League of Legends - Maokai Champion Strategy and Item Build Guide

This page contains a champion character strategy guide for Maokai, including stats, skills and abilities, runes and masteries, and playstyles.


Champions list
Tanks Fighters Slayers
Mages Controllers Marksmen


Maokai banner

Basic Information

Maokai – the Twisted Treant
Class Tank Role Vanguard
Secondary Bar Mana IP / RP 4800 / 880

Champion Stats

Lv1 Per Lv Lv18
Health 565 +95 2180
Health Regen 5 +0.75 17.8
Mana 377 +43 1108
Mana Regen 7.21 +0.45 14.9
Attack Damage 63.5 +3.3 120
Armor 30 +4 98
Attack Speed 0.694 +2.125% +36.1%
Magic Resist 32 +1.25 53.3
Movement Speed 335
Melee 125


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Icon Description
Sap Magic

Sap Magic

Sap Magic
(Static Cooldown: 30/25/20)INNATE: Each time a spell is cast near Maokai he draws energy from it, gaining a charge of Magical Sap. When Maokai has 5 charges his next basic attack heals him for a percentage of his max Health.
Bramble Smash


Bramble Smash
(Target Range: 600, Effect Radius: 300, Cost: 50 Mana, Cooldown: 8/7.25/6.5/5.75/5, Magic Damage: 70/115/160/205/250(+ 40% AP)
ACTIVE: After a 0.35-seconds delay, Maokai releases an arcane shockwave that travels forth in a line, dealing magic damage to all enemies it passes through and slowing them by 99% for 0.25 seconds. Enemies near Maokai are also knocked back up to 300 units based on their proximity to him.
Twisted Advance Twisted Advance
(Target Range: 525, Cost: 60/65/70/75/80 Mana, Cooldown: 13/12/11/10/9)ACTIVE: Maokai transforms into a cloud of arcane energy that quickly travels to a target enemy, roots it for 1/1.25/1.5/1.75/2 second(s) and deals 9/10/11/12/13 (+3% Ability Power)% of the target’s maximum health as magic damage (Max: 300 to minions and monsters).
Sapling Toss Sapling Toss
(Target Range: 1100, Effect Radius: 175/350, Tether Radius: 250, Speed: 400-460, Cost: 60/65/70/75/80 Mana, Cooldown: 11)ACTIVE: Maokai flings a sapling that deals 40/60/80/100/120 (+40% Ability Power) magic damage on impact.The sapling wards the nearby area, and will chase enemies that approach, exploding to deal 80/120/160/200/240 (+60% Ability Power) magic damage and slow enemies hit by 50% for 1 second(s). Saplings last for 40/45/50/55/60 seconds.
Nature's Grasp Nature’s Grasp
(Target Range: 3000, Cost: 100 Mana, Cooldown: 120/100/80, Magic Damage: 150/225/300 (+75% AP)
ACTIVE: Maokai summons a colossal wall of 5 thorny brambles that slowly advances forward, each stopping at the first enemy champion they collide with.Each thorny bramble deals magic damage and roots for 0.6 – 2.4 (based on distance traveled) seconds.


  • (Q) Bramble Smash is a good skirmishing skill against your enemy lane. You can also use this to farm creeps.
  • You can root an enemy laner with (W) Twisted Advance. Use this skill when your jungler or Mid Laner decides to gank your lane.
  • Maokai’s (Q) Bramble Smash + (W) Twisted Advance combo deals good damage and crowd control against single targets.
  • Be careful when you cast (W) Twisted Advance on enemy champions near turrets – once you cast it, they can still move towards their turrets or teammates while you’re still in the air.
  • (E) Sapling Toss deals more damage when you place them within the brush. You can plant saplings on brushes and lure your enemy laner into them to maximize your damage.
  • You can use (E) Sapling Toss on vital choke points to act as wards that explode when an enemy champion decides to gank your lane. They can also be used as wards that Maokai can cast to provide vision on objectives such as Dragon, Rift Herald and Baron Nashor.
  • (R) Nature’s Grasp can cover an entire lane, but it is slow to blanket and root enemies. It is best to cast this before you begin your initiates in order to snare multiple enemy champions.

