Maokai Champion Guide by I Rock Ths
Last Updated 2013-02-20
Table of Contents
Maokai Guide by I Rock Ths
Copyright 2012 Andrew Fox. This guide may not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on any other website or distributed publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide as part of any unauthorized public display is strictly prohibited and a violation of copyright. All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their respective trademark and copyright owners. These websites have permision to use this guide:
Version history: 1.0 Basic foundation for the guide. Build, runes, masteries, basic strategies, ect.
- Pictures of Rune pages and mastery pages
- Lane advice and match ups
- AP Bruiser build, advice and match ups
If you wish to contact me, message me on GameFAQs please.
Hello friends I'm I Rock Ths, FlameLord23 on the GFaqs Forums. Yes, the Vlad guy. However, ask anyone who plays with me a lot and they will all tell you how unbeatable my Maokai is from the jungle. So I decided to write this guide at first for the jungle but I will include some laning advice for him later (hint: he does well against Riven).
Maokai is almost the ideal tank. His ult allows him to reduce the damage he takes and his abilities allow him to start fights or peel for his teammates, and one allows him to check brushes for enemies or poke during standoffs. He is mana hungry especially early, and has slow clear times, but his ganks and teamfight is legendary.
Maokai is a tank jungler with good CC, so you aren't going to be getting too many kills with him. You goal is going to be to set up kills for your team, and you'll get a few usually. I usually get 2-3 a game, but also end up with 15+ assists. As a tank, your job is to absorb the enemy's damage. Take the cait ult, eat some skillshots, and just refuse to die. Start to peel for your squishy champions as well; keeping the carry alive is much more important.
Sap Magic (Passive): Every spell cast around Maokai gives him a charge of Magical Sap. After 5 charges his next basic attack will restore 7% of Maokai's Maximum Health. This is extremely helpful later in the game, but gives him some good sustain early in the jungle or in lane if you take him there. Obviously since it scales with health, stacking health helps him with this, so health items will help him a lot.
Arcane Smash (Q): Nearby enemies in a line are knocked in the air and take 70/115/160/205/250 + 0.4 AP magic damage and are slowed by20/27/34/41/48% for 2 seconds.This is an AOE skillshot and a huge help in the jungle. It has a cooldown of 6 seconds at all ranks, but the cost never increases. It allows you to clear the jungle camps quickly as it can hit all members of the camp, but can seperate them if you aren't careful. It is a knockback, so it isn't cleansable (although the slow after they come down is) but is like Draven's in that it's more of an interrupt than a huge amount of CC (think about the Cho'Gath Q). It will cancel a Katarina ult though. Max this first because the damage and slow increase greatly for no additional cost.
- Mana cost: 55 Mana
- Cooldown: 6 Seconds
Twisted Advance (W):Maokai leaps to a target dealing 80/115/150/185/220 +0.8 AP magic damage and roots the enemy for 1/1.25/1.5/1.75/2 seconds. This also increases the damage and CC length with rank, with a slight increase in mana cost per rank, no Cooldown Reduction however. Sad day. This really isn't too helpful in the jungle and I don't bother with it if I'm not counterjungling or taking a buff when doing camps, but is massively important in ganking and in teamfights. Max this second but don't take it until level 4 since you need help with the first clear and a second rank in Q helps much more. An important note about this abilitiy is that it will follow blinks and dashes, so if you try and flash away from it (or an enemy tries to flash away from yours) it will follow. This is singlehandedly the reason you need flash on Maokai, because the enemy will flash from it and you will be taken over a wall or behind a tower you don't want to be past, otherwise Ghost or Exhaust would be amazing on him.
- Mana cost: 75/80/85/90/95 mana
- Cooldown: 13 Seconds
Sapling Toss (E):Maokai tosses a sapling toward an area, dealing 40/75/110/145/180 + 0.4 AP magic damage on impact. This sapling wards the area for 35 seconds, and if it detects an enemy it chases them, explodes, and deals 80/130/180/230/280 +0.6 AP Magic damage around them. This is the last ability you max. It increases in damage for an increase in mana cost and no cooldown reduction. It is an unreliable source of damage outside the jungle and has the least upside to maxing. However it's the first ability you take because you can use it at level one to watch for invades and to help you with camps (more on this later). You can use this to check brush for enemies before entering them, but be warned it will attack neutral monsters so warding camps in not a great idea, and it cannot be used to ward dragon or baron, just to check them.
- Mana Cost: 70/80/90/100/110 mana
- Cooldown: 12 Seconds
Vengful Maelstrom (R): Maokai shields and absorbs 20% damage does to allied champions in an area and turns it into power for this attack. After he deactivates this ability all enemies in an area take 100/150/200 + 0.5 AP +2 damage per damage absorbed in magic damage. Yeah it's a confusing ability. So here's the TL;DR: If you're on his team, fight in it. If you aren't, kite out of it. Basically you want to place this where your team wishes to fight so they take less damage. However most enemies won't want to fight in it because they deal less damage while taking the full amount from enemies. Imagine an AD Carry that deals 400 damage (800 for crits) on both sides. Now one side suddenly starts dealing 320 damage, and only 640 for crits, but the other side still deals 400 and 800. Which side will win? The one doing more damage. It's a huge boost to your team if they can fight in it. But most people, even if they haven't seen Maokai before, don't want to fight in the giant glowing red circle. So what do they do? They run away. And when enemies run, they often get split up and it's much easier to beat them.
