Maokai Build Guide by C9Balls
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Threats to Maokai with this build
|Jax||If you start Q, you should be able to spam it on Jax and outsustain him. Make sure to back off whenever he activates his Counter Strike.|
|Gragas||Now that Gragas has been nerfed, you can outsustain him, because he will run out of mana eventually.|
Maokai is one of the "Flavor of the Month" champions in the current meta because he scales really well into late game teamfights. He's also a solid laner with a lot of crowd control. He fills the role of a very tanky CC champion that is also pretty mobile since his Twisted Advance serves as a gap closer. Overall, he's a fun champion to play and can become one of the most dangerous beasts on the rift if you master him.
Take these runes against top laners that deal a lot of physical damage. This is the standard choice I use for seals, since Maokai has a rough early game laning phase against champions that can poke him with auto attacks.
(Magic Resist Glyphs)|
Useful against top lane champions that deal magic damage, since with these they'll deal less damage to you. Use these runes against champions like Lulu and Gragas, or if they have a magic damage jungler.
(Ability Power Quintessences)|
Use AP quintessences to increase the damage you deal with all your abilities. This lets you wave clear creeps and harass the enemy laner if he makes a mistake.
I use a 9/21/0 setup on Maokai, because the AP from the Offense tree makes him deal more damage while the stats from the Defense tree make him a tank god and allow him to survive the early laning phase. Maokai's base damage is high enough for it to be unnecessary to go 21 in Offense.
You also want to be tanky so that your passive becomes more useful and you can focus on building CDR to spam your abilities. If you die too fast, you won't get to spam skills or proc your passive often. Maokai's laning isn't that amazing and going 21 in Offense just sets you up to be vulnerable.
Start with Crystalline Flask and Health Potions for early sustain. This start is aimed at surviving the laning phase and/or outsustaining your enemy.
If you are confident in your laning or you think the enemy laner is weak, you can also start with a Doran's Ring. This start is aimed more at dominating your lane.
Rod of Ages gives Maokai a lot of HP (which increases the effectiveness of his passive) and mana to spam skills. The AP also allows him to deal more damage. All of the stats granted by this item benefit Maokai really well.
Frozen Heart gives Maokai tons of armor and CDR, while also shutting down enemy AD champions which rely on auto attacking with the attack speed slow passive.
Spirit Visage increases the healing from Sap Magic and also provides some nice magic resistance and CDR.
Randuin's Omen and Thornmail are standard late game items against ADs. If the enemy team is full AP, buy a Banshee's Veil and Guardian Angel instead.
Great choice for boots because of the tenacity they provide, which makes it harder for the enemy team to keep you away from their carries/backline.
Buy these instead if the enemy team has a lot of champions that primarily deal physical damage and rely on auto attacks for their damage.
During the late game, you can buy a Void Staff if you really want to deal more damage because you feel like your teammates are not dishing out enough.
In Solo Queue, I will start Arcane Smash or Sapling Toss depending on where the jungler starts. If he starts on my side, I start E to give him a huge leash so that he might be able to impact the game. If he starts on the other side, I start Q to have a better laning phase.
In lane, I try to use Arcane Smash for last hitting and trading with the enemy laner. I grab Sapling Toss next for more damage and also better csing or thinning the wave if it gets too big. Then I level up Twisted Advance at level 3 so that I can have CC for when my jungler comes to gank.
Depending on the enemy laner, I'll look to play aggressively and push the lane(for example if it's someone that I can fight, like Jax). If that's not possible (for example against something like Nidalee), I just try to farm as much as I can.
This part of the game is where you are level 6+ and the turrets are starting to go down around the map. This is the point where you should be looking for Teleports if enemies on the other side of the map are overextended. Maokai is one of the best TP ganking champs, because he provides a lot of CC and can also tank a lot of damage with his ultimate, Vengeful Maelstrom.
Make sure to support your team whenever they attempt to secure a dragon. If your lane is roaming and you can't do anything to help your teammates because your Teleport is down, try to take down the enemy turret to provide your team with some global gold.
At this point you should be roaming with your team, trying to take objectives or catching and killing enemies that are out of position. Maokai is also a great teamfighter, so you want to look for teamfights or just force fights with your team at this point.
Also, make sure to always go to lanes that have a lot of creeps and soak up the exp/gold before you roam. You don't want to let massive amounts of creeps die to turrets or to your own creeps without anyone grabbing the experience.
In teamfights, you want to be the frontline of the team, tanking everyone with your ultimate on. Maokai is insanely good in teamfights, because his ultimate lets everyone on his team take 20% less damage for a maximum of 10 seconds.
Your role on the team is to sit on the enemy carries while also not being too far from your own team. The best target to jump on for Maokai is usually the enemy AP carry, since they're generally immobile compared to AD carries. It should also be harder for the AP carry to kill you unless he uses all his abilities on you, in which case it's most likely still worth it.
Depending on the situation it might be better to jump on the enemy AD carry instead: just look for the easiest/closest target. Your cooldowns are pretty low, so make sure you spam your abilities and use auto attacks to heal up from your passive. Just don't go too far and try to 1 vs 5 the enemy team, because then you'll just die. Be close to your teammates while also being in the frontline to become a threat to the other team.