Maokai Build Guide by InJustX
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.
doo0ooooooom&Oddones Jungle Tree
Hello this is just a copy of Dooms and Odd's jungle Maokai builds. I have played with both and they are very effective and useful. I have no idea if anyone has already posted these twos builds then i deserve all the bashing for being too lazy to look if there builds are up already >< Also dont expect too much wow and awesomeness as far a builds go. I am just trying to get these 2 builds on Moba for others who may have not seen these builds.
I myself use a mix of Dooms Masteries, and Oddones build. Here are these mens links to both there builds if you just wish to see there's Dooms ..............Oddones.
The first build is Dooms and the one i use most often. To make this a lot faster i will just paste the words from the man himself and not bore you with what i think.
"It is widely known that Maokai is an exceptional ganker, but he is also one of the fastest junglers. Most people have no idea how to jungle Maokai, so I decided to make this guide.
Jungle Maokai Can hit level 4 in 3:25 (even faster with a leash on blue), after which he can gank at will and farm the jungle efficiently with massive aoe damage.
I also build Maokai as a pure tank with 40% cdr. I rarely build any AP. AP Maokai is too squishy to properly fulfill the role of tank/initiator, and sacrificing either max cooldown reduction or tank stats for the small amount of ap you could reasonably build on maokai is simply not worth it. On the other hand, 40% Cooldown Reduction is a must for Maokai as it allows him to chase better, peel better and spam his skills for more damage, making him a much more disruptive tank overall, with arcane smash every 3.6 seconds and twisted advance every 7.8.
How you play Maokai in mid-late game really has nothing to do with early game laning, ganking and jungling, so if you prefer a more AP bruiser Maokai, feel free to skip all chapters past 3. The jungle portion of this guide works just as well for AP maokai."
After the 11/29 jungle revamp, jungle routes are a lot more standardized than before. Due to fast respawn timers, there's little reason to counterjungle anything other than blue or red buff. Get your team to protect and leash your blue and also protect red.
Standard Maokai Jungle Route:
Start with regrowth pendant and 2x hp pots. Boots + 4 potions and Cloth armor + 6 potions also works.
Start at mid turret, toss saplings over wall into wraith camp. Start casting at 1:04 and precast 3 saplings. Cast 4th sapling right as wraith spawns. Make sure to stand close to the wall so the big wraith can auto attack you at least once: if you don't do this, he'll run off and the sapling will miss. FYI they removed the life steal on wraiths.
Head immediately to blue, skipping wolves. You should get there right as it spawns.
Kill blue with 2 saplings + smite, then do wolves with 2 arc smashes + sapling.
Wraiths should respawn right as you get close to them, kill them again with Arcane smash --> Sapling --> start auto attacking the big wraith --> Arcane smash.
Kill red and double golems in no particular order.
This gets you to level 4 with roughly 60% hp at about 3:25ish. After you hit 4, you can either gank a nearby lane or kill wraiths and wolves again, which gives you enough gold for boots + philosopher stone assuming you started with regrowth pendant.
Notes on purple side positioning
For reasons known only to riot, the purple side blue wraiths spawns farther away from the mid turret than on the blue side. There's a lot less room to maneuver there, so you really need to be touching/hugging the wall very closely or the wraith will aggro wrong and dodge your 4th sapling. Might be simpler to just toss the saplings from the wraith bush, although that wastes a couple of seconds.
Passive: Sap Magic: Your next auto attack heals you for 7% of your max hit points after 5 spells are cast nearby.
This passive is really nice for large fights where it will be procing constantly and fairly underwhelming otherwise. It does give you some sustain for jungling but it is not nearly strong enough to be your only sustain. Don't forget to use it though, if sap magic is up and you're not near full hp, just whack a nearby anything* for a quick heal.
*except buildings. It doesn't proc off of buildings for some reason.
Q: Arcane smash: Knocksback nearby enemies and shoots a damaging slow.
Some people don't realize that this ability can affect targets that are *behind* you. the knockback is about 100 radius aoe, and it goes full circle around maokai.
While this ability has surprisingly long range, it's projectile speed is painfully slow, making it awkward for chasing but exceptionally good for peeling enemies off of your carries or running away.
With it's cheap mana cost it's also great for clearing minion waves, especially if you max it first like I do. When attacking minion waves with this skill, move just ahead of the melee minions so that they're just behind you but within the aoe radius, and then skillshot the caster minions. With practice you can easily hit all 6 minions in a wave with this skill almost regardless of how they're positioned.