- Mana cost: 75 initial plus 35 per second
- Cooldown: 40 seconds
Runes, Masteries, and Summoner Spells
Your runes and masteries are going to be focused on absorbing damage. For runes I much prefer flat armor yellows and reds because you want the armor for the jungle clears, and scaling magic resistance because magic damage becomes a factor more as the game goes on. For masteries, I prefer 0/21/9. The exact masteries are up to you but some essentials are
- Bladed armor for clear time
- Summoner's Resolve for extra gold when using smite
- Summoner's Insight for flash cooldown
- Mastermind for Summoners CDR
- Runic Affinity because the additional buff timers are great, especially early.
Beyond those it's really a personal preference. I go with Veteran Scars plus Hardiness and Resistance as well, but it's really not necessary to take those. I would recommend Tenacious as well, since it stacks with Tenacity, but since you get Tenacity from the build it's not necessary.
For Summoner Spells I would recommend Flash and Smite. Like I said, you can be pulled extremely further than you intend when you use Twisted Advance, especially if Twisted Fate ults while you're doing it. Flash is mostly used to correct those mistakes, but can also be used to get close enough to set up a combo. Smite is necessary for Maokai to jungle. It's also necessary to jungle, no matter what anyone says, because you lose objective control without it.
As a tank you have to remember to change your build depending on the enemy. If they don't have any AP then stacking MR isn't a good idea and getting any is probably a waste. But if their AP damage is much greater than their AD then your next item should probably be an MR heavy item. Anyway, here's the short version and I'll explain later:
- Start Machete + 5 health pots
- Next turn that into a spirit stone and grab boots 1
- First complete item should be the Spirit of the Ancient Golem
- Then get Boots of Mobility
- Sunfire Cape
- Spirit Visage
- Abyssal Sceptre
- Runic Bulwark
Machete + 5 pots is pretty much the standard starting for anyone anymore, and the only jungler I can think of that can start anything else now is Nunu because of Consume. By the time you go back for your first recall you should have enough to finish your spirit stone and grab boots. If you are able to pull off a gank successfully you should have enough for some wards and pots as well. Grabbing wards whenever possible is a huge help to your team; you can ward your river or the enemy jungle to keep an eye on their team and help prevent ganks.
Depending on how the game is going you can finish boots or Spirit of the Ancient Golem first. If possible your SotAG should be up first, but you may have to upgrade boots first which isn't a problem. The reason you go Boots of Mobility is due to the fact that you have tenacity from the SotAG. You can also go Tabi or Swiftness but you really won't need the continuous speed boost and Tabi is really only good if they have many auto-attack reliant champs. You get enough armor from your build.
Once you have your SotAG and Boots of Mobility, look at what you need to survive. Is their AD Carry tearing you to shreds? Sunfire. Is their AP damage strong? Abyssal or Spirit Visage. Do you need protection from both? Warmogs, or Aegis if your support isn't grabbing it. Your goal is to end up with SotAG, Boots of Mobility, and four items that help you survive their attack. If they have no one building AP then don't worry about an Abyssal Sceptre, replace it with a Warmogs. A spirit visage isn't a horrible item even if they have no AP because it multipies your passive and the Warmogs regen if you get a warmogs. And CDR is a good stat on any champion.
Based on the enemy having a meta team, your build should include a SotAG, Boots of Mobility, Abyssal Sceptre, Sunfire Cape, and Spirit Visage. If your support doesn't get an Aegis or Bulwark, then grab one to fill out the build (probably before the last item as well; it's too important to leave for the end). If not, grab a Warmogs to die even less and make your passive even more powerful. If they are 0 AP, which is becoming more and more common, then a Warmogs become necessary because you drop the Abyssal from the build. If your support is Leona, nunu, or Taric they may get Aegis for themselves, and so could a top laner like Shen, so it would be a good idea to communicate and figure out who wants to get Aegis (note: if it's a Nunu, Leona or Taric support and they want it let them get it, it's much better on them). If they get it, stack another Warmogs. Yeah you don't get the regen again but the 1000 health is amazing. I would keep the Visage for ths passive. If you can't figure out what to get I would alternate what resistance you are buying. The SotAG has armor, so unless the enemy AD is just murdering you, go ahead and build MR next; stacking more armor won't help prevent that enemy AP carry from slaughtering you.
For a boots enchant you essentially have 3 options. Furor is kind of pointless since your only single target ability is a root, and with mobos or swiftness you really don't need alacrity. Distortion is honestly mostly outclassed if you aren't split pushing (some AD Carries without an escape take it to lower flash cooldown, but that's not important for Maokai). Your basic options are Homeguard and Captain. Captain is really good when you're ahead because it allows minions to move faster and therefore faster pushing, and since you are jumping into the enemy team it allows your team to capitalize on your initiation better. However, Homeguard are great when you're losing because it allows you to get out and defend your base much faster, and are even an option in close games and winning games.
