Maokai Build Guide

Your Mobile Jungle Tree

Uploader iTipTurtles
Updated 4 years ago
  • 9
    Greater Mark of Attack Speed (+1.7% attack speed)
  • 9
    Greater Seal of Armor (+1 armor)
  • 9
    Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist (+0.16 magic resist per level (+3 at champion level 18))
  • 3
    Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed (+1.5% movement speed)
Skill Order
1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2
3 3 3 3
4 4 4 4
5 5 5 5
6 6 6 6
7 7 7 7
8 8 8 8
9 9 9 9
10 10 10 10
11 11 11 11
12 12 12 12
13 13 13 13
14 14 14 14
15 15 15 15
16 16 16 16
17 17 17 17
18 18 18 18

Hello i am iTipTurtles and i play Jungle, i also have a youtube channel where you may find useful jungling videos. Currently I see Maokai as one of the strongest jungle champions in the game for a number of reasons. His skill set excels in the jungle, allowing him to have fast clear time and create strong ganks with good combination of his abilities. He also allows for support of his team through his ultimate. [highlight]Pros[/highlight] [.]Strong ganks [.]Tanky Champion [.]Good clear time [.]Counter jungling isn't an issue, Maokai can still play well without a large amount of creeps. [.]Very good at zoning champions [.]Ultimate provides nice support and then damage [.]Very mobile [.]Saplings provide a nice 35 second ward [.]Strong initiations [highlight]Cons[/highlight] [.]If he doesn't get first blue buff he has a slow start [.]Poor use of W can land you in a sticky place [title]When to pick Maokai?[/title] Maokai can usually fit into most team setups but he excells in certain scenarios. If your team is lacking CC in lane, then maokai can be a good option, as if you do not have much CC from the laning champions gank can be quite difficult. Maokai is here to help, offering good CC and range you can usually lock down a champion with no problems picking up a kill. They have a very mobile jungler such a [imgsmall=champ/leesin.png] dont worry about being counter jungled, its his ganks that are an issue. Lee can gank over and over again effectively at that. Boots of mobility maokai will help you here, as you will have the presence to effectively counter gank, and maybe turn it against them, or at least defend the lane. If the enemy has high amounts of AP for example [imgsmall=champ/katarina.png] or [imgsmall=champ/vladimir.png] a well placed ultimate will reduce the damage they deal to your team, as well as send some of it back at them. This will offer that extra bit of support your team could need. Maokai is also very useful if your team doesnt have very strong initiates, this means its up to you, to dive in and take the first brunt of a team fight, allowing your team to follow and hopefully picking up the Ace.

[highlight]October 6th, 2012.[/highlight] First development of the guide. [highlight]October 18th, 2012.[/highlight] Guide released. [highlight]December 4th, 2012[/highlight] Currently working on the S3 update, going to be testing various different build and style, and i will update as soon as possible, [highlight]December 10, 2012[/highlight]Guide full updated for Season 3, i will change anything i see fit, and regularly make changes with any improvements. [highlight]December 20, 2012[/highlight]Updated item build. [highlight]January 8, 2013[/highlight]Further updated Item build, with what i see as a stronger build for you and team. [highlight]February 13, 2013[/highlight]Made alterations to masteries

[imgext=] [title]Marks[/title] [highlight]Greater Mark of Alacrity[/highlight] Maokai has an average clear time when using your abilities such as Q and E, however without these then his time suffers. I prefer to run attack speed marks on him just to give you that little bit faster clear for when you dont have a blue buff. It will also give you that slight bit more damage when ganking, any extra damage in the early game can be key to a successful gank. [title]Seals[/title] [highlight]Greater Seal of Resillience[/highlight] Early game this is seen as reduced damage when in the jungle, though it does give you that little bit extra tankiness which is the key to Maokai's success. Every little helps remember, and in the jungle will reduce how often you have to recall keeping you more active around the map. The enemy AD carry will deal less damage on you when ganking bot lane, this reduces the chance that they can turn your gank around. [title]Glyphs[/title] [highlight]Greater Glyph of Shielding[/highlight] Personally i feel Magic resist per level are the strongest glyphs to run, giving you more sustain against their AP carry which will be vital, since your immediate items will favour armour, unless they have a high ap setup. This will help you till you get your Magic resist items. [title]Quintessences[/title] [highlight]Greater Quintessence of Swiftness[/highlight] This is the best option, will give you much greater map presence due to the slightly increased movement speed allowing you to navigate around the map more successfully. I favour these in certain scenarios, such as you know you need to shut out a lane or they have an aggressive jungler such a [imgsmall=champ/leesin.png] This extra movement speed will help you towards a counter gank, so that lee cant get carried away and harass your lanes as frequently.

