Maokai Build Guide by JunglerBuilds
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Choose Champion Build:
Big fuggin tree
Relying on your carry
The Quickest Tree
+10% Attack Speed
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)
Threats & Synergies
Hard matchup, She can counterjungle you very well, watch out my boi. Late game try to disengage. She can also solo objectives.
Hard to control objectives early, he can take dragons more efficiently, because of his ultimate.
Nothing special, just hard to match her early clear, you have better gank potential. She has better objective control though, she can steal stuff so watch out for that.
Pretty much the hardest matchup, has better early game presence, can counterjungle and solo objectives. Really hard to match him, late game you win though.
Has better jungle clear, watch out for those early ganks as she has high early damage. Can focus targets more easily than you, but has a higher cooldown on ganking effectively.
If your team has no cc in lanes you're fked bro. Remember you will instantly stop him if you use your twisted advance on him, but you will get stunned. If you're trying to escape him, try to use Bramble smash instead, so you can try to hit it with the knockback range.
You have better gank potential since he has to hit his Q to actually initiate and you just point and click that W.
It's alright before 6, but after 6 fiddle has amazing damage with his ultimate and watch out for his ganks after 6.
Similar matchup to Sejuani, tank jungler, has good ganks early, poor objective control but high damage early for a tank. Can build an ap jungle item, so that makes him dangerous early, because of that damage. But you can dodge his skillshots when using twisted advance, so he shouldn't have an upper hand on you.
Jarvan has won against me many times just by ganking bot a lot, so stay bot and snowball your adc. Since he's not a hard champion to play, literally anyone can be good with him.
Just an overall easy matchup, just play safe early and ward out your jungle.
Ward your jungle and you should be alright. Has good jungle clear and high early damage. Needs a support to duo objectives. Try not to get counterjungled.
Don't let him steal your camps, so watch out as any Crowd control will stop him. He's very slippery with his crowd control and shields early, and can be quite good in mid and late game.
Similar matchup, both have downsides, comes down to the rest of the team and how good they are. Has a lot of Crowd control.
Basic matchup, don't let her snowball and you should win. Actually one of the easiest matchups. You could probably just win by ganking, she has better clear, but it's really not much if the enemy team has no Crowd control, as she has absolutely no cc her self. Almost useless late game.
Rek'sai, more like REKT SAI!!!! No really, it's an okay matchup but she does have high early damage, but if you ward well your team won't fail early and she's pretty bad late. But she has high damage at lvl 6, watch out for that.
Early game you have an advantage, but later he can engage and you cannot stop him. Watch out for his engage, or engage before him! You have stronger ganks, as he has no hard CC.
Similar to Warwick, relies more on his teams Crowd Control, but deals more damage. Also can solo objectives, so try to play around dragon as much as possible
Really tough early game, but if your lanes play safe you will win against him, ward your jungle so he can't surprise you with his high early game damage. Just play safe and play for the late game, he's useless then.
Has better ganks early and if he gets his team rolling late game you won't be able to do much without a team.
Should be an easy job, just W him, shouldn't be that hard. He is an assassin so you should be just looking to use your Twisted advance on him.
Shouldn't be that hard because he has relatively poor ganks early and you should outmatch him late game as he can only focus one person and you control everyone! Generally not the best jungler right now, gets outmatched by most.
Hecarim shouldn't be much trouble, since he's not in the best spot right now. His jungle clear is okay, he's generally a mediocre pick. What's good about him is how fast he gets. His passive allows him to build movespeed and tanky while still having damage, so watch out for those scary initiations.
Kayn is a new champion, he's quite interesing as in if you stomp on him early, you'll win. He won't be able to transform quickly and will be stuck in this weak human form for a while. Try not to fight him in the jungle if he invades, so he doesn't get his transformation more quickly. Also late game Red Kayn is really strong and will wreck your entire team, with his healing and %HP damage, he's quite the pick against a tanky team composition.
Xin can be quite aggressive early and that could ruin your game, he's quite the jungler right now, with his good objective control and high damage all around. He can gank quite early and can make a great impact on the game. Try to predict his next moves so you can at least save your teammates in those situations, because his early ganks are so deadly.