It's also great to use right after twisted advance expires (remember to weave in either sapling or ult between twisted advance and arcane smash as part of the combo). After you twisted advance someone in a teamfight, move forward a bit try to skillshot their team with arcane smash, and the arcane smash will still hit the rooted person as long as you are still within 100 range of them, regardless of which direction you aimed the skill.
Maxing this skill first rather than sapling has several advantages:
1) Ranking this skill increases the power of the slow, making tanking and locking down opponents easier. A more powerful slow allows saplings to chase better, indirectly increasing the damage of your saplings.
2) Unlike your other skills, the mana cost on this ability does not increase as you level this up.
3) Provides solid, consistant aoe damage for jungle clearing, even if not as much burst as maxing sapling first. Ranking this skill adds 45 damage extra per rank on a 6 second cooldown. In comparison, ranking sapling adds 85 damage on a 12 second cooldown. Arcane smash simply adds more utility and is more reliable damage than sapling toss, and while the burst is lower than sapling, it will catch up in sustained dps over time.
W: Twisted Advance: advances to your enemy rooting them in place.
This is pretty straitforward, the 650 range is really nice. one thing you should keep in mind is that it has a (fast) projectile speed and it doesn't root them until maokai reaches them. If the enemy flashes or uses any other escape ability while mao is en-route, mao will continue following them an unlimited distance and finally root them when they reach their destination. This can be a good thing for ganking: they can't flash away from you after twisted advance has already started. It can also be a very bad thing when tower diving. If you thought that was a rather shallow tower dive you were planning, or not even a tower dive, once they ghost and flash halfway to the next tower down the line, you're going to find yourself in a heap of trouble and far far away from your team. I often get killed this way, and if you're clearly dead after a bad twisted advance that spanned half the map, it's a good idea to spam the "fall back" ping on your position so you're team knows to back off rather than courageously following you to die together.
I put the first rank into this skill when I plan to gank (usually level 4), and I max this skill second as maxing it increases the duration of the snare, improving lockdown ability.
E: Sapling toss: Toss a grenade.
In addition to being Maokai's highest damage attack, this ability , especially at rank 1-2 with the lower mana cost, is quite useful as a temporary ward and bush check. It lasts for 35 seconds, so if you need a ward in a pinch while pushing some tower, it's a great option. Also, don't just run into that bush, sapling it first! you never know when the entire enemy team is in that bush!
It's also a great skill for farming minions and jungle mobs. In a lane, it is a useful harassment ability with it's long range and high damage, however this is a jungle guide so you will rarely be harassing with sapling.
Lots of guides max this first. I leave it at level 2. The reason I leave it at level 2 not 1 is for PvE. Rank 2 sapling is sufficient for farming jungle mobs and clearing creepwaves. This is slightly better than arcane smash for clearing monsters, but I find that higher ranks aren't really necessary and I like to get my CC abilities maxed by mid-game, so I max arcane smash first. If you find yourself undereleveled, it may be worth it to put a 3rd rank into sapling to help you catch up.
Although this is Maokai's highest damage ability, it's also the least reliable and most easily avoided. Many times when I gank, the opponent will flash before the sapling explodes, or avoid it some other way. It aggros minions and will often charge them rather than players. Also it's useless vs anyone with runspeed who isn't locked down by CC. But mostly: raising it doesn't add any benefit except damage, and also increases the mana cost. In comparison, raising arcane smash first increases the power of it's slow, without increasing the mana cost, and raising twisted advance increases the duration of the snare.
R: Vengeful Maelstrom: Durp
This "ult" is such a short cooldown its really more of a regular ability than an ult. 20 seconds at max rank, 12 with my max cdr build, you pretty much drop it every fight. Best used right after you use w, so you know that whoever you rooted is not going to move out of it. also useful for that little bit of extra burst damage. Make sure to drop it on a team member who you expect is about to take some damage to protect them a bit.
Make sure to know when to cancel it for damage, the damage radius is actually slightly bigger than the animation: even if they're just outside the circle, if they're touching the circle they still take damage. You'll want to cancel it before they all run away, but not before they try to blow you up.
