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Maokai Build Guide by I Am Goliath


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League of Legends Build Guide Author I Am Goliath

Goliath's guide to Maokai

I Am Goliath Last updated on December 9, 2017
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Cheat Sheet

The Twisted Treant

Maokai Build

Resolve
LoL Path: Resolve
LoL Rune: Aftershock
Aftershock
LoL Rune: Unflinching
Unflinching
LoL Rune: Conditioning
Conditioning
LoL Rune: Second Wind
Second Wind

Sorcery
LoL Path: Sorcery
LoL Rune: Scorch
Scorch
LoL Rune: Manaflow Band
Manaflow Band
Bonus:

+130 Health

Ability Sequence

1
4
5
7
9
Ability Key Q
2
8
10
12
13
Ability Key W
3
14
15
17
18
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R


Threats to Maokai with this build

Threat
Low
High
Show all
Threat Champion Notes
1
Malphite Easy matchup, he should never kill you in lane, you do more damage then him in trades and have more sustaine then him, you both scale good into late game so try to atleast get a cs lead in this lane, one way I usually do this is by pushing him in super hard for most of the game and forcing him to farm under turret. You have to be careful of the jungler coming though so always ward while doing this, it's smart to buy a control ward and place it in the Tri if you're bottom side , or the normal vertical bush if you're topside. It is possible to kill him early on if you poke him down enough with Q's.







My other guides:


Hey guys, my name is Goliath. I've played League of Legends since season 2, and have mained top lane and mid lane since season 3. I've been high Diamond in every season since season 4, peaking at Diamond 1. League of Legends has always been the main game that I have stuck with over the years, and is probably the most enjoyable game that I've played.

I've always been drawn to top lane and and mid lane since they're both solo lanes, and have stuck with these two roles as my main roles since season 3. I've previously played for a Challenger team, and have won various online tournaments like Go4LoL in the past, but now I mostly play Solo Queue and focus on climbing and teaching the game in any way as much as I can.

Here is my OP.GG for anyone interested.

If you want to see me play, maybe learn a thing or two, or ask me some questions, you can find my stream here. Stop by some time, I'm always down for giving advice and helping you improve.

If live streams aren't up you alley, you can also check out my YouTube channel here, where I'm going to start uploading informative videos, as well as stream and gameplay highlights.

If you want more general info, like when I upload, or update, a guide, then you can find my twitter here.

If I'm offline on twitch but you still want some pointers or just wanna chill, then feel free to join my discord server and hit me up.







Why Maokai?

To put it simply, if you enjoy playing tank champions, then you will enjoy Maokai. He does exactly what a tank is supposed to do, absorb damage for your team, disrupt people with CC, and heal himself, but also has the versatility in his kit to make it all fun.

He's usually the champion that I use for climbing in solo queue, as he scales brilliantly and is difficult to deal with; Being able to survive lane, and sometimes even win it. Currently I have a 38-16 (70%) winrate with him while being Diamond 3.

The fact that he is fairly easy to play, while also being a reliable wall, makes him a solid and consistent choice for climbing, if you know how to play him.


TL;DR: If you like being an unstoppable wall of bark, that's reliable and relatively easy to use, or if you're a druid, then you'll like Maokai.




Pros



+ Extremely Tanky.
+ Lots of crowd control.
+ Good engage.
+ Good peel.
+ Can survive most lanes without issue.
+ Scales very well into late game.



Cons




- High mana costs on some abilities.
- Very hard to kill certain champions in lane.
- CD's are kind of high.
-Not much mobility






Overall Maokai has way more pros then he does cons, and his cons aren't all that bad; his cons also only affect you in the laning phase, before you get your core items. Once you get a few of your core items and level ups you don't struggle at all with mana drawbacks, and your cooldowns aren't all that long. I'd say mobility is Maokai's only real long-term issue outside of lane, but as long as you have Flash up or Righteous Glory then it won't be that big of an issue.




- PREFACE -

I'm still testing the different rune combinations, so a few little things might change, but I am getting close to what I believe might be some-what optimal for my play style.





- Resolve -






After immobilizing an enemy champion, increase your Armor and Magic Resist by 20 + 30% for 2.5 seconds. Then explode, dealing magic damage to nearby enemies.

