Maokai Build Guide by ChexGuy

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author ChexGuy

Maokai, feel his wood

ChexGuy Last updated on November 16, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 1

Honor Guard

Defense: 28

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 1

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Maokai is a tank. That's really all there is to it. He's an excellent tank with great harassment and sustainability during the laning phase, and he can really knock heads around during the teamfight phase. The E->W->Q combo is fun to watch and it does plenty of damage for a tank.

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Pros / Cons


  • Amazing initiation ability with Twisted Advance
  • Decent damage, especially for a tank
  • Extremely disruptive in teamfights with Arcane Smash
  • He's a tree

  • Defensive stats are low early-game
  • A misjudged Sapling toss can change everything
  • Arcane Smash has a low knockup range

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Magic Penetration Marks for maximum harassment during laning.

Mana Regen. Self explanatory.

Magic resist/level glyphs. Per level for better scaling late-game, not to mention his low base MR.

Pure health doesn't make you a tank, but it sure helps. With a Doran's item, you start with 711 hp.


Just a small boost in speed. I got this when his base speed was still 305, and now it's 310. With this, you get around 416 after FoN and 386 with boots. Not a large boost, but it helps a bit.

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I got 1/28/1, taking for plenty of tanking ability.

Not much to say here, the Season 2 masteries are rather self-explanatory.

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Summoner Spells

Exhaust is an excellent tank spell, and allows you to snare the target more easily.

Take Flash for a much-needed escape. The range and cooldown nerf don't hit very hard, but just don't screw up if you're escaping.

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Skill Sequence

: Your passive. Your amazing passive. 7% of your max health regained every 5 spellcasts. When you lane with or against Eve, Karthus, or anyone else that spams abilities, this is awesome. With Spirit Visage, it's boosted to 8%. Not a lot, barely noticeable, but it adds up. This will activate every few seconds when fighting Baron, Dragon, or the entire team. However, it will not activate if you're silenced and hit something.


Take at level one, and throw a few at the spawn or where your jungler starts to proc your passive faster. This is insanely useful for harassing and farming, but it costs quite a bit of mana. Try not to spam them. Also note that they can be use as temporary short-range wards if you can't buy them.

I keep even with Sapling Toss because the snare duration goes up as the ability ranks up. This allows you to keep an enemy in place as a sapling explodes on them, or if a teammate comes in for a gank.

Take at level 3 for the knockup. It doesn't do much damage and it doesn't have a lot of range, but I accidentally took Sapling rank 2 at level 3 once, and couldn't help gank because I didn't have the knockup. After your ult gets rank 2, bring this up to rank 2 for a small damage increase. Note that the knockup requires the enemy to be right next to you, but everyone around Maokai and not just in front of him gets knocked up. This is great with combined with Twisted Advance to stop a Warwick, Katarina, Fiddle, or Malzahar that's channeling their ult.

is incredibly underrated. Don't throw it around the enemy, throw it around yourself and your team. Its primary purpose is damage mitigation, not to deal damage. However, popping it does deal around 500 damage at rank 3, so you can steal Baron or Dragon with it, or ensure a kill for your team.

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Start with for the extra health and mana regen. The AP is a nice bonus for your sapling harassment too.

Rush Catalyst the Protector so you can turn it into later on. As a force of habit, I build my before I finish the Rod, but it's up to you. Sell Doran's Ring after you complete your RoA. You lose the +5 mana regen, but the runes should take care of that, and RoA does more than enough to make up for the health and AP.

gives a small health boost, some CDR, some MR, but most importantly, boosts your passive a bit. 7% of your max health is quite a bit already, and you need all the healing you can get.

After you get those three items, depending on the team you're up against, build a or buy a . Usually I take the Glacial Shroud for cooldowns, armor, and mana. Finish it into a for a total of 195 armor, then build your Cloak into a .

You already have a beefy 195 armor and 191 magic resist at this point, so some more can't hurt. Get a for maximum tankiness. Alternatively, you can buy before your Frozen Heart/FoN for more pushing power.

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First guide, so it might suck a bit.

Not only is Maokai insanely awesome (He's a TREE. You don't see that very often), he's insanely awesome at being a tank. Sure, he doesn't have a taunt like Rammus or Shen, but the amount of disruption he causes can change the tides of a fight.

It doesn't look like a tank build when you first start building it, so that's good for throwing your enemies off a bit.