Maokai is taking over League in top, jungle and support - here's why - Dexerto
League of Legends

Maokai is taking over League in top, jungle and support – here’s why

Published: 6/Apr/2020 7:33

by Andrew Amos


Maokai is making a return to Summoner’s Rift in League of Legends, seeing play in not just one lane, but three. Here’s a guide as to why the Twisted Treant is so strong in LoL right now, and whether he’ll be sticking around.

While Maokai once dominated top lane, he was uprooted shortly after his Season 7 rework, with a hefty set of nerfs dropping shortly after. However, the Twisted Treant is back with vengeance, having become a must pick-or-ban in pro play and solo queue.

Buffs to Sunfire Cape ⁠— one of his must-build items ⁠— as well as nerfs to other top laners have seen Maokai climb up the ranks. He couldn’t break into the meta when more assassin-style laners were around, but now, players have started to take him up in various lanes as his utility is too good to go to waste.

Maokai base splash art for League of Legends
Riot Games
Maokai is one of League’s most overpowered champions in Season 10.

While Maokai’s win rate has always been pretty good ⁠— hovering above 50% for the last year ⁠— it’s spiked in recent patches across the map. In the top lane, Maokai has a win rate of 52.71%, while in support it’s slightly higher at 52.82%, according to stats site

This is alongside a spike in picks ⁠— from 1.39% in Patch 10.3 to over 9% in 10.7 in the top alone ⁠— which can have an impact on win rates. As more novice players pick up champs, a dip in win rates is expected, but that’s not the case with Maokai.

There’s not a lot of data on solo queue jungle Maokai, but it’s seeing play at the pro level. Bilibili’s jungler Zeng ‘Meteor’ Guo-hao has pulled it out twice for his LPL side, and while it hasn’t hit other major regions yet, it’s sure to come soon.
Maokai is arguably the best top laner right now in League.

Maokai’s sudden rise in popularity wasn’t made by any changes to the champion itself. While he was buffed progressively in Season 9, it was the Bami’s Cinder buff in Patch 10.4, and the Ornn nerf in Patch 10.5, that really skyrocketed the Twisted Treant to the top of the power rankings.

The changes to Immolate, Bami’s Cinder active effect, added bonus damage to enemies after being immobilized. With three immobilizing abilities in his kit, it was the perfect change.

Combined with the steady cycle of buffs for almost three years since his rework, Maokai was ready to take root on the Rift once again.

Meowkai splash art for League of Legends
Riot Games
For a guide to Maokai’s best builds, runes, and why he’s so popular, read below.

In the top lane, it’s pretty much business as usual. Nothing has changed about Maokai’s build or playstyle since he was once popular, except for the fact that Sunfire Cape is a high-priority item. It helps with wave clear, as well as taking trades in lane with enemies.

He does well into other tanks and melee squishies, but can sometimes struggle in the ranged matchups. However, his passive allows him to regen health quite quickly, and when he gets on top of an enemy, he’s hard to shrug off.

That goes to speak about his jungle power too. He can quickly clear with a sapling bush stack, as well as maximum health damage on his W. His ganks are easy to execute ⁠— if you can get on the enemy with W, they are almost certainly dead.

Watch a Challenger-level Korean jungler dominate the rift using Maokai.

In support, Maokai players have been taking a selection of items depending on the game. Sunfire Cape is built very often, while Gargoyle’s Stoneplate, Righteous Glory, Bramble Vest, and Spirit Visage are all popular pick-ups.

However, some players have also been sticking to a more traditional tank support set-up on Maokai, especially in solo queue. Zeke’s Convergence and Knight’s Vow are taken regularly, while Liandry’s Torment usually comes in as the third item.

Given how Liandry’s does more damage the longer you are in combat, and if champions are affected by crowd control, it plays perfectly into Maokai’s kit.

Watch Damwon Gaming’s Cho ‘BeryL’ Geon-hee play Maokai support perfectly against T1 in the LCK.

What build players end up taking depends on their team comp. A top-laner style Maokai ‘support’ is often run alongside a Fasting Senna, acting as a side-laner in the mid game.

After taking all the farm in lane, the Maokai with teleport will just sit in a side lane until his team needs him, making for a strong 1-3-1 split push composition.

If he doesn’t take teleport, it’s split down the middle as to whether players take Exhaust or Ignite. Exhaust has been gaining popularity in recent weeks due to an increased focus on hyper carry team compositions, with the summoner spell perfectly negating that win condition.

In other situations, Maokai has seen more play as a traditional support. He will be the beefy protector for the carries, engaging and peeling as he sees fit, with a more traditional item set.

