaming fails. Miserably. Not only that, but there are much better roamers than CM.

What’s a roamer? how is it different from the first build?

A roamer is a hero who goes around the map at level 1 from lane to lane basically to gank. Roamers are highly dependant on stats in order to go around the map as much as they can with fewest amounts of fountain trips.

Level 1

- Frostbite

Level 2

- Frost Nova

Level 3

- Frostbite

Level 4

- Stats/Brilliance Aura

Level 5

- Frostbite

Level 6

- Stats

Level 7

- Frostbite

Level 8

- Stats

Level 9

- Stats

Level 10-12

- Frost Nova

Level 13

- Freezing Field

Level 14

- Stats

Level 15

- Freezing Field

Level 16

- Freezing Field

Level 17-22

- Stats

Level 23-25

- Whatever is left

I’m expecting flak because of this build, but I figure I’d give it a mention anyway.

This skill is maxed first because it is what you and your team will be relying on most and when roaming. You will not have the mana for continual use of Frostbite and Frost Nova when roaming.
Frost Nova:

is kept at level 1 for the slow. 40% slow is very strong. Higher levels of Frost Nova result in a much higher mana cost, which is not welcome for anyone who is roaming… unless you’re very fond of mana fountain trips. You will be learning more of it later when you have more mana to support it.
Brilliance Aura:

The 1 point wonder. In this build you either learn it once early or not at all. Simply because you don’t want your stat points stunted too much by this. It also supports allies’ mana pools which can be a pretty big help considering they’re down a person in lane. Oh, and helps your regen too.
Freezing Field:

Has the same reasoning as before, Rylai will not have the mana to support it at early levels; especially with the two spells you will be casting often.

But why is it taken at level 13 and not 10/11?

You may be higher level but you still gank. Since you’re roaming your mana pool will never be high enough to use this, and the 300 mana could go to a second Frostbite/Nova in a gank. Frost Nova needs to be leveled at some point because learning it later only results in less effectiveness; also you can support the two spells now. You learn Freezing Field at 13 because at least this way you will have access to it. A second point isn’t taken until 15 because you still won’t be using it very often along with mana pool issues. Access to a level 2 freezing field is good and all, but it comes with a troublesome +100 (from 300 to 400) mana cost increase. The +stat will be more helpful.


wtf this gets a mention?

Yes. Stats is crucial in this build, more of everything helps. Since you’re roaming you will be lower level than everyone else and underfarmed leaving you short gold for any items. Rylai still has terrible HP even with items! imagine her without them x_x. Stats will give you the best bang for your…skill point >.>

IV. Item Build

No matter which skill build you choose, the core items will remain the same. They are as follows:

Baconzilla lied when he said Sven has the cheapest item build in dota >.>
(ok fine. he said probably the cheapest)

Rylai is a pitiful farmer, which is why we get cheaper items. So we can spend more time ganking. The main things Rylai needs is HP, HP..and did I mention HP?
Starting items:

Pretty much whatever you want. (as long as it isn’t boots, you can get them first if you’re roaming..but even then I wouldn’t recommend it) Make sure you have a couple tangos and maybe some clarity potions if you want. Otherwise some branches a circlet+tangos work too. If your lane partner is getting a headdress, share the love! don’t be afraid to buy a ring of basilius as it’s not a terrible item for Rylai. The mana regen is welcome along with the armor and damage bonus.
Boots of Speed:

requires no explanation, with your 280 movespeed it is rather important to get this item pretty quickly.
Empty Bottle:

This will be your main source of regeneration. The burst regeneration can save your life too, and can provide turn arounds in chases/ganks. Since you will be going around ganking, and this is your main source of regen, rune whoring is essential. Few people will complain if you hog the runes because most of them (besides double damage) can be used pretty well. Not many people like illusion rune anyway, so just take em!
Don’t know much about runes? then be sure to check out the Rune Guide.

