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Maokai Build Guide by trisscar1212

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

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League of Legends Build Guide Author trisscar1212

Iron Wall of the South [DOMINION]

trisscar1212 Last updated on October 28, 2011
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Top Lane
Ranked #22 in
Top Lane
Win 51%
Get More Stats

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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Hello all, and welcome to my guide for playing Maokai in Dominion! One of the fantastic things about Dominion is being able to be really flexible in how you play, but I have found that using this build (and being a little creative) I am able to win a large portion of my games as Maokai on Dominion. Why is that? Well hopefully you will read on and find out!

The basic crux of this Maokai is to rely on Maokai's natural tankiness to give you survivability. After that, we actually want to be a huge threat in the bottom lane, for reasons I explain below. So the majority of the build will be to make your damage really hurt. Keep that in mind as you read the guide.

EDIT: Updated with some improvements suggested by others ( This means I have switched out Archangel's Staff for Morello's Evil Tome, as the Tome offers mana regen and CDR while still providing great AP.

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So here are my runes guys!

The point of getting magic penetration is to make sure that the AP we are stacking makes it through to the other guy. As with armor, magic resist can really ruin our day, taking out a percentage of our damage. We want to eliminate this as much as possible, so we grab some Magic Penetration runes here.

These runes help in making sure we do complement Maokai's tanky nature a little bit. First thing, with the Armor seals, we do this because it is cheaper and more beneficial to get MR later instead of Armor, so if we need a balance of both we already have some in our runes. If we end up really needing armor, we can still get armor, but have more because of the seals. The health quintessences just make as beefier.

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These masteries give is some really key points. The utility treee gives us some mana, a reduction on our death timer (Yes, we can die, it is unfortunate but it happens). The biggest thing it really gives us though is cooldown reduction. We also get some of that from our attack tree, along with even more magic penetration and AP bonuses. Great stuff.

You can go tanky here if you want to, as we get a lot of hurt from our items. This just helps us deal out more hurt.

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Core Build:

You actually will start the game with a Catalyst the Protector. Like a good friend of mine said, this is like free potions during the first few minutes of the game. Not only that, it leads us in to the only item I say you must get for this guide to be, well, this guide. [Rod of Ages]. Starting with Catalyst and keeping up your farm will allow you to get your rod right around 4 minutes in to the game. Most dominion games last at least 12-14 minutes, which guarantees you a maxed out rod. This is great for AP Maokai.

Next I almost always get Sorcerer's Shoes. If you really feel you want more cooldown reduction and are penetrating their defenses just fine, you can get Boots of Lucidity. Your choice, I find the magic penetration really useful though, as you tend to do a single blast of abilities then defend.

This is where you really need to read how you are doing in the game. You generally have four situations, in order of priority to consider:
1) Magic enemies are eating me up!
2) Those darn auto attacking AD champs hurt!
3) I am doing fine, but I want to HURT THEM MORE! Go go sapling!!!!
4) My enemies are getting away from me!

Do not fret! There is a nice AP item that will help in all of those situations.
Situation 1) Get MR

Situation 2) Get some armor

*Note with Zhonya's. If you need the armor, get that Chain Vest first before getting your Needlessly Large Rod. It will help.

Situation 3) Get some AP and mana

Situation 4) Slow them down some.

Generally we like Situation 1 better, as it also allows us to reduce the magic resist of all enemies around us. Hence why we took armor runes, we could go with Situation 1 even if we faced an AD champ every once in a while.

The last thing to do is really just get whatever you want out of the above that you didn't get, plus consider Rabadon's Deathcap if you want to go insane on AP.

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Skill Sequence

I will explain the skills in order of priority, except for the ult (Always get the ult when available).

The sapling is your little friend. He flies through the air (with the greatest of ease, [cough] ahem, sorry) landing with AoE damage and then chasing down the nearest enemy and causing a large AoE explosion. This is awesome when trying to stop an enemy from capturing a point, just toss this guy in a dn let him work. If you are in range of Twisted Advance, just Sapling Toss then Twisted Advance to make it impossible for the enemy to escape the explosion. If the enemy is under a tower, you can add Arcane Smash to knock them up near the tower. This is an amazing combo for defending. When someone is at your tower (How DARE they!), Sapling Toss -> Twisted Advance -> Arcane Smash to cause awesome damage with the support of your turret. They may call you names for not fighting them out in the open, but just stand over their dead body and let your sapling and arm laugh away.

This guy is great to stop enemies from getting away from your Sapling Toss, the turret, or your allies. Level it after Sapling Toss to increase it's root duration.

Arcane Smash
This ability, unfortunately, is probably the weakest out of our kit. The biggest thing it serves is a nice follow up to Twisted Advance. Generally, when not using this to help clear creeps out of the way, just use this after you use Twisted Advance to make sure you keep your enemy in reach.

Ah, the ult. This guy gives you reduced damage in an AoE, plus explodes for some decent damage when it is deactivated, you run out of mana, or you die with it on. There is one big rule for this: use it all the time. It is imperative, when you engage, when you are under a tower, whenever, turn it on. The mana cost is low for Dominion, and the cooldown is low enough you will get it back in no time. Turn it on! Remember to catch low enemies by turning it off when they try to leave (or KS, whatever is your thing :P

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Playing Dominion

Early Game

Plead, beg, and generally demean yourself so you can get bot lane. Seriously, it is there you will shine. Most people want to go top for the big fight anyways, so you generally get it.
Ghost out with your Catalyst the Protector and take that tower. Follow your minions and begin clearing the enemy minion wave while being a pain to the other bot. You are generally much more tanky, so enjoy that fact and be a big bully. This is the extremely important part of the game, while you have the advantage, push to their bottom toer WITH MINION SUPPORT. You will take the tower fast, or at least shut it down. This is your only goal, then get out. Here is the reason: Up top, your friends are having to deal with a completely fair 4v4. You do not want that, at all. Forcing a bot push means generally, someone from their top comes down to 'help' deal with you. You just go back to your bot tower and chill defending. But make sure your teammates stay up top, because now it is an unfair 4v3, in favor of your team! Yeah!

Mid Game to Late Game

To win a game of Dominion, you just have to hold those three towers, the two on your side plus top. With your early game, hopefully your team has them all. Continue to defend bot unless they continuously put two people on it, then just switch with your teammates for the counter to that combo and help out wherever needed. You are the king of DEFENSE, so make sure everything is buckled down and no enemy gets away with a point, while also making sure top nor bottom are left alone. Also beware the sneaky enemy who tries to take your mid. Sapling them and they generally run :D

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TL;DR Maokai makes a great AP defender of bot lane. Keep the pressure up and force the enemy team to deal with you so your allies can wipe up top.

Thanks for reading guys, please comment and rate, hopefully you guys enjoyed!