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Maokai Build Guide by freddy66623

Top [12.15] S - Tier Maokai - The unkillable - In depth All Lanes

Top [12.15] S - Tier Maokai - The unkillable - In depth All Lanes

Updated on August 9, 2022
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League of Legends Build Guide Author freddy66623 Build Guide By freddy66623 115 14 410,513 Views 10 Comments
115 14 410,513 Views 10 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author freddy66623 Maokai Build Guide By freddy66623 Updated on August 9, 2022
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Maokai
    Tank Tree
  • LoL Champion: Maokai
    Lifesteal Tree
  • LoL Champion: Maokai
    Unkillable inspiration
  • LoL Champion: Maokai
  • LoL Champion: Maokai

Runes: Tank Tree

1 2

Manaflow Band

+10% Attack Speed
+6 Armor
+6 Armor


1 2
The Passive top
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport


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
My Other


Maokai - Top Laner
Melee, Tank, Crowd Controller, Jungler

Synergy: yuumi
Jungler ganking potential: Self Heal God
Speciality: Super Tank
As some of you may have read my Ivern guide Maokai is the second tree I've grown to love. He has amazing potential in early, mid and late game, and you will be top damage dealt after almost every game! He can provide amazing damage, peel, tankyness and survivability.


My name is Freddy!

Hi everyone, my name is Freddy! Im part of the duo channel Timnfreddy We are 2 really old friends who play games together and share laughs while we stream.

We stream daily from 20:00 - 23:30 +1GMT (Brussels Time)(Times may vary but this is what we generally aim for). We have a Discord Server where you're more than welcome to come hang out or ask any questions you might have.
What can you expect from our channel? A fun duostream where Timmy and I try to tackle league together while being as interactive with the chat as we can! We also do RP giveaways to celebrate our milestones so try your luck on those!

Why did I start streaming?I studied multimedia & 3D animation and I thought this would be a good place to apply my knowledge and techniques. I got my friend Timmy to join me and we're making a go at it together! I also feel there is not enough positive content out there for league of legends. We may not be the best (yet!) but we try to add some sugar to the salt with our gameplay .

So as you may have noticed there are around 6 different rune pages to run! Now I will try to cover every single one but for the sake of the guide and keep it bareable I will do so by collour coding the parts and focus on the Resistant & Lifesteal builds which are the most prone! Either one of these builds can be run with inspiration and I will link the inspiration differences below. But like I have mentioned, Maokai lives off 2 things, Lifesteal, and Resistance! It is up to you to chose in which one you want to master be mobile in. The essence of both builds will want you to spam Bramble Smash for your passive Sap Magic and then follow that up with a Sapling Toss in the direction they run, followed by a Twisted Advance to Crowd Control Them allowing your sapling to hit and catch up. Rinse and repeat


I personally love Resolve Because Maokai is basically a tree! You will want to get hit and you want to be durable. With Sunfire Aegis and Thornmail you are a frontline beast and they will definatly break against your bark, [/color]Why Afterschock? Great question my tree huggers, You are going to be using Twisted Advance as an engage and gap closer ALLOT! Allowing that ability to give you extra Armor & Magic resist is exactly what we look for when it comes to Maokai.Now quickly for the Lifesteal build you will want to go Grasp of the Undyingto use with your Sap Magic.
PASSIVE: After immobilizing an enemy champion, increase your Armor and Magic Resist by 35 + 80% of your Bonus Resists for 2.5s. Then explode, dealing magic damage to nearby enemies.