Start off at wolves, and remember this route whenever you start blue, it's probably the best route for any jungler. Get help with wolves and blue. If a teammate takes a small wolf it's not the end of the world, you'll still hit 4 at the right time. After blue, go to wraiths and then return to wolves. If they aren't up when you finish with wraiths they'll be up after you get there or shortly after if you clear really quickly. Then grab your Red and clear wraiths again. This should get you four. At this point you should start looking to gank lanes. If nothing is open for a gank then go clear wolves again, or golems.Then look to gank and if nothing is open at this point you should recall.
For skills start with Sapling Toss since it helps you clear early very quickly. Put one on the Wolf camp at 1:05 and one on the Blue at 1:20. Your third one you can choose where to put it. If you don't think you'll get a lot of help with wolves then put a second one there, otherwise put it on blue. Don't forget to ask for help on wolves and blue, you'd think by now people would understand that, but not all mids do and this may be their first time with a jungler. If you're purple you should have the AD Carry and support to help you as well, so don't even worry about wolf clear time. If you're blue side you should have the top helping you and it may take a little longer. Levels 2 and 3 should put ranks in Arcane Smash for clear time, since Arcane Smash is much better for clear time. At four put one in Twisted Advance. Max Arcane Smash, then Twisted Advance, then Sapling Toss, putting points in Vengeful Maelstrom at 6, 11, and 16.
Ganking is fairly simple for Maokai. Get vision on someone, hit W to lock them down and then Q to knockback and slow. At this point it's down to the laner to deal a lot of damage, but hopefully they were working while your W had them locked down. Getting assists isn't horrible especially with Maokai. If you have ult during a gank throw it down in the area the enemy will be running toward to escape; force them to take damage to escape.
Don't forget about blue. If you have a mana champion in mid, which 90% of the time you will, then giving them blue is the best option, although some will say they don't need it, either because they don't think they need it or they got it from a kill. If the mid isn't blue, then take blue for yourself. Energy champions can make use of blue (it gives energy regen as well as mana regen and everyone benefits from CDR), but Maokai still has slow clears and the spamming of skills and experience from it really helps him out. Many other junglers, especially assassins, can get away with giving it to mids even if they aren't mana champions, but on Maokai I would recommend keeping it at least for the second and maybe third if you're still in laning phase. After that, some supports, like Sona, can make good use of it, so can Ezreal and many top laners, and it can be much more powerful in a fight.
I hate mid game with a passion as any champion because it's so chaotic. But Maokai basically becomes a support/tank. Stick with someone who does quite a bit of damage and go and try and pick people off. Don't forget to give off your blue to the mid and control dragon. Pink warding dragon and clearing wards is a really good idea. If you're winning the team needs to start pressuring towers. Multiple whenever possible. Cause as much chaos as possible for the enemy team; make them fly around the map and lose farm and objectives. If you're losing coordinate with your team to try and stop pushes. Attempt to pick off enemies that go off on their own and slowly make a comeback. Trades are your friend when you are behind. Whether winning or losing don't forget to clear the jungle. If you're winning try and clear the opposing jungle. Ward up whichever side of the map has the fights occuring so you can run when needed or pick off the enemy alone. Try and be as distracting as possible in teamfights. Look formidable and grab the focus of the enemy team so your damaging allies can dominate.
Major objectives during the mid game are the three outer turrets, dragon, and defending your own turrets, with Baron becoming relevant toward the end of mid game. Defending your turrets and taking enemy turrets gives you push power, map control, and map vision. Enemy minions won't be able push past your turret, and the enemy won't be especially safe behind your turrets either. Destroying your enemy's turrets gives you control of much more of the map, basically the area between your turret and the turret just destroyed, although not having your turret loses you that advantage. Dragon is 190 gold for the entire team, and global gold is one of the most underestimated aspects of the game. Baron gives your entire team alive at the time of killing him a giant HP regen buff, plus AD and AP for 4 minutes. Dragon respawns 6 minutes after you kill him, Baron 7 minutes.
Late game is where Maokai is really amazing. At this point you have a lot of health so your passive is super powerful. yesterday it took my 30 seconds to kill a Maokai at 100 health because he kept getting passive procs and I was a tank, so we fought for a long time because he got around 400 health back. If you build resistances and HP like this guide suggests, then you'll be recovering a lot of health and taking little damage at the same time. Make sure to keep applying your CC in team fights, but never go out on your own at this point. Your team shouldn't be seperated too much anyway in the late game; travelling as a pack is almost necessary. By now you need to have control of baron and dragon, so keeping wards on both is a good idea. Either you or the support should have an oracle's running throughout the late game if possible to clear wards, especially on objectives. Use smite on baron and dragon to secure the objectives, making sure to have the health target under your smite. IE at level 18 when it does 1000 damage, the target is under 1000 damage so you guarantee the objective. Using it too early can lead to steals and just giving it to the enemy team.
