Maokai Build Guide

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VeKtorWithAK's "Hao to Mao"(fraps incl.)

written by VektorWithAK

Maokai Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Updated with more depth and fraps footage. This guide was previously titled "WTF MAO! Where he come from?"

    This will be my second guide on Mao is probably my favourite hero in LOL. His ability kit is perfect for my style of play and when used with this build, I have a blast.

    Please rate and comment if you try this build and have feedback, suggestions or questions.

    QUICK NOTE: edited masteries to go further into utility for the CDR on both summoner spells(for further mobility/escape) and my abilities as I found the additional health from veteran scars really wasn't worth it(could only spare pts for 2/4).

    PS: lol at the last scene... I cast sapling, shows the animation and costs mana but no sapling... thought it was funny to throw that in there.

    MORE FOOTAGE is always a win. I loled at all the Eve deaths to Maokais ultimate.

  • Abilities

    Sap Magic
    Such a powerful aid to laning and amazing in team fights when spells are being spammed. Due to the regen this skill offers early game, we don't need to waste gold on healing pots leaving us free to stock on mana pots.

    Solo lane proc VS duo lane argument: I've seen it written many people think Mao shouldn't be a solo laner because he doesn't maximise the procs from this. Honestly, regardless which lane I take, I haven't noticed any real difference in the usage of this passive but I will say that in a duo lane, chances are highly likely you can force you opponents to be zoned out of experience range with EASE. Every now and again their minor attempts to take back the lane will just feed you charges to recover your lost hp.

    Arcane Smash
    Nice aoe shutdown rounds out your tank kit brilliantly, preventing crowd control against you following an advance and allowing you time to lay down you ultimate and drop it like a quick nuke.

    Try to maximise the use of this by hitting multiple targets in group combat where possible, additionally while trying to keep people within your ultimate. The damage on this ability is rather poor when compared to the rest of your kit, so don't get to excited while leveling the ability up.

    Twisted Advance
    Closing move, used to harass enemy carries and shut them down for your carries to pick off. always follow this up with an arcane smash(Q), for a rapid burst, chain into your ultimate and then sapling toss if ready.

    As with arcane smash, during group fights, try to use this to keep targets within your ultimate, especially if critical health.

    Additionally, this ability should be utilised to save team mates from chasers(not everyone has 450+ move speed). Dive into the fray and arcane smash them off your allies before legging it or using flash if required/available. DON'T FORGET! When doing this, er on the side of caution and use your ultimate in your fallback corridor if you expect to take damage during retreat, it may just be enough to save you.

    Sapling Toss
    Your bread and butter, this is the first skill you max, putting a point in it at every chance. Try to predict enemy movements as landing it on top of a player isn't the only way to utilise the saplings. Setting them up in enemy retreat paths prior to twisted advancing them and going into another sapling will mess up anybodies game. Even with no magic pen and no ability power in a build, these sapling will severely injure anyone they come into contact with.

    Additionally, using them as scouts for bushes means you should not be FACE CHECKING!!! Set them up in key locations to warn your team before a BARON attempt or to sentry for your jungler at he start of the game.

    ASSISTING JUNGLERS: at 1:20 you can cast saplings into the Blue Golem spawn point, landing 3-4 saplings to leash and assist in kill time. Be sure to bail fast so as to prevent leeching the junglers experience or he wont level off the first group.

    Vengeful Maelstrom
    Hugely under rated ulti. Many people look at it as a shield for damage reduction, but if utilised, even when not under fire you can cast this and rapid de-activate for some extra damage your opponent won't see coming. Its amazing how many killing blows I score with this just when enemies think they are safe from my reach.(you can see me utilise it in this way in the youtube footage)

  • Runes and Masteries

    The following runes are my preference after testing the build in a number of games I found the mana regen neccessary and having it in the form of my runes and masteries saves me wasting item slots on weaker caster items and allows me to focus straight into rushing tank items.

    Optional slots: these can be changed if desired and aren't crucial to this build, cooldown redux, magic pen or magic resist are all viable options for replacements, but these are what I have had success with.
    Marks = Greater Mark of Replenishment
    Glyphs = Greater Glyph of Clarity

    I've had a few questions asked about my Mark and Glyph selections as to why I don't take magic pen? When I began using Maokai this way I knew that by the end of the game, he would have 0 AP and even the enemy carries would probably have additional Magic Resist from or similar items, thus even IF I had gone with magic penetration, it would be made redundant. But the mana regen is useful all game regardless what you enemies build. It cannot be countered and helps out a tonne early game during laning.

    Critical to this builds synergy: this build is designed around these runes, without them I can't guarantee that it will work as well.
    Seals = Greater Seal of Evasion
    Quints = Greater Quintessence of Swiftness

    Again, I received questions about why I chose dodge in my seals when, if I need mana regen so badly, why I don't utilise the seal slots for the regen being the most effective rune slot for this stat. To this I say read the guide... But seriously, dodge can only be runed in seals or quints and your quintessence are already reserved for the movement speed. Since mana regen can be attained in the other two rune slots that I have no desire to fill with any other stat, I utilise them for my mana regen needs as the dodge activation on nimbleness is key to this builds effectiveness.

