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Maokai Build Guide by Fan22

Top The Inmortal Tree [12.8] Maokai Top & Supp guide

Top The Inmortal Tree [12.8] Maokai Top & Supp guide

Updated on April 28, 2022
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Fan22 Build Guide By Fan22 135 12 453,687 Views 17 Comments
135 12 453,687 Views 17 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Fan22 Maokai Build Guide By Fan22 Updated on April 28, 2022
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Maokai
    Top Maokai
  • LoL Champion: Maokai
    Support Maokai

Runes: Aftershock setup

1 2 3 4

Manaflow Band

+10% Attack Speed
+6 Armor
+6 Armor


1 2
Normal Spells
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport


Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
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Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
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Champion Build Guide

The Inmortal Tree [12.8] Maokai Top & Supp guide

By Fan22
Hello, this is my first guide so any feedback and comments are aprecciated!

Who i am? Im Fan22, a standard player who plays tanks, bruisers and mages principaly, i play on the LAS server, aside from that i don't have lots of achievements on league..

I want to remind that im not, personally, an expert on Maokai, but im always triying to improve.
Also have on mind English it's not my main Language so there can be ortography errors, if you see one please comment them to improve the guide!

Aside from that theres not much to say from me, lets go ahead with the guide.
Why Maokai?

+Has a lot of CC and can shutdown a target in almost every phase of the game.
+With 2 items you become really tanky.
+You sustain yourself super good thanks to your passive Sap magic healing.
+Has good engages and peel in teamfights.
+Easy to play, abilities are very straighfoward.
+Point n click CC with twisted advance.
+Has some peeling with Q.
+Good even if behind thanks to the utility you can provide.
+Can give vision of bushes with Sappling toss.


-Needs to scale and get some items to.
-Weak early game.
-You relie in your team and good Teamfights to succed.
-Struggles against true damage and armor penetration.
-Can be easily countered thorugh items.
-Ranged matchups can punish hard your early game.
-High CD abilities early and very mana hungry.
-No mobility or escape when flash its on CD.
-Your ultimate it's very slow.
-Gets kited as he has no gapcloser and W has low range.

Overall Maokai it's a fun and easy to use Tank that can be really useful in fights because of his high CC and the capacity to incapacitate and shutdown a concreate target.
Even if he is easy to use his abilities have some little things like cooldown control or especific interactions with other champs, wich makes a slight difference from a good and bad Maokai.
Maokai also has very good vision control with his E and a good teamfighting potential with a good landed Nature's GraspR, since it can root multiple champs.

But Maokai has also his weaknesses, he has no gapcloser or movement speed buff to engage, so you relie on using E, R or waiting for your team to get in a TF to use your abilities, Nature's Grasp and Sapling Toss are very slow, so you need to plan very well and wait until the enemy misspositions.
He is also Very weak in the early game, is Mana hungry and has no moblity.
Maokai Abilites

Passive Sap Magic
When Sap magic it's available Maokai's next basic attack against a non-structure unit heals him
for 5 − 65 (+6 - 13% of his maximum health) (based on level). Cooldown: 30/25/20 seconds (at levels 1/6/11).

Also, each time Maokai casts an ability or is struck by an enemy's ability, Sap Magic cooldown is reduced by 4 seconds.

Note: Sap Magic will not trigger if Maokai is above 95% of his maximum health. Additionally, the attack that triggers Sap Magic becomes unstopabble.

Q Bramble Smash
Maokai slams the ground and sends an arcane shockwave forward, dealing 70 - 230 (+40% of ability power ) magic damage and slowing his enemies by 99% for 0.25 seconds.
Enemies close to bramble smash shockwave are knocked back.

W Twisted Advance
Maokai transforms into a mass of arcane energy, becoming untargetable and quickly moving to the enemy target.
At arrival the target takes 70 - 170 (+40% of ability power) magic damage and is rooted for 1 - 1.4 seconds (based on ability level).

E Sapling Toss
Maokai throws a sapling into the targeted area. The sapling becomes implanted in the ground, warding the nearby area for 30 seconds.
After a 1 second delay after it lands, the sapling will seek out for nearby enemies, if an enemy approaches, the sapling will chase for up to 2.5 seconds and then explode in a blast that deals 25 - 125 plus 7 - 8% of the target's Max health (+0.7% per 100 ability power) as magic damage to enemies and slows them by 35% for 2 seconds.

