MAOKAI BUILD GUIDE: Maokai, Jungle Tank. (WITH S4 UPDATES) by doo0ooooooom

by doo0ooooooom (last updated 4 months ago)

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Greater Mark of Attack Speed(+15.3% attack speed)
Greater Seal of Armor(+12.69 armor)
Greater Glyph of Ability Power(+10.71 ability power)
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power(+14.85 ability power)
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Summoner Spells
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Full Item Build

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mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 3/4
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
9 Offense
mastery 1 2/2
mastery 2 0/2
mastery 3 2/2
mastery 4 2/2
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/3
mastery 1 3/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 4/4
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
21 Defense
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
0 Utility
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Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Sap Magic
QArcane Smash
WTwisted Advance
ESapling Toss
RVengeful Maelstrom
View Skill Order Details


The New Preseason 4 patch is here!

Here's my thoughts on the new jungle:

I feel that Maokai is stronger in this jungle relative to other junglers than he was in S3. The main changes that help him are the new shorter cooldown smite and the new slingshot xp mechanism. The change to bladed armor also favors him as it does a lot of damage to the larger monsters, allowing him to clean up the rest with his aoe damage. With my experience so far with maokai in the new jungle, I expect him to return to being a popular jungle pick as he was in Season 2.

Maokai's problem in the S3 jungle was single target damage, which was mostly a problem when smite wasn't up. But now that smite has such a short cooldown, you can use it every other camp, so his lack of single target damage becomes less of a problem.

The other thing about maokai is that he's an extremely gank heavy jungler, so in S3 he'd risk being be underleveled because he'd be ganking constantly and not farming so much, especially early game. This would also leave him vulnerable to control junglers who would counterjungle him, leaving him further underleveled. But now he won't be underleveled, because it's impossible to be underleveled as a jungler now due to bonus xp from killing higher level monsters. I mean, it would take some true dedication to shut someone down when you can level so quickly now if you're the lowest level person in the game. Due to the bonus xp from being underleveled in the jungle, by the time the late game teamfights start even if you had an awful start you're still only going to be one level lower than that control jungler who spent all his time invading you. In the new jungle, you can hit level 3 or 4 very quickly, then gank constantly for the next 3-4 minutes. Once your buffs come back up, you'll can catch up in levels naturally despite spending so much time ganking.

Unlike other junglers who's level 3 paths were slowed down by this patch, Maokai can still hit level 3 very quickly by blowing up the lesser wraiths on the way from red to blue.

Despite supports being so strong, Double Jungle is much better than before. Now that you get bonus xp for being behind in levels, and now that they added a the wight camp, it's much easier for two different people to get the amount of xp necessary to make double jungle work. I don't think this will see competitive play (hard to say, depends how much they nerf the support gold items...) because supports are so strong now, but double jungle is a lot better now than it has been in any other meta and it's really fun. At some point I may add a new section to this guide specifically for double-jungling.

I still build Jungle Maokai as mostly tank with 40% cdr. I don't usually build AP, although the new jungle gives more gold than before so sometimes you can afford Athene's or something if you have a few kills and you are already tanky enough. Mao has pretty good ratios. But full AP Jungle Maokai is too squishy to properly fulfill the role of tank/initiator, and sacrificing either cooldown reduction or tank stats for AP on jungle maokai is simply not worth it, so you need to get tanky first (get golem/locket or golem/Frozen Heart at minimum) before you even think about about building any AP. On the other hand, having high Cooldown Reduction is a must for Maokai as it allows him to chase better, peel better and spam his skills for more damage, making him a much more disruptive tank overall, with arcane smash every 3.6 seconds and twisted advance every 7.8.



Attack Speed are the best option, especially with machete that deals additional true damage on auto attacks. Magic Pen or armor are both better late game but in my opinion its not worth it to slow down your jungle by that much. Just use attack speed.

Flat Armor, there are no other good options.


The obvious choice is MR/Level, but I'm using AP glyphs now. In this patch they help your early jungling a lot especially if you take a path starting at red, also they add more damage when ganking. Now that smite has such a short cooldown, your aoe damage is more important in this jungle.

Another possible option is CDR glyphs, although with the current itemization choices for Maokai, I don't use these anymore. There are so many good sources of CDR from items now.


I moved back to AP quints for season 4. Move speed are still good.


mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/4
mastery 3 3/4
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 3/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 1/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
9 Offense
mastery 1 2/2
mastery 2 0/2
mastery 3 2/2
mastery 4 2/2
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 3/3
mastery 4 1/1
mastery 1 1/1
mastery 2 1/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/3
mastery 1 3/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 4/4
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 2 1/1
21 Defense
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 3 0/1
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/1
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/1
mastery 3 0/3
mastery 4 0/2
mastery 1 0/1
mastery 2 0/3
mastery 2 0/1
0 Utility

Defensive is the obvious choice, the utility tree is not very good this season and perseverance is overpowered.

Thoughts on new S4 masteries defensive tree:

  • Block/Unyielding. -- Take this.

Integer damage reduction is great, its especially good early game. I take this.

  • Bladed Armor/ToughSkin. -- Take this

The new bladed armor is crazy, +1% of their current health per second is quite a lot,and i believe this works on baron. definately take this

  • Recovery -- Skip this

I don't think that 1 hp/5 is worth 1 mastery point with all of the goodies in the tree now.

  • Enchanted Armor -- Take this

+5% armor/mr for only 2 points, pretty good deal I think.

  • Veteran scars -- Take this

Mediocre mastery but required to take juggernaut, so don't skip this.

  • Juggernaut -- Take this

3% health for one point is definitely worth it.

  • Hardiness - Skip this

+5 armor for 3 points seems lackluster with all of the other good masteries.

  • Resistance - Skip this

+5 mr for 3 points is not really worth it with so many other good masteries in the tree

  • Perseverance - Take this for sure <-- NEW OP MASTERY HERE

Ok, they may have overbuffed this... if you're missing 1000 hp, that's 30 hp/5. 30... Really... This is way too good to pass up. If you're at full build with 4k hp, and you're down to 1k hp, you're regening 90 hp per 5 seconds from this. I tested the mastery and it seriously does work the way the tooltip says... although strangely its separate from your ordinary hp regen and it comes in 5 second bursts (it's not continuous like ordinary hp/5, instead I Just instantly gain ~20-30 hp on the tick of every 5 seconds...). If you're lower than half hp this is better than Mundo passive.

  • Swiftness -- skip this

other tanks might like this but i don't think Maokai needs it, his twisted advance doesn't care about slows.

  • Reinforced armor -- skip this

People don't start building crit until 20+ minutes into the game, so this is useless early game... and you have to dump 3 points into the armor mastery to get it anyway. not worth it.

  • Evasive -- Skip t his

This mastery would be nice if i didn't have to put 3 points into the MR mastery to get to it

  • Second wind - Skip this

I don't really care for this mastery... 25% is really low. I mean it might just barely save you in a teamfight, but so could every other mastery in this tree.

Note the wording on this mastery is ambiguous. It says you gain "10% lifesteal", however this is not actually 10% of lifesteal. It means 10% of your current lifesteal. I have tested this. So if you have zero lifesteal, you gain zero lifesteal from this mastery, because 10% of zero is zero. To get 10% lifesteal out of it, you would need to already have 100% lifesteal.

