Maokai Build Guide by Hardiron
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.
*Warning* This guide is for people who already have a moderate to decent understanding on how to play Maokia, if you have never played him before, i suggest you watch some match footage, read the other builds for Maokia on this site and see what works for you. This is also my first guide so please give me any suggestions i can do to clarify anything that is confusing.
Hey guys, i'm summoner Strongfinger, and this is my Maokia build. A little background, I main as Maokia, and will occasionally switch him out with cho'gath. I really enjoy playing tanks that hurt or tanky bruisers, you will sometimes see me playing Warwick, Grhttp://www.mobafire.com/league-of-legends/edit-build?edit=176860#agas, Olaf, Urgot, and Blitzcrank.
Maokia however is my favorite, i mean, who dosent want to throw suicide bombers at their enemies. He is just fun to play, a strong champion if you know what your doing (and not to dificult if you dont). Now this build was math crafted a few days ago, and the matches i have played have been good to me. so please give it a try before you might knock it, as it may be a little unorthodox.
Fun to play
you get to throw suicide bombers at your enemies
you hurt for a tank, you hurt a lot
versatile champ, can be made into a mage instead of tank.
not very many cool skins (do something about this Riot)
not the most tanky of tanks
different play style than other tanks, some team mates might get pissed at you for having a few auto attack kills.
Blows through mana like a fiend on a schedule 1 substance.
As might be expected, I take Greater Mark of Magic Penetration, to get some early and mid game hurt on, most carries dont bother to build and MR until late game, if at all.
For seals I take Greater Seal of Replenishment because Maokia, especially early game, is a mana burning fiend, every time Sapling Toss is up, i use it to poke my enemies on lane, or ward a bush, or if no one is home to clear creep waves.
For glyphs i take Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist because the late game MR does help, and I have yet to find a glyph that will work "better".
Now this is where things get kinda funny, for Quints I take Greater Quintessence of Gold. This is because the build is a bit pricey, and the first two minutes you will be gaining gold with no creeps spawned. This may make you have to play that little bit more defensive in the early levels, but if you are paired correctly with a laneing partner, you wont need the flat health that would be more expected of this slot.
This is a tank build, the masteries are decently self explanatory. 0-23-7. I dont bother with the health in the defensive tree because it ends up being built into the items, i just ain to reduce as much incomming damage as is possible. The 7 in utility is for Mana, Mana regen, and a boost to Clarity and Teleport.
Now this is where the build really gets kinda funny compared to other Maokia builds. Up until a few days ago, I was running Mercury's Treads Frozen Heart Sunfire Cape Force of Nature and Abyssal Scepter. Now I have to say, I didnt like building a Rod of Ages, I felt it slowed down my tankiness too much and wasnt enough of a return, and i had to delay my build in order to fit it in.(yes, i know that's only five items, my games never got past that usually because either my team dominated so hard or we were playing public and one of our lanes either intentionally or unintentionally fed).
My only problem was that I didn't feel I had enough early game hurt to keep the harass up, and I didn't have enough health. So my roommate and I sat down and math crafted until 3Am to see what we could do. This was our creation:
Rod of Ages I love it and i hate it, when it works it works good, but when you are slowed it hurts even more. you need to get this early so that it goes to work for you. end of game it gives you a nice amount of health, mana, and AP. It is currently in this build however, as there is really nothing that can match what it does as efficiently.
Up until Rod of Ages these items are bought in pairs (when you b, you grab two, then get back to lane or team fight). I start with two Faerie Charm for mana regen close to a mekia pendant. When I have enough money, I b and sell one of the charms (this ends up being more cost effective than mana pots in the long run) to buy Boots of Speed and a Philosopher's Stone. Back to lane and keep harassing/ farming (if you dont have a farm dependent carry as a lane partner) and then come back when you have enough for a Kage's Lucky Pick and a Heart of Gold, you now have 3 of the 4 gold per 10 items you can buy, each one pays for itself in approx 13 minutes. Back to lane, then come back for Mercury's Treads and a Catalyst the Protector.
