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Champion Guide: Maokai, The Twisted Tank

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Lady Hatter

Senior Member


Disclaimer- I am not the know it all god of Maokai so lets get that clear, this build is for those who wish to main tank with him, and use him in ranked play when the usual tanks are perma banned. Maokai in my "opinion" is actually a top tier tank if played correctly, and as such I wish to share the build I use and encourage my lovely tree in gameplay.

Pros/Cons- Pro- Great intiatior/ gap closer with TA
Alsmost unharssable due to passive
Great map control with saplings
Can inturupt several targets with a well placed smash
Game changeing ultimate
Refuses to Die

Cons- Mana ***** all game (Note clarity)
Not a "Pick up and go tank" recquires practise
Recquires practise to assure proper CC
Item dependent
Ultimate can be avoided if nto played well

Masterys- 0/21/9
Defensive- Takeing Strength of Spirit, Defensive mastery and Hard skin
Skip Ardor, its not very useful on tank maokai
Utility- Grab all mana bonus talents, makeing sure to grab improved ghost and
clarity as discussed later

Summoner Spells- Clarity and Ghost

Runes- Health Quint, magic resist Mark, armor seal, mana or magic resist blue.
Items- (Understand this will vary per game)

Regrowth pendent- Philosiphers- Miracle (This will in essence fix your general mana problems)
boots- lucidity (Tenacity is gained from miracles, and shorter CD increases rate off CC u can pump out
If the other team is balanced then grab Aegis
If almost entirely AP then FoN
If AD then highly either Rand, a Thorn or a Frozen Heart depending if auto or phys burst.
Now depending if a certain player on their team is dominateing grab more resistance
Warmogs should be used to top off your health pool for bigger passive heals
Game should be over (If not build more resistance or Health, your choice)

Spell Order-

1 level into sapling early for a bit of harass but will turn quickly into wards
then follow the gudie of Ultimate>twisted advance>arcane smash>sapling
And this is why

Passive- This is (in my opinion) one of your key tanking abilities, every abilitiy cast NEAR maokai gains a stack, and after 4 stacks your next auto attack will heal u for 7% of your health. in lane it will keep u alive, and in a fight this will be keeping u in the middle for FAR longer. remember your own spells will also proc this.

Arcane Smash- Maokai's hardest abilities to use in my opinion but your spamable CC, fires a skill shot projectile that slows the targets, however knocks up targets in a SMALL aoe around you. With its low mana cost you will be spamming this early game in lane to generate stacks of your passive to heal (dosent need to hit a target to generate a stack) Use this in conjunction with Twisted advance to run into a group and disrupt everything possible, however focusing on a carry is generally a good idea.

Twisted Advance- Maokai disperse's into green dust and quikly moves to the target and roots them in place, this alows u to initiate a fight and bipase their tanks and target carrys. Just remember, that once cast u can't stop, and if the enemy say flashes to their turret... you will follow!

Sapling Toss- Least important tank Maokai ability, use it at level 1 for harass, but after that its in essence a scouting and warding tool, or used to clear minion waves and generate stacks.

Vengeful Maelstrom- Maokai places a LARGE stationary aoe that reduces ALL damage to allys within the premises by 20% (doesn't dampen tower damage) And can be released to do damage (not extremely important for tank maokai but can be used to clean up a group or nuke a minion wave) Now, good placement of your ulti will determine if you are a good tank, or u fail. This can be used as a trump card, to freak the opponents out your not useing, and prevent full on engagement. Can be used as a wall, or barricade, as enemy players have some strange fear of your circle of death, and will run around to avoid. The last and most useful way to use it, is to disable the intial round of burst from enemys, and to in essence, give most of your team 20% more health. Placements can be dones by Twisting, smashing, then ulting as they run away screaming and your team ganks the unlucky target. Placeing slightly in your, and the enemys group can result in panic in their ranks, as they try to escape the aoe. Also can be used as protection against dots, or karthus requim, your ult will save peopels lives. (Clarity will help prevent untimely cancelation of your ult.)

Tips- Use your Q to gather stacks before harassing, or going to last hit, as it will negate the enemys poke.
- The knock back can be used to put enemys "slightly" closer to your team... can be useful
-Your ult has a form of fear factor, use this to your advantage
- Twisted advance can be used over walls, use it to save people!
-Your usual combo of w-q-r-q-q-q-w can be used to either disable a single target, or spread out over many enemys
- try to get several people with your knock back, or knock away from your players
- saplings are great wards, use them often
-Early game your not the most tanky champion, however with runes and masterys this can be changed.
- Spam champions are your best friend! They will make you unharassable with your passive

This is just the rough draft but I hope you enjoy the tips and builds I use on one of my favorite champions
English is my second language so be nice about grammar and spelling

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Thank you for your guide!
I also like this champion, however I prefer levelling Sapling first, because it is a great harassment tool. It is so funny to see enemy champions waisting their time running around trying to avoid the sapling explosion! Which they mostly fail anyways. This skill is annoying as hell, especially for squishy ranged champions, who are otherwise difficult to harass.

As for early items I like Doran's Ring -> Road of Ages (makes me tankier, helps with early mana problems and adds more hurt to my abilities). I also drink lot's of blue potions. =)

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Senior Member


Love me some Miracle. Well done.

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Lady Hatter

Senior Member


Ty for the encouragement, as it is my first guide ever and is jsut a rouch draft im pleased with the views... more comment swould be lovely mind u ;3
Lorifel- Leveling saplings is mildly redundent on Tank maokai, sure u can do a bit more harass, but your main tanking abilities will be behind... leave your dps to do the damage, you want as much duration on the your root, and low CD on your smash.. its your main for of CC and u will need it
However its all preference. But leveling your saplings is likely to make u an off tank or support... not a beastly main tank.