Watch MAD Lions’ Andrei ‘Orome’ Popa shut down G2 Esports with Maokai top.

Regardless of where Maokai starts on the map, maxing Q is by far the most popular option. It does a lot of damage, has a short cooldown, and the knockback makes it great for setting up fights.

From there, depending on the game state, W or E can be maxed interchangeably. W’s root duration doesn’t go up a lot based on rank, but having your primary engage and disengage on a shorter cooldown is always welcomed.

Aftershock is also the keystone of choice, although Grasp of the Undying has seen play too. Demolish, Conditioning, and Revitalize all synergize well with his kit, while players are divided over Sorcery or Inspiration as a secondary tree.

Riot Games
Maokai benefits the most from Aftershock thanks to having three abilities in his kit to activate it.

If you want to pick up Maokai for yourself, there’s not much really stopping you. He’s certainly one of the easier champions to learn on the Rift. While he does struggle with some mana issues, his combos are easy to execute ⁠— it’s just a matter of mastering the smaller things.

You can take him almost anywhere on Summoner’s Rift, and he will serve you and your LP well. Maokai can make your climb in Season 10 just that little bit easier, so be sure to abuse him while he’s still strong.

League of Legends

League patch 10.25 to feature Rell release, Imperial Mandate buffs, more

Published: 2/Dec/2020 3:40 Updated: 2/Dec/2020 3:43

by Isaac McIntyre


Riot Games has confirmed League of Legends patch 10.25 ⁠— quite likely the last LoL update of 2020 ⁠— is locked and loaded for next week. Here’s all the early notes for the Dec. 9 patch, including the release of Rell, and more.

League is all set to goodbye 2020 and officially move into Season 11 with the release of patch 10.25 next week. The update, which will drop a day early on December 9, is set to be a big one too; there’s a new champion, and two mini-reworks to boot.

There’s also a handful of champions that will be getting tweaks next patch, including Rengar, Talon, Warwick, and Wukong, as well as more set to be announced over the next week.

Here’s all the details on League of Legends Patch 10.25, set to drop on Dec. 9.

League patch 10.25 debuts Rell, the Iron Maiden

Riot are releasing one final champion ahead of Season 11: Rell, the Iron Maiden.

Unveiled recently in a cryptic trailer, Rell is a cross between a mage and a tank, utilizing metalmancy in order to transform her metallic steed into full-blown plate armor to protect herself while battling on Summoner’s Rift.

Rell is a product of the Black Rose Academy, the same establishment set up by the infamous trickster LeBlanc. Inducted to the school at a young age due to her metalmancy skills, Rell thrived in the harsh environment of Noxus’ most terrifying tower of terror, defeating all of the opponents her training threw at her.

Here’s all the details on the Iron Maiden, League’s 152nd champion.

Riot Games
Riot are releasing one last League champion, Rell, in Season 10.

Pantheon shifts out of support

Pantheon has been out of control across the Rift since his Season 10 rework; the LoL bruiser was originally planned to stay in the top lane, but spilled out into mid lane and support.

The aim of these new 10.25 nerfs, Riot Phlox revealed, is to curtail Pantheon’s power across the pro scene, and in mid and support, in an effort to give top lane “a place to shine” again. Phlox unveiled the nerfs on Twitter on Nov. 23.

All four of Pantheon’s abilities are coming under the microscope. His Q, “Comet Spear,” will only have its cooldown and mana cost tweaked, while E, “Aegis Assault,” will lose its iconic tower shot blocks. His W, “Shield Vault,” is getting a damage spike too.

Finally, his Q and E’s empowered versions are having bonuses stripped out of them, while “Grand Starfall,” his cross-map ultimate, now deals extra damage too.

Eclipse has turned AD carries -- assassins and marksman -- into deadly burst champions.
Riot Games
Pantheon is running rampant in the bot lane, and has earned himself a “mini-rework.”

27 champions, 28 items set for changes

On top of the champion releases and mini-reworks, Yetter also revealed Riot are planning on delivering a bulk bucket of League of Legends nerfs and buffs ahead of their Christmas break.

As mentioned before, Rengar, Talon, Warwick, and Wukong are all on the target list. Kayle, Kayn, Fizz, Morgana, Annie, Samira, and Jhin (nerfs) will all be in LoL patch 10.25 as well, alongside Lulu, Taliyah, Twitch, Mordekaiser, Qiyana, Karthus, Nidalee, Lee Sin, Gragas, Ivern, Nasus, Seraphine, Yasuo, and Yone (buffs).

