IntroductionIt is widely known that Maokai is an exceptional ganker, but he is also one of the fastest junglers. Most people have no idea how to jungle Maokai, so I decided to make this guide.
Jungle Maokai Can hit level 3 in 2:44 (even faster with help on red or blue), after which he can gank at will and farm the jungle efficiently with massive aoe damage.
I also build Jungle Maokai as a pure tank with 30% to 40% cdr. I rarely build any AP. AP Jungle Maokai is too squishy to properly fulfill the role of tank/initiator, and sacrificing either cooldown reduction or tank stats for the small amount of ap you could reasonably build on jungle maokai is simply not worth it. 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.
How you play Maokai in mid-late game really has nothing to do with early game laning, ganking and jungling, so if you prefer a more AP bruiser Maokai, feel free to skip all chapters past 3. The jungle portion of this guide works just as well for AP maokai.
Jungle RouteWith the Season 3 Jungle remake, I don't see any reason to full clear to level 4 anymore, and now clearing both buffs and ganking at level 3 is the preferred path if it wasn't before.
Preferred path: Wraiths --> Red --> Blue --> Gank
- you can optionally precast one to three saplings on double golems to help your botlane kill them for extra xp. If you do this, cast the first sapling at 1:05. After they kill the double golems they should help you with red. After you're done precasting saplings on double golems, start at wraiths as usual.
- the mana potion helps more than an hp potion on this route IMO. It lets you cast 4 spells on blue for an extra passive proc, indirectly giving hp. The extra arcane smash also interrupt blues auto attack twice, indirectly giving hp. And of course you kill blue faster.
- I don't think its worth it to precast a sapling on wraiths anymore since you only need one sapling to kill lesser wraiths, since the hp changes. Precasting a sapling is more trouble than its worth as your teammates might aoe the wraiths and steal your xp if they are low hp from the precasted sapling, causing you to not hit level 3.
- Due to mana constraints I can no longer cast a 2nd sapling on blue golem unless I got a lot of help on red. You'll easily have time to get 3 arcane smashes off on it if you start with arcane smash over the wall. If you have enough mana for a 2nd sapling (IE: you didn't cast more than one sapling on red after it spawned), you should sapling first over the wall instead and make sure to arcane smash immediately after so you still have time for a 3rd arcane smash.
- Precasting one sapling somewhere (fountain, double golems, or as an early ward) is now useful for stacking sap magic charges.
- If you don't precast more than one sapling on double golems, you'll have time to precast two saplings on red next. Cast the first at 1:20. You could also put two on double golems and one on red. I don't recommend putting two on both red and double golems because then you won't be able to sapling wraiths after they spawn.
- Wraiths give less xp than in S2, but you'll still hit level 3 on this path assuming your laners don't steal your creeps. If they do steal too much xp, you won't hit level 3. Make sure your team knows not to steal your xp when taking this route. Lesser Wraiths should die quickly and so should lesser lizards. You just need a few auto attacks on red and blue wraith. Tell your team not to stand near wraiths or lesser lizards and not aoe and you should be good.
- In this version, I save smite for blue which is more realistic when your team helps by damaging red.
Alternate Path: Wolves --> Blue --> Red --> Gank
Lately I've just been ganking the hell out of top lane at level 3 almost every game regardless of what jungler I'm playing. Seems more reliable in the current meta where bot lane is warded pretty much every single game at level 2. To do this purple side you'll want to start at blue and then head to red.
Precast 1 sapling on wolves at 1:05, then precast one on blue at 1:20, then another on blue at 1:32. You can then get your team to help you damage wolves and blue. Note that wolves give more xp than wraiths so if they steal a little bit of xp it isn't a problem. As long as they don't go crazy you'll still hit level 3 with this path.
Early-Mid game: Maokai Jungle Strategy and MentalityAs 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 3 jungle Maokai. My route is pretty standard until level 3 (see previous section for route), however post 3 i'm often ganking lanes, defending or roaming.
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 would be a good idea to give away your buffs to members of your team who can use them better than you can.
3) Clear *nearby* small camps (wraiths/wolves/small golems).
Only high priority if you happen to be nearby. You need to clear these constantly 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 think that losing 5-10 seconds will seriously affect your ability to get a kill.
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. While you're doing that, your wolves are banking extra exp and gold (or your mid laner could kill them), and you're still getting decent exp in between ganks.
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.
Maokai plows through the small camps (wolves/wraiths/golems) very quickly, so you'll want to keep them dead as often as possible to maximize your xp gains.
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.
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 gamesAn 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. Somebody on your team (not necessarily you) could take an orcale elixer to 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.
Maokai's Abilities: Quick overview beyond what you'll learn at the wiki.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.
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.
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.
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, and also for better early jungle farming. 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. If you find yourself undereleveled, it may be worth it to put a 3rd rank into sapling to help you catch up.
