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    Lane Maokai Guide


    Posts : 16
    Join date : 2011-12-09
    Location : Aeon of Horus

    Lane Maokai Guide Empty Lane Maokai Guide

    Post  Larvichee on Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:03 pm

    Classification: Tank
    Summoner skills: Ignite + Flash
    Summoner masteries: 0/30/0
    Runes: MS quints, Armour seals, MR glyphs, Mpen marks

    Items: Merc Treads/RoA/Frozen Heart/Rylai/Randuins/Abyssal Scepter
    Skill Build: E-W-E-Q-E-R-E-Q-E-Q-R-Q-Q-W-W-R-W-W (Max E, then Q, then W)
    Lane type: Solo top, duo bot.

    Maokai is a hero who is rarely seen, with more popular tanks like Rammus and Amumu often chosen over him. Nevertheless, he is still viable for tanking for his team. I will not discuss jungling here, and you can refer to GlaciersOfAngel's jungling guide, which although I do not recommend, I will still link you to it.

    This guide's build's aims
    Tanky (so we can soak up the damage)
    High Damage (so we don't get ignored)

    3 movement speed

    MR or ap or ap/lvl (or anything you like)

    9 Armour

    Magic Penetration (or anything you like)

    All Maokai needs in this build is movement speed to catch the enemy. Early armour can be useful in skirmishes, while only flat HP will do as this build's HP is decent as it is and the 200 extra hp is not needed. Magic resistance is good, but you can swap it with ap/lvl or flat ap for damage. Marks should be magic penetration for damage, but if you're not comfortable with playing as a tank with offensive marks, it's up to you.

    1st tier : 3 in MR masteries, 1 into Armour masteries
    2nd tier : MAX both
    3rd tier : Max all except bladed armour
    4th tier : MAX all except siege commander
    5th tier : Max all
    6th tier : Get juggernaut

    Although Maokai can use 4 points into the speed mastery in the Utility tree, and the extra mana, I feel Maokai suffices without such, as he already has the Initiator mastery. Spending 30 points into defense makes Maokai much more tanky early game, and useful late game. Mana should not be an issue if you follow the build here.

    Item Build
    Optional early game items:
    Start with Regrowth Pendant + 1 Health Pot
    Build into Philosopher Stone
    Build a Heart of Gold

    Reason: Maokai can fully use the stats on these items. Heart of Gold will turn into a Randuins in most cases, and philostone is a good laning item if you are being severely harassed. If you do not want any gp5 items, straight to mana crystal and two pots.

    FULL BUILD: Mercurial Treads, Rod of Ages, Frozen Heart, Randuins, Rylai's Crystal scepter, Abyssal Scepter/FoN

    Alternate items: Thornmail, Guardian Angel, Force of Nature, Sunfire Cape.
    Not recommended: Banshee's Veil, Warmog Armour
    AP items: Zhongya's Hourglass, DeathCap, Will of the Ancients, Archangels.
    Don't buy these: Voidstaff, Haunting Guise, Hextech Gunblade.

    1)Mana Crystal --> Catalyst
    2)Boots, Catalyst --> Rod of Ages
    3)Boots--> Mercurial Treads, Frozen Heart

    Core mostly done

    4a)Need Damage --> Rylai/Abyssal Scepter
    4b)Need Armour --> Randuins
    4c)Need Magic Resist --> Abyssal Scepeter/Force of Nature

    5)Build as you need to, from the alternative items. But if you have no need to change then the above 3 should be your finishing items.

    Core Items:
    Rod of Ages - Provides Health, Mana and AP. All of what Maokai needs. It's a good early game item that scales well into late game, preventing him from running out of mana fast while giving him health and damage, allowing him to be a nuisance in team fights and not the lonely dude who's trying to chase the enemy who's chasing his team.

    Frozen Heart - Armour, Mana, Cdr (Cooldown reduction). Maokai uses a lot of mana, hence it would not be bad to get more mana. It also provides cooldown reduction, which makes Maokai more able to spam his skills and distract the enemy enough to target him, fulfilling his job. Armour is useful, allowing him to tank towers and AD champions alike. However, if there are no AD champions at all, you might want to skip this.

    Mercurial Treads - Nothing much to say. Change this to Tabi as you deem fit (4-5AD champs)

    Non-core items:
    The purpose of this build is to draw aggro from the enemy while not sacrificing any defense. As you may have noticed, all 3 items that I recommend either slow, or reduce magic resistance.

