All Guides Maokai Guides How to Tree, season 7
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Maokai Statistics for Altricad

Author's performance with Maokai compared to the ranked average.

Value
Average
Games Played
30
4
Win %
63
44
Kills
2.1
2.9
Assists
10.8
9.2
Deaths
4.9
5.1
KA:D Ratio
2.6
2.4
Gold Earned
9.2K
9.5K
Creep Score
83.3
128.9
Average
  • Author Champion Statistics
  • Guide Details

Summoner Spells Back to Top

Always take Tp and flash for summoner's rift ( which is what I'm basing this guide off of)


Nothing else fits maokai as having TP is immensely useful for both flanking/ getting back to lane.

New Runes Back to Top

Masteries Back to Top

you can go 0/12/18 it's really preference for if you're having trouble last-hitting ( savagery might help a bit)


However, ALWAYS take Grasp and go for 18 in the resolve tree

Courage of the colossus has been nerfed to near uselessness plus Grasp is still a reliable damage/ sustain source

What i mean by reliable is, that Courage can proc when you really don't want it to ( a.k.a when you catch out a lone support you get a shield proc that is better off when initiating)

Grasp gives you a consistent increase in your damage

The increased healing, CC reduction, and summoner spell cd reduction are all invaluable for a tank like Maokai as well

Abilities Back to Top

Q
W
E
Q
Q
R
Q
W
Q
W
R
W
W
E
E
R
E
E
Passive
Q
1
4
5
7
9
W
2
8
10
12
13
E
3
14
15
17
18
R
6
11
16

Max Q as it's your biggest waveclear plus the most mana-efficent ability


Then we Max W for the increased root duration

Yes, the ability seems like it's to scale for late game, but a 1 second -> 2 second root duration is huge, plus the cooldown goes down per level, allowing you to peel/ catch champions effectively

Take ulti whenever possible

Items Back to Top

Starting Items

    Standard start vs poke champions or if the enemy champion has poor health regen/sustain ( gnar, riven)
    Standard start aganist most lanes, the extra mana lets you harass more and the health is good too
    Aganist impossible lanes like Jayce/pantheon/illaoi that will keep poking you and threaten to kill you

Core Items

    Standard items, probably seen this everywhere.
    A little bit of a more drain tank build build that doesn't give up tank stats at the same time Catalyst here has the same price as a Bami's cinder on first buy but has MORE health, MANA and a very strong sustain passive. Enemies hitting you give you mana, casting spells give you health and your passive already gives health per spells cast.. Combined with Thornmail reflecting auto-attacks back on enemies this can be very strong aganist auto-attackers certain AD top-laners

Situational Items

    Only if they have 2 or more heavy AP damage dealers
    If you're going to keep split pushing vs an AD champion, this will give you mana. DO NOT BUY this if you already bought righteous glory.
    Teamfighting item
    Get this as a last item, gives a good amount of hybrid stats + 30% hp revive passive so you can play without fear of death
    Allows you to stick to targets better + messes with auto attackers and crit champions Get this over Deadman's plate unless you're really ahead
    Allows you to catch targets, good when ahead or if you just need some extra health/armor
    If you killed their enemy top a few times/ they're a weak tank that's not building MR/ snowballed hard then get this to steam roll harder But continue building tank after

Maokai is a tank and always 1 foremost


I've seen people play "Ap maokai!" "1-shot build"

Why 1 shot 1 person and die to 4 others when you can kill everyone by building tank? :p

Jokes aside, building tanky still let's you deal enough damage to ADCs, just not plain insta-kill them

Taking an ADC out of the fight by bursting half their hp is the same as killing them in a teamifight during mid-game ( as most ADCs at this time have not invested in life steal)

And if you built Ap, late game you won't be insta-killing them since you either get 1-shot before you get to them if you built bruiser to survive you won't do enough damage to kill them anyways

Building tank let's you get the most out of Maokai's kit

Matchups Back to Top

Click on a champion below to see the author's notes on that particular matchup.