Galio was also originally set to be nerfed this patch, but that has been shifted to 11.01.

Champions aren’t the only headliners in League patch 10.25 either. Nearly 20 items are being tweaked for balance in the December update, including Sunfire Aegis and Infinity Edge.

Frostfire Gauntlet, Turbo Chemtank, Seekers Armguard, The Collector, Muramana, Imperial Mandate, Eclipse, Duskblade of Drakthaar, Rapid Firecannon, and more are also set to receive buffs and nerfs in the final League of Legends patch of 2020.

Battle Queen, Elderwood skins coming in LoL patch 10.25

The next League of Legends skin line, “Battle Queen,” will be coming in LoL patch 10.25. Five champs are in line for the new cosmetics, including new champ Rell, and a special Prestige Edition skin for mid lane mage Diana.

Here’s the full list of champs getting ‘Battle Queen’ skins:

  • Rell
  • Janna
  • Katarina
  • Qiyana
  • Diana (Prestige)

There’s actually two skin lines coming next patch too, as League’s balance team finishes on a high. This one is the new variants that have got everyone in a fever; a number of oft-forgotten champs are receiving new variants.

Here’s the full list of champs getting ‘Elderwood’ skins:

  • Azir
  • Ivern
  • Ornn
  • Rakan
  • Xayah

League of Legends Patch 10.25 will drop on Wednesday, December 9. Dexerto will continue to add all planned balance changes as Riot reveals specific numbers.

League of Legends patch 10.25 early notes



  • E movement speed 30-60 ⇒ 20-50%.


  • Passive damage to monsters 150% ⇒ 250%.


  • Mana per level 57 ⇒ 37.


  • Passive healing 6 ⇒ 8% max health.
  • W cooldown 6 ⇒ 5 seconds.


  • Base attack damage 63 ⇒ 65.
  • Q cooldown 12-8s ⇒ 11-7s.


  • Q cooldown 14-10 ⇒ 12-8.
  • E shield ability power ratio 80 ⇒ 90%; cooldown 12-8 ⇒ 10-6.
  • Daisy attack speed 0.623 ⇒ 0.7.


  • Q bonus attack damage ratio 45-75% ⇒ 35-65%.


  • Q mana cost 20-44 ⇒ 20-40; ability power ratio 30 ⇒ 35%.


  • Base magic resist 34 ⇒ 30.
  • E passive on-hit ability power ratio 25 ⇒ 20%.


  • Base armor 38 ⇒ 35.
  • Q base damage 75-155 ⇒ 65-145; cooldown 6-4 ⇒ 7-5s.

Lee Sin

  • Base armor 33 ⇒ 36.
  • W cooldown 14 ⇒ 12.
  • E damage 80-240 ⇒ 100-260.


  • Q damage 80-220 (+50% ability power) ⇒ 70-210 (+40% ability power); [removed] damage no longer reduced on enemies after first; [new] striking an enemy with both missiles will deal 25% bonus damage.


  • Q isolation bonus damage 20-40% ⇒ 30-50%.


  • W damage per second 12-60 ⇒ 12-52.


  • Q cooldown 8-4 ⇒ 7.5-3.5s.


  • Q spear minimum damage 70-130 (+50% ability power) ⇒ 70-150 (+70% ability power), maximum damage 210-390 (+150% ability power) ⇒ 210-450 (+150% ability power); mana cost 50-90 ⇒ 50-70.
  • E mana cost 60-120 ⇒ 50-90.


  • W damage healed from monster attacks increased from 50% bonus ⇒ 100%, [new] deals 50-100 (per level) extra damage to monsters.


  • P knocks up any immobilizing crowd-control ⇒ knocks up only knocked up enemies.
  • Q lifesteal 100% ⇒ 66%.
  • R lifesteal 100% ⇒ 66%.


  • Health points per level 80 ⇒ 90.
  • W [new] now grants herself 90-180 (+45% ability power) shield.


  • Base armor 20 ⇒ 24.
  • Armor per level 3.5 ⇒ 3.25.
  • Q worked ground size 450 ⇒ 375.


  • W mana cost lowered from 55-75 ⇒ 45-65, return damage increased from 45-125 ⇒ 45-145, slow duration increased from 1s ⇒ 1.25s.


  • Q attack speed 30-50%.
  • W slow amount 25-45 ⇒ 30-50%.
  • R bonus attack damage 20-40 ⇒ 25-55.


  • Passive damage on-hit increased from 10-44 (based on level) ⇒ 12-46.


  • W [new] deals 120-300 + 120% ability power damage to monsters.


