Build Guide by General Grazu
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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.
This is not really a guide about HOW to play Maokai, but this is a guid about how to BUILD Maokai as a tank.
I will explain some simple things about how build him, which masteries you should have, etc.
With this build you do have quite some damage until lvl 12 (+/-) depending on the enemy team's gear and level progress. Maokai is a mana depended champion, and that's basically why i chose Tear of the Goddess and clarity.
I've chosen this build because it will make you damage a lot early game, and you will be almost immortal late game - if played correctly.
Maokai's ulti is reducing the damage taken of all teammates, which makes Maokai an excellent champion for team fights in 5v5. Also, you can't really escape from Maokai because of his charging bind and knock-backing slow. This build will also make Maokai a target who is being killed last, because if they target you, your teammates will be able to kill them quite easily, and if they don't target you, you will be a nice supportive tank which is binding, interrupting f.example fiddle's drain / Katarina's ultimate.
Tear of the Goddess is the last thing I'm upgrading. This is because of the way I play Maokai, I'm not suppose to be a DPS late game, but a strong tank.
I did also chose a lot of armor/MR gear, and this is because a tank shouldn't just be based on HP, because that's too easy to counter. Armor and MR will reduce all damage taken o you except true damage.
Btw, you can't always count on this build. It depends on which champions you are playing against, and then you might have to adjust the items a bit, or maybe switch order. The reason why i chose Force of Nature after the boots, is simply because it gives you MR, hp reg and movement speed - which is extremely important while playing Maokai.
The runes i picked will simply just improve Maokai's survivability. The runes which gives stats over time will give you greater stats lategame, and they're also way cheaper.
Loads of Maokai players are stacking one in Sapling Toss, and then concentrate at bind / smash from the start.
I've never liked this way of playing Maokai, simply because of Maokai got insanely good harass with the Sapling Toss, and when attacking a player early game, you should try to throw a Sapling on the target, and then bind him on it. This will make your enemy lose loads of hp and in loads of cases die.
Solo-laning (1v1 and 1v2) also works extremely good with maokai, because they can't really hurt you. if they try to harass you, you can damage them more back. If they try to turret dive you, you can bind them at turret and most likely kill them. They can't really push you that hard, and in many cases, you may even get first blood - not really hard if you follow this build and abilities.