Maokai Build Guide by bobsalad
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Threats & Synergies
Janna poses no threat though a good janna can block all your sapling poke with shield. A janna lane has no sustain so just go in whenever you have all your abilities up.
While other supports make laning for vayne very hard, Maokai has a harder time with vayne. She is the one counter to maokai support as her q and w hurt when you are going in. Ban this betch every game :D
Blitzcrank pull can be good or bad for you depending on the ad. Maokai is very tanky for a support but if it is a vayne ad or some auto attack dps adc you dont want to get pulled.
Just keep throwing saplings and go in when you have your abilities up. You will out trade them in most matchups as thresh doesnt have much upfront damage.
Ezreal lets you build up passive very easy so you will usually be full hp against an ezreal lane. He also doesnt do much damage in an all in so you can trade with him very well and just sustain up.
A good soraka will out trade you by standing far behind the adc so you can never go on soraka. That way even if you out trade damage onto their adc, soraka will heal them up and they will have higher hp than you.
Sona q poke is annoying but there isnt much threat of dying with sona. Just be patient and force her to waste mana on heal with saps.
Nami heal costs a lot of mana and she cant do much when you are on her. If possible, dodge the bubble with your w when fighting.
Caitlyn range is annoying and it is very difficult to sustain with your passive + relic without taking some return damage from caitlyn.
With the changes to righteous glory, Maokai is playable as support now.
Maokai was one of the premier top lane picks at the end of Season 4 and Season 5. However I believe he is much stronger as support especially in solo queue. Pro top laners will mostly agree Maokai does not have the strongest laning phase but excels in teamfights and does well with low farm. In solo queue games, top laners are usually very farmed and top lane relies heavily on laning. On the contrary, support Maokai has a very strong laning phase and can be just as good in teamfights without much farm.
Bone Plating By far the most broken rune in this row. Almost all resolve users will take this rune.
Second Wind One of Maokai's biggest strengths is being able to take an even or potentially bad trade and sustain back up with relic shield and passive. This mastery helps a lot with that. If you think the lane will be easy you can take Conditioning for better scaling.
Revitalize Adds a lot to the built in healing Maokai has. If there is a lot of cc you can take Unflinching but I think revitalize is better.
Inspiration is generally the best secondary tree for supports.
Hextech Flashtraption Hexflash can be very useful on maokai since his range on w is so short. You can channel it in lane bushes to get in range to root easier. You can also use it to go over walls. I like to cast my ult from over a wall then hexflash over to flank.
Biscuit Delivery I prefer biscuits for more sustain. If you are against an easy matchup you can go Approach Velocity to catch up to targets hit with your ult or saplings easier.
This item gives a lot more laning strength than coin even though coin might give more gold. It synergizes very well with your passive early game so you can share gold with your adc as well as have massive sustain. With 3 other champs bot instead of 1 top, you will have your passive up a lot more. Take 3 Health Potion.
|Finish this item first since it gives a massive regen boost over the targon and also gives 10% cdr. It also makes it easier to get gold.|
|These are the best boots in most games. They let you catch up to your target. Get Ninja Tabi if they are all ad.|
|This item is most important to engage better. You can also use the slow to peel.|
|Gives continous slow as well as buffing your ad.|
|Get this item next for the aura and the shield. It is probably the strongest teamfight item you can build.|
|This item is incredibly efficient for a single, low price item. The only downside is it is not effective in a 1v1 but you don't need to 1v1 anyone as support.|
|They reduced the cost on frozen heart by 100. The item gives good stats for Maokai especially if your build is lacking in cdr.|
This item is very strong. Get this after glory if you have one main carry or locket first if you want to shield for the whole team.
Some items you should not get on support Maokai but may seem deceptively good are Rod of Ages, Randuin's Omen, Sunfire Cape, Warmog's Armor, and Spirit Visage.
Always start E on support Maokai. Your E is one of the strongest level 1 abilities as it is pretty much a 1100 range ward (can be longer if you throw against a wall). Use this to scout where the enemy is level 1.
Saplings can act as wards and if the enemy passes them, they will know they have been spotted. Even if you were not paying attention when they got hit by the sapling, they still may back off knowing you got vision of them.
Here are some good sapling placements on blue and purple side
For the tri-bushes on both sides, the enemy will usually walk through them on their way back from leashing level 1. You can get some good poke by leaving a few saplings in those bushes. Generally the enemy will walk through that bush around 1:50-1:55 and saplings last 30s at level 1 so start throwing them around 1:25.
In lane, use your saplings to poke. This is how you should place them.
The new saplings have lower lockdown radius (which is good so they dont unintentionally get aggro from minions). There are two ways to use this. New saplings have large splash radius from bush so you can place them close enough that they will target the minions and splash onto the enemy champions. Placing them on the inner edge of the bush away from minions will be out of range to target minions. This more for zoning or if you want a guaranteed hit on the enemy champs. Image below for reference.
As you are a melee champion it is common that you will be pushed under turret. Set up saplings in the bush before they push you in so they can stop them from running away from your all in. Example below.
Great! Maokai is probably one of the best mid game teamfighting supports in the game. You have very high pick potential as you can CC people for days with your Q, W, and E. Use your sightstone to ward up around the bot jungle and river. I generally do not like defensive wards in solo queue so most of your sightstone wards should be in the enemy jungle or in river. However, place pinks defensively as it is harder to defend offensive pinks in solo queue.
Try to stay near the front and be in range to use your abilities whenever they are up. Abilities will cycle very fast so you will have your Sap Magic up a lot. Proc it whenever you can as it restores a lot of HP.
Thanks for reading my guide!
Please leave comments on what you think I could do differently with the guide or my playstyle with Maokai. I appreciate all feedback.