[11.23] - You WOOD not believe how broken Maokai is!
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+10% Attack Speed
+15-140 HP (lvls 1-18)
Ability Order Standard
Threats & Synergies
My permaban as she has such a high play rate and can be extremely oppressive for Maokai
Champion Build Guide
WELCOME TO MY GUIDE!
My name is Zampour but plenty of people call me Zamps, I am a streamer who has been One Tricking Maokai as a tanky support.
I started playing him in 2020 when people realized how strong he was as an AP support, and when imperial mandate got nerfed I was his huge potential in his kit as an amazing champion to have as a OTP and how he could be utilized better as a tank.
So I changed my ways to become a tank and ever since then continued to climb the rank ladder.
Challenger coming (eventually)!
Being an active member of both the Maokai mains discord and reddit have hugely helped me in better understanding the champ through various discussions, I've also played A LOT of games on him as have a good understanding about the match ups.
If you're interested in more Maokai content or just want to support me as a creator then please feel free to follow my twitch stream, youtube and discord.
I've learnt how to make this guide only for this champ (since I'm an OTP), so if you're willing to follow any of the socials it would be hugely appreciated as i've put about 18+ hours into this guide so far :).
Always love discussing Maokai or league related things so feel free to reach out and ask!
He is one of the most fun champions in the game, with a point and click root that makes you un-targetable he has the potential to make some amazing plays whilst having a fairly easy kit.
Furthermore, his objective control is the BEST in the game I believe due to the CC and vision provided for by his saplings and being able to throw them at a huge distance lets you be incredibly safe too.
And of course OBJECTIVES WIN GAMES.
Note: Sometimes due to the priority put on objective control is is worth duoing with a jungler who understands Maokai's crazy objective control strength and will prioritize accordingly
Not only that but he is adaptable to build depending on what his team needs whislt keeping the same runes. He can lean towards durability (most often) or AP (if needed).
His laning is not the best, and in the lane alone he may get countered but the lanes are never "unplayable". He is definitely not the strongest laner and is a key champion where you can punish very hard for opponents making slight positioning mistakes.
Traditionally as a support main we thing of 3 (or 4) different majour classes.
- Engage - Nautilus, Leona, Thresh etc. Champs that have a hook or some ability to hard force a fight to happen by catching someone out
- Disengage (sometimes not included) - Tahm Kench, Janna, Taric etc. Champs who have an ability to counter the hard engages and turn the tables on the engage.
- Poke - Xerath, Brand, Vel'Koz, etc. Champs who are often mages and can poke consistently over time.
- Sustain aka healers - Nami, Soraka, Sona etc. Champs who can provide healing in some way.
So the commonly accepted "counter classes" go as follow:
-Engage beats sustain (with a hard engage)
-Sustain beats poke (any poke that comes out just gets healed back up)
-Poke beats disengage (shipping down their health over time)
-Disengage beats engage (every time they engage you just disengage and screw them)
Champions can fit into multiple classes but normally their strengths of which class they should be in is fairly clear.
HOWEVER, how does MAOKAI fit in?
As I have explained to many people over time another HUGE advantage about Maokai is he can fill into ALL 4 OF THESE CLASSES.
Yes, yes, it's true, let me explain.
- Engage - his W Twisted Advance is a POINT AND CLICK ROOT which makes him UNTARGETABLE as he travels forwards underground. This is a really OP ability as it is a gap closer and automatically puts them in CC, this can be followed up by other CC or even Maokai's Q Bramble Smash.
- Disengage - Imagine is Leona E's into your, as long as you time it correctly you can displace her as she travels towards you to thwart the engage and stun onto your carry (does take some practice). So the Q Bramble Smash is an amazing disengage tool for the 2v2 skirmishers but you also have is HUGE ULTIMATE Nature's Grasp which can get your whole team out of a tricky situation.
- Poke - His E Sapling Toss provide great poke, especially with the fact they are placed for LONGER and more DAMAGE in bushes as well as providing a slow which can hit multiple targets. Now that Season 12 has arrived we even get a HEALTH TANK ( Fimbulwinter) item which builds from a tear so the lack of mana is not as much an issue anymore
- Sustain aka healers - Sap Magic gives him great sustain, so if you are taking the poke in the bot lane and utilizing your passive when its off cooldowns then your duo will be healthier than the 2 enemies. Remember it gets reduced as you use abilities or get hit by them, by 4 seconds each time, so can be used often. It is based off max HP which is why bonus HP is such a massively prioritized stat on Maokai.