To be blunt, Rylai is a weak little (female dog). She desperately needs HP, and because she is a bad farmer with terrible attack animation…the cheaper the better. Bracers are chosen over Nulls because her int growth is high and regen is gotten from bottle/Brilliance Aura. If you’re having a hard time keeping a decent amount of gold for whatever reason, feel free to buy a third. If you want, you can do a combination of bracers/nulls, depending on how confidant you are. However, more HP gives you (in a sense) more room for error, and/or survive chained spells.
Point Booster:

The bonuses provided by Point Booster are very valuable for its cost. It can also be upgraded into Soul Booster as an item that provides tons (HP and Mana) while only taking up one (1) inventory slot.
TP scroll:

No brainer, defend pushes, escape, or even help an ally in need. It is essential you carry one as much as possible.

No dagger/BKB? WTF?!

Core items are items you will be able to get every game and to be effective, you can’t really support casting freezing field early anyway. Survival and ganking at early levels is key_ (>.>) farming a blink dagger and or BKB takes quite a bit of time you could spend to be ganking. I’ll talk more about blink dagger and BKB in the next section.

Wait, no EHP items??

Having tons of EHP means nothing if you have 10 HP. The only real way to fix this is to stack up on pure HP because it soaks up all types of damage and +HP items are cheaper. Work on EHP when you actually have HP.

V. Extension items and other mentionables:

Blink Dagger vs Black King Bar

Ah yes, the old debate which to get first. Ideally you’ll want them both. However, I say blink dagger first. Why? as TheJoe so simply put it, do you want a poorly positioned freezing field going off for 4 seconds? or a well placed one for 2-3? Not only that, but blink dagger helps in ganking and escaping. (yes the nerf hurt blink dagger a lot, but it can still be used to escape so long as you’re quick enough) Also there are disables that can stop freezing field even with BKB activated, if your game primarily has those kinds of spells then you can skip BKB. If you have excess cash, instead of completing bracers you can buy an ogre axe to compensate and make BKB later.
Note: as of 6.54, Freezing Field has a new animation which looks a lot less epic but it is now easier to see Rylai in it than before.
A list of spells that go through BKB are listed here.

Boots of Travel

Boots of Travel is the only sensible upgrade to boots of speed. The +stats from treads are helpful sure but the attack speed bonus is completely wasted, and more ms is mo betta, it’ll help even out your ms to other heroes. If you find yourself flooded with cash do not be afraid to buy this as it’s well worth the cost.

Soul Booster, Aghanim’s Scepter

No we will not be aiming for the ulti staff, there are other items you’ll probably need first. Your inventory will have a bunch of utility items, the more space you save the better. Soul booster is a possible upgrade, and it’s pretty good. If you more cash, upgrading your point booster to Soul Booster wouldn’t be a bad plan. Ulti staff isn’t bad assuming you have excess cash, but be sure to have BKB/blink first, as a stronger ulti means nothing if you can’t make much use out of it.

Linken’s Sphere

If you’re not much of a fan of bottle, you can get perseverance and upgrade it to Linkens. Linkens is pretty good now. The only problem being that 2100g ultimate orb and that pers is like 1.5 times the cost of bottle. This item really shines when there are very few single target stunners and you can cast Freezing Field with relative ease.
A list of spells that go through Linkens can be found here.


The survival item of choice [period] Providing nearly 1000 additional HP is a great bonus to Rylai. Problem is that reaver is hella expensive and there are other items that have greater importance that give better bang for your buck.


This really isn’t a item to aim for, as it just kinda ninjas its way into your inventory.
(woot. soul booster is done, wait wheres my pers?? WTH- oh it’s a bloodstone now)
A good way to save space.. is pretty much what I think about it. If you’re getting many kills after completing this, having the counters don’t mean much as the regen is nearly pointless because it’s probably no longer the ganking stages. I have never, ever seen the heal either. Pers is probably better off going towards Linkens cuz blocking a spell/stun is always better than actually taking it.