Similar to Udyr, can be stopped with the click of your W, or Q, or Ult. Your E can slow him down and deny him the engage, so he's really not in the best place right now. Deals more damage than most tank junglers however, so don't try to fight him early, he'll most likely win.
She's been reworked a little while ago and I would say it's an improvement for her. She's quite good in late game skirmishes and her ganks can be quite unexpected if your team doesn't buy any control wards.
Early game he's one of the toughest junglers to deal with. He has probably the highest early damage out of all the other junglers. His power gets weaker as the minutes pass, and he shouldn't be much of a problem by the 25th minute mark. That is if your team plays it safe and you don't let him ruin your day by taking objectives and counterjungling you.
Don't let him invade you early and try to gank as much as possible. He won't be able to do much late game against you since it's pretty easy for you to stop him.
Seen more on toplane, still a decent pick jungle. Maokai can deal with him early but try not to get counterjungled or you'll get your little butt wooped. Try to Q him if he gets close and tries to stun you with his E.
Amazing, if you have a friend that can play Yasuo well, do this strategy, let Yas go mid and just camp his lane, ez game.
+10% Attack Speed
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)
+10% Attack Speed
Why would u play Maokai?
1. He's awesome my man
2. He's a nature protector, why wouldn't you want to be a nature protector?
3. Not hard to play but timing things at the right moment and learning the animations is the trick.
4. He's a tree boi.
I Was in top 500 Maokais in the world, according to LoLskill!
Here are my league profiles, also the stream!
My YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvS6wi8yjxdPZdW_imXxPmw
- Some videos might be on Serbian, but I've made videos in English as well! There are also memes!
- I don't really stream that often, but sometimes I do Maokai jungle or top or support, so why not just put this here!
Here are the recent results I've been having with this build!
|- On most champions it's an auto-include, on Maokai as well. You could try Ghost (can be good while initiating with Righteous Glory) but this is a point click teleport, it gives you a much more reliable escape than Ghost. What is also good about flash is you can flash into the baron pit and just smite that and steal it and be a hero (you could also use a plant but you know, if there's no plant this is good). What's also great about flash is you can surprise engage (unlike with Ghost where you just run up to them and they can react more easily to it). Champions who take ghost are just those with more mobility in their kit, or like a movement speed ability built into their kit on which they rely on to initiate or be quicker. Just an overall great spell, makes up for Maokai's lack of wall hopping and a more reliable escape tool.|
Passive - Sap Magic
Each time Maokai casts an ability or is struck by an enemy's ability, Sap Magic's cooldown is reduced by 4 seconds.
So this is especially good with healing amplifiers - Spirit Visage for example is a very good item to pick up on him as it amplifies his passive heal by 30%, which is amazing late game.
Generally this is useful in the jungle too, so if you have taken the Blue Sentinel recently be sure to spam your abilities for maximum potential and survivability.
Q - Bramble smash
Effect radius: 300
Maokai knocks back nearby enemies with a shockwave, dealing magic damage and slowing them.
Maokai releases an arcane shockwave. Nearby enemies are knocked back and all affected enemies take magic damage and are slowed.
Max this ability first as it has great base damage scaling, and spamming it will leave a greater impact than maxing your other abilities as it has a knock back effect. The slow is useful too, sometimes, while chasing your enemies and your Twisted Advance is on cooldown or maybe when you don't have enough mana for your gap closer.
W - Twisted advance
Target range: 525
Maokai dashes to the target enemy, becoming untargetable for the duration, dealing magic damage on arrival and briefly rooting them.
Mastering how to time this ability is crucial for distinguishing an experienced Maokai player from a newcomer. Using this ability at the beginning of a gank is sometimes a bad thing. Why, well maybe your allies aren't there to follow up that quickly or have their abilities on cooldown, so sometimes being patient with this ability is the best thing you can do. Sometimes you should wait for your allies to land their Crowd control first and then you can follow up with your Twisted Advance. But in case your team lacks CC, you have to go in first and that's that.
E - Sapling toss
Effect radius: 175/350
Maokai flings a Sapling to the target location, remaining there for 30 seconds and granting sight around itself.
