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Maokai Build Guide by Kellth

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Kellth

Maokai - The Tree In The Jungle (S5)

Kellth Last updated on March 29, 2015
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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: 4

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 26


Utility: 0

Threats to Maokai with this build

Show all
Threat Champion Notes
Lee Sin Lee is great at 1v1's in the early game. Try to avoid him in the early game, but during team fights twisted advance (W) him when he follows up on his (Q)
Olaf Olaf is great at 1v1's so try to avoid him as his true damage ability will rip through Maokai.
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Maokai is by far my favorite jungler in League Of Legends. First off he is a giant tree... he belongs in the jungle and all those hipsters going in the top lane with Maokai don't know what's up. Maokai provides insane supportive skills, the best peel in the game, and probably the strongest defensive team fight ultimate which reduces non-tower damage by 20%.

I hope you take the time to look through the guide and learn the ways of the tree. Enjoy!

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My best win streak with Maokai thus far

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Pros / Cons


  • Tanky
  • Supprotive
  • Great Teamfighter
  • Insane peel
  • High CC
  • Strong ganks
  • Strong late game
  • Has very few hard counters


  • Slow without Mobi's
  • Deals little damage
  • Weak early game
  • Not good at small skirmishes (1v1)

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- Early game armor (Great against fighters)
- Helps with early game damage
- Helps with early game magic resist
- Helps with early game damage

I do not prefer CDR runes because you already get 5% CDR from Sorcery. Also once you start getting towards the mid/late game you get Frozen Heart and Spirit Visage putting you at a good 35% CDR. Remember the cap for CDR is 40%, making the build only 5% CDR away from max CDR. You can get 6 Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction to put you at exactly 40% cooldown reduction. If you do this though your damage will be affected and you will only be able to pick up 3 Greater Mark of Magic Penetration.

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I use 4/26/0 for my masteries. You might be asking why we're not using 9/21/0 or 0/21/9? Mostly this is because you want to pick up the extra masteries in the defensive tree to help you become the tank that your team will need. When professional teams create double ADC comps they normally choose Maokai as one of their tanks to protect them. This is because Maokai is by far one of the strongest tanks and utility champions in the game. Therefore I suggest you go with 4/26/0 to give you that 5% cooldown reduction in the offensive tree and to put 26 points in the defensive tree to help you absorb damage.

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

As far as the ability sequence goes on Maokai always pick up E first to be able to easily clear blue. I start at Blue buff as Maokai jungle as I prefer it over the gromp start.

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Jungle Path

How to clear blue effectively at level 1

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(Passive) Sap Magic

Each time Maokai or a champion near him casts a spell he gains a charge of Sap Magic. At 5 charges when Maokai auto attacks he heals himself for 7%. This passive is basically how you survive through the jungle. So be sure to constantly use your spells in the jungle when you have blue buff so that you can heal your health back up.

Arcane Smash

(Q) Arcane Smash

Cooldown: 6 seconds
This spell is great when used in conjunction with your Twisted Advance. This spell knocks back enemies in a very close range of Maokai and the skill shot part of this spell slows enemies. Also be sure to get up close to enemy champions when using this spell for the knock back part of the ability.

(W) Twisted Advance

Cooldown: 13/12/11/10/9
This spell is your initiate ability. This ability also has a really nice CC, which roots enemies in place for 1-2 seconds depending on the level of the spell. This spell is great when used as an initiation or when used to peel for squishys on your team.

(E) Sapling Toss

Cooldown: 12 seconds
This spell is very important during the early stages of the game. It helps you clear the jungle a lot faster and also contributes to your Sap Magic, just like every other spell. Remember that this spell also slows the enemy target when it explodes. So use it effectively when fighting enemies.

(R) Vengeful Maelstrom

Cooldown: 40/30/20 seconds
This spell is basically why your so good at team fights, and because of all your other defensive/utility based abilities. But this is very important when fighting the enemy team. When you get into a teamfight be sure to pop this at the correct time. Don't pop it and stand there and do nothing, this spell is used to soak up damage and reduce non-tower damage by 20% for 10 seconds. If you find yourself not using it correctly then simply press (R) again to make it explode and stop. Just remember that you then have to wait 40/30/20 seconds to use it again. Be sure to peel for your carries and stay on them while the enemies cast spells and deal damage, thus allowing you to reduce the damage of all non-tower damage by 20%.

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Early Game Item Explanation

For items on Maokai, always start with Hunter's Machete + 2 Health Potions. From there, you want to get Ranger's Trailblazer - Cinderhulk as soon as you can along with Boots of Speed.

Once you get the Ranger's Trailblazer - Cinderhulk you will want to finish off your Boots of Speed and upgrade them to Boots of Mobility.

Mid Game Item Explanation

Once your down with all of that it's time to decide whether you want to build defensively against AD or AP. Take a look at the enemy team comp and figure out what they have more of. If they have more AD based champions then you will want to build a Frozen Heart and Randuin's Omen. If the team comp is more centered around AP damage then you will want to pick up a Locket of the Iron Solari and Spirit Visage.

Late Game Item Explanation

The full build for Maokai should look a little something like

- Used to initiate and gank enemies (Without boots of mobi's you are very slow)

- Your basic jungle item that helps you clear along with the cinderhulk enchantment because your a friggin tank. :D

- Very useful against AP comps, also good because it provides a nice little shield for all your allies when activated.

- Great against champions like Vayne who need to basic attack to deal damage.

- Increases the healing of your passive Sap Magic. Also provides you with a decent amount of cooldown reduction which is vital for Maokai.

- Provides you with a large amount of armor. Also activating this item will slow all nearby enemies. Great for engaging a fight and slowing the enemy team or when you want to disengage.

Don't forget your trinket!

- Great because it provides you with wards allowing you to store up to 2! It's like a mini Sightstone.

- Want to clear the enemies vision? Then this is the trinket for you.

- This is an alternative to the Greater Vision Totem. Choose which one fits your play style.

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Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading! I hope you got something out of this guide. Be sure to give me some feedback on the guide as I'd greatly appreciate it so that I can improve this guide and all future guides!

If you like watching YouTube videos then be sure to check out my channel! I post full game commentaries ever few days.

My YouTube Channel