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Maokai Build Guide by PH45

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[10.13] PH45's guide for Maokai, The Twisted Treant!

By PH45 | Updated on June 24, 2020
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Runes:

Resolve
Grasp of the Undying
Font of Life
Bone Plating
Revitalize

Sorcery
Manaflow Band
Transcendence
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+6 Armor
+6 Armor

Spells:

Summoner Spells
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport

Teleport

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Top Lane
Ranked #23 in
Top Lane
Win 53%
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Threats & Synergies

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Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies

Champion Build Guide

[10.13] PH45's guide for Maokai, The Twisted Treant!

By PH45
Hello, I'm PH45, and this is my Maokai Guide.

My real name is Patrik but you can call me either way. I am a long time League of Legends player (started back in Season 1). I am a top lane player who mainly plays Jax, but I also picked up Maokai since he brings a lot of utility for his team and he is a great tank pick for most team comps.

My OP.GG for anyone interested


Now to the question, why play Maokai?

Maokai is a great tank champion to pick up. He get's really tanky, has built-in sustain, ton of CC and peeling abilities to aid your team in many different scenarios. He is quite simple to pick up and can also be fun to play due to how his abilities work. He has an alright laning phase due to being able to setup ganks for your jungler with his high CC capabilities, though he is quite a mana-hungry tree so prepare to run out of mana.
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Flash: Pretty normally taken summoner spell, and is pretty much the best summoner spell in the game. Gives you an escape or a gapcloser so you can have a longer range on your Twisted Advance.



Teleport: My preferred second summoner spell. Most of the time this is the best summoner spell to take second since it enables you to quickly teleport to gank other lanes or into teamfights if you aren't near the fight when it breaks out. It can also help you in tough matchups where you have to back a lot early.
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Pros


+ Great sustain with Sap Magic
+ Tons of CC
+ Can also peel for his team
+ Gets vision with his Sapling Toss
+ Nature's Grasp is a strong teamfight ability
+ Great engage and synergy with Righteous Glory



Maokai is a very strong tank and can turn teamfights around with his large amounts of CC, he is also a great engager.
Cons


- Can run out of mana quickly
- Struggles against some ranged matchups
- Kind of high CD's on abilities
- Ultimate can be difficult to use well sometimes since it travels so slowly
- Takes time to scale up
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The obvious primary tree of choice for Maokai is Resolve. It works well on granting Maokai more tools to become tanky and have good synergy with his kit.

There are 2 keystone choices I'd consider for Maokai. First we have Aftershock. When you immobilize a enemy near you you get extra resists and deal a burst of adaptive damage around you. Maokai has a lot of CC so this should work wonders for you while laning and in teamfights. Grasp of the Undying is good too, it enhances the already good sustain of Maokai.
Next we choose Bone Plating, great rune for negating some damage in early trades.
Next up is Font of Life since Maokai has a lot of CC that his teammates can take advantage of by healing while attacking the CC'd targets
Lastly, we take Revitalize due to it working in good favor for Maokai, since it increases the healing from your passive.

Sorcery has tools to increase things like mana regen and also granting a bit of CDR, which are handy on Maokai.

Manaflow Band helps you while laning as Maokai tends to run out of mana fairly easily.


Second rune we take is Transcendence. It allows you to reach max CDR quite fast which is nice for teamfights as you will be able to peel more.



For the rune stats I take the attack speed one for faster generally proccing Sap Magic faster, the adaptive force one is just really not that useful and the CDR one takes so long to become useful. After that we take extra armor and lastly extra HP for more beefy laning.

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Righteous Glory, god of engaging
This item works wonders for Maokai. It gives you health, mana, armor and 10% cdr,
and a active that helps you engage on fights that would otherwise require you to maybe start by Flashing into the enemy team.

Sunfire cape, burn baby burn
Great item to pick up vs AD lanes, gives you a burning aura around you that helps you fight those melee fighters in lane and also gives you a good amount of health and armor.

Spirit Visage, healing improver
This item works extremely well with Maokai since it enhances your passives healing as well. Great pickup when the opposing team has AP damage dealers and you want to heal a bit more.

Randuin's Omen, death to ADC's
The build path got updated again and now it's again a sensible way to build it. I usually bick up Warden's Mail first and then build it onwards from there. Helps extremely well in auto-attack oriented matchups and later on it's slowing effect is nice in teamfights and it also slows enemys attack speed when they hit you so it lessens the enemys DPS.

Ninja tabi, Nerfed but still good
Great for facing a lot of autoattack reliant champions, bruisers and fed ADC's, as it reduces damage taken from autoattacks.

Mercury's treads, the option for CC
Pretty self-explanatory, get this if the enemy laner or the whole enemy comp has a lot of CC as it can prevent you from CCing the opposing team.

Gargoyle Stoneplate, for the engagers
Really good item for Maokai. Most of the time you are the one who engages the fights, and when activating this item you grow in size and get more HP. Also the passive gives you more resists while +3 opponents are near you so that helps as well. The reduction on your damage doesn't matter that much as you aren't a damage dealer in the first place.