(Now items are solo buy) That builds into a Rod of Ages as soon as is convenient for you to do so. Next Grab Force of Nature for MR and HP regen (this comes in more handy later, but RoA gives you a nice bit of health to be regenning). Next finish out Randuin's Omen for Armor, health, CDR and its nifty little active, Shurelya's Reverie and finish with your Deathfire Grasp.
How to effectivly utilize this build
Now, if you should so happen to make it to full build, congrats, you are going to be the bane of the enemy team and they will hate you until they loose or surrender.... Okay, you and your team can still screw the game up and lose but the chances of you dying in a team fight now are low.
In laning phase you have 2 jobs, protect your partner and shut out the enemy team from xp and gold. Be aggressive with the saplings and place them correctly, make sure not to waste them on creeps. Since the have such great range and track the nearest target, they are somewhat forgiving and when maxed early they chunk hp from the enemy team. The best way to tank is to do the work early on to keep their carries underfed and under leveled. This is how I play Maokia, and it works, very very well.
The most recent match I played I had a Sivir with me against a Sona/Graves, I started with focusing on Graves to keep him out of xp range, which worked marginally well, but then I switched to Sona, I had her constantly hurt so bad she was having to be protected by graves. by level 6 she was 4, graves was 5 and Soraka was 6. We even had the mid and jungle try to come at us when we were at their tower (pre lvl 6) and not only did we both get away, we got a kill out of it an roughed the others up pretty bad.
You should initiate with everything you got onto their squishy, Pop Vengeful Maelstrom off for a bust of damage, then start to walk out, wait a bit for your stuff to come off CD, and then charge right back in there. and latch onto any priority target still standing, or their tank if he is all that is left. If your team is backing you up, you should have enough damage yourself to deal with the squishy (or at least enough to run them off) and your team will keep you alive by killing the rest of their team who is focusing on killing you.
Some enemy tanks might not care about because they think you wont do enough damage to hurt a creep late game, but with Maokia, he hurts, a lot. and the only way to get him off is to kill him. Your job is to pop all your item actives, latch on to the squishy, and not let go until death do you part. Even if you die, it should have been worth it, because while their entire team was focusing on you, you should have beat their squishy to a pulp, hurt the rest of them something fierce, and your team can now do clean up.
Remember that you are the tank, it is your job to keep YOUR squishy alive, and to feed them kills so they can carry hard at end of game. Don't be afraid to sacrifice yourself in order to save your carry, but learn to understand when a situation is lost and if you try to save them, you'll just hand the other team a kill. The way I choose to keep my squishy alive is to be such a threat to the enemy team that they focus me instead.
I will die 4-8 times in a match, and each on was worth it because it was usually a 1 to 3 or 1 to 4 trade off, and the ones left standing are their tanks who cant hurt much. Now specifically for Deathfire Grasp you can either hit the tank with it to get them to hesitate (this requires you to read their team, if their tank plays on the safe side, hit him with it and he will be scared to initiate, if he runs in with reckless abandon, hit him with it to kill him off quickly, but if he plays it smart, don't use it on him, save it for someone you want to kill quick, 30% of their health is still 30% of their health. Use it on the squishy that you are trying to demolish).
As you are charging in you should activate Shurelya's Reverie and as soon as you latch onto their squishy set off Randuin's Omen to keep you alive and their team inside your Vengeful Maelstrom. you should place Vengeful Maelstrom so that it encompasses you and everyone in melee range of you, but along the path of escape of the squishy so that if they try to run, pop it when they get near the edge of the circle for some extra damage in an attempt to get them. It is better for the tank to get eh kill than for the enemy to get away with low health.
Why Maokia doesnt need to build as tanky as other tanks (doing the math)
now looking at the stats, 150ish for each MR and Armor, not very tanky right? well, your right, but the beauty of Maokia is you don't need to be.
