To Move or Not to Move – How to Play Crystal Maiden in 7.34 cover image

To Move or Not to Move – How to Play Crystal Maiden in 7.34

The Ice Queen in 7.34. Players will have to adapt. But is it too much of an adaptation? Not really.

When it comes to playing support in Dota 2, there is no hero that symbolizes the role better than Crystal Maiden. Don’t let the hero’s innocent and sweet looks fool you because she can be a terror in the laning phase. Crystal Maiden’s strength in the laning phase has often resulted in changes for the hero in Dota 2 patches. In the latest 7.34 update, CM players can no longer move while channeling their ultimate if they have an Aghanim’s Shard. They need to buy a costlier item - The Aghanim’s Scepter.

Crystal Maiden is a Position 5 support hero. What does Position 5 mean? It means she has the lowest priority in the team in terms of farm and gold accumulation. Crystal Maiden players are usually favored to be selfless, to go warding and to ensure their cores have the safety and vision to farm unabated. 

What was the Crystal Maiden Change in 7.34?

  • Aghanim's Scepter now alse allows Crystal Maiden to move, attack and cast spells during Freezing Field in addition to the previous effects.
  • Scepter Time to Frostbite increased from 1.75s to 2.5s

The 7.34 Dota 2 update released on August 9, 2023. The new update brings significant changes to several heroes and items. In addition, there is also a change in the draft order for Captains Pick, which will inadvertently impact the professional scene leading right up to The International 2023. 

The 7.34 update also introduced some new mechanics such as the Slow Resistance. Some of the existing heroes were also reclassified as Universal heroes.

Replacing the previous Shard ability, Crystal Maiden gains a new bility - Crystal clone

Crystal Clone

  • New ability granted by Aghanim's Shard

Crystal Maiden slides backwards 275 units, creating a crystal clone of herself in her place. Whenever the clone times out after 5 seconds or is destroyed, the current level of Frostbite is applied on all enemies within 300 radius. The clone is untargetable, but can be damaged with AoE effects. Clone Health: 150; Mana Cost: 50; Cooldown: 12s

The change to Crystal Maiden might look insignificant at first, but it drastically changes the way the hero is used in the game. For starters, instead of buying a 1400 Shard, players will have to save up and buy the Aghanim’s Scepter to simply be able to move while channeling the ultimate.

How does this impact CM players?

Crystal Maiden has seen a drastic fall in its win-rate post the new update, And this pertains to a forceful change in the hero’s playstyle. 

Traditionally Crystal Maiden has always been about the lane. A dominant laning phase (back when trilanes were in fashion) to more recently enabling the core to freely farm, Crystal Maiden has been a core component for professional teams. 

But more recently, when the previous Aghanim’s Shard allowed players to move while channeling the ultimate, you could see the renewed aspirations in the eyes of CM players. Aspirations of potentially controlling and dictating the pace of the mid-game team fights. With a low investment of 1400 gold, Crystal Maidens could still do everything they would usually do, but also deal immense AOE damage. In the worst-case scenario, they would force the enemies to target them and waste valuable resources on a Position 5 Support hero.

But not for long. Post the 7.34 update, Crystal Maiden players are searching for their identity trying to figure out how to go back to the ‘old’ style of gameplay. Does that gameplay even suit the current meta or are there simply much better heroes, even for the laning phase. 

Resilience for CM Spammers

Crystal Maiden at Riyadh Masters.
Crystal Maiden at Riyadh Masters.

But Crystal Maiden players are a resilient lot. Spamming a hero that has one of the slowest movement speeds in the game and becomes practically a creep in the later stages of the game is not easy. 

What CM lacks in hard stuns and HP, players make up for in terms of positioning and providing for their allies. As such, CM players have always had to adapt their playstyle and focus a bit more in areas where the hero lacks.

And this time, it will be a step back for CM players. The Shard is probably not as useful as Valve might think it is. The Crystal Clone does apply Frostbite in an AOE and might seem like a useful buy. But a 1400 gold investment to get CM in harm’s way and then try to get out of harm’s way just seems very counterproductive. The same amount of money can be useful en route to mobility items such as Force Staffs or Eul’s Scepters or even mass healing such as Mekansm. 

These items will probably have an even bigger impact as a CM player than the Shard, which requires, at the very least, a Blink Dagger to actually get in a good position. 

Either ways, Crystal Maiden users will now have it slightly tougher to get adequate items in 7.34 and find relevance in the late game. It’s the hard life of a CM spammer.

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