Demolish Now a fair few will come with the question, Why not Font of Life? Simply put! You are not a Support... Although Maokai is a beast when ti comes to taking damage and burning down enemies with Sunfire, his auto attacks... Suffer quite a bit when it comes to pushing or lane split. Ideally you want those early plates so Demolish is the way to go!
PASSIVE: You generate stacks on enemy Turret icon turrets within 600 units, up to 6 after 3 seconds. Your next basic attack against a turret with 6 stacks deals 100 (+ 35% of your maximum health) bonus physical damage.
Conditioning Again since we are going for an unkillable resistance heavy champion Conditioning is my favourite. Now for the life steal Build you will want to go for Second Wind

PASSIVE: After 12 minutes, gain Armor icon 9 bonus armor and Magic resistance icon 9 bonus magic resistance and increases your total armor and magic resistance by 5%.
So why Offence attack speed & armour . Another power play question by you guys (sometimes I go nuts writign this) but you will want to have some attack speed to punch towers or just dish out a little damage to minions. But your biggest asset is the armour for more resistance and sustain! HOWEVER when going up against a magic resist heavy team ur gonna wanna swap this out for Magic Resist!

Sorcery is the main pick for those looking for a little more carry potential and a little more damage and that sweet sweet mana that you are going to crave for. Manaflow Band Is going to allow to stay in lane quite bit more by auto attacking the enemy champion and provide you with a free mana crystal's worth of mana! Which trust me!!! you are going to need. It can however be traded in for Bisquit Delivery if you are running inspiration
PASSIVE: Hitting enemy champions with a spell grants 25 maximum mana, up to 250 mana.

Now Transcendence provides some much needed Cooldown reduction! Although your spells are great and will do amazing amounts of damage you will still want to spam Bramble Smash to make your passive Sap Magic flourish

Gain 10% cooldown reduction at level 10.

🍀 Beefy Early Game
🍀 Counter Laner
🍀 Great Lane Controll
🍀 Unstoppable with Yuumi
🍀 High Elo Carry
🍀 Can go any lane!

🌳 Not easy to play
🌳 Can be countered by Vayne
🌳 can be kited
🌳 Slow Ultimate
🌳 High Skill Cap
🌳 laneswap will hurt you
Must have
Flash can be used in many ways on Maokai. Ideally you will use it as a getaway because you will have a gap closer with your Twisted Advance or to position yourself to hit an enemy into allies with your Bramble Smashbut mostly you will use it early game to escape ganks[/color]

So Teleport can be swapped out for Ignite if you really want to go for a heavy kill lane, But I personally prefer Teleport because of the fact that it allows you to either gank and get back in lane quick or secure crucial teamfights

Must have
Now we have touched on Flash being used in a defensive way, which of course is still going to play a huge part in jungle and invades, but what haven't touched on is that Flash can be used to in an aggressive manner to gank lanes or perhaps steal a buff. What I do is Twisted Advance -> Sapling Toss (preferably in bush -> Bramble Smash -> Nature's Grasp -> Flash -> Bramble Smash to knock them backwards. You will not need to use the Flash as most of the time the enemy will be dead but if not that's where I use it to knock them back

Must Have
So Smite is essential to any jungler. Going for Stalker's Blade is crucial, it allows for that little bit of extra CC when ganking. Not that Maokai lacks Crowd control with his Twisted Advance and bramblebash not to mention a Nature's Grasp it can provide that little bit of extra slow that might just secure a kill. of course you want to upgrade into Stalker's Blade - Cinderhulk even though this is more of a aggressive build you will still want to be tanky
Is Maokai's passive, Now this doesn't seem like the best ability but although it gets underestimated it is such a huge heal for him. Not to mention that the Cooldown of Sap Magic is reduced every time you use Bramble Smash so you will want to spam Bramble Smash as much as possible.(please keep in mind that Maokai is a very mana reliant champion and his spells cost allot so although I say spam it you will want to farm with your auto attacks as much as possible)
Is your main ability, Not only does it provide a knock back and slow, as mentioned before it lowers the Cooldown of Sap Magic, allowing for an amazing mount of lane sustain as well as team fight sustain. Combine the with a Spirit Visage and you will have heals for days.

