Maokai Build Guide by LeX0R
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.
Before we start I want to tell you something:
English is not my native language, so I ask you to forgive me if you find spelling mistakes. If you do not understand something, then write me a message or make a comment
Jungle Maokai - the tree in its natural environment
In this guide I will show you how to jungle with Maokai.
The first thing I want to tell you is why Maokai belongs in the jungle and not on the lane.
1. Maokai is in my opinion the best tank who is haunting in the jungle because he can kill the smaller camps like wraiths and wolves quite fast with Sapling Toss and Arcane Smash.
2. Maokai is an awesome ganker. He has a stun ( Twisted Advance) and a skill that knocks enemies back ( Arcane Smash). And his Sapling Toss follow the opponent if you used it outside a minion wave.
3. Maokai is a tree and trees are in the jungle.
For all those who want to play Maokai the first time, here is Champion Spotlight. ______________________________________________________________________
If you like to see some videos with an other good jungle champion then watch this video:
The twisting magical energies unleashed by mages during the Rune Wars caused an incredible amount of devastation to the natural world. The League was established to control the use of this magic by confining it to the Fields of Justice. By limiting its use to there, they thought that they could prevent it from doing further harm to the environment. It seemed that they were successful until Maokai came into being. During a League match on The Twisted Treeline, Maokai, an ancient oak that stood above the upper jungle, spontaneously roared to life. Ripped from the natural balance by arcane forces, his sentience was forged in chaos. Before the Adjudicators of the League could step in and suppress him, he slew all six champions participating in the match. The scholars of the Arcanum Majoris took a keen interest in him, as they were eager to discover the secrets of his animation.
Maokai was furious, however. He abhorred the existence that was thrust upon him; he felt it was a corruption of nature. He learned to communicate with people in hopes of finding a way to be returned to his former, true state. Seizing the opportunity, the League offered a trade. They would research a way to revert him so long as he agreed to fight in the League of Legends. Maokai was indifferent to verdicts rendered by the League, but he was eager to punish summoners for their wanton use of magic. He agreed to the terms under one condition: once they learned how to turn him back, they would never animate another tree again. He wears a lantern on the Fields of Justice to set him apart from the other trees, and as a warning to the animals that would do him harm.
Pros / Cons
I put 21 pionts in the defense tree for the maximum of survivability and because I play Maokai as tank. Don't forget to skill Summoner's Resolve for extra gold if you use smite. Also skill Tough Skin and Bladed Armor to jungle a bit faster.
The remaining 9 points I do in the Utilitytree because of
... Expanded Mind which grants more mana what makes you less dependent from the blue buff.
... Improved Recall . This one second can sometimes be the difference between life and death.
... Swiftness because it makes you faster.
... Runic Affinity because it extends the duration of your buffs.
Main rune set
Now I explain why I have selected the following runes.
Other runes worth considering
Here's where I explain other runes that are good in some cases.
You are not a jungler that doesn't needs Smite like Warwick. So this is a must have.
Maokai doesn't have an escape skill so you'll need this.
Flash or Ghost that's the question. Both are equally good. So you can choose according to your taste.
You can use Heal instead of Flash or Ghost. But care if you do that you won't have an escape skill anymore. So I do not recommend this.
Passive, Sap Magic
Everytime a skill is cast near you you'll get a 'charge'. If you have 5 'charges' you heal yourself with the next auto attack to a percentage of your maximum life. While jungling and in teamfights this heal is awesome. In teamfights where all throw around with spells you will very quickly and often have five 'charges'. While jungling this heal will give you small amount of sustain.
Q-Skill, Arcane Smash
Maokai sends out a wave that slows down the opponent and also knocks them back.
After you stunned your opponent with Twisted Advance use Arcane Smash to prevent him from getting away. Arcane Smash also simplifies jungling.
W-Skill, Twisted Advance
Maokai moves to his opponent as a cloud, deals damage to him and rooted him for a certain duration. This root prison is like Dark Binding or Light Binding, it just cages this but he can still cast. It is an awesome ability to gank, but it is rather useless in the jungle.
E-Skill, Sapling Toss
Maokai throws a sapling that deals damage when it hits the ground. If there is no enemy the sapling will ward the area for 35 seconds, this is awesome if you do the wraiths before you are going to the blue buff. But if there is an opponent the sapling will chase the opponent for up to 2,5 seconds and explodes which deals damage again.
R-Skill, Vengeful Maelstrom
Maokai creates an area in which his allies get 20% less damage from non-tower damage. Maokai absorb the reduced damage. When he ends the effect, the damage will be released.