  • Aatrox
    Easy
  • Camille
    Hard
  • Dr. Mundo
    Medium
  • Fiora
    Hard
  • Fizz
    Easy
  • Gangplank
    Easy
  • Graves
    Easy
  • Illaoi
    Hard
  • Jax
    Medium
  • Jayce
    Hard
  • Lissandra
    Easy
  • Malphite
    Easy
  • Nasus
    Hard
  • Pantheon
    Medium
  • Quinn
    Easy
  • Sion
    Medium
  • Swain
    Medium
  • Trundle
    Hard
  • Wukong
    Medium
  • Xin Zhao
    Medium

VS

Aatrox

Easy

This champion barely does anything


Too little damage, gets outscaled, can't build bruiser etc

But he's still a champion and if you underestimate him and feed him he's gonna carry

Standard tank build, I wish i could say more but nobody ever plays him ( and even accomplishes anything anyway )

VS

Camille

Hard

If she's in the game you made a mistake already


BAN BAN BAN!! IF NOT DODGE!!

unless it's ARAM in which case.. well anything can happen in that game mode

Camille is too strong, sustain, damage, lock-down potential, multiple gap-closers, TRUE DAMAGE and good sticking potential

Frankly this champion is dumb, and if she doesn't give you a hard time will give it to your adc/ team

VS

Dr. Mundo

Medium

Annoying matchup as he does hybrid damage


Counter this by building a 3211.png first and then completing 3068.png

Never ever be temped to kill a mundo post 6 as he can simply ult and bait you in

You do more than him later on in the game as mundo lacks a very core thing for a a tank
CC

CC > Damage later on in the game when a single pick onto a squishy can change the game

Not much to say as i haven't played this that many times

I do remember seeing snowballed mundos so avoid dying to him

Use 12.png if he harassed you  too much with his infectedcleavermissilecast.png   under tower

VS

Fiora

Hard

Impossible matchup at mid-> high elo ( mid elo being plat + )


I've looked at every possible high elo player to see how they play this but i haven't found a single case of maokai even doing remotely well in lane

If the fiora even knows what her champion does, she'll remove your usage of maokaiunstablegrowth.png in lane simply with her fioraw.png

She has everything that you hate the most

%hp true damage, sustain, burst and sticking potential with fiorar.png

You will completely require jungle assitance to kill her if she's good, and you have to end the game quickly after laning phase

Unlike 92.png39.png126.png122.png  a fiora that free farms top lane can become unstoppable in the same vein as a 24.png

Once she completes her 3 core items 3074.png3072.png3071.png  splitpushing vs her is the same as suicide

However, these items are expensive and take a good amount of time for her to finish

Use this to force teamfights and end the game. A 4-6 item fiora can easily 1 vs 2/ 1 vs 3 her opponents

VS

Fizz

Easy

Terrible top-laner since the rework


If he brings ignite, RESPECT his level 6 and back till you back

Just because you're Maokai doesn't mean you get 2 1033.png1033.png mantles automatically on you as the game starts

You're still a squishy (unless you went full mr rune page)

After you get3211.png he loses his all-in potential and you can win trades if he doesn't use his ult

After 3065.png this matchup is a cake-walk, and you can start building armor as fizz isn't as threating

VS

Gangplank

Easy

Gangplank is actually a matchup in which you can bully him HARD provided you play the early game right


Gangplank kinda beats you level 1 with his ignite passive + his Q allowing him to poke you down

To counter this, get a 1054.png that blocks some of the damage + giving you some regen

His barrels at level 2 do a decent amount of damage as well, so if you get poked down too much feel free to use tp to get back

Most gangplanks use 12.png to get back to lane  with a sheen 3057.png to poke more anyways

The key to this matchup is that Gangplank doesn't have enough DPS threat to Tanks

Gangplank does a lot of damage to squishies but even if his barrels have %armor pen, his basic damage abilites aren't as terrifying as other top-laners and he lacks the tankiness of most other top-laners

Once you get a1031.png jump on him when he wastes his barrels /uses his Q to farm. You win the trade surprisingly easily. 