So the only thing this does is give you bonus regen and improve your passive slightly when you're below 25%. It also makes the perseverance mastery slightly better. Say you have 40 hp/5; This mastery gives you an additional 4 hp/5. Its debatable but I don't think its worth a point. If you like this mastery I guess you could drop one point in tenacious to get it.

  • Tenacious - Take this.

worth 20 armor and 10 magic resist in a 5v5 teamfight... that's not bad.

  • Runic shield - Skip this

You're just going to lose the shield the first time you attack a jungle monster. I think this is mostly pointless.

  • Legendary Guardian -- Take this

I don't think tenacity is an important stat for Maokai but 15% for 1 point is too good to pass up since you're already speccing defensive.



I put the last 9 points into offensive mostly because I like the +8 ap mastery.

Double-Edged Sword -- I took this but I expect it to be controversial.

Ok, This will speed up your jungle and IMO even on a tank 2% offense > 1% defense. Worth the point I say.

Sorcery -- 3 points --also debatable.

I tried a few test jungle runs with the attack speed mastery, and I didn't really notice much difference in speed. Butcher makes the blue path slightly faster if you use a full AP rune page, but I don't use that route too often.

CDR is really nice for maokai the problem is my CDR is usually capped at 40% just from items (ancient golem + locket + FH or SV) so this mastery is useless late game. I think this is better early game than the attack speed mastery though so I took it anyway.

Mental Force / Arcane Mastery -- I took these.

The AP from this will help your jungling and up your damage a little bit late game. Maokai actually has surprisingly good AP ratios, it's just that he needs to be so tanky to function so that's the only reason people don't build a lot of AP on him. Nothing wrong with getting a little bit of it from runes/masteries though to speed up his jungle and improve his ganks.

Expose Weakness -- I took this

I feel this fit's Maokai pretty well, between his sapling, Q and R, he should be able to tag most of the enemy team with this. 1% is probably not going to make or break a fight, but it's only one point, and this beats another point in sorcery.

Summoner Sets

Primary Set
Summoner spells:

Yes, Maokai can jungle without smite. But don't. Seriously, don't try jungling without smite. Always, always take . Not only does it make your jungle faster and easier, it's key for at least one member of any team to have smite, because otherwise you're going to get your dragon/baron/blue kills jacked. There's nothing more frustrating than having your team almost kill baron only to have the enemy jungler run in and smite it, stealing your buff and gold and xp. If you have smite, you can smite it before he gets there. You can also steal enemy barons with smite; I often do. Smite is a must-have. Always save smite for the killing blow for mobs like baron, dragon, and blue golem. You never know when the enemy jungler is going to pop in and smite it before you do.


I used to use ghost, but now that I'm buying mobility boots almost every game, I'm well into the 50% diminishing returns on movespeed bracket so ghost is less useful relatively. Ghost is still a good option if you prefer ninja tabi.

Item Builds

Starting Build(s)
Blue Path
Red Path
Starting Items: hunters-machetehealth-potion4mana-potion OR hunters-machetehealth-potion5

Machete is pretty standard for junglers now.

When doing red path, I think a mana potion is worth it so you can cast more spells on blue.

I think that the free ward totem is better early game, but i'll replace it at level 9
Final Build(s)
Standard Final Items
Boots of mobility are IMO the best boots, so you can roam and gank early game. You could also buy ninja tabi if the enemy team is heavy physical.

Spirit of the ancient golem is just plain stat-efficient, even though you don't need the tenacity on maokai really. I pretty much always buy it these days. I think you should rush it after boots because it's a gold generating item now.

Locket is a must buy for when the teamfights start. Every team needs one of these except vs heavy physical comps, and the tree is the best person to build it. If they're like 80% physical or something, skip locket and go strait for Frozen Heart--the magic resist aura won't be needed.

After that, you want to get your CDR capped... get frozen heart if it is the enemy team is more physical than magic. If they're more magic than physical you can choose between spirit visage and athene's. If you're a little fed, athene's is probably a better choice, it'lll give you infinite mana and some damage and you're probably tanky enough. Spirit visage makes you tankier, though, so it's a better choice if you don't have enough gold this game to pull off the athene's build.

Randuins is a good late game tank item once you're capped on CDR and need more armor.
if you need more MR and you're capped on CDR, pickup a banshee's instead.

Your last item could be damage, you're probably already tanky enough. Abyssal scepter is a good option if nobody on your team has it yet, the aura is great and will help out your casters. You could also pick up liandry's.
Build Order
I build maokai as a CDR tank. You want to have tanky utility items and you also want to have max CDR.

Starting Item options:

Standard machete/pots start: hunters-machetehealth-potion5 (blue path) or ( (red path),

Pretty much all junglers start with hunters machete now, so this is rather basic.

The mana pot is IMO worth it if you do red path, you have enough mana to spam arcane smash on golem which interrupts its auto attack, preventing damage, and also kills it faster and allows you to use another proc of sap magic on the golem, healing you for 7% of your hp. Its pretty close but IMO the 1 mana pot is worth it for red path.

Optional buy to counter poke comps.

This isn't a must buy anymore after they upped the price from 225g to 345g, and now that I'm building spirit stone every game I don't need the sustain as much as before.

This is still very good vs enemy teams with a lot of poke, vs these comps the 360 health back on this thing is just as good as health. If you can make use of all three of the charges during an extended fight, its worth over 1000g in health and mana, easily worth the price and item slot mid-game.

Early game it's great because it gives you sustain if you're frequently ganking. although I don't think it's worth buying just for early game anymore. But if your jungling style consists of constantly ganking and then recalling in bushes to make them think you're camping the lane, this is the item for you. I still buy this item as a counter to poke comps. If they are running a heavy poke comp or something you can use the charges to sustain yourself, the 360 hp on this is just as good as hp.

You'll have to sell this back at 40 minutes or so once you're out of item spots, but Maokai is often not the most farmed champion so most games won't even get to the point where you get to 6 items and have to sell it back.

Solutions to new early mana problems

Now that jungle camps have so much hp, mao is more likely to run out of mana early just by jungling. To solve this I recommend stocking one mana potion at all times early game, and not necessarily using it. Just buy it on your first back and keep it around as insurance in case you run OOM in the jungle right as a good gank or countergank opportunity comes up.

Since you buy boots of mobility, you should always be looking for an opportunity to back so you can refill your mana bar. Don't run halfway around the map just to clear a small camp if you're low on mana when you could just back and then run from base which wouldn't take significantly more time.

If you get really fed you could also buy chalice early and plan to build it into athene's mid-game.

Boots: boots-of-mobility (most games)

The other good option, , got nerfed in season 3 and is now 150g more expensive. Boots of mobility also fits very well with the new crystalline flask item, as you'll be encouraged to recall, so you can get back to the lanes or jungle faster with mobility boots. I'd still buy tabi vs heavy physical teams but otherwise mobility boots are now preferred.

