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
Maokai, the other tanky caster
Your votes and comments encourage our guide authors to continue
creating helpful guides for the League of Legends community.
Update: just finished a 5v5 with Maokai as the tank for our team. Went AP/CDR as usual, but also picked up a Warmog's and FoN for a little more survival against Yi and LeBlanc. Went 7/9/19 and we won.
I'm not going to go into runes, masteries or Summoner Spells in great depth, nor will I bother explaining Mao's spells; they're all pretty self-explanatory. Runes are pretty standard, masteries help you take more damage since you'll be at the center of the fight, and summoner spells are mostly preference - I just prefer Flash and Clairvoyance.
I don't buy more AP items beyond the Tome because Maokai's scaling is pretty bad, but his base damage is amazing, so getting more CDR will let you dish out the damage instead of building AP. The defensive items you get instead will let you survive longer, building a better Vengeful Maelstrom while giving you more time to punish your enemies.
The sixth slot is left open as needed, whether it's more armor in the form of Sunfire Aegis or similar (the DoT is also good, given the amount of time you can W). Frozen Heart will give you 40% CDR (and a 7.8sec CD Twisted Advance) and a good chunk of armor and mana, as well as a good aura.
Abyssal Mask is also a good 6th slot item to simultaneously boost your damage and lower the team's MR.