Yes he can use his gangplankw.png but that doesn't mean he gets a shield. Maokai's maokaitrunkline.png does a good amount of damage plus a grasp proc will hurt him hard

Rinse and repeat because you have free sustain on your passive whenever spells are cast and his sustain gangplankw.png has a very high mana cost so he'll go oom quickly

Also, Gangplank is VERY susceptible to tower dives, so if you're in higher elos abuse this hard. Maokai can tank a decent amount of tower shots + reset aggro with his maokaiunstablegrowth.png

VS

Graves

Easy

Graves is a weird champion in that he can be incredibly strong early-game with his sustain from warlord's healing him for every trade, but he's EXTREMELY weak mid-game when he has only a 3812.png vs your 3068.png


He's a bit of a bully in that he shoves you under tower making it difficult to farm, but unlike 126.png or 80.png his short range means he can't poke you as effectively and he's susceptible to ganks

Compared to most other "carry champions" Graves isn't effective even in split push until he has about 4-5 items at which point champions like 114.png or 24.png still out-perform him in that regard

He's a good jungler no doubt but a mediocre top-laner

In teamfights, you can easily stand in front of him to block his auto attacks from hitting your squishies 

You can even engage onto him at any points should he get close to auto anyone

BUT BE WARNED. A snowballed graves is still a nightmare as he reaches that "carry-state" quickly, so if you're not sure don't take trades till your 2 main components 3751.png1031.png

VS

Illaoi

Hard

Go type in google Kfo Maokai vs Quas Illaoi LCS for reference on how much you're going to get smashed in lane


This matchup is stupidly hard + difficult to survive vs

She has sustain, extremely high damage and poke potential

It doesn't matter how much armor you build in lane, a Level 6 illaoi can completely 100-0 you if she manages to pull your illaoie.png and she spawns 3 tentacles illaoir.png

The only way this matchup will work out for you is if your jungler camps her when she shoves you in

Illaoi players like to shove in their enemies and then pull their illaoie.png when the enemy laner tries to farm under tower

Then you're fighting her in her minion wave and you take more damage + hard to dodge her spirit pull

Thankfully as the game goes on, you can start to survive her damage if you build enough armor

at 300+ armor you can face tank her full ult easily even if she has a 3071.png

VS

Jax

Medium
24.png is kinda like 114.pngin that eventually he can just ignore you even under tower as your pitiful damage is more of a nuisance to him and out-right kill you should you interfere

But unlike fiora his laning phase is mediocre pre-6, and strong post 6 and VERY strong after he completes his 3078.png

But as the game goes on, Jax's damage vs tanks falls off and is one of the good points in that you can peel him and survive his damage easily as he doesn't have either %hp damage or penetration

Post 6
His hybrid damage with jaxrelentlessassault.png and jaxempowertwo.png lead me to say that if he starts a trade, just maokaitrunkline.pngmaokaisapling2.png and back off. 

If he takes these aggressive trades, then he's asking to be ganked

However, know your limits!

If the Jax falls behind/ died a few times to ganks and you're ahead be bold and take trades! You'll come out ahead as a jax that's behind is USELESS

He also can't harass you under tower/ can't roam effectively so if you're losing trades just farm under tower and try to be more useful in teamfights

VS

Jayce

Hard

Absolutely painful matchup


He has high burst + dps in the early game so you HAVE to play safe

Assuming the jayce isn't bad and he bought ignite, you can die easily if you eat too many shock blasts

He's basically a combination of riven + pantheon in that he can snowbally incredibly easily but he can also poke down as easily

He falls off at mid-game when he's not itemized life steal+armor pen yet and that's your only time when you can out-trade him. Once he's gotten lifesteal OR he has Fervor of Battle, you can't beat him

The only good point about Jayce is that he's not as effective as Riven/wukong in instantly killing your adcs

He needs to BOTH land his Shock-blast + acceleration gate + his jaycetotheskies.pngjaycethunderingblow.png to 100-0 ADCs.

