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Maokai Build Guide by kelpist

Jungle [S14.2] Maokai's Redemption in the Jungle

Jungle [S14.2] Maokai's Redemption in the Jungle

Updated on January 30, 2024
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League of Legends Build Guide Author kelpist Build Guide By kelpist 17 1 26,312 Views 4 Comments
17 1 26,312 Views 4 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author kelpist Maokai Build Guide By kelpist Updated on January 30, 2024
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Runes: Phasing Oak (+++)

1 2
Phase Rush
Nimbus Cloak

Cheap Shot
Treasure Hunter

+8 Ability Haste
+10-180 Bonus Health
+10-180 Bonus Health


1 2
Mossy Tree (+++)
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Mosstomper Smite

Mosstomper Smite

Threats & Synergies

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Extreme Threats
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Champion Build Guide

[S14.2] Maokai's Redemption in the Jungle

By kelpist
Why Maokai?
Pros and Cons
What is he good at?
How to play?
How to master Maokai
Maokai, the Twisted Treant
Maokai has recently became a strong Jungler in season 14, as of season 14.2 he has become one of the strongest tank junglers in the meta right now. I feel as though when I am playing him I become an unstoppable tank that can stun a whole team and wipe them into the dirt.
With Frozen Heart and Thornmail becoming some of the best tank items Maokai has seen a significant increase in power. Hollow Radiance also allows him to be strong into AP team comps. In season 14 I feel as though he is the strongest he has been in a while and there is no reason not to take advantage of this pick that is climbing back into the meta.
+ Nimble
+ Tanky
+ Great CC
+ Amazing Teamfights
+ Strong in the meta
+ Great Ganks
Maokai has skyrocketed in season 14, in both win rate and popularity. He has become a viable jungler to climb in both soloq and with others. His items have recently been buffed such as Thornmail and Frozen Heart which are great additions to his kit and with the introduction of new items such as Hollow Radiance and Kaenic Rookern he is a great MR champ. He is great in teamfights and his ganks have always been both easy and quick with the Twisted Advance into Bramble Smash combo.
- Weak Carry Potential
- Low Damage
- Susceptible to invades
- Relies on team
- Susceptible to inting with W
Despite Maokai being a great jungler currently he has some cons that hold him back from particular playstyles. One of these being his low damage, when Demonic Embrace was removed so was any chance at him becoming an AP hybrid tank, it was a sad loss but this welcomed in a newer much more tank focused playstyle. Sadly, Brand has become an overpowered jungler which is also a big counter to Maokai. Additionally, Maokai relies a lot on the team and cannot carry, making him unable to snowball, this just means it is important to help ally lanes.

Early game

As Maokai taking fights you are not prepared for is not smart, without utilizing your Sapling Toss you are making a large mistake. Fighting in the river is best for Maokai, and with the addition of new bushes Maokai’s utility has become much better. Sapling Tossing in brushes and coordinating fights with your support is extremely useful, you can do this more effectivelybased on the enemy champion. For example, if the enemy team has a Nunu & Willump or a Kindred they will most likely rush scuttle, being prepared before 3:30 (Scuttle Spawn) with a Sapling Toss in a bush can set up a fight by damaging and slowing the enemy. This is just one of the way’s Maokai can be useful.

At level 3 Maokai should start ganking, his gap closing Twisted Advance can be great for pinning a target, then pushing them back to your team with Bramble Smash is the best combo you can make. You can also Sapling Toss the escape route to slow them if they use a Flash or Ghost. Maokai takes advantage of map control a lot, his Sapling Toss helps him with vision and his great kit utilizes it. It is best to try and stay as close to the middle as possible, but if you cannot make sure to use river as a highway with your Waterwalking

Maokai’s most significant powerspike is his Nature's Grasp which spikes his teamfight power and can turn teamfights into slaughters. The stun at level 1 is 0.6 and scales to 2.8, it also provides Maokai with bonus MS which helps him rush into a fight, as a default Nature's Grasp should be used to close the gap and to engage in choke points such as the river.

Mid Game

Throughout the mid game, your main goal will be to look for picks with your team. To do this you must have good vision around the map to catch people out of position, use your Sapling Toss combined with your support wards to do this. Having good vision is one of the most important things for setting up fights and knowing what to do throughout the game

During this phase of the game you should be really tanky, in teamfights it is your job to tank and pin down high priority champs with your Twisted Advance on the enemy team in order to dominate the fights. Additionally, you have to make sure you peel for your high damage carries, this should be one of your main goals.

Maokai’s kit is especially great in choke points such as throughout the jungle and in the river, this way nobody can escape your vines (Literally, your Nature's Grasp covers the whole river). This makes your objective skirmishes stronger than basically any other Jungler due to the high CC. In these river skirmishes getting into the back line is the most important so you can clean up the tanks and take the objective.

Late game

During this phase of the game you are at your strongest, your Nature's Grasp’s cooldown will be around a minute meaning you don’t have to be scarce when using it, this will greatly help in practically every fight (Whether it be engaging or running away). In the endgame you will be extremely tanky, susceptible to nothing really, this makes your engage like a speeding brick wall that blocks everything, just make sure to peel for the extremely squishy glass cannons.

During this phase of the game vision is key, knowing your enemies next move gives you the upper hand every single time, your Sapling Toss will last for 30 seconds acting as a temporary ward that can be crucial in the late game. They can also be used to “cheese” enemies, just wait until somebody walks in and immediately engage for a free kill (Don’t try this on overly fed people, obviously).

Make sure to play for objectives and stay in mid lane, otherwise you will catch yourself receiving missing pings after your whole team dies sieging mid. You are basically a must have tool for your team at this point, your Nature's Grasp can lock down a whole team giving time for your ADC to kill one or two people with a whole 3 seconds of CC (Basically).

Final Words

Hello, thanks for reading my guide, I hope it helps. If it gets enough positive feedback I’ll expand upon it in the next patch with matchups, runes and itemisations. Good luck with Maokai, warning however, he will get frustrating if your teammates consistently seem to bait you when you ult or use your w to engage, feel free to leave feedback but try to keep it “constructive”. Like if you feel as though it helped you and tell me if it did!
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League of Legends Build Guide Author kelpist
kelpist Maokai Guide
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[S14.2] Maokai's Redemption in the Jungle

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