Maokai Build Guide

Two's Company, but Trees a crowd - Support Maokai

Updated 3 years ago
Skill Order
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December 5th, 2012 Added another replay to gameplay chapter. February 20th, 2013 Removed person stat information on items as items are seeing way to many changes right now. When items begin to settle, I'll readd the information. July 30th, 2013 Updated as per major changes to several items. October 8th, 2013 Updated for the new layout

[title]Who Am I?[/title] I'm Slater, I've written numerous Guides over the years for the Monster Hunter series, as well as several other games. I've also written a several Guides for League of Legends. [title]Who Is Maokai?[/title] Maokai is an AP based tank mainly know for his jungle play, having strong ganks and Possessing the highest natural armor in the game(along with Poppy). However, you don't see him played as a support very often. Maokai's kit and tankiness give him a strong presence in lane with his AD carry. He can halt ganks, even turning them around in his carry's favor, prevent enemy ADCs from escaping, can interrupt enemy skill channeling. On top of this, he possess the ability to keep his lane warded should he run out of wards with his saplings, which also gives him an incredible harassing ability thanks to their long range and large damage. All these things allow him to fit into that small grouping of kill lane supports. On the negative side though, he is very mana hungry(mainly his E and Ult) early on, and will burn through it very fast if you don't play smart enough. Not managing his mana properly early on can lead to disastrous results for you and your carry. On top of this, his knock back distance is tiny, thus not really giving him a strong enough ability to push people off(forcing you to rely on his root to stop ganks and chases). His passive, though not strong to begin with, can be used that your advantage to regain health with out having to burn through numerous health potions, also allowing you to start with less health potions, and more mana potions. However, you place your lane at risk of being pushed hard should you consume the proc every time. Maokai makes for a fine support for an ADC that wants to farm with ease early, and pushing the other team off with out having to blow through their own mana pool or risk taking damage to do so. He also makes a fine support for champions with great dueling capabilities. [highlight][center]_____________________________________________________________________[/center][/highlight] [title]Pros:[/title] [highlight]-[/highlight] Naturally tanky [highlight]-[/highlight] Possess “free wards” [highlight]-[/highlight] Huge harassment range [highlight]-[/highlight] Gap closer [highlight]-[/highlight] Root [highlight]-[/highlight] Knock back [highlight]-[/highlight] Scaling slow [highlight]-[/highlight] Damage mitigating Ult [highlight]-[/highlight] Passive that heals him [highlight]-[/highlight] Can push lane hard and keep it that way [highlight]-[/highlight] Can interrupt enemy cast times [title]Cons:[/title] [highlight]-[/highlight] Mana hungry [highlight]-[/highlight] “Free wards” consume mana and last only 35 seconds [highlight]-[/highlight] knock back has little distance to it. [highlight]-[/highlight] Can push lane hard and keep it that way [highlight]-[/highlight] No natural form of escape [title]Notes on pros and cons:[/title] If you notice, I place “Can push lane hard and keep it that way” in both his pros and cons. This is because pushing the lane carries both a positive benefit, and a negative benefit. I will go into detail about this aspect later in the guide in it's own chapter. [title]Stats:[/title] [highlight]Health[/highlight] 421 (+90) [highlight]Health regen.[/highlight] 7.25 (+0.85) [highlight]Mana [/highlight] 250 (+46) [highlight]Mana regen.[/highlight] 6.45 (+0.45) [highlight]Range[/highlight] 125 [highlight]Attack damage[/highlight] 58 (+3.3) [highlight]Attack speed[/highlight] 0.694 (+2.13%) [highlight]Armor[/highlight] 18 (+4) [highlight]Magic res.[/highlight] 30 [highlight]Mov. speed[/highlight] 310