If the Sapling it's tossed into a bush it will last 30 (+2.5% of Maokai Bonus health) seconds and have a larger detonation radius.
Enemies caught in the explosion receive a total of 200% damage (which it's dealt over the duration) and are also revealed for 2 seconds.

Note: Saplings have 400 base movement speed, which increases based on Maokai boots.
Sapling Toss damage against Non-champions it's capped at 300 damage (empowered sapling damage over time has a cap for a total of 600 per Empowered sapling)

R Nature's Grasp
Maokai summons a colossal wall of 5 thorny brambles that slowly advances forward, each one of them stopping at the first enemy champion they collide with, dealing 150 / 225 / 300 (+75% of ability power) magic damage and rooting them for 0.8 - 2.6 seconds (based on the distance traveled).

Note: This ability it's casted behind Maokai, so if you are on top of an enemy and you want an instant root and damage, aim it in the contrary direction to your enemy.
Items & Runes
-Before we dive into Maokai items and runes i want to give a short explanation about itemization, first, i consider the builds i give as Standard builds, this means that they are just Examples of posible builds, which show how you could build, but you can frelly change an item if you think it suits better that specific match, or your way to play.
So don't take all i say in the guide too literally and always adapt your items to what you think it's better or what you like.

The second thing about itemization is that Maokai wants items that give Health, AH and resistances, but from all those stats Health it's the best one for Maokai sap magic size and Sapling Toss have a Max health scaling on them and some items and runes also scale with your Max Health, that's why you want as much HP as possible, your passive Healing it's one of your best tools in your kit, especially on toplane, and increasing the healing it's very good,.

Sunfire Aegis

Sunfire Aegis it's a good mythic for Maokai,
the Bami's Cinder passive gives Maokai improved wave clear and damage, allowing you to push lanes or farm jungle monsters more easily, the burn damage scales with your Max Health, which fits you very well since it's a core stat for Maokai.

The passive goes really well with Maokai since he excels in long fights and can survive for a long time thanks to the healings from his passive.
Sunfire Aegis gives additional damage as a tank and better dueling, and remember that Maokai has a Lot of base and scaling attack speed to make good use of the AA burn damage when it is fully stacked, this item is good against bruisers or fighters that also like extended fights.
Also, Sunfires burn passive works and stack on Epic monsters.

The mythic passive gives 5% tenacity and slow resistance for every completed legendary item.
The extra tenacity and slow resistance are very useful against enemys with a lot of CC, beetwen the burn passive and the mythic passive Sunfire it's really good for damage and long fights, even in teamfights it can be useful.

Turbo Chemtank

This mythic gives Health, Armor and MR, and ability haste.
It has (like the other tank mythics) the Bami's Cinder passive for extra wave clearing and damage.

The strenght of this item is it's mythic passive and active.
The active grants you a lot of extra utility and engage potential because of the movement speed and the AOE slow when you collide with someone.

This active helps a lot when engaging and it's basically the same as the old righteous glory, almost...
the active works well against champs that you HAVE to engage or neutralize in teamfights, in those cases sunfire or frostfire arent that good because you don't get to get close to them. for example, chemtank it's good against: Seraphine, Lucian, Lulu, Ezreal, Brand, Ryze, Vayne, Graves, etc... generally any heavy CC champ or carry.

The mythic passive gives 5% additional Ability haste for every legendary item completed. CDR it's a very good stat for Maokai, lowering the cooldowns of your abilities, wich let's you use your CC more often in fights, it also lowers the massive cooldown of your E, basically a free warding ability.

Frostfire Gauntlet

Frosfire Gauntlet it's another mythic that works well with Maokai, it gives Health, Armor and MR and ability haste.
It has Bami's Cinder passive for wave clearing and some damage.

Aside from the burn passive from bamis, it has another one that makes your next AA in a few seconds create a field of ice that slows enemies on it .
This gives more utility for Maokai and/or while waiting for your cooldowns.
Also, the slow scales with your Max health, and since health it's a core stat on him it synergizes very well.

The mythic passive gives you additional size and HP for every legendary item completed. The extra Health it's super good and the extra size comes as a litte extra, but being bigger also means having a bigger hitbox tho, so good luck dodging Ahri charm and Lux Q.

