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Maokai/Strategy

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Champion Background Strategy Skins & Trivia


Skill usage

  • Sap Magic.png Sap Magic gives him a lot of staying power during the lane phase, especially if facing/laning with champions that spam skills like EvelynnSquare.png Evelynn, AkaliSquare.png Akali, CassiopeiaSquare.png Cassiopeia, or KarthusSquare.png Karthus.
    • Using your abilities at the start of a game to charge your passive grants you a small burst of health after taking damage in a level one skirmish.
  • Sap Magic.png Sap Magic will not trigger when attacking structures. If fighting under a tower, be sure to attack nearby minions if you need the heal.
    • Sap Magic.png Sap Magic does not trigger when you are at full health, so do not be afraid of last hitting minions at full health while this ability is up.
  • When used close enough Arcane Smash.png Arcane Smash causes a small knock-up in addition to the slow it provides, use this to interrupt channeled spells such as KatarinaSquare.png Katarina's Death Lotus.png Death Lotus or NunuSquare.png Nunu's Absolute Zero.png Absolute Zero.
  • Flash.png Flash and Twisted Advance.png Twisted Advance can make a surprise grab and provide an opportunity to open a team fight.
  • MaokaiSquare.png Maokai is a great initiator and has good tower diving/chasing capability thanks to Twisted Advance.png Twisted Advance. His Sapling Toss.png Sapling Toss is also able to chase retreating enemies past their towers and possibly kill them.
  • MaokaiSquare.png Maokai can farm using Sapling Toss.png Sapling Toss, as mid-game the sapling can kill 3-5 minions easily. The Sapling deals damage twice: once upon impact and another after a short delay. It can also be used to damage enemies in brush safely.
  • Use Sapling Toss.png Sapling Toss to harass enemies in the lane. Try to overshoot your target slightly, just enough to get the impact damage and allowing the enemy to dodge into the explosion.
    • Try to aim your saplings so there are no enemy minions nearby to trigger them, as they may choose to explode on them rather than the desired champion. You can also use it to zone out enemies by placing them behind the enemy minions, forcing the enemy to duck away from experience range or take damage.
    • Champions with Boots of Speed item.png Boots of Speed can outrun the sapling quite easily, making this form of lane-control mainly effective at the very start of a game.
    • Saplings won't detonate on stealthed enemies, but can hit them. This is very useful if the enemy tries to flee through both minions and stealth.
    • By using Sapling Toss.png Sapling Toss multiple times in a bush, stacking them on top of each other, you can catch unsuspecting enemies off guard resulting in a huge burst of damage if they walk into your saplings.
  • Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom is not a channeled spell, so MaokaiSquare.png Maokai is free to use other skills while supporting his teammates. Remember to deactivate right before all enemies leave the AoE, or else they will suffer no damage.
    • Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom is very useful when the battle ground is stationary, such as during a tower push or defense. Using it in the open will usually cause enemies to run out of it, wasting its potential unless you want them to go away. During a push, however, the designated fighting grounds remains around the tower, which forces the enemy team to fight on your terms.
    • Small skirmishes in the jungle or even the occasional team fight are good times to use Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom, as escape routes are few and the fighting ground is often crowded and fast paced.
    • The damage output from Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom is very powerful with some ability power. Using it in team fights to hit as many enemies as possible can turn the tide greatly in your teams favor.
    • Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom is good for small skirmishes in laning as well. If you aren't sure you can kill your enemy with the normal E-W-Q combo, throw down Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom to add that extra bit of damage you may need.
    • Use Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom while tanking minion waves to quickly kill minions and shut down the enemy's push.
    • Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom can be very useful for a kamikaze operation. A fully built MaokaiSquare.png Maokai can easily store up the 300 bonus damage when 1 v 4 thanks to Sap Magic.png Sap Magic. In addition to free hits while they try to kill you, the resulting nuke from Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom can often get an unexpected kill.
    • Place it over enemies and yourself should you expect the enemy to focus on you, reducing your damage taken while possibly let it cause more to enemies. Place it over allies if you expect enemies to aggressively attack them instead.
    • Enemies running from Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom isn't necessarily a problem, as long as you are damaging them while they flee from it. With Arcane Smash.png Arcane Smash, Twisted Advance.png Twisted Advance and even other allied crowd-control effects, the enemy fleeing Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom can allow your team to do a lot of damage upon them without receiving reprisal before they escape the circle.
  • Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom is a great counter against other champs' AoE ults. Activate Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom during a channel such as Absolute Zero.png Absolute Zero or Death Lotus.png Death Lotus to absorb some damage and later retaliate with some of your own.
  • MaokaiSquare.png Maokai's typical initiation is using Sapling Toss.png Sapling Toss, rooting them near the sapling with Twisted Advance.png Twisted Advance to ensure the sapling explodes on them, and finishing off with Arcane Smash.png Arcane Smash. Waiting until the root is just about to end before using his knock-up on Arcane Smash.png Arcane Smash increases disable time on them as well. If a team battle is about to start, use Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom after you jump in with your Twisted Advance.png Twisted Advance, positioning its location to net as many enemies and allies as possible.
  • MaokaiSquare.png Maokai's damage output early game is very high being able to bring a squishy enemy to about 1/3 of their health using a few well aimed Sapling Toss.png Sapling Tosses. When they get low enough use the above combo, you can easily get a kill.
  • MaokaiSquare.png Maokai can have a support role similar to GalioSquare.png Galio, being able to deal decent damage and still protect allies, or MalphiteSquare.png Malphite, being able to disrupt enemy positions and set-up kills for his allies while still remaining relatively tanky.
  • MaokaiSquare.png Maokai has great jungle potential and is one of the fastest clearing junglers with Sapling Toss.png Sapling Toss, Arcane Smash.png Arcane Smash and his passive Sap Magic.png Sap Magic.