In this build you have 3.3k HP (mobafire not taking into account 10 minute time on RoA) 165 armor and 155 MR. Vengeful Maelstrom shaves 20% damage, right off the top of incoming damage. For every 1000 damage incoming, you now take 800 before going against MR or Armor. This gives you effective armor and MR ratings of about (rough calculation) 235 and 220. Neat trick huh, now back to the incoming damage figures.
start 1000 damage incoming. 20% shaved takes us to 800. lets say for these purposes (ease of calculations) that your opponent does not have armor pen or magic pen. Of that 800 incoming damage you would block 62% if it was physical and 60.7% magical. you take of the 1000 incoming 301 and 313 respectively to the types. you have 3.3k hp, which gives you about 10 seconds to live if that 1000 is every second. But, you have a good bit of hp regen. 35 hp per second, not per 5, per second. over that 10 seconds, you get back 350 hp, which just bought you another second. I may in the future do a calculation of what a full bred tank absorbs before hp, but for most of us, these stats are enough.
Sap Magic sustain, sustain, sustain. 7% of your max health every time 6 spells go off in your vicinity, helps you stay nice and health in lane phase, and can be a huge boost in a team fight when it will go off 1 to 4 times, so you heal up to 28% of your max health just on auto attacks from all the magic flying everywhere.
Sapling Toss is your bread and butter, he is your poke, your ward, and your main damage output. learn to use them well and they will be a game changer for you. I spam these whenever they come off of CD to harass my enemies, especially early in laneing phase. That being said, max this quick.
Twisted Advance grab at level 2, because the other team might make a run at your squishy, and this will stop them in their tracks, its damage is also not halfway bad, I max it second.
Arcane Smash not great damage potential, but it is good for slowing your enemies to either keep them where you want, or to let you get away, I max it last.
Vengeful Maelstrom this is why the enemy team hates you in team fights, because you scrape 20% of incoming damage right off the top, paired with the attack speed debuf from Randuin's Omen and your massive HP regen, this allows you to sit there and take full team focus for longer than most tanks could, and you should also be able to walk out after ward, with their team chasing you down thinking "we are finally going to cut this tree down!" only to get cut down themselves by your team.
Teamwork and good Laneing partners
Best laneing partner I have paired myself so far, hands down, is Nidalee. Between her spears and my saplings we denied the other team so hard they were laned by level 2-3. they were hurting so bad for creep feed and experience that by the time team fights came around, they were almost useless. She can also heal me for taking the hits for her if I cant heal fast enough myself early on. she also has excellent escape in cat form. Trust me, this lane combo is scary.
any other character with a good amount of deny will work too, while i have yet to have the pairing heimer, xerath, or some AD carries might make good partners too. But Nid's potential for early damage is huge, and scares the **** out of even a Tryndamere or a Garen.
Eh and Bad laneing partners: Pure support champs, another tank, a bruiser with close range. i.e. Blitzcrank
Note: you need some early creep feed, but once you get your gold per 5 item(s) you need to hand it all over to your carry and concentrate purely on laneing the enemy team so that your carry can "Have all the creep feed!" and have it safe from any interruption. now if your carry is being a ****** and just not getting last hits, dont feel guilty taking them, they are going to waste otherwise.
How you should play this build in general is already outlined in chapter "How to effectively utilize this build"
Clarity Even with two Faerie Charm and Greater Seal of Replenishment you are still going to need this almost on CD, that or save it to bait the enemy team into thinking you are OoM, the Twisted Advance them, pop clarity, and wail on them. you can also use this to give you mage or carry mana when they run out after a team fight to push before they b for items and fountain regen. It is never not useful on a champ as mana hungry as Maokia.
Teleport nothing is more scary than a backdoor hurt tank, or the ability for the hurt tank to jump cross map to turn the tide of a battle. this also gets you back to lane in early game quickly after you buy items so that the enemy team never even has a chance to get back in xp range.
So not all the stats are accurate on the quick at a glance, your AP should be 140, your health regen should be 179, your max health should be 3505, and max mana 2019. (it is not taking Rod of Ages and Force of Nature into calculations correctly
Everything I have to say has been laid out in the previous chapters, with this build you should be a tank that puts the hurt down on the enemy team. I believe that this is the best way to hold their attention, and Maokia's kit is perfectly suited to this role. Now please, go out there and show those summoners that you really cannot control this power, and that they should be very, very afraid whenever they see you running for them.
Please let me know how this build works for you.