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Maokai Build Guide by L1LShadow

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League of Legends Build Guide Author L1LShadow

Tank Maokai - Be What You Would Hate

L1LShadow Last updated on July 27, 2011
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Team 1


Team 2

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: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

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

Utility: 0

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This guide is meant to "guide" you, I encourage you to try different things if you don't like the build. Do not down vote the build because it doesn't work for you. This guide will give you my personal build, one that works for me. The build is based upon Tanky Ap so that he can do some damage while still being able to tank for the team.

Maokai is a great support tank. Unlike most tanks, he can easily farm and harass at a long range even though he is melee. Although his laning power is great, he can also jungle as well as he can lane. Outside the lane and into team fights, all of Maokai's abilities support his team in some way instead of JUST doing damage. Besides that, he can also tank quite well with his ultimate and passive helping him stay alive.

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aaaaaaaaaaa Pros:
+Great Tank and Great Support all in one
+Can farm easier than other tanks.
+Can jungle or lane well, choose what you want.
-All mana used during/after team fight.
-Ultimate fails when enemies/allies are not in it.
-Sapling is easy to avoid when people get boots.

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Greater Mark of Insight

Lets Maokai do more damage since he'll be doing magic damage.
Since you do more damage(with small amount of ap) you attract enemy attention.

Greater Seal of Resilience

In this build he'll have over 3k health, armor is necessary.
Get this for early game or Greater Seal of Defense for later game.

Greater Glyph of Shielding

In this build he'll have over 3k health, magic resist is necessary.
Get scaling because late game it'll help negate most magic damage.

Greater Quintessence of Swiftness

Maokai already has a lot of health but he is slow so he needs Quints of Swiftness.
Extra speed lets him save allies and catch up to enemies.

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9 Utility for some extra bonuses.

Hardiness and Resistance - Gives you some extra armor and magic resistance to make you tankier.

Evasion - Gives you a little dodge which helps if you get Nimbleness. Although dodge is only 2% if you dodge minions you can still get the buff.

Harden and Defensive Mastery - Helps you jungle or tank minions a little.

Veteran Scars - Gives you a little health to complement the armor and magic resistance mastery.

Tenacity - % damage reduction, makes you tankier.
Good Hands - Helps quite a bit even if you only die once or twice since you are supposed to die sooner or later since you are tanking for the team. This lets you revive quicker and get to your team (if they are still alive) and save them.

Spatial Accuracy or Haste - Depends on which summoner ability you are getting. If you are getting both, spend the point from Greed into the other.

Awareness - Extra experience so you don't fall behind or so you can get the upper hand.

Greed - last point. Greed gives extra gold.




9 Offense for some extra damage.

Archmage's Savvy - Extra ability power for for extra damage.

Deadliness to spend the 4th point or Cripple if you get exhaust.

Sorcery - Lowers cooldown.

Archaic Knowledge - Allows you to kill squishy champions faster.

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Summoner Spells

Ghost helps boosts Maokai's mobility when he needs the to catch up.
Exhaust lets you secure a kill or prevent enemy threat for a few seconds.

Instantly close or widen the gap between you and the enemy. Get flash if you don't like ghost.
Ignite does extra true damage to make sure you kill someone or prevent Mundo from going where he pleases.

Get this when you are jungling and get ghost or exhaust for the mobility.
Get this if you think you need to push or defend towers, not recommended though.

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You want sapling toss maxed first so you can harass easily. Also when you max it first you'll be able to kill ranged minions in 1 throw early.

Twisted Advance next because snare is almost like a stun and when you level twisted advance, the duration gets longer.

Arcane Smash's range and AoE just isn't good enough to make it worth making the slow better. Especially since the slow is practically useless. Besides, Twisted Advance is much better to max than Arcane Smash.

Start out with Doran's Ring
Get Boots of Speed and upgrade it when you need to.
Afterwards get Rod of Ages as soon as possible.
Then get Sunfire Cape and Banshee's Veil. You can switch the order and get Banshee's Veil first.