Euls Scepter, Guinsoo’s Scythe

Euls has some good benefits, like evening out your slug like ms to 300. An additional disable, and a hefty mana regen bonus. However it costs 3k gold and you have HP to worry about first, and by the time your HP doesn’t suck you will probably need your BKB/blink dagger pretty soon.
Guinsoo is full of win, however it will be impossible to farm for.


You can pitch in for these once in a while, just don’t buy them all the time. Rylai, unlike traditional ward bitches, need more gold to make up for her ’suck-ness’ so she can get her dagger/BKB.

Rejected Items


- ksing, while rather pointless with Rylai. Terrible farmer, no real way of getting that 3k gold quick enough to make it imba.. and you’re not carrying to make the ksing worthwhile.

- Looks good to me, except for the cost. Vanguard provides about as much HP as 2 bracers, with a difference of 1k gold. You won’t be tower diving anyhow. Rejected.
Shiva’s Guard

- More EHP oriented, looks good at all angles..until you realize you have like 10 HP. Putting that mystic staff into guinsoo or the ulti staff would be a better option. You can get this item much later in the game when your HP doesn’t fail.
Hood of Defiance

- Same concept as Shivas about EHP, having tons of magic resist means nothing if your HP is horrible. Regen is good but it’s actually pretty expensive for CM to get early on. Get it later if you want, but additional HP will prove more useful until then.
Arcane Ring

- Yes it will definitely fix mana issues, however buying this will hinder your HP by a pretty dangerous amount. And depending on the ruleset (if you play in leagues) other heroes will make better use of this. Having 800 mana doesn’t do anything if you just finished a gank with 100 HP and taking fountain trips after each kill or escape. Stick with bottle/voidstone/perseverance.
Lothar’s Edge

- Yes you can freezing field ww, yes you can use it to chase and escape. No, you will never be able to farm for it. This item is really, expensive. The agility is useless. Seeing crystal maiden with this thing makes my brain hurt.

- Rofl. Worst item in dota, I hate this thing so much. You will never ever see me with this item on any hero. ever. I don’t care if you have basilius. If I see you make this on Rylai I will punch you in the teeth =]. Leave it to someone else who can actually make use of it to make it..otherwise it just makes inventories look nice.

Even MYM|Maelk agrees with me:

VI. Gameplay

General tips:

Avoid solo-ing: Due to poor projectile, HP, MS, easy spammable skills etc. it’s a pretty bad idea for CM to solo, as she doesn’t gain much from having more gold/exp as a conventional solo would. Besides, you would probably get run over by the conventional solos. Which is why you should…

Dual-lane with a hero in the Easy Lanes: Bottom for Sent, top for scourge. Rylai’s skills have a lot of combo potential, so using them with an ally only makes sense =].

Last hit/deny: is a no brainer and should be practiced as much as possible.

Harassing: You have 600 range, use it! If a low range hero goes to last hit, give him a rainbow shot or two. If he stands there keep hitting until creep aggro to you.

Animation Canceling: When Crystal Maiden casts a spell or even attacks, she will wave her wand around a bunch.

Check out a gif version [Here]

This animation is completely useless and does nothing but waste time, so be sure to cancel it. It’s easily done by issuing another command (like attack, or move) right after you see the spell/rainbow projectile go off.

Distance = Time: I know this is out of JoeZoo’s guide to Lich, but it’s a very good thing to always keep in mind when laning:

In karate, there is an expression that Distance = Time. The more distance you have to travel, the more time the opponent has to react. So, you should start closer.

Spell Strategy:

Most of the things listed below, can and will be used during all parts of the game. Crystal Maiden has many combinations so be sure to abuse them.

