Build Guide by Glitch852
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~~~~~THIS BUILD IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. TESTING AND CHANGES SOON~~~~~~~~~~~~
Welcome to my Maokai build.
Great laning potential
Skill based short-duration ward
Has a root AND a slow
Has a knockback/spell interrupt (at melee range)
Ulti is very difficult to use and highly situational
I wrote this build because I always felt like Maokai is rarely ever built into a full-on tank, and I would love to see him doing some main tanking. This guide is my attempt at making and testing a solid tank build for Maokai and see how viable it is.
In my mind, as with any tank, depending on the opposing team, you want to balance several quantities: Armor, Magic Resistance, and HP. Maokai adds a couple additional ones: Mana and AP. This build attempts to balance all 3 of the armor, MR, and HP as the game progresses so you have a build that should be pretty universal.
As a pure tank build, I'm going to try to stay away from too much mana and AP, but I find that because Maokai is so strong in an early lane, building an item that is tanky and gives AP (Rod of Ages or Rylai's) can be a strong choice.
Clarity - On Maokai, Clarity is nearly a must. Especially during the laning phase, he goes
through mana very quickly.
Ghost - I like Ghost on Maokai just because he's soooo ridiculously slow. This helps in getting away and chasing.
Teleport - Some argue teleport is a must. I do pick up teleport occasionally because it can help the slow (as hell) Maokai get across the map quick and be where he needs to be. Try it out. Personal preference.
Exhaust - Some people like exhaust for chasing or keeping champs within his ulti, but I find that Maokai's root and slow is usually enough.
Heal - A solid spell for tanks, but often it just feels too much like a crutch to me. It can save you in a pinch, but a good player shouldn't need heal by staying out of situations where he/she would die.
Fortify - Some argue that all tanks NEED Fortify. It can save a tower, but I feel it just doesn't have that big of an impact on the game in the long term. If the tower's gonna go down, a Fortify usually just delays that outcome temporarily.
Flash - As a tank, I find that it's rare I need to Flash out of combat. I usually want to be in the midst of combat for as long as possible.
As I stated in the introduction, Maokai is VERY strong in a lane. He possesses an excellent harass and ward in his Toss Sapling ability, and his passive heal can keep him in the lane without having to go back and heal or buy pots too often. Therefore, while laning, I try to build a bit of HP/Mana/MR with Mercury Treads and Catalyst while I build towards a Rod of Ages. This makes my saplings much stronger in the early game, as well as gives me some good HP to go into the mid game.
From here on out, it's pure tank item focus. Up till now, I've stacked no armor, so I start with a Glacial Shroud. It's a cheap way to get some armor and mana before building my Banshee's Veil, which gives me more HP and MR. Again, at this point my armor starts to feel a little lacking so I pick up a Chain Mail and build into a Sunfire Cape followed by finishing my Glacial Shroud into a Frozen Heart. This gives a good chunk of armor and a bit of support since it lowers enemy attack speed as well.
I usually find that at this point I have plenty of armor and MR and it's time to stack HP. This means Warmog's. And now we have choices to make. Depending on the opposing team I usually finish with a Guardian Angel, though if they are AP-heavy I'll build a Force of Nature, and if they are AD-heavy, I'll build a Thornmail.
Runes on Maokai are highly preferential. The marks I use are listed, with other recommended runes in parentheses.
Marks - Magic Pen ()
Seals - HP/lvl (Dodge)
Glyphs - Magic Resist ()
Quints - Flat HP ()
I like magic pen marks since Maokai's damage is magic based, HP/lvl seals to try to help out his HP in the late game, magic resist glyphs to help negate some of the early game spells, and flat HP quints for extra survivability in the lane.