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Maokai Build Guide by Moonkie

Jungle Season 13 Moonkie's 1K+ LP EUW Maokai jungle guide

Jungle Season 13 Moonkie's 1K+ LP EUW Maokai jungle guide

Updated on January 9, 2023
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Moonkie Build Guide By Moonkie 91 6 253,701 Views 3 Comments
91 6 253,701 Views 3 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Moonkie Maokai Build Guide By Moonkie Updated on January 9, 2023
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Phase Rush
Nimbus Cloak

Cheap Shot
Treasure Hunter

+8 Ability Haste
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+65 Base Health


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Smite


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

Season 13 Moonkie's 1K+ LP EUW Maokai jungle guide

By Moonkie
I'm Moonkie. I climbed with Maokai jungle to challenger EUW with a 70% win rate with all games played in master 400lp and above. Here I provide what I've learned for other people to see. I've also reached rank 1 Maokai on some of the meme websites.
Maokai jungle has a unique playstyle and is quite adaptive. He provides great early pressure with ganks inescapable with flash compared to a Vi or Jarvan Q.
Maokai transitions to mid-game incredibly well by being able to contest any objective by setting up saplings powered with Demonic Embrace.
In late-game, he can fill many roles depending on the build but most often Maokai peels for a carry very well making the game for enemy assassins and bruisers living hell.
Flash provides unavoidable ganks early on and it is generally good for dodging and setting up spells.
Smite gives junglers clearing prowess, objective takedowns, and the jungle item

Buy boots on your first back

and maybe a dark seal
Brown boots are good if you have to back with little gold or saving for expensive boots.
Default and built most games to provide cheap tier 2 to provide more often flash-ganks and ability haste.
Lots of Autoattackers (ex. Mundo, Reksai, Cassiopeia, Twitch, Pyke)
Lots of Crowd Control (ex. Gnar, Elise, Cassiopeia, Twitch, Amumu )
Dark Seal is very gold-efficient and gives good early damage and snowball potential.

First item should always be demonic

you might be trolling yourself otherwise
Demonic Embrace provides you with the ability to control objectives and team fights. Maokai turns into a generic tank champion without it and you end up losing the unique playstyle that you had available.
Radiant Virtue can be bought when extremely behind from the beginning. To enable another fed teammate to carry.

Your second item should fit your situational role

Don't go full ap every game.
To control objectives with more damage as the main magic damage dealer. Liandry's Anguish is better than Shadowflame and Night Harvester as it deals more damage to full hp targets and in sustained battles which are the scenarios Maokai fights in. Maokai also enjoys the ability haste.
To provide excellent team fighting and survivability to peel a carry and survive engages.
To provide survivability and sustained fighting when you are in melee range of multiple enemies.
When you are responsible for healing reduction for your team, you are the main magic damage dealer and the enemies have a lot of healing. If the conditions are not met you should buy it later. Finish your mythic third if you bought this second

Follow up with an effective item

The game often ends with this as your last item.
When in need of survivability against physical damage opponents.
When in need of survivability against magical opponents. Especially good when playing with magical threats.
Buy this in games where you will get jumped and blown up after an engagement (an unexpected Zhonya can win fights alone).
Quite cheap to finish after you've bought Stopwatch and probably needed if Stopwatch was good.

Situational items

You need a reason to build them
Full ap items can be built if you are responsible for dealing magic damage. However often a few well-chosen tank items enable you to do more damage overall.

Mejai's Soulstealer can be bought especially when you get the 10% ms instantly from Dark Seal stacks, however, buy it smart, and don't troll your team when you don't have the ability to survive and can get stacks. No one wants a Maokai playing for KDA.

Enemy has a lot of crit-building champions -> Randuin
Your team has a lot of healing -> Visage
Enemy team has a large amount of magic damage -> FoN
Read the spell descriptions to learn the basics of the abilities. I'll go over use case scenarios here and later on in the tactics part.

Tricks with Bramble Smash

1. You farm 2 camps at the same time by killing the previous camp with the same
2. You can stop enemies dashing like Elastic Slingshot
3. Use in conjunction with your Twisted Advance to land a great gank engage.

