Maokai Build Guide by warking445

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League of Legends Build Guide Author warking445

The treeping death (tank/support)

warking445 Last updated on December 7, 2012
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 0

Honor Guard

Defense: 21


Utility: 9

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Hey warking445 here, this is my guide about Maokai. I'm a lvl 30 player on the EU servers.

I mainly play solo top ( Renekton, Nasus, Olaf,...) and carry (Mainly Ezreal )
It's my first so if u have some hints or bad reactions please leave them so I can learn to make my next guides better. This guide focusses not only on tankyness but also on dealing massive damage with his abilities. Try this guide, RATE and enjoy !

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Pros & Cons

- Great passive that gives him a nice sustain
- Very good cc (*)
- Nice ultimate with low cooldown Vengeful Maelstrom
- Scouting tool
- knock back (*)
- snare (*)

- Ultimate => mana/s + 75 mana when used
- Can have some mana problems early game if you are offensive
- No (good escape)
- Vulnerable if he's oom (-> out of mana)

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Maokai is a very good tank and initiator with awesome abilities (imo). To make him as tanky as you want, I gave him these runes.

9 Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
9 Greater Seal of Armor
9 Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
and 3 Greater Quintessence of Ability Power

These runes will give you a pretty good defense early game and the glyphs(magic resist/lvl) will do the same late game.
I prefer flat ap quintessences because they will help you quite a bit with you're dorans ring -> these runes and masteries : +- 33 ap on lvl 1 and thats pretty good.
The magic penetration Marks will let you deal even more damage cause it penetrates trough the enemies' Magic resistance. We certainly want that !

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My masteries are 0-21-9 , This gives me the extra tank 'powers' i need to be a good maokai :D.
I also pick 9 points in utility because these will give me a little more sustain ( Meditation and Expanded Mind ). We pick Summoner's Insight because it improves our flash. 3 points in Initiator will give us a pretty good speed bonus while above 70% health which we can use because we're the tank (= low movement speed).

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Summoner Spells

On Maokai I prefer Flash and Ignite.

Is in my opinion the best summoner spell in the game. It can be useful as a gap closer, an escape mech., ... It has so many uses and I think everyone will agree with me.

Adds some nice true damage on my damage output. It can be used against HP-regen champions like Dr. Mundo or just to finish off those that run away with less than 100 hp.

Also very usefull if solo top! Comes so handy to just save a tower, to get to a giant creep wave or to help allies.

A very good summoner spell if you are the jungler (not this guide). It shuts down the ad carries or just adds some gank power. Take this if you are the support!

A need for every jungler! It helps you so much with like Baron steals, just clearing the jungle, healing you (yes this works with spell vamp). But take it only if you are the jungler.

This is only if you really like much movement speed instead of a blink. I don't recommend this on Maokai but it depends on what you prefer.

All the other summoner spells dont need an explonation. Just dont pick them.

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This is is my ability sequence.
I like it this way cause you need to level your and your first. These will be used in combo. I will explain that later on in the guide.

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Sap Magic

This passive is very good for sustaining you in lane. It just comes to this: every time a spell is cast nearby, your passive will count 1 until you reach 5 counts.
Your next basic attack will heal you for a percentage of your maximum health. You dont have to cast spells yourself!

Arcane Smash

Your first ability is Arcane Smash. This is a straight knock up that can knock up more than 1 foe.
It has pretty long range and works very well with your other abilities to completely shut down the enemy carry or caster.
!!! Be aware that you need to stand CLOSE to your target to knock them up!!!
If they are too far, they just receive damage but no knock up. Remember this when you do your combo.

Twisted Advance

This ability is a very long range snare. It works great with your Arcane Smash =>
first Twisted Advance in and knock the foe up with your Arcane Smash. Remember this is NOT like Taric's stun!!
You will drag yourself to your target = you will BECOME the snare so keep that in mind when you initiate.

Sapling Toss

This ability is so very useful! The saplings deal tons of damage, give sight and run after foes. In team fights, this ability is not such a big deal cause it's mainly used for utility. Still just throw this into a team fight and the damage is always welcome.