Saplings tether to nearby enemies, chasing them for up to 2.5 seconds, exploding upon impact or at the end of its duration, dealing magic damage to all nearby enemies upon detonation, and slowing them by 35% for 2 seconds.
Saplings placed in brush instead have 30 (+ 2.5% bonus health) duration and deals double damage over 2 seconds to all enemies hit.
Throwing this in bushes while ganking makes for great damage and slow, it's actually not just good for jungle clears.
Ultimate - Nature's grasp
Maokai summons a colossal wall of 5 thorny brambles that slowly advances forward, each stopping at the first enemy champion they collide with.
Each thorny bramble deals magic damage and roots for 0.6 - 2.4 (based on distance traveled) seconds.
This is your bread and butter in controlling the teamfight.
Using this in ganks is also pretty good, there's 2 ways of using it.
1. Using it before you go into the lane, as a beginning
-This option is riskier than the second one, but can be very effective if your opponents don't expect it, or have no vision, or are just pushing really hard.
2. Using it when you've already engaged
-This is the safer option, as it doesn't require you to predict anything, just go into a normal gank and use your ultimate once you're close to immobilize your enemies.
That would be it for the abilities part, I'll talk some more about the combos in the Unique skills chapter.
Also you can look at the abilities in action here.
Primary tree (get it, because Maokai is a tree)
|- Because Maokai is a tank duh... It has the best options for competitive builds on him, such as mine! It allows him to utilize on his kit and, in my mind, this is the best primary tree for him. Resolve is the primary rune tree because he can be tanky whilst also protecting his team, I mean, that's how I play him anyways. So if you're going to play him my way, this is definitely the best tree by far.|
Aftershock- Such a good and interesting new keystone, buffs your defensive stats while also dealing decent damage!
This is, in my mind, the best one since Maokai doesn't have that much damage in early ganks, so this helps out tremendously by enlarging his damage by quite a lot, it activates just after you use Twisted Advance, so stay near your foes if you want this to deal damage to them! Doesn't effect minions, so keep that in mind!
It's damage is amplified by how tanky you get, so it's the perfect keystone rune for a tank like Maokai.
Font of life- Here you don't have much of a choice since you're not going to be split pushing much, that means you don't really need Demolish , but Unflinching is an interesting pick because what it does is it gives you tenacity after using a summoner spell. Pretty cool while ganking any ranged champion with Crowd control in their kit, since the crowd control is going to last less if you don't dodge it! But my pick here is Font of Life because it's pretty easy to trigger, just hit your Sapling Toss and you should be good.
Conditioning- This is my pick because the other 2 runes in this choice are more lane oriented and they are made so you can counter champions with specific types of damage, so Conditioning is really decent because in the late game you get that 5% which is, if you have 200 armor +19 bonus armor, which is not bad, you would agree!
Revitalize- Revitalize is my pick here because it increases your healing and shields. It helps with your jungle clears if you're low on health, helps you survive teamfights better late game and is very good if you build Locket of the Iron Solari into Gargoyle Stoneplate, so the shield is hella big my boi.