Jungling

Build usage

  • MaokaiSquare.png Maokai suffers from naturally low MR and benefits greatly from cooldown reduction, so Spirit Visage item.png Spirit Visage is a perfect defensive item as it provides a nice amount of both along with synergizing well with Sap Magic.png Sap Magic.
  • Health items synergize well with Sap Magic.png Sap Magic and improve his sustainability.
  • Frozen Heart item.png Frozen Heart is an excellent item for MaokaiSquare.png Maokai, giving him armor for survivability, cooldown reduction to allow him to do more damage and control fights better with his abilities, mana to allow him to maintain Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom longer, and an excellent passive to reduce the damage of enemy autoattackers.
  • If using a Guardian Angel item.png Guardian Angel, it is possible to save your Sap Magic.png Sap Magic until after you have resurrected as the stacks stay with you through death. Doing this could save your life if a champion decides to wait around until you've revived.
  • MaokaiSquare.png Maokai, much like NautilusSquare.png Nautilus has rather high ability power ratios for a tank, making tanky ability power  items like Rylai's Crystal Scepter item.png Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Ohmwrecker item.png Ohmwrecker,Rod of Ages item.png Rod of Ages highly effective him, however, don't pick more than two of this as you might leave your tankyness behind.
    • Rylai's Crystal Scepter item.png Rylai's Crystal Scepter provides great synergy with Sapling Toss.png Sapling Toss, as it applies the slow with its first hit and then again after it chases down and explodes near an opponent. The health will also benefit his tanking.
    • Ohmwrecker item.png Ohmwrecker can be used to enable MaokaiSquare.png Maokai to tower dive more aggressively, and save himself significant damage in situations where he is dragged under tower by someone using an escape during Twisted Advance.png Twisted Advance.
    • If your team is already very tanky and are in the need of damage, you can actually build ability power similar to an actual mage. Keep in mind however that you still have to get very close to an opponent, and as such you should try to remain hard to kill.
  • Using a Sheen item.png Sheen or Iceborn Gauntlet item.png Iceborn Gauntlet can offer great results due to MaokaiSquare.png Maokai's high base attack damage and low cooldown on Arcane Smash.png Arcane Smash. Iceborn Gauntlet item.png Iceborn Gauntlet can be aggressive alternative to Frozen Heart item.png Frozen Heart as it provides almost the same stats.
  • Chalice of Harmony item.png Chalice of Harmony is very useful on MaokaiSquare.png Maokai as it provides valuable MR and greatly increases his mana regeneration to extend the duration of Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom.
    • It can be later upgraded into a Athene's Unholy Grail item.png Athene's Unholy Grail for increased MR and valuable ability power, as well as a lot of CDR