Vengeful Maelstrom

Praise the LORD you have this ultimate! It is so very useful in team fights!
Always try to stand in the circle of your ultimate cause it reduces the NON-TOWER damage you take while inside until detonated.
The working of this ability will be explained later on in the guide.

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I've chosen for some tanky items (ofc) and the ability power I need.

Early game I recommend buying a Doran's Ring because it gives good stats early on and benefits you well if stacked! If you go back for the first time, buy boots and if you have enough money => another Doran's Ring.

Later on, evolve the boots in Mercury's Treads which gives magic resistance -> we need that for our 'tankyness' and it gives Tenacity. Tenacity reduces the duration of any kind of cc (crowd control).

You might ask yourself 'why the **** does he pick a Lich Bane????' Well here's the answer. Lich Bane gives you movement speed what is very useful on a tank (they mostly dont have much move speed), it gives extra mana -> always welcome because you use your abilities as much as possible, extra ability power for my abilities to do more damage and a great passive to do pretty good damage with ur basic attack every time you use an ability.

is a good item on maokai. It gives hp and mana, restores both on leveling up and stores both + ap per minute => this is why we pick this early.

gives you much hp, ap and has a passive so slow enemies on ability use. The slow is very useful with your combo. I will explain this later in the guide.

is in my opinion also a very good item for Maokai. Its has an awesome aura, very useful against champs like Master Yi and Fiora, and gives lots of mana and the second highest armor you can get from an item (+99) which is a lot. This all works very good together so try to enjoy it!

Items that can be considered buying (depend from game to game)

( these can be substitute for Frozen Heart or any other item you consider less usefull )

If you have problems beeing focussed all the times (prob. not but if), consider buying a Quicksilver Sash. It gives good magic resistance and it has an active which removes all debuffs from you (even surpresses).

This is also a good item for tanks. It gives good bonus movement speed, regenerates big amounts of hp per five seconds and provides good magic resist. Consider buying this item instead of Quicksilver Sash if you don't get focussed by cc ( Quicksilver Sash ) but you need magic resist and sustain.

The Sunfire Cape is a very good item against melee champs. The passive of this item deals magic damage per second around your champion. This damage can be very high if an enemy stays too long in your melee range. Also this item gives armor so if they have a fed ad carry, consider buying this item.

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These are the opinions I give 'which champ counters Maokai on top?

=> 4.5/5
She is a very annoying champ to play against on top. She has her very, very annoying ult that blocks ALL types of damage for 2 whole seconds.
Also her slow is very hard to counter-react on for you and she just deals too much damage. When you play against her, be sure to buy defensive items!

=> 3-3.5
He is not s strong as he used to be but he can still counter you very well. His insanely long ranged slow and true damage are just too much for you. When his 'E' ability is maxed out, he can deal like 300 true damage every 3-4 seconds and then defensives don't matter.

=> 4/5
His q deals very much damage against you because it is missing health related. He can just jump in with his q to deal damage and jump right back out with his w and negate most of the damage that you can deal at that short time. Be sure to stand behind your minions and to don't let him approach too close. But this champion will jungle mostly so don't worry.

=> 4/5 early game ---- 2/5 late game
His early game is insanely strong! But luckily for you, his late game isn't. Be sure to don't let him kill you early game at ALL costs. Buy armor and you should be okay. His combo (w - e - q) will not work entirely because you have your boots that will allow you to go faster out of his stun.

=> 2/5
She is a very strong top laner, always been. 'Better nerf Irelia', sounds familiar ?
Well I don't think she is overpowered now. She has very tanky mid and late game without to even buy items. Beware of her but because you have lots of defensive items, you should be allright. Her true damage isn't that big of a threat. Just try to negate her xp and minions and you will be allright.