This ult is not the best but in team fights, it is the fact that it reduces the taken damage, a great support for your team.
Sapling Toss is the best skill on lvl 1 because you have placed the saplings before the wraiths can spawn. At lvl 3 also skill Sapling Toss for more damage. Max Arcane Smash first because it is the best skill to gank. Then maximize Twisted Advance to extend the duration of the root. As a last resort maximize Sapling Toss, because this is the most unimportant skill of all three. Increase Vengeful Maelstrom whenever it is possible, so in lvl 6, 11 and 16.
Build 1, balanced opposing teamShurelya's Reverie
As the title suggests, this is an item build against a balanced opposing team.
Build 2, magical opponents teamShurelya's reverie
As the title suggests, this is an item build against a magical opposing team. I am buying anyway Locket of the Iron Solari, because the shield absorbs any damage.
Build 3, physical opposing teamShurelya's reverie
These items are my choice for a mainly physical team.
Opposing team with a lot of "crowd control" skills
With such an opposing team you do not have many special items.
You should only buy Mercury's Treads and Banshee's Veil and/or Quicksilver Sash .
Be careful, tanks only have situational items, so you have to look whether your opponent's team is balanced or makes more physical or magical damage.
Early Game Items
Mid Game / Core Items
It makes you even more tanky and the amount of mana makes you independent from the blue buff. It also reduces your cooldowns by 15%.
Rod of Ages
It gives more damage, even more mana and life. It's a good item for Maokai.
A very important item. It is useful to flee or to chase the enemy, it also reduces your cooldowns.
Late Game Items
It brings you the same effects as Glacial Shroud but improves it even further. Moreover, it slows the attack speed of nearby enemies by 20%, which is very good against champions like Master Yi for example.
Locket of the Iron Solari
It's an awesome support item which makes you even stronger. I use this rather than Randuin's Omen because I think the shield effect is better than the slowing effect. And besides, I have shurelya's reverie to chase the enemy.
Force of Nature
It gives magic resistance and health regeneration depending on your max health. And the extra movementspeed is not bad for Maokai.
After 1:15 minutes of playing time you throw the first sapling in the middle of the spawn point of the wraiths. If the cooldown is up, you are throwing the second sapling to the same place. Throw the third sapling exactly after 1:40 minutes, then you hit the big wraith a single time, the smaller wraiths will die from the saplings. Now you're running to the ...
Ask the champion, who plays in the middle, if he pulls the blue buff for you. Now autoattack the big golem and whenever you can you throw a sapling on it. When the big golem has less than 445 lives, you use Smite on him. Time now you got lvl 2, now you skill Arcane Smash and move to the...
Throw a sapling on the wolves and kill them with auto attacks and Arcane Smash but focus the big wolf. Then you go back to...
Kill the wraiths in the same way as the wolves. You also focusing on the big wraith. Now you move your roots to the...
Activate your Health Potion and use all your skills to kill them and focusing you, as in the previous two camps, on the big golem. Now it's time for the...
Begin by throwing a sapling at the lizard. Then you use Arcane Smash and Sapling Toss whenever you can. If the lizard has less than 500 life you use Smite. Now you should...
If you are on the blue side, you should now gank the bottom lane. If you're on the purple side, you should now gank the top lane. How you gank, I'll show you in the next chapter.
In order to successfully gank a lane you should consider the following things:
1. Initiate with Twisted Advance and try to attack from behind because the opponent has it harder then flee.
2. If you use Arcane Smash always try to stay between your opponent and his tower so you throw him away from his tower.
3. Never ever use Arcane Smash directly after Twisted Advance because Arcane Smash would not help because the enemy is still deeply rooted and still can't move. You would only waste the skill.
4. If you are already lvl 6 and Vengeful Maelstrom is used to make more damage then always try to put the area so that your opponent still has to go through the whole area and is not already in the middle.
Now I will show you simplify the order in which you must use your skills when you gank:
---> ---> positioning yourself between your opponent and his tower ---> ---> auto attack ---> repeat Arcane Smash and auto attacks until your opponent is dead or fled
Your role in team fights, is the role as initiator. Now open the team fight with Twisted Advance. Then you use Vengeful Maelstrom to absorb some of the taken damage. Throw a sapling into the crowd and focusing now on their AD-carry. Use Arcane Smash to prevent your opponent from running away. If they are too far away, use Shurelya's Reverie to chase them.
Special thanks to searz because he has made a layout for guides which I used
Build Log and To-Do List
In the future I'll add the following things:
-4/3/12 guide has been published
-2/4/12 changes in the "pro / cons" part