Maokai – LoL Champion Review |


Maokai Review

Hey there, fellow summoners! Today, we’re diving into the world of Maokai, the menacing treant from the Shadow Isles who’s been dominating the League of Legends scene since his release on February 16, 2011. Maokai is a Vanguard class champion who can be found in the Top or Support positions. So, why am I excited to review this champion? Well, he’s just plain cool, and trust me, you’ll soon find out why. Plus, I can’t wait to share some personal insights that might help you on the Fields of Justice. Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what makes Maokai tick.


Maokai, the formidable guardian of the Shadow Isles, was once a gentle nature spirit. However, a cataclysmic event twisted him into a force of vengeance, driven by an undying purpose to rid the Shadow Isles of unlife. His survival, his very essence, hinges on the life-infused waters within his heartwood. That’s one heck of a backstory, and it’s a testament to the depth of character design in League of Legends.

Champion Abilities

Maokai’s abilities are as formidable as his backstory:

Passive – Sap Magic: Maokai’s basic attacks both heal him and pack an extra punch. Plus, the more spells he casts or the more enemy spells he takes, the shorter the cooldown on this ability. It’s like having an ever-replenishing health potion.

Q – Bramble Smash: With a ground-shaking shockwave, Maokai knocks back nearby foes, dealing magic damage and slowing them down. It’s the perfect crowd control move to keep your enemies in check.

W – Twisted Advance: Maokai morphs into a mass of roots, making himself untouchable and dashing straight for the target. Upon arrival, he roots the enemy. An excellent gap-closer and lockdown skill.

E – Sapling Toss: Maokai lobs a sapling to a target area, providing vision and dealing damage. Extra effective when thrown into bushes, giving you a tactical advantage.

R – Nature’s Grasp: Maokai conjures a colossal wall of thorns and brambles, slowly advancing to damage and root any foes in its path. This ultimate is a game-changer in teamfights, locking down multiple enemies and creating chaos.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Champion


  • Perfect for ganking
  • Versatile build options – tanky or AP
  • Fits well into almost any team composition
  • Low-cost and cooldown on Q for consistent pushing and damage
  • Offers excellent utility and sticking power in teamfights


  • Vulnerable early in the game
  • Mana can be an issue if you spam spells
  • Struggles against champions who stack Magic Resistance
  • Vulnerable to poke from ranged champions
  • Can be less impactful when your team is behind

Best Items for Maokai

When it comes to building Maokai, you’ve got some interesting choices to make. Here are a few items to consider:

 Demonic Embrace: This item gives you the power to control objectives and dominate in teamfights. Maokai can feel rather plain without it, so don’t miss out on this unique playstyle.

 Radiant Virtue: If you’re falling behind from the start, grab this to support a fed teammate and boost their potential to carry the game.

 Liandry’s Anguish: If you want to deal more damage and control objectives, this is your go-to item. It outshines Shadowflame and Night Harvester in terms of damage to full HP targets and sustained battles.

 Jak’Sho, The Protean: Use this item for survivability when you’re getting up close and personal with multiple enemies.

 Morellonomicon: Pick this up if you’re responsible for reducing enemy healing and if your team needs magic damage. If not, consider buying it later in the game.

Best Lanes and Roles for Maokai

In my book, Maokai is a top-tier tank support, hands down. He brings a boatload of crowd control, excelling in both engaging and peeling for your team. His saplings also grant valuable vision, making him a strong pick in an objective-centered meta, which has been the trend in recent years. You’ll find that Maokai is a versatile choice who can adapt to various roles, but his support game is truly on point.

Champion Picks and Counter Picks

Now, let’s break down Maokai’s matchups. He’s a lane dominator against champs like Hecarim and Rumble. You’ll relish those moments. However, when facing off against Trundle or Xin Zhao, things get a bit hairy. These brawlers give Maokai a tough time, so it’s better to avoid picking a fight with them. Know your strengths and weaknesses, and you’ll be a better Maokai player for it.

Price of Maokai in 2023

Now, let’s talk about the price tag. In 2023, you can unlock Maokai for a price of 4800 Blue Essence (BE) or 880 Riot Points (RP). Not too steep, right? It’s a fair deal for a champion with this much versatility and sheer fun.

My Feedback

Tank Maokai is the way to go. Across the board, players of all ranks agree that tank Maokai is the more effective and preferred style of play. His durability and crowd control are invaluable in teamfights, making him an asset for your team’s success.