In teamfights positioning is key for both sides. You want to be near the front of your team but still able to dodge skillshots; however you may have to take a nid spear or other skillshots for the AD Carry. If the enemy tries to initiate on you that's a silly idea but could be a thing, and ideally you are the one initiated on if the enemy initiates. But you are Maokai and have pretty good initation yourself. So you need to wait for someone to get caught out in front, preferrably a squishy champion. Lock them down and throw down your ult in front of you, barely covering the enemy you locked down., because this is where the teamfight will take place. Timing on the ult is critical, since it consumes a lot of mana and can drain your mana pool. Lockdown the target for your team, and if a kill has been secured start CC on the next one. One of the biggest failures in teams is too much focus. They blow all their CC and abilities on a secured kill. If the support has 400 health left and is stunned try and grab another target because that support will probably die in about 2 seconds and the other enemy could escape.
When you have Baron Buff you need to be pushing objectives. Either force a fight or push towers and inhibitors to try and take a huge map advantage. If you get baron and are losing badly you may have to defend your own base with Baron, but whatever you do, don't just sit around and farm the jungle or lanes with Baron, do something to win the game. If you are ahead, the longer the game goes the easier it is for the enemy to get back into the game, since they start catching up in levels and in items. Be careful not to throw the game by making bad calls or bad plays, it feels really bad after the game when you realize you cost your team the game.
Respawn Timers for Neutral Monster Camps
- Wraiths: 50 Seconds
- Wolves: 60 Seconds
- Double Golems: 60 Seconds
- Red Buff: 300 Seconds (5 minutes)
- Buff Duration: 120 Seconds (2 minutes)
- Blue Buff: 300 Seconds (5 minutes)
- Buff Duration: 120 Seconds (2 minutes)
- Dragon: 360 Seconds (6 minutes)
- Baron Nashor: 420 Seconds (7 minutes)
- Buff Duration: 240 Seconds (4 minutes)
In the jungle
Jungle match ups aren't like lane matchups because in lane matchups you are going head to head for laning phase. Junglers will rarely see each other except for counter jungling or counter ganking. So I tried to analyze each jungler on four aspects:
- Clear time
- Gank potential
- Mid and late game/teamfight presence
These are the four main aspects you look for in a jungler. For instance, take Soraka. She has decent clear times and good sustain with her Q and W, but she has no ganking potential without flash. I then try to explain how to win a game against them, specifically for when they are jungling, but many also have lane use and those tips, especially for mid, late, and team fight presence, should carry over.
You should really do fairly well against Alistair. He has probably the slowest clear time and has to live in lanes a lot. Because of his slow clear time he really tends to fall behind a bit if he can't pull off ganks. If this happens try and live in his jungle and counter him. You probably won't see him jungle much but it happens occasionally.
You should do alright in the early game against Amumu. Both are walking CC machines that don't have great counter jungling skills. The fact that it's hard for him to counter you is really what allows you to survive against him. He clears much faster than Maokai and has a bigger teamfight impact. It's a fairly even matchup.
This is really easy before 6. But once he gets 6 he'll just eat you alive. Literally. He's got a great amount of CC in his Q+W, he clears faster than you, and once he hits 6 counter jungling becomes much easier since he gets an extremely powerful smite every 60 seconds. His teamfight presence isn't quite as good though, and unless he builds tank you can usually focus him down late game, but mid game he'll probably give you some problems.
Well Darius did alright with the new jungle. Basically it's become great for AOE clears that also have good single target damage. Darius fits the bill because of his twirl. And of course he's great in teamfights. If he builds damage he'll probably just try and kill everything, so you have to lock him down. In terms of counter jungling he isn't too effective at this, but he's really good at ganking if someone else can CC the enemy long enough for Darius to get there. Not quite as effective as Darius in the top lane, but still quite effective. Not impossible though.
More often seen in Mid than jungle, she has decent clear because of her AOE, but she also has really good single target damage. She's like Cho though: Once she gets 6 she's a much different champion. At 6 she gets her gap closer that also does a decent amount of damage, and has 0 Cooldown if combined with her Q effectively (which has a 4 second cooldown). Once she hits 6 she can counter you fairly effectively because her skills allow her to jump in, kill them and run away. Her ganks are really good if she can hit the Q. Her teamfight is countered with hard CC, and you have a fair amount of it handy.
The Doctor goes where he pleases. And that means anywhere in your jungle too. His fast clear times allow him to get done with his jungle and start taking yours once he's done. His ganks aren't as good as yours since his cleavers are skillshots and if he misses it's a dead giveaway that he's trying to gank. He's damn near impossible to kill once he hits 6 though. He's a health tank that does a fair amount of damage, but unless he builds resistances he's not going to last long to your heavy damagers. Unless he's fed his teamfight presence isn't at your level, since he can't lock down anyone, although that slow is really heavy.
Well Elise is really REALLY good right now, even in the jungle. She's got good sustain in spider form and good clear times as well. She can counter you fairly well and her ganks are good, great if she lands the Human E. Rappel is really powerful for either closing gaps or avoiding damage. If she builds bruiser watch out, she'll do a ton of damage and absorb a lot as well. Her teamfight is excellent because of her just continuous damage and sustain. More often than not Elise goes top lane but is an extremely viable jungler and strong in either spot.
