Build Guide by LittleRelent
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, I did not put it up right away because I wanted as much time playing Maokai as I could to make sure I know the best way to build him. I do plan on extending this guide in the future. I made this guide because i was sick of seeing the fail Maokai's embarassing my main tank.
CC- Crowd Control (stuns, snares, slows, ext.)
AD- Attack Damage
AP- Ability Power
AoE- Area of Effect
Tanking and Aggro
Before I explain the build i would first like to explain what your job is as a tank. The main problem I see any person that plays Maokai, or any tank for that matter; they dont tank. Many people think that as long as your unkillable, your tanking; their wrong.
In order to tank you must do three things
1. Initiate- this does not mean you run straight at the enemy team and die, and then say "I did my job i started the fight" yes.. this is your job but if you die instantley, there going to eat through the rest of your team, in order to do this properly you must wait for the proper timing; someone will over extend, someone will be isolated from the rest of there team, or they will draw turret aggro.
2. CC- In any fight your job as a tank is to keep the enemy team undercontrol and to keep there carry's stuned and overall do everything you can to annoy the enemy team.
3. Protect your team- this here is the main problem, the thing that no tanks do. Yes you want to focus down the enemy team.. but that isnt your job thats the rest of the teams job, your job is to stop the enemy team from killing your carrys, which means you often have to save your abilities in order to CC the enemy, also this can mean sacrificing yourself so others can live, your not as valuable of a target, for example your ashe is on a killing spree, your both running away from the enemy team with 1 bar, in this case if i knew they were going to kill ashe i would sacrifice my self in order to by ashe time to escape.
Aggro is the thing that alot of people dont understand as a tank, yes you need health armour and magic resistence, but the point of tanking is to take damage so your team dosnt, if your all tank and no damage you will just be ignored, thus aggro. Aggro is when you initiate a fight, when you actually are doing damage so they think we have to kill Maokai.
Masteries are really standard, I dont get the dodge chance because Maokai rarely dodges even with the boots, I tryed it several times.
You can also go 1/21/8 if you feel you are falling behind in level often, in order to get the extra experience gained.
I get cleanse in order to keep up my aggro in team fights, this way I can continue to CC and keep my team alive, the main thing this is used for is making sure I drop my ult in team fights, without it I found my self getting CC'd and the whole team whiping before I got a chance to drop the 20% damage reduction
Warmogs- Simply, its for health, it keeps you alive, and makes your passive heal you like crazy
Force of Nature- its your magic resistence, the move speed is nice, and the health regen is awesome with your passive you will ALWAYS be full health
Sunfire Cape- More aoe in team fights.. why not, again health helps your passive and it will give your armour for your build
Cooldown reduction boots- helps you spam your CC, also you could get mercury treads in order to completley stop CC on yourself
Chalice- Maokai is heavy on mana, this will always keep his mana up
Crystal Scepter- after those items you will be almost unkillable, thus you want them to focus you this provides you with the ap, and the aggro which will make them want to focus you
As a tank your build will vary on the opponent, your job is to counter the enemys items while still having your aggro items.
Quick Silver Sash- For any team with alot of magic, this is a must have. Along with Cleanse your almost impossible to CC, this will most likely take sunfire cape's place.
Thornmail- A must have for any AD heavy team, this will most likely take force of nature's place.
Randuins Omen- For any extremely heavy melee team, this could take sunfire cape's place also, although I find the extra health helps alot with healing.
Rabadon's Deathcap- If you feel you are being ignored in team fights, and feel you have enough surviability, take this for an ap boost, you will not be ignored after this. This would take Crystal Scepter's place.
