Maokai Build Guide by Dethanos

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 Dethanos

Maokai: No Blade May Harm You

Dethanos Last updated on December 25, 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: 4

Honor Guard

Defense: 23

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 3

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Hello and welcome to my first guide! So to start off I want to say thank you for looking at this and I would really appreciate constructive criticism on how to make this guide, (As well as any future guide), better, this way I can cover more information and in more detail so you have a better understanding of how I think Champions can be played effectively.
To give you an image of how I think of Maokai when I play him is quite easy. I'm sure all of us, if not most of us have seen 'The Lord of The Rings' before. You remember those big walking trees that talked to Pippin and Merry? (Their called Treants by the way in case you didn't know) That's how I imagine Maokai, the big lumbering giant tree that's invincible (Pretty much, unless you use fire on them, but we don't talk about that to Maokai). So after a strange introduction let's explain why I see him that way, shall we?

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Pros / Cons


    Late game your able to stay on the field pretty much indefinitely
    Able to take serious punishment from the enemy team and still get away alive
    Able to chase down most enemies with your abilities and move speed
    Your Ultimate is very strong because of the damage you can receive
    You're a great initiator
    Laning with a mage? Great, heal away my friend
    Your a tree, how awesome is that?
    Slightly mana dependent early game (Runes should take care of that)
    You don't do a lot of damage late game
    Relies on teammates in order for a confirmed kill
    You get burned hard core by mages such as Brand, Annie.
    If you can think of anything else for the negative let me know ;)

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Alright your probably wondering why in the world I'm going with so many flat based runes. So I'm gonna use this to show why flats are better than the stacking runes.
Greater Mark of Insight vs. Greater Mark of Force

Magic Penetration for early in-game damage, It'll also help you get under those annoying tanks armor so that you gain the advantage in the fight with abilities, whomever said we couldn't fight dirty?
Greater Glyph of Potency vs. Greater Glyph of Force/ Greater Glyph of Insight

Magic Penetration isn't enough, your gonna need shear force as well to blast the enemies apart with your saplings, let your enemies HP bar drop early game with one little kamikaze sapling.
Greater Seal of Replenishment vs. Greater Seal of Clarity/ Greater Seal of Intellect

You really don't need a whole lot of mana regeneration in the late game so the flat mana regeneration rate will give you a greater boost early game.
Greater Quintessence of Force vs. Greater Quintessence of Potency

You already have some flat spell damage for your saplings early game, however that starts to wear off after level six. These should help counteract that from happening by adding more ability power in at your later levels.

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Masteries/ Summoner Spells

Not much to say here, You take Defense for the obvious health ups and minor defenses. The small amount of ability power from the offensive tree and the mana per level from the Utility Tree, you don't need much else.

Summoner Spells:

Why I use Clarity: I keep going over this, but I'll say it again, your very mana dependent, and starved early game if your going to play an aggressive Maokai so this helps a lot for those emergency needs, If you have a laning partner that also uses mana, consider this a win-win situation, you both casts spells, which heal you, and you can refund their mana as well as your own.

Why I use Ignite: Early game kills equal at least 20 minutes of fun time for you and a lot of smiley faces in the chat box from your teammates late game. A couple of your Sapling Tosses + A Twisted Advance and this spell will kill pretty much any squishy before level 6. You should get at least one kill, even if it means dying from turret diving as well. It's frustrating to see your opponent escaping with half a bar left of health and this takes care of it.

Honorable Mentions:

For those 12 seconds you will tear someone apart with your saplings and auto attack, Since your a tank Riot thought it was a good idea to stack your attack damage per level and with this puppy your pretty much unstoppable for the entire time you have it on.

Everyone loves Exhaust and your no exception, This is your Twisted Advance and Arcane Smash rolled into a bundle without the damage, If you want trade it out with your Ignite.

: Everyone bashes Ghost and how it's inferior to Flash. I say otherwise, I think it's better than Flash in some occasions, it just depends on what's needed. Is your team gonna need you to be mobile? If so than this is better than flash. If they need you to pop into the midst of a battle from the bushes to surprise the living **** out of your opponents than flash is better, again both are situational.

If you feel like your going to face a stun happy team, switch this out with your ignite and play defensively, always make sure you have a buddy with you, with the latest patches, minion waves just don't do it anymore...

