Build Guide by JEFFY40HANDS
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Newest champ to hit the arena. He's big, green, and most definitely not a champ to be taken lightly. With these builds I'll explain the 2 sides to this twisted Treant. His AP Nuke/Support role. Or his tanking role, both builds are rather different. I hope each is something interesting to you.
-Strong starter with a solid base HP pool.
-Very mana efficient.
-Passive can allow him to sit in a lane for long periods of time.
-Sapling toss has amazing range/damage/utility.
-His ultimate is quite potent in team fights.
-Ultimate cannot be interrupted.
-Very item dependent to get moving.
-Long cool downs
-His knock back can be hard to position.
-Though his range is great with his Saplings it can be hard to know where they will go.
-Not a pick up and play champ. Takes some skill to get used to timing his abilities/placing them properly.
AP Nuke/Support Build.
This build focuses on beefing up this wooden wonders damage. Essentially this will nullify your survivability (Plenty of HP but not enough armor or magic resist to constitue being a true tank). Sapling Toss will be your main poke for early harass and even more so your nuke later on. Proper placement of this ability can defend you from ganks and even act like a short timer Teemo mushroom snagging kills for you if enemies try to escape after a team fight.
Mastery: We take a stantard 9/0/21 for this build getting magic pen and CDR as main points.
Magic Pen/AP per level. Meant to beef you up early game cutting through lowbie champs and making each point in Sappling Toss even more potent than the last.
Ghost for escapes
Exhaust to aid in a kill or keep someone from killing you.
Other possible spells being Flash, Teleport, even Fortify because of Mokai's snares/stuns.
Mokai though he has some solid range and harass is not a solo lane champ when going AP. You rely too heavily on long CDs early on to secure a kill alone. I suggest laning with another AP/Support champ. Soraka/Sona/Taric are all solid choices.
When in the lane focus on harassing your enemy with Sappling Toss. Conserve it properly but due to it's range and unique ability to move towards opponents it will prove to be a very nice tool early on and only becomes more effective as you build on. Last hitting with Maokai can be a bit awkward as he is a melee champ. Do the best you can here once you get your ultimate at level 6 though and a little bit more AP you can jungle rather well. It is also another solid bush checking no more face melting Garen's drawing first blood :).
If you're tempted to try mid lane as Maokai you'll need wards, though very nice wards themselves (Sapling Toss) they only last 25 seconds and are on too long a CD to afford tossing them all the time. Mid warrants you more EXP but you are subject to harass as a primarily range AP champ with a melee autoattack and being ganked with too few escape options.
Your role is to provide Vengeful Malestrom when team fights break out providing some defense against nukes like Annie, Veigar, Malzaharr, Akali. At the same time your support your team inside your ulti with snares/knockbacks/damage. Late game you should have a sizeable mana pool to play with. If you're worried then simply grab golem whenever it is up.
An alternative to Morello's Evil Tome is an Abyssal Scepter to boost your damage when enemies are inside your ultimate.
With this build we utilize your defensive/support skills. Maokai is a special character in that his abilities provide multiple reasons for use. Snares/Stuns/Knock backs/Wards etc. Each ability has an easily visible primary use with a secondary affect that provides great utility. The primary skill this build uses is his Arcane Smash. Solid damage but we are paying attention to it's ability to disrupt channels/knock back enemies and apply on hit affects like Rylai's Crystal Scepters slow. ((If you want Crustal Scepter over RoA of course)). With the tankier build we focus on durability in context to his utilities. Twisted Advance will be an initator followed by Arcane Smash. Great combo to catch and annhilate a straggler.
Standard 9/21/0 defensive tree build. Forgoing dodge for reduced minion damage in this current state.
Armor/Health/Magic Resist/Mana. Provides a well rounded begining with sustained laning and early damage medigation.
Heal for support in teamfights or early skirmishes.
Exhaust aid in shutting down a target or reducing incoming damage to you even more so by an enemy carry.
Tank Maokai is superb at singling out a target to kill. His ultimate lends itself to team support and can even turn the tides in battle by simply re-activating it to unleash all the stored damage. All the items in this tank portion are open to modify. Take Ninja Tabi if there is more AD champs/Merc Trads if you need MR. Tank set ups are never concrete and always change depenmding on group comp. However with that said I strongly recommend getting the Chalice of Harmony it will allow you to maintain solid MP5 early on. Sunfires are great due to the intense AoE damage that can be sustained while sitting inside of Vengeful Malestrom.
Though this is not the most complete guide it is meant for people taking a look at this new champ. Players that have a higher than basic understanding of how LoL works. I mean people with experience of hundreds of games. Where I am not explicit it termonology or strategy this build is meant to give you the the tools and ideas of playstyle for Maokai to let you better understand his role and then develope your own playstyle inside it. I hope you enjoyed this build and if it takes off believe me I will add more.