Maokai mains, rejoince. The Twisted Treeline may have been relegated to the dustbin, but the champion that bears his name could see his moment in the Runeterran sun once more.
Some Maokai changes are now live on the League of Legends PBE, lead champion designer August “Riot August” Browning announced today. The changes are scheduled to hit the live servers next patch (12.17).
Another example of an older champion whose once-dominant role in the game has now been minimized to the support role, Maokai is getting a sweeping set of changes that are intended to push him more into the top lane and jungle. His play rate in the latter role in Plat+ is currently sitting at a measly 1.6 percent over the last 30 days, according to LoLalytics.
Riot August announced the changes on Twitterbut the adjustments themselves were done by Dylan Memmott, a champion designer on the team.
Riot’s designers love adding and pulling levers in champions’ kits that have to do specifically with how their spells interact with jungle monsters—and Maokai’s changes are no different.
His passive, Sap Magic, is getting a new feature whereby the 20 to 30-second cooldown on the health regenerating auto attack is reduced by one second every time he is hit by a large jungle monster. Unlike, for example, Amumu’s E cooldown, this does not include Raptors.
The base damage on Bramble Smash (Q) is getting lowered early and raised late, which should help him scale better into the late game as a top lane tank. It is also receiving two new sources of bonus damage in some scaling percent max health damage and bonus monster damage, which will benefit him in the jungle.
Among other changes, perhaps his most iconic—and tilting—ability, Sapling Toss (E), is in turn having its percent max health damage component pulled entirely and will instead now scale with AP and Maokai’s total HP, again incentivizing top lane and jungle play instead of the cash-strapped support playstyle.
Finally, Nature’s Grasp (R) is seeing its missile speeds and acceleration buffed, and will give Maokai a short but significant burst of movement speed if the ability hits an enemy champion.
An interesting note is that August specifically said in his tweet that the goal isn’t to “eliminate his support playstyle,” but rather to just add another dimension of positional feasibility to the Twisted Treant. Whether that means he’ll still be viable as a support or a more supportive-style champion remains to be seen.
Patch 12.17 is scheduled to arrive in League of Legends in full on Thursday, Sept. 8.