Warding is one of your most important responsibilities as a support. Without wards, you keep your lane(and later on your whole team) in the dark, literally. While it's not just the responsibility of the Support to ward, do note that your carry should never have to buy wards, their gold should go to the items they need to dominate. You are not going to be as powerful as the carry, thus by you being the one in lane to ward, you give them their ability to be powerful. Warding your lane early on is as simple as keeping a ward in the river bush to watch for ganks, One in either your lane bush or theirs(depending on the current situation). Warding the tri-bush is also important, depending on which side of the map your one. If your on the blue side, a ward in that bush covers you from being ganked from behind. If your purple, it allows you to be aware of their jungler ganking from their jungle when you have them pushed to tower. Try to abide by the example show by this map of where to ward. Of Course you can't always keep everything warded by yourself, but you can at least keep the most important areas warded to provide better map awareness. [imgext=]

After buying your initial items, make your way to lane. If you're on the purple side, you'll most likely be providing aid to your team's jungler. At about 1:25-1:30, drop a sapling where the blue golem will spawn. If the jungler starts at wolves(as they should), do not use a sapling on them. Just apply some damage with auto attacks to help him clear them faster. Once blue spawns, the sapling will detonate on it, at that point, hit the golem several times to help lower it's health making it easier for the jungler to kill it. Continue on to your lane before the golem is within smite range(this is to ensure you don't leach an experience off it allowing the jungler to take all the experience). When you arrive to your lane, the first thing you should do is to toss a sapling into your side's brush. Because your range with saplings is so great, you can use them to check the brush from a safe distance. If there are any enemy players in the bush, they'll be revealed, and possibly take damage(if close enough to the sapling). Your saplings can also be used to check the brush on the enemy side as well. When using your Saplings for harassment, try to throw them from maximum range, rather then from a closer position. This serves the purpose of preventing backlash against you and/or your carry, and drives the point home that you can strike them from safety, and that they cannot(much like how lux can consistently harass from safe distances). Try to aim saplings to strike near the enemy, or in their path of movement, as opposed to directly on them(unless they are predictable enough to hit them directly). The goal is to make it harder for them to avoid the sapling's landing AoE, and keep them in a position that they'll trigger the Sapling to chase them instead of minions(though this is not always the case as saplings will charge minions if an enemy champion isn't close enough). Your W(mao's gap closer + root) is your engagement tool, and chase prevention tool. For engaging, skill is great for allow you and your carry to apply damage much easier as the target is stationary and not able to escape during the root duration. Once you have used the skill to engage: [highlight]-[/highlight] Position yourself so that the target is either between you and your carry, or between you and the direction of your nexus. [highlight]-[/highlight] Once positioned, try to drop a sapling directly onto the target. If your E is on cooldown, then use some Auto attacks(or if the target is low, your Q to help finish them off faster). [highlight]-[/highlight] When the root duration ends, immediately use your Q to push them away from their tower and slow them. [highlight]-[/highlight] Keep up aggression by trying to stay in front of them, abusing the low cool down of your Q, to allow it's knock back to prevent their escape. If you cannot stay in front of them, use your Q to at least slow them to keep them within range of your carry. [highlight]-[/highlight] If you need to, you can use Flash to get in front of them and cut off their escape. [highlight]-[/highlight] Throw your saplings in the path of the enemy's escape to ensure that they will hit them, and trigger the chase. For preventing a chase: [highlight]-[/highlight] Jump onto the target with W. [highlight]-[/highlight] Begin walking towards your carry. [highlight]-[/highlight] Use Q once they are out of the root, and begin trying to chase again. [highlight]-[/highlight] If your carry has made it far enough away, use Flash to escape yourself. [highlight]-[/highlight] If the carry is not safely away yet, continue to retreat, while using saplings and Q's to slow them down. Maokai's base armor is incredibly high, combined with the additional armor from your runes and masteries, you are more able to survive and escape without help then your carry is. When using your ult, remember that it is mana hungry early, and will deplete your mana pool very quickly. [highlight]-[/highlight] Never leave your ult active for more than a few seconds during early engagements. Leave on long enough to help give your carry an advantage through it's damage mitigation. [highlight]-[/highlight] You can use Exhaust along with your ult, to prevent them from escaping your carrie's damage, the damage created when your ult ends, and further reduce the damage they deal(thus increaing your carry's likelihood of winning the fight) [highlight]-[/highlight] If need be, leave your ult active while you and your carry retreat as it will still reduce the damage you and your carry take, and it will detonate on it's own when you've moved to far away from it.