Never Use:

It's just a waste of a summoner spell slot now, minions are killed off too easily

Your not a support your a tank, act like one!

I should smack you across the face if you even think of using this.... Your laning not jungling you idiot.

This is another smack, this time a back hand. You have a buddy to help you out in your lane and they can hold a 2v1 with a turret at their back while you buy something and then get back after a few seconds.. If they can't than that sucks, toughen them up by feeding them some more kills.

You can wait the death penalty, It isn't that long, And why should you be dying anyways? You got the most resistances on your team I hope so toughen up little soldier and do your duty

It still falls flat late game. Plus you can already heal yourself with your passive, team-fights especially.

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Skills Sequence and When to use them.

Q-Arcane Smash: A very underrated skill of Maokai I think. This move is great for hitting people whom are running away for the slow so your teammates can rush after them. Another great use is for the minor knockback that it gives you when your enemy is close, The knockback might just be enough to get them out of turret range and allow for a successful kill, I've seen it, I've done it, I approve of it.

W-Twisted Advance:
A nice surprise for initiations and for fleeing a chaser. To escape from an enemy I usually use my Arcane Smash first for the slow in case another enemy appears in front of me which I can use this ability to stun them and basically get to safety 70% of the time.
Initiating with this ability is a great way to help your teammates focus down an agile opponent or a beefy opponent depending on who you judge to be the stronger opponent.
The third use for this Ability Is to catch runners. I use this to chase down my enemies so they can't target me with any abilities that may stun me and I can get right next to them to use my slowing move, Arcane Smash, this gives my team enough time to get to where I am and finish off the poor man caught in my roots.

E-Sapling Toss:
Your hilarious move as a tree, Just toss this little kamikaze baby tree and watch your opponents freak out and run away. Be aware though that they will target minions before they will target champions. Another note is that they will explode as soon as they come close enough to any enemy, so running champions can use minions to still make them blow up. The third thing to keep in mind is that fast opponents such as Yi and Miss Fortune can outrun these little suckers so make sure to toss them on their escape route, this takes practice but is very rewarding to see a fleeing champion die by one of these buggers.
The Second thing they can be used for is to check bushes for enemies, if the bush is clear it sets up a surprise for enemies, but if the bush is filled with enemies it will make them scatter, or better, they will all take the damage together, giving your team an advantage in the fight to come.

R-Vengeful Maelstrom:
Awesome ability for defense or offense, and it's cooldown is low to boot! Defensively it gives a 20% armor bonus while inside so you can turtle shell yourself in here as that Ashe is shooting her annoying arrows at you, trying to get you away from your turret that she wants badly. The offensive way to use it is to place it behind your enemies as they run away and smack them with it, or even grab some people and place them in it, do some damage and then have take it off, making it explode and dealing more damage. The one downfall is that it absorbs mana per second, a real downfall for this build early on, however late game feel free to blast this baby away.

Harassment: E-E-E-E
Farming 1: E-R-E-E
Farming 2: E-Q-E-Q
Initiation: W-Q-E-Q
Fleeing Opponents: W-Q-R-E
Running Away: Q-W-R-E
Opponent Focusing: R-W-Q-E
These are all four step Combinations though you can chain any of them together at Any given time.

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Item Choices & Situational Items

First off, thank Nerun for telling me to put this into the guide. I was sort of iffy on putting this section in at the beginning because I thought it would be a lot of work, however Now that it has been requested I have already done research on some items that you may like better or are Situational depending on who your fighting and your game play style. So without further ado let us get to the point.

Chosen Items:

Optional Items:

Main Item Explanation's on why I chose them

Mercury's Treads: These bad boys are awesome, the Tenacity will save you from early game stuns and some late game stuns. Can't go wrong with these

Frozen Heart: A very nice option for you as a Maokai, the cooldown reductions allows you to use your already low cooldown ultimate more quickly and extra mana never hurt anyone, slows down incoming attacks as well, allowing you to last longer in fights. Oh and a nice armor up early game.

Warmog's Armor: It gives a nice health boost and a healthy dose of regeneration as well. Most effective after a fight for that health regeneration, it allows you stay in the field that much longer to get your passive off for the health boost.

