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Maokai Build Guide by Dremu

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PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.

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 Dremu

Maokai the AP Support Tank!

Dremu Last updated on June 15, 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: 21

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 0

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Maokai the Treant

Disclaimer: This guide is meant to show how I play Maokai, It may not be better than others or the best, But it is how I enjoy playing him and I am giving you all my tips.

First off if you see Maokai tell him I did not steal his sapling. Thank you.

I just got Maokai and played one game with him and went positive with a win, He's the coolest champion League of Legends has recruited, I love him :] So this guide is to show how I play him and how you guys may enjoy to play him.

WARNING! I am going to redo his items, This build is currently still in the works, Don't think this is final however don't let this stop you from giving me feedback. i need any item suggestions, Or any images to show if this guide worked to help me improve! Thank you.

-Replaced Warmog's with Abyssal Mask
-Removed Gragas from bad laning partners.
-Fixed spelling errors.
-Changed rune set
-Fixed skill sequence a bit

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1. Very Healthy
2. Strong skills
3. Good combos
4. Great support

1. Slow early game
2. Health dependent
3. AP dependent

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Rune Choices

x9 I chose 9 marks of insight because Magic Penetration is very viable for Maokai, He is based on his spells, And his spells deal massive damage when used in combination.

Greater seal of Defensex9 I chose Defense to help Maokai's defense again Physical damage by level 18 (better tanking)

x9 I chose shielding to help Maokai with his magic resistance by level 18.

x3 I chose fortitude quintessence because Maokai is health dependent making this give him a big boost in his health.

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Catalyst the protector Catalyst is a great item to start with, It heals your health and mana every level, But also it increases them, this is great for Maokai's passive but also he can lane longer.

Mercury's treads are great boots for anyone, great for their magic resist and of course movement speed and the fact of the reduced CC's upon him.

Rod of ages is what gives Maokai some of his AP to start the match with, this also gives him health and mana and makes him the AP support tank he is.

The sunfire cape is great for his health armor and damage, This with combination of make him do some great damage.

Abyssal scepter is a great item for support tank, It gives a wonderful amount of magic resist and AP, Also this gives an aura for decreased magic resist to enemies for your maximum support, Making this a great core item.

Banshee's Veil is always a good item for its magic resist health and mana and it's passive which blocks an enemy spell, Catalyst will go into this item.

Rabadon's Deathcap will give Maokai his final slot and his actual AP part, This item is required and can be obtained earlier if wanted the AP, This makes him his actual AP support tank.

This item increases your armor and mana, it also gives you a good CDR and slows enemies. This is a great item for Maokai.

Warden's Mail is also a good choice if your lacking armor, and increases your hp5, It's also a cheap alternative very good for this build.

Thornmail is another good choice when lacking armor, It is only recommended when your team consists of Master Yi or any other fast melee attackers however.

Force of Nature is a great choice for the HP5 and great when lacking magic resist as well.

Frozen Mallet is good when lacking health and damage, This is great for the slowing attack as well so your enemy can't escape.

The Aegis of the Legion is wonderful increasing your armor health and magic resist, Plus emitting an aura for your allies making you an even better support tank.

Warmog's Armor is a great item for any health dependent champions, it gives you great health and hp5 plus it's stacks are great, making this an all around great item.

These items are your alternatives or just for slot 6, each one is also dependent on what runes you use, incase you chose an alternative rune to the ones I showed you.

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Skills and Rotation

Sap Magic is Maokai's passive ability, it is a very good one too, It heals him for a percentage of his max health whenever he gains 5 stacks of this from nearby spells being cast.

Arcane Smash Arcane Smash is Maokai's slowing knockback skill. This does damage in a line and also knocks nearby enemies backwards while slowing them for a certain percentage.

Twisted advance moves Maokai to the enemy dealing damage while doing so, This is great in combination with Arcane smash.

Sapling Toss is a great damage dealing nuke attack. It does AoE damage and he can be used to scout brush. A great strategy using skill, You can use them to scout jungles or help teammates jungle in early game (via Phreak's video)

Vengeful Maelstrom is his ultimate, it seems useless but when used correctly it can be very useful. This ultimate is used when your with an ally or more in a battle, It reduces their damage taken while building up damage to the ultimate, When deactivated it deals damage depending on how much stored added on to its base damage, This lasts as long as you have mana also.

For further help here is phreak's video on this champion
Now a broken down rotation to his skills is listed.

W, Q, E, W, Q - etc or when in team battle - W, Q, R, E, W, Q, R

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Alright so now you know your skill setups, your runes, items etc. Now it's for the actual gameplay.

In the beginning you must realize, Maokai is not much of a ganker, So what you want is to team up with some of these people

Good Laning Partners:
- great stealth ganker/CC
- Twitch will most likely be mid solo but if he lanes get with him
- Great at killing in general, DoT's with your snare and his DoT your good.
- He's DPS ganker, good to lane with.
- Always good to lane with a mage especially anivia who can CC and slow.
- Beasty killing machine.
- Weird right? But good damage output.

- info below.

Bad Laning Partners:
- I know weird, Maokai tank she heals, but 2 supports is bad. no kills.
- Once again he can heal but 2 supports no.
- you won't be getting many kills, unless a good karma.

Any unlisted is fine partner, Basically a good laner is a Ranged CCer, Like Ashe, Great laning partner, Stun and slow plus she's ranged applying dmg.

So now you have your laning partner, What you want to do is play on the defense, Unless you see an easy opening. DO NOT RUSH 2 PEOPLE, that'll just be certain death! So what you want is once dinged level 2 start harassing a bit with your Sapling Toss. This is Maokai's main harasser, with AP+ it becomes a very powerful ability, and it's a wonderful noise making cutie :D


Alright now when in fights what you want is to follow this combo, Twisted Advance your enemy to snare and get close, right after blast them with your Arcane SmashArcane Smash then just set down a Sapling which will do some damage, if in team fight try using twisted advance and then popping your ultimate or the other way around to keep them in the circle longer while your teammates should be taking damage in this circle to increase max damage output, Then tap your R toggle again to most likely get the kill or just damage them enough for the team to pick them off. Your ultimate is amazing when used right, if used in a huge team fight and then toggled off after teammates are being damaged up, then you can easily turn the tides of the battle.


Maokai's ultimate is really hard to get used to, it can take time to get the right placement times and the right toggle timings. To help you may want to try doing some custom games with friends, practice the ultimate a little before doing any ranked games or norm games etc. Vengeful Maelstrom may seem like a dumb ultimate but it is actually very powerful when used right, it can easily turn the tides of a game easily!

Sapling Placement:

Sapling placement is a very beneficial thing while using maokai, here's an example of great use of the sapling;

If you see here, you can easily pick off running low health players, while also getting an enemy teammate who is low as well. Oooohhh noooo! Saplings are Maokai's main thing other than his rooting and knockbacks, He can easily destroy enemies with well placed saplings, try throwing them in bushes to knock out any enemy gankers, also movement anticipation is key if you want the maximum effectiveness, make sure you throw your sapling ahead of the enemy, then you'll get the headon dmg and suicide dmg.

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Based on Phreak's video I did learn from it to play Maokai, However item choices were not used to be the same, It was coincidence for any same items, But hey, good choices? This goes for anything else I watched how to use Maokai's skills, While making this build I watched the full video and saw some similarities to items, So don't get all mad at me for same things please, It was coincidence, And i'm not changing it.

Thank you all for reading this build I hope it helps you play Maokai in a great way, Also send me any pictures of some matches you had using this build, I will put it in my build and give you credit, Just email them to " " and I will put them in my build, Thanks :]