Maokai Build Guide by wi1lywonka
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.
[color=#ff0000]WARNING: READ THIS FIRST[/color]
THIS GUIDE WILL NOT WORK IF YOU DO NOT USE THE TOTEMIC MAOKAI SKIN
Be sure to purchase it before attempting any of these dangerous tactics.
The basis of this build is a Maokai who lanes in middle in order to carry. The early regrowth pendants and fairie charms allow him to avoid having to recall, and simply continue fighting. The single enemy allows his sapling harass to be most effective, and it decreases the amount of pressure on him, allowing him to farm and regen safely.
As I've said, this Maokai should lane middle, focusing on farming and harassing. Since your Arcane Smash has the shortest cooldown, that ability and your Sapling Toss are most effective early game. Getting a mana potion stops you from making early recalls, which is the goal for this build.
You should head back after getting enough gold for a faerie charm, but ideally wait until you have ~700 for the charm and another regrowth pendant.
In my opinion, Maokai is a master ganker, seeing as he can snare, push back, and slow his enemies in a short amount of time in addition to hitting them with sapling toss at least twice, assuming you threw one in just before you used Twisted Advance.
The Ionian Boots of Lucidity ensure that your enemy be stopped just before he escapes. I sometimes find it useful to use Vengeful Maelstrom against enemies when I'm ganking, because it allows me to do additional damage just before they get out of the ring.
Maokai has some excellent ability synergy. When an enemy is clinging near your turret taking cheap shots at you, you can often land twisted advance followed by an arcane smash to get them near enough to the turret to soften them up. You can then finish them off with a sapling, preventing their escape.
And he is also useful on the other end the spectrum. An opponent hugging a turret is easily finished off with a twisted advance turret dive. Use your arcane smash and sapling as needed, and then run.
Lastly--and this is my favorite--is Maokai's unique ability to chase down enemies in the jungle. Tossing a sapling over a wall/corner will give you sight long enough to use twisted advance through wall, and completely halt your opponent's escape.
Maokai is an amazing scout. Early game, you can check for ambushes, and in late game you can ward entries to baron/tall grass behind you so you yourself don't escape.
Fleeing Chasing Enemies
If there is an enemy (minion or champ) in the direction you are fleeing, use twisted advance to escape faster. If the enemies are close on your tail, you can always slow them with arcane smash, or if there is only one, root him with twisted advance. If you have none of these spells available, you can always place Maelstrom some good distance ahead of you and take reduced damage, and then collapse it on your pursuers.
All of these techniques are also great for helping fleeing allies, and if possible, you should take the hits for them, since you are the tank anyway.
Maokai is a great farmer. Hit an incoming wave of minions with arcane smash while simultaneously tossing a sapling onto the mage minions in back. They basically all die in 2 seconds.
I personally use ignite and ghost. I use ghost because Maokai is slow, so it helps you set up ganks, catch running enemies, and get to turrets faster. Ignite helps you get early kills which is necessary for this build.
The Masteries are set up as thought you were using fortify, but if you don't plan on it, re-adjust the masteries.
More to come...
I know I have more thoughts on how to play Maokai, I just can't think of them right now, plus writing this has gotten me worked up. Plus I want to play right now. Anyway, this works well, I usually go 14-20 and 0-5. So seriously, if you play Kai, try this.