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Maokai Build Guide by Ssenkrad II

Jungle in Style: Maokai

Jungle in Style: Maokai

Updated on July 18, 2012
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Ssenkrad II Build Guide By Ssenkrad II 6,174 Views 9 Comments
6,174 Views 9 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Ssenkrad II Maokai Build Guide By Ssenkrad II Updated on July 18, 2012
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Lots of Maokai Jungle Guides...

There are a lot of Maokai jungle guides, and there should be! He is amazing in the jungle and provides a gank threat at an amazing lv 2. First blood? Almost always...

What can my guide add?

I've used this build a lot, it works. This is a build i have yet to see in any of the jungle guides for Maokai... Which means as soon as this guide gets posted other more popular builds will be "updated" with my build included...


Are my masteries and runes right for everyone? Is this a fool proof build? No... But what i can promise you is that the build works and is viable... If you want to improve and change and adapt as you see fit, great! This is a great starting point from which you can then jungle with Maokai as you like. This guide provides a build that fits Maokai jungle into the team as more of a support, CC, tank, and aura's role.

Why do i build Maokai this way?

Some of his geatest strengths are his CC abilities and his natural tankiness. His biggest weaknesses are his long cooldowns on abilites as well as his slow movement/lack of escape mechanisms. His greatest needs are CDR, escape tools, and health. (as his passive restores a flat % of health the higher his total hp the better the buff becomes... Adding tons of armor and magic resist will not help his passive at all- while building tanky hp always pays off...) The build adds to his strengths while strengthening his weakness, giving him the absolute must of his 40% CDR with tools to allow him to keep himself alive. Your CC/Abilities will tie up enemies while your auras lend a hand, you will become an amazing support in every team fight. I hope you enjoy!
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Build Pros and Cons

  • You can tank from start of game to end. Provides you with massive amounts of HP and massive amounts of cool down reduction which means you get to CC the **** outa fields of justice...
  • The build maximizes price/result ratio, items are cheap and easy to build but give best results time and time again...
  • The auras are progressive, as the game goes on the auras kick in at the times you and your team would benefit the most from them...
  • Doesn't lose ganking power during the ganking period, allowing you to rain down ganks that deal death without fear of you falling behind in power as lv's go on...
  • Support support support... Mao's CC is what makes him so useful, allowing him to tank and deal massive CC while providing great auras in team fights means success... Health, cooldown reduction, and auras... Powerful...
  • Abilities + Passive use equals decent clearance of jungle with little loss of life...
  • Great movement speed and abilities means Mao can counter jungle and defend well...
  • THIS IS HUGE! You do not need another strong support bot... Your support bot can take on more of a damage dealing role, like a Lux or Teemo in which they dont have to be solo support, but can build AD/AP heavy... This can not be done with other more agressive based junglers such as Olaf, Lee Sin, Nocturne ect...

  • There is only one con that can be a game breaker for this build... It is support... Meaning this, if your AD carry and AP carry are failing then you die. Your strength lies in keeping the enemy team tied up with your CC and your health while your team uses your auras to finish them off... If they are failing to deal damage you will find that you lack the damage to finish enemy champs off 1v1 most of the time...
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For Jungle Builds:

Max out in Defense: Max out in Utility:

Should be 0 offense-21 defense- 9 utility.
Note: The extra beef is a must for the jungle, as well as the speed to go with it. If you find you dont like all that extra speed I would swap out the Initiator -3 for Resistance -3 as Maokai is weak in the MR...
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Jungle Runes:

9- Greater Seal of Armor or Greater Seal of Defense

You need the defense to be jungling, if you want it to scale so you get more end game that's your call... If you know you can get a good leash/pull at blue go with scale runes as you wont take the early damage anyways. If you are unsure about team quality of leash, the flat runes are always safe.

9- Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist or Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

I would go with the Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist with this build as your CDR is maxed out in the build, and the extra magic resist helps with both support and jungle! (and Maokai REALLY needs all the MR he can get!) but if you feel it will not be an issue, the extra kick of the Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power will help with damage output...

9- Greater Mark of Attack Speed or Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Both help with jungle clearance, just in different ways. Both help with more damage output just in different ways! Overall Greater Mark of Magic Penetration i would recommend over the other if you really want wanted to maximize your ability damage to enemy champs. Doesnt really help all that much end game, but does help with early gank damage allowing you to pick up the early kills. If you want the solid jungle clearance go with the Greater Mark of Attack Speed!

