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Maokai Humor Guide by Flowstylex

AD Carry AD Maokai - Never underrestimate a Tree with a Sword!

AD Carry AD Maokai - Never underrestimate a Tree with a Sword!

Updated on October 30, 2013
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Flowstylex Build Guide By Flowstylex 22 1 103,630 Views 39 Comments
22 1 103,630 Views 39 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Flowstylex Maokai Build Guide By Flowstylex Updated on October 30, 2013
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
Why should i play AD Maokai and why is he viable?

2. Building
Explanation of summoner spells, masteries, and runes.

3. Skills
What are his abilities and how do i use them?

4. Itemization
Which items shall i buy and when?

5. The Game
How do I behave in every stage of the game?

6. My Lane
Who has a good synergy with me, who can be a hard enemy?

7. The End
Summary and last words


sp M
Hello guys, welcome to my new AD Carry Maokai guide! Some of you may have listened to the song by Instalok (if not you can listen to it here).


That means AD Maokai is not recommended in competitive plays like rankeds at all, it's just a new funny way to play him. Feel free to try it out!

You may think now: What? AD Carry Maokai? Trollguide....
You won't believe me but Maokai is actually pretty fun to play on the botlane! His built in sustain synergizes very well with a laning partner (especially if he has to spam his skills like Sona). High natural stats and a solid engage are only a few examples from Maokai's positive attributes, giving him high kill potencial on the botlane resulting in heaps of fun! :)

Flow .... Why should I play him AD, he has no AD scalings AND he is melee..

Well, have you ever seen a tree running towards you? No good feeling at all ... Most "normal" AD Carrys lack CC and are getting killed very fast. Maokai has both, 2 hard CC spells ( arcane smash and Twisted Advance) and with his Vengeful Maelstrom and Sap Magic he has a pretty solid survivability. But the main problem if you play Maokai botlane is, that you get poked. HARD!

Well, anyways! Now let's take a closer look at AD Carry Maokai!


+ High burst with, especially with Statikk Shiv
+ Built in sustain with Sap Magic
+ 2 forms of hard CC
+ Can jump over walls to the enemy with the Sapling Toss + Twisted Advance combo
+ 35s Wards with his Sapplings!! :D
+ Strong Team fights with Vengeful Maelstrom

- Difficult to farm
- Melee!!
- Get's kited very hard
- No escape ability
- No AD scalings on his abilities
- Mana hungry
- Very slow base movement speed

Summoner Spells

The standard Summoner for every ADC, even Maokai! He has no escape skill at all, so Flash is pretty necessary. Flashing over walls, escaping and chasing are only a few examples for what you can do with this summoner. Highly recommended.

Ignite improves our burst, reduces healings (also Lifesteal, so it's pretty good at botlane!) and can be used as a decent finisher. Normally I don't like taking Ignite on AD's, but only because the auto attack range is higher than the range from Ignite. But that's no problem as a melee Chammpion. Recommended.

Alternative to Ignite. It's a good summoner to save your wooden butt, but because of his solid sustain I think Ignite works better with Maokai, so take what you prefer. Only use this at the very last second, maybe you can bait out Ultimates or even summoners with it Recommended.

If the enemy Support or ADC has some hard CC, consider taking this as second Summoner Spell, to cleanse it away. Some good examples where you can take Cleanse are: Sona, Nami, Taric. Remember, Cleanse disables also an Ignite! Situational.

> > >


- Greater Mark of Attack Damage: These runes outclass greater mark of armor penetration becasue Maokai has no spell that would benefit from ArPen. So we take flat AD to hit harder and last hit easier. It boosts our early-game damage pretty well, so there is no reason why we shouldn't take them (beside of not playing AD Maokai ...)

Alternatives: /

Greater Seal of Armor: Take these runes with you, no alternatives, nothing. They are a must because you will get poked so hard from the enemy ADC (who is usually ranged), you need the extra armor so you won't get poked out of your lane. It also helps against the enemy AD Top or Jungle if they have one, and against minion damage. Never underrestimate!

