Maokai isn’t the most popular pick in season 13 of League of Legends. He is an extremely tanky champion that ruled the top, jungle, and bot lane roles when the tank meta was still reigning.

And because of that, many players don’t even know if Maokai is an AP or an AD champion anymore!

In this guide, I’ll talk about everything around Maokai’s damage, his AP and AD ratios, whether Moakai deals magic or physical damage, and which build you should go for on Maokai in season 13 of League of Legends.

So without further ado, let’s see if Maokai is really an AP or an AD champion in LoL and how you should play him!

Is Maokai AP or AD in League of Legends?

AP or AD Maokai - E damage in-game

Maokai is an AP tank champion in League of Legends. All of his abilities deal magic damage and scale with ability power or maximum health (Maokai’s max HP or his target’s max HP).

Maokai deals more damage the more AP and HP he has. And you can build him full AP, full tank, or an AP/tank mix.

Even though Maokai can be a pretty enigmatic champion, at first sight, he’s simply an AP melee champion that prefers to build tank.

His damaging numbers aren’t too high, so he mostly relies on HP, armor, and magic resist items to get him through the game.

But if you want to have a better understanding of Moakai’s actual damage in League of Legends, here’s what his abilities do and how they scale!

Maokai’s passive – Sap Magic is an auto-attack enhancer that allows him to deal bonus damage that scales with up to 15% of his maximum HP (based on level).

The Q – Bramble Smash is a simple spell that slows enemies and deals magic damage that scales with 40% of Maokai’s AP.

His W – Twisted Advance is a dash and a root that also scales with 40% of Maokai’s total ability power.

His E – Sapling Toss is Maokai’s main damaging ability. He throws pets in a target location (usually a bush) and they attack the closest enemy, slowing them down.

Their damage can be really high, sometimes even dealing up to 16% of the target’s maximum HP plus 1.4% per 100 AP that Maokai has.

And Maokai’s R – Nature’s Grasp is a wide root effect that does a lot of magic damage and has a 75% AP ratio.

As you can see, Mokai is a full AP champion in League. I hope this answers your “is Maokai AP or AD?” question!

AP Maokai Build – How to Play AP Maokai?

AP Maokai is all about setting up your saplings in a bush to surprise your enemy and casting your ultimate to CC opponents and deal massive damage. The playstyle focuses on poking and slowly draining the enemy HP bars.

And once they’re low, Maokai can jump in and secure kills for his team.

Here’s everything you’ll need for playing full AP Maokai in season 13 League of Legends!

Read Also: AP Sejuani Build Guide

AP Maokai Runes – Explained

AP Maokai - runes

Here are the best runes for playing AP Maokai in season 13 of LoL:

  • Arcane Comet – deals extra adaptive damage when you hit an enemy with an ability, including E – Sapling Toss (excellent for poking in early game).
  • Manaflow Band – increases your maximum mana and mana regeneration when you strike an enemy, which is also helpful early on.
  • Transcendence – gives you ability haste and lowers a bit of your cooldown upon champion takedown.
  • Scorch – burns your target for extra damage and it only has 10 seconds cooldown.
  • Cheap Shot – synergizes with all of your abilities and allows you to deal extra damage to enemies in CC.
  • Ultimate Hunter – greatly reduces the cooldown of your ultimate so you can have it every 20-30 seconds.

These are your bread and butter runes for playing AP Maokai in the top, mid, jungle, or bot lane. I wouldn’t recommend changing any rune here since they synergize really well with the whole playstyle. 

However, you can also switch your secondary runes to Resolve (Bone Plating, Overgrowth) if you need more survivability.

Read Also: AP Skarner Build Guide

AP Maokai Item Build – Explained

AP Maokai - items

Here are the best items for playing AP Maokai in season 13 of LoL:

  • Liandry’s Anguish – applies a burn effect to your abilities that deals more damage the more HP your opponents have.
  • Demonic Embrace – is another burn effect that goes super well with Liandry’s and allows you to drain your enemies.
  • Morellonomicon – reduces the health regeneration of your opponents so your burns are even deadlier.
  • Void Staff – gives you 40% magic penetration and makes your damage much scarier.
  • Rabadon’s Deathcap – increases your total ability power by 35% and massively boosts your overall damage.
  • Sorcerer’s Shoes – grant magic penetration which is essential in the early game.

Depending on the situation at hand, you can switch a few of these items for more defensive ones. For example, Zhonya’s Hourglass can be a great item against assassins. And Banshee’s Veil is typically helpful against mages.

On the other hand, if you play AP Maokai support, you can switch to Imperial’s Mandate as a mythic item. It’s a much cheaper purchase and it increases your teammates’ damage when you CC a target.

Read Also: Sion AP Build Guide


That’s all on Maokai AP or AD! In a summary, Maokai is an AP tank champion that often builds a full tank in the top lane but a full AP in the bot lane.

Any item with maximum HP or ability power will increase Maokai’s damage, so there’s rarely room for error when it comes to itemizing for Maokai.

But if you really want to deal damage with this champion, copy my build above. It can be really fun, especially in normal games and ARAM.

Good luck!

Last Update: March 2, 2024