=> 3/5
He is also a very strong top laner. His early game is, imo, slightly weaker than his late game. He can kill you very easily early game, and his ultimate is very, very annoying but late game, if he isn't too fed, you should be alright with your resists. An important point is that his ultimate deals TRUE damage, so when he has it (like every 80 seconds), your resists don't matter when he uses it. But you should be allright.

=> 3.5-4 early game ---- 2-2.5 late game
I know many would disagree with me that I say '3.5-4 early game' because she is very squishy early game, but she also can deal a lot of damage nonetheless. She has just so much mobility and has her bubble where she can disepear in to negate your snare and knockback. I think she is pretty hard to counter early game because of her mobility and damage but when you get your resists, she deals way less damage to you so use that to completely burst her down with your jungler/carry.

=> 2.5
Wukong isn't played that much in the current Meta but he is still kinda reliable. He has a great ult, slightly weaker early game and tankyness duue to his passive. In the early stages of the laning phase (when you are less tanky), he will take advantage of that. He has an armor-reducing ability and a dash but he won't deal tons of damage. Just try to snare HIM (not the clone) and do your combo. It will be an even top I think.

=> 3-4
Riven is a very strong champion if played right, thats no secret. She shines brightest when she plays solo top. She has very high mobility so when you snare her, she will stun you and charge out of your range. Her ult is also a pain in the ***. When you are low hp she will Wind Slash you. It will be hard for you to kill her due to her natural tankyness. Try to play safe and farm as much possible.

=> ?
Very annoying champion. Try to harrass him befor he reaches lvl 6 because then he will do the usual singed running. He can farm very easely, but so can you. Didn't really played against him top, I will need to find out!

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Now I'm gonna talk about how to play Maokai.
The overall function of a tank is to defend your squishy allies and disrupt the enemies. Maokai can take a lot of damage even in early game, the runes take care of this.
He is quite item dependant but just don't spam your abilities too much and you should be allright.

When a team fight is going to appear, always keep your ultimate ready because it is so helpful. Ask your allies to stand in and try to fight in it. Keep in mind that your ulti has a maximum extra damage ( +300 at lvl 3 ).

Try to engage team fights with your snare, ult and try to take all the damage.

The snare has a (quite) long range so use this effectively. It is only effective if you do this on a squishy champion (try to engage on the carry if possible, otherwise re-position yourself).
Try to add this in your play style and I assure you it is effective (if you don't have a noob team with leavers and ragers).
I know that on the picture , it isn't a squichy champion but it's just an example how to do it.

1) Engage with your snare.
2) Go behind your target and use Arcane Smash to knock her up. You will have enough time to walk behind your target because the Rylai's Crystal Scepter passive will slow your target (if in inventory ofc).

3) Use your ultimate to reduce the damage (if enemies try to attack you then detonate your ult before they goes out of its range to deal damage.

Your ult works very well with a Galio ultimate. His ult taunts every foe in the ult's range. Your ultimate decreases also 20% of their damage output so this all will give the carry plenty of time to burst them down.

If you have one in your team, try to synchronize your ultimate with his to improve team fights. Also a Nunu can be very helpfull in these battles because of his Ice Blast and Absolute Zero.
HINT: Your Sapling Toss gives sight and stays for like 35 seconds so if there is a enemy jungler, you can buy wards but I prefer saplings because they look so cute.

On the following picture (marked in red), you see the most important places where you need to drop your samplings. As an extra, your saplings deal damage if an enemy passes by. Something wards can't :D.

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Now i'm talking about , I think, the most important piece in the game 'The Farm'.

Farming is really important especially in case you ain't supporting with Maokai. He can farm very easely and a whole minion wave is gone instantly with his q and e. Make use of this but watch your mana.
You don't wanna be out there (on your own) with no mana
and a gank appears :/.
When you are going to support (in rare cases), just dont farm and try to harass your enemies as much as possible.
Help your carry at all times.
Be happy that u don't have to watch the minions' health bars all the time!

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Well i hope you learned a bit from this guide and you will give it a try.
These are some of my games with this build :I hope I get some hints to improve this build!
See you all for my next guide!