  • Attack speed per level 2.5% ⇒ 3.5%.


  • Attack speed per level 2.5% ⇒ 3.5%.



  • Attack delay cast offset increased from -0.008 ⇒ -0.1.
  • Basic attack missile speed increased from 1500 ⇒ 1600.
  • Q [new] now chills enemies it passes over; passthrough damage 60 ⇒ 160 (+45% ability power) ⇒ 50-130 (+25% ability power); explosion damage 60-160 (+45% ability power) ⇒ 70-210 (+50% ability power); cooldown 10-8 ⇒ 11-7; mana cost lowered 80-120 ⇒ 80-100; missile speed 800 ⇒ 950.
  • W length 400-800 ⇒ 500-800; cooldown changed from 17 ⇒ 20-16.
  • E mana cost 50-90 ⇒ 40; damage increased 50-150 (+50% ability power) ⇒ 60-180 (+60% ability power).
  • R cooldown 6 ⇒ 4/2.5/1s; damage 40-80 (+12.5% ability power) ⇒ 30-60 (12.5%).
  • Read full details here.


  • Movement speed 355 ⇒ 345.
  • Q cooldown 10-8 ⇒ 8-6, mana cost 40 ⇒ 30; empowered Q no longer slows.
  • W damage 60-140 ⇒ 60-260.
  • E no longer blocks tower shots, retreat movement penalty 50% ⇒ 25%; empowered E no longer extends duration upon empowerment; [new] when Pantheon slams his shield he gains 60% move speed for one second.
  • R [new]: the spear that lands before Pantheon now slows for 50% and applies an unenpowered spear’s worth of damage in a small area around it.
  • Real full details here.


Ardent Censer

  • Blasting Wand replaced with Amplifying Tome (total cost unchanged).

Bami’s Cinder

  • Cost 1000 ⇒ 1100.

Bandleglass Mirror

  • Cost 1050 ⇒ 950.

Duskblade on Drakthaar

  • Proc slow is now melee only.


  • Ranged shield value 100 (+30% base attack damage) ⇒ 75 (+20% base attack damage).

Essence Reaver

  • Attack damage 50 ⇒ 55.


  • Ability haste 10 ⇒ 20.

Frostfire Gauntlet

  • Slow effect ratio 275 ⇒ 250.
  • Mythic passive size increase +7.5% ⇒ +6%.


  • Attack damage 55 ⇒ 60.
  • Active cooldown 90 ⇒ 60s.

Imperial Mandate

  • Cost 2700 ⇒ 2500.
  • Initial proc 60-100 ⇒ 36-60, ally proc 60-100 ⇒ 90-150.

Infinity Edge

  • Grants 8% crit damage for each 20% crit chance ⇒ if you have 60% crit chance, gain 35% crit damage.

Locket of the Iron Solari

  • Cost 2700 ⇒ 2500.
  • Shield 250-450 ⇒ 230-385.

Lord Dominik’s Regards

  • Attack damage 30 ⇒ 35.

Luden’s Tempest

  • Ability haste 10 ⇒ 20.
  • Magic penetration 10 ⇒ 6.

Mercurial Scimitar

  • Cost 2900 ⇒ 3000.
  • Attack damage 30 ⇒ 40.

Moonstone Renewer

  • Cost 2700 ⇒ 2500.
  • Initial heal 60-90 ⇒ 70-100.
  • Heal multiplier in combat 25% per s (up to 100) ⇒ 12.5% per s (up to 50).

Mortal Reminder

  • Cost 2700 ⇒ 2500.


  • Procs on all abilities ⇒ procs on physical damage abilities.

Phantom Dancer

  • Cost 2700 ⇒ 2500.

Rapid Firecannon

  • Cost 2700 ⇒ 2500.

Seekers Armguard

  • Ability power 30 ⇒ 20.

Shurelia’s Battlesong

  • Cost 2700 ⇒ 2500.
  • Bonus damage buff 40-60 ⇒ 35-55.

Staff of Flowing Water

  • Blasting Wand replaced with Amplifying Tome (total cost unchanged).

Sunfire Aegis

  • Health 450 ⇒ 350.

The Collector

  • Execute works on all enemies ⇒ execute works on champions only.

Turbo Chemtank

  • Supercharged slow duration 2 ⇒ 1.5s.


  • Cost 1200 ⇒ 1050.

Zeke’s Convergence

  • Health 300 ⇒ 250.
  • Armor 30 ⇒ 25.
  • Mark duration 4 ⇒ 8s.
  • Damage against marked enemies 25-50 ⇒ 35-70.