[title][img=skills/maokai/p.png] Passive: Sap Magic[/title] [number]Each time a champion near Maokai casts a spell, he gains a charge of Magical Sap. When he has 5 charges, his next melee attack drains energy from his target, healing Maokai for 7% of his maximum health.[/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] This passive is not one of the strongest in game, but it is still useful. When in the early game it isnt the strongest, however when you get into the late game and team fights its constantly proccing, giving you much greater sustain and making it even harder to take you down. This will be even stronger in situations and ganks when the enemy has high combo champions such as ryze, this will increase the proc occurrence so that you will be able to survive his damage more. [title][img=skills/maokai/q.png] Q: Arcane Smash[/title] [number]Maokai slams the ground, the force of which knocks nearby enemies back and sends an arcane shockwave forward, dealing 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+40% of ability power) magic damage and slowing his enemies by 20% / 27% / 34% / 41% / 48% for 2 seconds. Cooldown 6 seconds Cost 55 mana[/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] This short ranged ability is a reason as to why Maokai's ganks are so powerful. When you hit the target they are immedietly slowed, they are also knocked back a small distance. The cooldown on this ability is very low, so can be used multiple times in gank or team fight. Its radius isnt too large but with an effective W you can easily hit multiple targets. One this i really enjoy abut this ability is due to its low mana cost. Maxing this first i see is the best method. It increases your clear time and you can use it multiple times without the worry of running out of mana. The damage isnt bad as well, especially when paired with its cooldown timer. Chucking a sapling and using Q often clears a minion wave in the mid game, so this will really help out when you are covering lanes. Maxing this ability first also increases the slow that is applied to the effected champion, making you even stronger at ganks. [title][img=skills/maokai/w.png] W: Twisted Advance[/title] [number]Maokai transforms into a cloud of arcane energy, quickly traveling to a target enemy. The target takes 80 / 115 / 150 / 185 / 220 (+80% of ability power) magic damage and is rooted in place for 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2 seconds. Cooldown 13 seconds Cost 75 / 80 / 85 / 90 / 95 mana[/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] This is a pretty simple ability, but you can still mess it up completely. It has a decent range on it. When you cast this ability onto a target you shift towards them and root them in place, when you pair this with your Q they are rooted, knocked back and slowed. This is a strong ability for maokai, making your ganks such a killer. Once your animation starts there isnt anything you can do to stop it, an area when it can fail is a champion uses flash, or Tristanas jump you will follow them all the way to the destination, this could land you in a sticky situation under a tower. But due to this range you can easily latch onto an AD carry standing at the back of the enemy team. Once the animation has begun you can not be CC'd, they can however stop you before you do this with any form of stun such as Taric. Recently they changed it so you can still take damage in this form, so if you are low health with a debuff on you, it will not save your life. This does not work in certain situations, such as when Vlad uses his pool, on onto a champion that has activated [imgsmall=items/zhonyas-hourglass.png] Personally i like to gank from behind their lane, so from the enemies turret and use W to shift to them, followed by a Q to knock them slightly further away. This means if they run they have futher to travel and your Q should be up again to reapply the slow. This is also very useful for ganking from within the lane bushes. [title][img=skills/maokai/e.png] E: Sapling Toss[/title] [number]Maokai hurls a sapling, dealing 40 / 75 / 110 / 145 / 180 (+40% of ability power) magic damage on impact. The sapling becomes implanted in the ground, warding a nearby area for 35 seconds. When enemies approach, the sapling attacks, exploding in an arcane blast that deals 80 / 130 / 180 / 230 / 280 (+60% of ability power) magic damage to enemies. Cooldown 12 seconds Cost 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 mana[/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] The saplings are not your most vital ability but are still strong in a number of ways. I take these at level 1 as throwing them into the bush allows you to have a 35 second ward, giving you a bit more safety in defence against an invade. If you chuck one onto Wraiths at 1:14 then keep doing this till they spawn they will pretty much die upon spawn, this allows you to quickly rush to blue, though i shall talk more in depth about this later on. As well as a ward they are also a decent little poke ability before a team fight applying a small amount of damage, they can also help in ganks for a similar reason. Personally i recomment using these as temporary wards as often as you can, when you get your Glacial Shroud youll have a lot more mana, therefore you can throw these about a lot more. This is very useful, so if you go for an unwarded gank, you can use your saplings to make sure you are safe to gank. [title][img=skills/maokai/r.png] R: Vengeful Maelstrom[/title] [number]Maokai shields his allies by drawing power from hostile spells and attacks, reducing non-tower damage done to allied champions in the area by 20%. Maokai can prolong the effect as long as he has mana to spend on it. When the effect ends, Maokai unleashes the absorbed energy to deal 100 / 150 / 200 (+50% of ability power) (+2 bonus damage per damage absorbed) damage to enemies within the vortex. Maximum 200 / 250 / 300 bonus damage. Cooldown 40 second Cost 75 mana + 30 mana per second[/number] [title]Explanation:[/title] Where to being with this, frankly this ultimate is insane, and probably one of the strongest support ultimate in the game when it comes to team fights. Basically you place a large Circle on the ground around your team and the enemy team, this reduces the damage those standing in the circle take, and when you end the ability you return some of the damage in which the ultimate absorbed back to the enemy. This can be a great counter to AOE ultimates such as Nunu, and can be a real life saver. Not just reducing the damage your team takes but inflicting some back when you decide to release it. Though be careful, because it uses mana per second its activated you could run out of mana without you even noticing, so use it wisely.