Lately I've been delaying my boots of mobility until after I get spirit stone. It seems like every lane is warded now, so spirit stone helps farm the jungle during periods where you can't really gank. It also helps you sustain so you can countergank better rather than being forced to recall after you clear a few camps.

If your bot lane is something like thresh, where a lane gank is a good option, you might rush boots of mobility if you have the 1000g handy and want to gank bot. But otherwise just rush spirit stone before you even get boots 1 IMO.

I never get because I don't need tenacity as Maokai, and also i'm getting it from spirit of the ancient golem anyway. I see some people build merc treads into Ancient Golem on maokai and it makes me facepalm. They bought the most expensive boots available and only got 25 magic resist out of it.

A Great Debate: or ?
Well, i'm back to building

So I made a long reddit post about why was better even on maokai
http://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/16sch5/fyi_madreds_razors_no_longer_gives_attack_damage/ and then they go and buff spirit stone by reducing the cost by 100g, then they buff the hell out of spirit of the ancient golem so that I actually want to buy it now.

Madred's is still slightly better for pure jungling but the new Spirit of the Ancient golem is IMO too good to pass up, it's really strong now. So I think you should just buy spirit stone now.

I think is too expensive to buy early now, The support should already have one and I'd rather just buy a regular ward or two when I base.

This item is much better than it was at the start of S3: Core Item now IMO.

They replaced some of the health with a gold generating passive, and this item is still great. Only 1300g plus spirit stone for a bump up of 350 hp, 10% cdr and 35% tenacity plus up to 6.6~gp/10 (averaging probably 5gp/10) is just such a huge early game boost. You don't even need the tenacity but even if you mostly ignore that stat it's a crazy good item.

Obvious Core Item: locket-of-the-iron-solari

They rolled bulwark into locket which now builds out of aegis which is weird, but as a tanky jungler you obviously want to build this. It's still very cost-efficient and gives ridiculous team utility which should be your focus on maokai, so just buy this every game except vs very heavy physical comps.

Never sit on this, always upgrade to locket ASAP: aegis-of-the-legion

Aegis upgrades to locket, but unlike in previous incarnations, aegis has very poor gold-efficiency. So never sit on this, always upgrade it to locket as soon as you can.

More CDR (optional): Choose One: OR OR

Frozen Heart is a great item to counter heavy physical and/or heavy auto attacker enemy comps.

Athenes is a good item to buy if you get a little bit fed... it covers your CDR and mana needs, plus it gives a bit of damage and magic resist. Now that camps have more hp, the mana regen on chalice is far more useful for general clearing. Also, the jungle gives overall more gold than before, allowing you to sometimes afford a bit of AP after you get your core tank items built.

If you need to not die to magic damage enemies, pick up Spirit visage instead for your CDR item.

Since these items all give 20% CDR, you have to pick one of them.

Nerfed too much IMO: warmogs-armor

After the original S3 preseason patch this item became very good. But since then they've nerfed it twice, once by increasing the cost by 180 and then by reducing the hp regen from 1.5% of health to 1.0% of health. I don't think this is a good item anymore after the nerfs so I no longer buy this.

If you get really fed or farmed: abyssal-scepter OR

They did increase the gold of the jungle but most games maokai will still not have enough gold to buy luxury items like these. But since warmogs is nerfed once you get to 5th/6th item these are something to think about.

Abyssal is as always a great tanky/ap item vs magic teams and it gives a nice aura.

Liandry's scales with enemy current health pools and synergizes well with maokai's twisted advance, so its quite good for damage if the enemies are stacking hp.

If you're still dying to physical damage:
a good physical defensive item. Frozen heart is generally better though, so don't pick this up till late until you're already capped on CDR.

A good magic resist item to buy when you are already capped on CDR.

Other items:

for late game, picking up a ruby-sightstone would be a pretty good idea, this way you can drop wards everywhere but still gain 300 health for the inventory spot.

I don't buy sunfire cape just because its annoying how it aggros baron in the pit. It's not awful though, so if you're getting rich and like this kind of tankydps item, go ahead and pick it up.

Level 2 Gank skill order

Player Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Sap Magic
QArcane Smash
WTwisted Advance
ESapling Toss
RVengeful Maelstrom
Arcane smash first because it adds aoe jungle clear and increases the power of the slow when ganking.

I like 2 points in sapling for early game (level 4) burst damage). It helps with ganks, then you transition into a tank.

After i max arcane smash, i max twisted advance.

The 2nd rank in vengeful maelstrom is not really necessary. You don't have enough mana to spam this spell early game unless you built athene's or Frozen Heart, so the cooldown reduction on it is mostly irrelevant. It adds 50 -100 more damage if you rank it, but I'd rather put a point in twisted advance for better roots. If you already built a mana item like Frozen Heart or Athene's, consider taking the 2nd rank vengeful at 11.

I max sapling last because i don't care about wave clear on jungle maokai. If you find yourself laning somehow (maybe your top laner ragequit toplane and decided to go jungle... so you're stuck top... happens a lot) you should probably rank sapling further so you can wave clear. If you get somehow get fed to hell and want to carry this game, start ranking saplings, they do more damage.


Sap Magic
Passive: Sap Magic: Your next auto attack heals you for 7% of your max hit points after 5 spells are cast nearby.

This passive is really nice for large fights where it will be procing constantly and fairly underwhelming otherwise. It does give you some sustain for jungling but it is not nearly strong enough to be your only sustain. Don't forget to use it though, if sap magic is up and you're not near full hp, just whack a nearby anything* for a quick heal.

*except buildings. It doesn't proc off of buildings for some reason.
Arcane Smash
Q: Arcane smash: Knocksback nearby enemies and shoots a damaging slow.

Some people don't realize that this ability can affect targets that are *behind* you. the knockback is about 100 radius aoe, and it goes full circle around maokai.

While this ability has surprisingly long range, it's projectile speed is painfully slow, making it awkward for chasing but exceptionally good for peeling enemies off of your carries or running away.

With it's cheap mana cost it's also great for clearing minion waves, especially if you max it first like I do. When attacking minion waves with this skill, move just ahead of the melee minions so that they're just behind you but within the aoe radius, and then skillshot the caster minions. With practice you can easily hit all 6 minions in a wave with this skill almost regardless of how they're positioned.

It's also great to use right after twisted advance expires (remember to weave in either sapling or ult between twisted advance and arcane smash as part of the combo). After you twisted advance someone in a teamfight, move forward a bit try to skillshot their team with arcane smash, and the arcane smash will still hit the rooted person as long as you are still within 100 range of them, regardless of which direction you aimed the skill.

Maxing this skill first rather than sapling has several advantages:

1) Ranking this skill increases the power of the slow, making tanking and locking down opponents easier. A more powerful slow allows saplings to chase better, indirectly increasing the damage of your saplings.
2) Unlike your other skills, the mana cost on this ability does not increase as you level this up.
3) Provides solid, consistant aoe damage for jungle clearing, even if not as much burst as maxing sapling first. Ranking this skill adds 45 damage extra per rank on a 6 second cooldown. In comparison, ranking sapling adds 85 damage on a 12 second cooldown. Arcane smash simply adds more utility and is more reliable damage than sapling toss, and while the burst is lower than sapling, it will catch up in sustained dps over time.
Twisted Advance
W: Twisted Advance: advances to your enemy rooting them in place.

