Thursday, February 10, 2011

Maokai - the next tier 1 tank?

You know you're are screwed when a tree is chasing you. 
KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!
Maokai, the Twisted Treant, is Riot's latest attempt to make up for their streak of disappointing champion designs since Trundle. From what I have seen so far, Maokai seems to be quite a solid attempt to end the streak. Maokai is a tank; most likely built quasi-tank judging from his abilities. While Maokai possess immense teamplay potential, he is also a direct counter to the current "team AOE to win" meta-game. 
Maokai the Twisted Treant
Abilities:

Arcane Smash: Maokai slams the ground, the force of which knocks nearby enemies back and sends an arcane shockwave forward damaging and slowing his enemies.

Twisted Advance: Maokai dissolves into a cloud of arcane energies. He regrows near a target enemy, dealing damage and rooting it in place.

Sapling Toss: Maokai hurls a sapling, dealing damage on impact. The sapling becomes implanted in the ground warding a nearby area. When enemies approach, the sapling attacks, exploding in an arcane blast that damages enemies.

Vengeful Maelstrom (Ultimate): Maokai shields his allies by drawing power from hostile spells and attacks, reducing non-tower damage done to allied champions in the area. Maokai can prolong the effect as long as he has mana to spend on it. When the effect ends, Maokai unleashes the absorbed energy to deal damage to enemies within the vortex.

Sap Magic (Passive): Each time a champion near Maokai casts a spell, he gains a charge of Magical Sap. When he has 5 charges, his next melee attack drains energy from his target, healing Maokai for a percentage of his maximum HP.



Analysis


The first two things I noticed about Maokai's skills are its similarities with other games I have played before. His "E", Sapling Toss, reminds me of Starcraft's Spider Mines ability from the Vulture unit. And we know how annoying that is, right? If the ability is similar to Spider Mines, your enemies can kite and destroy them once they pop-out of the ground with decent Micro. Nonetheless, it is an awesome chasing/scouting tool. Another skill that perhaps draw influence from other games is Maokai's "W" -Twisted Advance. For those of you who have played Bloodline Champions, it bares resemblance to one of Thorn's skill. Again, if the two skills are truly similar, Maokai would be very annoying to play against. I can imagine the combo of "W" behind your unsuspecting enemy and "Q" knock him/her to your team for an easy gank.


My guess would be that Maokai's damage should be similar to Sion's - a combination of mostly AP and a bit of AD from his melee (except Maokai should have much lower damage scaling). His passive is based on AD melee attacks, which encourages players to lane aggressively to gain the lifesteal bonus. I would expect to see a combination of Mana and CDR with tanking item paths on him. Glacial shroud? Catalyst -> Banshee's? Win.


The reason I said earlier that Maokai is a team-focused champion as well as a counter to the current AOE meta is because of his ultimate skill. Vengeful Maelstrom has the ability to greatly negate enemy AOE initiations (Amumu's ult, Nunu's ult, etc.), and level the playing field for your team. Maokai's ult can also be used as an offensive teamfight weapon with your team's initiation. Lastly, it does damage and slows all enemies in the vortex range.


I am looking forward to play this champion. I am more excited for Jarvan, though.


Good luck and have fun! 

38 comments:

  1. He looks like an amazing champion, and I'm definitely buying him. I especially like that last comment you have, about he can level the playing field against Amumu and Nunu. It makes him seem less like a dedicated tank, and more like a counter-tank, so to speak. In fact, that ultimate is an incredible counter to AoE teams in general, which is still quite viable (cough CLG vs. SK cough).

    Also, think about how much of a rapist he'd be in the jungle. His W is a skill made for ganking.

    The only complaint I have is that his ultimate isn't that useful offensively, but who gives a crap?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, he's an interesting tank. I'd love to see the effect of his knockback before making any tanking effectiveness judgements. If it's like Gragas then he'll be crazy good with his blink and knockback combo. If it's like Singed's fling, then it will only be minor disruption. He's got a reason to be attacked (like any good tank) because of his perma ult, although he is lacking survivability. If his ult has a long cooldown, he's going to be pretty squishy and no-one will attack him.

    I'd like to know exactly what spells trigger his passive. If Frost Shot, Boomerang Blade and Corki missles trigger it, then it will be pretty frequent in a team battle. That might give him the survivability I think he lacks.

    Overall, the counter tank description sounds pretty accurate, but is that enough for him to main tank? Or is he more of a Taric?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hadn't actually given his skills a proper look until now and now I think about it he is a DIRECT counter to AoE ult teams

    I mean if you stacked Archangels... his ultimate would hurt

    ReplyDelete
  4. lol stacking archangels for everything magic is win

    ReplyDelete
  5. first off i'd like to say thanks hypershatter for inviting me to be a part of his blog.

    secondly i'd also like to say that i will deffinetly be buying this guy and would like to post a build on him here.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Champion Spotlight is up. The knockback is disappointing. Once again, another tank that relies on its ult to do anything. He just doesn't have enough CC to warrant attacking him.

    Saplings look cool, but I don't think he'll be able to main tank. Glad I saved the IP, since I wouldn't pay for this dude.

    ReplyDelete
  7. After playing several games with him, he is a very good tank. His CC is wonderful - that snare is a guarenteed kill in a teamfight.

    The knockback is short, but it mimics the knockback of Rammus coming out of his powerball. Great for countering many ultimates in the game. A quick snare+knockback combo will shut down a nunu, janna, karthus, malz... well you get my point.

    Also, his saplings are AMAZING for the laning phase. They harass so damn well. Later in the game they are basically shaco boxes - wards that do a little damage.

    Rush an RoA, then build tanky. Playing him as a nuker works decently, but he is a much stronger tank.

    His ultimate is good, but could be better. It has a damage cap, but it is amazing for teamfight situations where your team needs the upper hand. It reduces all enemy damage by 20% at all levels - which is nothing to scoff at.

    His only drawback is that he doesn't have a good escape. If he gets caught alone in the fray, he's done for.

    His passive is also amazing for teamfights. It gains a charge on every spellcase much like Kassadin's force pulse. At 5 stacks, his next melee attack heals him for 7% of his max health. Late game, that's about 250-300 health gained nearly every melee attack in a teamfight.

    All in all, he has a great 1v1 and 1v2 laning phase as well as a beastly endgame. My verdict: good work Riot.

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