PRO-TIP - When fighting Baron standing behind him, each time he attacks you will count as an ability therefore further reducing your Sap Magic cooldown.
+ BEST Objective control in the game due to his saplings
+ Point and click engage
+ AOE displacement on his Q
+ Has all at least some of every support class (engage, disengage, poke and sustain)
+ Flexible build style so can OTP him
+ Insane raoming/gank potential
+ Fairly easy kit to learn
- Not the strongest laning
- Not the best of any suport specific class (engage, disengage, poke and sustain)
- Can be easily kited
- Needs follow up from his team
Font of Life is also good, especially if you ADC knows how to proc it (if you are DUOing you can tell them), otherwise it's useless until team fights. Does synergize nicesly with Imperial Mandate proc.
ALTERNATIVE - Option 1:
Bone Plating - Can be good against champions who want to be continuously doing a 3 proc combo onto you even when they are not going all in as oppossed to poking you out. Think Alistar, Leona, Nautilus type champs. Second Wind is better though as I would rather avoiding getting engaged onto at all by these champions.
ALTERNATIVE - Option 2:
Conditioning is good but to utilize the percentage increase of magic resist and armour you should be building those stats, however on Maokai we focus on HP due to the large amount of benefits it can give to his kit. Also I think runes should be focused on helping him get through his laning phase as pest as possible.
For the choice of the 3 flex runes you want to choose what you think will be the most useful during the early game where the stats are most impactful
10% Attack Speed - Maokai has the 33rd highest base AD (64 AD). Especially with his point and click engage of the Twisted Advance then being used with his Bramble Smash it can be a great trade at level 3 already.
6 Armour - Very useful as you are very likely be against at least one auto attacker but even a mage's auto attacks will be impactful early, especially as they are often range. Also, it helps against minion and turret damage
as they give AD.
15-140 Health - HP always has amazing synergy for Maokai as explained in items. However, if you are against a double AD lane swap this for an Armour rune and if you're against a poke mage who will be poking you our then take MR rune instead.
Cheap Shot, Ghost Poro, Sudden Impact
Biscuit Delivery, Magical Footwear, Perfect Timing, Time Warp Tonic
Manaflow Band, Scorch, Waterwalking Nimbus Cloak,
Presence of Mind, Legend: Tenacity, Triumph
How I prioritize his stats:
Movement Speed > Health > Durability > Mana > Magic Pen > AP (scales very badly on Maokai)
Health is great on Maokai because:
- Sap Magic, his passive, gives HP based on his max health (5-15% depending on level)
- Sapling Toss, damage scales from max HP (and enemies max HP so is a tank shredder)
- Aftershock The shockwave emitted at the end procs off of bonus HP
- Demolish deals deals 125 (+ 30% of your maximum health) bonus physical damage
- Second Wind procs give 6 (+ 4% of your missing health) regeneration of health over time
- Unlinching Gives more slow resist and tenacity based on % missing HP
- Iceborn Gauntlet Damage and slow scales with max HP
- Demonic Embrace Damage scales with bonus HP
- Abyssal Mask Reduces enemies' MR with bonus HP
Situational Items Explained:
- Demonic Embrace vs tanks
To Be Continued...
When starting out on Maokai use his "OP starting strategy" explained more easily in this video
Essentially using his saplings level 1, you go to the top side enemy buff and use them to scout bushes until you can get a ward into the top side enemy buff.
With this ward it may catch the enemy jungler starting at that buff giving some great information, and if not then it is very likely the enemy jungler is starting at their bottom side buff.
You can then try to track the enemy jungler's location as best as possible, a good tip for doing this is follow your own jungler's position. So if your jungler started at bot side friendly buff, and the enemy started at bot side enemy buff then they will be finishing their clear around the same time top side (if no gank happened). Likwise, if the enemy jungler started top side buff, and your jungler started bot side buff, you need to be careful of getting ganked when you see your jungler being top side.
To Be Continued...