Maokai General Guide by djalgis
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.
Hello, this is my first guide and I'm here to teach you more or less about how to play maokai, the BEST harrass/tank.
Just to make things clear, I've played over 50 games with maokai and I know what is what and what is when, so you either trust me on this build ( and how YOU use it ) or stop reading right here.
Maokai is a tank who can dish out nice damage and often save his team-mates while even KILLING. Awesome isn't it? Specially when it's a tree! Please post in comments what should I update/upgrade/re-do since this is my first guide.
For starters runes highly depend on who you are good against, are they mage ( magic damage dealers ) or are they dps/dd ( damage per second dealers, damage dealers ).
If you are better against DPS go for magic resist runes and seal m/18 runes. runes.
If you are better against mages go for armor resist runes and glyphs mr runes.
The reason for this is simple, if you are better against dps, you'll manage to evade damage while dealing damage with your saplings or your arcane, if you better against mages you'll simply evade their abilities or stay out of range ( your saplings win against anything =D ).
Quints are mainly oriented around for ap early game for off-tank and mr against mages and abilities in general ( if you feel you're weak against them ).
Other runes are self-explanatory.
Don't forget Maokai is mana HUNGRY.
The thing about masteries, for off-tank I usually go 0-27-3 for a simple reason, every mastery benefits the champion highly early or late game. However mostly late game due to x/18lvl masteries. Don't forget maokai is MANA HUNGRY,
Well we all want to get good items early, so I am going to write to scenarios for off-tank and tank maokai.
1) Off-tank :
First you have to buy a meki pendant, for me, I don't buy hp potions because I always manage to heal myself from maokai's passive. However, if you are not confident you should buy hp potions. Followed by, Tear of the godness and Boots of swifness ( if you have enough money defiantly buy Archangel's staff ), which gives you m-regen/5sec and mp-pool. Also most awesome passive ever. However, you need to look out, don't forget you're not a complete tank, you still take average damage, so don't rush in 2vs1 hoping your team-mate will save you, keep playing as you were ( I hope you weren't pushing way too far ). On level 4 now you can attack/gank so good that your team will be amazed enough to forget to use their skills ( yes that has happened ).
Your sapling is your main harrass, damage and finishing move ( you can throw it over anything ). You can root through the walls as well, however that sometimes leaves you in a bad position.
Always use your arcane to harrass their male dps who are trying to get close to you, they will rage and some times even rage quit, so keep in mind, your arcane > male dps.
While playing this build you should have enough to buy at least frozen hearth thornail. After completing the build ( which should be easy with maokais saplings, you are basically immortal 1vs1 some times even 2vs1 and you have the best ulti which saves any of your champs 1vs1 similar build.
Playing as a tank is a whole different storry. First item you purchise is dorans shield, regardless mage or dps, due to early games over-ing over auto-attacking between spells. Make sure you buy your boots when you get back, on the same recall you must be able to buy at least a chain west and cloth armor ( because you will be out-leveled and most your skills won't out-worth the opponents ). After playing a while, getting a few assists/kills you should buy the best item for maokai, Frozen heart. No offense to anyone, but it's one of the best items for maokai :
1) Armor ( obvious ).
2) Mana ( he is very mana hungry ).
3) CDR ( because he wants to help as much as he wants ).
After that ( or with that ) you should buy a thornmail or angels armor depending on how well your team is doing, Don't forget you = the only reason your team is winning! ( Yes you should think like that ), if your team is loosing it is your fault not their, I've gotten out several 1100- elo accounts from elo hell with maokai, it is not that difficult.
Anyways, mid game you should be able to buy Force of nature which should help you survive against mages while staying in lanes A LOT LONGER. Anyways this item is simply king against mages and should be bought.
Time for warmog. YES, warmog! Wohhhooo! Main reason for this build is, you have enough sustainability in team fights, dps barely get their hp back by hitting you ( dps vs dps return+regen wise ) and mages are ****less scared of you starting a fight and destroying them in 1-2 seconds.
After having all the items maxed you must lead the game.
Main reason for summoner spells :
1) Off tank :
a) You can twisted to your opponent, sapling, arcane and ignite. Almost certain skill against 1vs1 ( 90% for me on any occasion early game and 60% late game against tanks ).
b) you can teleport to places to make a gank, a push, a dragon ( yes you can solo a dragon ), or get to your team to make everyone run away ( funny how it is, everyone runs away from you ).
c) can ignite a carry who is 1vs1'ing with similar builds ( similar life steals and attack damage/s ).
2) Tank :
Flash, getting away from impossible to survive situations, getting in range for twisted which will end up mostly a kill against squishy.
Promote, a very under-estimated skill, in early games you can solo top 1vs2 and push a turrent so easily it's funny. Just keep harrassing with your sapling toss and let your minion do most of the work ( be careful of ganks though, you'll be at their turrent after all ).
Pros / Cons
-Free warding + harassment.
-King in team-mates saving.
-Has a AoF dmgR ability ( which casts damage when switched off ! ).
-Can keep male dps away from you!
-He's a tree, 'nuff said.
-Extremely mana hungry, specially if you want to harrass or keep ulti up for 10+seconds which using all your other spells.
-can't 1vs1 anyone untill mid-late game against skilled players.
-Again needs constant blue buff for his cdr and mana-r/5s.
-Slow, beyond slow.
I can't tell much about rank solely because I've went only twice solo with it and both failed because my team was beyond help ( yes sometimes you loose even when you do your best ).
However you can try full ap build which I won't post here to solo it, but it is near impossible if an enemy team is concentrating you.
I highly recommend duo que, because an ad dps and you can win a ranked game ragardless of your team.
Can't say much more because I have much to learn in ranked games ( higher elo like 1700 ).
Farming / Jungling
Last hitting with maokai lvl3 sapling is extremely easy. You can farm well enough if you're solo top and jungle well enough with sapling + arcane combo ( even ulti if needed ).
Blue buff is essential to you if your team isn't decent.
Team-work, heh. Well imagine it this way, you're Arthur and your followers are waiting for you command. Yes, it's like that. 2vs2, mark the enemy you're about to twist + sap + arcane and it's a sure win ( you can save your team-mate after-wards, specially with blue buff ).
In 3vs3+ make sure you tell your team what are you going to do, pings or voice chat, or even simple chat!
You start the team fight usually and your ultimate positioning is very important, don't put it too far from them, don't put it too close to them.
You can put ulti around your turrent to scare the aggressive team and you can put it around their turent to scare away the male dps.
However, don't waste it, make sure when you put it, when you twist and when you arcane ( specially in larger fights ).
As the title says, you can 1vs1 most squishies.
There are a few comnbos :
s 1) Twisted + sapling + ulti + arcane + aa + ulti end
2) sapling behind them ( very little, needs good leading ), twist, ulti, aa, arcane, ulti end.
He will either use his summoner spells ( at least 1 of them in 100% if he's not over-fed ) and run way to recall somewhere save or leave the lane.
However, be careful or taunt skills, don't rush too near turrent and don't go 2vs1 if you're up against decent cc which won't allow you to use your skills.