Establishing Lane dominance is rather simple. At the very start, successful harassing can push the enemy team back a bit as they wont want to give up that first blood. This causes them to lose out on gold and depending on how far you can force them off, experience as well. Once you can successfully separate them from the creep wave, you must keep up the harassment in order to maintain that lead. [highlight]-[/highlight] An early first blood, and possible double kill has the ability to establish lane dominance early(though not always), by putting your lane ahead in gold and experience. [highlight]-[/highlight] Constant aggression and smart play is your key to dominance, as being passive will not allow you to dominate. [highlight]-[/highlight] An enemy that is constantly afraid to get close to the creep wave for more than a second, will back off quickly should you even sneeze in their direction, or is constantly camping under their tower with no creep wave at that the tower, is a sign that you have successfully achieved lane dominance. As any support or AD carry should know, your lane dominance can be hazardous to your own team. By keeping a lane pushed, you are at risk of being ganked by the enemy mid lane and/or enemy jungler, and quite often at that. Dominance of a lane will more often than not cause enemy players to visit your lane much more often, thus challenging your dominance of the lane. Because of this it's important to keep wards up. Warding alone will not save you if you have no map awareness. This is a problem that faces a lot of newer support players. As the support, you need to be watching the map just as much as the game so that you can inform your carry of an impending gank. This is what makes warding further out(close to dragon for example) important. As you are dominating the lane, you may have to trek into the enemy jungle a bit to place wards past the tri bush to create an earlier detection opportunity. Staying aware of your surroundings so that you can avoid in incoming gank(thus causing the enemy jungle or mid to waste time and miss CS and exp) will help you to maintain your dominance in lane. [imgext=] [highlight]-[/highlight] The Neutral grey area represents the area of the lane in which you are most likely to be safe from ganks while farming minions. Purple side however has a much better chance of avoiding ganks while the lane is situated in the neutral range. Blue Side still has the path from the tri bush that leads them open to a gank even in this range. Still this area provides you with a way to stay engaged, and be able to escape. The closer you move to the grey lines I've drawn, the closer you are or further you are from the danger of a gank. [highlight]-[/highlight] The Danger zones represent the areas of the lane that your in danger of being successfully ganked at. These areas will expose your back side allowing the enemy mid or jungler an easy opportunity to get behind you and cut of your escape. When dominating the lane, You will most often be in this general vicinity, thus the reason for map awareness being so important. [highlight]-[/highlight] Extending past the red line puts you in the position of having the least survivability. Tower diving at early levels can net your team a kill, but can also result in the other team walking away with a kill as well. if you manage to escape the dive alive, your still not safely away. the enemy jungler or mid may have been headed your way, thus they can finish you with relative ease should they run into you.