More often in mid because she just fits there better (lack of sustain) Evelynn's ganks are legendary. She remains stealthed until the enemy champions are in a fairly close range, so she can easily get close enough to destroy a single target quickly. But she's an assassin, so multiple enemies can kill her. Locking her down is a huge counter to her. Since she can run right past sight wards countering is easy for her, but if she's in combat her stealth breaks, so you'll see her if you ward a camp and she starts taking it you will see her. Her clear time isn't bad, but the scariest thing is the ganks. Teamfighting is a weakness for her, she really has to come in and play clean up, so if you can win the fight and come out healthy you'll be able to escape or enable your teammates escape. If you come out low and she's alive, be careful. Always assume she's around the corner.
The scare crow isn't all that scary to Maokai. The only problem is you can't cancel the ult once its going and you can't cancel the channel with your W. However Fiddle is squishy so your team should be able to focus him in teamfights. Watch out for the bouncing silence and the fear for days (3 seconds at max rank). If he combos the ult and fear you're going to take a lot of damage quickly. The best way to deal with him is to build some MR so you can take his damage and try and keep him down for your teammates to kill him or away from your squishies.
Fiora doesn't really have a place in the meta right now. She's a melee AD carry which really has no place (the only one played right now commonly is Yi as an AP Carry) but she can be a monster coming out of the jungle. She does a lot of damage and is good at closing gaps, and is one of the best 1v1 champions, but has no CC and struggles in teamfights due to having to be in melee range to deal damage. Her clear is decent and she counters alright, her ganks are acceptable. I wouldn't be too worried about a Fiora if you can get it to late game and keep her in check.
Oh boy the brony of League. Hecarim is quite a beast in teamfights because of his ult plus massive sustain. He has great initiation, it rivals Maokais and may even surpass it, however his clear time is decent at best and his countering is decent at best. His ganks are great because of his gap closing ability. You can shut him down. If he activates Devastating Charge hit him with a W and Q to stop the bonus damage from building and go in on that. The best way to beat initiatiors is to initiate on them.
The Fresh Prince of Demacia is a good top lane and jungler. He's a great bruiser with a game-changing ult. You can use your W to hop the wall, but it's up to you to determine if that's a good idea or not. Remember he's going to want to use his ult on your squishies to keep them out of the fight and to keep them in an area for his team to demolish. His clears are a little slow, similar to Maokai, except he builds AD Bruiser so he'll get faster as the game goes along usually. It's not the end of the world if you see Jarvan.
Jax is the first truly scary opponent because of his ability to counter jungle. With his passive he gets stronger as the battle goes on so it's possible for him to come in, steal the major monster in a camp and just leave one survivor for you to put out of its misery. He scales incredibly well into late game and gets tanky from building damage. Next to Irelia they are the hardest champions to completely shut down. His clear is pretty good and his leap is a great gap closer. His only CC is an AOE stun that avoids auto attacks for 2 seconds. His teamfight is one of the best in the game. However most people prefer him top because he's very hard to beat in lane.
Kha is like Elise in that he's in a very good place right now, and can go Top, Mid, or Jungle. His clear is fairly good due to the AOE on his W and the Isolation damage on his Q. He's not the greatest counter jungler because a lot of his damage comes from that isolation factor, but he's not horrible either. He's got great ganks due to his Leap with AOE damage and the slow on his W if he evolves it, plus the enemy will isolate themselves to escape. His teamfight isn't great because he can't get the isolation damage, but if he ults watch out. He'll activate his passive each time he ults and that does quite a bit of damage and adds a slow. He can pick off individual members of the team though, so be careful going off alone.
Oh yes, the cliche. We had to put in a blind monk because reasons. Anyway, Lee Sin is a great jungler, but requires quite a bit of practice and skill to use effectively. Free initiations and escapes on fairly short cooldowns, although the gap closer requires him to hit a skillshot. He's got decent sustain and clear time as well, and he's great in 1v1 situations. Like most assassins though, get a couple teammates there and he's less effective. His teamfight isn't as strong as his early game but his ganks are amazing if he hits the Q. He can't deal much damage to you, but he can devastate your team if he isn't focused. Trying to hold him down is the best strategy for teamfights.
I can stop the rock. When I'm not playing Maokai. Malphite really beats Maokai's teamfight because of his counter initiation. Oh Maokai you jumped on a teammate and now your team followed you. Wait where did they go? His ult basically throws you all away from where you wanted to fight. He's commonly banned for a reason. His clear isn't fast and before 6 his ganks are acceptable. Just hope your team outplays his team, because you're probably both gonna be huge tanks that refuse to die. If you're playing him, try and bait the ult before you ult, wasting yours is huge. If you save it your team can reinitiate onto their team and fight in an ult after malphite knocks them away.
Well he's died off a bit with the nerfs because people lost their severely OP freeelo champion, but it's still viable. The damage wasn't nerfed a bit, but the heal was brought to the point that you he can be killed while healing. Before the only answer was to ignite him and hope it killed enough of the healing that you could kill him after he healed. He's got really good clear time because his Q hits monsters harder than champions and the sustain with his Meditate is really good and was actually strengthened early due to the base heal being buffed. If he builds AP that's a problem because he's going to pick up kills if he saves his Q for when your team is low. If he goes AD he's going to be a problem because his whole game isn't his Q late game. The easiest way to beat him? Lock him down and focus him. Hit W and problem solved.