Discussing other rune options
|- This rune is not the best, just because in the jungle you can't trigger it. If you could however, it would probably be the second best rune, as you're anyways attacking all the time in the jungle, so every 4 seconds, this would trigger. But last season, sometimes I made mistakes and took the wrong mastery page when playing Maokai jungle, and that one included Grasp of the Undying. I usually won those games (kinda got lucky with the teams tbh), but would not encourage taking this rune, it's not really the best one you can get, because of reasons that I wrote above!|
|- Sometimes I just don't feel this one to be honest, it was made for tanky supports, which would be great on Maokai support, but not so much on jungle. Maybe if you have a duo partner that's pro and you believe in him, you should be going for the last build on the list (the build where you rely on your carry a lot) and take this mastery, but that's not the best if you're going solo, or if your duo partner is not as good (or playing a tank or a support).|
|- Somewhat of an interesting rune as I've already mentioned, can actually be good against teams with a lot of crowd control. But honestly Font of Life is a lot better, and I've already explained why. I like to think of this rune as something that a squishy carry would take on secondary tree, if they're going for Resolve.|
|- New rune, patch 8.4! Looks good, but in my mind still better for a laning Maokai. It's good when going into an aggressive lane and trying to survive it, to get to the late game, where Maokai excels. Seems like a good toplane rune (or support), not much of a jungle rune, but you can make use of it if you gank a lot.|
|- This rune is better on toplane Maokai, as you're going to be in a lane more than just going to a lane for a little while for a gank (that's what you're supposed to be doing in jungle Maokai) but if your play style matches going for towers more often than not, why not try this out! Tell me the results, so I can speak from experience (actually, your experience, still xp tho).|
|- Might be better than Revitalize, recently I've been picking this almost every time over Revitalize. Only take Revitalize when you have a healing support in your team ( Nami, Soraka, etc.). I guess the bonus from Gargoyle Stoneplate would be better too, it's a good rune.|
|- Again, a more lane oriented rune, good in lane though, Maokai doesn't need in however, Revitalize outmatches that in toplane, since Maokai has his passive heal. Again, you're not going to be using this in the jungle, since it usually can't trigger at all, unless you're getting counter jungled. I'm looking at you Shaco.|
Secondary tree discussion
|- The only rune that Maokai can use in the secondary tree is Overheal, and even that one isn't very good. The other ones are pretty good for let's say Yasuo, but not that much for any tank. Tenacity is cool ( Legend: Tenacity), but you can get that from your Mercury's Treads, which is more than enough to be honest. The third row is about dealing more damage, that's what you don't really need, you're a tank after all, these are good on champions that are good at dealing consistent damage, but on Maokai not so much|
|- Some of these are actually pretty good, such as the item CDR thing ( Ingenious Hunter) is kind of cool. Again, the Domination tree is more about dealing damage, not really about anything Maokai could use. But those he could utilize on are Sudden Impact, because of his Twisted Advance, that's if you're going for a more aggressive play style, not in my town though. If you're looking to be eless aggressive you can take Zombie Ward. That's about it for the Domination tree, since it's not the best choice, but does have some interesting rune choices. If you want to try this, do it and tell me the results, I really want to know how it turns out! Something I can recommend is, if you like a playstyle revolving around your carry, go for the last build on the list, but for runes take Guardian (everything else stays the same in the primary tree) but for secondary take Domination with Ingenious Hunter and Zombie Ward. That'll help with protecting your carry really good, and frequently, with item cooldowns being lower (because of Ingenious Hunter).|
|- This tree is the second best tree for Maokai since it has a bunch to do with his abilities, as he uses them a lot, it's a pretty good tree. Nullifying Orb is good against a team that's based completely or mostly on magic damage, works like Hexdrinker (or Maw of Malmortius) but you don't have to actually buy the item. Manaflow Band could be taken if you're not going blue first, I mean, I don't seem to need it, it's better in lane since Hunter's Talisman does all the mana regeneration you need in the jungle, but it's a solid pick if you're a beginner and don't know how to manage your mana properly. Nimbus Cloak could actually be good if you're planning on ganking more. After level 6, you can use this utilize on this rune by spamming your ultimate and trying to gank as much as possible. In the end, it might pay off, as you'll be more than ready for every teamfight incoming. The second part of the Sorcery tree doesn't really have much to offer to Maokai, but the Transcendence rune is alright, but I don't think the extra Cooldown reduction is needed. The third row of Sorcery doesn't have much to give either, apart from Gathering Storm, which could be useful if the game drags on for way too long. I guess 48 Ability power isn't so bad (that's how much you get after the 30th minute mark), since most games will be longer than 30 minutes (in my experience at least).|
|- Best secondary tree for Maokai, he can utilize very well on it. It has very interesting additions to his kit and most of them can be very useful. As I've already talked about Perfect Timing and Approach Velocity, I won't be mentioning them here. The rune's I wanted to mention here are, going from the first row, Hextech Flashtraption. This rune can be very useful when you're trying to surprise gank but there's no plant that makes you jump over a wall, i forgot its name. Also very good when spotting an enemy on your side of the jungle early, but you've already wasted your Flash and can't escape, but have just enough time for using your Hextech Flashtraption. Could be a good pick in matchups against junglers that can easily counter-jungle you ( Shaco, Shyvana, Warwick, Master Yi and so on). Magical Footwear is also a pretty good one, it gives you 350 gold (300 gold for the regular boot + 50 gold because every boot upgrade costs 50g less) plus it gives you +10 movement speed on your boot. Seems good, might be better than Approach Velocity but in my mind it's not, since for those 350 gold you're probably not going to buy anything other than the boot early, maybe a Cloth Armor or maybe a Sapphire Crystal (when upgrading into Righteous Glory), so it feels sort of useless. You can't buy a boot before the 10 minute mark, so that's a pretty big handicap, since you have to sacrifice another rune to pick up Approach Velocity, to gank at least a bit more effectively. Cosmic Insight could be good in some situations, but it generally isn't the best, since you want to go aggressive. This rune is good in case your lanes all have high damage, but I wouldn't sacrifice Approach Velocity or Perfect Timing for this, it gives more survivability, and your sapling will last longer, but the other two runes mentioned above fit my play style. Try this one out and tell me what you think!|
Maxing Sapling Toss second is optional, but I never saw any reason not to, it helps you deal more damage and maxing Twisted Advance just gives it a bit more damage and the root lasts a bit longer, so in my opinion there's no reason to max W second, but you can try it out and tell me your opinions!