Pro Tip: Remember you can also use it to knock your own minions out of your towers range to freeze lane easier (please do keep in mind that Maokai is a very mana reliance champion and his abilities cost allot. So although I say spam the ability, keep a close eye on your mana pool and do not overuse it when its not nessecary lane control & wave freeze is much more important.)
& is your basic combo. You Twisted Advance rooting the enemy, then Bramble Smash to knock them backwards. What you can also do, is fill a bush with Sapling Toss and then using Twisted Advance to lock them in place allowing the saplings to reach the enemy and explode.
Twisted Advance can be used to get over walls swell such as raptors blue buff krugs red buff and gromp , you can NOT however reach dragon or baron
Pro Tip: You won't need a ward to see the above mentioned camps if you use a Sapling Toss to gain vision.
is the most under utilised spell you can find in Maokai's build. By themselves the saplings are fairly useless but when stacked in a bush they can absolutely destroy and win lanes in a way you couldn't imagine. They do % damage according to you ability power. But when they are in the bush they will damage 67% on hit (aka explosion) and then again 67% for 2 more ticks slowing them aswell which works wonders with Liandry's Anguish. What is not common knowledge is that Sapling Toss's saplings gain movement speed according to Maokai's movement speed!
Pro Tip: stack saplings in bush then use Twisted Advance to lock an enemy in place forcing them to hit.
Finally this is Maokai's ultimate ability. Now there's allot of debate on wether or not his ultimate is great or not! A wave of roots makes their way forward rooting enemies in place! Now this sounds super great and saying that the further the enemy is away the longer they get rooted sounds even better. BUT Nature's Grasp is fairly easy to out run making it sometimes obsolete or just easy to miss. I myself use Nature's Grasp to cut off enemy pathing or onto of another sort of cc like a Amumu ultimate.

Full Rotation

The rotation itself once you get the grasp is fairly obvious but I will quickly go into depth explaining each spell and why I use it.

If you get the chance you will want saplings in the nearby bush but I won't count it as its not always a given!
🍀 1 Engage
Twisted Advance is your engager locking down an enemy for you or your team to focus down. (if possible allowing the saplings you have stacked to hit)
🍀 2. Knockback & Slow
Bramble Smash is followed by Twisted Advance to knock an enemy away from safety and keep the crow controlled! (also can knock them towards saplings)
🍀 3. Lifesteal & sustain You will want to use Sap Magic aka auto attack every time its up to life steal from your enemy and sustain yourself in team fights
🍀4. Mass Root Nature's Grasp can be used either at the start of the fight or at this point will be when the enemy team comes to the aid of their ally.
🍀 5. Damage + Slow Sapling Toss You will have noticed how I have not prioritised it earlier. Although Sapling Toss is your greatest damage dealer, It is really only useful if you can utilise it in bushes and even then your crowd control will be much more use in team fights then your damage. As Sunfire Aegis & Thornmail are your biggest damage dealers, you will want to focus on standing in fights. (unless you are running jungle Maokai then your sapling toss will still do insane amounts of damage with your Liandry's Anguish


As mentioned above you will see the jungle rotation.

I will give a quick and brief explanation as to why this rotation & where to watch out.
Blue Buff
Blue buff is first on the jungle list, due to Maokai's need for mana and cool down reduction.
Start stacking Sapling Toss in the bush at 30 sec before buff spawns

Pro Tip: Ward river to defend yourself then back and get sweeper for maximum gank potential

Gromp is second on our menu! Now you will have Q bramble bash & E Sapling Toss but sadly you can't really put your saplings in bush without fear of gromp resetting if u pull him towards blue buff so here is where I use my first potion of my Refillable Potion
With wolves you most certainly don't have any bushes to use your Sapling Toss in so use Bramble Smash to knock them back and throw a Sapling Toss into the wolves pit before you engage.
Pro Tip: Kill off the small wolves first!
Raptors is where we can utilise a bush again, use Sapling Toss in the bush then use Twisted Advance on the big raptor while using Bramble Smash to knock them towards the bush allowing your saplings to kill the small raptors .
Pro Tip: Use first Smite on big raptor murdering it instantly.
Red Buff
Red buff is pretty much your go to at this point, BUT do NOT use Smite at because you will want it for the scuttle which is likely contensted.
scuttle is next up on the list and you will want to use Smite as it is quite likely the enemy jungler will have started red buff and is ready for it aswel. scuttle takes more damage when it is Crowd controlled so make sure to use your Twisted Advance.
Pro Tip: Keep a sapling inside the river brush to make sure you have a getaway or ace in the hole in case of a fight.