Tricks with Twisted Advance

1. You can dodge spells while traveling. Especially useful in scenarios where you have to survive Obliterate twice in a Realm of Death
2. You should only use Flash + Twisted Advance if you are in the range of W instantly after Flash to not let the enemy Flash away before you can W.
3. You can dodge turret shots if they are travelling in the air when you press W. However, if you W and the turret shoots at the same time it will hit you. Use this in dives and swap aggro to a teammate to share the damage taken.

Tricks with Sapling Toss

1. Should be kept off cooldown when wandering around the map to gain vision and poke enemies.
2. Do not face-check or let teammates face-check stuff instead throw a sapling.
3. Should not be used to damage monsters, instead better used as a ward and damage tool against champions.

Tricks with Nature's Grasp

1. Do not use to engage head-on as enemies can just run away.
2. Use it as a flanking tool to hit multiple enemies.
3. Can be used sideways in melee range to hit multiple enemies when you need instant damage or a short root

Usually you want to clear 3 camps and gank bot

On blue side

Red Brambleback to Crimson Raptor to Ancient Krug
A fast level 3 and red buff to provide an easy gank timing on bot when your laners hit level 2.

On red side

Red Brambleback to Crimson Raptor to Gromp
This prevents enemy junglers from stealing your topside camps when you gank botlane as only Ancient Krug is left.

Maokai's optimal full clear is 3.15 with 1 smite

This clear is very wacky and hard. A full clear is rare as the level 3 Flash + Twisted Advance gank is quite broken in solo Q At some point I'll probably upload the clear.

After the first clear

Maokai is really strong in fighting with teammates and usually, you can get a laner ahead at this point. After the first clear you want to match your enemy junglers ganks and not let him get shutdowns on your carry. Provide your carry with space to farm, vision with Sapling Toss and pick up camps in between with the priority on your carry situation. Stealing enemy camps should be possible pretty easy as you are often playing with your strong side.

Maokai has incredible ganks

Before level 6

You want to often gank level 3 and just use your flash to get a free kill and a lane ahead. Make sure your lane doesn't push too much and they have their level before the gank. Use sweeper as you walk up to the lane. Try to keep your own flash off cooldown and just spam flash + w ganks as soon as it is up.

With your ultimate

You want to use your ult with normal cast to line up the end of it with the lane back wall and behind your opponents. This way you get a long root thats hard to escape from and usually free kills when you are not on a ward.
Controlling objectives

Maokai can control objectives with his saplings

Contest objectives with free vision and great poke

Even though 2 teammates are dead and we are 11 kills behind. I can contest drake with the safety of phase rush and flash. Saplings should always be kept off cooldown when you are running around objectives in the mid-to-late-game.

Use your ultimate to zone for a smite

Even though we are a lot behind in this game. We manage to secure the objective as it is really hard to engage into a Maokai with saplings and his ultimate up.

Smiting objectives and stealing them

Maokai has quite a large smite compared to other junglers with his Bramble Smash + Smite as it can be 1200 + 700 in the midgame. Utilize this to get unexpected steals and secures off. Do not tank baron if you want a large smite on it.

Spam saplings around the objectives

Sapling Toss Should be spammed around objectives off cooldown. You should arrive 20-30 seconds early and set up a few the direction they should be coming from and as deep into their jungle as you can. This makes contesting objectives by the enemy very hard.

Fight with your carry

Peel your carry

In late-game team fights. Your role is most often to just keep people off your carry. Maokai is very efficient at this with his Twisted Advance and Bramble Smash. You should avoid diving for enemy carries as you lack the damage to burst them but this can be done in scenarios where you can finish them off.

Keep your engage short and use phase rush to escape (You are quite squishy)

When the enemy carrys get a few items, you will feel quite squishy which makes engaging hard. Utilize phase rush to make short engages and play fights with hit-and-run tactics by spamming your abilities, running and repeating this process.
Maokai seems pretty broken and you should play it. As for the future, I'll keep updating this guide and try to make this guide into a concise video. I'll probably stream my Maokai climb when the season starts.
A thanks to GoingTheDistance who provided me with some great assistance with optimizing the jungle clears and the guide in general
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Moonkie
Moonkie Maokai Guide
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Season 13 Moonkie's 1K+ LP EUW Maokai jungle guide

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