Lead with Frostbite: 99% of the time, you will start everything off with Frostbite, especially when ganking. In lane, Frostbite and a couple attacks can build up, bonus (hit) points if you catch the hero while getting hit by your tower. You can even combo off it with an ally. (eg. any AoE spell heroes like Lesh/Lina)

Avoid blinking into what you cannot see: because you don’t know what may wait

However if you’re feeling confidant and you know it will earn a kill, go for it!

BKB+TP=Lulz, later!: Not much they can do about you escaping.

Frost Nova+rainbow shots: while the unit is slowed, it is easy to sneak in an attack or two as they move around. Very similar to how Lich harasses, only Rylai can’t do it as much due to mana issues, ms and attack animation.

Frostbite+Nova: The basic combo. In most cases you should wait until the duration of Frostbite is finished so the slow from Frost Nova won’t be wasted while the hero can’t move.

Frostbite!..two..three..Frost Nova!

Reduced: 95% of original size [ 670 x 155 ] – Click to view full image

Counting is the easiest way to not waste the slow while the hero is frozen.

Alternatively, you can Frostbite 1 hero and Frost Nova another, allowing allies a chance to finish cleaning up two heroes instead of one.

Frostbite+Freezing Field: can be used when you want something to drop, fast. A pretty newb strategy imo but its effectiveness is undeniable. Just don’t get stunned.

Blink+Freezing Field: blinking from the fog and casting freezing field after a bunch of spells have gone off can be quite devastating.
Note: Due to the change of animation from 6.54, I advise you try and wait for the spells to go off before you blink+FF. The new animation is a lot more clean and it is a lot easier to see CM in it.

Avatar+Blink+Freezing Field:I am Rylai feel my Fury! Is your ideal combo lategame. It’s hard to stop unless something lame like getting bashed happens.

Last Wish Freezing Field: is basically a IF I GO DOWN IM TAKING YOU WITH ME technique. You can try using this when facing multiple heroes or when things look too grim. heck, you might even come out with a triple kill.

Rally points/way pointing/shift commands (I call ‘em that): is basically holding down the shift key while commanding a hero. This can also be used on Rylai, although not to the same extent as other heroes; it can still be quite helpful in executing your plays. Here are some examples:

–TP+(shift) Frostbite would allow you to freeze a hero preventing him from attacking allowing you to deny the tower/save an ally.

–TP+(shift)+blink+(any spell) allows Rylai to seemingly teleport where you blink while immediately casting the spell, giving them less time to react.

Reduced: 98% of original size [ 652 x 437 ] – Click to view full image

–Channel Freezing Field+(shift Frostbite/Nova) will allow full use of Freezing Field (unless stunned) and make Rylai help clean up immediately after.

However, using shift commands does not stop Rylai’s wand waving animation so be sure to cancel it!
The guide to ’shift commands’ can be viewed here.

When you’re more experienced you can pull off some pretty nutty combinations. Using shift commands can be useful on nearly any hero, it’s a good thing to practice.

VII. Things to Watch out for while playing

The list can go on, but here’s a general idea of what you should pay more attention to:

Mana Burn
Reduces your mana pool very quickly, and prevents Rylai from doing what she’s good at, casting spells. Manaburn and mana break really hurt your HP too.

Walk in thinking TIME TO OWN! then get silenced. +_+ Things aren’t looking to good. You’ll be the one treading on thin ice. sleep.gif

Disables that go through BKB
Not much you can do about this, try to watch the fight best you can for those spells to go off before you ulti. A list of spells that go through BKB are listed here.

High physical damage
Physical damage spells, even attacks will tear through Rylai especially because of her low HP and armor.

Combos/Chained spells
All heroes should beware these, this is no exception for Rylai.

Casting your spells will basically kill you, especially if you’re not paying attention to your status bar when playing against Pugna.

gets a special mention because he can cast his glaives in Frostbite. Global Silence goes through BKB too. Even his base damage from +int items hurt due to your HP.

those fricken ninjas! Blink Initiators
Remember to stay at the back so you can get your spells off and not die instantly after the initiator(s) come in.