Thornmail, they hurt themselves
If you are facing a lot of autoattack reliant champions like Jax, Tryndamere and so on, this item helps a ton. It has the Cold steel passive which slows their attack speed, and also the thorns passive which makes the opponents take damage when they auto you, while also applying Grievous wounds on them so they won't heal back as much if they have lifesteal. Also gives a good amount of armor and HP which is always nice.


Gives you armor, sheen proc and a small slow so you can stick to people. Also some mana to help with your mana issues.
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  • Sap Magic (Passive): INNATE: Each time Maokai casts an ability or is struck by an enemy's ability, Sap Magic's cooldown is reduced by 4 seconds. Periodically Maokai's next basic attack, after a 0.25-seconds delay, against a non-structure heals him, though it won't proc if Maokai is above 95% HP.

  • Bramble Smash (Q): After a small delay, Maokai releases an arcane shockwave that travels forth in a line, dealing magic damage to all enemies it passes through and slowing them by 99% for 0.25 seconds. Enemies near [Maokai]] are also knocked back up to 300 units based on their proximity to him.

  • Twisted Advance (W): [Maokai]] dashes to the target enemy, becoming untargetable for the duration, dealing magic damage on arrival and briefly rooting the target.

  • Sapling Toss (E): Maokai flings a Sapling to the target location, remaining there for 30 seconds and granting sight around itself. Saplings tether to nearby enemies, chasing them for up to 2.5 seconds, exploding upon impact or at the end of its duration, dealing magic damage to all nearby enemies upon detonation and slowing them by 35% for 2 seconds. Saplings placed in brush instead have 30 (+ 2.5% bonus health) duration and deals double damage over 2 seconds to all enemies hit, capped at 600 damage against non-champions.

  • Nature's Grasp (R) Maokai summons a colossal wall of 5 thorny brambles that slowly advances forward, each stopping at the first enemy champion they collide with. Each thorny bramble deals magic damage and roots from 0.8 up to 2.6 seconds based on the distance the bramble has traveled.
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> > >

You want to be taking points on your ultimate when possible. Out of your basic abilites you want to max your Bramble Smash first as it is your main trading and poking tool, while also allowing you to disengage from fights and all-ins. Next you max Twisted Advance so you have your root up more often, allowing you to catch people and keep them in range for your team to take them out. You max Sapling Toss last, as it is a much less needed ability out of the bunch. It can be difficult to get much use out of it during lane phase, and it kind of costs a lot of mana for it's worth.
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During the laning phase your goal is to survive and scale up since Maokai shines in late game rather than early game. Use your Bramble Smash in lane to deny all-ins and as poke. You can also use Sapling Toss into bushes to grant you vision and deny also potentially make them take damage for entering bushes.

If your jungler ganks you have quite a good setup for ganks with your Twisted Advance and Bramble Smash so you should at least get a Flash from your opponent if you can't kill them.

Maokai has built-in sustain in his kit, which makes his laning a bit easier, so you can potentially stay for longer periods in lane even in poke matchups, as long as you can get access to autoing minions. However Maokai is quite a mana-hungry champ, so an early Glacial Shroud might be a good idea, or potentially a cheap solution like Doran's Ring might help with the issue a bit.

Remember to ward since Maokai lacks any mobility abilities so if you get caught without your summoner spells it will be hard for you to escape. Control Wards are your best friend as they cost very little (75g) and stay around until they are destroyed, while also revealing if your opponent has placed vision in the spot where you place your Control Ward. You should always carry one if you have room for it in your inventory as they don't cost much but they make a big difference in map control and the safety of your laning.



This is the part where Maokai shines. During mid-late game you are pretty tanky, and you should have your core items bought like Righteous Glory which helps with engaging. This means it's time to teamfight. You can engage with your Nature's Grasp, or with a simple Flash + Twisted Advance onto the opponents key carries, like the ADC or the mage, just be sure your team is ready and able to follow your lead.

You can also sit a bit more back near your carries to peel for them, as you got good peeling abilities with your Twisted Advances root and Bramble Smash. Just absorb damage for your carries and keep the assassins/bruisers as far as possible from them to make sure they can dish out as much damage as they can to ensure the victory for your team.

Sometimes however you potentially can't engage, for example if your Flash is down or the opponents have good engage prevention. In this case your best bet is to wait for the opponents to engage and just peel your team after that.

Remember that Maokai is quite team dependent as he himself doesn't deal that much damage, so if you initiate a fight you need to be sure your team can follow up.

Maokai can also splitpush somewhat well, he can clear minion waves well with his Bramble Smash and Sapling Toss that is placed in a bush, but he doesn't take towers that fast though so keep that in mind. Be always aware of what is happening on other lanes so you can Teleport in to help your team out!
League of Legends Build Guide Author PH45
PH45 Maokai Guide
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[10.13] PH45's guide for Maokai, The Twisted Treant!