Alternatives: /

- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: These glyphs help you out to survive longer in Teamfights, especially if the enemy APC is fed. Because this build doesn't have much MR items those runes are very helpful.

Alternatives: Greater Glyph of Magic Resist: If the enemy support (or even AD Carry) has some high magical damage early game, then this is a better option. (Example's are: Sona, Lulu, Zyra, Corki, Tristana)

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage: Same reason like above, easier last hitting and more damage overall.

Alternatives: You can swap out 1-2 runes for Greater Quintessence of Life Steal, but I don't recommend this because you won't be able to do much Autoattacks in Lane without getting harrassed, so ..


Offense Tree

We want to take both, Weapon Expertise and Arcane Knowledge for the highest amount of damage with autoattacks and spells, Summoner's Wrath for an AD + AP bonus when Ignite is on cooldown, which is actually pretty good. Then Brute Force , Sunder and Executioner to improve our damage output even more

In the defense Tree we want to take Durability , Hardiness , Resistance and to be a bit tankier overall to prevent getting poked/bursted down instantly. Standard masteries

Defense Tree

Utility Tree

We take 1 point in Summoner's Insight to get our Flash a bit earlier, and we'll need that. Imagine you had to flash over a wall to survive but Flash had still 10s Cooldown.


arcane smash

Sap Magic:

Each time a champion near Maokai casts a spell, he gains a charge of Magical Sap. When he has 5 charges, his next melee attack drains energy from his target, healing Maokai for 7% of his maximum health.
sp P

This Passive is the reason why Maokai likes to have a laning partner. He gains a stack from EVERY spell, no matter from which team. Try to proc this Passive as often as possible in the laning phase so you won't waste stacks and get to low on HP.

[Q] arcane smash Arcane Smash:

Maokai slams the ground, the force of which knocks nearby enemies back and sends an arcane shockwave forward, dealing 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+40% of ability power) magic damage and slowing his enemies by 20 / 27 / 34 / 41 / 48 % for 2 seconds. Enemies close to Maokai are knocked up briefly.
sp [Q]

This Spell can be used as a knockback in Melee range and as a slow/finisher from "range". arcane smash has a high base damage and a good slow so we want to max it first. The low cooldown and manacost allow you to "spam" this skill a bit, even to last hit sometimes or stack up your Sap Magic

[W] Twisted Advance:

Maokai transforms into a cloud of arcane energy, quickly traveling to a target enemy. The target takes 80 / 115 / 150 / 185 / 220 (+80% of ability power) magic damage and is rooted in place for 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 second(s).
sp [W]

This is our initiate skill. After using this we'll be in a bad spot most of the time, so make sure you won't jump into a 1v5. In the laning phase you only want to use this if you and your support are engaging, you can use this to escape, too. For example if you overextended and try to dive them and suddenly the enemy jungler appears you can Twisted Advance on an enemy minion to get some distance.

[E] Sapling Toss:

Maokai hurls a sapling to a target area, dealing 40 / 75 / 110 / 145 / 180 (+40% of ability power) magic damage on impact. The sapling becomes implanted in the ground, warding a nearby area for up to 35 seconds. After a 1 second delay after landing, the sapling will seek out nearby enemies. When an enemy approaches, the sapling will chase for up to 2.5 seconds and explode in an arcane blast that deals 80 / 130 / 180 / 230 / 280 (+60% of ability power) magic damage to enemies.
sp [E]

This ability won't do much damage because we don't build any AP, we only want this skill for scouting, "warding" and sometimes last hitting (High Mana Cost! So don't use it to often). Because this skill is granting vision we can throw a sapling over a wall to get vision from an enemy to Twisted Advance to him.