VIII. Early Game

When moving out, try getting a dual lane you can hopefully combo with.

A few good lane allies for Rylai

Tiny, Lina, Lesh, VS, Juggernaut.

With low HP, armor and base damage, you will be playing pretty passively in your lane. Since your attack animation is really bad, creep aggro will be drawn to you easily, so you only really have the one way of laning. If you have a lane partner you can combo with, lead with Frostbite so they can follow up with their skills. The combo can make people piss their pants depending on the strength of it. (Rylai+Lina, Fire and Ice ftw) Just don’t get too cocky and rush forward lots, otherwise you will be ganked. If you cast Frost Nova the opponent will be slowed so you can throw in some rainbow shots when they run back or something. Always watch your mana and remember is distance = time.

Ganking >=]

Ah yes, super-fun-happy-time. You can probably go gank as early as level 3-5 unless certain circumstances don’t allow you to. (eg. you’re needed in the lane)
Crystal Maiden is a very strong ganker and her only problem is she’s quite delicate, be sure to know your surroundings otherwise you may get run over. But do not fret, by doing some of the things I suggested in the general tips/spell strat section along with an ally or two, you can show them all who the ‘weak little (female dog)’ is =]. If things don’t go as planned, just follow alongside the hero waiting on Frostbite/Nova cooldown to finish, or run away. Whichever the situation calls for. Just try not to ks too much especially if a carry can snag the killing blow.

Being Ganked (+_+ aw gawd.)

Okay, so you notice a bunch of heroes missing and approaching and realize you don’t have a TP scroll (omg!) but you won’t go down without a fight will you? Frostbite the one that can chase you best (eg. qop) and run. When the hero is no longer frostbitten, use Frost Nova to slow them and keep running. If you’ve taken damage and have bottle/tangos be sure to use them and maybe you can turn it around and kill them. Otherwise be sure you’re weaving and running in unpredictable paths while abusing fog of war. If two heroes are ganking you, it’s the same concept: Frostbite the best chaser, Frost Nova the other. If worse comes to worse and you have learned Freezing Field, run up a hill/into fog and when they get close start channeling! (Now, this is a great time to practice your shift commands; watch the cooldowns of your spells and once they’re done queue up a Frostbite/Nova) Randomly walking into Freezing Field is a strong intimidation technique, if they hesitate even a little it gives you that much more time for your Frostbite/Nova cooldown, allies to come and help, or give you time to plan out your next move.
aye, as you can tell you’re quite troublesome aren’t you? =]

IX. Mid Game

You better have your boots and bottle because by now heroes will be in lane less, and can withstand your spells to a certain degree. You need as much of an advantage as possible. (the burst regen really shines now) If you’re doing some heavy ganking (or heavy ks-ing) and running out of mana a lot, buying a voidstone wouldn’t be a terrible plan. Try to conserve your mana though (like not using Frost Nova when it’s not needed) because that voidstone is a pretty big investment even at 875g. At this time you will be trying to save for your blink dagger/BKB. So you need to use as little gold as you can. Continue ganking and kill off lone heroes farming. Since you can’t really buy wards (or don’t want to) gaining map control via ganks will heavily benefit your team. Nothing says ‘win’ like the whole opposing team farming neutrals.
At this point, a lone CM ganking can be kinda sad, so go on a play date with an ally or two and go own some faces!

Nothing beats a couple BFFs ganking.

(not the best example, but you get the idea.)

When ganking try to Frostbite the more dangerous one, or if you won’t be able to kill both heroes, the one that will go down easiest. Dangerous can be defined many ways, but keep these in mind: If a hero you’re aiming for requires positioning to do their stuff (Ursa, QoP) Frostbite them so they can’t. If a hero can just DPS his way to getting out a gank, (although probably not likely at this stage) Frostbite him instead.