Runes & Masteries


Summoner Spells

Top Lane Jungle
Flash Icon Teleport icon Flash Icon Smite icon
Flash Teleport Flash Smite

Item builds

Top Lane

Starter Items

Starter Items
Corrupting Potion Icon Warding totem icon
Corrupting Potion Warding Totem

Corrupting Potion – This item gives Maokai some skirmishing power during the early laning phase. Since Maokai is innately tanky, you can opt to buy Corrupting Potion and go one-on-one with your enemy laner. Just remember to use this once you engage. Take note, though, that this starting item is for offensive-minded players.

Core Items
Gargoyle Stoneplate Icom Righteous Glory Icon Spirit visage icon
Gargoyle Stoneplate Righteous Glory Spirit Visage

Gargoyle Stoneplate – This item further bolsters Maokai’s innate tankiness. Activating this item during clashes gives Maokai tremendous tanking power in the form of bonus health on top armor and magic resistance.

Righteous Glory – Righteous Glory is a great core item for heavy-initiation champions. It gives him bonus armor, health and cooldown reduction. Its active also gives him another initiating skill to start team fights. Coupled with (R) Nature’s Grasp, you’re sure to ensnare  at least one or two enemies.

Spirit Visage – This item gives the wielder boosted healing with his Sap Magic (passive). During team fights, Maokai can leech off your other team’s skills to proc Sap Magic (passive), then he can auto attack an opponent to heal a good portion of his health.

Core Items
Righteous Glory Icon Gargoyle Stoneplate Icom Adaptive Helm Icon
Righteous Glory Gargoyle Stoneplate Adaptive Helm
Ninja tabi icon Spirit visage icon Randuins omen icon
Ninja Tabi Spirit Visage Randuin’ Omen

Adaptive Helm – This item is often purchased to counter enemy compositions that rely on heavy Ability Power damage. Adaptive Helm bolsters Maokai’s ability to tank damage; it is especially strong when you have Spirit Visage.

Randuin’s Omen – Another initiating item, Maokai can use this item to slow down enemies who are trying to flee from his initial Righteous Glory + (R) Nature’s Grasp + (W) Twisted Advance combo. Randuin’s Omen gives decent bonus armor and health, making Maokai harder to kill.

Situational Items
Frozen Heart Icon Mercurys treads icon Dead mans plate icon
Frozen Heart Mercury Treads Dead Man’s Plate
Thornmail icon Rod of ages icon
Rod of Ages Rod of Ages

Frozen Heart – This item is usually bought to help mitigate enemy champions who rely on auto attacks to deal damage. Frozen Heart gives bonus mana, cooldown reduction, armor, and an aura that slows down enemies’ attack speed.

Mercury Treads – If the enemy team has heavy crowd control skills, Mercury Treads is a good boots upgrade. It mitigates the duration of such disables, allowing Maokai to still engage and disrupt enemies during clashes.

Dead Man’s Plate – This item gives him even more sticking power and tankiness. Dead Man’s Plate gives good bonus armor and health stats, as well as an on-hit buff that slows enemies whenever you have full momentum stacks and hit them with an auto attack.

Thornmail -For enemy teams that rely on physical damage, getting Thornmail is a good defensive option. It has good armor and health stats, and the passive skill that reflects auto attacks back to enemies, while also inflicting Grievous Wounds.

Rod of Ages – For those who want Maokai’s skills to deal a bit more damage while being tanky, Rod of Ages is a viable option. It gives bonus heatlh, mana and ability power with each stack it has, up to 10. If you feel that your game might take a bit longer than usual to finish, and your team needs more AP damage, you might want to think about buying this item.



