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Maokai Build Guide by bocchicken

[13.20] Big Tree = FREE LP

[13.20] Big Tree = FREE LP

Updated on October 23, 2023
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League of Legends Build Guide Author bocchicken Build Guide By bocchicken 39 2 127,652 Views 6 Comments
39 2 127,652 Views 6 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author bocchicken Maokai Build Guide By bocchicken Updated on October 23, 2023
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Runes: FULL AP

1 2 3
First Strike
Magical Footwear
Future's Market
Cosmic Insight

Cheap Shot
Treasure Hunter

+8 Ability Haste
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


It's everyday bro
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

Champion Build Guide

[13.20] Big Tree = FREE LP

By bocchicken
EZ Mode Maokai

Howdy gamers, I'm boc and I was a Coach with Cloud9 for 2 years. Now, I'm the Coaching Manager for C9's performance partner, FITGMR!

Welcome to my second guide ever! Maokai is one of my favorite champs in the game due to his suite of CC, good damage, and solid sustain. Even most of his losing match-ups are still playable, and he can round off almost any comp as a primary initiator, peeler, or follow-up engage!
With the meta primarily being lane bullies/bruisers, maokai's variable playstyle and utility shines and helps him remain viable.

With this build I currently have a 69% winrate in ranked with 100 games played this season, even after he has fallen out of favor a bit in the meta! I will also be looking to update this as the Split 2 of Season 13 begins
Pros / Cons

+ Very easy to gank for
+ Tanky OR AP options
+ Fits well into almost any comp
+ Q is low cost/CDR for reliable pushing and damage
+ Utility and sticking power in teamfights is high

You are able to survive almost any lane with minimal effort and can CS and push easily with your Q once you have multiple points in it. You win trades and can look to all in at lvl 6 to get surprise kills in some situations.

- Squishy early
- Runs out of mana if full spell rotation is used
- Does poorly into MR stackers
- Can get poked out if against ranged champs
- Useless if your team is too far behind.

You are extremely squishy before you get items and your full combo of spells costs a large chunk of your mana pool if you do not have any mana items. Loses against some of the meta anti-tank picks at the moment.
Gameplan and Overall Objective
In most of your matchups you can use the high base damage of your Q Bramble Smash to stop enemies from shoving you under tower and get surprisingly good trades in. Your all in combo does much more damage than many people expect, especially if you fight near a brush that has an E Sapling Toss in it!

Your main goal is to itemize for the game you are in and NOT the matchup you are against toplane unless you are in danger of falling significantly behind.

Your kit allows you to absorb the pressure from a poor matchup and sustain through it without devoting much of your early build to surviving laning phase.

Do not spam your abilities early, you will run out of mana very quickly. Instead use your Q when you can hit the enemy minions as well as your lane opponent to give you optimal value as your Q is your first maxed ability and is where all of your waveclear comes from after they removed bonus minion damage on empowered E.

Be mindful that your Q can interrupt many dashes such as Tristanas rocket jump (once she is in the air), Irelia's Q dash, Jarvan's E+Q, Fiora's Q, and many more but it does NOT interrupt the effects of unstoppable abilities (Malphite R, Ornn W, etc..).

Flash: Flash is a MUST-have, use it to get a surprise engagement onto the enemy backline, or to escape a bad fight or gank. If you absolutely hate flash, ghost is still acceptable, it's just not the best considering you can just take phase rush

Teleport: Look for TP flanks mid/late game or to get back to lane if you are pushed out early in a poor matchup. You can always take poor trades early and get a "free extra life" by using TP, care for enemy dives w/ first herald

Smite: If you're jungling, you kind need smite. Red smite is the best right now, but you can consider blue smite if you need to move around the map faster (if your team is split-push heavy and you want to shadow your split pusher).
  • Grasp Vs Aftershock: Grasp will boost your damage in lanign phase at the loss of tankiness when you are in teamfights later in the game. Your passive healing makes up for the loss of sustain from not taking grasp.
  • First Strike is the mid-game MONEY PRINTER. Stack them sapling before objectives, just be sure to be either going the AP bruiser build OR full ap. Tank Maokai sapling damage is pathetic..
  • Phase Rush feels GREAT as either Tank Maokai OR AP bruiser Maokai. If you're full AP, you may be too squishy to do your damage and still get out even with Phase Rush
Take into comps with multiple ADC's or many AD threats

Your bread and butter. This item feels SO good on Maokai and makes all of your abilities hurt. This is built in almost every game regardless of if you are going tank or ap or ap bruiser.

More damage, more CC, more CDR, more armor. Useful if in need of more utility.

Helps with last hitting and pushing the lane early until you get more items. Also helps with trading in lane.

Gives all your abilities a slight bump in dmg and provides more CDR as well as resists against any AP threats

Take if you need grievous wounds against a comp with a lot of healing. good into Trynd, Fiora, Vlad, Soraka, and almost every ADC.

THE PREMIERE KAI'SA COUNTER. Also takes champs like Teemo, Singed, and Casseopia out of the game. *Build in certain situations*

The hp is nice, look to pick this up if your team needs a more beefy frontline who can then disengage and come back full HP after a few seconds

Good into comps with lots of attack speed. provides more armor than Frostfire, but with less damage

Good situational buy into teams with high attack speed or crit

After engaging into an enemy team, activating gargoyles while you are near full HP will make you almost invincible for it's active duration.

Get this if your team needs a hard engager, this will let you initiate fights more easily and allow you to stick to mobile backline targets.

Keep your team alive! This is mostly just built on jungle Maokai as a 2nd item after either Sunfire or Demonic. You give up damage at the cost of your own survivability.

Are your 4 CC abilities still not enough lockdown? Get this to make SURE that target can't slip away.

This is great on Top/Jungle/or Support Maokai if you're building tank. This + Abyssal is a LOT of damage amp for your team!

Commit to this 2nd item if you need the raw AP. You CAN carry as an AP threat with this build, but you cannot frontline. Think of yourself as a Viktor/Ziggs who pokes from afar and zone the enemy.
You have many options here: you can be:
  • Hard Engage
  • Follow Up Engage
  • Peel/support tank
  • Long-range control mage

- If you are hard engage look to be towards the front of your team and find an opening when you can get a path to the enemies backline with either just W or Flash+W. With a W you can follow through with a Q for added crowd control, an E to slow, and then an R as they attempt to escape to lock them down, or in most cases just kill them.

- If you are a follow up engage, look to lurk off to the side or behind your frontline, wait for their engage and then drop your R to lockdown their entire team. Then look to W onto the nearest high-priority target and CC them so your DPS can take them out.

- If you are a peeler, do NOT follow up on the engage. Instead place your sapling near your carry and use your W to intercept any incoming threats. If you are against a stealth champion like Rengar/Evelynn caste your R so it covers your carry then body block by standing near and using your Q to displace any threats.

- If playing as an AP carry, treat your life as just as important as an ADC's/APC's. Get to the objective FIRST to setup your saplings. If you have 2+ items, the enemy will have to walk through a minefield in order to contest your team. You can also just E + R to zone of the entire team to finish an objective and most of the time they will be too low/too far away to even contest. Do NOT try and engage 5v5 fights yourself!! You will instantly die unless extremely far ahead
The End!
Thanks for reading the guide! If you have any questions, comments or criticism PLEASE leave a message down beneath! I appreciate all feedback.

If you are interesting in learning more about the complicated aspects of League, follow my stream over HERE or check out my METAFY page where I do coaching!

Thank you and have a blessed day / night <3
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