No I changed my mind. Nautilus has the slowest clear time. But his ganks are INSANE. Naut is a walking CC machine His gap closer is a skillshot but instead of just locking the enemy down he pulls the enemy toward him. His passive roots an enemy for a short time depending on level. His W is a shield that gives Damage over time and also resets his passive. His W is a massive AOE slow. His R is a massive teamfight disruption tool since it knocks up everyone on its way to the intended target. However his biggest problem is that Nautilus is SLOOOOOOOOW. In every sense of the word. His auto attack animation is horribly inefficient and almost impossible to time, his clear time is embarassingly slow, and he moves just slightly faster than Baron. His team fight and ganks are good but everything else is just embarassing for him.
Another really strong jungler like Lee Sin, he's got a good mix of AOE and single target damage for efficient clears. He isn't a horrible counter jungler either. He has a couple of gap closers in his ult which has a gigantic range and his speed up path that does AOE damage and speeds him up while on it. His spell shield allows him to block incoming CC and gain attack speed if he does. Try and bait that out because if he blocks it the initiation has failed but your team is going to have to go in anyway because the enemy team will fight. He's an assassin though and excells in 1v1 fighting and has a lower teamfight potential than some other champions.
Nunu is the best counter jungler in the game but his ganking ability compensates for that. Because he has no true gap closer and has to run in, the enemy can escape easier than a gap closer. His snowball does a massive slow though. His biggest thing is that he doesn't do much damage outside a fully channeled ult or massive AP snowballs. If he builds tanky he'll do little damage but won't die and he's great at peeling due to the snowballs having a massive slow and a 6 second cooldown. But his biggest strength in the jungle is his counter jungling. His Consume is a massive smite on shorter cooldown and he removes buffs and other camp leaders like nothing. However the recent nerfs to Bloodboil really killed his jungle especially if he can't have blue. He's mostly seen as a support now and probably will for a long time.
Olaf is one scary mofo. He gets stronger building health and his ult removes CC and prevents him from being CCd for the duration. Then he just goes in and stomps anything that moves. If you've seen the voyboy play at the LCS Qualifier you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Basically he teleported into a the entire enemy and killed 2 enemies and his team in and made it a 4 for 2. He then took on a Karthus and Miss Fortune 2v1 and killed both of them and walked away. Riot even cited that performance as a reason for the nerfs he recieved to start season 3. He's strong throughout the game and the best thing to do is avoid his axes. He has no true gap closer so if you dodge the axes it's much harder for him to catch you and deal damage. He's a health tank, so he'll be more likely to stack health than resistances, but a smart one will stack both. His clear and counter are fairly good and he's strong throughout the game.
Well he mostly goes mid or top, but occasionally he goes jungle. His clear time is decent and he's got okay ganks. His ult really allows him to pull of huge ganks from far away, so care for that. A 1v2 or 2v3 can quickly be equalized. He leaps to an area and does massive damage plus a decent slow. He also has a target stun to follow that up with. He's an assassin though so he excells in quick skirmishes and falls off in team fights.
Oh boy the ninja turtle. Basically Rammus is a tank that scales well with armor, gaining AD with armor. His clear time isn't great, but his taunt is powerful. If he taunts someone and then starts running from them he can kite them right to his team. His powerball gives him a massive speedboost that adds a slow when he reaches the target, and his W gives him massive tankiness and returns damage to the target. He can't counter jungle at all though. Late in the game you probably won't be able to kill the armordillo, but the best thing to do is to lock him down when he starts rolling. He gains speed as the time goes and whenever he attacks a target that kills the speedboost so if you can force him to attack you that can really change things.
Rengar is a really REALLY good single target killer. But as for taking down multiple targets? Not really. His jungle time is alright, not excellent, he's got decent sustain from his W, and his Bolas grant a huge slow, and a root with full ferocity bonus. The big thing for him is his leap. When in the brush he gains a huge leap range so he uses that to close gaps many times. He's not in a great place right now because his kit is in the position of being extremely strong or irrelevant. Right now he's irrelevant while Riot work on a rework for him. He's behind Karma and Heimerdinger at least. His team fight is very poor because his gap closer only works from brush so he's essentially useless in base; he can be kited into oblivion. However the ult also activates the leap and fills his ferocity bar quickly. If you watched the world finals you saw the ult used to perfection and had flash not been up it would have been one of the top plays of the year. Basically if you can survive his early game without him getting miles ahead he'll get shut down in the teamfight.
Oh wait she still exists? She's the redheaded stepchild of junglers. She's really not horrible it's just she's not no place in the meta. She's actually fairly similar to Maokai but all the tank junglers just do her job better. She's got a lot of slows and an Ashe-like AOE Stun/slow combo ult. Her clear isn't amazing but her teamfight is pretty good. However it's got nothing on you as Maokai.
This is instant oh **** moments for almost any jungler. Shaco will get his blue and then run to your red and set a box in the bush and kill you as you try and take red. His boxes take the jungle camp aggression, and allow him to really take his first buff quickly. His ganks are amazing and his escapes are pretty good too. But he has probably the worst teamfight of any jungler. He relies on doing a lot of damage to running enemies but the enemies will just kill you quickly and move on to other targets. Even with the clone it's just not that impactful in teamfights. He has to get fed early or he'll be useless. Of course after killing each lane 3 times he'll just go into your jungle and take everything. And kill you two or three times if you try and farm your own jungle. Just don't let him get fed early and you should really dominate the laning phase.
