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LOL Guide to Maokai The Twisted Treant

Updated on September 6, 2011

Guide to Maokai The Twisted Treant

This is a League of Legends Guide to Maokai The Twisted Treant by JuiceItUp (Currently #60 on Solo Queue Ladder). Maokai plays the role of tank, caster, support and scout in League of Legends. He's very much a utility champion, providing your team with some great benefits and quirks that are quite unique to Maokai.

This guide will show you everything you need to know to play Maokai like a pro - including builds, runes, masteries, summoner spells, strategies, laning tips, and more!

Maokai Abilities and Tips

Maokai Abilities:

Arcane Smash: Maokai slams the ground, the force of which knocks nearby enemies back and sends an arcane shockwave forward damaging and slowing his enemies.

Arcane Smash is a great ability for crowd control and slowing enemies. The knockback is rather small but still useful. Note - It also disrupts channeled spells such as Nunu's Ultimate ^^. Pros will use Arcane Smash to disrupt enemy spell casting, get enemies away from your squishy teammates and carries, and for proper positioning in team fights. The damage on Arcane Smash is minimal until high levels and/or if you go AP. It's much more of a utility spell.

Twisted Advance: Maokai dissolves into a cloud of arcane energies. He regrows near a target enemy, dealing damage and rooting it in place.

This root is very powerful. The duration is 2 seconds and t's like a free flash and snare with a low cooldown. Also, I've seen players cast Twisted Advance on an enemy as the enemy flashed, and Maokai went along for the ride rooting the champion from a very long distance away.

Twisted Advance is what you should use to initiate. It's also great for protecting squishy teammates. Use Twisted Advance and Arcane Smash in combination to get excellent crowd control and support for your teammates.

Sapling Toss: Maokai hurls a sapling, dealing damage on impact. The sapling becomes implanted in the ground warding a nearby area. When enemies approach, the sapling attacks, exploding in an arcane blast that damages enemies.

Sapling Toss is excellent for warding and damage. Every time you're in the jungle, you should toss out saplings in brush. If your team is doing dragon or baron, toss sapplings around the area so that you can spot enemies coming early and damage them as well. You should max sapling toss first as it maxes your damage output. Also, if Sapling Toss is used to ward during dragon/baron fights, it will break Banshee's Veil.

Vengeful Maelstrom (Ultimate): Maokai shields his allies by drawing power from hostile spells and attacks, reducing non-tower damage done to allied champions in the area. Maokai can prolong the effect as long as he has mana to spend on it. When the effect ends, Maokai unleashes the absorbed energy to deal damage to enemies within the vortex.

This ult is AMAZING!!! I think it will be nerfed soon because it is so overpowered. This is an incredible support AND damage ult and allows you to completely control the battlefield. It's unbelievably good in team fights. It's like Gangplank's ult times 3 - except of course it can only be cast near you whereas Gangplank's ultimate is global.

NOTE: Maokai's Ultimate was nerfed as I predicted the day the patch came out. The radius of the circle is much smaller now. It's now much less useful unless you can time it and aim it just right. It is best to be used to protect your carries from damage and secondly as a way to increase your damage output. It's not useful in chases due to the small radius so it's best to be used in jungle fights in small areas.

Sap Magic (Passive): Each time a champion near Maokai casts a spell, he gains a charge of Magical Sap. When he has 5 charges, his next melee attack drains energy from his target, healing Maokai for a percentage of his maximum HP.

This passive is very very good. It makes Maokai an incredible tank because the heels are enormous, especially in team fights. The more enemies near you, the more effective maokai is in battle due to his AOE saplings, arcane smash wave, AOE Ultimate, and this passive ability. Noob Maokai players will just cast spells and not auto-attack. Make sure you are auto-attacking in team fights to use this heal as fast as possible so that it can recharge faster! It doesn't recharge if you don't proc it with an auto-attack.

Maokai Masteries, Runes and Summoner Spells Guide

What Masteries and Runes should you get with Maokai?


By far, the best masteries are defensive. I like 9/21/0 or 0/21/9, either works fine. You'll get more damage with 9/21/0 though due to spell penetration.