Damage: 40-140 (+ 3.5% of your maximum health)

Cooldown: 20 seconds



This keystone feels amazing on Maokai at the moment, it works with three of his four abilities which makes it so easy to proc as long as it's not on cooldown. It increases your armor and magic resist when it first starts, and then a little bit after it will unleash an area of effect magic damage burst that scales off of your maximum health; which is actually really strong. Even if you don't get off the damaging portion of the ability, the increase to your armor and magic resist is huge.




After casting a Summoner Spell, gain 15% Tenacity and Slow Resistance for 10 seconds. Additionally, gain 10% Tenacity and Slow Resistance for each Summoner Spell on cooldown.



I'm running unflinching right now, and feel like it's pretty useful, especially since you Flash a lot while playing Maokai, and the extra tenacity and slow resist is always nice when trying to play a tank. I think Font of Life could be good, but it doesn't really do anything in you for lane which is why I don't run it.




After 10 minutes gain +8 Armor and +8 Magic Resist and increase your Armor and Magic Resistance by 5%.



This rune is very strong on tanks because you will be stacking lots of armor and usually some magic resist as well, so the extra 5% boost is actually huge, and the flat +8 is also good. The only issue with this rune is you don't get anything out of it until 10 minutes so you're some small early game stats but you do get a big payout and most games won't be over by 10 minutes so I think it is worth it.




After taking damage from an enemy champion, heal for 4% of your missing health over 10 seconds.



I mostly just take this for more sustain in lane, since we want to try and survive as Maokai, and try our best to scale into mid and late game.







- Sorcery -






Your next ability hit sets champions on fire, dealing 20-60 bonus magic damage based on level after 1 second.

Cooldown: 20 seconds



This rune is super good in the early levels, and can win you a lot of trades. It's super easy to proc when playing Maokai, as you can easily hit Q's in lane. Overall, this rune is just going to give you some really helpful extra damage in trades.




Every 60 seconds, your next ability used has its mana or energy cost refunded, and restores 8% of your missing mana or energy.

Cooldown: 60 seconds



This rune is actually super useful for Maokai since he tends to have some mana problems if you're Bramble Smash(Q) poking a lot, which I usually do in lanes. Basically, every 60 seconds your next spell you cast is free, which is pretty good by itself, but the really nice thing about this rune is that it also restores 8% of your missing mana; this is very good for Maokai, as you will usually be running somewhat low on mana most of the time.







Flash: Almost every champion takes Flash for extra mobility, and this is also true for Maokai. Flash is actually key to winning games while playing Maokai, as I will explain later in his abilities.
Teleport: Teleport is a very strong summoner spell for top lane, as it allows you to split, or counter split, and still be able to join a team fight. It also allows you to tp bot lane during laning phase, if the bot lane over extends.



Sap Magic

Range: N/A
Cooldown: 30 / 25 / 20
Cost: N/A

Periodically, Maokai's next basic attack against a non-structure heals him for 6 / 7.5 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13% maximum health.
Each time Maokai casts, or is struck by, an ability, Sap Magic's cooldown is reduced by 4 seconds.
Sap Magic will not trigger if Maokai is above 95% health.





Sap Magic: Maokai's passive is great sustain for helping you survive lane. Every 30 seconds your next auto attack will heal you based on your maximum health and every time you cast an ability or get hit by an enemy ability, the cool down will be reduced by 4 seconds. This ability ends up healing a ton in the late game because of how many HP items you build, and it ends up pretty much being a free Giant's Belt every time it's up, so make sure you're using this to your full potential late game, as well as inside of lane.




Bramble Smash

Range: 700
Cooldown: 8 / 7.25 / 6.5 / 5.75 / 5
Cost: 50

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 99% for 0.25 seconds. Enemies close to Maokai are knocked back slightly more.