At no point in game can he simply kill and adc with ONLY jaycetotheskies.pngjaycethunderingblow.png so if you can't block the shot for your adc, keep him away from them at least.

You can somewhat counter his split-push as he's not as effective as a 114.png or 24.png in that he can kill you under tower as he lacks the necessary steroids to do so

Just play the laning phase as vs a 80.png and call your jungler over

Jayce naturally shoves the wave ( and most players will) in order to poke you under tower

VS

Lissandra

Easy

Lissandra is a very strong burst mage


BUT! She's a terrible tank-killer and always will be

Her early game harass can be annoying, and if you have to give up cs, then do so

But once you get 3211.png lissandra can barely do anything to you

She's mana dependent, and so she has to either conserve her mana or build a mana item3027.png

She can't harass you as often without her passive either as her main damaging spell costs 80 mana

And her casting spells lets you easily heal off with your passive

Once you get a 3211.png feel free to jump her. Lissandra is incredibly squishy compared to other Ap tops like 8.png or 68.png and you'll easily win trades vs her

Her gank-set up is VERY VERY strong so avoid getting baited/ shoving the wave ( she'll shove you in most of the time as long as you don't spam maokaitrunkline.png 24/7 )

And call MIA! Her roams are very good

Later on in the game, you can 1 vs 1 her and come out with full health. Lissandra is absolutely terrible against mr stackers

VS

Malphite

Easy

Cake-walk


He builds Armor to be effective and does magic damage

You function easily with Mr

Work it out

Just keep trades short with a maokaitrunkline.pngmaokaisapling2.pngmaokaiunstablegrowth.png and back off each time

Auto-attack trading wise, he'll come out ahead with his obduracy.pnglandslide.png combo in which his auto's do quite a bit of physical damage + your attack speed is slowed 

He also has terrible sustain, don't let him proc his shield ( remember 10 seconds of not-taking damage)

In teamfights, peel him off your adc ( even after he's ulted) and act as a meat shield of sorts so that people don't line up their skillshots on a knocked-up adc

If he goes 3512.png go 3512.png as well to match him AND CALL MIA.

Very important

VS

Nasus

Hard

Hard because there's not much you can do to threaten him in lane


The biggest enemy for you here is time tbh

 you can't afford to dog-sit him 24/7 in top-lane and eventually comes a point where he ignores you and face tanks your damage and attacks the tower in a split push

Can't even hope to cheese him by building full AP as he can easily build mr items vs you and his damage doesn't rely on items

Try to force teamfights with your team, even if you can't solo kill him in lane over and over you can still do a decent amount of damage so that he can't plain outright ignore you

VS

Pantheon

Medium

Medium because there's a chance you can get impatient and die to him early, turning this into a nightmare lane


However, patience is the key here

And passive gold generation
.
.
.

yes, I'm serious as long as you are in xp range and you've both hit Level 11 without dying

Maokai has won

Pantheon has high base damage and his scalings seem high but they're not

A lot of an AD champions damage comes also from auto attack steroids/ Total AD

Pantheon on the other hand is Bonus AD, which makes him strong early game and weak late game

As you approach 200 armor his damage becomes a mere nuisance to you even if he gets 3071.png

The key here is to take whatever CS you can and to MAKE SURE TO ABSORB EXP

The key reason people can't come back when they die is that they fall behind in levels