This is pretty straitforward, the 650 range is really nice. one thing you should keep in mind is that it has a (fast) projectile speed and it doesn't root them until maokai reaches them. If the enemy flashes or uses any other escape ability while mao is en-route, mao will continue following them an unlimited distance and finally root them when they reach their destination. This can be a good thing for ganking: they can't flash away from you after twisted advance has already started. It can also be a very bad thing when tower diving. If you thought that was a rather shallow tower dive you were planning, or not even a tower dive, once they ghost and flash halfway to the next tower down the line, you're going to find yourself in a heap of trouble and far far away from your team. I often get killed this way, and if you're clearly dead after a bad twisted advance that spanned half the map, it's a good idea to spam the \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"fall back\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" ping on your position so you're team knows to back off rather than courageously following you to die together.

I put the first rank into this skill when I plan to gank (usually level 3), and I max this skill second as maxing it increases the duration of the snare, improving lockdown ability.
Sapling Toss
E: Sapling toss: Toss a grenade.

In addition to being Maokai's highest damage attack, this ability , especially at rank 1-2 with the lower mana cost, is quite useful as a temporary ward and bush check. It lasts for 35 seconds, so if you need a ward in a pinch while pushing some tower, it's a great option. Also, don't just run into that bush, sapling it first! you never know when the entire enemy team is in that bush!

It's also a great skill for farming minions and jungle mobs. In a lane, it is a useful harassment ability with it's long range and high damage, however this is a jungle guide so you will rarely be harassing with sapling.

I rank this to 2 and then max arcane smash first. The reason I leave it at rank 2 not 1 is for burst damage for level 4 ganks. This is slightly better than arcane smash for clearing jungle monsters, but I find that higher ranks aren't really necessary and I like to get my CC abilities maxed by mid-game, so I max arcane smash first.

Although this is Maokai's highest damage ability, it's also the least reliable and most easily avoided. Many times when I gank, the opponent will flash before the sapling explodes, or avoid it some other way. It aggros minions and will often charge them rather than players. Also it's useless vs anyone with runspeed who isn't locked down by CC. But mostly: raising it doesn't add any benefit except damage, and also increases the mana cost. In comparison, raising arcane smash first increases the power of it's slow, without increasing the mana cost, and raising twisted advance increases the duration of the snare.
Vengeful Maelstrom
R: Vengeful Maelstrom:

This is such a short cooldown its really more of a regular ability than an ult. 20 seconds at max rank, 12 with my max cdr build, you pretty much drop it every fight. Best used right after you use w, so you know that whoever you rooted is not going to move out of it. also useful for that little bit of extra burst damage. Make sure to drop it on a team member who you expect is about to take some damage to protect them a bit.

Make sure to know when to cancel it for damage, the damage radius is actually slightly bigger than the animation: even if they're just outside the circle, if they're touching the circle they still take damage. You'll want to cancel it before they all run away, but not before they try to blow you up.

You can also use it to scare the hell out of the opponents. It's psychological, people don't want to stand in it, so use that to your advantage. If your team is running away from an unfavorable fight when 2 members of your team are dicking around in the jungle rather than being near the teamfight, you can drop your ult then face your opponents for a split-second looking scary. For all they know they're about to get instagibbed by your team members who aren't even there. They'll usually flinch, giving you enough time to make a clean getaway.

This item is best in late game teamfights, so you need to think hard about how you position it in those. Wait for the fight to fully commit then drop your ult down for it to soak up as much damage as possible.

Ranking this skill up does not increase it's defensive power, but it does lower the cooldown and increase the burst damage slightly. After taking the initial rank at level 6, I max this skill third, after maxing twisted advance.

Jungle Route

The new S4 jungle is so much fun! Variety of routes is back! Now you actually have to think about what to do instead of just mindlessly clearing both buffs as fast as you can.

Early game junglers are a bit weaker than they were in S3, but they make up for it by being stronger mid game and late game.

Anyway, here's a list of possible routes for maokai:

Fast Level 3 Gank: Red --> Lesser wraiths only --> Blue --> gank

This route gives you just enough xp to hit 3. You can quickly dispatch the smaller wraiths (while ignoring the big blue wraith) for +60 xp, which is just what you need to hit level 3 on a double buff path.

This route is great for fast ganks on top, and it's also great for invading. You don't normally think of maokai as an invader but with the new jungle some junglers are slow to their 2nd buff. If the top lane is pushed or warded, i'll often head strait for the enemy buff when i do this path. Since you hit 3 so fast, you could quite easily catch the enemy jungler at only level 2, giving you a huge dueling advantage. Be very mindful of the laners though, you don't want to get collapsed on and you don't know where they warded.

Alternate Level 3 path: Blue --> Lesser wraiths only --> Red --> Gank

Sometimes you're purple team and you still want to gank top lane or mid lane at level 3, so this is a good route. I do use this route a lot but I didn't bother with a video because its so simple, it's just the reverse order of the level 3 red path i showed above.

To start this route, Precast three saplings on blue starting at 1:20, smite blue as soon as you see it, then kill blue, then kill the lesser wraiths with sapling/arcane smash, then kill red.

Level 2 ganks

I feel that level 2 ganks are stronger in the current meta where xp recovery is so easy and the early jungle is harder. Although after some testing, Maokai is not really the type of jungler to do level 2 ganks, since he's so fast to level 3 and 4. You can still do it though just to throw the enemy off. Anything can work if the opponents don't expect it.

For level 2 ganks, pick a buff and pick a lane. Start arcane smash, kill the buff, then gank the lane. It's really quite simple.

Level 4 full clear paths:

With the new free ward trinket, often all the lanes will be warded. But since the ward lasts 60sec on a 120 sec cooldown, it's sortof a tossup whether top will be warded at an given time. You need to watch the top laner like a hawk to see if he places his ward early. If he does it may be a good idea to farm the jungle to level 4 while you wait for the ward to expire. Or maybe you don't expect the top laner to be gankable at 3, or you're worried about a countergank. Farming the jungle to 4 wouldn't be a bad idea.

For the level 4 routes, If you aren't worried about being invaded, don't use hp potions until you're below half hp. This saves hp potions by letting the perseverance mastery heal you. You can top yourself off just before a gank.

Here's a few interesting routes, The first two of which I prefer for hitting level 4 quickly:

Standard Blue Path:
1) Blue (3 precast saplings, smite) --> Wolves --> Wraiths (smite) --> double golems --> red (smite) --> wraiths

This is the easiest and least rune dependent route for maokai. Hits 4 in a respectable 3:41. (actually faster, but you want to finish killing the big wraith unless you're in a hurry to gank mid)

If you prefer this route you might also prefer movement speed quints as AP quints do not help nearly as much for this route as they do for others. The bottleneck on this route is the wraith respawn timer so it doesn't even matter how fast you clear the jungle after the first wraith camp, you're not finishing the route any faster.