Bramble Smash: This will be your main tool while playing Maokai. You're going to want to use Bramble Smash(Q) to poke them as much as you can to win lane, or to bully lane to low hp for an all in. You're going to also want to use Bramble Smash(Q) when an enemy champion is going to last hit a minion so you can zone them off of it, or to at least hit them with a decent amount of damage. Be careful when you're using Bramble Smash(Q) inside a minion wave though, as you don't always want to hard push the lane. Also be aware, sometimes you will have to position this ability so that you only hit their champion, avoiding any minions so you don't push. This ability can also be used to disrupt an opponent, like Riven, from combo-ing, knocking them back as they Q you. Keep in mind this ability will hit everyone close to you, and even slightly behind you, so make note of that in team fights.




Twisted Advance

Range: 525
Cooldown: 13 / 12 / 11 / 10 / 9
Cost: 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 / 80

Maokai transforms into a cloud of arcane energy, becoming untargetable and quickly traveling to a target enemy. The target takes 50 / 75 / 100 / 125 / 150 (+40% of ability power) magic damage and is rooted in place for 1 / 1.1 / 1.2 / 1.3 / 1.4 second(s).





Twisted Advance: This is one of the best abilities in the game in my opinion. It's a point and click root that also does magic damage. Whenever you use this you're gonna want to use Bramble Smash(Q) on the target right after you W, causing a knockback and slow. Following this, you'll want to knock them back into your team, where they'll tear the enemy champion a new one. One of the reasons this ability is so good is because you can Flash + Twisted Advance(W) onto their carries late game, and they can't really do much about it. Just make sure your team can follow up before you do this.




Sapling Toss

Range: 1100
Cooldown: 11
Cost: 60 / 65 / 70 / 75 / 80

Maokai hurls a sapling to a target area. The sapling becomes implanted in the ground, warding a nearby area for 30 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 25 / 50 / 75 / 100 / 125 plus 6 / 6.5 / 7 / 7.5 / 8% (+1% per 100 ability power) of target's maximum health as magic damage to enemies and slows them by 35% for 2 seconds.

Saplings tossed into brush last 30 (+2.5% of Maokai's bonus health) seconds and have a larger detonation radius. Enemies caught in the explosion take 67% damage on detonation plus two additional ticks of 67% damage over 2 seconds.





Sapling Toss: This ability is kind of hard to use in top lane, but great if you play jungle maokai. Basically, if you throw your sapling in the brushes then it becomes empowered and does extra % max hp damage, you can try to use this ability in bushes and then fight near them and bait the opponent over near the bush so it runs at them. This ability can also be used to stop backs and to scout bushes where you think the enemy might be hiding. Keep in mind this ability is kind of mana costly, so be careful when spamming it in lane, at least until you get a mana item.




Nature's Grasp

Range: 3000
Cooldown: 120 / 100 / 80
Cost: 100

Maokai summons a colossal wall of 5 thorny brambles that slowly advances forward, each stopping at the first enemy champion they collide with, dealing 150 / 225 / 300 (+75% of ability power) magic damage and rooting them for 0.6-2.4 seconds (based on distance traveled).





Nature's Grasp: Maokai's new ultimate isn't that great in lane, but it's amazing for ganking and for team fighting. Basically you throw out 5 big thorn branches that travel slowly and root the enemy based on how far the branches traveled, as well as doing some magic damage. This ability moves pretty slowly, but it's great for team fighting because it at least zones the area, and you're almost guaranteed to hit one or two people. Be aware that if they're right outside of the branches you can use Bramble Smash(Q) to push them back into it, also make sure to try to chain this ability with Twisted Advance(W) instead of using them at the same time. This ability is really good if you can get a nice flank with it, and predict where they're going to run to, basically forcing them to either run into it or to stay and fight your team in an awkward spot.



Ability Sequence




> > >

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
Q
W
E
Q
Q
R
Q
W
Q
W
R
W
W
E
E
R
E
E


You're going to want to max Bramble Smash(Q) first on Maokai as it is your best poke and trading tool in lane. Next I go for Twisted Advance(W), since the damage and root time goes up on it each level. Sapling Toss(E) is kind of tricky to use in top lane a lot of the time, and costs a decent amount of mana, but you'll will still want a point in it to scout bushes and cancel backs. Keep in mind that Flashing followed up by Twisted Advance(W) is very good surprise lockdown, and is a big key to winning games on Maokai in my experience.