You can also use it to scare the hell out of the opponents. It's psychological, people don't want to stand in it, so use that to your advantage. If your team is running away from an unfavorable fight when 2 members of your team are ****ing around in the jungle rather than being near the teamfight, you can drop your ult then face your opponents for a split-second looking scary. For all they know they're about to get instagibbed by your team members who aren't even there. They'll usually flinch, giving you enough time to make a clean getaway.
Ranking this skill up does not increase it's defensive power, but it does lower the cooldown and increase the burst damage slightly. After taking the initial rank at level 6, I max this skill third, after maxing twisted advance.
I build maokai as a CDR tank, I feel that this setup is superior to AP maokai, so I rarely build any AP. As I mentioned in the intro, AP maokai is too squishy to initiate properly while still having max CDR. Max CDR Is better than having 100-150 ap. Shorter cooldowns = more damage, but more importantly: more disruption. Ap adds damage, but it doesn't add disruption. So cooldown reduction is superior to ap, and you can't have both and still remain tanky enough to be your team's tank.
Starting items x2
Quickly build a Philosopher'sas your next item so you can jungle without being dependent on blue or potions. You'll want to get both Stone and on your first back.
After that your Core items are gonna be And Wards!
If fed early:
If not fed then:
Mid Game Core: + Two out of three Plus Shurelya's ReverieSight Ward
vs typical teams or true damage (do not build vs heavy %hp attacks):
vs very heavy physical: ........ ok at this point to save some time....if you dont know how to pick your tank items based off what the other teams have..why the hell are you reading this? There are tank guides around someone go find them to learn bout that ****.
Typical 6 item Build:
Runes, Masteries and Summoner Spells
You need at least 19.5 AP at level 1 to properly kill wraiths with just saplings. You can get this from 3x AP Quints and 5x flat ap glyphs. Any further AP is optional. ( AP Quints, 4x AP glyphs and 5x AP/level glyphs also gives enough AP at level 1)
Marks are choice, I prefer attack speed for faster jungling. Magic pen or flat armor also works.
Seals are flat armor.
I like the 0/11/19 build for a few reasons:
1) WEALTH is very nice, it allows you to start with an extra potion to keep your hp high enough for level 4 ganks. Also, the extra 2 gold / 10 you get on the way adds up: By 30 minutes this will give you 360g, enough to buy 144hp worth of gear if health is worth 2.5g. I consider the greed mastery superior to the health/level mastery in defensive.
2) BLADED ARMOR is also extremely nice and will noticeably speed up your jungle.
3) the 6% cdr mastery is still really good.
4) The 10g on smite mastery is definately worth it. That 10g adds up.
5) I also like the new indomitable mastery (-2 damage from all sources). Considering how often jungle mobs hit you for 10-30 damage, that -2 really adds up. The +5% sight range on ward mastery seems useless to me, so I skip it.
0/21/9 also works great. If you do use this setup, you'd probably want to start cloth + 5 hp pots, otherwise you won't have enough hp to gank after you hit level 4. some thoughts on the defensive tree:
1) Enlightenment and Initiator are both pretty good.
2) If you get 1 kill or assist every 5 minutes, Mercinary is worth 0.26 gp/10 per mastery point. I'd skip that one. If you're getting enough kills/assists for this mastery to be worth it, you've probably already won the game.
3) Indomitable > honor guard by far, especially for jungle.
4) Veteran Scars is nice too. I almost want to go 0/12/18 so i can pick it up on my utility build. If i were going 21 defensive, i'd definately take it, although you'll have to drop the magic resist mastery to have enough points to pick it up.
Yes, Maokai can jungle without smite. But don't. Seriously, don't try jungling without smite. So take the freakin
Ghost vs Flash
The second ability is personal preference, I take ut lots of people would prefer Both are great initation skills, but ghost lasts longer and will give you more distance overall. Flash, on the other hand, will catch your enemies by surprise, and it goes over walls. I like ghost because if I initiate and then want to turn around and run, or if I run away but then want to turn around and fight, ghost gives me the flexibility to do that. But sometimes I wish I had flash because that's the only way to jump over walls. (when I don't jungle, I take both).
Early-Mid game: Maokai Jungle Strategy and Mentality
As a jungler, you should always be doing *something*, and you need to prioritize your time well between leveling and helping your team. This section is basically a list of priorities for the post 4 jungle Maokai. My route is pretty standard until level 4 (see previous section for route), however post 4 i'm often ganking lanes, defending or roaming.