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.
R: Vengeful Maelstrom:
This "ult" 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.
More on Items: What I Build and Why I Build ItI build maokai as a CDR tank, I feel that this setup is superior to AP maokai in most situations. Although they recently increased the amount of Gold the jungle gives, so AP Bruiser Maokai may be better than it was in season 2.
Starting Item options:
Standard machete/pots start: (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.
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.
Boots: (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 usually don't buy anymore, but its still a decent source of regen and GP10. If you still like shurelya's, you could still pick it up. You might buy it as an alternative item to Crystalline Flask vs poke comps, as it'll give you some hp sustain and also you can build it into shurelya's to catch the bastards.
Note that philo stone now sells for 40% of value not 50%, so its worse than before if you don't plan to upgrade it to shurelya's. If you buy a philo for 700g and sell it for 280, you lose 420g, which is 14 minutes worth of 5gp/10. I'd say buying a philo then selling it would be a bad decision as you're setting yourself back 420g early game and it will take forever to break even.
Philo stone is never a good buy unless you want shurelya's, which I don't usually buy since it got nerfed. That said, if you plan to build shurelya's, getting an early philo sometime early game would be a good idea.
I think is too expensive 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.
Ok, I used to not buy this on maokai but they can only buff it so much until I give in. It's absurdly cost efficient now. Only 1300g plus spirit stone for a bump up of 500 hp, 10% cdr and 35% tenacity is just such a huge early game boost. You don't even need the tenacity but even if you ignore that stat it's a crazy good item.
Mid Game Core:
This was OP at the start of S3, it got nerfed a bit since then but it's still really good. I pick this up 2nd or 3rd depending on if I need armor or magic resist.
Nerfed but still worth it IMO
This item got nerfed after s2 like most other items but I'm still buying it, I love the aura and it gives nice and balanced tank stats to give me everything I need to not die. This is still a core item.
Aegis also it has a cool new upgrade in which you're in no hurry to build vs physical teams, but is a great option for protection from magic damage enemies.
How early I buy aegis depends on enemy team comp, if they're running a lot of AOE i'll want to get it sooner, possibly even rushing it before spirit of the ancient golem. Otherwise i'll get it 2nd or 3rd.
More CDR (optional): OR
Shurelya's got the nerf bat HARD in S3. It's no longer a core item, but still a decent option for maxing out your CDR. Keep in mind, shurelya's is no longer cost efficient stat-wise so you're buying it mostly for the run buff now. Don't buy it in games where you don't think you really need the extra initiation.
Frozen Heart got nerfed too, and is now a 2nd tier CDR/Armor item behind locket. I don't ever buy FH anymore since they added CDR to spirit of the ancient golem, as i don't really need the 20% cdr now. If you're not using CDR Runes/masteries, you may want to pick it up though, or alternatively spirit visage.
You could just pick up a glacial shroud if you need armor, mana and the last 10% cdr. It's not the most slot efficient item in the world but if you ever get to 6 items you can just upgrade it to iceborn gauntlet.
Nerfed too much IMO:
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 super-fed and carrying: OR
They did increase the gold of the jungle but I still think that maokai will still not have enough gold to buy luxury items like these most games, but if you have 10 kills and are carrying might as well build some damage. Frozen fist is a nice new item they added, it's like triforce but with a more reliable slow, CDR, and without all of the wasted useless AD stats.
Abyssal is as always a great tanky/ap item vs magic teams and it gives a nice aura. It's expensive though so you can't afford it on maokai unless you get fed to hell.
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.
Your 6th item could be damage: OR OR
Since the warmogs nerf you're running out of good options for your final item. Either of these would be a good pickup for the 6th slot, since with 5 items you're probably tanky enough and can afford to build a bit of damage.
is also not a bad idea if you are fed and you actually need the 20% cdr (if you're not using CDR runes).
for mid-late game, picking up a would be a pretty good idea, this way you can drop wards everywhere but still gain 300 health for the inventory spot.
Sunfire cape got buffed a bit, but I still never buy it no matter how fed I get, just because its annoying how it aggros baron in the pit. It's not awful now though, so if you're getting rich and like this kind of tankydps item, go ahead and pick it up.
is a good physical defensive item. Now that I don't need the CDR on frozen heart, this is a good idea for more defense+hp late game.
Cost Efficiency Analysis of New Items:
Here's the latest version of 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.
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.
The final super-late game builds for Maokai could look something like this:
Vs mostly Magic:
Vs mostly Phyiscal:
Runes, Masteries and Summoner SpellsMarks:
Attack Speed are the best option, especially with the new 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.
