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.
Introduction and Basic Tips.. The End.
So this is my basic guide for playing Maokai as a tank. Its for experienced players, so I'm not going to go into depth about things. This guide is for the people who are looking for a quick look at what I think is the best way to set this champion up.
I start with Dorian's shield. This helps beef him up a bit, and the health regen along side with his passive will help keep him alive in his lane. You also will usually want to lane with a partner, this way your passive will proc more often.
The item build I chose is fairly inexpensive. In the average game length you should be able to complete this build quite quickly, given you're getting at least 40% of the last hits on minions in your lane.
It's important to choose your entrance carefully when engaging into team fights. If you use twisted advance and become too far from your allies, you will get focused down pretty quickly. I always like to have another tanky champion on my side when playing Maokai.
Sapling toss is pretty much your scouting tool. Without enough points in it, it just really lacks any damage and is a bit slow on the draw. I like to use it to broaden my teams line of sight when doing Dragon or Baron, to anticipate a gank more easily.
Twisted Advance and Arcane smash is going to be your main combo. Make sure to use Arcane Smash carefully so you can knock your opponent in the direction you want, if it is going to make a difference. Also it cancels things like, Nunu's ult etc if you are close enough.