Mid game is a transition phase, leading in from the early laning phase of the game, and transitioning over to the more objective based phase of the game. The initial first half of mid game, is the slow closing to the laning phase. It starts off strong, with you and your carry continuing to play the harassment game with the enemy, but with the importance of protecting and securing dragon. During the early game, dragon isn't as big an issue, as you will find that dragon attempts early on to be rare, as dragon's damage is so strong early, and a fight pre-level 6 at dragon is bad for whoever started the dragon. During mid game though, dragon will be contended much more often. Keep wards closer to dragon to keep him visible at all times, making up for the break in vision between him and the lane by dropping a ward in or near the tribush. Whenever the enemy team appears to be making a break for dragon, you should be ready to contest it with your team. However, do not charge into dragon right away, make sure your team is going to contest. If they're not, then you should do the same, as it's better to give them dragon, then dragon and a kill. The goal to end the laning phase at, is taking down the first enemy tower. Though doing this does not equate to the end of laning, it does equate to a finished lane in a sense. By removing that first tower, you give your team a boost in gold, which can either serve to bring the total gold between teams closers together, or give your team a lead in gold(meaning your team has the ability to build/finish items faster then the opposing team). Once the tower goes down, You now have the ability to roam, applying assistance to your other lanes in either recovering the lane, or winning the lane. As your ADC may choose to return to your lane, you may find it beneficial to return along with them. The purpose of this is steady exp income, helping you stay up in levels as opposed to falling behind in them. However, laning at this point has basically finished for your lane, and helping other lanes finish their lanes my be a larger priority. [highlight]After the laning phase[/highlight] Objectives are the big priority now. Dragon will be targeted more often(usually right as he's about to respwan), and taking down towers outside of bases becomes more relevant as well. Baron Nashor is present, and you have the option of going after him as well. An early baron secure can lead the way into very heavy pushing, and bringing the game to end quickly in favor of your team. But the biggest priority will be towers. These need to go down in order to give way to your team and minions to apply pressure to the enemy's first base turrets, in turn forcing the enemy team to get defensive in order to keep these towers up, and their inhibitors alive. Skirmishes will happen very commonly, ranging from small, to full team fights at times. Winning any skirmish at this point of the game is more important then it is during the early game. Ganked lanes can be recovered, and champions with multiple kills during early game can be shut down, and then forced into an inferior position then their enemies. The point being, is that the early game is much easier to recover then the mid game is, thus it is important to work with your team to ensure that players don't get caught out of position alone, thus giving kills to the enemy. Moving in groups, and keeping up vision of the map helps to prevent your teammates being caught, thus reducing casualties and reducing the gold the enemy earns. Though a bad mid game can still be recovered, it is much harder to recover from it, then it is to recover from a bad early game.

The laning phase is long over, and it's getting close to the time to end the game. Dragon secures are still important as they will net your team gold to finish off items they'll need for any upcoming team fights. Baron is also an aspect to consider. Yes Baron can be fought and killed during the mid game, but he becomes much more focused during late game as teams are trying to finish the game. Keep him warded and watch for the enemy team attempting to take him. Do be advised that the enemy team will be using Baron as a challenge to your team to enter into a team fight with them, or surrender Baron to them. Your team will possibly do the same as well. During this stage of the game, there will be few to almost no small skirmishes, as most skirmishes will be team fights. Success or failure in a team fight can determine who wins the game, which is what makes these fights so important. Forcing the enemy to engage you in a team fight allows your team the opportunity to remove several threats from the game temporarily in order to make your push into their base much easier, and thus more successful. [highlight]Taking the enemy base[/highlight] If your team manages to make it into the enemy base, your next target is the first inhibitor you come to. Destroying this inhibitor allows your nexus to spawn super minions, which are very useful should your team be forced out of the enemy base. If your team is not forced out of the base, you will obviously move next into destroying the turrets protecting the nexus. These turrets are positioned rather close together so fighting enemy champions under them is much more difficult as you could draw the attention of both on to you(which is even worse should you be at half or lower in health). Focus on the turrets unless the enemy begins to appear in numbers forcing you to back off. When the turrets come down, focus everything on the nexus, ignoring enemy champions. I say to ignore them because their attempts to stop you will mean nothing should you destroy their nexus, and if you managed to move your creep wave up to the nexus, they could finish it off in the event the enemy does kill you. [highlight]Defending in late game[/highlight] On the other side of things, the case in which the enemy is forcing its way closer to or into your base, you'll need to defend it with all efficiency. If you posses a competent team, you should be able to successfully defend your base. Just do as you would in any team fight, and use your turrets to your advantage. If your team succeeds in defeating the invading players, now would be an intelligent time for your team to push into the enemy base. If there are enemy creeps still in your base, leaving one player behind(possibly even yourself) there to mop them up is a wise decision as it will allow your creeps to advance onward as well. Just because the enemy team is dead however does not mean you will win the game. If there are still enemy turrets present, you will have to deal with them, and you may also need to bring down the enemy inhibitor. [highlight]As the Enemy team respawns, they may do one of two things:[/highlight] 1. those who respawn may run forward to put up some resistance. This can be favorable to you because if your team out numbers them, you can kill them off and thus keeping your team in an advantageous state. 2. they'll stand by and wait for other members of their team to respawn, and then charge in on your team. This could be potentially bad for your team as you and your teammates very likely wont be full on health/mana, and facing down a team of players with full health/mana puts you at a disadvantage. So its wise for your team to back off at this point, you repelled them from your base and managed to push the waves to their base, which is a great victory onto itself.