Your skill order is dependent on when you plan on ganking, personally i prefer to gank at level 3, so this is the skill order for that method. At level 1 take your [imgsmall=skills/maokai/e.png] this will give you the vision you need and also a very fast wraith camp. After you get blue buff you should be level 2 and pick up [imgsmall=skills/maokai/q.png] if you go for a level 3 gank take your [imgsmall=skills/maokai/w.png] and then finally at 4 take your [imgsmall=skills/maokai/e.png] again just for a bit faster clear then continue to max your [imgsmall=skills/maokai/q.png] If you just want to farm up till 4 then take E at level 3 then W at 4, you will have decent clear time and gank start your constant ganking. [highlight]Farming skill order[/highlight] E > Q > E > W > Q > R then max your Q followed by your W. Taking in a point in R when you can. [highlight]Ganking at level 3 skill order[/highlight] E > Q > W go for your gank, at 4 take another point in E then start maxing your Q and followed by your W. [highlight]Ganking at level 2[/highlight] E > W go gank, take your E to level 2 when you can, maxing your Q, then W.

Start the game by picking up your usual [imgsmall=items/boots-of-speed.png] and [imgsmall=items/health-potion3.png] The boots are a start to the mobile Maokai i see as insanely strong, you also will not be taking enough damage from the creeps to warrant any other starting items. [highlight]First back[/highlight] This is when things get serious you have two options if you feel ganking is the key to early game success, go back and buy your [imgsmall=items/boots-of-mobility.png] or just normal boots picking up [imgsmall=items/sight-ward.png] if you can afford it. This will mean you can start ganking like crazy as maokai doesnt really need the farm. However, if you feel your teams early game will be a lot more passive and its more of a farming game go and get your [imgsmall=items/madreds-razors.png] and [imgsmall=items/boots-of-speed.png] then start working towards your [imgsmall=items/locket-of-the-iron-solari.png] [title]Mid Game[/title] Complete [imgsmall=items/locket-of-the-iron-solari.png] this will not only help your tankiness but that of your whole team and allows your support to pick up other useful items. for the price i see this as one of the best items in game, especially with its Active ability. You can also build a [imgsmall=items/runic-bulwark.png] if there is a high amount of AP damage comiong. If their team is dealing large amounts of AD damage then get your [imgsmall=items/frozen-heart.png] or [imgsmall=items/wardens-mail.png] if you need to build [imgsmall=items/randuins-omen.png]. Personally i see Randuins as the stronger item in season 3 due to the health it offers and the massive can be very strong in team fights, especially the active. [title]Late Game[/title] Now you should have a nice build up of items right about now but there can always be more. If you feel their team is dealing quite a bit of AP damage then i strongly recommend [imgsmall=items/spirit-visage.png] This will go well with your passive and if you have a support that offers healing. [title]Situational items[/title] [imgsmall=items/abyssal-scepter.png]If your AP carry has not picked this up then it can be partially useful to have this on Maokai. The damage isnt the reason, but its the magic resist debuff that makes this viable. [imgsmall=items/sunfire-cape.png]If their AD is too much to handle this can be useful, especially with the bonus health it provides and little bit of damage when you use your W to get near them. [imgsmall=items/warmogs-armor.png]Is a lot stronger in season 3, i still dont see it as a main item on Maokai, but if you have a lot of resist and are being killed too quickly then go ahead and pick it up, especially if you bought Randuins the passive heal will be quite strong, as well as with Spirits visage.

