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Maokai Build Guide by The_Real_Wickd

Top Wickd's Guide to Maokai

Top Wickd's Guide to Maokai

Updated on July 3, 2018
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League of Legends Build Guide Author The_Real_Wickd Build Guide By The_Real_Wickd 28 4 360,117 Views 53 Comments
28 4 360,117 Views 53 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author The_Real_Wickd Maokai Build Guide By The_Real_Wickd Updated on July 3, 2018
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-Table of Contents-

Hello Mobafire!
I am Mike aka Wickd. I've been playing this game since beta.
I have beenChallenger every season, peaked rank 1 world, played professionally for 6-7 years and I've been to Worlds twice.
Last time I made a guide was back in season 1 and I thought it's about time to make another one.

After I retired from professional play I started doing educational content on my stream and youtube
channel, now I would like to use the knowledge I gathered over the years to share with you guys, in the
form of guides.

If you find my content helpful and consider supporting me you could always drop by my Twitch and Youtube channel or if neither is something for you, you can always help me out by supporting me on Patreon, and together we will decide what kind of content I will be focusing the majority of time on.
Maokai Gameplay/Coaching Session
As for Match ups, this guide is going to be continuously updated and the match ups are going to get added through Youtube videos/Twitch vods.
In addition to that, Patreons will decide the match up Videos that will be added to this guide the more time passes.

Teleport and Flash are your common choices for top lane.
It's the best Summoner spell in League Of Legends. Almost every single champion in the game takes it and you need an extremely good reason to not take it. Also Maokai is one of the champions that probably benefits the most from Flash so do your team mates a favor and take it every single game.
It's an essential summoner spell with Maokai. His entire job revoles around catching people, starting team fights and tanking. Teleports help him get behind the enemies, Get to a teamfight where your team is caught and other things. If you even for a second think about taking something else I would recommend you to reconsider and learn to play League Of Legends the right way.

Resolve & Sorcery

This is the way I, personally, play Maokai. I am sure there are a lot of variations when it comes to Rune set ups but this is what has been working the best for me so far.

Aftershock makes Maokai ridiculously tanky and the main thing he needs is the opportunity to catch people. Combine it with Turbo Chemtank and you have an overpowered tank.

A tank that's Crowd Controlled isn't very useful as peeling for the team or catching enemies. Unflinching gives you a little help in that regard, but Demolish is a good alternative if based on the enemy team composition you see no utility in the CC reduction.

The cost effectiveness of this rune is ridiculous. You should take this one unless you have a very close lane where Iron Skin or Mirror Shell can change the outcome of a won or lost lane.

Second Wind
The regeneration from this rune goes a long way during the whole game. I would rate it as one of the best runes and should be taken 100% of the time if you go Resolve.


Manaflow Band

Manaflow Band Maokai’s abilities are very high mana cost and it's essential to use Manaflow Band if you want to utilize his abilities to the maximum potential.

Scorch Maokai is actually a lane dominator in most match ups and Scorch lets him dominate his opponents just a little more.

Sap Magic
Makes autoattacks heal Maokai. It got a fairly long cooldown, but every single time you use an ability or get hit by an opponents ability it's lowered by 4 seconds. Therefor it's crucial to constantly use abilities if in need of healing.

In teamfights you can proc this multiple times since you are going to tank everything.

Add Spirit Visage into the mix and you can basically tank as a much as two champions.
Bramble Smash
This ability generally acts as your poke, Way to farm creeps at max range and also your crowd control if you are chasing someone down. Every time you use it close to someone they also get knocked back for a short duration.
Twisted Advance

This ability is Maokai primary engage tool, but it can also be used to dodge skill shots and run away from fights. The cool thing about this ability is that you are untargetable for the duration and you root the opponent.

Sapling Toss
Can be used to place temporary wards. When initiating a trade you can lock your
enemies path by tossing the saplings into the brushes that reside on the top lane.

It helps a lot with setting up ganks by restricting the enemies movement.