    Rylai's Crystal Scepter - AP, Health and Slow. Rylai makes Maokai annoying enough to draw attention to. If enemies refuse to attack you, Rylai will make them slow, while making sure you do damage to vital targets. It gives health, which prevents you from turning glass.

    Randuin's Omen - Heath, Armour, Active Slow (Cdr and regen). Randuins increases your durability, at the same time allowing you to slow the enemy. If they will not target you, you will slow them and hinder them, damaging vital targets. If you get targeted, the slow is useful against AD attackers. Against AP, the health and slow should keep them in place. Most of the time you should be targeting their AD or AP carries, so this is generally a good item.

    Abyssal Scepter - AP and Magic Resist (Passive). Abyssal Scepter makes those AP carries less painful. A tank item that does not become useless if you are not targeted, hence preferable to Banshee's. If you are taking too much magic damage, skip this and take Force of Nature.

    Why not these items:
    Banshee's Veil: It would be a good item, but Force of Nature is better for its bonus movement speed and regen. Although as mentioned that Maokai needs mana, Frozen Heart would be better suited due to its bonus Cdr. Not to mention Rod of Ages gives the Health you need and AP, while Banshee does not. Get this only if you already have both Abyssal Scepter and Force of Nature.

    Warmog Armour: Nice health. No mana, no AP, after you disable their carry, they just ignore you totally. In theory. I have never tried this item on Maokai, because with my current item build I reach 3.5k WITHOUT warmog.

    Other AP items:
    Zhongya's Hourglass - While Zhongya's is the only alternative to Randuins, I feel Randuin's passive and actives outshine's Zhongya's stats. You do not want to use Zhongya's active except in the most exceptional cases where your team would be better off taking the heat instead of you, so you may retreat alive. Get only if you know what you are doing, otherwise skip this.

    Will of Ancients - Spell Vamp is good, but stealing more health from enemies does not make you a better tank. Get if your team needs it desperately.

    Voidstaff - Good damage, no defensive stats. Pointless, you should be tanking. If your team badly needs an AP carry, an alternate build should be taken. Then you can consider this item.

    Deathcap - Good damage, no defensive stats. IF you are totally being ignored then take this item.

    Mejal - You die for your carries, your team. Don't snowball, unless you know what you're doing.


    1st skill depends if you are in a solo lane or duo lane.
    Solo Lane:
    Lvl1: Sapling Toss
    lvl2: Twisted Advance
    Duo Lane:
    Lvl1: Twisted Advance
    Lvl2: Sapling Toss

    Reason: In a solo lane it is more important to take damage over cc, as there is no ally to provide the damage. In a duo lane a cc can prove more useful.

    Skill Optimisation:
    Max out Sapling Toss, taking only 1 point of Twisted Advance by lvl2. Max out Arcane Smash after Sapling Toss, taking a point in Vengeful Maelstrom whenever possible.

    Reason: Sapling Toss gives you early damage you need to gank people. It also allows you to harass and farm, control how much the lane is pushing against you.

    Twisted Advance vs Arcane Smash:
    Both of these skills are Maokai's ccs, so why Arcane Smash over Twisted Advance?

    Arcane Smash has a lower cooldown. This allows it to be spammed more often. As we are not getting a lot of AP, the better scaling ratio on Twisted Advance is negligible. Also, Arcane Smash is an AOE, allowing you to knock several enemies instead of snaring 1. Hence, with its better base damage and AOE, Arcane Smash is better to max out first out of the two. You can do otherwise if you disagree, but only if you know what you are doing.

    Chaining Maokai's Skills:
    Try to Sapling Toss before immediately Twisted Advance. If you are unable to do so, just Twisted Advance then Sapling Toss the target you intend to kill. Arcane Smash the Twisted Advanced champion after a short moment (before the snare wears off) and set your ulti either before this moment or immediately after this moment.

    Never Twisted Advance to a tank to initiate on a better target. Unless of course, you know what you're doing. Always initiate on the the target you want to kill. Remember, Twisted Advance does not stop channeling, but Arcane Smash does.

    Vengeful Maelstrom should always be placed such that most of your team is on it.


    Vengeful Maelstrom should always be placed such that the person taking the highest amount of damage FOR A GOOD CAUSE is on it.

