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Build Guide by Nyoike

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Nyoike

Saplings on the Rocks

Nyoike Last updated on April 3, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 0

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

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

Utility: 9

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Maokai, The Twisted Treant

"You should not defy nature."
~ Maokai

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This guide will not hold you hand and tell you how to play Maokai, it will simply give you the items/runes/masteries/etc. that I use and some helpful tips for his play style.

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Change Log

4/3/2011: Added a small note about late game in the items chapter
3/28/2011: Build published

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To Do List

  • Get more things in the Tips, Tricks, and Facts chapter
  • Get more video of me playing Maokai on

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If you wanted to you could probably take mana regen/CDR/magic pen. Quints instead, I just prefer the extra health.

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  • Resistance Extra Magic resist, you don't get too much in the line of Magic resist in this build so you want all you can get from masteries.
  • Hardiness Extra Armor, you don't get too much in the line of Armor in this build so you want all you can get from masteries.
  • Strength of Spirit Extra health regen by 1% of your max mana, very helpful.
  • Defensive Mastery 1 reduced damage from minions and monsters, nothing too special, mostly just taken to get up to the next tier.
  • Harden Skin Completely block out 2 physical damage, very helpful.
  • Veteran's Scars An extra 48 HP, not all that special sounding, but it helps, esp. early game.
  • Ardor An extra 4% ability power and attack speed, since you only get 1 ability power item, this will help quite a bit.
  • Tenacity 4% reduced damage from all sources, makes team fights much nicer, esp. with you ult's extra 20% damage reduction.


  • Good Hands Since you don't stack that much mana regen/health regen, Perseverence really doesn't do that much for you, Good Hands, on the other hand (pun intended), can be the difference between a win or a loss.
    **See this for some mathematical proof (Hurray for math!).
  • Haste Makes Ghost better, what more do you want?
  • Awareness Keeps you at the top of your game, esp. if you have a Zilean on your team. You level up like crazy.
  • Meditation An extra MP5, not too much, but still quite helpful.

If you want you could take Greed , but if you do the math, in a 45 minute game there is 2700 seconds, and it gives 1 gold every 10 seconds that means 270 extra gold in a 45 minute game, not really much at all.

You could also take Utility Mastery or Insight , but I find that my lane partners don't have too much in the line of mana issues and that I don't really ever get a buff aside from Baron in 5v5 and Dragon in 3v3.

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Starting Items

I always start with the following: These take care of most of your mana problems and it builds into Philosopher's Stone which is actually a decent amount of extra gold and a decent amount of MP5 and HP5.

Core Items

The core items in this build are:
  • Boots of Swiftness You're a flippin' tree. You-walk-really-slow.
  • Rylai's Crystal Scepter Increases the damage of your saplings AND provides a very helpful slow to them and your other spells.
  • Soul Shroud Mana Regen, Health, and CDR all wrapped in a nice aura for you and your teammates (well, the health is only for you, but the others get shared).

Situational Items

VS all AD

  • Thornmail A lot of armor AND it causes the enemy AD champs to kill themselves when they attack you.
  • Frozen Heart Armor, CDR, mana, and a very nice passive effect.
  • Sunfire Cape Health, Armor, and you are on fire (I personally would rather go for the cheaper version and just get a match and light myself on fire, but that doesn't seem to be liked all that much).

VS all AP

**If someone on your team already has an Abyssal Mask then you might want to get Quicksilver Sash, esp. if the enemy team has a couple of Ignites that they use on you a lot.

Half and Half

**In most games I end up getting Guardian Angel, just a little FYI.

Long Games

In games that last for more then an hour, this build might lose a bit of its edge (thanks to Zob Pkaw for helping me with this build and finding this out). Most games you do not get to the point where it will happen, but if you happen to have a long game, you may want to sell some of your items like Philosopher's Stone/Shurelya's and Soul Shroud, for more tankier items.

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Summoner Spells

Not gonna go through the whole spiel of all the different summoner spells, like I do in my other builds (see them if you are curious), I'll just give what I use and why I use it.

  • Clarity: Saplings, saplings, saplings, saplings, saplings, saplings, saplings, saplings, saplings, ult, saplings, saplings, saplings, saplings, saplings, saplings, saplings, etc.

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Tips, Tricks, and Facts

  • You aren't a fast pitcher, lead your target with your saplings if there is any chance they could run away.
  • When trying to save someone's life, be sure to use your Ult around them, not you. Use Twisted Advance on the person that could catch up the easiest to the person. Use Arcane Smash in the middle of the enemy group if possible. And when it doubt, toss in a sapling.
  • Try to use Clarity before you use any of your mana pots, this is so that instead of using it after about 7 minutes into the game and not being able to use it for the entire cool down afterwards, you use it at about 3 minutes and it is up again whenever you need mana, after all, "It's your mana, and you need it now."
  • Arcane Smash is not just a skill shot, it hits all people right next to you.
  • Saplings do actually have a 1:1 AP ratio, but half goes to the initial impact and half goes to the explosion damage.
  • When an enemy is running away from a group fight, break your channeling on Vengeful Maelstrom and cause them to take damage (which could also cause you to get the kill) and if nothing else, slow them.
  • Group fights are your cup of tea.
  • Since saplings give vision, if you toss a sapling into the wraith camp (for example) you can then use twisted advance and get through the wall that way. (not to mention get some extra Gold)
  • The initials of this chapter are "TTF" just like most font files.

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This build is a little behind schedule, I originally planned on having it out the same week Maokai was released, but better late then never.

If you have any constructive feedback please comment, rate up if you like and make sure to say why you rate down if you do, I'll try and fix any issues ASAP.

If you want to see some of this build and some of the tips/tricks in action, check out my channel here. (I play a lot of different champions so there might be more you would enjoy to see.)

Enjoy tossing them Saplings on the Rocks!