[R] Vengeful Maelstrom:

Maokai shields his allies by drawing power from hostile spells and attacks, reducing non-tower damage done to allied champions in the area by 20%. Maokai can prolong the effect as long as he has mana to spend on it (Upkeep Cost: 30 mana per second). When the effect ends, Maokai unleashes the absorbed energy to deal 100 / 150 / 200 (+50% of ability power) (+2 bonus damage per damage absorbed) damage to enemies within the vortex. Maximum 200 / 250 / 300 bonus damage.
sp [R]

This is a very powerful ultimate, we get reduced damage from non-towers and after popping the ult again we deal some great damage, even without AP! The problem with this ult is the placement. Placing it right can be key to win a teamfight! Because of the low cooldown we can use this in nearly every fight, but remember to reactive Vengeful Maelstrom so it won't drain all your mana!

Skill Sequence

Lvl 1-4:

We want to take a point in Sapling Toss at level 1 to scout and ward brushes and maybe to last 1-2 minions from range. Then we take arcane smash for early skirmishes and to knockback and slow an enemy if your or the enemy jungler is ganking. At level 3 we want to take Twisted Advance if you want to engage on the enemy, if not take arcane smash and level Twisted Advance at level 4.

Post Lvl. 4:
> arcane smash > >

Because arcane smash has a high base damage and a scaling slow we want to max it first to enhance our burst damage. Then we max Twisted Advance for a longer root duration and higher damage. Last is Sapling Toss because the damage is too low for too much mana cost early game. Of course we put a point in Vengeful Maelstrom whenever possible. (6,11,16)


Starting Items

This item is perfect for AD Maokai in the laning phase, because he can use it to bait the enemy and then reengage or he can pop it when engaging to destroy the poor enemies. The 3 Health Potion's also let you have some extra sustain in lane.

This start is crucial against hard poke champions like Ezreal or Caitlyn. Without the extra movement speed you won't be able to get some creeps at all or dodge skillshots, and the 4 Health Potion's let you stay in lane longer.

Early Game

These boots are core for every adc because they want to hit the enemy as often as possible. Maokai is no exception! The extra movement speed also helps against getting kited or even kiting (rare situation, because the adc is ranged).

For the bit extra AD and Lifesteal to stay in lane. This item is essential against high poke adc's and should be rushed in nearly every game, otherwise you won't be able to get EXP and gold.

For expanded gold income you take Avarice Blade. Otherwise you may fall behind, ending up in being useless. Everytime you get a last hit (even towers or champions) you get 2 extra gold, another reason for last hitting constantly.

Statikk Shiv is the first finished item for Maokai. It improves our splitpush-ability even more and gives nice offensive stats like ATK Speed, Critical Chance and Movement Speed.

Mid Game

After finishing Statikk Shiv and Infinity Edge Maokai will have a pretty noticable burst because of his strong Crits combined with high Attack Damage and Attack Speed. But remember that you're still squishy as hell, so don't run into the enemy team like a raging Tryndamere!.

Because of it's recent buffs, Trinity Force is a quite strong option in my opinion. Because of the low cooldown from arcane smash we can proc the Sheen-effect very often and all the stats it gives are very useful.

Now the mid-late game begins and the enemies will have tons of health. Blade of the Ruined King lets us shred through the enemy health and has an very useful active for chasing.

Late Game

More Sustain and raw AD to keep up with the Damage, and the best: Our Autoattacks get an AoE-effect! This helps with waveclearing or higher damage output in teamfights. Never forget to use it's active! It's on very low cooldown and resett's our AA-timer.

This item is perfect for the last defensive item, because it not only gives us HP and armor, the active effect does synergize very well with our kit, because we want to be in the middle of the fight. Very helpful against fed ADC (or toplaner like Tryndamere!

If you're getting focused too much and the enemy APC is very feed, take this over Randuin's Omen. Because of the revive and the extra MR you should be able to stay alive in Teamfights combined with your Vengeful Maelstrom.

Situational Items

Sunfire Aegis or Warmog's Armor can be replaced for Randuin's Omen (or Guardian Angel). Sunfire is actually pretty the same, but you get AoE magical damage instead of a slow, but if you the enemy ADC or AA-reliant Toplaner is too fed Randuin's Omen is definitely the better option.

Warmog's Armor is not the best option because we don't need so much flat health and regeneration, but if the enemy has so much Armor/Magic - Penetration flath health CAN be the better option.

