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Maokai Build Guide by Schniels

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Schniels

Jungle Maokai: There's a tree in the jungle

Schniels Last updated on August 17, 2012
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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.



Offense: 0

Honor Guard

Defense: 15

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 15

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Hello and welcome to my Maokai jungle guide. Maokai is not often played but a very strong jungler in my view. I hope that I give you some help with this guide and that you will enjoy it playing this awesome character.

Thx for reading!

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Mark: For marks I take attack speed because he really needs attack speed for the camps in the early levels.

Seal: I think armor is the best seal for all junglers and it really helps Maokai at blue buff for example.

Glyph: Feel free with glyphs, I would recommend ap or magic resist so I take magic resist in this case but fell free to take ap.

Quintessences: I take ability power for quints because Maokai is a tanky ap champ and it is good to have this bonus ap from runes.

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I dont have 0/21/9 masteries on this guy just because I want that start gold and the bonus utility since I think it gives me more than just full defense. Maokai is an ap/tank jungler and utility means very much to him. Dont ask why but I found that he doesnt need that much defense - I played many games with this masteries and I like it more. Dont put a point offense cause Maokai is a defensive champ and he needs points in defense and utility more than in offense.

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Start: I have 2 different starting builds on jungle Maokai: Normally I start 1 regrowth pendant and 2 health potions (not 1 pot thx to utility mastery) but sometimes if I want to gank early or just want that movement speed more I start boots and pots. What you buy is really depending on how you want to play: The regrowth pendant is more that money-saver start since it builds into phil stone which is your early-game goal on Maokai. But if you have someone like lets say twisted fate who has lvl 2 stun you can buy boots for a level 2 gank with a sapling and Twisted Advance. So as you can see it really depends on your playstyle. You can also start with a cloth armor and 5 pots against a high ad team but the 5 potions are a bit waste in my view.


Like I said before, your early- game goal is philosophers stone. Why? Because it gives you mana regain, health regain and GOLD what is very important as a jungler. After that always heart of gold. If you got this, you will milk the gold and it will be easier to get your mid- and lategame items. After that get your boots. As Maokai, I would only get Mercury Treads (against magical damage or against heavy cc) or Ninja Tabis (against physical damage, for example if the enemy team has 2 ad's). Normally I buy Merc Treads because almost every team has magical damage and at least 2 stunners. Only buy tabis if the enemy is very heavy at ad and if you often have to tank tower hits. This happens mostly if all your lanes are pushed very hard what means if you want go gank you have to towerdive the enemy what is not easy so its a good idea to tell your teammates not to push before the game.

Mid-game: A very good mid-game item for Maokai is Glacial Shroud, because Maokai often runs out of mana early and if you want to give blue buff to your midlane you really need mana. Why you buy Glacial Shroud is of course the Frozen Heart. This item is just huge for someone like Maokai and it also has a nice passive (slowing enemies attack speed). But if youre thinking that you still need more gold you can also buy Kages Lucky Pick what gives you ap and gold so a good item as well.

Late-game: There are many items to build in late-game but I will only tell you about the most important items for Maokai.

If you are fighting against a very high physical damage enemy team get randuins omen. It also builds from your heart of gold so normally I get this item every game. Must-have on Maoboy.

Shurelyas Reverie is a must-have too because of the insane active and the health and all the other points.

Force of Nature is a great item against alot of magical damage. I would not buy it every game but if there is a little fed ap carry, get it.

Why I listed Abyssal Scepter in my item list is just because it helps your team alot. If you have an ap carry midlane you are 2 ap guys so it is always good to get it cause it reduces the magic resist of nearby enemies. It is not the most important item but its very useful.

Also an option is Trinity Force. You might not believe it but it works also very well on Maokai. I would only get this one if you are a bit fed and if you already bought your Shurelyas/Randuins/FoN.

There are of course many other items you can build but I think these items are the most important items on Maokai. Try to find a good item build for yourself and remember to not always build the same.

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Arcane Smash: I like this ability because it is very nice to clean camps very fast and it also has a slow and a knock-up so its also a good gank ability. Most people forget that it deals damage in an area what means that you dont have to hit the enemies with your skillshot. Its basically another form of Malphite's E but its better cause it has a slow-effect and a knock-up.
I would recommend to max this skill second. You can max this skill first but I like it second more.

Twisted Advance: Your ganking tool: It is basically for the jump so I would get it at level 4 and then max it in the end. You can use it to throw a sapling into a camp and then jump over the wall or you can gank lanes with it. It also roots the enemy so it is a powerful ability as well.