So skill sequence should go a little something like this:
Starting itemsStarting items should not be much of a choice, since you're not going to attack that much, you're not Shyvana or Master Yi or Warwick, just go with the Hunter's Talisman and you should be okay, since the healing is actually quite good, especially on the Raptor camp!
-If you're going to take the blue sentinel first, I'd advise you go for the 3 Health Potions, since you're going to have to deal with much less damage on the blue side clear. But you can spam your spells more, which is also good.
-However, if you're going red buff first, take the Refillable Potion, since you already have the damage and the sustain to last a while in the jungle, so you don't need that much healing from the potions. Also raptors are going to heal you a lot because of the Hunter's Talisman you bought, I hope you did!
|- This pretty much the most important item, since it goes really well with your Sap Magic, also amplifies your heal if you're in Gargoyle Stoneplate mode, which is honestly an insane heal, if you pick the Revitalize rune, the heal will be even bigger. From my example, I once healed for 1700 Hp, trust me on this little sapling I don't have the footage to support it though.|
|- Great for engaging, if you're ahead, great for just forcing fights if you have a stronger teamfight, great for generally everything you need early, this could be an early rush if you want to, but it's generally great as a second or a third item as well. Sometimes I sacrifice rushing boot and just go for Righteous Glory, since it's so great early, it can make such a huge impact.|
|- This item is useful if you're up against a very crit oriented team, or just if the enemies have a fed Ad carry, or Yasuo. The stats are pretty decent for its cost and the active of the item can actually be very useful late game, as well as while ganking.|
|- A nice item to buy when the enemy team has no % HP based damage abilities, amazing when initiating and also really good when saving your allies. It combo's well with Gargoyle Stoneplate, if you use Gargoyle Stoneplate first and then Locket of the Iron Solari you'll get a shield around 300 health bigger than what you would usually get. Also, this item could go into the core items part of the guide, but I don't know, I just don't feel it. It's really good though, can be considered core!|
|- You should usually take this item when your opponents have a lot of AOE damage, or just when you don't think that you can protect your team that well in teamfights. So it's a good pick up in a lot of situations. As I've mentioned above, it combo's well with Gargoyle Stoneplate.|
- This is when the enemy team possesses some kind of fed Ap carry, or just a team that is oriented around dealing magic damage, for example let's say they have 2 tanks(Jungler and Toplaner are tanks, Malphite+ Amumu that kind of stuff), an Ap midlaner( Katarina, Syndra, you get the point), a marksman ( Vayne, or any other marksman, it doesn't matter much) and a healing support ( Lulu, Nami and so on)
That's when you buy this item! It's also good against champions like Brand, Vladimir, Anivia and so on.