Mercury Treads- I would recomend these for a CC heavy team, of course replacing ionian boots
Gaurdian Angel- Personally.. I would never get this on a tank, alot of people would disagree and say it is a "must have", although the second you get this item.. all aggro is gone. You will always be the last to die, and they will never focus you.. this is NOT what you want.. you WANT them to attack you. I find gaurdian angel works alot better on your carrys, so when a team fight starts they see the whole team with gaurdian angels ACCEPT the tank.. if there smart they would focus you, but then again if they focus the carrys there just gonna come back to life and continue to deal mass damage. I personnally will NEVER get this item on any tank.
With an ideal team with a jungler, I recomend you go bottom with one of your carrys. I do NOT recomend soloing with Maokai, yes he has a ton of harrass early game but in the bottom lane you will be able to help your carry get alot of early game kills, ultimatley getting fed.
While in lane as with any other champions just wait for last hits, although I recomend giving most of the last hits to your carrys, yes you want money, but you also want them to get money.
Magical Sap is an amazing passive, you wont notice it as much early game but it will still help you keep in your lane until you reach 1550 gold, at which time i recomend you recall to buy your boots and chalice (1750 if mercury treads). The key to this early game health regen is to auto attack something (most likely a minion) as soon as it is ready, make sure you always do this when it is up, otherwise champions will continue to cast spells and you will just be missing out on stacks. Sapling Toss is amazing early game, the damage with your runes and masteries will be able to take off a bar of any squishy target if thrown correctly. Saplings will do initial small damage upon landing, then a bigger blast after. They will run to the closest thing, so in order to do this correctly throw the sapling either on top of the champion (if you know they will not be able to escape it) or throw it a bit behind them (this is the ideal throw) you may miss out on the initial damage but insuring that the second blast hits is key, throwing it behind them so the edge of the circle is touching them, this way unless they run towards you they will be hit, most likely people will not realise this and will get hit. Saplings are invincible and will not draw turret aggro, often you will be able to kill low health recalling champions. Also saplings can be out run once the enemy champion has boots. I do not recomend trying to harass healing champions (nunu, vlad, warwick, mundo, ext.) the saplings are not very affective on tanks, aim for squishys. Saplings can also be effectively used to farm minions once they reach level 4, throw the sapling directly on the 3 caster minions of the minion wave, it will either kill them all or bring them to 1 hit so you and your laning partner can grab the last hits (once level 5, will always kill the minions) this is the reason I level up sapling toss first, in order to get early game harass and farming. I do not recomend using arcane smash and twisted advance to farm minions. The other harrass Maokai can accomplish is his full combo (with the help of your laning partner) as soon as a sapling explodes on the enemy squishy use twisted advance to stun them, then quickly walk behind the enemy and use arcane smash to knock them towards your laning partner, while you do this your laning partner should be doing as much damage as they can. This will often get the champion to half health, or even kill them.
I do not recomend team fighting until you have your warmogs built, at this time your twisted advance will be decently leveled. Maokai's job in a team fight is to be a s*** disturber, mainly using your twisted advance to stun the enemy carry for your team to kill, and to knock around as many champions possible with the low cooldown of arcane smash. Idealy when you initiate the team fight use twisted advance to snare the enemy, then use arcane smash to know them towards your team like you did in laning, after this combo spam arcane smash as much as possible to enemy champions attacking your carrys. Try to save twisted advance for good use (stunning enemy carrys, snaring enemy champions attacking your teams carrys, and stoping any low health champions from running). Saplings become less affective of damage later in the game, so use them mostly for scouting, although in a team fight throw them behind the enemy team as far as possible, this often gets you a kill from low health enemy champions running away, saplings can also be throwin in the middle of the team fight in order to do decent AoE damage. Vengeful Maelstrom is what makes Maokai such the amazing tank that he is, make sure to drop this as soon as possible in a team fight, yes you want it to shield you team mates but you also want to catch the enemy team in it to deal damage back to them, the key is to just drop it on as many champions as possible. The main thing I see Maokai's do wrong is they do not cancel it, this wastes there mana and does not deal damage back to the enemy team. Make sure to cancel your ult before the enemy team runs out.