Standard Red Path:
3) Red (2 precast saplings, smite, delayed 3rd sapling) --> wraiths --> Blue --> wolves --> wraiths --> Double golems

Similar to the level 3 path, you start with a mana potion. This route hits 4 in about 3:43. A good route if you want to be unpredictable. Everyone expects Maokai to start at blue and you don't have to because this is not significantly slower than the blue path. It also gives you the flexibility to gank at level 3, as it's only a little bit slower than the strait level 3 red path.

Wight-Killing Blue Path:
2) Blue (3 precast saplings, smite) --> Wight --> Wolves (smite) --> wraiths --> Red (smite) --> Double Golems

This hits level 4 in approximately 3:36, making it quite fast, but it ends about 200-250 hp lower than the standard blue path because the wight hurts a lot more than the wraiths. So you'll use more potions. I think it's not worth it to kill the wight but some might disagree. Note that this path is more rune demanding than the other path--if you use movement speed quints instead of AP quints, the speed difference between this path and the standard blue path is negligible.

To kill red quicker on a blue path
2) Blue (3 precast saplings, smite) --> Wolves --> Red (smite) --> Double Golems --> Wraiths (smite) --> Wolves

I don't use this route because it's slower than the blue path and kills red slower than the level 3 blue path. I don't really think that it fills any niche. If you're worried about your red getting stolen, you should really either start red or use the Blue --> lesser wraiths --> Red --> Gank at level 3 path. If you're not worried about your red getting stolen, just use the regular blue path. In any case it hits level 4 in about 3:45 with my AP runeset.

(times listed for routes assume no leash. )

Early-Mid game: Maokai Jungle Strategy and Mentality

As a jungler, you should always be doing *something*, and you need to prioritize your time well between leveling and helping your team. This section is basically a list of priorities for the post level 3 jungle Maokai. After your initial clear and gank, you'll need to prioritize your time.

A general list of what you could be doing, your priorities are as follows:

1) Protect your towers.

Towers win games, so if one of yours is in trouble you need to drop whatever you're doing and get there asap. Maokai also happens to be one of the best tower defenders in the game, with 3 aoe abilities to quickly clear minion waves, a snare and slow/knockback to lock people down who try to dive you as well as his general tankiness. Don't be afraid to ult minions for more aoe damage when defending towers, the cooldown is short. Maokai has no trouble defending a tower vs two people early-mid game, and as a jungler you should always be prepared to defend any tower as needed. So if one of your lanes fails, or one looks like it's in serious trouble with your team at low hp hugging the tower, you'd better get there asap. Another reason to defend is that you don't want the lane farm to go to waste against the tower.

2) Securing buff mobs (blue/red)

These are a prime target for counterjunglers so you want to get them killed soon after they spawn. After the initial clear, it may be a good idea to give away your buffs to members of your team who can use them better than you can. Although with the new S4 patch, if you are underleveled, the buffs give huge amounts of xp. If you're underleveled you should probably keep the buff, and I'm seriously considering regularly gifting the nearest buff to bot lane because the huge xp boost will help them a lot due to them typically being the lowest level players in the game.

3) Clear *nearby* small camps (wraiths/wolves/small golems).

(Note that I don't include the wight in this list. That's not because I forgot to update this section, that's because the wight is mostly a waste of time until you get spirit of the ancient golem -- wight is lower priority than the other camps. )

Killing wolves/wraiths/golems are only high priority if you happen to be nearby. You need to clear these if you want to keep up in gold/exp. Past the first clear, It's rarely a good idea to skip one of these camps on the way to a gank, unless you're low mana or you think that losing 5-10 seconds will seriously affect your ability to get a kill. This is especially true if you're underleveled -- check your level and compare it to other players in the game, if you're near the lowest level you'll get bonus xp from jungling so you may want to farm a bit until you catch up --it won't take long. If you're relatively high level you should prioritize ganking more.

It may be a good idea to simply stalk one side of the jungle constantly: ganking lanes and clearing the nearby camps. For example: you could clear wraiths and double golems, then gank double golems side, then gank mid, then clear wraiths and doubles again, then keep ganking until enemies in both lanes are turret hugging.

4) Ganking overextended lanes.

This is where Maokai really shines. Maokai is one of the strongest gankers so if you ever see the enemy pushed past river it's a good idea to go there and wreck stuff. Use the W --> E --> Q combo to lock them down, drop down ult to protect your team as they plow into the unsuspecting enemies. If they run into a bush before you w, keep in mind that your saplings grant sight, so you can sapling the bush then follow your sapling into the fight in with a twisted advance. If the gank is successful, don't forget to follow it up with a tower push or possibly a dragon attempt, as you now have the advantage in teamfights until the ganked opponents rez.

Keep in mind that "overextended" for maokai is a lot broader than for other junglers, as maokai's specialty is lockdown and burst: anyone not in flash range of a tower's attack radius is usually gankable, although it depends what escapes they have. You jump them with W, then combo a sapling and an arcane smash, while your laner burst them too. Maokai is more burst than sustain, so ganking a very overextended lane is not much more likely to be successful than ganking a slightly overextended one. Ganking lanes where your team is losing is also a lot more difficult than ganking balanced lanes or lanes where your team is winning.

Ganking is more opportunistic than a priority. Some lanes just scream out "GANK ME": when you have sub 50% people extended past river you should really drop whatever you're doing and kill them. Or when that mid-lane akali just used her bubble right as you pass wraiths and is sitting in twisted advance range next to that brush. Other times a kill is less certain and so I'll take my time clearing small camps on the way to attempt a gank.

5) warding dragon.

I really think that the support should be the one to keep it warded now. That being said, somebody needs to ward this and if nobody else does, you should.

6) Farming your jungle or killing the wight.

you'll want to keep wolves/wraiths/double golems dead as often as possible to maximize your xp gains.

Also, they added a new camp called the Wight in season 4... my opinion is that on maokai you should mostly ignore this camp unless you have absolutely nothing better to do besides farm everything. It gets better once you get spirit of the ancient golem though as you can kill the wight to proc the +40 gold passive --if you're sitting at 80 stacks and wolves are dead go ahead and kill the wight. But the wight hits hard and has tons of hp, and aoe doesn't help you because there's just one wight, maokai's single target damage sucks, and it's in the middle of nowhere at the side of the map, so for me it's a much lower priority than the other camps. Not that it matters, wolves/wraiths/golems are plenty of monsters to get you farmed and leveled up.

7) Buy items

If you're sitting on a bunch of gold and you're running out of wards, you'll need to buy at some point. All else being equal, the best time to go back to buy is when you just killed wraiths, as they'll be back up by the time you get back from base, along with wolves or double golems to kill along the way.

8) mid-game counterjungling.

Maokai doesn't really counterjungle much, so this is something you only do when you're lanes are pushed like hell and you're generally stomping the the other team.

There's not much advantage to counterjungling small camps (wraiths/wolves/doublegolems) as you could just be clearing your own jungle, but if you happen to be nearby after a gank, go ahead--this is more for your own exp than shutting down the other jungler.

