With the current surge in popularity of Crystal Maiden this tournament season, should we expect her to be a fixture through TI6?
Yes. Definitely yes. Is there a word stronger than yes? Affirmative. Aye!
This isn’t just wishful thinking either. We all know that the pros tend to stick with tournament picks they’ve practiced and know inside and out. Even so, heroes fall in and out of fashion more than my liquor loving grandmother from a chair. And it’s precisely these shifts in strategy and hero preference that make tournament play interesting.
Judging by CM’s recent popularity in pro play, it would seem that winter has already come to the professional DOTA circuit. Maybe this has something to do with the most recent episode of Game of Thrones. It’s hard to say just what motivates these trends in hero selection, but I can’t be the only one who’s noticed her more frequent appearances at the major tournaments.
But I sure am happy with it.
CM has been a part of the original DOTA cast for as long as I can remember, so it’s good to see her getting a little more love these days. She’s had a somewhat lengthy history of nerfs in the patches, but even accounting for these, she’s been a solid support for the last four patches, minimum.
Be that as it may, even hardcore fans of CM have to concede that the worst thing about her is…
Her glacial pace
I think it’s because she’s cold. One might even say she’s as cold as ice. And it certainly seems like a valid explanation for her abysmal move speed.
CM ties with Invoker for second worst MS in the game, and pros frequently cite this as reason for her low match priority. And, who knows, maybe that really is what’s kept her unpopular in the professional circuit for so long.
But the times are a-changing. A cold wind blows. And carried on that wind? The lace of CM’s victory. Yes, that’s right, Wind Lace.
The relatively low cost of Wind Lace (though not as low as it used to be, gee thanks Valve) affordably mitigates her hustle issues. Wind Lace isn’t just a throwaway item, either. It can potentially be built into either Eul’s (62.59% winrate on CM) or Drums (59.46% winrate), allowing pros the kind of flexibility that is pivotal in tournament games.
But don’t think for a second that her snailpace overshadows the fact that…
She just plays well with others
And this is what really makes her such a consistently strong support. She’s not a fangless kitten in the field. With a snap of her fingers, Crystal Nova does burst damage and a 4.5 second slow, making her a useful nuker. Frostbite also deals a significant amount of damage over time and nullifies invis and blink in a target for the duration of the spell. Arcane Aura floods her allies and herself with mana, giving her team the opportunity to spam abilities early game and up the aggression factor.
What doesn’t this spunky spellcaster do?
She doesn’t pull any punches
Well, she could. She just won’t.
Twelve months worth of in-game data puts the winrate of Aghanim’s Scepter on CM at 70.14%. That’s insane. And God help you if she’s got some kind of spell immunity or Black King Bar to go along with Ag’s, because that means hurtin’ you ain’t gonna stop. She’s just going to go spell immune, pop her ult, and call down a cataclysm of ice with Freezing Field.
This is exactly why you should expect to see more CM all the way through TI6. She’s a dependable support with adaptable builds that can help where her team needs it most.