- Starting Builds -





- Start 1 -

- Start 2 -


Corrupting potion

This is usually the start that I go with since the sustain to both mana and HP is super good for the laning phase; it also adds a bit of magic damage if you're using it while trading. I think this Corrupting potion is super good value since it also refills every time you recall so you can actually hold on for this item for most of the game, just remember to be using it even in team fights as it does help.
Doran's Shield + HP Potion

If I'm against something that pokes a lot or has a ton of bleed damage then this is the start I'd go for. I'd only suggest getting it against a few champions though such as Pantheon, Akali, Teemo, and other champions that their main win condition is to poke you down in lane.






- Core Items -






Righteous Glory + Sunfire Cape + Spirit Visage

These three items are your core items, once you get these you're really covered from all angles. Together they provide very good armor & magic resist, Righteous Glory & Spirit Visage add a combined 20% cooldown reduction, the active on Righteous Glory gives a little bit of mobility, Righteous Glory & Spirit Visage provide increased healing, and the active for Sunfire Cape gives area of effect magic damage; so basically, once you get these three items you should be feeling very confident in team fighting or whatever your team wants you to do.




- Buy Order -



- Full Build -








Boots of Speed




Righteous Glory

Just get some normal boots early on, you'll want to upgrade these to Ninja Tabi or Mercury's Treads later, depending on the game and if they have more AP then AD or vice versa. If they have a ton of CC, merc treads can be a good option as well.




This should be your first main item on Maokai every game unless you're against an AP, then you can go Spectre's Cowl or Spirit Visage rush, followed by this item. Righteous Glory covers everything that Maokai struggles with: mana, cooldown reduction, and mobility. The stats are just too good for Maokai, and the active also gives him the ability to engage without Flash, so do not forget to use that when needed.







Sunfire Cape

OR


Ninja Tabi / Merc Treads

In my experience this item is very good on Maokai; I think it gives him that much needed damage that is missing in some trades. The stats on this item are also very good (armor and HP) and it also helps with waveclear since the sunfire does a ton of damage to minions. Once you have both Sunfire Cape and Righteous Glory you should win most 1v1's against AD champions by a lot.




This is where I normally try to upgrade my boots since by this point you should be out of laning phase, and upgraded boots will help a lot with engaging and just taking less damage. In a majority of games I usually get Ninja Tabi because you don't usually have too much of a problem with CC as maokai, since you can get onto people with your W, and also because you have Righteous Glory and Unflinching. with that being said, if they have majority AP characters, or if they all have CC then I'd go with Mercury's Treads.







Spirit Visage




Gargoyle Stoneplate

This will give you some much needed magic resist, as well as improve your healing; which is especially nice for your passive. Another good thing about this item is it gives cooldown reduction, which I think is very valueable on Maokai since his cooldowns can seem pretty long. If you're against an AP laner you can optionally rush this item.




I personally really like this item because at this point you already have so much HP from all the other items that more resists can be really nice; especially if you can benefit from the passive and get another +40. One thing I can say about this item is the active is SUPER GOOD, so please make sure you're using it; It gives you so much bonus HP that forgetting to use it can actually be a big deal. In my experience item is really useful because it adds to your sustain allowing you to be even more annoying.







Warmog's Armor

In my opinion warmog's is a pretty good item; it gives solid stats for Maokai, and the cooldown reduction is nice as well, but the main use for this item is the passive. The passive can be really good for healing you up after a fight, or if you disengage from a fight heal up and then reengage. I've had team fights where I get low and we win but have no minions for a push, but warmog's heals me to full and I tank the nexus turrets for the win, so overall warmog's can be a super useful item to have.




- Situational Items -








Adaptive Helm




Abyssal mask

If you're against somebody that spams the same ability, like Cassiopeia, then this can be a very good item. This item also gives some cooldown reduction, is which is very beneficial so it's actually a decent buy.



I'd only recommend this item if you want to deal more damage or if your team is all AP since the aura can be quite nice. It also gives the Rod of Ages passive on top of the aura, so your abilities also heal you slightly. Overall Adaptive Helm isn't a bad item, but I'd only buy it if your team benefits heavily from the aura.