Bloodthirster can be replaced for Ravenous Hydra, but IMO RH is superior. The AoE Damage is just too good for a bit more AD/Lifesteal, and thats only if it's well stacked.

Early Game

The Early Game is the weakest part of the game for Maokai. He'll get poked very hard from both the ADC and the support. So it's very important to have a support with Heals like Taric or Nami. A good trick to farm without getting to much damage is to stay in the bush and only go out to last hit, like shown in the screen.

Last hitting

If you use this tactic, make sure the bush isn't warded!

Tell your support at the beginning of the game that you can't engage until your level 3-4, and stay very passive until you are.

When you are ready to engage use this Combo (prefered on the ADC):

=> => AA => arcane smash => AA's

This is your standard pre-6 combo. You throw a sapling at your target and snare him with Twisted Advance to make sure he gets hit by the sap, then you run behind him and use arcane smash to knock him towards your tower and slow him. Always use Autoattacks inbetween and after your combo to maximize your damage!

When you have Vengeful Maelstrom then you should be able to survive nearly every little skirmish, but you have to make sure that you place your Vengeful Maelstrom right, because many high experienced player will just walk out of your Ult and then poke you down, so you have to place your Ult like shown in the screen.


Mid Game

Mid-Game is where AD Maokai shines. His high burst potencial combined with solid survivability allows him to become a teamfight-monster. The only challenge is WHEN to engage, the answer is: never.

You have to remember that you're still squishy, so let your Tank (mostly Top or Jungle) engage and only join the fight when many hard CC Spells are burned. Stay behind the tank and wait until you can engage, then use Twisted Advance on the AD Carry (or AP Carry, depending on their protection for their allies or their escape skills) and burst your target down.

The Combo:
=> => AA => arcane smash => AA's

Maybe you're wondering why we don't use Sapling Toss in the combo, but the answer is very simple, the little damage output is not worth the cast time. Autoattacks are way stronger.


Never forget that Maokai is a great pusher, so if there are no fights at the moment Maokai can easily splitpush the sidelanes with his strong waveclear. But you have to be cautious, if you overextend you have no escape tool to survive!

Late Game

If you come to this point of the game, you try to take objectives with your team, win teamfights and push to the enemy base. Nothing has really changed, in teamfights you still want to wait until you can engage, Splitpushing is still the same, but everyone will be full build now so even the champs who lost their lanes hard are dangerous again! Try to get baron nashor , win teamfights and destroy their nexus!

Synergy & Match-Ups

Good Synergy! Lulu is very awesome with Maokai, she can spam her skill to stack up his Sap Magic, has a perfect kit for engages ( Wild Growth on Maokai while using Twisted Advance to engage) and her she can boost both, or our Autoattacks with Help, Pix! and our abilities with Whimsy. Con: She has no heals.

Good Synergy! She has some heals and can improve our autoattack with Tidecaller's Blessing and has 2 forms of hard CC. You can stunlock your target with Twisted Advance followed up by Aqua Prison from nami. Con: Quite squishy and no escape tool.

VERY HARD She has the highest Autoattack-range at lvl 1 and she will simply poke you down. Try to rush Vampiric Scepter and stay in the bush until you can last hit, play very passive and ask for jungler ganks

More coming soon!

The End

Okay guys, that was my AD Carry Maokai guide! I hope you enjoyed, and if you still think Melee Carries suck feel free to play him Top Lane :) IMO AD Maokai is very difficult to play and not recommended to new players because of his different playstyle. Furthermore it's not very recommended to play him in rankeds, you can try it but don't expect to get positive comments from your teammates.

Anyways, thanks for reading my guide! :) Leave a Comment or a Vote if you want, i really appreciate some critic to improve my guide.

At the end here some AD Maokai Videos, bye!

English Let's Play: (not me)

German Let's Play: (still not me)

Instalok Song:

AD Maokai Quadrakill

Credits to:
- YayaFTW for her awesome images! :)
-jhoijhoi for her template!

Coming up soon:
-More Support synergy + Match-Ups
-Hall of Fame


Good luck on the Field of Justice!
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