Author: MMOsite Writer Alexander Hinkley
Maokai is the latest League of Legends champion to get reworked as part of the 4.11 patch. Maokai is a lot stronger now and should be a little more fun to play to boot. Let’s take a look at some of the changes to his skills.
Maokai’s passive, Sap Magic, remains unchanged. His passive works well in the role of a tanky support mage. It helps keep him in the battle by healing him for a significant percentage of his maximum health and rewards him for being near allies since allied spells help build up his Magical Sap charges.
Arcane Smash is Maokai’s Q ability. This still works the same way it did before but the slow duration was reduced slightly (from 2 seconds to 1.5 seconds). This change was likely to help offset the newly added slowing effect of Sapling Toss. The cost of casting Arcane Smash was also slightly reduced from 55 mana to 45 mana.
Twisted Advance was changed so that the damage no longer scales strictly with Maokai’s ability power but instead deals damage based on the target’s maximum health. Prior to the rework, a maxed out Twisted Advance could deal 220 + 80% of Mao’s ability power in magic damage. That works out to about 380 magic damage when Mao has 200 AP, not accounting for magic resist. Not very impressive at all to be honest. The new Twisted Advance can deal up to 15% of the target’s hit points plus an additional 0.04% of Maokai’s ability power in magic damage which means his damage will scale much better late game as champions gain more overall health. Another reason this is an upgrade to Twisted Advance’s damage is because Maokai players usually don’t build a lot of AP to begin with. Most builds feature tanky items like Iceborn Gauntlet, Sunfire Cape, and Spirit of the Visage.
Twisted Advance isn’t an ability known to inflict a ton of damage anyway. Its main utility is the one to two second rooting effect. This was unchanged in the rework. The cooldown did get decreased when you level up the ability though which is nice. Unfortunately the range also got slightly nerfed.
One other change to Twisted Advance is that Maokai no longer has to “wind up” before casting it. Although the travel time remains the same, this means Mao no longer telegraphs the ability before actually moving so your opponents will have slightly less time to react and respond to it.
The base damage for Sapling Toss got nerfed slightly but several new utilities were added to the spell which actually makes it better overall. First of all, the movement speed of saplings now scales with Maokai’s bonus movement speed. This means as you get faster, so do your saplings. That makes sense since they are basically a part of him. Saplings now also slow enemies by 50% for one second after exploding. Considering saplings explode with an area of effect, this means one sapling can slow a whole group of enemies. This is probably why Riot slightly nerfed the slow of Arcane Smash. It is better to have a slow on Sapling Toss anyway because it can be used from a safer distance and is also very useful when setting up or defending against ganks. Saplings still last for 35 seconds and are often used as a poor man’s bush ward.
One of the most useful changes in the rework is to Maokai’s ultimate ability, Vengeful Maelstrom. Vengeful Maelstrom was already a great ultimate for team fights but is even stronger now that the area of effect centers on Maokai and moves with him when he moves instead of just sitting in a certain area of the map. Whenever Mao would ult in the past, the enemy team would simply retreat to a distance far enough away so that the majority of the fighting didn’t take place inside Vengeful Maelstrom’s area of effect. This could sometimes negate the effect of his ultimate unless he was trying to defend a certain area. Now that it actually moves with Maokai, there is no way for enemies to completely avoid it. The initial mana cost also got decreased a little bit. In order to keep it balanced, the radius of the ability was reduced from 550 range to 475 so teammates will need to be sure to stick close to Mao after he pops his ult.
Another useful change is that Maokai now gets to see just how much damage he is mitigating with Vengeful Maelstrom via text indicators. Only Mao can see these numbers and although this doesn’t actually affect anything gameplay wise, it will make Maokai players feel useful.
Overall this was a nice rework for Maokai that makes him even stronger in the support role. Maokai was already one of the best Dominion champions and his win rate on The Crystal Scar has only improved since the patch. According to charts on lolking, Maokai currently has the highest win rate of any champion in Dominion over the course of the last week winning a whopping 58.54% of his games at the time of this win rate was steadily under 50% each day so clearly this rework made much more dangerous.writing. Maokai also seems to be much stronger on Summoner’s Rift. His daily Summoner’s Rift win rates since the rework have fluctuated between 52% and 57%. Prior to the rework, his