If you can get your team on board, you can steal red/blue buffs, which are far more important than the smaller camps. This is more opportunistic than a priority. This is best done when the other jungler is known to be low hp or somewhere else. (for example, if you see the enemy jungler ganking the red-side lane at level 2, that's a good time to try stealing his blue.) It also depends on in-game time, most junglers kill blue at about 2:10ish, so it should be back up at about 7:10ish. If you can get your team to invade their blue at about that time, you might be able to steal it and feed it to your mid laner. Buff mobs take 5 minutes to respawn, so you can try to keep track of when they'll be respawning and be there when they do.

Advanced Early Game tactics: Counterganking, not giving up your position, and brush mind games

An advanced tactic for jungling is to put yourselves into the shoes of the enemy jungler, and think, if you were him, which lane would you gank? Then you can go to that lane and countergank and ruin his day. If you see that the enemy jungler hasn't ganked in a while and he doesn't seem to be doing dragon or anything else, he's probably itching for a gank and you can make pretty good guesses of where he'll turn up next.

You should also avoid giving up your position if possible. After ganking in a lane, if you don't plan to camp the lane, go into a nearby brush and recall. Because you recalled in a brush rather running out of the lane, the enemy may still think you're around and will be forced to play passive, unless they have a ward in the brush.

It is usually a bad idea to run back into river and then back into your own jungle after a gank. In the first place, river is often warded, and even if it isn't they have a good idea of where you are. This makes you a prime target for ganks yourself as you'll be alone in your jungle with your position known. In the second place, even if they don't gank you, they probably see where you are on the map with their ward which means they can play more agressively.

If it isn't safe to recall in a brush, it's better to run back towards your tower and recall there than to run back into river.

Mid-Late Game: Understanding Your Role as the Tank.

After the laning phase is over, it doesn't really matter anymore than you started the game in the jungle rather than the lane. It's time to roam together with your team, warding, securing buffs as a group, clearing pushed lanes, and defending and pushing towers as a group.

As Maokai, you are the tank and the initiator. Your job is to start fights on favorable terms, and protect your squishies during teamfights.

Map awareness is key

Keep in mind of where the opponents and allies are at all times. If you can't see an opponent on the minimap, assume he's nearby. The key to winning teamfights is to roam with your team through the jungle or lanes, (check bushes with saplings before moving in), catching the opponents out of position or when they're outnumbered, and initiating fights on favorable terms.

Wards are important, as if you ward a random area and somebody runs past, you know that enemy is not nearby when you want to start a teamfight. You'll also want to keep baron constantly warded, and late game make sure you're team is never too far away from baron when the other team is mia, so that you can get there in time in case the enemies attempt to kill him. Pick up oracle's lens and help your support clear out enemy wards.

Other than this simple above advice, it simply takes a lot of practice and experience to know when to initiate, when to tower dive, or when to signal your team to backoff, since it's heavily dependent on which opponents you're facing, what escape abilities they have, how squishy they are and how they could kill you. But mastering this (when to initiate) is the most important aspect of learning to tank.

The other aspect of learning to tank is peeling enemies off of your carry. Arcane smash is your friend. If people are beating on your carry, arc smash them, and maybe root them too, so your carry can get away. If they keep chasing, arc smash them again. With a 48% slow/knockback on a 3.6 sec cooldown (assuming max cdr), followed by a 2 second snare, Maokai is stupidly good for peeling. Use this to your advantage. If you have to chose between chasing down a fleeing enemy squishy, or pealing some bruiser or assassin off of your carry behind you, you should generally choose the later, as your team should easily be able to kill the enemy after peeling and locking him down with Q --> W --> Q combination, giving you an advantage in the next fight even if the other enemies get away.

Cost Efficiency Analysis of Items

(This section is still a little outdated since 3.10)

Here's my Gold Efficiency Analysis Spreadsheet, which I use for evaluating items:


Note that "Points" is the amount of gold I think that the stats of the item are worth. Arbitrary bonus is how much I value hard to quantify actives/passives/auras.

"Scaling Bonus" is a bonus given to items that contain stats that multiply with eachother, for example health + armor or health + magic resist or magic pen + ability power. Since these stats scale with eachother, it's great to have them on the same item.

If you're already getting a good balance of stats from a mix of items, you should ignore the "Scaling Bonus" bonus.

The above is a screenshot for people who don't want to download random things on the internet, but if you want to download the spreadsheet itself and tinker with the numbers, you can find the file here:


Changing the point score of stats or the arbitrary point score of items will automatically adjust the values in the table. It will also update the colors too, now, since I recently figured out how to use the "Conditional formatting" excel feature.

Boots Upgrades

The most commonly used boots upgrade is but you should only build these as needed IMO. Homeguard are a good impulse buy if you happen to be in base with 475g and the enemies are pushing some objective and you need to get there ASAP. Maybe you were low hp and had to recall or you died and just rez'd, but you need to get back to a lane fast to save a tower. If the 475g you spend on this can save one of your towers or stop some baron attempt, its worth it to buy this boots upgrade on the fly. Plus you get to run fast out of your fountain for the rest of the game...

You could also buy pre-emptively in losing games where you expect to be turtling a lot.

If you don't need homeguard this game, you can choose between for when you're having trouble initiating and for when your team has trouble keeping up with you. But don't upgrade to these until late. None of the boots upgrades are cost efficient at all. If I don't get homeguard I won't build any of the other boots upgrades until I'm out of things to spend gold on.

Mid-Lane Maokai

Maokai is usually played as a jungler but he can also be played viably in mid lane. I made a separate guide for him in the mid lane, you can find it here: http://solomid.net/guides.php?g=21932

(The mid-lane guide is sortof dated, i haven't updated it in a while, but it still might be useful. )


