Maokai Build Guide by Raggatoth
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.
This is already my second build/guide - hurray. So… after playing Gragas in Dominion for quite some time, I stumbled across Nidalee and came to like playing her a lot… but then came something else… something different… not too squishy, not too team dependant… something dominating! Along came a little treelike creature called tanky/cdr Maokai. Who flings his little friendly spores across the map and slaps people across the face with a knockback. I love him. Ok anyways – here goes the guide.
Picking a Role
In my games as Maokai it’s approximately 50/50 between taking solo bottom lane and supporting my team top. On the Crystal Scar. Maokai can really dominate in almost any role. He has a strong farm and with promote or heal he can put pressure on bottom lane early on.
The only role I really don’t see him in, is the conqueror because I feel there are lots of other champions out there better suited for this role, like Janna, Singed or Rammus, Zilean, … anyone with built in long-ranged mobility really.
Picking a Build
This build focuses on staying alive and utilizing Maokai's passive (by literally spamming spells) while still being able to dish out some pretty nice damage combos.
I try to build around Maokai’s built in mechanics – meaning his passive as well as his tankyness and decently spammable spells. I just love tanky champions. I’m just not the guy who runs around the map hacking and slaying anyone – no glass cannonball really. I like to stay on the more defensive side of the spectrum.
Main reason behind it is that I just hate dying. I want to play the game and not spend half of the game waiting to revive.
This also is the reason why I don’t play pure AP Maokai. So I cannot really say anything about his viability for Dominion at all.
Runes / Masteries / Summoner Spells
I pick standard tanky runes to keep me in my lane as long as possible. Health, armor, magic resist, some magic penetration. That’s it.
Masteries so far focused on damage output and cdr while picking up standard defensive masteries with flat health, armor and magic resist as well as one point in “heal”.
Summoner spells are Heal and Flash. Another viable combo would be Ghost/Flash.
Promote, Ignite and Garrison are nice picks too but I feel that Heal, Flash fit my play style best.
After some early games with Maokai I soon decided I wanted to go tanky/cdr… mainly because I love the way Warwick rolls with cdr builds. So why not play Warwick straight away you ask? Good question. I just feel it’s too straight forward. There’s no challenge in making Warwick work because he just performs so well. – You just don’t need to “make him work.”
Soo…. Where was I? Back to our slap-happy tree friend. I usually start out with one point in Q, W, E each and Mercury's Boots, 2 Health pots and 2 Mana pots and start my build from there.
I max Sapling Toss first - its just Mao's bread-and-butter spell. Then I choose Arcane Smash over Twisted Advance since it has more defensive potential, being able to hit more than just one enemy champion.
Solo Bottom Lane
When going solo bottom lane I start out as aggressive as I can, eating creep waves with E and Q. The goal is to harass my opponent and push the lane as fast as possible, to get control of all 3 health-pack locations as fast as possible (also the one in their base, if possible). Eating all health packs and leaving none to your opponenet really is essential.
Whenever I can I Sapling Toss, followed by Twisted Advance and Arcane Smash to lock my opponent in place to make sure my Sapling gets his damage in. After one rotation I retreat to pick up a health pack and wait for my cooldowns. Since I have higher health regen and health packs as well as 2 health pots my opponent should be the one porting back to his base first. That’s when I grab their turret.
That of course is the ideal situation, the “plan”. But Dominion is a fast paced game and requires a lot of flexibility, so whenever I feel I can leave my lane by itself, I try to sneak away and steal one of their turrets.
The whole idea of this build is to constantly harass the enemy team trying to stay alive and use my tankyness and Flash to get away safely. I want them to focus as much of their time and resources trying to stop or kill me – which will not happen most of the time.
Time… that really is the whole point. I want their team to spend their time on me, so my team can do their job.
This way is also a lot of fun but I usually don’t start out as aggressive like when I play bottom lane. Main reason is, when you die it’s such a long way back to the top spot. I throw my Saplings and try to land my Rotation.
Good timing on Heal often can decide the first encounter, so use it wisely.
Some general Hints on Maokai
I try to spam my spells as much as possible to get the most out of my passive. I use my rotation of E,W,Q as my main attack against enemy champions and try to farm as many creeps as possible.
I also try moving around the map and picking up as many health packs as I can. Often only to recharge my mana.
I feel Maokai really excells at defending turrets from multiple champions, so don’t be afraid defending bottom lane on your own. Mao can do it all by himself. Your ultimate plus Heal can wreck 2-3 enemy champs when played well – and with luck of course… and with support from your friendly turret from the neighborhood.
The item build I currently play around with is pretty much the same almost every game. I get my items in this order:
• Boots (usually Mercury's ... Ninja Tabis against physical-heavy teams – but rarely ever use them)
• Spirit Visage (good defensive stats plus essential cool down reduction, also the unique passive makes this a no-brainer, since it buffs the effect of Mao's passive and Heal)
• Glacial Shroud (spam your spells to keep those procs from your passive coming)
• Finish Frozen Heart (lots of armor, cdr and mana to fuel your passive even more)
These are my core items, rest decides on how the game goes. Some games even end before I get anything else.
• Hextech Revolver (Spell Vamp on a spell spamming tree? Yes please)
• Finish Will of the Ancients
• Void Staff (40% Magic Penetration… nothing more to say)
• Rabadon’s Deathcap (everybody likes a walking tree with a funny little hat)
STILL MORE ITEMS:
• Sheen, Lich Bane or Trinity? (usually every spell-spammer can use a good Sheen, Lich Bane or Trinity – I just never tried it on Mao so far, because other items always seemed more important to get)
Last item is optional... could be Rabadon’s (which I get most of the time) or Rylai’s Crystal Scepter or Lich Bane or anything really.
I think this is pretty much it. This is only my second guide so there are certainly some white spots I forgot to mention, but as comments keep coming I'm sure we will get rid of them soon.
So thank everybody who took the time to read this far. Leave comments below and go out there and ... Dominate with Maokai!