Randuin's Omen




Thornmail

If their ADC is going full crit then you can go this item. It also gives good stats too, so if you were to get this item I'd swap it out for Sunfire Cape or Warmog's Armor probably.
If you want to dish out more damage then this item is a good alternative. If you benefit from Bramble Vest or inflicting grievous wounds in the match then this can also be a good buy.







Frozen Heart




Locket of the Iron Solari

In my opinion, this item is a bit underated, and is actually quite good if they have multiple attack damage characters that benefit from attack speed. If you're against something like Fiora top, Kindred jungle, and Kalista adc, then I think this item would be a great buy.

This item can be a good alternative to Gargoyle Stoneplate since it gives armor and magic resist, just remember to use this active and try to make the most out of it by shielding your team. This item can be good if you know your team is going to carry and you want to just support them by shielding them for loads of damage.






Laning phase is pretty straight forward with Maokai. You'll want to try your best to survive and scale up, as Maokai can easily become unkillable in team fights and lead to a victory. You're going to want to use Bramble Smash(Q) as a poking tool as much as you can so enemies can't all-in you. If they ever get low enough, you have pretty good all in potential. Remember that your auto attacks do a lot of damage, so don't be afraid to auto attack with Maokai, it'll add up. Really the main goal of Maokai is to survive laning phase, farm up and out-scale the enemy top laner.

Another thing during laning phase is do not forget to buy Control Wards. These things only cost 75G and are there until somebody kills them, which can also lead to a kill if they get baited and your jungler is there. Maokai is very gankable since he is kind of low mobility, but you can survive a lot of ganks; it really depends on who the jungler is and who the top laner is. If the jungler is someone with a lot of early game damage, like Graves or Lee Sin, make sure you ward at around 2:45 and buy a Control Ward on your first back, as they do have the potential to kill you.

If you're getting pushed in too often with Maokai you may need to use Bramble Smash(Q) on the wave more, or poke the enemy champion more so that you have the threat of killing them, blocking them from a free push. If you're struggling with mana costs in lane you can try going the double Doran's Ring start, or you can try getting an early Glacial Shroud, which will also give you a bit of armor and cooldown reduction.


Threat List




[1]
[2]
[3]
[4]
[5]
[6]
[7]
[8]
[9]
[10]


Malphite: Easy matchup, he should pretty much never kill you in lane. You do more damage then him in trades, and have more sustaine then him. You both scale well into late game, so try to at least get a cs lead in this lane. One way I usually do this is by pushing him in super hard for most of the game, and force him to farm under turret. You have to be careful of the jungler coming though, so always ward while doing this. It's smart to buy a control ward and place it in the Tri if you're bottom side, or the normal vertical bush if you're topside. Also keep in mind this it's possible to kill him early on if you poke him down enough with Q's.


Nautilus: Pretty even matchup, you're both super tanks with decent damage. I would say get a Spectre's Cowl and then Bami's Cinder in this lane before getting a big item. Usually this lane for me is a snoozefest since we scale pretty much evenly, and both get too tanky to actually kill each other. Although I like to think I outscale him just a tad bit more, since Flash + Twisted Advance(W) is so strong lategame.


Gangplank: Don't really see gp that often anymore, but you can easily win this match-up by using Bramble Smash(Q) on him when he goes to Q a minion. In this match-up, make sure you auto his barrels as much as you can, and also if he is ever close enough you can Twisted Advance(W) to him to dodge his barrel shot, which will win you the 1v1.


Kennen(AP): If the kennen is AP then this match-up is going to be easy for you. Your first item should be Spirit Visage; once you get it, he should do very low damage to you, allowing you to win trades. You're going to want to keep the lane in the middle if you can, and also try to poke him down with Q's. If he is ever in range of your W, you're going to want to use, since he doesn't have good all-in, he is mostly poke.


Lissandra: She'll bully you early with Q's, but you should be able to survive. Once you get Spirit Visage she does like no damage to you. Also, if you're planning on all inning her you can use Twisted Advance(W) to dodge her Q.


Sion: You can cancel sion's Q with Bramble Smash(Q) if you're close enough to knock him back. You can also Twisted Advance(W) to him to stop his ult or dodge his Q if you're fast enough. Try to push sion in early and make him farm under turret. Overall he doesn't have much kill pressure on you.