Like i said i prefer to gank at level 3, but you can also save it up till level 4, i shall show you both routes which i feel are the best to take, as well as discuss your early game tactics. [title]Leveling route (farming till 4)[/title] You want to start wolves now, due to the increased health of the Season 3 jungle, so no more Wraith start. Head over towards blue, throwing a sapling near their wraiths and in river/mid bush. This gives you the vision to protect yourself against them invading, as it will warn your team and may also cause them to back off due to them knowing you are aware of their position. Throw a sapling at 1:27, this way when they spawn you can throw a second causing the initial hit damage then explosion. Saving you enough mana to still be able to throw a sapling on blue buff. After you get your blue, head over to wraiths leveling your Q, back to wolves, and then over to red when your smite is up taking another point in your E. Once you get your red buff, do wraiths again and this should take you to level 4. And pick up your W and you are good to go. [title]Ganking at level 3[/title] [imgext=] Start this route exactly as you would above, with your saplings. Pick up your Q after you take blue, head to wolves then wraiths. Then go over to red since your smite will now be up. Once you have hit 3 get your W and pick a lane to gank, you should be able to pick up a kill, hopefully get your team first blood or at least cause them to pop some Summoner spells. Then go back into your jungle and hit level 4, getting another in your saplings then start to max your Q. [title]Ganking at level 2[/title] [imgext=] This is a slightly different route but can have a great payoff. Take your Q at level one, start at wolves then do blue. After this take your W and gank a lane you decide which. If you know what lane to gank tell them beforehand, as this can allow them to take a helpful ability at level 1, for example a shen top can take his taunt, giving them pretty much no chance of escape without burning a summoner spell. As soon as you can afford yourself Boots of Mobility and a Sight Ward go back and pick them up. Mobility maokai is a terror to be up against, and will have amazing map present, whether or not it is to gank or counter gank. Say you are doing wraiths and you see them ganking your mid lane, having these boots allows you to get there fast and can even pick up a kill. Your Philosophers Stone and Heart of Gold are also strong items to get on Maokai as soon as you can, by mid game you should already be starting to build up your items, but dont forget to pick up plenty of ward. Personally i like to get an Oracles as soon as i can, to limit their map control and vision. You can even get a naked oracles which is picking one up with only boots.

There are multiple ways you can gank on Maokai. A very successful method is to get into either of the lane bushes when they are unwarded, and as they push back you can easily use your W to shift onto the AD carry or squishy support and pick up your team a kill. Being in either of the river bushes in mid are close enough to W onto the enemy AP carry if they move over to your side, issue can occur if they are a champion like [imgsmall=champ/kassadin.png] with an escape method but still it can be effective depending your mid laner. You can even gank just by utilizing your Boots of mobility and rushing straight onto any of the lanes and diving onto your desired enemy champion, your speed is more than enough to get you there. With effective wards and communication you can easily counter gank as well as take out a champion that moves into your Jungle.

By this point in the game you should be pretty tanky and it should be hard for them to take you down, so they will try and avoid focusing you. Hopefully you have your [imgsmall=items/runic-bulwark.png] and at least [imgsmall=items/glacial-shroud.png] or [imgsmall=items/wardens-mail.png] Now it is time to start pushing that mid lane hard and securing yourself some team objectives. With use of your Oracles you should keep clearing out Both Baron and Dragon, this way their team wont be aware you are doing it and you should effectively time these so that you can keep taking them, at least dragon anyway. If they are doing either objective and you are aware of it then you can turn this around on them, and effective W can get you there for the smite steal, or even to initiate while Dragon/Baron is still damaging the enemy team. Start to favour your jungle towards top lane, mid and Ad carry, you dont really need it anymore they will benefit more from it than you will. Team fights will slowly start expanding here with people from other lanes starting to join together, and remember with Maokai tower diving isnt as much of a risk as it can be, provided you do it wisely, with effective use of your W, Q and R. You cant exactly split push on Maokai so just make sure you are defending all of your lanes, and down your jungle if there isnt someone else around that can benefit more from it. One point i cant stress enough is communication, keep this high with your team, let them know your plan, so they are aware when to dive in with you, when this is going to happen, when that will happen. Dont just ping to them, type stuff, high mid game communication can see you through to an effective late game.