Plated Steelcaps

Steelcaps gives some armor and reduces AA's damage.
Higly recommended against a mostly AD team or against champs that relie on AA, like:
Lucian, Ashe, Jax, Tryndamere, Fiora, Sett, etc...

Mercury's Treads

Mercury treads gives some MR and Tenacity.
Higly recommended against a mostly AP team or against champs with heavy CC, like:
Cho'Gath, Maokai (ironically), Brand, Morgana, Ryze, Thresh, Leona etc...

Spirit Visage

Spirit visage gives 40 MR, 10% Ability haste and 450 health and 100% base HP regen, the stats, and especially the big amount of HP are really good for Maokai.

Spirit visage passive has a really good sinergy with Maokai passive.
It increases 25% of the healings and shieldings you receive, wich empowers Sap Magic already powerful healings.
With this item you will heal a lot more and if the enemy doesn't have grievous wounds you will be really hard to kill.
The stats combined with the passive makes Spirit Visage a very good item, the shielding increase also comes in handy if you have an ally (or enchanter) wich gives shields on your team.[/columns]


Thornmail it's a really good item, wich, works and it's bought on almost any game.
it gives 60 armor and 350 Health.

Aside from the stats it offers, Thornmail passive it's very good against AA champs, mostly ADC's and some bruisers, it deals damage to the attacker when you get hit by an AA, and applys grievous wounds to them.
It also has an improved grievous wounds effect that reduces healings for a wooping 60% when inmobilizing an enemy, This is very good since champs like: Aatrox, Sylas, Vladimir , Olaf, Mordekaiser, Soraka, Nami, etc... Don't use attacks too much, or maybe not on you, and this effect let's you apply the effect to those champs (the stronger version) grievous wounds even if they don't autoattack you.
The improved version literally erases from the game Heavy healing champs like Aatrox, Sylas, Vladimir, Soraka.

Overall the grievous wounds effect and the damage to autoattackers and the armor and Health makes this item, for me, a really good option in most matches. However if there arent any heavy AA champions or a lot of healings there are other good Armor options like Frozen Heart and Randuin's Omen, or Gargoyle Stoneplate for mixed damage and TF's.

Abyssal Mask

Abyssal mask gives 60 MR and 350 of health, it gives good MR and health.
Aside from the stats, one of the main points of abyssal it's the passive, when we inmobilize an enemy it will receive 10% increased damage for 4 seconds from champions.
This passive gives Maokai additional damage, and when you inmobilize someone in a TF, if your team focuses that target, it will receive a lot more damage, wich its pretty good on any situation!
It gives really good MR, the health values are ok, other items like Spirit Visage or Knight's Vow have more HP.

Dead man's plate

Deadmans gives better engage potential thanks to it's passive, wich requires to walk and get stacks of momentum, at 100 stacks we get more movement speed and our next AA will consume the stacks to deal magic damage equal to them and slow the enemy.

The stats are also really good against AD, gives 475 Health, 40 armor and 5% movement speed.
The passive movement speed and slow in the next AA gives Maokai better engages in a pretty consistent way.
Even if the armor values aren't too high they are still good, and you also get additional movement speed wich combines with the idea of the item.

I think deadmans its a good third or fourth item to have better engage, especially against teamcomps with high damage or peel, making it very hard to CC them or do anything.

Warmog's Armor

Warmog armor gives 800 points of Health, 10% ability haste and 200% base HP regen.
In the late game this item it's very good because your passive scales with a percentage of your health, so, having a warmogs incredibly boosts the healing from your passive, and warmogs passive gives you insane sustain for the lategame, this is very useful if the enemy team has a lot of poke, since if you and your team are pushing a lane, or about to start a teamfight, warmogs passive can help to regen your HP back in some seconds.

Aside from the the passive healing of Warmogs, the 10% ab ility haste and Health makes you super tanky, i recomend buying Warmogs after you have atleast 4 items, since it just gives health and extra sustain, to make warmogs a good purchase you need some health, armor and MR, and warmogs passive also requires atleast 3000 ohsf health to work.