    The dodge synergises with the faster move speed by providing a further boost to move speed following a dodge.

    Defence tree =

    Utility tree =
    [mastery_icon=good hands][mastery_text=good hands]2/3
    [mastery_icon=blink of an eye][mastery_text=blink of an eye]1/1
    [mastery_icon=presence of the master][mastery_text=presence of the master]1/1

    This build is what I have come to use after constant testing with Mao using this build as it is written.
    Originally it had more points into defence to get 2/4 veteran scars and 3/3strength of spirit because I never really relied on CDR to get things done and the bonus start health and regen looked good to me but eventually I found I wasn't utilising strength of spirit enough due to games ending before getting a chance to purchase any INT items like frozen heart or banshee's veil. If you intend to get these items earlier then yes strength of spirit is a great little boost to your tankiness but this is how I intend to use mao now.

  • Items

    At spawn, taking full advantage of your speed, hit the lanes with and 3. This should keep you in lane until you have enough gold to purchase a fully upgraded boots and hopefully if you have managed a kill(or first blood) you can start building your second item.

    UPDATED: After ALOT of games with Mao, I find a few games where the team fights became more poke and retreat, demanding more resource than I had on hand, adapting I would rush after boots. NOTE if fighting heavy AD teams but require this item try to get some armour into your build first, even if only components for your Guardian Angel.

    First return to base, upgrade your boots to . Many people will have a fit and tell me should be taken but I prefer the tabi for the dodge speed boost and find that with all my mobility and defence, I don't mind losing the slight resist offered or the passive. If you decide that you can't live without mercury's, take them instead.Updated: more often than not I have been forced to build heavier magic resist and favoured the mercury's treads in a good 70% of games. Following this I try to rush Guardians for the armour and additional magic resist... PLUS THE AWESOME UNIQUE!!!

    If you have managed a kill or two before your first return, you want to grab a to begin building your [item_icon=force of nature]. Having already increased your armour through the ninja tabi, time to start working on magic resist and further increasing your move speed. If you opted for the mercury's treads you may wish to start building your armour now, if fighting a balanced team of AP and AD damage dealers, is a great choice giving you a well rounded defences to all comers as well as a great unique that will have your enemies demoralised and fearing the undying tree.

    Next, if your still following my preferences on build order, either the guardian angel or begin . Great way to increase the threat you pose to enemy carries while smashing their faces in with twisted advance. The bonus health works well with the unique passive from your [item_icon=force of nature].

    If not already purchased, now get that , purchasing components in areas you need to increase defence, needing more resist, get first, etc until completed.

    About this time, my enemies are afraid of the ability to for the forest to come alive and attack them at any time. Further adding my own speed, as well as adding some much needed cooldown reduction with the bonus incentive of offering some utility(however small) to your team with its aura, get a starting with . UPDATE: I LOVE THIS ITEM!!! Having an additional speed boost(even this short) is very useful.

    Finally, unless more magic resist is needed, I prefer capping my cooldown reduction at 40% as well as its other useful stats. Fighting high attack speed opponents this is one of the BEST way to counter and aid your whole teams survival by reducing attack speed of enemy carries within aura range. When added to the 20% damage reduction on your ultimate and you become MVP by default. If a long enough game, and still having trouble with high attack speed teams, should finish your ability to survive and hamper enemy teams of attack speed stackers.

    NOTE!!! thornmail looks good on paper, but personally I prefer the utility that comes from Randuin's over thornmail. Additionally, once the enemies your trying to shut down with a thornmail reach 30% life steal, the entire item is nullified, becoming a wasted item slot with only 100 armour to offer.

    VS heavy auto attack champions, feel free to swap an item out for or facing a mass of casters, find room for a .

  • Skilling Order

    Focusing all priority on saplings(E), while secondly raising twisted advance and your ultimate where possible.

    Finally finish with arcane smash, making sure to pick up one rank at level 3, or 4 if not needed immediately.

  • Summoner Abilities

    Personal preferences for this build are and .

    Others appropriate choices in my opinion are for shutting down carries even harder, if this is chosen, try to put a point into the mastery improving its effects.

    Additionally, is always a favourite, especially when heavy lifesteal or healing is expected from the enemy team.

    Tested a number of games with exhaust(with mastery) and ignite and whilst I did end the game with a few more kills, constantly found myself wanting for more mobility when needed to rush to assist allies in need. Additionally the kill denying from ghost and flash prevent feeding as well as offering some strong synergy with twisted advance.

  • Working in the team

    with Mao's kit and all this builds mobility, expect to be intiating on unexpecting enemies where possible.

    Farming is a non-issue as your saplings level up.

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Submitted by VektorWithAK

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