Now, if you’re in it for fun and the occasional troll, AP Maokai can be a blast. But beware; it’s a riskier choice in ranked games, so use it with caution. Remember, League of Legends is all about teamwork and strategy.

One more thing to highlight is Maokai’s saplings. They grant you fantastic vision and control over brushes, which can be a game-changer. But remember, this is situational and might not always be the game-deciding factor.

Another key aspect to master is knowing when to engage, especially when playing Maokai as a support. Pay attention to level advantages, wave positions, enemy abilities, and even global ultimates from other lanes. Timing is everything, and a well-timed engage can turn the tide of a game.

Best Guide for Maokai in 2023

Looking for an in-depth guide on how to maximize your Maokai skills in 2023? Check out this comprehensive guide. It’s packed with valuable insights, tips, and tricks to level up your Maokai game.

Best Skins for Maokai

charred maokai splash art

Now, let’s talk style. Maokai has a range of skins to spruce up his appearance. Here are some fan-favorites:

  • Victorious Maokai (2016): This skin is more like a badge of honor, perfect for showcasing your ranked prowess.
  • Totemic Maokai (2011): Unique and unsettling, this skin is a standout choice, featuring a spooky mask and a distinctive aesthetic.
  • Festive Maokai (2011): Get into the holiday spirit with this Christmas-themed skin. It’s festive, but it might not suit your year-round vibe.
  • Goalkeeper Maokai (2014): This one turns Maokai into a soccer goalkeeper, complete with a goal on his head and ball-shaped saplings. It’s quirky, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
  • Charred Maokai (2011): Though it doesn’t dramatically change Maokai’s look, it adds an intimidating texture and boasts an awesome splash art.
  • Worldbreaker Maokai (2020): Part of the Worldbreaker skin line, this skin has a cool, exotic design. While it fits Maokai’s character, it might feel somewhat generic compared to other Worldbreaker skins.
  • Haunted Maokai (2012): This spooky choice features a character model carrying corpses and a sinister grin. It’s a gem often overlooked.
  • Astronaut Maokai (2021): A newer skin with detailed character modeling, alien companions, unique animations, and a mix of cute and serious elements to cater to various tastes.
  • Meowkai (2016): A beloved skin known for its humor, Meowkai transforms Maokai into a pajama-wearing tree who throws exploding cats. It’s a fan favorite, and for good reason.

Champion’s Tricks and Interesting Facts

Here’s a little extra knowledge for you:

  • Maokai was named after his concept artist, Maokai Xiao.
  • In Chinese, Maokai is rendered as 茂凯 / Màokǎi.
  • Maokai’s dance references the Harlem Globetrotters.
  • Keep an eye out for Tabs for Jarvan IV and ‘blindmonk’ during Maokai’s ‘Art Spotlight.’
  • When you engage with your Ultimate, Nature’s Grasp (R), make sure to fall back and protect your carries. It’s a game-changer in teamfights.

So, there you have it, fellow gamers! Maokai is a versatile and exciting champion that can add immense value to your League of Legends experience.


Who is Maokai, and what is his role in League of Legends?

Maokai is a champion in League of Legends known as a menacing treant from the Shadow Isles. He can be played in the Top or Support positions. His role is that of a Vanguard, excelling in crowd control and tanking.

What are Maokai’s primary abilities, and how do they work?

Maokai’s abilities include a passive called Sap Magic, Q – Bramble Smash, W – Twisted Advance, E – Sapling Toss, and R – Nature’s Grasp. These skills offer a combination of healing, crowd control, and damage to control the game.

What are the pros and cons of playing Maokai in League of Legends?

Maokai is great for ganking, versatile in terms of build options, and fits well into many team compositions. However, he is vulnerable early in the game and can struggle against champions with Magic Resistance, as well as against ranged opponents.

What are the recommended items for Maokai in 2023?

Key items for Maokai in 2023 include Demonic Embrace, Radiant Virtue, Liandry’s Anguish, Jak’Sho, The Protean, and Morellonomicon. The choice of items depends on your team’s needs and your playstyle.

What is the best lane and role for Maokai, and how should I play him effectively?

Maokai is considered a top-tier tank support who excels in engaging and peeling for your team. To play him effectively, you need to understand when to engage, focus on teamwork and strategy, and make the most of his saplings for vision control.