The purpose of a team fight, is to win the fight by eliminating all enemy players, or enough of them that it forces the remaining players to flee in fear of giving up an ace. When engaging in a team fight it is important to know who among the enemy are the biggest threats. These are the players you need to focus and kill first. Not focusing these players(this includes your whole team) can lead to your team losing a fight. With out their biggest threats around, the enemy team will not be able to win the fight(unless some circumstance places your team at a disadvantage). You're role as Maokai is to use your tankiness to soak up damage meant for your teammates, and to put out as much damage to aid your team as possible. Using your root, to hold carries in place while your team kills them, using saplings to hit enemy back lines, your knock back to force people off of your teammates, slows to prevent escapes. All of these are extremely important things to keep in mind when fighting. Your Q has a low CD, so you can use it several times during a fight. The disruption of the knock back in a team fight environment is deadly, even if that knock back is minor. Maokais ult however, is the coup de grace in team fights. Your team wants it out there to give them a survivability advantage, and the enemy team wants it gone to hinder that advantage. Thus dropping your ult in a team fight will either force the enemy to disengage, foolishly creating openings for your team to get out damage without much or any recourse, or they will hard focus you to get rid of the ult ASAP, which means they've focused the tank, and you did your job correctly. By focusing onto you to drop that ult, they've just given your teammates the opening to dish out damage and bring them that much closer to winning the fight. Because the ult reduces enemy damage, this means you're inherently tankier, and that damage they deal to you, converts to damage that you do when you die(ending your ult). [highlight]Team fights around structures[/highlight] During mid and late game, team fights will break out around turrets. The key here is not to be all gung ho. Stick with your team as they poke at the other team, all the while waiting for one of the enemy champions to make a mistake. If you find an enemy out of position, such as they moved up out of the turrets range(which is protecting them for the most part), and your team pounces on him, then you now have a fight. Here you can attempt to kite enemies out of turret range to allow you and your teammates some ease from the additional damage of the turrets. Fighting under the enemy turret may be completely unavoidable, so do not count on your enemy to follow your team out of turret range, unless they have a clear advantage. Either way, as you would with any team fight, you need to focus down on the biggest threats and kill them ASAP. If you are on the defending side of things, you want to try and get the enemy fight you under the turret, which is made easier by having a teammate that can pull enemies out of position. If your team does not posses the means to pull an enemy player out of position, that's fine, just be ready and do not stand still for extended periods of time(it's best to stay mobile). Use your saplings to poke at the enemy team along with the rest of your ranged teammates, but do not over do your poking or you may run short of mana. If you find the enemy is not willing to engage under your turret, that is fine as well as an intelligent group will back off if they find the situation to be unfavorable and not correctable. When they retreat, do not follow, stay back for a moment to be sure they left and than go about what ever business you were attending to. [highlight]Team fights at Dragon and Baron[/highlight] Both Dragon and Baron are located in alcoves along the river. While Dragon can be kitted out of his alcove, baron cannot. Fighting in the alcoves has it's good and bad sides of things. First being that you have no way to escape unless you have flash, or an ability to jump over walls(which Maokai does not posses). The second being that you have only a small amount of space to maneuver, which gives the enemy(as well as you) an easier time landing skill shots. Another issue with team fights in these areas is that one side will almost always be out numbered, meaning your team could be placed into a situation where you have to deal with a sixth source of damage. However, these locations are perfect for forcing the enemy team into a team fight, which makes it best for your team to ignore engaging Dragon or Baron, and wait for the enemy team to make their way there to challenge you. Near these areas, there are bushes, and several entrances to the river. If your setting up the challenge, your team will most likely want wait inside the bushes. The enemy will obviously expect you to do this, but it allows your team the advantage of faking out the enemy team as to how many people are waiting in the bushes. This can allow your team the ability to pull some trickiness such as jumping the enemy team from behind when they attempt to engage players hiding in the bushes. If your team is the one coming to oppose the team waiting at baron, It's wise to plan ahead on how to approach them. Dropping a quick ward over the wall to Dragon or Baron to give a bit of vision, regardless to whether they're there or not, or tossing a sapling into a bush for example, is a good idea. Do not dive into the bushes present, even getting to close to the bushes can be bad. Instead allow them to engage your team. [highlight]Dragon Alcove[/highlight] [imgext=] [highlight]Baron Alcove[/highlight] [imgext=] [highlight]These two locations on the map are the exact same, just flipped from blue side bottom and purple side top.[/highlight] [highlight]1.[/highlight] This first point of entry can only be achieved by a few champions do to the larger cluster of trees. [highlight]2.[/highlight] Any champion can "jump" this section of the wall with the help of the flash summoner spell. [highlight]3.[/highlight] Like the second point, it can be traversed with flash. [highlight]4.[/highlight] This path leads in from Blue's jungle, or Purple's jungle into the river. The bush located here can serve as an ambush spot against people approaching from point 4 and point 5, or those approaching straight from mid lane. [highlight]5.[/highlight] Leads into the river from Purple's jungle, Blue's jungle, or mid lane. Players will generally approach the alcove from this point in a direct line, thus making it easier to ambush them from the isolated bush. Place a ward in this area often to prevent surprises. [highlight]6.[/highlight] This path leads to Purple's buff golem, or Blue's buff golem. A ward should be placed at this entry before attempting Dragon/Baron. [highlight]7.[/highlight] This is another entry point from Blue's or Purple's jungle, and from bottom/top lane itself. Minions in the lane will provide vision of anyone approaching from the lane. If the waves are pushed up, then placing a ward near the lane serves as a great warning.