Also when roaming it helps block the opponents from following you which is extremely important due to Maokai being good at roaming mid with his ultimate.
Nature's Grasp
Nature's Grasp Maokai ultimate is straight up overpowered. It is ridiculous as an escape ability, catching opponents or zoning them. The most you can get out of the ability is when you flank the opponent and use it behind the enemy team while your team is chasing them down. That way they have nowhere to run.
Skill Order
> > >


This section will have the current FOTM items that Maokai builds, including a couple adaptive alternative items that you can build once the core build is done.
Starting Items
Corrupting Potion
Doran's Shield
Health Potion
I normally start with Corrupting Potion when i'm against targets that i'm constantly going to battle and use a lot of mana against. Think Champions along the line of Irelia, Jax and so on. It's extremely good for battling and keeps your mana a little higher.

Doran's Shield You get a regeneration buff every time you take damage from enemy champions. due to that it's obvious we have to go for this item against heavy poke or champions that do Damage over time. Heavy poke champions; Pantheon and Jayce. Damage over time Champions; Singed and Swain.
First Back
Spectre's Cowl
Bramble Vest
Glacial Shroud
Ninja Tabi
After we farm a bit up, we return to base to buy for our first time. We try to aim for Spectre's Cowl against AP champions like Lissandra or Singed, Bramble Vest against Ad champions that rely a lot on auto attacking and/or sustain like Fiora or Jax and we get a Glacial Shroud against AD casters like Pantheon

Last but not least, rushing Ninja Tabi against something like Jayce makes the laning phase much more endurable since you aren't so susceptible to poke anymore.
Core Items
After buying our first items, we now try to build towards our core items.
Righteous Glory
Spirit Visage
These two are your core items. You will be buying them in most scenarios, but there will be a few exceptions to the rule, but I will talk about that later once I add match up specific sections. Righteous Glory covers the need for Armor and speed to catch opponents while Spirit Visage gives you the Magic Resist, Health and 30% healing buff
After buying our first items, we now try to build towards our core items.
Ninja Tabi
Mercury's Treads
Pretty straight forward items that support Maokai ability to tank even more.

Ninja Tabi against heavy AD teams and Merc Treads against teams that have a lot of CC and/or Magic damage.
Alternative Items
This is your go to item against heavy ADC compositions where the enemy carries generally go low or zero crit builds. For example it works wonders against the likes of Kog'Maw and Varus
Randuin's Omen
Your go to Armor tank item against heavy crit based champions. It's amazing if you are against Twitch, Ashe, Tristana and so on.
Sunfire Cape
Generally an Item I would only go on Maokai if you really need the early pressure against champions that you want to stop from roaming around the map. For example it's an item I constantly buy against Shen
Gargoyle Stoneplate
This is a perfect 3rd item choice after Turbo Chemtank and Spirit Visage if you can read that the game is going to be a constant 5v5 fighting game where your goal is to tank more than the enemy tanks. It's an item that a lot of pros recently started using more, but it's very important you only buy it in this specific scenario where games are simply going to be 5v5 fiestas. If you are bad at using active items refrain from buying this item or get better at it. It's crucial that you actually use the strongest aspect of the item if buying it.
Adaptive Helm
If you buy Adaptive Helm it's mostly instead of Spirit Visage unless the enemy team composition is full AP. You only want to buy this Item against the likes of Cassiopeia and Malzahar. If you are unsure whether it's worth to buy it or not in your current game simply stick to Spirit Visage
Locket of the Iron Solari
Very similar to Gargoyle Stoneplate this is an item you want to buy if you see that the game is going to be a 5v5 constant teamfight. It's only worth to buy as a third item in the instance where the enemy team have champions that will destroy your backline and your own survivability isn't of high importance. Generally it's an item you want to buy as 4th or 5th, but sometimes you have to get it early. Try to read the game well and understand if your back line will get one shot.
Abyssal Mask
This item could be a replacement for Spirit Visage if you are winning your lane against an AP Champion and want to press your advantage even further. In most scenarios you will get more value out of Spirit Visage, but there is a couple of Match Ups where Abyssal Mask will give you just what you need. Think the likes of Fizz and Diana. Also it's an excellent second Magic Resist item since it also boost your team mates damage.
Frozen Heart
Well this item is basically something you only buy against 3+ Auto Attacking champions. In most games you won't ever find the need for this item and it's going to be a very niche buy. Still important to list it since there are a couple of games where it has it's place.
Knight’s Vow
Essentially you want to buy this item if your AD Carry is popping off like crazy and you believe he is the number 1 person to play around. Simply buy Knight's Vow, buff him and watch the magic happen. It's an item you rarely buy and mostly you will buy this in already won games.
Warmog's Armor
The best item in the game for quickly healing up tanks. I personally always use this item against poke compositions because sometimes you will mess up and get hit by their abilities or they will simply fire off some amazing Skill shots. However Warmog's will quickly take care of that problem and heal you right back up.