3- Greater Quintessence of Ability Power or Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed or Greater Quintessence of Health

All help with jungle clearance speed, just in different ways. All help with more effective ganks, just in different ways! I would say if you want faster jungle clearance go with Greater Quintessence of Ability Power as it will help with the blue and red buffs, but if you want even more versatility go with Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed. A good trade off would be to get the versatility from Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed while getting the jungle clearance from Greater Mark of Attack Speed. Greater Quintessence of Health are great early game as it gives you that extra beef in the jungle as well as during a gank- they are also useful quins as you will use them to jungle with Shen, Dr. Mundo, and many other champs...
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This is going to be a small section... There really are only two options for spell use with Maokai jungle and that is:

Smite: You will not be getting a Wriggle's Lantern so damage from your Smite is a must. Plus the added gold makes this spell a no-brainer for the jungle Mao... The pro's of having this spell on this build with Maokai dwarf any other spell you might go with in the jungle... It is a must!

Flash: I cant stress enough the danger Maokai is for the other team if you know how to use flash. Taking this as his second spell also a "no-brainer"... Did i also mention that it will save your life atleast once a game? Yeah... Use Flash...
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Early Skill Sequence and Jungling

Items to Start: 1 Health Potion and Regrowth Pendant


Start with a point in your Arcane Smash and get your blue buff first... If you can get a strong pull the better, because as soon as you kill and get your lv 2 and Twisted Advance you can gank and get first blood right away... use your potion if have to, just make sure you are full health and check your two closest lanes- ie mid and top if you are on blue team or bot and mid if you are purple team. (AFTER BLUE GANK) If the enemy is even remotely pushed out then ping and take a gank RIGHT THEN. You will be lv 2, they will still be lv 1... With your Twisted Advance first, root the enemy, keeping them from running, and follow up with a Arcane Smash that is aimed BACK towards your own tower. It really isn't hard to get a first blood doing this, attacking them on their side as they try to run back to their tower. If they Flash and you think you can finish them, Flash with them and finish then off. After that, or if there was no gank just continue to jungle, going wolves, wraiths, and then red buff... (AFTER RED GANK) On third lv get a point in Sapling Toss so that you can maximize yourself in jungle, as well as provide an excellent way to ward for enemies...


Take a point in Sapling Toss and get to wraiths. Start by throwing a sapling down where the wraiths will spawn at 1:10, and again when its off CD. When the wraiths do spawn throw a third Sapling Toss into the middle of the group while attacking the main wraith and finish them all off. Run as fast as you can to blue buff and have your team leash for you, kill blue buff and Smite when applicable. On lv put a point in Arcane Smash and go wolves, wraiths (wraiths will have respawned) and then red buff. Take a point in Twisted Advance on lv if there is a gank there and you wish to take it; if there is no gank there then take one more point in Sapling Toss and go golems, wraiths, and wolves- taking a point in Twisted Advance on lv 4 after wolves.

Tips on jungling with Maokai: Something to note is that using your Twisted Advance at a bad time will cause you to fly into danger faster than you might expect... The best way i have found to deal with this is to start with your Twisted Advance right away in a gank, and never use it when i feel the enemy might Flash as this will cause you to insta-appear beside them at their tower 90% of the time... A good combo on a gank should go Twisted Advance, and as soon as you hit them throw up a Sapling Toss right on them, walk behind them (between their tower and yours) and then Arcane Smash them back towards your own tower. Also a note would be to remember while jungling that Maokais passive Sap Magic is what gives him his sustain in jungle. Dont be afraid to spam spells on neutral creatures if you have the mana. The combo just described for a gank works in the jungle as well, the only difference being to wait for your Sapling Toss to explode before using your Arcane Smash as you want to maximize its damage output.

Aggressive Skill Order: max out your Arcane Smash first as this is your major damage dealer. Max out Twisted Advance next as this is your major gank'n tool, and finish with your Sapling Toss last. Take your points in your ult Vengeful Maelstrom at 6, 11 and 16...

Passive Skill Order: max out your Sapling Toss first as this is your "bread" in jungle clearance damage. Max out arcane smash next as this is "butter", and finish with your Twisted Advance last. Take your points in your ult Vengeful Maelstrom at 6, 11 and 16...
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After Blue Gank

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After Red Gank

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Preface to Items

Note: You will notice I do not mention anymore Health Potions, sight wards, Vision Wards, Oracle's Elixirs, or any other useable item... Does this mean dont buy them? No... Get them when you feel you need them and can afford them. Putting them in the build as if you buy them at the same time every game would be outright stupid and ignorant on my part. (Unless they happen to be STARTING items...)If you have some extra coin throw in some Health Potions into your inventory before heading out. If the enemies are really starting to make you pay with their sight wards get your Oracle's Elixir and start making money killing them. If you have the money and you currently have no vision on baron or dragon then get some sight wards... Simple as that! I will say this though, do not underestimate the use of Vision Wards vs Oracle's Elixirs, they are cheaper and can help you kill unwanted wards hurting your ganking abilities while at the same time warding for your team. I find Oracle's Elixirs expensive and risky! Use at your own risk! (I have marked on the picture below in PINK my favorite location for the Vision Wards)

If you want detailed explanations on how to and where to place wards, there are amazing guides right here at MOBAfire that specifically go over just that. I will say this though, if you watch the pro's play, and I mean pro's, not just "ranked matches", you will notice that EVERYONE WARDS, not "just support"...