I use 7 CDR Glyphs. Cdr glyphs along with the 4% cdr from offensive tree gets me to nearly 10% cdr, so I can just about hit the CDR cap with the 30% cdr from locket + frozen heart, or locket + blue buff, or locket + spirit visage, or locket + shurelya's + blue potion. These also improve your jungle by letting you cast your finishing spells faster on blue or red during your first run through.
For the remaining two glyphs i use magic resist/level. These are decent filler glyphs as I don't really want to go over 10% cdr. You could use a full set of these if you don't care abotu CDR and prefer to have higher magic resist.
After doing a bunch of testing, I didn't find any early jungle use for AP glyphs, so I won't be using any of those this season.
I use move speed quints now. You don't really need any AP to jungle since the patch where they rebalanced the hp to move it to the greater minions. AP helps your AOE damage a lot but doesn't help as much with single target damage.
Update: so they nerfed flask, you can no longer get it + machete at level 1 even if you spec utility. This makes me sad.
I'm just going to spec defensive now. I don't particularly like the defensive tree but without the possibility of a flask/machete start, utility seems somewhat lacking. Offensive tree is better for clearing the jungle now, but Maokai (moreso than other tanks) actually needs to be tanky, and defensive spec suits him once the teamfights start.
Here's some notes on masteries I took and ones I didn't:
- Sorcery (4% CDR)
I like this mastery because CDR scales well late game and also helps for jungling by letting me cast more spells. This along with the CDR glyphs will get me to just short of 10% CDR, meaning I'll just about reach the cap with locket + frozen heart.
- Fury (4% Attack Speed, 4 points)
This was tempting as this is one of the better masteries for fast jungling, although I decided not to take it as this mastery is not useful late game compared to the other masteries I took. It also seems a little weak, 1% attack speed is not a lot per point. I mean, you get 1.7% attack speed for just one aspeed mark.
- Butcher (+4 damage to monsters and minions, 2 points)
only really helps for jungling, and the speed increase isn't high enough to justify dropping points in this.
- Blast / Arcane Knowledge (+18 ap @ level 18, 8% magic pen, 5 points)
I did not take this although it was tempting. To get it and still spec defense I have to drop the mana regen in utility. This will up your late game damage considerably but it doesn't do a lot earlier game maokai is a tank so ap isn't really your focus late game. Although the sheer amount of AP and mpen this gives makes it a tempting mastery even on a tank. If you prefer AP Jungle Mao (which is really fun but not IMO a serious competitive build.) you should probably take this mastery and also spec 21/6/3.
- Summoner's Resolve (+10 smite gold, 1 point)
This mastery is great. 10 gold per smite is a lot. If you're smiting once every 100 seconds, that's 1 gp/10 for one point. Think of it this way: if you smite four times, you've made 40g, which is about what the typical 1 mastery point is worth. Smite more than that, and you're just making free gold.
- Perseverence (up to +6 hp regen based on missing health, 3 points)
This mastery is complete trash now. I don't know why they would nerf it like this. It does in fact, give almost zero hp regen if you are close to full hp, I have tested it. You should be close to full hp most of the time as running around at low health is dangerous. If you get a good leash especially you should rarely go below 80% hp on your first clear, and usually if you go below half or so you recall. So this mastery is totally pointless unless you're casually walking around at sub-50% hp lots of the time.
- Durability and Veteran Scars (108 health @ level 18, 30 flat health, 5 points)
A nice, cost-efficient source of health. Pick this up on the way down your tree.
- Tough Skin / Bladed Armor (reduced monster damage by 2, 6 damage returned to monsters and minions, 3 points)
Integer damage reduction is huge for jungling. If the jungle monsters hit you for on average 20 damage a hit, 2 damage off reduces the damage you take in the jungle by a full 10%. This can reduce the hp you take from lesser creeps to almost nothing. In addition, bladed armor is the biggest 1 point speed increase mastery that exists. considering how many times jungle monsters auto attack, that 6 damage adds up. I say these masteries are worth the points to improve your jungling.
- Hardiness (5 armor, 3 points)
Jungle monsters all do physical damage, so this helps your jungling and also helps all game vs physical damage.
- Resistance (5 magic resist, 3 points)
I didn't take this because it does nothing for jungling, so isn't important early game, and there are better late game defensive masteries to choose from.
- Unyielding/Block (-2 damage from champions all sources, -3 damage from champion auto attacks, 3 points)
Before unyielding (previously indomitable) was nerfed, it worked on jungle minions and was the best mastery ever. Now its kindof lackluster as it only works against champions, but I still think its worth it. That -5 damage from auto attacks adds up, early game especially. Its huge in 5v5 level 1 fights if there is some kind of invade. This doesn't help your jungling but it will reduce the damage you take from enemies considerably, especially early game. If a spell hits you for 200 damage, its a 1% decrease. if an auto attack hits you for 200 damage, its a 2.5% decrease.