A general list of what you could be doing, your priorities are as follows:
1) Protect your towers.
Towers win games, so if one of yours is in trouble you need to drop whatever you're doing and get there asap. Maokai also happens to be one of the best tower defenders in the game, with 3 aoe abilities to quickly clear minion waves, a snare and slow/knockback to lock people down who try to dive you as well as his general tankiness. Don't be afraid to ult minions for more aoe damage when defending towers, the cooldown is short. Maokai has no trouble defending a tower vs two or even three people early-mid game, and as a jungler you should always be prepared to defend any tower as needed. So if one of your lanes fails, or one looks like it's in serious trouble with your team at low hp hugging the tower, you'd better get there asap.
2) Killing buff mobs (blue/red)
They reduced the hp and damage of red/blue buff in the latest patch, so they're a lot easier to kill and also give a lot more exp for the time invested than the smaller camps. Also, these are a prime target for counterjunglers so you want to get them killed soon after they spawn. After the initial clear, it would be a good idea to give away your buffs to members of your team who can use them better than you can.
3) Clear *nearby* small camps (wraiths/wolves/small golems).
Very high priority if you happen to be nearby. You need to clear these constantly if you want to keep up in gold/exp. It's rarely a good idea to skip one of these camps on the way to a gank, unless you think that losing 5-10 seconds will seriously affect your ability to get a kill.
With the new banking system, it may be a good idea to simply stalk one side of the jungle constantly: ganking lanes and clearing the nearby camps. For example: you could clear wraiths and double golems, then gank double golems side, then gank mid, then clear wraiths and doubles again, then keep ganking until enemies in both lanes are turret hugging. While you're doing that, your wolves are banking extra exp and gold, and you're still getting decent exp in between ganks.
4) Ganking overextended lanes.
This is where Maokai really shines. Maokai is one of the strongest gankers so if you ever see the enemy pushed past river it's a good idea to go there and wreck stuff. Use the W --> E --> Q combo to lock them down, drop down ult to protect your team as they plow into the unsuspecting enemies. If they run into a bush before you w, keep in mind that your saplings grant sight, so you can sapling the bush then follow your sapling into the fight in with a twisted advance. If the gank is successful, don't forget to follow it up with a tower push or possibly a dragon attempt, as you now have the advantage in teamfights until the ganked opponents rez.
5) warding dragon.
The jungler really has so much less spare time with the new jungle revamp. I really think that the support should be the one to keep it warded now. That being said, somebody needs to ward this and if nobody else does, you should.
6) Farming your jungle.
Maokai plows through the small camps (wolves/wraiths/golems) very quickly, so you'll want to keep them dead as often as possible to maximize your xp gains.
7) Buy items
If you're sitting on a bunch of gold and you're running out of wards, you'll need to buy at some point. All else being equal, the best time to go back to buy is when you just killed wraiths, as they'll be back up by the time you get back from base, along with wolves or double golems to kill along the way.
8) mid-game counterjungling.
I really don't see the point of counterjungling small camps anymore, except if you happen to be nearby after a gank--which is more for your own exp than shutting down the other jungler.
If you can get your team on board, you can steal red/blue buffs, which are the only thing worth stealing at the moment. This is more opportunistic than a priority. This is best done when the other jungler is known to be low hp or somewhere else. (for example, if you see the enemy jungler failing a top gank and running away with 25% hp, that's a good time to try stealing his blue.) It also depends on in-game time, most junglers kill blue at about 2:10ish, so it should be back up at about 7:10ish. If you can get your team to invade their blue at about that time, you might be able to steal it and feed it to your mid laner.
On this i am not gonna do the whole thing of Odd's from one most of what he talks about the abilities and runes are the same as Dooms. Only things that are diff are builds and Masteries. Those two i will go over.
To start off, I'll give credit where it's due: http://www.solomid.net/guides.php?g=6644 That guide by doo0ooooooom really got me rolling on Maokai after I used his route/general strategy for Maokai as he played far more games than I with him and learned a ton of tricks with him. Prior to that, I used a inferior route and mindset and I probably wouldn't of started dominating games at MLG without his giude. So if this guide ever becomes completely outdated, hopefully his or some other low profile player will have a solid one ready as I couldn't of put in the time and research that doo0ooooooom put into his to learn all the secrets about Maokai. That said, I currently use his jungle route and the basic mindset of tank Maokai and maybe his rune build (not sure if his has changed but I based mine around his old build).
