Mobafire League of Legends Build Guides Mobafire League of Legends Build Guides

Maokai Build Guide by I Am Goliath


749K
Views
32
Comments
19
Votes
Like Build on Facebook Tweet This Build Share This Build on Reddit
League of Legends Build Guide Author I Am Goliath

In Depth Maokai Top Lane Guide

I Am Goliath Last updated on September 12, 2017
Support
x
Did this guide help you? If so please give them a vote or leave a comment. You can even win prizes by doing so!
Vote
Comment

You must be logged in to comment. Please login or register.

I liked this Guide
I didn't like this Guide
Commenting is required to vote!

Thank You!

Your votes and comments encourage our guide authors to continue
creating helpful guides for the League of Legends community.

Stream is Offline

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

Masteries

12 Ferocity

0/

5/

0/

1/

0/

0/

5/

0/

0/

1/

0/

0/

0/

0/

0/

0 Cunning

0/

0/

0/

0/

0/

0/

0/

0/

0/

0/

0/

0/

0/

0/

0/

18 Resolve

0/

5/

0/

1/

0/

5/

0/

1/

0/

0/

0/

5/

0/

1/

0/



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.





Hey guys, my name is Goliath. I've played League of Legends since season 2, and top lane since season 3. I've been high Diamond in every season since season 4, peaking at Diamond 1.

I've always been drawn to top lane and tanks, and believe that they're super strong for climbing. I've previously played for a Challenger team, and do various online tournaments like Go4LoL, but now I mostly play Solo Queue and focus on climbing and teaching top lane 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 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 33-14 (70%) winrate with him while being Diamond 3 49 LP.

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 really deal breakers. His cons only really affect his laning phase. Once you get Spirit Visage your CD's aren't that bad, and once you get one mana item, his mana costs aren't too bad. Mobility is definitely still a pretty big con, but he still survives ganks so it's not an issue.




Runes

Greater Mark of Attack Speed
9

Greater Seal of Scaling Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
9

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
3


- Marks -
Greater Mark of Attack Speed: Attack speed marks are very strong on Maokai as you auto a lot on him. You'll find that in 1v1's a lot of your damage actually comes from your auto's. These really help you in trades, as well as all ins.


- Seals -
Greater Seal of Scaling Armor: I take these over flat armor because at level 6 they become exactly the same as flat and from there on out they scale way better. You shouldn't really be going all in pre level 6 anyway. Maokai scales very hard, so this is just adding to that.


- Glyphs -
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: Again, I take scaling MR glyphs because most of the time you're against an ad lane anyway and you want to just keep scaling for team fights with Maokai.


- Quints -
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power: These are going to give you a little bit of extra damage on your spells, which is especially nice since you Q poke a lot in lane with Maokai.






Resolve Tree








You take 2 less damage from champion and monster basic attacks.



I take Unyielding over Recovery because I think you already have enough sustain in lane, and I think Unyielding gives you more overall stats on a tank.









You take 2 less damage from champion and monster basic attacks.



I take Tough Skin over Explorer and Siegemaster because I don't believe them to be all that useful on Maokai, and blocking some extra damage on auto attacks is super helpful. Tough Skin also stacks with Ninja Tabi's, which is just another added benefit.










+ 1.6 / 3.2 / 4.8 / 6.4 / 8 % bonus to all shields and healing on you (includes lifesteal and regeneration).



I think Runic Armor is way better then Veteran's Scars on most champions, but especially on Maokai. Runic Armor synergizes so well with his passive, his hp regen, and the shield he gets from Courage of the Colossus . Veteran's Scars only adds 50 total hp, which is only going to help you in the very early game for all inning, and you wouldn't really want to do with Maokai anyway.










Your summoner spells have a 15% reduced cooldown.



I take Insight over Perseverance and Fearless due to the importance of Flash on Maokai. If you are in a very hard match up and need sustain, I think Perseverance is an okay mastery to take, but otherwise I'd stick with Insight . While Insight gives you a shorter CD on Teleport, which can be useful, I mostly take it for the shorter Flash CD, since you'll rely on Flash W to help with teamfights.










+ 0.6 / 1.2 / 1.8 / 2.4 / 3 Armor and Magic Resist for each nearby enemy champion



I take Legendary Guardian over Swiftness because I think the extra Armor, MR, and Unyielding synergy have more value then the Tenacity and Slow Resist from Swiftness . Although if the opposing team comp looks like it has some nasty CC, you should probably take Swiftness .










Gain a shield for (3 + 3 per level + 5% of your maximum health) for each nearby enemy champion for 3 seconds after hitting an enemy champion with hard CC (45-30 second cooldown at levels 1-18)



Courage of the Colossus is pretty straight forward with Maokai. It synergizes with Runic Armor , the shield is nice, and you have two ways to proc the ability.










Ferocity Tree



Let me start off by saying the only things I think Maokai really benefits from in the Cunning tree are Dangerous Game and Secret Stash , whereas, in the Ferocity Tree, he benefits from every point. I'll break down each point again in this tree.







+ 0.4 / 0.8 / 1.2 / 1.6 / 2 % Increased Damage from Abilities.



I take Sorcery over Fury because I think Maokai's abilities are actually very strong. Your W is always going to be a strong, easy to use, cc tool, your ult does a decent amount of magic damage burst, and your Q has solid base damage.










Killing a unit restores 20 Health. (30 second cooldown)



To be honest, I just prefer Feast 's lane sustain over Fresh Blood 's damage on your first auto attack. I just see Feast as the better mastery when in top lane in most cases.










At level 1,
+ 0.4 / 0.8 / 1.2 / 1.6 / 2.0 AD
+ 0.6 / 1.2 / 1.8 / 2.4 / 3.0 AP

At level 18,
+ 2 / 4 / 6 / 8 / 10 AD
+ 3 / 6 / 9 / 12 / 15 AP



Natural Talent is just better then Vampirism for Maokai. It gives you more scaling for AP and AD, which is convenient since you auto attack a lot while playing Maokai.










Gain up to 3% increased damage over 3 seconds when in combat with enemy Champions.



I take Battle Trance over the other two because I don't think Bounty Hunter is practical on a tank character, and Double Edged Sword makes you take more damage, which is again, not practical on a tank character. In my opinion, Battle Trance is fitting for a tank because, as a tank, you should survive long enough to get the full 3% increased damage out of it.










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 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 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 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 Q 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 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 your Q to push them back into it, also make sure to try to chain this ability with your 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



Max Q first this is your main poking tool in lane. I max W instead of E second because E has no more impact damage, and W % hp and stun duration go up on lvl which makes it stronger. E is used more as a scouting tool now. Another thing to keep in mind is his W is your ticket to winning the game pretty much, flash W onto one of their carries for that surprise lockdown factor is SUPER STRONG.




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 your 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 Q 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 W is so strong lategame.


Gangplank: Don't really see gp that often anymore, but you can easily win this match-up by Q'ing 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 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 your W to dodge her Q.


Sion: You can cancel sion's Q with your Q if you're close enough to knock him back. You can also 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 Q 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 outrade her and your Q screws with her combo. Be sure to use your 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 Q 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 Q 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 Q 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 your ult and W her and Q her off.


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 your W to dodge his tornado, and poke his shield down with your 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 Q 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 your 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, W back to him and Q 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 Q poking 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 W in this lane, she can parry it pretty easy since you have travel time. Play very safe in this lane and try to Q poke 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 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 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 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.



My other guides



Editor / Formatters Notes

Change Log