Full Tank VS Attack Damage

is a must have! When playing Maokai you have to keep in mind your damage is partially your abilities but mostly you passively killing them with sunfire and Thornmail

is 90 % a must have! Unless you are going up against an Ability power top lane! Thornmail is what pretty much counters every top Laner of being able to trade with you. unless its Vayne.. in which case you should have banned her :p. But to re iterate Thornmail plays again in them killing themselves on you and works wonders with sunfire

spirit is huge, it allows your passive Sap Magic to really bring back 1 quarter of your life and is defiantly a must have at some point in the game! Now I know you are asking "Freddy! what is this magic resist item doing in your anti armor build?" Wonderful question, I put it in there because after Sunfire Aegis and a Thornmail you will have a solid foot into the game! Now unless they go Executioner's Calling this item will pay off in ten fold with the health gain it will provide in both teamfights swell as lane & jungle.
Pro Tip: keep an eye out for Executioner's Calling IF THEY DO replace this with a Frozen Heart

Can will make any attack speed building champion cry! Now I know what you are thinking... "Freddy! Does Frozen Heart stack with Thornmail's passive of cold steel?" Yes it does my sweet little pumpkins... yes ... it... DOES!! So that 20/0 ADC that has been fed beyond belief is going to absolutely cry when you hit him with Twisted Advance (if you don't believe me click this link

gargoyle stone plateAt this point you have the choice between Gargoyle Stoneplate or a randuim's omen incase they stack critical chance. If you feel you need a little more damage you could go for a Liandry's Anguish just to ruin their day

Full Tank VS Ability Power

Now Spirit Visage becomes an absolute must due to its magic resist and your life leech nessescity. You can still go for Bami's Cinder but it has started to become a little more difficult to counter

Is second up unless its a Cassiopeiain which case you will want to run a Adaptive Helm first. The magic resist reduce will allow you to still life leach and do more damage without actually building heavy Ability power.

Is almost every time a must have! Against champions that spam or have a heavy aoe like Mordekaiser Anivia or even a Katarina this item will be worth its weight in gold and you might want to run it before Abyssal Mask when playing agains these champions

Jungle Items

is your jungle choice

laundry's torment is your main damage dealer. Half of your abilities slow already and the rest root. So it works wonders with Bramble Smash and Sapling Toss if you like to play an aggressive jungle like myself. I also reccomend running Zeke's Convergencewith it.

Seems like an odd pick right? haha I knew you would say that. I chose Zeke's Convergence for a very special reason! It works wonders to cast your natures grasp then follow up with a Twisted Advance slowing the entire enemy team allowing them to get rooted by your Nature's Grasp

Early Game with Maokai.

I highly encourage you guys to check out my stream and ask me to play him for you because there is so much to cover.


Maokai's early game is amazing. First off you will want to freeze lane as a fast as possible in your favour, ie: right outside of tower range. Should the minions happen to get closer then allowed use Bramble Smash to get those little pests back out of range. You will want to conserve mana by killing with your auto attack, which TRUST ME takes some getting use to if you are use to a heavy ad top laner. The reason for freezing lane is that you want to make sure your lane is open for ganks to feed yourself and that greedy greedy jungler. :p.


You will not want to spam your abilities
like I said before your mana pool is tiny. So only when you see the enemy make a mistake like dive or get caught out will you want to use Twisted Advance to root him under the tower or occasionally throw a Sapling Toss into the brush to when u are unable to ward to are prepping for a gank. Other then that keep your lane slow and steady by focusing on freezing and farming.