Randuin's Omen

Randuins it's a very good item that gives a lot of armor and some health, and some needed CDR.
Passively it reduces incoming damage from attacks and has an active that slows nearby enemies hit and reduces their Attack damage and Critical strike damage.

Randuins makes Adc's tickle you in the late game, and once you engage on them with Twisted Advance and hit them with the active, they will get killed and deal no damage.

i recommend getting it if the enemy Adc its really feed or if there are a lot AD threaths or AutoAttack reliant champs (for example Jax or Lucian).

Knight's vow

Knights vow its a powerful item that can help to protect a feed carry and ensure your victory.
The item gives 400 Health, 300% base HP regen and 10% ability haste.
The additional HP regeneration and health paired with some CDR makes this a very good option even if there isnt a 27/1/9 Tristana in your team, it works if you are tanky enough to help an important ally to survive.

The item passive, wich it's the main point of it, works this way:
You select a champion as your Partner, while you are close to him you redirect 15% of the damage they take to you as true damage, and if they are below 50% of their maximum health you also gain 35% bonus movement speed while moving towards them.

It's very good for protecting a feed carry of your team and gives you an extra peeling tool.
I really recommend this item for helping a feed teammate, and even if he dies, if you still have the active you can use it on another ally in a Teamfight.
This item in combination whit a Zeke's Convergence helps a feed ADC or meele carry to get more power and lets them Snowball harder and increases the chances to win the game, but remember, this item it's good if theres a carry or high damage champion in your team that you should protect, otherwise getting tankier with other items would be better.

Knights vow should be bought after you have atleast 2 items, (your mythic and a legendary and finished boots) because just like Warmog's Armor it doesn't offer much alone and its aimed for the mid-late game.

Grasp of the Undying

Grasp it's a really good rune for tanks, it gives extra damage that scales with your Health, it also heals us and grants us permanent HP everytime we prock it, and as you probably know Health it's a core stat on Maokai, and grasp it's centered around it.

Because this rune needs to be procked (used) to be useful, like Dark Harvest, it should be sued when we know we are gonna trade a lot in lane, for example Jax Ornn or Sett.
Because we have to prock it with an auto, it isn't a good rune in hard matchups, in those cases Aftershock it's better since it gives some damage and resistances for free in the early game, and it works really well on passive lanes.


Aftershock gives us a temporal increase of our resistances after inmobilizing (Q, W and R can prock it) an enemy Champion, the extra resistances scales based on the amount we have.

After 2.5s we lose the resistances and cause a "explosion" around us that deals damage, scaling based on our max health.

Since this rune scales well and it's useful in almost every phase of the game it is good for hard lanes or against a team that we want to engage on TF's, the additional resistances let's us make short trades or engage on enemies without risking ourselves too much thanks to the extra tankiness it temporally provides, negating a lot of damage.
Against champs like Darius Kayle Camille Volibear, i recommend using Aftershock, but Grasp of the Undying can also work and it's useful even when behind.


Demolish it's a good rune that let's us make additional damage to a turret, and it scales with our Health, because we are gonna build a lot of HP Demolish comes in handy, especially in the mid late game to destroy towers.

Font of Life

This rune heals allies that attack marked enemies, we mark enemies when we impair they movement (CC). It gives extra utility and scales with our HP. This rune only works on Attacks, so if your team relies more on abilities rather than attacks you should swap this rune for Demolish.


Conditioning it's really good for scaling and the free armor and MR it's always good, it also increases them by a %.

Since Maokai it's a mid-late game tank this rune synergizes well with his scaling playstyle. And since you whant to build Health having free resistances helps.

Bone plating

This rune it's very good for a weak early game champion like Maokai, reducing a little of the damage we receive, wich it's huge on short trades.
In the late game Bone Plating it's still insane, reducing a lot of the damage and burst we could take from the enemy in the middle of a teamfight.
This rune it's good when against a: Camille Renekton Darius Shen, etc...

Magical Footwear

Magical Footwear gives us free boots, wich saves us 300g of gold, it is good for Maokai beacuse having free boots works with the idea of scaling for the mid-late game and having extra gold we can get items a little bit faster, and being a little bit faster (+ 10 MS) it's another bonus.

Biscuit Delivery

This rune gives us 3 free biscuits in the early game, consuming them restores our health and mana and increases permanently our mana, even if we sell them we still get the extra mana.