Recommended builds

Summoner's Rift
Starting Doran's Ring item Health Potion item2 Warding Totem item
Essential Ninja Tabi item Rod of Ages item Spirit Visage item
Offensive Iceborn Gauntlet item Sunfire Cape item Righteous Glory item
Defensive Randuin's Omen item Frozen Heart item Locket of the Iron Solari item
Consumables Health Potion item Mana Potion item Sight Ward item Elixir of Iron item
Summoner's Rift (Jungler)
Starting Hunter's Machete item Health Potion item Warding Totem item
Essential Boots of Mobility item Ranger's Trailblazer (Juggernaut) item Spirit Visage item
Offensive Iceborn Gauntlet item Sunfire Cape item Righteous Glory item
Defensive Randuin's Omen item Frozen Heart item Locket of the Iron Solari item
Consumables Health Potion item Mana Potion item Sight Ward item Elixir of Iron item
The Howling Abyss
Starting Boots of Speed item Nomad's Medallion item Faerie Charm item Health Potion item3
Essential Mercury's Treads item Chalice of Harmony item Glacial Shroud item
Offensive Iceborn Gauntlet item Athene's Unholy Grail item Sunfire Cape item Talisman of Ascension item
Defensive Frozen Heart item Spirit Visage item Randuin's Omen item Aegis of the Legion item
Consumables Health Potion item Mana Potion item
The Crystal Scar
Starting Prospector's Ring item Boots of Speed item Health Potion item2
Essential Mercury's Treads item Rod of Ages item Abyssal Scepter item
Offensive Iceborn Gauntlet item Wooglet's Witchcap item Void Staff item
Defensive Frozen Heart item Athene's Unholy Grail item Aegis of the Legion item
Consumables Health Potion item Mana Potion item
The Twisted Treeline
Starting Boots of Speed item Doran's Ring item
Essential Mercury's Treads item Rod of Ages item Abyssal Scepter item
Offensive Iceborn Gauntlet item Wooglet's Witchcap item Void Staff item
Defensive Frozen Heart item Athene's Unholy Grail item Aegis of the Legion item
Consumables Health Potion item Mana Potion item

Countering

  • Part of MaokaiSquare.png Maokai's ability to tank comes from him being able to consistently heal through Sap Magic.png Sap Magic. If you can spare it, try using Executioner's Calling item.png Executioner's Calling or another healing-reduction ability to minimize its effect.
  • When jungling, MaokaiSquare.png Maokai can reach level 2 and gank earlier than most junglers due to Sapling Toss.png Sapling Toss stacking and strong ganking at low levels with Twisted Advance.png Twisted Advance. Be aware of this and play accordingly.
  • MaokaiSquare.png Maokai's Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom will detonate for damage even if it ends due to death or mana loss; don't forget this when finishing him off at low health.
  • Avoid fighting in his Vengeful Maelstrom.png Vengeful Maelstrom, as the spell effect can turn the tide of a teamfight in MaokaiSquare.png Maokai's favor.
  • When facing a laning MaokaiSquare.png Maokai, the most reliable way to avoid Sapling Toss.png Sapling Toss is to stand near your minions, then run when he throws the sapling. This way, the minions draw aggro instead of you, allowing you to reliably get out of the explosion radius.
    • Avoid the bushes if possible. Not only is bush-hugging ineffective against MaokaiSquare.png Maokai's Sapling Toss.png Sapling Toss, it can actually make landing the explosion damage easier.

Champion spotlight

Maokai Champion Spotlight07:22

Maokai Champion Spotlight

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