Maokai Build Guide by Spyrer
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.
I first purchased Maokai when he/she/it was released, because it seemed like a fun champion to play. At the time I was a little nooblet and didn't really understand the game mechanics very well and since he wasn't as good (or I couldn't play him very well) I gave up on him quickly.
Recently, with more experience and a fascination for jungling, I decided to run him in the jungle and found he was very good at it. With the new masteries I manage the first jungle-clear at about 3:40 and can go straight to gank from there.
This is my first guide, and I hope you like it
Greater Quintessence of Health x3
These are mainly for Maokai's passive, Sap Magic. The more health you have, the more it will heal.
Greater Seal of Armor x9
Armor is always good in the Jungle.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power x9
I like running AP/lvl runes on Maokai, however arguably Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist could be a better choice. The Glyphs don't noticably affect Maokai's jungling so the choice is up to you
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration x8
I like running Magic Penetration on Maokai, but I could also run Greater Mark of Desolation with my itembuild. My Marks don't noticebly affect the Jungle, so once again the choice is up to you.
Greater Mark of Scaling Ability Power x1
I like 1 Greater Mark of Scaling Ability Power to round out my AP/lvl so it reaches 30 at lvl 18.
This is my runesetup, but I see points in running other marks and other glyphs too, but so far this has worked well for me. The quintessences and the Seals I find important for making the jungling route safe enough to be able to gank once you finish the first runthrough.
I see no other options really, even after the nerf to Flash.
Smite you will need for Jungling and Flash you will need for escaping/ganking.
Even if you could do the jungleroute without Smite it would be dumb not to have it to steal dragons and Barons.
Starting with Cloth Armor and 5x Health Potion makes the jungling work. Also the Cloth Armor is the first part of Madred's Razors and Wriggle's Lantern.
People may argue that Maokai is an AP champion and thus shouldn't build Wriggle's Lantern but I find it makes the jungle so much faster as well as providing armor it is definitly worth it. Why not stop at Madred's Razors you ask? because assuming you get Wriggle's Lantern before 10:00 the 600 gold will have paid itself back by 34:00 assuming you constantly replaced the wards, as well as giving you more of all the other stats.
Since Maokai is a tank at heart, I build him Mercury's Treads both for the Magic Resist and Tenacity, since my build doesn't get more magic resist very quickly.
Next I build Catalyst the Protector because it is such a good item at lower levels and has 2 very good items you can build from it, Rod of Ages and Banshee's Veil.
From here onwards the build can change very much depending on circumstances, but I will show you the build that I usually do.
Upgrade Catalyst the Protector to Rod of Ages. As previously stated, Maokai benefits much from all the abilities that Rod of Ages gives.
This is where the build gets a bit iffy and can be argued against alot, but i find it works well, making it a versatile tankish build.
Next I would build Atma's Impaler for the Armor and the damage, the Armor makes you able to take more damage and the damage makes you more of a threat, making opponents want to target you more.
My next item is usually Abyssal Scepter to provide Magic resist and AP. If the opposing team is very Magic dominated I will build this before Atma's Impaler.
The last item totally depends on the opposing team. If it is a very Physical team, then Frozen Heart is great. If it has alot of long CC, then Banshee's Veil. If there is alot of magic and fast champions Force of Nature will let you catch up. If you are just Roflstomping the opposing team, I could build Rabadon's Deathcap but so far I have never been in that good a position.
One of the Main problems with this build is the lack of CDR, which would be good to get.
Creeping / Jungling
For a route I use the basic runthrough from Blue golem to double golems, killing everything in between. When I have killed double golems I will try to gank after which I can still get wraiths and dogs before a recall.
Blue buff is very important in the initial jungling path, so you need to convince your teammates to cover you.
To start with use a Sapling Toss at spawning pool to charge Sap Magic. Then run to blue golem and at 1:20 start Sapling Toss into the spawning point of the Blue Golem. This will lead to you getting 3 Sapling Toss explosions to start on the Golem and 2-3 second cooldown left on Sapling Toss. With the 4th Sapling Toss you will kill off the smaller monsters and finish charging Sap Magic. Note that it IS possible to pull Blue for Maokai, but it requires very exact timing.
Continuing on to Wolves you will now have Arcane Smash] also. remember that if you get low on mana while you have blue, that [[Sapling Toss does much more damage then Arcane Smash and only costs 15 mana more, so it might be worth waiting a second or so for the mana to come.
At Wraiths walk into the center of them all and Sapling Toss into the middle, after that you can use Arcane Smash and start hitting the big wraith. Your Arcane Smash will be up again before you kill the big wraith and a second hit will kill the camp off.
At Red buff you should try to position yourself so you can Arcane Smash all 3 mobs continuously, because if you aren't positioned well, the second Arcane Smash will knock them all so far apart you can't hit them all.
Double Golems are just a case of using your abilities and smacking them. By now you should be consuming your last Health Potion and after have about 400-600 HP, which is good enough to go gank someone, now that you have managed to get Twisted Advance.
You need to see to Dragon always being warded, and asking for the rest of your team to come there when you try to kill it, remember to always have smite ready when you go for dragon.
Now that you have completed the jungle and hopefully succeeded in a gank, you can buy Madred's Razors .
Maokai may not be the best choice for a jungler at the moment, but he is way above average. His ganks with Twisted Advance make many ganks result in kills, even though you may need to Flash in to get in range.
I hope you enjoy trying out this guide as much as I enjoy playing Jungle Maokai.