    Laning Phase
    In a Duo lane, check the bush for your ally, but make sure you two are within distance. A Twisted Advance can easily net a first blood on unsuspecting opponents who think they can ambush you from the bush.

    In a Solo lane, wait for the creeps to come. Harass as necessary.

    In both cases use your passive to heal. Your passive gets charges from both enemy and ally casts, so if you have a spell spammer in your lane, you should not have too great of health issues.

    Harass with Sapling Toss, Twisted Advance for an engagement. If you're good you can use the combo mentioned above to harass, else play safe, use Sapling Toss.
    WARNING:Keep your mana at a level where you can pull off at least 1 of each spell. DO NOT USE UP ALL YOUR MANA.

    If you're doing badly use Sapling Toss to farm. If you're doing well gank and kill with Twisted Advance. Do not let your tower go down, your pushing tower should prevent early pushes unless a four man team comes to your lane.

    Ganking Phase
    Twisted Advance onto the target, then Sapling Toss. Arcane Smash when the snare from Twisted Advanced is nearly over (or just don't do it immediately, but wait a tiny bit of time first, or cast your other spells. Just not immediately).

    If the target is dying, which we assume your gank did not go wrong, chase the target. If you are able to dive, use Twisted Advance to secure the kill. A good indicator that you will be successful is whether your twisted Advance is going to cooldown before the target enters his safe zone. If the gank fails, push the lane or return home to get mana. During the ganking phase, you may use your ultimate for extra damage.

    Team Fights
    Initiate on the squishy, catching them and try to deal massive damage to the squishy. Primary targets are AD carries and AP carries. Due to the build not being fully tank, your damage should be dangerous enough such that their AD/AP carry is forced to leave the fight without contributing, such that the fight turns easily into a 5v4.

    Vengeful Maelstrom should be helping your teammates. Use your Arcane Smash to disrupt enemies. Chase and kill. If the teamfight fails, use Arcane Smash to ward off people attempting to charge ahead of their team, or retreat and use Vengeful Maelstrom to turn the tables by killing the loner. DO NOT INITIATE IF YOUR TEAM IS NOT READY OR WILL LOSE WITHOUT TOWER SUPPORT.

    Possible Issues:
    Q: Help I'm always out of mana so when the jungler comes to my lane the ganks are always unsuccessful. What do I do?
    A: Conserve mana, using it sparingly like when you are nearly full mana. Maokai will have severe mana issues early game if soloing against a duo lane. If such a situation happens, use your Saplings to push back whenever the wave reaches the tower. Conserving mana to maximise your pushing power should leave you with sparingly enough mana for ganks. Or, get the jungler to take over the lane while you go back.

    Alternatively, just go back after any type of gank if you're not even at half mana. Don't linger around, use a single sapling to push the wave forward and return to base for mana.

    Q: My lane lost the first blood and now the opponents are too strong to fight. What do I do?
    A: Hug the tower. Do not use Saplings to push except when the wave is at your tower. Keep your tower alive as long as it's possible. When a good gank opportunity comes along, take it and turn the tables. If the lane is lost, either push the lane and take the enemy's tower after they leave or go to another lane to gank. A fed enemy is unlikely to win 1v2s or 1v3s early on.

    Q: I always die in team fights. Should I change items?
    A: This depends on the situation. Are you initiating when you are not supposed to? Or are you really too glass to tank?

    If the enemy has the advantage in either champions or gold, do not initiate if you cannot be sure to win. Use tower support, or force them all to sit in your ulti, allowing you to deal massive damage to them and take out their damage dealers, which gives you the win.

    If you are too glass to tank, switch out AP items and take heavy-duty tanking items. If you are still too glass, it's your team that's the problem.

    This assumes you still have the chance to win. If you keep losing, review your play style. Or your teammates.

    Final Words:
    Maokai is not a tank which naturally draws attention to himself. Instead, his high damage skills and high mobility make him more useful to seek out a target and kill it. Like a Leona, but more versatile.

    Further updates are possible

    Last edited by Larvichee on Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:00 pm; edited 6 times in total

    Posts : 39
    Join date : 2011-12-05
    Age : 28
    Location : Singapore

    Lane Maokai Guide Empty Re: Lane Maokai Guide

    Post  OolongTea on Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:07 pm

    Very good guide!

    Posts : 24
    Join date : 2011-12-08

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    Post  holyfist on Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:40 pm


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