Force of Nature: Everything about this item compliments your previous items, Magic Resistance to help you keep that Warmog's Health bonus longer. Health Regeneration per second from it's unique passive is so strong it's ridiculous. Moevement speed up, always nice for escaping. You get the point.

Thornmail: A helpful item on any melee fighter, as it gives you that nice armor bonus and the 30% return damage, slowly draining your opponents Hit points away as you they whittle yours down as well. Thanks to Lugignaf I also found out that it blocks some skills such as Parrrley and Mystic Shot
Will of the Ancients: It's a very helpful item for some more damage and when you harass you heal yourself as well, giving you the health advantage over your opponents you also stack your passive when you harass allowing to heal more, it's a very nice item to have all around on Maokai I think

Optional/ Situational Items

Frozen Mallet: This is a good item to pick up instead of a Will of the Ancients if your having a hard time catching that teemo that keeps harassing you. If you do pick this item up, make sure it's your Third item as it will give you the Hit Points you need until you get Warmog's Armor.

Guardian Angel: If you keep dying in the middle of fights, consider picking this item up over your Force of Nature. Another good use is in case your fighting a strong Attack Damage Team rather than a Strong Ability Power team.

Sunfire Cape: This is a very nice item mid game with armor and health bonuses. The Unique passive it gives falls flat late game, but when it's still early and your having problems farming and doing damage in team fights, consider picking this item up.

Tiamat: The attack damage and the mana/health regeneration is nice, but the main reason you would pick this up is to do attack damage against those huddled up minions. just auto attack with this item and you have an attack that does Area of Effect damage rather than just your saplings. You would replace Will of the Ancients and place this in as your third item.

Quicksilver Sash: This item is very helpful if you get into it with the enemy team and they just crowd control you and you just sit there, able to do nothing and die. that doesn't help your team when you do die, and this will fix that. Any disable such as Children of the Grave and Enchanted Crystal Arrow each from their respective champion.

Sorcerer's Shoes: These boots can replace your Mercury's Treads if the enemy has little or no stunning capability, the magic penetration will help you get under other tanks armor and give you the advantage in most fights.

Moonflair Spellblade:If you have Mercury's Treads, Ignore this. However if you have Sorcerer's Shoes, this is where you will get that Tenacity that you lost back. On top of it you get a little bit more spell damage. Your best bet is to replace your Will of the Ancients with this.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter: This is your Frozen Mallet for your spells. Perhaps a better choice to use if you want to slow the entire enemy team down with your Vengeful Maelstrom. Thanks Nerun for the suggestion.

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Tips & Tricks

Thank Rys Aberdeen for asking me to put this into the guide. Now onto the tips and tricks, I'll split it into three different categories within this chapter: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced depending on where your skill level is go to the different sections. So here they are.


When low on health back away from the minions and enemy champions, allow them to cast a few spells and when your passive is charged up, go hit an enemy minion and then run back to safety.

When in team fights, try and initiate with your Twisted Advance to give your team a standstill target to focus down.

When Turret Diving use your Twisted Advance to get under the turret without being harmed

Use the bushes to your Saplings advantage. Placing a sapling in a bush where enemies use for an escape is a great way to get kills.

Don't be afraid to stack your saplings in a bush. Having two or three of them in a bush guarantees some major damage on the opponent.


When laning against a low health opponent, don't be afraid to bully them around with your Sapling Toss. Even if you just get the impact damage, it still hurts them.

Using your Vengeful Maelstrom while your allies recall is a great way to keep enemy champions away from them.

Use your saplings as temporary wards early game to prevent getting ganked easily.

If facing a champion like Shaco who uses hit and run tactics, shut them down with a Twisted Advance+ Sapling Toss+ Arcane Smash+ Vengeful Maelstrom.


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Anything Else that needs to be added?

Just tell me and I will place it in ASAP. I think Different people that you should lane with would be a good one, but for now I won't put it in, have fun guys, and enjoy the build, if it's all that great... Idk I've been winning matches with it.

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Updates/ Edits


  • Fixed A mix up between Glyphs and Marks
  • Minor Color Detail Added
  • Symbols Added
  • Tips& Tricks Section Added
  • Item's and Optional Items chapter Added
  • Updated Item choices
  • Added BBC Coding In
  • Temporarily finished Item choices
  • Added in Beginner and Intermediate Tricks