[center][img=champ/zyra.png] [highlight]+[/highlight] [img=champ/maokai.png] [highlight]= ???[/highlight][/center] I small little bit of info that many players many not realize, is there is actually some form of interaction between Zyra and Maokai. When both of these champions are on the same team, Maokai is granted a special bonus of +1 movement speed. Granted, this isn't a DRAMATIC bonus, but it is note worthy as it does still effect Maokai. While you really shouldn't be trying to get these two on the same team every time as 1 MS is NOT worth trying to pair two champs together. This however is an interesting little tidbit of information that many players, excluding new players, may never have known.

For the time being, I can only provide you with a Link to a replay, So if you have LoLreplay, you should be able to watch it. However for those that do not have LoL replay, I am currently working on a recorded version of this replay With commentary. Another Replay. This particular Replay involves the "Season 3" preseason changes, and is with a vayne as my carry(may or may not do a proper video for this one. If I do a proper video, it wont have any commentary).

Want to take the time to thank you for reading this, and I hope that it has helped you in anyway possible. If you have any questions, do feel free to ask me. I would also like to take the time to thank all those that I don't know that assited me with guide by having the patience to sit through games of my testing runes and items builds, whether those games be failures or victories. I would also like to thank those that I do know that aided me in the creation of this guide.

Comments coming soon!
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