To say that support wards everything is outright... silly... To expect someone from bot to go all the way to top to ward baron for you? GG, that's all forks you've already lost... Now you have a totally worthless support who has spent most of his money on wards, and has fallen behind on lv's because he is wandering the map aimlessly placing wards. Because of all that they can no longer really help in team fights at ALL, (and go 0-8 and rage) and all you have gained from it is possibly a few extra items for your carries who are picked apart easily and early in teamfights because support can't keep them alive... No, everyone wards... That includes the jungle...

Jungle's most common ward placements include Baron, Dragon, and Blue/Red buffs (for both your buff and the enemies buffs), support wards bot, solo top wards his river bush, and mid wards his area as he desires. If you honestly don't know where those locations are and need a picture... Ummm... There, a picture... The stars marked in RED are where jungle should be warding most often, with Baron and Dragon being the two most important...
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Jungle Ward Placements

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Core Items

This is my prefered route...

First Recall: Get your philosopher's stone and Boots
(Mana begins to be an issue, gold proc, speed)
Next Major Buy: Finish off your Mercury's Treads
(Clearance, gank threat, MR)
Next Major Buy: Build your Sunfire Aegis
(health, armor, damage output)
Next Major Buy: Build your Aegis of the Legion
(Armor begins to be an issue,health, team aura)
Next Major Buy: Build your Soul Shroud starting with a Kindlegem
(CDR, health, team aura)
Next Major Buy: Finish your philosopher's stone into Shurelya's Battlesong
(CDR, health, team active ability)

These items should basically take you to the end of the game... once again with the understanding that most games don't actually get into the "end game" as people wish to surrender, the game is actually over, etc etc... If the game isn't over by this point in time, build your next items based off of how your team and the enemy team are playing- see below...
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What to build next...


I would go with this if these two things were happening.
[*] My AD/AP carries are dealing massive damage and doing their job well
[*] The enemy is having a hard time bringing me down as it is/ is not targeting me in team fights

Then you build...

Last Major Buy: Build a Zeke's Herald

This is a CHEAP CHEAP item that can make all the difference in the world. Caps your CDR while giving you HP and a very useful aura for you and your team. If you still have money and time left after this buy, concider upgrading your items based on what the enemy is doing.

More Armor:

I would go with this option if these two things where happening.
[*] Their AD carry was fed, was causing issues, and/or is targeting you in fights...
[*] Your AD carry and/or AP carry are dealing massive damage and doing their job well...

Then you build...

Last Major Buy: Build a Frozen Heart
Optional Major Buy: Sell your Aegis of the Legion and buy Thornmail/ Randuin's Omen

This will give you the defense you need to keep on tanking and providing the CC your team needs in the team fights...

Note: If someone on your team already has Frozen Heart, then a getting Randuin's Omen insted of Frozen Heart would be a smarter choice.

More Magic Resist:

I would go with this option if these two things where happening.
[*] Their AP was fed, was causing issues, and/or is targeting you in fights...
[*] Your AD carry and/or AP carry are dealing massive damage and doing their job well...

Then you build...

Next Major Buy: Build a Force of Nature
Optional Major Buy: Sell your Aegis of the Legion and buy Guardian Angel/ Abyssal Mask

This will allow you to hold your own agaisnt the burst AP that is causing you issues, allowing you to still provide the CC your team needs and the second chance of Guardian Angel.

More Damage Output:

would go with this option if these two things where happening.
[*] Their AP/AD carries are not targeting you, you are frequently the last person left alive, they are having a hard time bringing you down as it is...
[*] Your team needs a little more damage output as your AD/AP carries are not finishing people off fast enough

Then Build:

Next Major Buy: Build a Wit's End
Optional Major Buy: Sell your Aegis of the Legion and buy Rod of Ages/ Abyssal Mask

This give you that extra kick in your attacks and allows you to deal more killing blows...
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League of Legends Champions:

Teamfight Tactics Guide