[center][img]http://www.mobafire.com/images/champion/skins/landscape/maokai-haunted.jpg[/img] I'm a dirty dirty man for linking a Mobafire-hosted image ;^)[/center] [center][big][img=champ/maokai.png] - Why Maokai? - [img=champ/maokai.png][/big][/center] [center]With the advent of pre-S5 jungle changes, junglers experienced a massive smack to the face in terms of diversity and sustain prowess. Now, only a few champions can actually clear efficiently without being forced into an early blue pill. Maokai, with his ridiculous sustain and spammable palate of abilities, clears with ease in a good amount of time and with health to spare! Utilizing a different skill path from before, Maokai can become the terror of the jungle he once was, albeit taking a different route. You'll be ganking left and right and securing objectives faster than you can dodge a sapling with Flash.[/center] [center][big]WHO AM I?[/big][/center] [center]I'm currently a Platinum Support/Filler that peaked at Diamond 4 last season before decaying heavily due to withdrawing from university. I'm finally back, though, and with the recent changes to the jungle I feel the tanky sustain meta of S2 and S3 will make a distinct comeback in the near future of S5. It may not be THE meta to play in all games, but certainly it is becoming more prevalent than in the previous season. Maokai is and forever will be my favorite jungler in League of Legends. He's the one I started with all those years ago, and he's the one I'll probably end with as well.[/center]
[img=skills/maokai/p.png] Because this build relies so heavily on abusing Maokai's passive sustain early on, Q focus is essential for its spammable cooldown and super high base damage. However, putting your first point into E lets you ward and defend from invades, and as always gives you the pseudo-Shaco leash once camps spawn. Although you'll only be able to place 3 saplings in time, a good leash will kill the camp immediately without having to use a pot. Because you've charged your passive before the camps spawn, you'll be able to tank a hit or two and heal it back, while Smite, saplings, and one or two autos will kill the monster almost immediately. [img=skills/maokai/q.png] After first camp (Krugs/Gromp) you'll be level 2, which gives you your 6-second CD Q. Now you'll be able to self-sustain well if you are efficient in using Q to knockback camps in between autos. Think of it as an empowered auto-attack in that you should be killing buffs by AA>Q>AA>E>AA etc. Because Q is a low CD knockback, you can abuse it to reset camp animations before they attack back. When timed correctly, it negates a lot of damage and allows you to sustain harder early on. [img=skills/maokai/w.png] Maokai's W now deals % max HP magic damage. This is maxed second as it is your gap closer. When leveled early on, it deals a surprising amount of up front damage, especially against tankier enemies. While normally you might want to max or semi-max E for jungle clear and pressure, maxing Q and W instead focuses on heavy burst and instantaneous kills when ganking. Due to Q's high base damage scaling and the % damage on W, you will deal far more damage and root the target for longer with each gank. [img=skills/maokai/e.png] While E's slow can be nice, your primary goal is to kill the laner as soon as possible. E maxing just wont make as much of an impact during ganks, especially if you aren't building AP. [img=skills/maokai/r.png] Pop it and go ham. Makes your entire team tankier. If you find yourself caught out, throw it down to intimidate the enemy and maybe save yourself some time or health.
This is a WIP. As Season 5 kicks off, I will try to update with any new items or builds, nerfs or buffs, etc. I left out matchups and gameplay chapters for the time being, as I'll need to put aside time to flesh those out as much as possible. I believe Maokai is a fantastic champion with all the tools needed to match almost any composition out there (with the right amount of tools an preparation, mind you). While many prefer to abuse his pressure and presence as a top lane menace, I still vouch for his strength as a mainstay in the jungle, the place of his origin and rightful home of inheritance. Because you don't invade the jungle; the jungle invades you!