Maokai Build Guide by Weeznaz
Your votes and comments encourage our guide authors to continue
creating helpful guides for the League of Legends community.
Maoki Items (Blind Pick Rune/
+30-270 Health (at levels 1-18)
Split Pushing Pain in the Ass
Hello Summoners, my name is Weeznaz and I am writing this guide on one of my favorite tanks, because I think he is fun to play, and because after looking at the other guides I couldn't find one except C9 Balls' who expalined the item choices or rune.mastery set up in any great detail. So, I am here to do just that, help explain his item choices, rune set up, and mastery set up because Maokai is very flexible in build path.
Maokai is an AP tank. His sustain, CC lockdown, respectable base values allow you to build him as a super tank, and he's a great disruptor and annoyance to the enemy team.
1: Lockdown CC: Twisted Advance + Nature's Grasp can hold enemy champions down for about 2 seconds
2: Doesn't need to build any damage items. Between base values, built in max health values, Sunfire Cape, Iceborn Gauntlet, or Abyssal Mask Maokai doesn't need to build more damage oriented items such as Rod of Ages
3: Respectable wave manipulation.
1: Late game damage is negligible (he can't 1 v 5 carry a late game teamfights)
2: Immobile: slow base movement speed and no direct movement abilities.
3: Twisted Advance is short range: in late game teamfights it usually requires FLASH, a well placed TELEPORT, or Righteous Glory active to lock on to a primary target.
Rune Set Up Explained
I prefer a Resolve Tree complemented with some traits of the Inspiration tree.
Resolve Tree Order
1: Grasp of the Undying or Aftershock. Grasp of undying works well with Maokai's playstyle, especially Sap Magic. Aftershock is very easy for Maokai to utilize. IMO Grasp of the Undying is better for laning phase and 1 v 1 situations while Aftershock is better during teamfights.
2: Font of Life: It can help your team heal a slight bit during a teamfight which is a nice benefit. Maokai's AOE abilities means Maokai can hit every member of the enemy team, and potentially every member of your team could be healing when in combat for a small duration of time. It's a small edge in a teamfight, but I like it. since my Maokai playstyle is big teamfights and less focused on split pushing I don't take Demolish. Unflinching is an acceptable option, because you will likely be Teleporting then flashing on top of your target, gaining you easy Tenacity.
3: I prefer Conditioning for it's consistent tank stats once you reach the 10 minute mark.
4: Is personal preference between Revitalize and Second Wind. I go with Second Wind for consistency. Overgrowth is a joke, don't use it.
1: Future's Market: Having deficit spending means Maokai can get shoved in and have an emergency reserve of money he can tap into so he can get a small item. This capability extends into the game, useful.
2: Cosmic Insight: Gives CDR, makes my summoner spells come up faster, makes my items (especially Righteous Glory) come up much faster
Doran's Ring: Gives HP, AP, and mana regen making this a great first item.
Iceborn Gauntlet: This item gives armor, 20% CDR, and lots of much needed mana. This is a great early item to help with wave manipulation and AOE CC.
Sunfire Cape: gives good HP, the AOE burn helps with wave manipulation and AOE teamfight damage.
Mercury's Treads vs Boots of Swiftness: If against high AP threats and lots of CC then M. Treads are your way to go. If you are against lots of SLOWS then B.O.Swiftness are superior.
Rod of Ages: While this item's stats all work with Maokai, it takes 10 minutes for this item to fully unlock. If you are snowballing the game, then go right ahead and get this item. However, and this is usually the case I find, I prefer to go I. Gauntlet + S. Cape as this is a more consistent item purchase.
Liandry's Torment: This item has health, high AP, flat magic penetration, and all of his abilities come with crowd control... meaning all of his abilities to extra max health damage. In most games this item is too expensive with too little tank stats to make it work. However, if you are snowballing give this item a try, it is too much fun when you get it to to work ;)
Righteous Glory: This item helps Maokai get into Twisted Advance range.
Spirit Visage: gives good HP, CDR, and Maokai has strong build in health regen effects so the unique passive on this item gets great useage.
Dead Man's Plate: A strong HP, armor, and early game item with its move speed increase.
Thornmail: A selfish item that helps Maokai stand toe to toe with AD based teams.
Locket of the Iron Solari: gives armor, magic resist, and a strong teamfight shield.
Zz'Rot Portal: Armor + magic resist + side wave pressure= options. make sure to coordinate with your team so this items pushes and you can be waiting cross map to make a play so you don't have to waste TP.
Banner of Command: See description for Zz'Rot Portal
Frozen Heart: 20% CDR + Mana + great response to attack speed based enemies.
Hextech GLP-800: Gives mana, AP, HP, and the active is useful for disengaging, or engaging if you play it right. Consider this a safer early game option than Rod of Ages.
Morellonomicon: Only build this if you are against an all AP team, in this case you can't build Iceborn Gauntlet or Frozen Heart so you need an option for mana + CDR.
Guardian Angel: While it has an awkward build path and low armor the unique passive can still be useful. Overall, a sub par armor item.
Randuin's Omen: Are you against a crit focused AD carry? Are they getting out of control. If the answer is yes then buy this item. If not, this item isn't necessary as the other armor items have more utility/ better early game benefits.
Knight's Vow: This is a sort of tag team item, it requires your ADC or your consistent magic damage AP carry to be on the ball, and if you work together you both become much harder to kill. This is a terrible item to purchase in laning phase. You need a few selfish tank items before you can make good use of this item. Just know if your damage source is on target you both can slug out drawn out teamfights.
Zeke's Harbinger: armor + magic resist + giving more power to your crit focused ADC or consistent damage carry if ahead= fun.
Zhonya's Hourglass: this item is expensive and gives low armor, but is FUN when used. This is a possibly good item against an all AD team.
Abyssal Mask: If against a team with heavy AP damage this item can be considered an option, but I would not purchase this before a Spirit Visage or Adaptive Helm as I feel the extra damage is not a fair trade in exchange for the extra tankiness of the other 2 options.
Adaptive Helm: A really strong response to lots of magic damage.
Gargoyle Stoneplate: Consider this a teamfight viagra pill: Gives lots of tank steroids. The item is a solid 3rd item slot pickup. The reduction in damage is not a huge deal since Maokai isn't expected to be doing the lion's share of damage in teamfights.
Trinity Force: Technically Maokai utilizes all of the stats. Maokai uses the slight AD to better last hit, he can utilize the Phage passive to bette stick to a target. Maokai can use spellblade passive decently, he has similar base AD as champions more well known for building Tri Force such as Hecarim. The attack speed is appreciated and works with Sap Magic while the move speed gives Maokai a much coveted stat. Based on that description you might believe that this item works on Maokai, and if you get an early lead it can be a fun build. The real issue is that the item goes against what you are designed to do. Maokai is designed to be played as a brick who can flash into a team and lock down one target. This item is expensive and keeps Maokai squishy. The final product is decent, but the road to get there is too difficult if you aren't hard carrying. It's more reliable to build full tank, but keep this item in the back of your mind.
Spellbinder: Gives AP and move speed, both of which work well with Maokai's kit. While building this item will make you squishy, the active move speed is a much appreciated stat as well. Be warned, this item takes a long time to fully charge and isn't necessary as in almost every circumstance Deadman's Plate is a better move speed item. Still, keep this item in the back of your mind incase you need movespeed and building armor isn't a great option.
What do you think of my item guide? Did it help you or not? Let me know in the comment section.