Start 1029.png 4x 2003.png if you're in experienced

And remember to stay above 60% hp if he has ignite

Rush 3068.png and 3047.png

VS

Quinn

Easy

Hilariously easy


She's a worse 80.png in terms of bullying and only slightly better at roaming

Quinn is more of a lane bully to squishies that cannot itemize tank items as she can bully them with her base AD + crit build

She transitions into an assassin late game and historically Assassins always lose to tanks

With this said, she can easily catch many people off guard because very few players play quinn

Start 1054.png get whatever CS you can etc etc

If you're really new to maokai  start 1029.png 4x 2003.png and let her shove the wave to you

Feel free to Tp back to lane as a quinn TP to botlane barely achieves anything as she lacks good CC

Same rules as Pantheon apply, except you can start to kill her once you complete 3068.png

Remember, it's ADC in 2017 LUL

Even if quinn is a lane bully she's still a squishy ADC in the end

Her quinne.png is pretty good aganist most melees that want to engage vs her, but Maokai's maokaiunstablegrowth.png prevents her from using her Vault when she's snared ( movement abilities cannot be cast when snared) 

Hence, whenever you jump her you'll always be able to get 1 auto + your maokaitrunkline.png ALWAYS

and if you build armor you win the trade each time with base damages

Once you get 3143.png + 3110.png her teamfight / 1 vs 1 potential aganist you is reduced drastically

VS

Sion

Medium

Surprisingly a difficult matchup and one that i still haven't figured out how to play vs


Sion's sionq.png has a deceptively high base + AD scaling and he is easily able to build 3071.png vs champions that have low kill threat such as 57.png

2 axes help you cut trees better
Bonus points if he has Lumberjack Sion

Anyways, don't fall for his Brush+sionq.png. When he's in brush you can't see the range indicator

Avoid maokaiunstablegrowth.png onto him as tempting as it maybe since he can slow you downsione.png point blank and land a full charged sionq.png

The matchup gets better if you both build standard tank items but most sions either get 3071.png making your life miserable or rushing 3512.png making your life even more miserable

Counter his  3512.png with your own, as you don't have enough turret killing power to take it down quickly

If he leaves lane, either follow him or spam missing so that you laners can prepare

A sion ult to a different lane is a very good gank tool and can easily snowball his laners

In teamfights, PLZ block his sionr.png instead of dodging to the side. Your solo queue teammates can be incredibly bad at dodging sometimes in teamfights so it's better to intercept and be safe than sorry 

VS

Swain

Medium

Can be very hard to deal with if he snowballs, and can be hard to gauge his damage as not a lot of people play swain


However, think of him as a 127.png except more damage and more survivability

Truth be told he out-damages you and out-heals you, however the mana cost on his swainmetamorphism.png is atrocious as time goes on

Here's how to play it

Early game : Play it safe mostly
Pre-6 if you see him waste his swainshadowgrasp.png or swaindecrepify.png you can look to do a trade with him 
As those 2 are his cc/damage abilities

Post 6 - be cautious and avoid maokaiunstablegrowth.png onto him unless it's a gank ( even then be cautious as swain is another 1 vs 2 champion with his healing )

After you get your component items 3211.png3067.png  you can do an ALL-In, IF you go at him with full Hp, since if he turns on his ult swainmetamorphism.png  long enough he'll run out of mana and then you can either kill him/ force him out of lane

Yes, your ult maokaidrain3.png costs mana per second as well, but his swainmetamorphism.png is multiplicative and grows every second

If you wanna play it safe, you can still do so and a 3065.png lets you ignore his damage

PLZ, BEG YOUR ADC TO BUY GRIEVOUS WOUNDS 3123.png
Srsly, a single auto procs the passive lasts for 3 seconds! And that's a long time in a teamfight during which he's not a tank anymore and is quite squishy

VS

Trundle

Hard

Stupid Early game damage, Stupid mid-game damage and Stupid armor/mr shred late game


This champion is my main, but sometimes I remember that he's the reason i don't play Maokai as much

His early levels are INCREDIBLY hard as he doesn't need gap closers, when you're sitting there with an ice pillar up your trundlecircle.png spot keeping you there

His trundletrollsmash.png is nothing to laugh about and easily lets him chunk you

All this is fine, until his trundlepain.png.

