Maokai Build Guide by mozza
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Welcome to my Maokai boss Tank guide! I have two builds up for tanking like a boss, both of which work fine in both solo top and duo lane. I prefer to put Maokai in a solo lane just because he becomes a farming machine and I love to farm. However my friend mains Mao and we love to duo bot with him getting very little farm and we just dominate the lane for him to get his gold from kills/assists and tower kills.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration - Very handy to get your abilities to do a bit of extra damage and get some very nice harass going early game with your saplings.
Greater Seal of Armor - Gives you a bit more durability in lane against the usual AD tanky DPS top or ranged AD bot.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist - Good to have some early game defense against magic damage.
Greater Quintessence of Health - I love these HP runes, I use them to boost my early survivability on almost every champion I play.
- Adds to your max health along with Greater Quintessence of Health and Warmog's Armor, synergising well with Maokai's passive, Sap Magic.
Vigor - Works well with your Regrowth Pendant to give you great lane staying power in early game.
Flash - Incredibly useful for so many aspects of the game.
Teleport - Great for getting back to lane quickly, helping out another lane, or getting straight into some action for a gank or fight. Highly recommended for solo top lane.
Clarity - If you tend to run out of mana on Maokai like I do this is a great spell to have, especially when you are in a duo lane.
Exhaust - Useful to prevent ganks or to secure kills.
Clairvoyance - Vision and knowledge of where their team are is incredibly useful, if you don't have a support with CV already I might consider getting it. Also very handy if they have a jungler to keep track of where they are. Great for checking dragon and Baron late game.
I have two item builds here for Maokai tank. The first build is more focused to straight tanking with no AP items at all, and the second build is for tanking while doing a reasonable amount of damage.
I start this build with a Doran's Ring just to get some early health, damage and mana regen. I build a Philosopher's Stone and leave it for a while to let it accumulate gold for me as early as possible. Ninja Tabi are a great cheap option for boots when there are a couple of auto attacking champions on the enemy team. If there is one or less of these champs then I build Mercury's Treads and sell the Philosopher's Stone late in the game for another item. Once Warmog's Armor is stacked and Force of Nature has been built Mao becomes a very solid tank, with plenty of health regen. From there I choose to build high armour items like Thornmail and Frozen Heart if I'm taking a decent amount of physical damage or Banshee's Veil and Abyssal Scepter if I'm taking magical damage.
I start this build with a Regrowth Pendant and Health Potion. I usually use Clarity with this build because I have some trouble controlling my small mana pool early game, and you can also start with a Mana Potion. The Philosopher's Stone and Ninja Tabi/ Mercury's Treads are the same as the first build. From here I build a Rod of Ages. This is great as it gives me a larger mana pool for spamming spells, a larger health pool for tanking, and more AP for harass and pushing damage. I move on to Sunfire Cape which is great as Mao gets right into the middle of fights proccing the passive all the time. It also makes farming a little bit easier. By now I have enough HP to make the regen on Force of Nature desirable, so I build it and Eleisa's Miracle. Like before if the enemy team has much physical damage I build Thornmail, otherwise I build Abyssal Scepter.
I like to put a point in each skill to get the best use of Maokai's utility early game. His Sapling Toss is a great skill to start with as it does plenty of damage and has a nice long range to check bushes and harass with.
Another reason I like to get Sapling Toss is to take the double golems from the jungle at the start of the game if I'm in a duo lane. Firstly make sure that you don't have a jungler on your team, and that your duo partner knows what you are doing and helps you. Throw the first sapling basically onto the small campfire at the double golems when the in game timer hits 1:05. Continue to throw saplings as soon as they come off cooldown onto the same position. They should stack up and do a decent burst of damage as soon as the golems spawn. You will start tanking them and your duo partner should do as much damage as possible because they can hurt if you tank for too long. When done correctly you should walk away with about 3/4 health and get to lane with your first creep wave. You and your lane partner should level up to level 2 once the enemy's first creep wave dies, giving you an immediate advantage over the enemy opening them up to your Twisted Advance Sapling Toss combo, and your partner (usually an AD carry) should be able to get first blood or at least come close.
Here are some recent results using the first build:
4/8/18 (5v5 normal)
6/6/23 (5v5 normal)
5/5/17 (5v5 normal)
10/4/7 (5v5 ranked solo)
Here are some recent results using the second build:
5/7/15 (5v5 normal)
Thanks for reading my Maokai tank guide. I hope you get some great results with either of these builds and please vote and comment to let me know what you think!