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Maokai Build Guide by Zampour

Support [11.23] - You WOOD not believe how broken Maokai is!

Support [11.23] - You WOOD not believe how broken Maokai is!

Updated on November 27, 2021
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Zampour Build Guide By Zampour 15 5 32,352 Views 0 Comments
15 5 32,352 Views 0 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Zampour Maokai Build Guide By Zampour Updated on November 27, 2021
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Runes: Standard

Second Wind

Relentless Hunter
Zombie Ward

+10% Attack Speed
+6 Armor
+15-140 HP (lvls 1-18)


1 2
LoL Summoner Spell: Exhaust


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

[11.23] - You WOOD not believe how broken Maokai is!

By Zampour
Zampour's Maokai Guide
About Me


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!

Why Maokai

Why Maokai

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.
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.
These are:
- 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


Aftershock is a must on Maokai, weather you are building him AP or not, he needs to be able to survive his engage to get the most value of his destructive kit. Keep this keystone in mind and play around it, when if its off cooldown be looking to trade with it. It procs off of W, Q (displacement part of it) and R, so be aware as you may put it on cooldown by accident.
Demolish deals 125 (+ 30% of your maximum health) bonus physical damage, so it synergizes with stacking HP which we love to do on Maokai because of his passive. Can use it in the bot lane or if going for a roam to another lane. Always look for opportunities to use it (45 second cool down). Especially useful with someone who waves clear fast like jhin, Sivir, Tris and Jinx. Have to be close to the turret for a total of 3 seconds (the 6 procs you see appear on the turret counting down), then your next auto attack will proc the Demolish.
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.

Second Wind scales with missing health and so gives you even more sustain to stay in lane. Especially since Maokai is melee and you will always be against at least one ranged in the bot lane so its very useful.
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.
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.

Unflinching is great for the slow resist and tenacity it provides, 10% - 30% depending on the % of missing health you have (maxed out when you have 30% HP), the great thing is even when you're at 30% you still have enough HP to survive and get out of the sitaution you're in. If you're not against a heavy CC enemy team it is enough to survivee and it great to have from the start since often the enemy support will have some form of CC.

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.

Zombie Ward is great because you're roaming a lot and prioritizing vision and vision denial due to playing support. Soemtimes its worth placing a ward in the bush before taking out an enemy ward so that you can place the zombie ward anywhere you want for 30 seconds.
Relentless Hunter Movement speed is awesome on Maokai. With each unique champion takedown you gain additional movement speed out of combat, try to be aware of which ones you haven't collected yet so you can look for those opportunities.
Domination -
Cheap Shot, Ghost Poro, Sudden Impact
Inspiration -
Biscuit Delivery, Magical Footwear, Perfect Timing, Time Warp Tonic
Sorcery -
Manaflow Band, Scorch, Waterwalking Nimbus Cloak,
Precision -
Presence of Mind, Legend: Tenacity, Triumph
Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells

ALWAYS - The most OP summouner spell, take this every game, SUPERB synergy with flash + W combo, or the situational Q + flash combo. Great for chasing enemies down, engages or needing to get out of a sticky situation.

MOSTLY - As a secondary summouner this is my favourite and I take it more than 90% of the time. The slow on it can be used to chase enemies down and the reduction of damage output of the champion you place it on is also HUGE. Try to bear this in mind as your will normally want to put it on the ADC or assasin.

OCCASIONALLY - As a secondary summouner this a good option to have extra kill pressure, I take it less than 10 percent of the time. Use this when you have an ADC who needs to snowball to get ahead, such as Lucian or Dravern, preferably if its a duo you trust as well. The ignite also cuts healing so as soon as you see it's an all in you want to use it, so if the "heal" summouner is used by the enemy then it won't be as effective. The damage is over 6 seconds and applies a WHOPPING 60% heealing reduction. Also don't forget it gives sight of the enemy, so if they are going into a bush it can be useful too.


To Be Continued...


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...
Ability Sequence

Ability Sequence

To Be Continued...


To Be Continued...
Laning Phase

Laning Phase

Starting Strategy:

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...


To Be Continued...


To Be Continued...


To Be Continued...
Video Examples

Video Examples

To Be Continued...


To Be Continued...


Maokai Mains Discord Community
Maokai Mains Reddit Community

To Be Continued...
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