Early Game

Laning Phase: At level 1 you will start with Bramble Smash to help you win the match up against weaker laners for example Jax, or to help you survive difficult match ups by giving you a ranged ability to last hit with. The best times to cast Bramble Smash im Melee Match ups is right after Auto Attacking. You want to position yourself right in front of the creeps so that when the enemy goes for a CS you will instantly hit him with an Auto Atttack followed up by Bramble Smash. He however have to choose between hitting you which is a fight that you will win or go for the CS and take a lot of damage.

At Level 2: you take Twisted Advance to make it easier to proc Aftershock whenver you want to. Your trades becomes disgustingly good at this point due to how broken Aftershock is and it's a huge powerspike for Maokai in comparison to most laners. In winning lanes you will aim towards using that level 2 powerspike to press your advantage by damaging the opponent, pushing in the lane to later get jungle vision or set up for a gank from your own jungler.
Level 3: it's time to put a skill point in your last ability Sapling Toss. This ability is amazing at restricting your opponents movement or getting a little bit of vision to help yourself avoid ganks. Sapling Toss is generally one of your weaker abilities early because it's difficult to hit bush placed Sapplings, but if the enemy isn't that great at League Of Legends and constantly takes the damage from bush placed Sapplings, simply spam the ability. However if he is good at avoiding them you want to use them carefully as Maokai quickly runs out of mana.
After level 6 you have a lot of opportunities with Maokai. If you are winning and consistently pushing the enemy under the tower you want to try and roam towards mid and see if you can get a gank off on the enemy mid laner. While doing all of this you should still be looking for Teleport opportunities bot lane, but generally mid is the safer option in this scenario. If you are however being constantly pressured under your own tower simply aim to survive and look for a teleport bot lane. By Teleport bot lane you will get out of a difficult scenario, get your team ahead and potentially get first tower by making a successful teleport play. If you fail the teleport play that's going to suck, but at least you will get better at them every time.
Outside of Lane

Outside of the laning: phase you will be looking to quickly push out side lanes and try to roam towards your team to make team fights happen. Your strength is not in split pushing and you shouldn't waste time trying to take enemy towers. Your job is to find an opportunity to catch the enemy team off guard and engage for your team. In most scenarios what will happen is you going from base to a side lane, Pushing it out to the middle or one wave further and looking to roam down for the teamfight. While doing all of this you will constantly be looking for a Teleport play to try and flank the opponents and catch them off guard. Teleport plays are generally the best because of how strong Maokai's ultimate is at restricting your opponents. They will be sitting ducks for your team to quickly kill off.

If you have the El Classico mexican 5v5 stand off it's important to only initiate on opponents when you are sure that your team can follow up. Afterall you can't kill the opponents yourself and way too often do I see a Maokai an ADC or Mid Laner with Flash + Twisted Advance 2 screens away from his team simply to die alone.
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League of Legends Build Guide Author The_Real_Wickd
The_Real_Wickd Maokai Guide
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