Anyways, Maokai is obviously an extremely strong champion in the jungle due to his flexible jungle route, his godly level 4 ganks and his insane CC supporting ability. Despite not being popular in solo queue, it is extremely easy to do well on Maokai and pull off easy victories as Maokai can control the game from level 3-4 and cover your carries all game for the win. This guide will hopefully show you how to build and play Maokai successfully as it has done for me.
My masteries focus on making Maokai extremely durable, I find that I'm often the person who dives in first in any gank/fight and thus need to take an extra beating. The bladed armor also helps my jungle speed as in addition to my already high aoe damage, I have that mastery speeding it up. Since Maokai's bases (skillwise) are so high, we can ignore the offensive tree as being durable enough to do a extra combo is often far better than having each combo be slightly more damaging. I spec 9 into utility rather than offense for this reason as I find I require the mana/regen due to the fact I won't be hogging the blue buff. This part of the tree is especially helpful considering Maokai has 2-4 spammable spells (depending on CDR) which all cost a decent amount of mana.
Note that unlike doo0ooooooom, I haven't been able to experiment a ton with the runes for the new jungle (i'm not sure if he has but I sure haven't) and his old runepage for the old jungle was brilliant when he used extra mana to do a nifty clear so hopefully something like that could be found.
Starting from the top:
My marks are attackspeed solely to speed up the animation of my autoattack while giving me a easier time in the jungle. I've found that if you don't have enough attack speed, you'll rarely get off your passive in time when it's constantly being fired up due to spells being casted constantly.
My seals are currently still armor, I haven't experimented much with different ones in the new jungle as it's been changing constantly in the past week and I've been playing numerous champions. That said, it helps greatly in the early phase and even later in terms of facing the enemy physical attacks.
My glyphs are just plain magic resistance per level, they'll give the most bang for your glyphs later on in terms of durability, these could be choice runes but I prefer to just be tankier.
My quintessences are flat AP, simply because the quint is very valuable in early game stats compared to many of the other stats the quintessences give. However like the glyphs, I haven't experimented enough to say you truly need these so I suggest finding something that works if you don't like just having 15+ AP
Follow up with: Philosopher's Stone
Depending On Opposing Team's damage:
Next Shurelya's Reverie
Depending on Opposing Team's damage (get one of the others unless really imbalanced opponent composition or
Finally if you STILL have money
So rather than the Doran's start with the old jungle, I use the dooooom route/start where you save money on your philosopher stone by having a regrowth pendant ready. You are still able to do the jungle without needing to use excessive potions so you can get your first gold item early.
The boots followup is needed to do ganks after your first buyback as often your opponents will be able to outrun you even if you have flash, otherwise if they don't have boots and you do, you'll be able to get in range without needing flash. The second gold item I find is needed for someone like Maokai who needs gold since he's a jungler and this doesn't really slow down his progress towards other items in high elo games as both of the items lead to something he'll eventually get anyway.
Most often, you'll be getting Tabis (until it's removed or remade or something) as Maokai doesn't really need the tenacity as often the opponent will be smart enough not to waste CC on you unless you are the sole target or you're in an aoe. Often the opposing team will have enough physical damage to warrant a ninja tabi and will often be my choice for boots as Mercury Treads are too expensive otherwise.
Shurelya's Reverie is almost a must in high elo games, a team can follow up your insanely fast initiation with Twisted Advance because your team will move fast enough to catch up to your flash/advance. It is also useful for getting out of enemy aoe ults and what not and is very valuable in any team coordinated environment.
Later you should be getting the right defensive items, whether it be for physical damage or magical damage. If the opposing team has a large amount of a certain one, go either spirit visage for magic teams or glacial shroud (eventually a frozen heart later if you have enough money and its needed). Often I'll get the 2nd defensive item for that type then get the 2nd defensive item of the armor/mr side unless the enemy team is completely stacked in one form of damage. So often I'll have both force of nature and randuin's omen and the other cheaper defensive item.
So if you're somehow still playing, from the following 3, I suggest getting:
Warmogs if you are having trouble tanking or are confident your team can do damage.
Starks if you have a super AD carry(s) which can benefit from it greatly.
Triforce if you have to do everything yourself since your team sucks.
So there you are nothing else to say. Again if you want more go to these players links ok good happy hunting!