*Insert something witty here*

Change Log

9/21/11: Added "Change Log" section.
9/22/11: Added "Very Early Ganks" section to Jungle Routes section.
9/23/11: Added video of a very early gank to Jungle Routes section.
9/25/11: Clarified items section.
10/9/11: Added mention of Sap Magic to abilities section.
11/6/11: Updated alternate runes section. Also removed dismissive references to attack speed marks... I'm starting to think they're a decent option, they seem to help a lot when recovering from being counterjungled.
11/7/11: Updated jungle routes list to add mention of a new wraith start route. Might add video later.
11/7/11: Seriously considering changing my mark/glyph setup to flat attack speed marks and flat mana glyphs. That setup seems to make maokai a lot more versitile and less vulnerable to counterjungling. I'm going to play around with this setup for about a week, then i might update the guide to use those runes.
11/10/11: Decided to just remove marks/glyphs from the rune list. They're basically choice anyway, it hardly matters which ones you use. I don't want people getting the impression that they *must* have armor marks or mana glyphs to jungle maokai properly, esp since that's the first thing they read on the guide. I listed all of the good options in the runes/masteries section.
11/11/11: Added Youtube video of the wraith start full clear alternate route.
11/12/11: Wow, they're redoing the whole mastery tree next patch. That's going to make things pretty crazy. Expect a major revamp of this guide next week.
11/15/11: Updated masteries. Consider them preliminary I might change them around. I'll also be experimenting with totally new setups over the next week or so and might add some new alternate routes that the new masteries make possible. Also removed references to removed masteries (RIP Strength of spirit). Removed section discussing the precise amount of AP you need to kill mobs with certain numbers of spells, as it's sortof pointless now with the addition of bladed armor.
11/15/11: All of the routes already posted in this guide still work fine with the new masteries. I may update the videos at some point.
11/15/11: The new masteries (particularly wealth and bladed armor) make level 3 ganks a lot more attractive than before, as you now can plan for and/or attempt a gank at level 3 without slowing down your main route significantly, and be at much higher hp/mana for the gank. I've updated the standard route section and other sections of the guide to include the possibility of starting with boots + 2x hp pots + 2x mana pots and optionally ganking at level 3.
11/15/11: Updated Standard Route video for new masteries patch. Jungle times listed in guide updated to reflect times in this new video.
11/16/11: Made some more minor updates to reflect new masteries. Added new mention of Continuing to blue golem after the double golem --> wraiths --> wolves route, the new masteries have made this option a lot more viable as you can start with an extra potion and be at higher hp in general.
11/16/11: Blue start route works a lot better than before with new mastery changes, so I've revised my opinion on "Never Start at blue" and I've added a new route that kills blue after wolves at level 1.
11/16/11: Added video of Wolf-->Blue start full clear route.
11/19/11: They hotfixed the xp jungle mobs give, changing them yet again. You no longer need 1/4 awareness to do my "standard" route. You also no longer need any points in awareness to do the Doubles --> red double gank route.
11/22/11: So after much waffling on the runes, I've updated the guide and listed Attack speed marks and Mana glyphs on the front page. These are by no means the only options. Heck, with the masteries changes, you don't even need runes to jungle anymore, not even the AP Quints. I've split off the runes section into a new chapter where i discuss the options. I also fleshed out the masteries section.
11/27/11: So they're redoing the whole jungle next patch! Going to have to revamp the guide next week.
11/29/11: So they revamped the jungle! Guide should be considered under construction.
11/29/11: Changed glyphs to flat AP. These seem better with the new jungle.
12/2/11: Going to wait till that hotfix comes out before updating this further.
12/4/11: Hotfix didn't change that much. Blue/Red have 100 more hp. so the route takes 3 seconds longer and you end up with slightly lower hp. You also no longer need that random point in awareness to hit level 4 so full defensive works again. Updated video.
12/4/11: Updated Glyphs: After further testing, you need precisely 19.5 ap at level 1 to kill the wraiths with only saplings as shown in my video. So that means you need 5 ap glyphs and 3 ap quints. I swapped the rest of the glyphs out for magic resist/level because I think those are better mid/late game.
12/4/11: Removed under construction introductory section. Updated guide for new jungle.
1/24/12: minor updates: It is not actually possible to interrupt the enemy jungler's smite with arcane smash, because you can still smite when cc'd. Removed reference to shurelya's being an "overlooked" item. Re-did the math on Warmogs, and it's still worth buying after nerf. New Ninja Tabi is still good, too.
1/24/12: updated "Early-Mid game: Maokai Jungle Strategy and Mentality" chapter.
2/15/12: Added alternate route to jungle routes section that gets double buff and level 3 earlier.
3/18/12: minor changes to item build: lately I've been getting shurelya's earlier than I used too. So build order changed slightly. Also clarified that rushing glacial shroud is something you only do if you're winning early.
3/24/12: Changed item build--I find myself having less and less mana problems early-mid game... might be that sigils now give mana. The early 425 mana from glacial shroud seems less important so I find myself rushing aegis--> shurelya's in 90% of games now.
3/25/12: More updates related to above: Now listing spirit visage on front page as an alternative to glacial shroud if you need mr rather than armor. I'm starting to like this item better as it seems that games are taking less time than before: I haven't reached full build on maokai in months, so the fact that spirit visage doesn't build into anything is less of a problem these days. Also removed references to ionian boots, those are sortof awkward cause you want the move speed early game but don't want the CDR till mid-game.
4/4/12: Changed text to specify that building AP on maokai is only bad in the jungle... if you're a solo laner (or really, really, fed) you can pull off a little bit of AP and still be tanky enough. Actually, I'm currently working on a mid-lane maokai guide, and I build a bit of AP on him when I mid.
4/13/12: Fixed some mechanical issues with the standard jungle route, time to 4 is now 3:21. Some notes: They increased the movement speed of double golems, so it's now impossible to hit both of them with with both parts of the sapling damage when pulling them out with sapling. The best strategy now is to just lead the closest golem with the sapling, the explosion will hit both but the landing damage will only hit the closest golem (see updated jungle video for optimal placement of sapling). Ironically the jungle route is now faster than before as their increased move speed means you can train them out farther so less running for you. I've also determined that casting arcane smash a 2nd time on double golems is both a waste of time and mana, so I don't do that anymore. Sapling --> arcane smash --> sapling is all that's needed.
4/18/12: They buffed AP Glyphs, so you now only need 4 of them to kill wraiths properly.
4/19/12: Added Mid-Lane Maokai mini-guide.
6/17/12: Split off mid-lane guide into it's own guide. Also updated the mid lane build a little: I now sometimes build athene's on mid-lane maokai. That's a pretty good new item they added.
7/21/12: it just occurred to me that I've had this guide out forever, but I still haven't mentioned starting boots rather than regrowth pendent. I think a previous version of this guide mentioned starting with boots. Boots start is a perfectly good option, obviously.
8/11/2012: added mention of boots of mobility.
9/16/2012: Misc updates. Added mention of soul shroud to build options. This item isn't terrible if you need to cap off your CDR in games where you don't want glacial or FH. It gives a nice aura. Also expanded section on why you should never buy mercury treads on maokai. I added a little bit more detail on why I take ghost... but I may switch to flash eventually... seems like everyone else takes flash.
9/16/2012: Now instructs you to cast saplings at 1:05 instead of 1:04... maybe I'm crazy but it seems like ever since project shiny they spawn a quarter second or half-second later.
10/5/2012: Added a note on how to properly prevent red buff from resetting after leash.
11/18/2012: Preparing to update this guide for season 3. I think the level 4 paths are a waste of time on the PBE, the level 3 double buff paths are best.
11/27/2012: more s3 update thoughts
12/4/2012: Updated guide for major season 3 jungle and item revamp patch. Will update more sometime later this week.
12/4/2012: added item cost evaluation spreadsheet.
12/4/2012: General clean up. Removed outdated info, rewrote some of the early game strategy. Added new "Advanced Early Game tactics" section. Also, I Removed references to "new Jungle" that were actually referring to season 2 jungle. wow, this guide is old.
12/8/2012: Cleaned up skill order to reflect the fact that I usually gank at level 3 now.
12/8/2012: Updated Runes/Masteries for Season 3. Added Standard Red level 3 path to jungle videos... blue path will be updated shortly. Removed mention of starting bead + potions + flask, even if this start works, I think machete is too good to pass up. Updated Item build, now instructs to rush bulwark vs heavy magic teams. I'm starting warm up a bit to the new spirit stone item.
12/8/2012: Blue level 3 path now up. Revamp is about done.
12/15/2012: Now instructs you to always buy crystalline flask on your first back if you don't start with it.
12/28/2012: I've decided I like spirit stone better than philo stone most games. Updated build to reflect that. Also cleaned up build section a bit and added "Final Build" suggestions.
12/28/2012: Spreadsheet version 2.0 added. A few changes: Added "Scaling Bonus" column to attempt to account for the benefits of having multiplicative stats on the same item. SOTAGolem is now listed as 2160g rather than 2400 because it builds out of spirit stone. Instead of selling spirit stone for 560g you can upgrade it to SOTAGolem, so building SOTAGolem saves 240g. Liandry's is now spelled correctly. Also I now value the aegis/bulwark auras more than before, I think I was undervaluing them before. Value of CDR increased slightly. Added Glacial Shroud and Randuin's Omen to spreadsheet.
12/30/2012: Updated boots enhancement section.
1/16/2013: Flask Nerfed, Flask/Machete start no longer possible. With this and the stealth biscuit nerf (no longer usable concurrently with hp pots), I'm not sure if even want to spec util anymore. Masteries tentatively changed to 4/23/3 and starting item suggestions changed to machete + 4hp pots + 1 mana pot or machete + 5 hp pots. I will update the red path once I get the exact masteries locked down, probably sometime over the weekend. Also changed the 3 mr/lvl glyphs to cdr glyphs to maintain 10% cdr.
1/17/2013: Madred's razors are now superior to spirit stone IMO. Maokai has enough aoe dmage already and with the reduced hp of the lesser creeps and increased hp of the major creeps, you'd rather have single target damage. In S3 this item is cheaper and no longer has wasted stats on attack damage, so its a pretty good buy even on ability oriented champs such as Maokai.
1/19/2013: Switched to all move speed quints. AP mostly adds to AOE clearing ability so its sortof pointless in the new iteration of the jungle where all the lesser monsters have very low hp.
1/19/2013: Updated Red path video for new mastery spec and new item start after flask nerf. Blue path video will not need to be updated because absolutely nothing changed about the path.
1/19/2013: Updated Masteries Section.
2/3/2013: Moved flask from "always buy" to "optional". I don't think its a must buy anymore since the nerf. I still usually get it though. Also added spirit stone back as an option since they reduced the price by 100g.
2/10/2013: added suggestion to precast saplings on double golems to help your bot lane kill them.
3/1/2013: Warmog's nerfed too much, removed it from build. Now that warmogs isn't a good option, you could maybe build a little bit of damage as your 6th item if the game goes to super late. Updated Spreadsheet.
3/19/2013: They buffed CDR glyphs, so you only need 7 of them plus offensive masteries to hit 9.83% cdr which is close enough to 10% for my purposes. Now using a couple of mr/level glyphs. Also, I made a new jungle fizz guide, check it out by clicking the link to the right!
4/29/2013: Spirit of the Ancient golem got buffed too much, i'm going to buy it now and forget about madred's razors. Since it gives CDR now, there's no reason to get FH/Visage as you'll be overcapped. You could still pickup shurelya's or a glacial shroud.
7/3/2013: some updates to early jungle paths related to recent jungle changes.
7/31/2013: Lots of changes for 3.10. Changed masteries to 9/21/0, removed CDR runes as you're capped on CDR just from items since the item changes.
11/19/2013: updated guide format for solomid.net site revamp.
11/24/2013: S4 updates.


