Build Guide by Chrispykreem
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Pros / Cons
- Great damage dealing potential for a tank
- Does well against Tanky DPS
- A team-based ultimate, a knockback, a snare, and a scouting ability
- Doesn't need many AP items to do great damage
- Can be squishy and focus fired
- Can have a weak early game
- Mana hungry
- Cooldowns can leave you doing nothing
- Needs an aggressive damage-dealing team to really shine
- Slow, weak escape mechanisms
Runes and Masteries
The runes are entirely preferential. I believe it relies solely on how you play your early game. For me, I run out of mana very quickly because of an aggressive playstyle. I prefer to take ability power quints, magic penetration marks, and mana regen seals and glyphs to try and suit that style more. It is perfectly reasonable to take health quints and magic resist glyphs in place of the others. CDR Quints are also viable.
With the masteries I choose to get the extra Magic Penetration and CDR from the Utility tree, as well as getting Armor, Magic Resist, and Health from the Defense tree.
- I prefer flash for escaping from or chasing down enemy champions.
- I like exhausting enemies to keep them inside of Maokai's awesome ultimate.
Other notable skills include:
- for being able to get around the map quickly for ganks, defenses, or good farming.
- for escaping/chasing
- for mana issues
Alleviating Maokai's Cons With Your Items
I noticed the same issues each time I played Maokai, so I decided to tackle those head-on in my item build by incorporating items with Mana, Mana Regen, and CDR.
I start with Meki Pendant and Mana Potion x2. This allows a more aggressive early game. Maokai's passive should gain your health back as long as you're not running straight into their harassment. 1 mana pot and 1 health pot is fine if it's what you need.
Then complete the Fiendish Codex, grab Boots of Speed, and finish of Morello's Evil Tome. This gives some power early game to farm as well as get some kills. It also gives the benefit of 12 mp5 to keep you spamming saplings. We'll work on our tankyness next.
Change up the Boots of Speed into Merc Treads for Magic Resist and CC duration reduction.
After this we are going to build a Catalyst the Protector and turn it into a Banshee's Veil [Magic Resist, Passive that is useful against many abilities, Health + Mana].
Follow it up with a Frozen Heart [Mana, Armor and CDR], Guardian Angel [Magic Resist, Armor, and a great passive], and Rabadon's Deathcap [AP for awesome dmg].
Buy Elixirs of Fortitude and Brilliance when you can afford them!
Alternative Item Progressions
Does the enemy team consist purely of Auto Attackers/Physical Damage?
Instead of Banshee's Veil build Thornmail. Continue with Frozen Heart and Guardian Angel. If they are still an issue, finish out with a Sunfire Cape or Randuin's Omen.
Does the enemy team have far too much magic damage?
Instead of Frozen Heart build Abyssal Scepter. Continue with Guardian Angel. If it is still a problem, build a Force of Nature in your last slot.
My team already has a main tank! What should I do?
After you build your catalyst, build into Rod of Ages. Follow that with Abyssal Scepter, Rylai's Crystal Scepter, and Rabadon's Deathcap.
What if I know I'll be heavily harassed from the start?
Start with a Sapphire Crystal, Health Potion, and Mana Potion. Build into Catalyst the Protector. Then get Boots of Speed. If you're still having issues, determine which item build you need to follow from the previous questions.
* Any of these situations can replace your Rabadon's Deathcap if you feel more survivability and less killing power is needed late game
Passive: Sap Magic -(Innate): Each time a champion near Maokai casts a spell, he gains a charge of Magical Sap. When he has 5 charges, his next melee attack drains energy from his target, healing Maokai for 7% of his maximum health.
This is what allows us to stay in the lane early game. Make sure after it reaches 5 charges you auto attack a minion or champion to get some health back.
[Q]: Arcane Smash -(Active): Maokai slams the ground, the force of which knocks nearby enemies back and sends an arcane shockwave forward, damaging and slowing his enemies for 2 seconds.
This has a .4 AP scaling, and is only really useful for the knockback. We will level this once and forget about it until lategame.
[W]: Twisted Advance -(Active): Maokai transforms into a cloud of arcane energy, quickly traveling to a target enemy. The target takes damage and is rooted in place.
This is an amazing skill. It allows you to teleport to your target and root them. This is a great initiating tool. I often use my ultimate right after engaging an enemy with this. With a .8 AP ratio it will do some great damage too.
[E]: Sapling Toss -(Active): Maokai hurls a sapling, dealing damage on impact. The sapling becomes implanted in the ground, warding a nearby area for 25 seconds. When enemies approach, the sapling attacks, exploding in an arcane blast that damages enemies.
This is my favorite Maokai skill. It does initial damage where it lands as well as chasing an enemy target to explode. If you're going for enemy champions, make sure you use it far enough away from the creeps for it to run to the champion instead. By the level 5, you should be able to plop the sapling into the caster minions and wipe them out with the initial damage and explosion. This a great farming tool, and also a useful skill to scout. Plant your saplings into bushes to see what's inside. .6 AP ratio is good.
[R]: Vengeful Maelstrom -(Toggle): Maokai shields his allies by drawing power from hostile spells and attacks, reducing non-tower damage done to allied champions in the area by 20%. Maokai can prolong the effect as long as he has mana to spend on it. When the effect ends, Maokai unleashes the absorbed energy to deal damage to enemies within the vortex.
This is what makes people QQ and rage. You and your team will get some of their damage absorbed and when you untoggle it, it deals the damage it absorbed back to the enemy team. It has a .5 AP ratio, and can turn the tides of a team fight. Try to exhaust enemies, snare them, and knock them back to keep them in long enough for you to unleash some heavy damage.
General Playstyle Notes
During early game, you should be spamming your sapling to harass the enemy champions while also getting gold from farming the minion waves. Mana potions are very helpful during this time and if you have the opportunity to root an aggressive enemy with Twisted Advance, do so. It will allow your teammate some good focus firing opportunities, especially if your mid comes to help gank.
By now your Banshee's Veil should be done, giving you some survivability. As long as you have a team that stays with you, feel free to gank or initiate using Twisted Advance. I highly recommend making the most of farming the jungle and minion waves with your sapling (caster minions will get destroyed in one use), and absolutely GET THE BLUE BUFF! This will give Maokai no reason to go back except to spend massive amounts of gold.
You should have your Guardian Angel done, and people should really be fearing your ultimate. It will do great damage even if it's only up for 5 seconds and can do damage to their entire team. Twisted Advance -> Ultimate -> Exhaust -> Sapling -> Arcane Smash -> Toggle off Ultimate. You may have to toggle it off earlier if your team has no CC at all, but either way you will be doing huge damage especially with Rabadon's. Keep that blue buff on, kill as many minions and champions as you can, and get your items! It is important for you and your team to stick together.
Post Your Best Scores!
Please comment and vote! I would love to hear your thoughts and see your scores. I hope this has been a help and if you want anything expanded, explained or added to the guide, let me know!