Not Updated For Current Season
This guide is related from chu8's style how to play maokai. I think mao is mostly underestimated because he's not played the right way. Mao has too many offensive and too less skills to just be a tank. But he's also too squishy to play him as a caster because of his W Skill ( Twisted Advance) which relates him to more or less stand in the middle of the enemy team.
With this build i think you will get the right mix of beefyness and damage to lead your team to win.
Pros / Cons
-Usefull and destructive in teamfights
-CC thanks to Twisted Advance
-Map awareness thanks to Sapling Toss
-Not a pure tank
-Not a pure damagedealer
-Has no escape mechanism -> Flash
-Hard to play well
I prefere flash because it's great for ganging while getting in range for your Twisted Advance and also great for escaping over Walls or out of enemy turrets.
Awesome for earlygame while ganging a lane with a Soraka or Taric (because of the reduced healing) or getting earlykills while roaming.
If you wanna have more survivabiliy, you can get Ghost. Some ppl like Flash more then Ghost and otherways the same. I think it's a personal decision what you gonna take.
If they have a heavy damager like Tryndamere, Vayne or also something like Veigar you can pick Exhaust. It's also good for ganging and getting kills but also do disable one of their carry's for some seconds.
9 x These marks I pick for boosting the damage. It's also great for earlygame damage which you will need while roaming/ganging.
9 x I pick armor seals which are great for your early beefyness. You will mostly get physical dmg while earlygame (because of the enemy has not yet much magicdamage, if magicdamage) and also great because you will get the focus from the creeps.
9 x Because most magicdamage is low early, i prefere more MagicResist in the lategame. That's why I pick MRes/lvl Glyphs.
Build with Mercury's Treads
3 x Helps you alot with roaming and catching up with enemy champions.
Build with Sorcerer's Shoes
2 x Helps you alot with roaming and catching up with enemy champions.
1 x With this one you will get 10MPen with the Marks. If you now pick Sorcerer's Shoes you get 30MPen. With this amount of MPen you will bring a champion without MRes items to zero MagicResistance.
I chose between two pair of boots: Sorcerer's Shoes or Mercury's Treads.
The decision depents on the following: If they have many CC, i prefere Mercury's Treads. You will also get a little more Movement Speed thanks to 3 Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed. If they have not so much CC and more Squishies i prefere Sorcerer's Shoes because you will get more damage because of the 30 MagicPenetration which is great for earlyganking and also overall damage.
If you go for Sorcerer's Shoes, don't forget to buy a Moonflair Spellblade.
These are the mainitems. You start with a Saphire Crystal and 2 Health Potions. Try to get a Catalyst the Protector as soon as possible, followed by Boots of Speed and Sorcerer's Shoes or Mercury's Treads. Don't forget to spend some money to Sight Wards.
Finish your Rod of Ages and start your Trinity Force with a Sheen. With Rod of Ages you will get your early HP/Mana/AP and thanks to your Trinity Force you will get everything: AP, AS, AD, HP, Mana, Crit Chance... Just everything.
Get a Banshee's Veil for more survivability and finish the core build with a huge AP boost due to Rabadon's Deathcap.
If the game is still not won i recommend you one of these. I know there are many more usable items which are awesome. But i prefere these ones.
While your team has huge AD damage get a Frozen Heart or if you are roaming and already got a Heart of Gold you can get a Randuin's Omen. You get a huge Armorboost and the best thing is the aura which will not only help you, it will help the whole team.
If they have huge AP Nukes, go for a Force of Nature. Great for MRes and helps you to regen hp freakin hard.
If they have magic and physical damage, you can take a Guardian Angel. But i dont get it often sinced it was nerved some patchs ago...
Suggestion: If you get Sorcerer's Shoes i recommend you to to get a Moonflair Spellblade as 6. item because you will get AP and tenacity and you will need tenacity.
If you decided to go roam, i recommend you to get these two items pretty early (after boots). They will help you regenerating and farming due to you will get underfarmed as a roamer. You can sell these items later or can use Heart of Gold for your Randuin's Omen.
Roaming or Laning
This part is important!
Always remember: Roaming is good for you team because you will have 3 Sololanes. In case of roaming you can get a Philosopher's Stone and a Heart of Gold. These two items are great for regen hp/mana and also pushes your income a bit because you will typically be underfarmed a bit.
But: Be sure your mates all can hold their sololane! It will not help you if you gonna lose a tower in the first 5 minutes because your mate on the bottom lane can't holt it against 2 enemies.
Solo Mid Early
The most effective way to play Maokai is solo mid. This is also the way like chu8 plays him. On beginning, rush to your mid and place 3x Sapling Toss on their Wraith camp! With this you will get 3 Creepkills before the game even starts. Play defensive and harass the enemy champion with your Sapling Toss. You can also use them for preventing gangs.
Pick a Saphire Crystal and 2 Health Potions and head the doulane (most bot). You can spy very well with your Sapling Toss if your team wants to gang their jungler.
Stay on lane until you receive lvl 2. Now you can start roaming. Be sure your partner in mid is not pushing like an idiot otherwise your first gang will fail. Try to get firstblood and head top lane to gang there, too. If you have enought gold for Catalyst the Protector and Boots of Speed. As a roamer never forget to buy Sight Wards and place them on keyplaces to prevent gangs and map awareness!
Maokai can handle a solo and also a duo lane. Thanks to his passive Sap Magic he can regen hp pretty well. Best partner on a duo lane is a caster which can spam spells. Like Soraka, Janna, Ezreal and so on. Duo lane is also great because you will face a carry and a support. And most supports will cast very much to help their babies. That means more regen for you.
Dont forget to use your Sapling Toss as a "ward" for preventing early gangs.
Midgame you should gang. Doesn't matter if you're roaming or laning. With your Twisted Advance you can gang very well. Try to get Dragon and get kills/assists and farm as much as possible. (Remember: Dragon returns every 6 minutes after dying! Hint: If he gets killed, type actual time + 6min in teamchat so everyone knows when next Dragon returns.) You have a very expensive build and you will need it to be successfull. Twisted Advance followed with Sapling Toss in their escaping way and Arcane Smash are a great combo to get kills. Important: Never forget Sight Wards!
Start acting in team and push towers. You can fear the enemies very well with your Vengeful Maelstrom behind their tower so you can push them in team. Teamfights will start and you will be a keychamp in the team. Well placed Vengeful Maelstrom and Arcane Smash will disturb your enemies pretty effective! And always throw a Sapling Toss to their carries so they have to run and are not able to attack!
Teamfights start. Push towers, finish your itembuild, try to get baron and important: WARDS, WARDS, WARDS!!!
- 24.05.2011 - V1.0 - First Release
- 25.05.2011 - V1.1 - Renamed the Guide because it not primarily a Roaming guide, Added Moonflair Spellblade, Roamingitems Heart of Gold/ Philosopher's Stone, Randuin's Omen and description for solo mid.
In my opinion, Maokai is one of the most underestimated and rare seen champs which are really great to have in the team if well played. Try my build and help me to push that build to perfectionism.
With more or less this build, chu8 climbet from zero to highest elo with mao in shortest time!