Since Maokai it's very mana hungry and weak in the early game, the sustain from biscuits and the permanent mana it's really good for laning phase.

Manaflow Band

This rune it's the best one for mana hungry/dependant championss, and Maokai it's no exception,
It not only gives us a maximum of 250 free mana, but also restores 1% of our missing mana if we have the
maximum amount of mana.
It helps to not run out of mana so easy, concretely in the early-mid game.


Transcendence it's good for Maokai, especially after the changes on S11.
It now gives 10 ability haste in very early levels, and it reduces 20% of the cooldown of basic abilities after a takedown, in a TF having our CC abilities more often it's really good, and CDR it's always good for mao.
How to play as Support
Maokai it's generally a safer pick and a better champion as a support rather than as a toplaner, he has very good tools to aid his team nad help his ADC, gives free vision, which it's useful during teamfights or to get vision around objectives, it also helps your jungler by letting him know where the enemy jungler is.
He also has a lot of CC, and Twisted Advance it's a very good tool to engage or peel since it is point n' click and you follow the enemy, which it's very useful when the enemy team has a champion like Zed or Qiyana, and it's amazing when you are setting a gank for your jungler.

Generally all i say in this guide (for toplane maokai) can also be applied to support, except the runes and buildpath, and also the playstyle, as support Maokai you want to abuse the poke, zoningg and vision from sappling toss, and your Q and W to engage or peel for your ADC, against Engage supports you can engage on their carry if they do the same thing, or peel your adc and turn on the enemy supp with your ADC (Examples: Thresh and Nautilus).

Against Enchanters or Mages you can Max E to zone them off from bushes and for poking. Especially because Maokai can't really respond to their poke, or sustain, if it is an enchanter like Soraka, additionally you can farm boots and engage on the adc since they have no peel.

Outside of those tips, and warding and peeling or engaging (based on the situation) for your team, in the mid-late game you tend to do the same as toplane Maokai.
After getting Imperial Mandate and Demonic Embrace you want to go tank.
Laning Phase and Tips


In laning phase your objective it's to farm all you can and sometimes trade with the enemy (especially if you have Grasp of the Undying so you can prock it), if you fight with someone try to make them walk near a bush and use Sapling Toss on it, so it deals extra damage, and if you have a Corrupting Potion remember to use it while fighting for the extra DoT damage.
In the early game Corrupting Potion + Sap Magic helps Maokai by giving him additional sustain in lane both in HP and Mana, since Maokai it's really mana hungry in the early-mid game, for this reason don't spam Q too much and use W or E only when you need them, because wasting mana forces you to back to base very early.
Sap Magic works on minions, so if you have it available attack one to heal yourself, use it as soon as you can to put on CD.

Maokai it's not really strong in the early game, so if you want to trade with the enemy laner do it at Level 4 or 5, when you have atleast 2 or more points in your Q, since Bramble Smash doesn't do almost any damage at level 1, this is also important when clearing waves, because Bramble Smash at lv 1 and 2 doesn't do much damage, it isn't recommendable to farm using it until you put more points on it.
In the early game i like to put a second point on Q at level 3 because of the reasons listed above and because Sapling Toss does not offer much on top as opposed to support, it has a big mana cost and enemies can easily walk away from it.
You can start doing more agressive trades with the enemy if you have atleast 2 item components of your mythic and you are not in a hard matchup.

Don't fight with enemies that can Wreck you and chase you down in long fights or short trades, like: Darius, Sett, Mordekaiser, Olaf, Fiora, Cho'Gath, Sion, etc...
Only fight them if you are really confident that you can win the trade, or if you have some items (like Bramble Vest), and if your jungler is going to Gank, otherwise respect your opponent and only do short trades and concentrate on farming.
In most Hard matchups you are gonna have to use Bramble Smash to farm, so dont feel bad for missing a few minions or wasting mana to farm, since Maokai it's based al around scaling and being super tanky in late game.

Remember to use Sapling Toss E in the toplane bush near river if you have mana ,so you can have vision and prevent possible ganks or to know where your opponent is, using Sapling Toss it's very recommended against agressive early game junglers like: Lee Sin, Elise, Olaf or Xin Zhao.