Okay. Again I have to say I was wrong. Shen might have the worst clear time. I still give it to Nautilus though. His ganking is insane though. Shadow Dash allows him to dash to an area and taunt anyone he touches. He builds tank and still split pushes like a monster in the late game. His ult shields an ally and teleports him to the fight, so they can initiate without their tank and still come out ahead. He can't clear quickly, he can't counter effectively, but his ult can really change a teamfight, so be careful of that.
Shyvana's role is to counter jungle so she'll hit you pretty hard early on. The good news is that she has the great counter jungling abilities to make up for the lack of CC availability. Her only CC is a huge AOE knockup on her ult however. She's decent in teamfights in Dragon form because all of her abilities become AOE. Her biggest asset though is her utility; she can play many roles well. Watch for her counter jungling and she'll have problems scaling into late game.
Wait that guy? He really has no place in the meta because his kit is just unusable. But you'll see him play. And since no one knows what he does, he can usually deal a lot of pain if the person playing him knows how to use him. There's two builds, AP and AD. AP is great for ARAMs but AD is much better especially if you build some AS on that because his ult basically makes it so his entire team is healing quite a bit of the damage he deals in a teamfight. He gets stronger the more farm he gets, so try and keep him from free farming. He'll usually scale well into the late game if he's allowed to farm, but because he's nearly impossible to use because his kit just doesn't make sense. Because of his need to farm he's usually seen top lane but because he has a point and click stun he's used in the jungle for decent ganks. He's not great early at all in clearing and his counter jungling isn't great at all, but if he can get into the enemy team with his ult and leech for his team then he'll be a huge force to be reckoned with.
He got a pretty good buff into season 3. He has decent AOE clear but also does a lot of single target damage so his clear isn't terrible. His ganks are fairly good but with his only gap closer being a speed up and his only CC requiring him to be fairly close to the enemy to affect them, he can be avoided by running. However, once he gets you, you won't get away. His ult suppresses you and he can drag you whereever while his team can damage you (he also shouts "FEEL MY STING" which is pretty awesome). And his Q is a low cooldown small AOE slow when it damages enemies, with the cooldown reduced after basic attacks, on all abilities (it's his passive). He's really well rounded but doesn't really excel in any one area. Has above average clear, ganks, countering, and teamfighting. Really benefits from building resistances. Don't focus him in fights, but try and make it so he can't drag your carry into his team.
I actually haven't seen it yet because he won't do well in terms of obtaining souls for his passive (only the large monsters of the camps are assured to drop one, and the smaller ones have a chance). He really needs the larger pool that is available to him in the lanes. His clear isn't great until he starts getting a good collection of souls, so his first clear isn't that great. But his ganks are pretty good. If he lands his chain he can pull of a lockdown combo that leads to kills almost every time. His initiation is really good and if he can get a lot of souls he can be insanely powerful. But he loses out on the souls in the jungle. If he maxes Q he can counter fairly well with the on hit passive.
Trundle's abilities aren't about damaging enemies but about making it harder for them to kill him. He has a decent clear because of all his self buffs. He will likely try to use his ult on you in teamfights to destroy your armor and magic resistance. His Pillar is great for engagement or counter-engagement depending on how he uses it. Once he uses that or his contaminate just quit chasing him, you won't get him. He won't try and counter you too much though. He can be tricky to kill and really is a great deulist. If you have to fight him, kite. If you stay in one spot he'll use Contaminate and just dominate you.
Tryndamere is no mere mortal. Hehe, get it? Anyway, Tryndamere is one of the best 1v1 champs in the game. He gets stronger as he loses health and his Ult makes it so he doesn't die. He can still be CC'd and take damage, but always goes down to 1 HP and stays there. He can consume his fury to heal, which he builds up from fighting. He's got decent clears but not great with countering. His spin has to be targeted but he can use wards for it. Try not to fight him 1v1 and you should be able to beat him. When he ults in teamfights don't use everything on him, use movement CC and run back. Or if someone has a silence have them use it when he's at around 500 HP and try and stop him from ulting. He split pushes like a god though and can backdoor extremely well.
Udyr has all 4 abilities at level 1 but unlike any other champ he can level all of his abilities 5 times. Well not really, he only gets 18 skill points. He has no gap closers other than a small speed boost, so he can be kited fairly well. He's alright for clearing and counterjungling, but unless your lane is pushed hard his ganks aren't great because of no good gap closers. He's a monster in teamfights because he just switches stances for whatever he needs to do for his team next. Basically CC shuts him down hard.
Vi is part of the trio of insane bruisers right now. She, Xin and J4 are the top 3 bruisers at time of writing in the league. This is due to the fact that they can build tanky and still do tons of damage. She has 2 gap closers, but one is her ultimate which suppresses. Course she has to get to the target to suppress, so if you see her ult you and can flash to your team or a turret she can be hit hard. Her clear is really good and if she lands the Q her ganks are really good too. She shreds armor and deals percent health damage. Her biggest weakness is sticking to enemies, but that can be mitigated with the purchase of a Frozen Mallet. Very hard to beat since she can shred your team's armor in a teamfight.