Sapling Toss: Your main damage dealer: You can clear camps fast, check brushes and throw saplings whenever you need them. I would get this first just because it deals the most damage and it fits well into your ganking combo: W-E-Q or E-W-Q

Vengeful Maelstrom: I think it is not the strongest ultimate in the game but its good for teamfights, tower-dives and so on. Whenever you want to save yourself or your team activate it and you will see that the enemies will deal way more damage. If they casted a lot of spells in the circle, press R again and it deals good damage as AOE. Get it whenever you can, what means: Level 6,11 and 16.

My favourite combo for ganks or initiates is: W-E-Q

If you dont want to facecheck a brush alone, just throw a sapling in and you have vision of it.

Thats basically everything important, if you have more questions about this, just write in the comments below.

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Summoner Spells

Flash and Smite is the only way for me because Flash helps you to get over a wall, closer to an enemy or just helps you to escape. Smite is a must-have for a jungler because you need it to secure your buffs, dragon and baron. I have never seen Maokai players with other spells.

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Pros / Cons


-very tanky jungler
-alot of fun to play
-I think he is the fastest jungler until level 4 but Im not sure
-easy ganks


-his damage output is very low
-its difficult to throw saplings perfect
-has not much mobility

nothing more its a CRAZY TREE

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Jungle Route

My jungle route is not really my jungle route because I got it from TheOddOne and he learned it by dooooooom I think. If you want to know more about it go on and search for Oddone's Maokai guide. So, here it is:

Start at your wraiths and tell your teammates to wait at blue. Now throw 2 saplings. Start at about 1:10. Throw the third sapling at 1:39 so it lands right when the wraiths spawn. They will explode and you will only have to hit the big wraith one more time. After that hurry up and run to your blue. If you have boots it should be no problem to be there at 1:55 but with regrowth pendant you will be there at about 1:58 so tell your teammates not to worry about it. Let your midlane pull and smite the big golem at ~ 450 hp. You should be level 2 right now. Now kill your wolves with a sapling and 2 arcane smashes. After that kill your wraiths. Now you can kill red without smite but you will probably lose a lot of hp. Thats why I kill golems first and then go to red with smite up. You can do this if you know that the enemy jungler has a weak early-game or if he is someone like Lee Sin who can gank lvl 2. Remember: Always watch the map and look where the enemies/ the enemy jungler is! Its mainly your choice whether you want to go golems- red or red-golems but note that with red-golems you will lose more hp and you will have to go back. After that you should be level 4. Get Twisted Advance now and try a gank if you have enough hp. What I see very often is a jungler who is at low hp, lvl 4 and he thinks he has to gank now cause otherwise his teammates flame at him. Then it ends in an enemy double kill. So, what I want to say is: Sometimes its better to stay in the jungle as a jungler since a junglers task is to help all lanes. And if no lane needs help -what can happen sometimes- you dont have to gank. This is why the most high elo junglers often stay in the jungle and farm. Sometimes its better to level and farm than only gank.

If you think this jungle route is too difficult for you, you can start wolves instead of wraiths.

The only problem about Maokai is that everyone knows he is absolutelly mana depending what means you can easily counterjungle him by stealing his red early or something. Sometimes you cant start with your standard jungle route. Dont panic then. Just look for enemy blue or if you cant get blue, start red and save mana as good as you can.

If you have more questions about my jungle routes write a comment.

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Helping your team

Maokai is also a support. Your task is to iniciate with a good Twisted Advance, then pop ultimate and spam E and Q. Try to save your carries with all your crowd control and dont forget to use your active items.

The most difficult thing is to iniciate the right way. Dont jump in if your team is far behind. Always watch for your team and for the enemy team. Only start fights if you are 5!!! If you flash in and W on the enemy carry it doesnt help your team cause they will probably need 5 secs to come to you and then you will be dead.

Another thing is to group and regroup. Always tell your team where and when to group. It helps alot cause mostly the teammates just run around alone and then one gets caught by the enemy team. If this is the case, you have to fall back since you cant fight a 4 vs 5.

The last thing what is very important: WARDS. Trust me, wards can win games. And its not only the support who buys wards. I dont have a map of good warding spots here, but you can search for other guides with good warding spots. Oracle is also a good idea, but only get it if you know that you wont die. Its worth it to kill an enemy support with oracle by dying yourself.

There are some other things what I could tell you but this is more about the general things.