- Relentless/Tenacious (Reduces the effectiveness of slows by 15%. Reduces the duration of CC by 15%, 5 points)
I don't really care about tenacity on maokai, if they cc lock me they probably should have cc locked someone who wasn't a cooldown based tank. I'd rather just stick to defensive masteries, since there's so many good ones to choose from.
- Juggernaught (+4% health, 3 points)
This is quite a bit of health late game, and also a decent amount early game. One of the better defensive masteries in the tree.
- Defender (+1 armor/mr per enemy champion nearby, 1 point)
A nifty mastery for one point. Unfortunately, this only works on visible enemy champions so it cannot be used to check bushes. Still, this mastery is better than most for defensive purposes, 5 armor/mr in a teamfight is quite a bit.
- Legendary Armor (+5% armor and MR, 3 points)
If I were going to drop something in defensive to pick up some other mastery, this would be the first one that I dropped. Its debatable. I think this mastery is worth it. It helps early and late game, but more so late game where you have more armor and magic resist.
- Re-enforced armor (-10% damage from critical strikes, 1 point)
Probably the hardest decision I had to make was NOT taking this, just because of how good it is vs a 6 item AD Carry late game. My problem with this mastery is that it does almost nothing until 20 minutes into the game, at least. Nobody builds crit until super-late game. Even the AD carries I see lately usually rush black cleaver or bloodthirster rather than IE or phantom dancer. Some Ezreals I see build Bloodthirster, frozen fist, last whisper, and the game ends before they even get any crit at all. Crit is just such an expensive stat and people only buy it because of the multiplicative effect it has with AD and Aspeed.
So even though this mastery is huge for reducing the damage you take from the AD carry super-late game, I don't take it because most games I play you pretty much already know who is going to win by 30 minutes, and this does nothing to help you actually get to late game.
Once the meta changes and I start seeing AD carries actually rushing Infinity edge again, I'll probably drop a point in legendary armor and pick this up.
- Honor Guard (-3% all damage taken, 1 point)
This mastery is pretty obvious, as the top tier mastery it's way better for one point than anything else in the tree. If you're going 21 defensive you should obviously pick this up.
- Summoner's Insight (-15 second flash cooldown, 1 point)
I don't think this mastery is worth it. 15 seconds off of a 300 second flash cooldown is not a very high ratio... its 5% off, but only for flash. Flash is nice but its just one one spell. If you take this mastery, there is a 15 second window between 285 seconds after the last time you flashed where you can flash if you took this mastery and can't otherwise. If you don't actually flash during that 15 seconds, this mastery does nothing. Seems like a rare occurance where this would come in handy. I think there are better masteries.
- Wanderer (2% movement speed out of combat, 3 points)
I remember in season 1 you could get 1% movement speed for one point. 1% All the time, not just in combat. This mastery has fallen far from its glory days. This isn't bad but I prefer other masteries.
- Meditation (3 mana regen, 3 points)
Mana regen is a rather expensive stat, and 3 mp/5 for 3 mastery points is a good deal. I don't really want the 9 point offensive mastery so I'll pick this up in utility.
This also helps your level 1-3 jungling for the red path. If you don't take at least one point in this you won't have enough mana to cast the third arcane smash on blue golem.
- Expanded Mind (180 mana @ level 18, 3 points)
This isn't terrible but doesn't really kick in until late, at which point you may not care about mana.
- Runic Affinity (Increase buff duration by 20%, 1 point)
This is a nice mastery if you're going utility, but on defensive to get this you have to drop the 4% cdr mastery in offensive.
I usually give my buffs away past the first clear, so I don't really think that having blue/red buff for 30 sec longer at level 4 is worth giving up flat cdr which helps all game.
OTHER POSSIBLE SPECS:
0/7/23: This is what I used to use until the flask nerf. It used to be you could start with machete + flask at level 1. Now that you can't start flask, the utility tree doesn't seem as strong as before, its still decent but its sortof overkill on sustain.
You'll end your jungle route with potions to spare if you go utility, but its not as good in teamfights, although I'm going to miss the 6% cdr mastery and the GP/10.
21/6/3: This is actually the fastest and most efficient spec for pure jungling now. It's also better for ganking. You'd take a mixture of AD and AP masteries, the best of each, plus the mana regen in util and bladed armor in defensive.
I'm actually using the 21/6/3 spec right now, but I'm not really comfortable with it enough yet to list it on the front page of the guide. Since the HP changes to jungle mobs, maokai is a lot slower than before and this speeds him up noticably. Since the camps give more gold now, so you can use the extra gold in the jungle to get tankier while maintaining just a little bit of damage from masteries. But the defensive masteries are much better when the teamfights start. Offensive spec on maokai is a bit trollish. I need to do some more testing on it!
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.
Conclusion*Insert something witty here*
Change Log9/21/11: 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.