Maokai Build Guide by Leafos
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 my first build that I have written a guide on so here it goes.
I will try to cover the best way I think Maokai should be built as a carry tank.
My rune choices are just simply my own personal preferences and I know there are a variety of decent runes for tanks such as armor / magic resis / hp etc, but I have decided to go all out with FLAT Health runes as I use these runes for all the tank champions I play atm.
Increasing Maokai's defenses is very important (unless your building a hybrid dps where you may want to invest into the utility tree). I think the 9/21/0 is a great way to build his masterys as you can really benefit from the bonus health, hp regen, armor, magic resist and of course the 4% dmg reduction against you is obviously very important whilst playing the role of a tank.
There are many ways I have attempted to build Maokai since the patch went live and I have tried different item purchase rotations also.
Purchasing your Cataclyst of the Protector early as possible is a must, after my catalyst I usually either purchase Mercury Treads OR I pick up the Boots of Speed and immediately go for the Rod of Ages to allow it to stack up early game making your life abit easier and ofc you will then purchase the boots once you have enough gold.
After I have built my first 2 items I then purchase a Giant's Belt as fast as possible as you WILL find that it makes a huge difference for Maokai as at this point his max hp should be just touching around 2400 ish. You may want to wait for the 1500 gold and then complete your Sunfire cape, but it depends on how heavy their melee is.. if they have less amounts of melee then I would wait and farm minions or initiate more team fights to obtain the gold faster.
Next up is Rylai's Crystal Scepter - Again I try to obtain enough gold to pick up yet another Giant's Belt as fast as possible, while saving 860 gold for the blasting wand. After that I usually wait till I have enough gold to fully complete the Crystal Scepter.
Depending on how many melee your enemy team has, when it comes to building your Banshee's Veil I would either pick up the armor vest first and then the catalyst, or I would purchase a Ruby Crystal for the extra bit of HP and then pick up the armor vest. After you have atleast 2 of the required items it shouldnt take you any longer than 5-7minutes to build enough gold to complete your Banshee's Veil.
Once I have my Banshee's Veil I would then aim for the Glacial Shroud to build the Frozen Heart but usually by now, your team would have exposed the enemys nexus or the enemy team would have ahreed to surrender.
If your game is still in progress at this point, then I would prioritize wether you really want that extra armor first or the extra mana to keep your ultimate flowing longer.
Personally I would go for the armor vest as normally your teamfights wont last long in your AoE, so the extra mana shouldnt be needed.
Keeping Sapling Toss at your highest priority will allow and your lane partner to harass the enemy lane and usually deny them of alof of XP as they should need to Recall quite often to regain their health.
Twisted Advance should be next on your priority list as it will dish out a decent amount of damage and the root should help getting a few kills, wether it's stopping your enemy from escaping to their own tower, OR rooting enemy turret divers near your turret to grab and easy kill.
Arcane Smash is always my last choice but I choose to put 1 pt at level 3 to try and prevent ganks on me and my team mates and I would then put another pt into arcane smash when you have 4 in Twisted Advance, to slightly increase the slow percentage.
Overall, leveling your Sapling is ideal for harassing early game and leveling Twisted advance will help setup easy kills. I'me not much of a fan of Arcane Smash so I choose to max this spelll out last as I personally think this spell is pretty much useless 75% of the time, if not more.
Teleport - I use this spell for ALL my support champions for faster transportation, but if this spell isnt one of your favourites then perhaps use Heal, Ghost or Flash instead.
Clarity - I would consider this spell to be mandatory for Maokai, as it will prevent alot of early game recalling and it combines very well with his mana draining ultimate spell.
Initiating ganks and team fights is EXTREMELY easy while playing as this champion as you can use Twisted Advance to charge in and then pop your Arcane Smash to slow your enemys from escaping easily. Also you should try to launch sapling's at fleeing enemys to snatch easy kills.
Your ultimate plays a very important role in teamfights so I use this every time I see a team fight taking place. Try to drop your ultimate on your team mates rather than the enemys (remember as a tank/support, assists come more than kills so try not to be greedy).
Creeping / Jungling
You can jungle mid-late game with your Sapling Toss and Twisted Advance, I usually do this to build up enough gold to complete my items faster.
Warding - When your team goes for Dragon or Baron I would ward the lane exits from the enemys half of the map to avoid being ganked and having your gold bonus / nashor buff from being stolen and ultimately to allow your team to be more aware of the possiblys that the enemys could come from different parts of the map.
Farming is actually very easy with Maokai, a single Sapling Toss can wipe out an entire minion wave. Make sure to aim properly with them and throw one into bushes and side lane exites to avoid being ganked by the enemy team.
Thank you for viewing my build, if theres anything you think I could do to improve this build then let me know in the comment section.
Here is just a game I played last night using this build