By this point in the game you should be near if not full build. This is when you will be far too tanky for the enemy team to just poke you down, standing at the front line you are likely to cause the enemy to back of. Keep those sight wards coming and keep that oracles going strong, start pushing their team back and preparing yourself for Baron kills. If you place your ultimate within the Baron pit then all your team will take reduced damage and you yourself wont be taking much damage anyway when tanking, if needed you can split off from baron to throw your saplings around trying to force the enemy team way from the objective, but make sure you can get back into range for smite. This is when the major pushes will start to occur so pick your engages wisely, one mistake could cost you an inhibitor. Make sure you are away of all lanes, so that you do not get split pushed and you should be safe enough with your map coverage to let one member of your team go to defend lanes and counter push. Just wait for all your lanes to push and get group up and get ready for a team fight. A cool tactic you can use is to bait baron, if you know its warded go over there and let your team be seen in vision then take out the ward. This will cause their team to panic and rush to defend, if done correctly you should be able to surprise them with an effective initiate, especially if their team split up. If you see one or more of their team defending another lane, now is the time to do baron or push a different lane/initiate a fight. As they just wont have the champions to defend themselves or Baron.

Maokai in my eyes is the strongest ganking jungler in the game, but he doesnt exactly fail in team fights either. He excels in these situations. [title]You are winning[/title] Stand on the front line, covering all of your team with you and your top laner in the front, constantly throwing saplings into the area to see if you can cause a break in their defense. If you see the opportunity to get on to their AD carry do it, pop your [imgsmall=items/shurelyas-reverie.png] and W to their AD carry, even burning flash if you need to. This will cause both teams to break up into different manors so make sure you get your ultimate in a good place. Their AD carry will be struggling to much with you and your top lane champion focussing them that their team will have to help, giving your AD carry the chance to start picking people off, as well as your mid laner. With you being so close to their whole team popping your [imgsmall=items/randuins-omen.png] gives them little hope of an escape, without them performing and Clutch Flashes. Your damage isnt that high, but your utility and the fact that its so hard to kill you makes it so difficult for them to get a successful team fight. [title]You are losing[/title] Fall back to the safety of your tower, dont try anything stupid, you are tanky but not unkillable. In this situation you need to wait for the right moment to strike, since you have the defence of your tower, your team can poke mcuh more effectively than them due to the risk of tower hits. When you can do what i said above and latch onto their AD carry, focing them to reposition out of the fight. You might die from them, but hopefully the other members of your team can pick up enough kills to turn the game around. Your ultimate will help your team survive such situations. [title]If its even[/title] This is where it could be a problem, if the game is even then they are likely to have a good defence onto their AD carry, a support [imgsmall=champ/alistar.png] can really mess up your initiation just by headbutting you away, or diving onto your AD carry greatly reducing the damage your team can do. You need to be extra careful of champions such as [imgsmall=champ/amumu.png] and [imgsmall=champ/skarner.png] One flash ultimate of either of these champions onto your AD/AP carry can put you enormously behind in a team fight situation. You will be a man down, as yes you may dive onto an AD carry, but an Amumu Ultimate stop many champions in their tracks, and Skarners simply drags them into the danger zone and they can be melted in seconds. Be very careful of this, and make sure you have strong defence of your AD/AP carries.

I won't go into too much depth here, as this isnt such a vital issue with Maokai, i recommend not wandering into their jungle unless you know its 100% safe, and to be honest, it would be more beneficial to be in their jungle for a gank other than to counter jungle. With you two GP10 items, your farm isnt the major issue that it is on other champions, this is because maokai is a utility jungler not a damage jungler, so you dont rely on items to do what you want. Keep your jungle warded so you can prevent it when possible, or to keep your team alerted to the situation, and if it is happening then gank. If you see their jungler going into yours, you can either ping and get your team to gank on to him, or go to a lane knowing fine when you will not be counter ganked. I dont know how many times its occurred when the enemy team jungler is amazed by how prevalent Maokai can be even without his jungle farm.

I strongly recommend you give Maokai a try, as he can be key asset to your jungle champions, and can provide your team with amazing ganking utility and tankiness, allowed you to have a very high damage bruiser at top lane. Thank you for reading my guide, i hope you have found it very informative, feel free to ask me any further questions you have.

Comments coming soon!
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