Another health stacking champion that I'm surprised isn't played more. His clear time was given a buff recently because his lack of good clear made his jungle extremely weak, but now it's completely viable. Could also see him top lane or occasionally supporting. He can throw you behind him if he catches you with his Q. A massive AS boost on his W that increases with his missing health and your missing health, and an AOE slow and a chain on-hit for his ultimate. Plus his passive is great for baiting fights. He'll stack health and try and beat your team that way. Grevious Wounds destroys him. Don't let him throw your carries and you can kill him, and don't focus him in teamfights. Or at all when he's not the only one around. Pro tip you can check to see if his passive is on cooldown. He has a debuff when it is on cooldown, but doesn't have a buff when it's up.
It used to be Warwick was the only jungler. Now he's one of the forgotten ones because his ganking is horrible. He can't really gank until 6. His ultimate is insanely strong and goodluck killing him. He's pretty good at counterjungling with his Q + W allowing him to quickly take down the big monster at a camp. He gets a massive MS boost plus reveal on low health enemies but can still be kited if the enemy has slows and/or big damage. Excellent deulist, don't try and 1v1 him. CC hits him fairly hard in a teamfight since he brings almost nothing for his team (minor AS boost).
The most picked or banned champion so far in the NA LCS this season for a reason. He's an excellent deulist and ganker and a pretty good counter jungler. He can get into your team and just split you apart with his ultimate and then pick you apart one by one. He has a massive AS boost (80% at max rank) and heal on his W, and he lowers the armor of his target by 15% with basic attacks. His Q hits reduce the cooldown on his other abilities. Note the enemy(s) marked with his passive are not knocked back with his ult but still take the damage. Strong in all areas and he's really hard to focus down because of the heals. CC him in teamfights and keep him away from the carries.
Zed is a really strong assassin that is viable in top, mid, or jungle. His only CC is the shadow's spin, and his shadow is his only gap closer. His clear is alright but he can't really counterjungle effectively. His ganking is alright once he gets level 6 but before then it's lackluster. Watch out for his shadow. If he starts running in a fight and his shadow is in the other direction he will look to use it to juke. He's a single target assassin so he struggles in team fights. Look for him to try and pick out a squishy in a fight and destroy them before he dies rather than engage with your team. If you don't see him in a fight he may try and clean up instead. If his ult is down he is much less dangerous. He won't be able to easily kill you so try and distract him from your squishies.
Maokai is one of those champions who works well with almost anyone, just because pretty much everyone benefits from giant amounts of CC and damage reduction. And every team needs a tank. So for this section I'm going to focus on champions who really work well with him, to the point where it's almost ridiculous.
The best level 1 AD Carry in terms of pure damage output. His goal is to dominate the early game and put the enemy so far down that they can't recover in time, since his teamfight isn't as good. His axes give him a huge advantage in laning at the expense of having the hardest team fight ability of any AD Carry. But give him the enemy essentially not moving for 3 seconds, then he can use his Stand Aside and he'll be overnighting you flowers.
He lacks any CC himself and all of his abilities are skillshots. When he lands an ability he gains bonus Attack Speed. You locking down an enemy in one place allows him to land an easy shot and start destroying the enemy.
I mentioned her very lackluster viability right now. One of the reasons is her lack of CC and the fact that all she brings to a team fight is a lot of damage. Which is what the AD Carry brings, but the role of AD Carry is almost always filled by a ranged champion so they can do that damage from a safe distance. Hopefully some new changes coming can make her more viable (item changes, not changes to Fiora). Fiora needs kills to be successful. You can lock down an enemy in one spot so she doesn't have to blow her dash early and can use it to secure the kill. That and she loves damage reduction.
She needs to get some early kills to dominate, and you provide that for her. She lacks any CC for herself, so the ability to lock down and enemy for her to start mashing buttons and hopefully pick up the kill.
Kennen is best when he can make use of his passive. If you can hold an enemy in one spot, he can just throw down his marks on them and pull off his passive. If you can initiate then he can ult in on your initiation. One of the most fun games I've ever played though was a game where Kennen would ult in and I would jump on top of his initiation. He'd hit his Zhonya's and I'd make sure to lay my ult over him for when he got out of it. We dominated team fights.
He's in a great place right now, and it will only get better as Season 3 develops. His whole goal is, like Kennen, to get his passive on as many enemies as possible and be safe while doing it. Getting 20% damage reduction plus having an enemy locked in place for a few auto attacks really can allow him to get his game going.
I mentioned a lot about him in the jungle match up. When he's in lane, especially mid, he has some problems getting kills due to his low amount of CC and no gap closer. Without his ult he is very weak. You can allow him to get some kills easily without the ult and start dominating even earlier.
I'd like to thank God because it's obligatory apparantly. I'd also like to thank Riot for developing this great game, and GameFAQs for all the support they've given me over the course of my career, both for this game and many others. They've given me all the tools I need to succeed as a writer of guides and host my guides for me. I'd also like to thank all my friends who suffered through me learning Maokai and letting me become a mighty Oak, and allowing me to destroy with the tree over these past few months.