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Maokai - Make the Other Team Leaf in Rage

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Alecksee

Senior Member

03-18-2011

Edited: 4/11/11

This guide is primarily designed around building a tank. Mao however is a very flexible champ in his build and can therefore 'branch' out into several different builds and isn't 'rooted' to just one play-style. One of the things I like best about Mao is that he isn't forced into stacking just MR or armor the way tanks like Malphite and Galio are.

The Build:

Things to consider in champion selection:

Although the build is based around a pure tank, Mao does have some short comings in the tank department. He lacks a good initiate like Malphite or Amumu. Mao does have his flash and stun spell, but you can find yourself in a world of hurt if your team is not ready for your initiate, that is you can be focused down before your team catches up to you. Malphite and Amumu have the ability to stun their whole team, and let your own team catch up. So why take Mao over Malphite or anotehr tank? Besides being way more fun to play, Mao offers some serious support during fights. He has a stun that can teleport him around in the middle of a team fight to get to their back lines and a knockback/slow. Both of which are on a low cooldown. Did I mention that he can reduce the damage your team takes by 20%? Bit of a step up from an Aegis if you ask me. Therefore you should consider picking Mao when you know your team won't be "exclusively" counting on you to initiate. Having a co-tank like Shen is helpful, or a DPS who is not afraid to initiate like Trynd. Or a support who can have your back once you get in there, like Sona or Zil.

Runes:
Marks: magic pen.
Seals: straight mana regen
Glyphs: straight mana
Quints: health

I am of the opinion that getting straight runes are better than scaling runes, but if you prefer to get scaling i'm sure they will be adequate.

Summoner Spells:
I like exhaust and teleport. Exhaust is great in team fights and teleport is always useful. If you prefer ghost/flash/ignite/cleanse/clairvoyance those would be good too, the rest are dumb.

Masteries:
May vary if you don't use exhaust/teleport.
2/7/21
Offense: Cripple, 1 rank Archmage's Savvy.

Defense: Resistance 3, Hardness 1, Strength of Spirit 3.

Utility: Standard caster build.

Skill Order:
E
W
E
Q
E
R
then R>E>W>Q

Starting Items:
Meki Pendant, 2 Health potions


Early Game:
With my mastery and rune build along with Meki Pendant, you should be able to spam your sapling toss every time it is off cooldown. Harass the enemy team constantly. Seems like a no brainer, but use it to scout bushes before you move through them. I generally save my twisted advance and arcane smash for kills or escapes. Using them to harass or kill creeps will drain your mana pool really quickly. Also always having them ready will many times save you and your lane partners life if their jungle comes to gank you.

First Trip to Buy:
Tear of the Goddess OR Chalice of Harmony, Blue potion, boots of speed, mercury treads. Get as much as you can in that order.


Chalice is a better early game but doesn't build into anything else. If a game goes late and you are item capped, you may really regret having gotten he chalice rather than the ToG since its too late to switch. I would recommend getting the chalice if you are in an initial starting lane against champs that do magic damage. If you are up against physical damage at the start then it would seem gratuitous to get chalice over ToG.

Many may question the intelligence of getting a blue potion early game. I however find it completely changes Maokai's early game. If Mao is going to get any kills doing a tank build, it will come in the first 20 minutes when his sapling toss still does a significant amount of damage, before all the enemies have some MR and health items. The boost to AP and CDR will greatly enhance Mao's threat in lane, and will in many cases get you a few kills and assists, more than paying back your investment.

I will continue to buy blue potions as my current one expires. I will get usually 2 or 3 total in the early game depending on how quickly they lose their effectiveness due to the enemy smartening up and getting MR. Usually a good rule of thumb is that when the laning phase is over, you should stop buying blue potions, and stop all together after 3 (until very late game of course).

Mid Game:

After the initial laning phase your Twisted advance is the most valuable asset to your team. Abuse it to get to enemy carry's in team fights then mess them up with your arcane smash. Don't drop your ult to early, make sure the enemy team is committed before you drop it.

Item Build:
After ToG/Chalice and mercs I always get Guardian Angel. After those three items I change my build based on the enemy team's composition as well as my team composition. Rather than write out every scenario I will list the primary items I use after ToG/Chalice, mercs, GA. In the order of importance I like:
1. Giant Belt
2. Banshee Veil
3. GB -> Sunfire Cape
4. Frozen Heart
5. Force of Nature
6. Archangels Staff (if you have ToG)
7. Abyssal Scepter

I find it is helpful to get extra health right after getting GA. So I will grab a Giant Belt next. I often times just leave the belt by itself and will go on to finish a BV before going back and turning the belt into a Sunfire Cape. Depends on the type of damage you are dealing with. IF they have enough physical though I will finish the SC before building BV.

Adjust your build based on the game. You obviously can't get all the items I listed but you should prioritize them based on my list or, If you are having trouble with physical, stack Armor, a problem with magic stack MR, if your team needs some extra damage then get Archangels staff earlier. If your team has several casters its a good idea to get the Abyssal Scepter early.

Late Game:
By the late game you should have a pretty large mana pool if you got a ToG (If you opted for the Chalice, then hopefully you have a BV and or Frozen Heart to help increase your mana pool) which will allow you to use your ult for more than just team fights. It is a very powerful deterrent which you can use to zone the enemy. There have been times when after losing a team fight I was able to hold off the last 2 or 3 of their champs from pushing over a turret because I dropped my ult in front of it and they were low enough on health that they feared walking into it. My large mana pool allowed me to keep it up long enough for my team to respawn. Generally I have found that the most difficult part of playing Mao is knowing how and when to use his ult. After practicing Mao for a while you will get a good feel for when and where to drop your ult, and when to detonate it for its damage. I generally play more conservative with it preferring to keep it up longer for the extra protection rather than blowing it early in hopes for a kill.

