Maokai Build Guide by Tezu
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.
First of all this is my first guide, so please be gentle ^^
( and my english isnt very good either )
I´ll try to give you an image of how I play Maokai and not how YOU have to play him.
This build works very well for me but, as usual, it always depends on the circumstances.
It´s not a full tank guide, its more like a early-game-caster-that-can-take-some-damage-later-but-still-kicks-***-guide
My focus is on his early game, because i think it´s where Maokai can be really dominating.
Read it and let me know what you think about it.
For the Masteries I take a 9/21/0
This gives him the capability to tank while still doing damage.
The 9 points in Offence support his amazing harassment, while the missing mana regeneration needs a more thoughtfull play.
If you just spam your skills, but don´t hit anything, you´ll end up at your tower without mana (or dead). And these cute lil saplings eat away your mana so damn fast.
As shown above I take magic penetration
, flat mana regenerationGreater Seal of Replenishment , flat magic resistence
and flat ability power
.The 15 AP granted from the quints do some nice little extra damage early on, but you also might take flat hp, magic resistence or armor, which makes you more tanky.
I prefer the flat runes because they make a huge different in early game.
For example mana regeneration per Level Seals aren´t better than flats until Level 7, but the regeneration is needed right from the start to keep up the harassment.
I think a lot of people forget his passive, but i really like it.
True, 7% of max. Life isn´t that much, but it helps you to stay in lane a little longer, get the second you need for your skills to get ready or suprise an enemy.
With a teammate which can spam skills (like eve or corki) it shows its full potential.
The knock back of this skill is very usefull in many situations.
You can prevent enemys from runing a little longer or ( and thats what i think is the best way to use it ) to cancel channeled spells, such as Katarinas Death Lotus or Nunus Absolute Zero.
With this kind of enemies, try to concentrate on using this skill to break their ultimate.
They do a huge amount of damage and can easily take out your team.
Another way to use it, is to last hit a group of minions.
It is Maokais´ spell with the least mana costs and cooldown, so you dont have to think too hard about using it or not.
This skill is great for initiating team fights, suprise someone or to help an ally escape.
If used correctly it guarantees a huge amount of damage.( more in the skill sequence )
Still be careful not to throw yourself in the complete enemy team. That would be your death (usually) but if someone is falling behind or getting in front too much its a great chance for a quick kill.
Now we come to the skill which I think most or each and every Maokai player likes the most.
THIS is what makes Maokai a good DD while being tanky.
THIS is what makes your enemies all frustrated, because they have to go back to base again.
The best thing is you can use it in many ways. First of all, of course, its THE source of damage. It can keep enemies out of exp range, create a trap in a bush, scout the bushes and so on. It´s the reason that allows you to stay behind your creeps, while still putting your enemies under pressure and harass them constantly.
The secret to use it is easy. Practice. Try to read the enemies movement.
I try to toss them BEHIND an enemy, because most of them instinctively try to run back and ... BOOM... there you go ;)
It's even possible to control the enemies movement a bit, when they get afraid of the little buggers.
For example try to set up a sapling in a bush and then push the enemy towards it with another one.
I think a lot of people underestimate this ultimate. To its great defenciv ability of reducing the damage by 20%, comes a nice amount of damage, which most players forget.
Due to its short cooldown you can use it almost everytime needed. Of course its most effectiv in a team fight, but you can use it in a 1on1 situation just as good, when you try to escape or when fighting Nashor or Dragon.
Maokai can do a ton of damage if used correctly.Let me explain how i do it.
First you have to harass your enemies, because Maokai is very vulnerable if his skills are on cooldown. Make sure you can take them down before making the final move ( consider potions, heal-skills, summoner skills etc. )
And always have an eye on your mana !
I think the best sequence to kill is E>W>R>Q.
Toss your sapling and try to root the enemy while the sapling is still on its way.
At best both arrive at the same time. This way you will guarantee the explosion to hit. Put your ulti on top of your enemy but more in the direction he might run for, hit him with arcane smash for damage, knock back and slow and detonate the ulti just before the enemy leaves.
So much for the skills. Of course practice is needed in order to get a feeling for the right timing. And everyone might have a different opinion of what´s best, so feel free to alternate it.
I start with a Doran´s Ring. It gives you health, a bit AP and the needed mana reg.
After that i go back with about 1100 gold in order to get Sorcerer's Shoes. The magic penetration makes you hit a lot harder and the movement speed is a must have.
I prefere these boots over Mercury's Treads because I rather hit hard than getting hit more often. If you stay behind or between your minions, you should be able to keep your health up with your passive.
The next thing on the list is the Rod of Ages.
It´s perfect for Maokai, with its health, mana and the additional AP, which makes you hit even harder.
These three items are a must have in my opinion. After that it depends on the enemy team.
The Abyssal Scepter is always a good choice. It adds to your offensiv power and supports the team too.
For a melee heavy team I get Thornmail and a Frozen Heart .
For a caster team I get Force of Nature and a Banshee's Veil .
It really depends on the situation what to buy first and in what combination.
Usually i get Force of Nature and Frozen Heart first and than add what´s needed.
I like the speed boost and life reg of FoN, and find it quite usefull even against melee heroes.
For Summoner Spells i go with Clarity and Teleport
In my ( and others ) opinion Clarity is a must for Maokai.
The mana needed to play successfully can´t be given with regeneration only.
I think not even Soraka can handle the amount of mana this tree needs.
I take Teleport, because I like to take a solo lane with Maokai, while one teammate is jungling. But because of that I must be able to get to the lane quickly after regenerating, shopping or dying.
Other usefull Summoner Skills are Ghost and Flash, because Maokai really lacks mobility or a good escape move.
One thing that I want to mention is Maokais great ability to support jungler.
I´ve heard a lot of times that it is luxury to jungle with Maokai around.
The reason for this is easy. Sapling Toss
Depending on where the jungler starts, you are able to support him with 3 of your saplings.
Blue Golem. for example. spawns at 1:55, so start throwing at 1:21 and the Golem gets a good amount of damage right when it's spawning.
Of course it costs much mana to do this, but on the one hand the regeneration shows its effect and on the other hand your jungler gets stronger a bit quicker and this helps the whole team.
Since you shouldn´t go for first blood when you are all alone, just stay defensive and the MP reg will do the rest.
That´s it for my first guide.
Hope you find it interesting and can make some use of it.
As mentioned before this is the way I play him and not a must do for you.
So pick what you think may work for you and ignore the rest ^^
I´d like to get some feedback and comments on how it works and how I did with this guide ^^
(and still excuse my bad english)