X. Late Game

Heroes will always be together, so should your team. Team fights are now what decide the outcome of the game and pushing/defending will occur constantly. Hopefully you will have Blink/BKB or possibly both by now. Once you have these items making new items become hard because you’re still very fragile and may die often, so try to stay at the back and out of harms way as much as possible. Keep any extra gold after dagger/BKB for buyback, as you’re still very useful. Your role lategame is to Frostbite the greatest threat, and Frost Nova as many heroes as possible (do it to any opposing heroes who may be clumped together) and getting off the perfect Freezing Field.

XI. Replays

GArena Pub

I’m strikes_ , just FYI my BNet name is key] and my DP display name isn’t because “]” apparently isn’t allowed to be used in them. =\
Dota Version:



-ap (begins as 5v5, we continue playing 3v4 despite leavers/drops)

WC Version:



About an hour and ten minutes long.

I played kinda funky (funky in a bad way, clicking too much made me die too. rofl) I even played aggressively in team fights so my team would run in to back me up. (which never turned out too well.. So remember to stay in the back!)
In the end, we didn’t even win! However, it contains a lot of the strategies, and items mentioned in this guide. (except for solo-ing mid, that was wtf) I last hit at mid poorly too.

I start off strong with an 8-0 lead, but after seeing some of my allies… I figured I was in for a bumpy ride. I lose my cool every once in a while, but as things went back and forth a bunch it was hard not to be pumped! >=]

Replay download here.

XII. Conclusion:

CM is a pretty simple, yet very fun hero to play. She’s not as terrible as pubbers may think.
Show everyone up by picking CM first and owning.
I’d like to thank:

= MasterJoe/TheJoe/hotcheetos/FearNight/Ronny-Turiaf – his once premium guide provided a strong reference for this one.
= irving-zero - for letting me use his print, check out his stuff at
= JoeZoo - for letting me use his distance=time right out of his guide
= Baconzilla - for reminding me to be more color conscious xD and telling me a few things about guide presentation
=Me, for being awesome =].
= You, the reader for taking time to read this guide.
and finally.. the people whose guides I have viewed and ended up mashing together their templates to create this one ^^

Don’t forget to comment!

Discuss this post on forums here

19 Comments so far ↓

  1. Oct

    Nice, hoefully I will own more often with CM now.

  2. Oct

    just tell me how to use it if my enemy is drow ranger

  3. Nov

    I am quite newb in game and it is the best instruction I ever seen.


  4. Nov

    nice nice !
    i learned a lot about rylai^^
    more heroes pls!! im avid fanatic of DOTA!! hek hek hek! enjoy !

  5. Mar


    wonderfully amazing killer….

  6. Mar

    wow! thanks for the advice!! i’m a real fan of crystal maiden!!! my favorite character!!!

  7. Apr

    Luv it!

  8. May

    great guide, actually the first one i liked :). CM is a very good hero. If you play against doom well not much to say just “-repick”

  9. May

    ILOVEHER. :)

  10. May

    tnx for the tips hehehe

  11. Sep

    Now i know how to use SHIFT

  12. Sep

    lol @ “Rylai is a weak little (female dog)” just say bitch…lol

  13. Sep

    comple 2

  14. Oct


  15. Nov

    Omg … pathetic you even didn’t mention about losing 200 hp per hit without armor better have 2k hp and lose 200 per hit then have 1k hp and lose 25 per hit …

    Great! This guide sucks :) its the worst thing I saw in my whole life ^^


  16. Nov

    btw. Dota match is a fast play … your writed here items for a few hours playing match xd … even profesionals dont play SO LONG … so I see you never played with players only with bots …

    ciao bella!

  17. Dec

    i really like rylai if i will use her.

  18. Feb

    this guide is good. in fact i have a replay of 5v5 public from garena (DotA 6.66b -apso)that I’m willing to share. my skill build started the same but i made a little adjustments to suit the team. i managed to get in a few kills of my own, including a freezing field kill near the end

  19. Mar

    ilove crystal maiden!!!

Leave a Comment