Moderate Threat


Renekton: You will lose this match-up early most likely. Try to dodge his Q's, and use Bramble Smash(Q) to poke him as much as you can. The reason I have this listed low is because once you get Ninja Tabi's and Sunfire Cape he falls off pretty hard. He simply doesn't have enough damage to kill you, and you can always win trades or all ins. Outside of lane you can always answer to his split, and your TP to teamfight is much stronger than his due to how much you out-scale him.


Gnar: The Gnar player has to be really good to win this match-up. You should never really die in this lane, but it's okay if you don't kill him since you'll out-scale him hard. Remember that mini Gnar is super squishy, so trade with him while he's in that. Pay close attention to his mega bar, and don't stand close to walls so he can fling you into them with his R in mega.


Riven: If the riven is super good she can win this match-up, but you should win this in lane. You out-trade her and Bramble Smash(Q) screws with her combo. Be sure to use Twisted Advance(W) to dodge her Q, or even her ult.


Tryndamere: He shouldn't kill you in lane, unless he takes Ignite, then he might be able to. Try to punish him hard early. You're gonna want Ninja Tabi's and a Thornmail because he is going to be splitting all game, and you want to be able fight him.


Aatrox: Pretty easy match up from my experience, although I haven't played against the new one that much. Once he gets his lifesteal items you won't have enough damage to kill him, but you can bully him early. His CD's are very long so try to use Bramble Smash(Q) on him whenever he comes up for a cs. Since his cd's are so long, try to force him to farm with his E for the early levels.


Teemo: Teemo is pretty annoying to play against since he is a lane bully, but you out-scale him super hard. Maokai actually does fairly well as you can survive his poke, and if you get a gank he is dead almost 100% of the time. Buy Control Wards in this match-up, and try not to take too much poke early on.


Camille: Camille seems to be hit or miss for me; some are really hard to win against and some are really easy, kind of like Yasuo. You want to think about where you use your Q's in this match-up. Try to be very disruptive of her combos. You want to use Bramble Smash(Q) on her to disrupt her Q, and try to make it to where she never get's that second proc that does true damage on you. Another thing that you want to be aware of, if she ever E's you, you'll want to use Bramble Smash(Q) on her character right before she actually get's to you, this way it doesn't stun you. Once you have Ninja Tabi's she can't really do much unless she ults you, then just pop Nature's Grasp(ult) and Twisted Advance(W) her and Bramble Smash(Q) to get her off you.


Yasuo: You can outrade Yasuo very hard, but try to punish him early. If he snowballs at all this is going to be a tough match-up. Make sure you stay even cs with him and try to keep him under control. Don't allow him to do anything for free, or he will get out of control. I like to hard zone Yasuo early, and rush a Ninja Tabi and Bami's Cinder. Also remember you can use Twisted Advance(W) to dodge his tornado, and poke his shield down with Bramble Smash(Q) before all going in on him.


Kennen(AD): If the Kennen is AD, then you're going to have a bit of trouble. Kennen will push you into turret and poke you down while farming under it, so try to get Ninja Tabi's on your first back, since AD Kennen is mostly all auto attacks. AD Kennen will usually buy a Frozen Mallet and Blade of the Ruined King, do not try to 1v1 him when he has these items; he will just kite you forever, doing consistent damage with his auto attacks. AD Kennen is not very good in teamfights, but is a pretty good split-pusher, so you're going to want to try to have good TP's into fights; trying to force things out of lane before he splits your lanes.


Irelia: Another match-up that can snowball if you let her free farm or if you play scared, but you outscale her in teamfights very hard. Play around her W and her E as much as you can. Watch your minions hp so you can predict if she is going to Q to that minion, and try to use Bramble Smash(Q) on her every time she does that. When she activates W, try to backout and then all in once it's over. Also, if she get's a bork do not fight her.


Nasus: You win against Nasus early in lane, until he gets stacked up. You want to bully him early as much as you can, as he will be super focused on farming up his Q. Late game DO NOT fight him 1v1, tell your team to group and and force him to either join the fights or, if he splits, try to force all the t2's. You are more useful then him in teamfights but he is stronger. Overall try to end the game as early as you can, or atleast get a big lead.