Maokai definitely has mana issues early game so you'll want to get mp5 runes or utility masteries most likely, unless you're just very conservative in using your spells.


Magic Pen Reds

Dodge Yellows or Scaling Health Yellows

Mana Regen Per 5 Blues - Necessary for laning and due to the fact that his ultimate drains mana over time.

Quintessences - Health or Ability Power

Summon Spells:

Exhaust and Ghost are best.

Phreak uses Exhaust and Heal... which is ok, but not nearly as useful in early game skirmishes where ghost is great to get away or chase opponents.

Ignite and ghost, or ignite/exhaust and flash both work as well.

Maokai Champion Spotlight Video

Maokai Item Build

Maokai can be played as a Tank/Support, or as an AP caster damage dealer. He's best played as a tank/support, but he's also good as a tanky caster as his AP ratios are quite good.


To start, get Doran's Shield or a Mana Gem and 2 health pots.

Get Mercury's Treads, Ninja Tabi, or Ionian Boots of Lucidity depending on your opponents and playstyle.

Get Catalyst the protector first. It's a great tank item and can be upgraded to a Banshee's Veil or RoA, both of which are great for Maokai.

Get a Sunfire Cape, Rod of Ages, Aegis of the Legion, or Spirit Shroud depending on your role in the team. Sunfire allows you to farm ridiculously fast and do great damage in team fights, but AP will also allow you to farm fast as your Sapling Toss should 1-shot minion waves.

Another good build can be getting a Doran's Ring or two. Maokai's AP ratios on Sapling Toss and other spells are pretty good and help him do some good burst early game. Plus the mana regen helps quite a bit.

General Item Tips:

Don't get attack damage items. Maokai scales very well with Ability Power so focus on those for damage. Sunfire is probably your best damage item, though, because it makes you very tanky and increases your damage output since you'll be in the thick of things in battle.

Maokai Laning Guide

How to Lane with Maokai

Laning is the most important part of the game as you should know! Having a strong early game laning phase will make sure you have plenty of gold and levels to beat your opponents.

Maokai is a good solo lane or duo laner. You need to master his skill shot with Sapling Toss, taking into account the projectile speed and delay before the Sapling will explode or chase an enemy champion. The best time to cast it is right before you use Twisted Advance on an enemy champion. Toss the sapling at the champion and then snare them - they will be unable to avoid the Sapling Toss explosion.

If you're in duo lane or solo top, stay in the brush as much as possible. This will allow you to set up sapling toss / Snare combos easily because the enemy won't have time to dodge the Sapling Toss from the brush.

In duo lanes, it's your job to initiate, assuming you have a good partner. Lead with Sapling Toss then Twisted Advance, then run behind the enemy and use Arcane Smash to push them away from their turret. If you have a good laning partner, they should be dead. It also helps if you have ignite :)

Why can't I buy Maokai in the League of Legends Store?

The League of Legends store has been down since the patch on February 16th, 2011. Riot Games has been working on the issue and it should be up soon. As far as I know, no one has officially bought Maokai in the store as of the morning of February 17th. He should be out soon though... get ready!

Update: February 17th, 2011. The store is now working and you can purchase Maokai the Twisted Treant for 6300 IP or 975 RP. Good luck!

Maokai Guide Lore

Maokai Lore from the League of Legends Website:

"The twisting magical energies unleashed by mages during the Rune Wars caused an incredible amount of devastation to the natural world. The League was established to control the use of this magic by confining it to the Fields of Justice. By limiting its use to there, they thought that they could prevent it from doing further harm to the environment. It seemed that they were successful until Maokai came into being. During a League match on The Twisted Treeline, Maokai, an ancient oak that stood above the upper jungle, spontaneously roared to life. Ripped from the natural balance by arcane forces, his sentience was forged in chaos..."

For the rest of the Maokai Lore, check out the League of Legends Maokai Thread in the LoL forums

Share your maokai tips or feedback on this guide.

Any Maokai Tips?

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    • RandyVincent profile image


      6 years ago

      I like to max his saplings first, they are great for harassing

    • tcorsonk profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      The Maokai Patch comes out today for League of Legends.. Are you ready for it?


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