Late game the sapling toss is one of the best ways of breaking the enemy teams Banshee Veils. It is an AoE spell that gives you two chances to break the Veil, on the land and on the explosion. In the poking before a fight breaks out try and break as many BV's as possible with your saplings.

Another useful tip to consider is how you can use Mao's sapling and twisted advance as an escape. If you are being chased through a jungle, you can toss your sapling over a wall to reveal a neutral jungle creep. You will then have about a second between when the creep camp gets revealed and when the sapling detonates. During that time you can use your twisted advance to click on one of the neutral creeps and then flash through the wall. Just make sure you get close enough to the wall that you will be able to click on one of the creeps before the sapling detonates. Not as useful as some other champion's flash like abilities, but its better than nothing.


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RiotZALE

Associate Software Engineer

03-19-2011

This build was so good it leafed me barking for more


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Alecksee

Senior Member

04-05-2011

bump


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Yellow Jester

Senior Member

04-05-2011

-1 for pun


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Son Goku

Recruiter

04-05-2011

Your masteries are set to utility but you post this as a tank, im not saying its bad but its misleading and can go wrong. your build might work for your play style but most people play differently depending on the other team.

Your runes have nothing to do with being tanky and Clarity would fix the mana deficiency. I could see exhaust working and teleport, but being able to stay in the lane with Clarity is much more sufficient than teleporting back to base and back to laning. And if your confident enough that you can kill without the use of exhaust, Flash would benefit more to gain distance to be able to root the enemy if they're getting away.

I'd say RoA is better than AA, because of becoming more tanky, HP is necessary than extra mana, you won't be able to use up all your mana if you lose all your HP first.


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Alecksee

Senior Member

04-05-2011

Quote:
Son Goku:
Your masteries are set to utility but you post this as a tank, im not saying its bad but its misleading and can go wrong. your build might work for your play style but most people play differently depending on the other team.

Your runes have nothing to do with being tanky and Clarity would fix the mana deficiency. I could see exhaust working and teleport, but being able to stay in the lane with Clarity is much more sufficient than teleporting back to base and back to laning. And if your confident enough that you can kill without the use of exhaust, Flash would benefit more to gain distance to be able to root the enemy if they're getting away.

I'd say RoA is better than AA, because of becoming more tanky, HP is necessary than extra mana, you won't be able to use up all your mana if you lose all your HP first.


Good points. My logic in the 2/7/21 mastery build and my rune selection is to fix some of Maokai's early level problems. Mao suffers from serious mana issues, and the build is designed to address this so that you can harass constantly without going oom. It is true that clarity would be an alternative to this. In my build versus clarity, both give the same lane staying ability, but generally I feel clarity is a weak summoner ability to take. There are occasions where it may be a good idea, if say you have a premade and are laning with veigar or something.

As i alluded to in the build I reel that masteries and runes are best used for making your character as good as possible at level 1. The reasoning is that it will give you an advantage early game in allowing you to gain lane domination, and gain more xp/gold than your opponent. This advantage will let you build your tanking items faster, which i feel gives you more advantage than you would gain from say +15 armor from runes.

Also, early game you do not usually need to be tanky. Your sapling toss can keep your opponents at a distance, and Mao's passive can help keep your healh up.

As to RoA. I generally feel that RoA is a great item for casters to give them both AP and some survivability. If this build was designed as a caster Mao, I would probably recommend it first. I feel that there are better tanking items than RoA though. I do agree that RoA is better than AA, but I only recommend it because you already have ToG in the build. Generally I only ever get AA as my very last item in which case the game usually doesn't last that long.

There is the school of thought about dropping ToG all together though and getting some other mana fixing item, such as a chalice, and am welcome to any debate on that.


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IMSOJUICY

Senior Member

04-05-2011

i pine for more guides from this guy.


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Umie

Member

04-05-2011

i havent had success with mana/AP builds. i solo queue all the time, and when playing against any semi-organized team, i'd get ganked while pushing a lane or primaried in a team battle.

i tried building Mao as a pure tank and i noticed a huge difference right away. i could actually tank for my team and with 3k+ health in the late game i could last against other champs while mitigating with my ult. mana, AP and CDR i feel can be acquired later in the game.


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Son Goku

Recruiter

04-05-2011

Well first of all, i think you should fix your masteries, Maokai is already strong early game, but mid to late hes weak. He doesnt need to rely on summoner spells to survive, and Ardor and Tenacity in def tree is better off with the 4% AP boost and 5% dmg mitigation. The thing about being tanky early game is to be able to take enough dmg to get a few kills early and still live.

Chalice is a great item and should only be considered using if your up against a lot of AP users and end up tanking for the team. Since the mana regen is very nice, it helps when you start to build up mana items and tank items. But rest assured you wont be dealing tons of burst damage yet so farming will be slow.

Your Opinion about RoA isnt just for casters, it fits for other AP tanks like ChoGath, Amumu, Singed, etc. to increase their usefulness in damage as well as tanking. What I believe about your build is this is definitely solo queue Maokai, it just wouldnt work in a premade team.


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RayKoryu

Member

04-05-2011

+1 for your title~ xD


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