And don't forget to look at the Map for a potential TP in botlane or skirmishes in the jungle or mid, you can also TP to help your team on dragon or if the enemy overextends, with your Ultimate and your W you can help to lock a target and let your team kill them.


After the turrets start falling and people already have 1 or 2 items it's when you start to enter the mid game, the difference from the Early game it¡s that Maokai starts to become Tankier and more useful than in early-game, but in this phase you still want to farm and Steal jungle camps from the enemy if it's safe to do, as much as you can.

You should also start to Group with your team and help in fights or when constesting objectives, and remember to Ward and use your Sapling Toss to give vision, this is an extremely important tool when fighting for a Dragon so that you and your team knows what the enemy wants to do, or if the enemy jungler its planning to steal theDragon.

In Teamfights or skirmishes your job it's to CC juggernauts like Darius away from your team and peel your team, but you can also use your CC to engage on the enemy team if your team wants to play more agressive.
And if you see the opportunity to engage and CC a squishy target do it, incapacitate them so that your team can kill them, but do it only if you know your team will follow your engages.

Your main combo when engagin or fighting someone its going to be Twisted Advance + Bramble Smash (from behind the enemy), use Bramble Smash when the rooting from your W it's going to end, to maximize your CC.


After you have 4 or All of your items and the match it's more than 25-30 minutes long you start to become really hard to kill, and with Sunfire Aegis you can also kill someone in a 1v1 or destroy squishy enemies, the problem is that in this phase most Adc's and Mages will also have items to ignore your tankyness and melt you, against items like Blade of the Ruined King, Liandry's Anguish, Kraken Slayer or Lord Dominik's Regards you can die quickly if you and your team don't fight and position well in Teamfights, because when you engage you become the enemy team focus, wich also let's your team do their job.
Remember that most items have some kind of counterplay, so always build against them and their user, for example kraken slayer has true damage, but if you buy more HP and also a Frozen Heart, you can diminish the items efficacy.

In the late game your Job it's to protect your team and peel, or CC important targets, engaging in teamfights while your team does the job. Always prioritize the enemy ADC, if he has items and isn't too behind, or in short, if he deals damage, he is an important target for your team.
With a Thornmail or a Force of Nature combined with your Sap Magic passive, geting hit by abilities or attacks actually helps you to deal with enemies.

In Lategame Maokai can either CC targets eternally and never die n' win the game ,or you get melted by a Master Yi and Brand.
But always remember that even if you get melted by the enemy you still are a high threath for them because of your strong Peeling, CC and free Vision.


Some general information about Maokai and his abilities.

* Bramble Smash it's a really good to tool to quickly disengage while in a fight or short trade, this works better against bruisers, remember to use Q after the used their mobility spells, for example after Wukong used E or Jax Q.

* Twisted Advance will follow the target before arriving and rooting them, meaning that if they Flash or Dash away you will travel with them in the destination.

This means that if you time well your Twisted Advance you can follow an enemy that is triying to escape.
This is important against champions with high mobility like Akali Zed Wukong Camille Fizz Lee Sin, etc...

*The cooldown reduction on Sap Magic when using or getting hit by an enemy ability works on any ability that hits you, even those that are On-hit or a little special, for example: Shen Q, Jax W, Samira Q, well, literally any ability.
A little detail it's that toggeable abilities like Singed Poison Trail and Teemo E don't reduce Sap Magic cooldown, the only exception being Anivia R.

Another thing about Sap Magic it's that it its an unsstopable autoattack, meaning that once you do hit someone with the attack it can't be canceled

* Maokai has 2 roots in his kit, because of that, it's very important to know that roots are a type of CC with some restrictions, they limit the movement of the target but it can still attack and cast abilities and spells, and it also doesn't cancel chanellings (some exceptions would be Teleport and Shen Stand United R ), this knowledge it's important if the enemy has a channeling, for example Katarina R it's a chanelling, so the only ability that you can use to cancel it it's your Q Bramble Smash, because of its Knockback.

* Sapling Toss duration (when in a bush) scales with your Health, this means that once you have enough health and CDR you can ward for free a lot of parts of the map and reveal wheres the enemy, even if they don't do too much damage.
League of Legends Build Guide Author Fan22
Fan22 Maokai Guide
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The Inmortal Tree [12.8] Maokai Top & Supp guide

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