Jayce: This is going to be kind of rough early on. Try to farm with Bramble Smash(Q) rather then poking with it, or you will take to much damage from auto attacks. Only all in him if you have minion advantage, or he will win the trade. Rush Ninja Tabi's if you're taking too much damage from his autos.


Singed: Singed is very hard for Maokai to kill, he will scale pretty hard against you. As long as you play safe, he shouldn't be able to kill you. That being said, this match-up will be annoying. Singed is more of a split-pusher then a teamfighter, so you can still win late game against him. Try your best to farm up against him, and stay even in CS. If he flings you, Twisted Advance(W) back to him and use Bramble Smash(Q) to get him off of you.

HIGH Threat


Rumble: This is a hard matchup since he does so much damage, and usually rushes a Liandry's Torment. Try to rush Spirit Visage and Mercury's Treads in this matchup. Try to dodge his harpoons as much as you can, the damage from those can add up. Also, always pay attention to his overheat bar, and make sure if you go for an all in he is going to overheat. Basically punish him if he uses too many abilities for farming or poking you.


Darius: Darius is a very hard match up for any tank. You are going to want to try to bait out his Q's, and not let him get any of his passive stacks on you. If he ever gets multiple stacks, try to back off. Try your best to stay alive in this lane, and wait for a gank, as since Darius doesn't do well against ganks.


Kled: Another very hard matchup. You can pretty much never kill this little guy, however, you can survive this match up. I recommend poking with Bramble Smash(Q) as much as you can in this lane, so he can never all in you. If you can get him to jump off Skaarl the Cowardly Lizard then you can all in him, but be very careful. Do not get baited since he gets that thing back quickly. Again, early Ninja Tabi's will help you a TON in this matchup, since all he really does it auto attack.


Fiora: This is Maokai's hardest matchup in my opinion, and the one I struggle with the most. You want to let her push to you, and try to farm the best you can. Never get greedy for a cs in this lane, or she will punish you with her passive. Do not let her snowball in this lane. Once she gets her ult she will destroy you. Be careful how you use Twisted Advance(W) in this lane, she can parry it pretty easy since you have travel time. Play very safe in this lane and try to poke with Bramble Smash(Q) if they are not aggressive. If they are aggressive, let them push to you and farm under turret until you get your items, and try to have good TP's.




Teamfighting on Maokai is pretty interesting since he has very good engage, but also very good peel. You're going to want to gauge what you want to do on how fed each team is. I will say one of the best plays Maokai can do is Flash + Twisted Advance(W) onto one of their carries, just make sure your team can follow up. You can also do this combo if you see somebody alone and want to catch them out from far away, just make sure you're in range before you Flash, and that you do this combo quickly so they don't have time to react. If your Twisted Advance(W) casts and they Flash, you will follow them to their spot, so if you do this fast enough they have no way out. Doing this combo late game has won me many games, and I can't stress enough how important it is.

Normally if my Flash is not up I don't go ham with engaging, I like to peel my team if I can't get a catch with a W. If your ADC is fed, then just sit on him, absorb damage for him, and slow/root enemy champions for him; So just in general be an annoying wall that enemy champion's can't get past. Also sometimes you'll be the only engage on the team, which will happen in some games; You'll have no other choice but to engage. If this does happen, just try to engage on somebody out of place with your W, ideally their mid laner or ADC.




Overall Maokai is, in my opinion, the best tank in the game. The fact that he fills his role so well, while also being somewhat easy to play, makes him a consistent choice for climbing. His kit is packed with CC; he has an ultimate that's great for zoning teamfights, with the added ability of rooting, and dealing a bit of magic damage, while his passive allows him to survive teamfights, as well as survive in lane.

Maoakai is also great at closing games with Flash + Twisted Advance(W) to catch out a carry. This is one of your main winning conditions; Try to get good at doing it instantly so they have no time to react.

I really do feel like Maokai is the best tank in the game as of right now, and playing him can be a lot of fun once you become an unkillable wall of bark; So if you like top lane or tank characters, you should definitely give Maokai a try.



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