Starter Items
Hunters talisman icon Refillable potion icon Warding totem icon
Hunter’s Talisman Refillable Potion Warding Totem


Core Items
Righteous Glory Icon Locket of the iron solari icon Stalker Blade - Cinderhulk icon
Righteous Glory Locket of the Iron Solari Stalker’s Blade: Cinderhulk Enchantment


Full Item Build
Stalker Blade - Cinderhulk icon Ninja tabi icon Righteous Glory Icon
Stalker’s Blade: Cinderhulk Enchantment Ninja Tabi Righteous Glory
Locket of the iron solari icon Dead mans plate icon Spirit visage icon
Locket of the Iron Solari Dead Man’s Plate Spirit Visage

Stalker’s Blade: Cinderhulk Enchantment – A standard jungler item for tanks, the Cinderhulk Enchantment gives bonus health and a damaging aura. These help Maokai tank and deal damage whenever he ganks or starts team fights.

 Locket of the Iron Solari – Locket of the Iron Solari is a great support item for Maokai, as it bolsters his team’s defenses during clashes. The item’s shield scales with its user’s health, so it is best to get items that boost Maokai’s health to make him tankier and his shield stronger.

Situational Items
Mercurys treads icon Randuins omen icon Zeke's Convergence Icon
Mercury Treads Randuin’s Omen Zeke’s Convergence
Frozen Heart Icon
Frozen Heart

Zeke’s Convergence – This item is a good alternative to Locket of the Iron Solari. It gives bonus armor and magic resistance, and gives Maokai yet another soft crowd control skill that slows enemies and amplify your teammates who auto attack enemies who are caught inside Zeke’s Convergence’s cloud.

Playing Against


  • (Q) Bramble Smash can cancel channeling skills.
  • Avoid being too close to the brush, as he might have planted saplings that will damage you.
  • Saplings are slow once they charge at enemies. You can outrun them if you have Boots of Speed.
  • Move away from the lane when you see him casts (R) Nature’s Grasp, as it can root your whole team. Conversely, if he manages to cast (R) Nature’s Grasp in a team fight, you can stand still in a line that hits the first allied champion to lessen the chances of you being rooted.

Top Lane

  • Maokai is squishy during the early game. It is a good option to gank his lane to prevent him from farming his items earlier.
  • Be wary when he starts to become aggressive in-lane – it could mean that his team’s jungler is about to gank your lane.
  • Maokai’s skills require a lot of mana to cast – force him to use his skills by engaging in small skirmishes, but do not go all-in.
  • (W) Twisted Advance can be used to your advantage – if Maokai uses this skill where you’re near an ally or turret, you can Flash towards your teammate or turret. He will follow you there and will be vulnerable to punishment.


  • Maokai is reliant on getting Crest of Insight. You can disrupt his jungle path by stealing his Blue Sentinel or harassing him when he’s attacking it, forcing him to disengage.
  • Ward your choke points and riverside brush to prevent him from getting surprise ganks on your lane.

Hard Counters

Top Lane

  • Nasus – Nasus can push lanes easier thanks to Spirit Fire. He is usually passive in the lane, often last hitting enemies to increase Siphoning Strike‘s damage, but when he decides to duel, he often leaves his lane opponents hurting.
  • Pantheon – Pantheon is all about offense. He can harass Maokai with Spear Shot from afar, and when Maokai decides to get some last hits, he can Stun him with Aegis of Zeonia, then follow up with Heartseeker Strike and another Spear Shot.
  • Swain – Swain can zone out Maokai thanks to Decrepify and Nevermove. If he manages to snare Maokai with Nevermove, he can out-sustain him with Torment and Ravenous Flock.


  • Shyvana – Shyvana has a fast jungle clear speed, and can often swoop in and counter jungle to either steal enemy creep camps or outright kill Maokai. Once she does and succeeds in either option, it’ll be a bit hard for Maokai to adjust and keep up.
  • Dr. Mundo – Dr. Mundo is an extremely tanky champion who can take and dish out punishment. He can snipe down low-health creep camp minions with Infected Cleaver, and throw down with with his enemies thanks to Masochism and and Sadism.

Strategy Video


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Champions list
Tanks Fighters Slayers
Mages Controllers Marksmen


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