We do not go for the kills in the early game, Should your jungler see it fit to gank only then will we try to get a few Sapling Toss in the brush and use your crowd control to keep him steady while your jungler goes in for the damage. Now I will contradict myself a little by saying that if you have a Bami's Cinder and you have lane dominance you can start to stack saplings and bait the enemy into a bush. I personally prefer to wait until I atleast have a Bramble Vest or a Thornmail but I have won quite a few early game kills with just a cinder. You will have to learn your matchup for yourself.

Summoners spells:

Things get a little tricky for me to tell you when to use them. If you are in a little higher Elo the game is fairly slow paced and you can use your Teleport to continue laning. However in low elo things go quite a bit quicker and a drake is a nice objective to get or perhaps that over extended bot lane is open for some damage. You will have to figure that out for yourself but I personally will focus on lane rather then force out objectives.

Mid Game


Maokai's Now we have gotten our Thornmail and Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads depending on who we are up against, and are ready to make some plays. At this point you should be able to farm quite easily with Bami's Cinder and your spells are allowed to be used to force out a lane giving you some gank potential or push. Ofcourse always prioritise farming over getting kills but do make sure to show some lane dominance and don't be afraid to start heading into objectives and team fights. :p.


Use abilities accordingly :)
Now although your mana pool Is still not ideal for spamming spells. You are allowed to make sure you have Sapling Toss in the bushes ready for some engages. Try to lure your enemy into or close to a bush and then root them with Twisted Advance you can then knock them into or close enough to the saplings allowing them to burst your enemy down. REMEMBER Twisted Advance can cancel effects being cast on you like a Darius Ultimate, or just be used to avoid skill shots & stuns. Ive even been known to dodge a Summon: Tibbers ultimate and a Cassiopeia ultimate.


When it comes to mid game you have some serious engage potential and will almost ALWAYS win a 1V1 but this comes at a cost of wards usually. Just because you barely had to ward in the early game doesn't mean you won't have to ward now! So make sure to keep up vision.

Pro tip: check bushes with Sapling Toss before face checking

Summoners spells:

Although I will always tell you to prioritise lane farm over needless greed. The team fights will start rolling in so make sure to keep your Teleport ready to help out your team mates. If you do chose to be part of fights rather then farm do keep in mind that you are not a super easy farmer compared to some champions and are expected to be the engager. So use your brain :)

Late with Maokai.


Minions are of little to no use to you now. Make sure to keep an eye on objectives and help ward up. Leaving minions to your allies


Your kit is designed to both engage and save lives. It is up to you to decide wether or not there is a carry worth pealing for or wether you are able to go for the enemy carry keeping them out of the team fight. Either way you NEED to be with your team at ALL times. Wether you use Twisted Advance to engage or defend a carry I can't tell you because it will differ from game to game. Personally I prefer to duo with ha hard carry and keep them alive. But if I can lockdown an enemy hard carry and allow my team mates to murder them off then I will do that too.


Kills at this point will do you little to no good except for feed your ego. Yes a free kill can be taken but try to distribute the gold a little more to your carries and provide some much needed crowd control for them. However a blue buff is always appreciated. :)

Pro tip: check bushes with Sapling Toss before face checking

Summoners spells:

I mentioned before that I like to save Teleport in mid and late game for team play. Technically with Demolish you can split push... and it can defiantly be useful if you have your Teleport ready but your team has a much harder time getting caught out with your Nature's Grasp ready if they face check bushes.

In conclusion Maokai and Ivern have made me a tree hugger and although in low elo they are a little difficult to carry with are still absolutely amazing champions.

I believe Maokai will be S tier for quite some time and will have some serious rank push potential for the foreseeable future.

I wanna thank you guys for all the support and love you have shown me in my guide writing and on our stream! If you want to ask some questions feel free to do so in the comment section or ask me live over on twitch. Upcoming Maokai guide will be live over on your youtube channel

League of Legends Build Guide Author freddy66623
freddy66623 Maokai Guide
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[12.15] S - Tier Maokai - The unkillable - In depth All Lanes

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