Your core is now finished, it is up to you to decide the last two items.
Abyssal Mask - Magic resist + damage.
Trinity Force - For extra damage/stats.
Thornmail- Lots of armor.
Guardian Angel - Against mixed team.

Since it gives you more health, your passive heals you more. The ability power helps with Maokai's harass. The mana regeneration lets him cast his skills more in lane.
Gives him half of the health in this build. The ability power allows him to deal more damage to squishy champions and clear ranged minions in one sapling toss. The extra mana prevents him from being mana starved during/after a team fight.


Gives him the other half of his health of this build. They give him the armor and magic resist so that he can tank for his team. The high health will let him heal more with his passive.
Gives Maokai all the magic resist he needs if he needs it. The extra ap is also useful. With Abyssal Scepter, you will never need to get Force of Nature.

Gives a little of each stat to Maokai and a sheen proc on his high base damage. Great item to get if you are doing well or want to do more damage. Be sure to time your skills so that you can get the most damage from the Trinity Force. The proc cooldown is 2.5 seconds.
Great if you need more armor.
Gives you all the resistance you need versus a mixed team. Guardian Anegel's passive is great since when you revive, you should be able to get another 5% hp out with your passive.

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With level 3 sapling toss, you can kill ranged minions with one throw. Also, you can use sapling toss to harass your enemies. Don't forget to use the sapling as wards when someone goes mia or you suspect a jungler about to gank.

Twisted Advance is used when you want to be very aggressive or you are trying to get a kill. Sometimes it is useful when you use Twisted Advance to close the gap between you and a ranged champion because generally they do bad if they don't kite you.

Arcane barrage to push them towards your side after you snare them so your laning partner can do some damage to him/her.

You will not use your ultimate during laning phase besides small 1v1 or 2v2 fights.

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Team Fight/Work

Virtually useless during team fights but use it anyways for some extra damage.
Used to initiate or to secure a kill. If someone is chasing your teammate, you should use Twisted Advance to snare them, saving your ally.
Arcane Smash
After snaring an opponent, you should go behind the target and push them toward your team with Arcane Smash. Arcane Smash can also be used to slow and push enemies away from allies being chased.
Great when everyone or anyone is inside it. It can guard your teammates or deal damage to enemies when you pop it. If you are in it though, then you'll be extremely tanky with the health you have. For this very reason, he does not need as much resistances.

In a team fight, you should go head first but be aware of your team. Are they following you? If you move closer to the enemy do they run away? Are all your allies here? Are there the same amount or greater allies here than enemies? It would be bad if you initiated but your team ran or if it was 3v5 and you guys died. Be sure you are aware of your allies. Don't blame your allies for not going in with you when you initiated unless you know for sure that they were 2 inches from you and you moved 1 inch but they ran away and it was 5v4 and you could have won.

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Get Cloth Armor and Health Potion x5 and start at Blue Golem. At 1:21, start placing Sapling Toss in the center of where the Blue Golem and the lizards would appear. Keep placing Saplings until you kill the Blue Golem.

Route goes as follows; Wolves -> Wraiths -> Small Golems -> Back and buy a Ward and Boots -> Red -> keep jungling if you wish but you SHOULD gank if you have an opportunity.

The skill priority and skill sequencing are the same; however, you must go 0/21/9 masteries. If you wish to upgrade cloth armor to Thornmail or Guardian Angel late game then keep it else sell it.



Here is the respawn time for monsters if you think it helps. =]
Small Golems
Blue Buff
Red Buff
aaa 100 seconds
100 seconds
100 seconds
1 minute 55 seconds
1 minute 55 seconds

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Maokai just brings so much to his team such as; soaking up damage, saving lives, bringing crowd control to the team, and doing extra damage. He is indeed a beast tank while being able to do quite a bit of damage unlike some tanks. His crowd control is great for initiation and saving lives, some tanks have crowd control but it doesn't necessarily initiate.

Thanks for reading my guide, please vote and comment.
If you have any questions, pm or leave a comment.