April 11, 2014 - 12:44 PM #1


January 20, 2014 - 03:58 PM #2


December 22, 2013 - 06:21 PM #3

if i bought chalice I'd probably put the point in R at level 11 as it should give me enough mana to use r more than once per back. With glacial its debatable, that's only +300 mana. (and FH is actually 400... didn't it used to be 500?)

Its not a huge difference eitherway... one point in ulti vs 1 point in w isn't going to make or break your build. Hell you could even put the 11th point into sapling for more damage if you want. (+85 damage vs 50-100 for ranking r, and on a shorter cooldown).

December 22, 2013 - 04:21 PM #4

Hah, you just made me realise how big difference between sell prices of hunter's machete and Madred's Bloodrazor is. It seems I need to change sunfire cape to madred + randuin's omen. Thanks.
Btw; Do you consider it as good idea to max ulti if someone decide to buy madred's + chaolice/glacial shroud instead of golem?

December 22, 2013 - 03:35 PM #5

I don't have a PBE account so I can't really test. Just eyeballing it though, replacing the regen with life/manasteal on monsters is definitely a nerf but probably not a big enough one to make me stop building golem. Although the madred's razors might become a viable again, i'll have to test that once it goes live. I don't see myself bulding sunfire to clear the jungle, it's too expensive... even if they were to nerf spirit stone/golem into the ground, I think madred's razors would be a better option. (note that madred's still sells for 490g so it's not like you lose any significant amount of gold late game for buliding it).

I'll probably start preferring chalice--> athene's to spirit visage though, since spirit visage is also getting nerfed and athene's gives mana regen which i'll especially need now that golem has no mana regen. (for physical teams i'll still build FH as it has +500 mana) And I might wait for later to build locket so I can get a mana item after golem (either FH or chalice) to cover early game mana problems. I might need a couple more mana potions early game.

December 22, 2013 - 10:50 AM #6

Have you heard about pbe changes to jungle items (these items no longer grant passive regen, instead we got revamped butcher buff on these items: "Against monsters, deal 30% bonus damage and restore 8% of damage dealt as Health and 4% as Mana.(Half restoration effect for area of effect spells)'"? IMO it places Maokai in bad position, because he spends a lot of time ganking and restoration effect is halved for aoe. I even consider buying hunter's machete and rush to chalice instead of golem even if it will force me to buy sunfire cape for more damage on jungle monsters. I alredy tested it and it seems fine for me (I sold hunter machete and bought Athene in the late game). Could you tell me what's your opinion about that idea?

December 22, 2013 - 10:49 AM #7

Have you heard about pbe changes to jungle items (these items no longer grant passive regen, instead we got revamped butcher buff on these items: "Against monsters, deal 30% bonus damage and restore 8% of damage dealt as Health and 4% as Mana.(Half restoration effect for area of effect spells)'"? IMO it places Maokai in bad position, because he spends a lot of time ganking and restoration effect is halved for aoe. I even consider buying hunter's machete and rush to chalice instead of golem even if it will force me to buy sunfire cape for more damage on jungle monsters. I alredy tested it and it seems fine for me (I sold hunter machete and bought Athene in the late game). Could you tell me what's your opinion about that idea?

December 22, 2013 - 10:42 AM #8

Have you heard about pbe changes to jungle items (these items no longer grant passive regen, instead we got revamped butcher buff on these items: "Against monsters, deal 30% bonus damage and restore 8% of damage dealt as Health and 4% as Mana.(Half restoration effect for area of effect spells)'"? IMO it places Maokai in bad position, because he spends a lot of time ganking and restoration effect is halved for aoe. I even consider buying hunter's machete and rush to chalice instead of golem even if it will force me to buy sunfire cape for more damage on jungle monsters. I alredy tested it and it seems fine for me (I sold hunter machete and bought Athene in the late game). Could you tell me what's your opinion about that idea?

December 7, 2013 - 06:07 AM #9

K after playing a few games with aatrox I've decided I suck with him, so there isn't going to be an aatrox guide.

December 1, 2013 - 04:43 PM #10

Best jungler for teamfights is probably Sejuani.