The very bane of a tank's existence this ult may seem weak on paper, but there are plenty of highlight videos that you can find that'd leave your jaw hanging

Fights that you seem to be winning suddenly, he starts healing out of nowhere and you do no damage to him

DO NOT attempt to trade with him. Not even a simple maokaisapling2.png toss as he'll just heal it back up if he went 1053.png as most trundle's do

Save your maokaitrunkline.png and don't be tempted to use it for harass as you'll need it to knock him back a bit and slow him

Mid-game, if he's completed 3074.png he'll smash you if he gets a good trundlecircle.png with his trundlepain.png


Teamfights, he can be as much of a nuisance as you since he can easily steal your stats

His split-pushing late game is not as good as a 114.png or 24.png but his ult lets him remain relevant in mid-> end game teamfights and keep you irrelevant for the duration of it

His damage should fall off as the game goes on as most trundles do not itemize many damage items for split-pushing

If he goes 3022.png3153.png3071.png and has a red-buff however, you might wanna start moving back to your tower a bit... just a tiny bit.... ( jk run for your life )

Important thing to remember! Don't get baited by his low health if he hasn't used his ult trundlepain.png yet

Avoid trades as he can heal with his passive and does not utilize many spells in lane so you can't heal as much with yours

Honestly, i would not pick Maokai into this matchup unless you have NO OTHER CHOICE

VS

Wukong

Medium

Can cheese you HARD because few people know the actual damage output of a wukong in the laning phase


With that said, his damage if he doesn't get kills is pretty bad

Play AS safe as you would vs pantheon and you'll find you can win trades once you get 3068.png or at least a 3751.png+1031.png

However, in teamfights, keep an eye on him as he can still jump on your adc and assassinate him if he went full damage  3142.png3071.png3074.png

Make sure to not stray too far from your ADC as wukong knows you can peel him off well

If he went bruiser's he's useless, and if he goes tank, he's either dumb or new

VS

Xin Zhao

Medium

Extremely cheesy lane. Xin Zhao top is pure plain cheese that depends on him hitting level 2/3 first and then full comboing enemies to death


Xin Zhao quite plainly is impossible to 1 vs 1 for a tank and you can't ever hope to kill even with sunfire as his inbuilt sustain+armor reduction+crit steroid makes him come out on top each time.

However, he's a very easy gank target and unlike illaoi lacks the insane 1 vs 2 damage potential.

Sit, really far back in lane and let him shove you in. Unlike pantheon he lacks the poke potential to harass you under tower and lacks roam potential

Teamfights, PEEEEEL. Unlike Camilee/riven Xin's engage pattern is very obvious so keeping him off your adc is incredibly easy & important

About me Back to Top

Hi! I'm Altricad! A top-lane only player that loves tanks!


I've always been frustrated with the lack of detailed guides on how to play tanks and I've seen people play tanks incorrectly as well!

While it is true that a maokai can't make a "1vs 5 RIVEN PENTAKILL!" play, a snowballed maokai is definitely the "Unkillable tree" that you see people complain about in other videos

And tanks win games too! The mentality of most solo queue players is to carry (even with their... insufficient champion/mechanical skill in 99% of the cases) so a tank can always help cover their weaknesses by setting up kills/ peeling for them when they get caught/ and absorbing damage in case they fail to juke something

That might sound boring, but that's incredibly rewarding in it's own way!

Who doesn't like a shen that saves you with his clutch ults??!

Anyways, thanks for clicking on my guide! This is my first guide and would appreciate feedback

I haven't had any time to play league due to personal problems, but I'd like to impart something to aspiring/fellow tank players out there as there's few guides from players that only main tanks

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