|- This is quite good in team compositions where you have a lot of magic damage. It boosts the damage of your spells that deal magic damage by 10%, which is amazing in teamfights where you have a fed, let's say Katarina. Her ultimate ability, with you standing near the enemies that she's hitting with it, makes for a great deal of damage. Same strategies can apply for Orianna's Command: Shockwave, Galio's Hero's Entrance and many more. This item is quite useful in those Area of effect spells, as I've mentioned above.|
|- I usually don't buy this item, honestly I don't really know why, since it's actually quite good. Has a passive same as Randuin's Omen, but the other passive is quite effective against a fed Marksman, or even someone that's based on auto-attacking. Bramble Vest by itself is very nice early if you're having trouble staying alive but don't have the time to buy the entire item, this could be a rush against some team compositions. It is usually purchased against an enemy team who's entire damage is based on auto-attacking ( Irelia, Yasuo, Shyvana, Vayne, you get the point).|
|- Oh MY GOOOOOD. They brought back this item from the dead. It's as good as it used to be and it provides your team and yourself with such good speed. Rush this item early and just start ganking and engaging and basically fug em up. Since its removal in season 3 I felt like something has been missing. This item is actually really good early, it doesn't matter what you build late since if you rush this and Righteous Glory, you should be set and you should win that game just by ganking the carry's lane. Goes well with The fastest tree build (the one with the Predator rune). It's really fun to use early and can be useful even late game. However, if the game drags on for 40+ mins and you don't feel that you're tanky enough, I'm pretty sure just Righteous Glory will do the trick. Sell it late game is what I mean.|
Build 1: Aka, the most reliable build!
- So this is a pretty standard build for Maokai, gives him good resistance stats while also having 3 great active items! ( Righteous Glory, Randuin's Omen and Gargoyle Stoneplate). Does well against all kinds of team compositions, but is a bit costly, so watch out for that! I mean, you'll get your core items and you'll be fine, after buying Stalker's Blade - Cinderhulk, Righteous Glory and Spirit Visage, you'll do just okay and you'll be pretty tanky! If you're not familiar with what kind of damage the opponents mostly deal, buy this, I'm sure you can't go wrong. If you don't think you're tanky enough, or if you feel your enemies are dealing a bit too much magic damage to you, then switch up Randuin's Omen with something like Adaptive Helm, or Abyssal Mask, that should do about the same job, and they're also the same cost ( Adaptive Helm is actually cheaper by 100 gold, so you can try that if you're in a hurry).
Build 2: Aka, pls die marksman
- This build is quite oriented on dealing against a full ad team, so in other cases this shouldn't be your best path. It's quite effective in being able to reduce that damage to almost nothing, as the damage reduction on the armor part is roughly 75%, which is going to be enough to tank a bunch of physical damage, but not so much magic damage as your magic resist is quite low in this build. Playing against Yasuo, Vayne, or really any completely physical damage based team comp, this build should be a great deal of help!
Build number 3: Aka, end yourself puny mage!
- As it would seem, this build is for playing against a very, or completely magic damage based team composition. 300 magic resist is quite a lot and trust me, it's enough to survive burst damage from any champion there is. Adaptive Helm helps with surviving those abilities that deal consistent damage ( Brand's Pyroclasm or Teemo's Noxious Trap). What is also good about this build is it can protect your team against Area of effect spells, using Locket of the Iron Solari. When used at just the right moment, it can actually negate insane amounts of damage. It's a good pickup in situations when the enemy team has for example Ziggs, Orianna, Lissandra or Kennen. There are more AOE mages so if I would try to name them all it would take a while, so these are just examples so you get the point!
Build numero 4: Aka, yeah I rushed that!
- Build number 4 is all about getting ahead and forcing fights when you have the advantage. Be it your team has stronger early game champions and you're looking to end as early as possible(let's say you have Pantheon in your team, or maybe Renekton or Irelia), maybe you have a killer teamfight, this build is all about that sweet sweet force. Righteous Glory serves that purpose quite well, as the active part of the item is amazing while engaging. It's quite effective at picking out enemy carries if they make the mistake of staying even near you or just being a tiny bit exposed. The trick is to know when to engage and that is when you see that the enemy carry or squishy is near enough that you can use Righteous Glory -> Flash and then Twisted Advance into them to start it all off. It's a bit more expensive than the regular Maokai build, but you're looking to end the game as early as possible, so you're probably not going to get to those last 2 items, if you play this right.