Maokai buffs in League of Legends return Twisted Treant to top and jungle

Andrew Amos
Totemic Maokai in League of Legends

Maokai was once a staple pick in League of Legends’ top lane, but ever since his Season 7 rework he’s been shifted down to support on Summoner’s Rift. Riot is giving him some flexibility with changes in LoL patch 12.17 to buff the Twisted Treant in top and jungle.

Maokai has been in a weird place in League of Legends meta. The Twisted Treant isn’t weak ⁠— in fact, he’s a very serviceable support that has seen some play at all levels from the depths of Iron all the way to the pro stage.

However, it’s the fact that he’s a support that has disappointed long-time mains. Those who have played him for years know him better as a top laner with plenty of defensive utility and engage power his team can rely on in fights. Now he’s little more than a sapling bot, cheesing bushes across the Rift.

It’s gotten to the point where Maokai is played in support for 80% of games, and only sees 16% play in his ‘main’ role of top lane.

Riot wants to change that and entice players to take the Twisted Treant to other sides of Summoner’s Rift in LoL patch 12.17, making him a fully-fledged top laner and even jungler.

The overall goal of the adjustments, according to lead champion designer August ‘August’ Browning, is to “improve the feel of some of his spells and get him back into top and jungle without eliminating his support playstyle.”

Meowkai in League of Legends
Maokai is getting a buff to his top and jungle capabilities in LoL patch 12.17.

Almost every part of Maokai’s kit is being changed as a result. The majority of changes focus on his Sapling Toss which has been his core ability for years. It no longer deals maximum health damage ⁠— or increased damage to minions for that fact ⁠— but the cut in damage means it costs less mana and slows for more.

It’s also freed up Riot to make some buffs across the rest of his kit that aren’t so support-orientated. His ultimate, Nature’s Grasp, is now faster and gives Maokai a movement speed buff if it hits an enemy.

His Bramble Smash deals more damage to monsters, and also took some of the max health damage from his E. Finally, his passive cooldown decreases after being hit by large jungle monsters.

Riot is keeping an eye on any other potential changes too, like his high mana costs after players raised the issue: “His waveclear isn’t actually bad compared to most top laners, but agreed on the mana front,” developer Ray ‘Ray Yonggi’ Williams added. “We believe he can be a viable toplaner opting into mana starting item and/or runes like [Presence of Mind].”

The Maokai changes will be bundled into LoL patch 12.17 on September 8, 2022 ⁠— one of the last updates before Worlds 2022 kicks off.

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