This is my first attempt at writing a guide, and I've posted my fairly standard Alistar tank build. The focus for building Alistar this way is to promote his resistances to damage by pumping up his armour and magic resist, and then maximising his team fight usefulness by capping him for cooldown reduction.
I've found through a little bit of trial and error this build is incredibly effective and versatile for creating Alistar as a powerful tank role. I will keep the information posted here fairly short and sweet as I'm not really much one for long drawn out builds/guides. Hope you find something of interest here, good luck and have fun!
As stated above I build this Ali as a resist monster, so for marks I get the health runes along with the health quints. For seals I go for armour (which are nice and cheap) and magic resist glyphs. The extra health early on really gives you a bit extra to play with to bully them in the laning phase, and the resist and armour gives you just to stand up the front and take a few hits.
EDIT archived old info:
For masteries I use a standard 9/21/0 build taking the extra ability power and magic pen to touch Ali's damage up just that little bit extra. Late game this is probably less effective to build this way, but it does tend to help net a couple of early lane kills if you have a decent lane partner.
I use a full tank build going 0/30/0 with the new changes to the masteries for season 2. I'm sure it's not entirely the best way to build, but there are just too many good points in the defense tree to pass up, and going 9 points in either of the other trees cannot seem to grant the same overall bonus to this play style.
However; this being said I would consider going 9 points into utility to gain some Mp5 and specing one point into the Gp5 as well to get a bit of extra gold. I will try this and see how it affects my game, but I rarely end up with mana or gold issues with the synergies built into this guide. Feel free to post comments or tips to add if you wish.
The other way you could build (which I have tried successfully) is to put the 9 points over in utility, getting some extra health/mana regen and pushing up towards obtaining greed. Between 'greed' and your two gold/per items in this build, you will never have to worry about farming or being gold starved, even if your lane is being pressured back onto the towers.
The build sequence for items if fairly much the same from game to game, especially the first 5 or so items in the list. Getting those early boots and pots will usually net you an early kill or first blood if you have a decent lane partner. As soon as you can afford it port back to town and grab your philosophers stone, and same for your heart of gold.
Once you have these two items try and stay in lane as long as you can and keep the pressure on the other team. Your personal gold income will start to pile along in a steady stream, so your main role in lane is to help get the opposing minions to low health and let your lane partner obtain the killing blows. Ideally this means you are both gaining steady amounts of income, your carry being fed and your items keeping you going as well.
The idea for items after this point is to get yourself cooldown reduction items as soon as possible. Cooldown reduction for Alistar is incredibly powerful, at around 40% reduction his Ultimate is up every 45 seconds or so, and his other abilities come up in less than ten seconds each. So lucidity boots, then a glacial shroud will bring you to 30% CDR and after this point I go straight for the Force of Nature for the triple bonus for Ali (move speed, CDR and health regen).
The force of nature really an amazing item for Ali, and whether you want to buy this item before the glacial shroud is up to you. The glacial shroud is cheaper, but is more effective against AD heavy teams - and the force of nature is definately more effective overall for alistar but is more expensive to buy. So I would only buy the FoN before the glacial shroud if our enemy team was very AP heavy.
After this point you will have a decent amount of CDR, armour and MR to tank with, which combined with your Ultimate ability active makes you just about unkillable. What you decide to buy after this point is up to you, and it really depends on the team you face. generally I would buy a Banshees at this point, as your armour tends to go up faster than MR - but if the enemy team is light on AP damage I would leave it. With Alistar's ultimate you really don't need the Banshee's protective aura.
Depending on how the game is working out, I will finish the gold/per items into their end item builds (philosophers turns into the shurelya's/elisha', etc). Building the glacial shroud into a frozen heart definately is a huge team aura bonus, and stacks you over 200 armour in the process. Some people swear by the aegis legion as well, and if you are wanting to build as a complete aura tank then its probably not a bad item also.
The combined OnItem use of Shurelya's Reverie and Randuin's Omen also gives a great team enhancement if the enemy team is pulling out, or to provide an escape for your team. A well placed Pulverise combined with the Randuin's slow and Shuerlya's speed increase can help you alternatively mop up; or flee the field. Late game the Randuin's Omen will grant an extra 1.5 secs
The key to playing Ali is like playing a school bully - you get in their face and demand their lunch money or you're going to hurt them. If you have a decent carry as a lane partner who can output a bit of early damage all the better - charge in amongst them, pop a health pot and Pulverise the squishiest champion and let your partner do some serious damage.
If you do this from the outset, even if you don't kill them outright - you will create that precedent and cause them to be wary from then on. From then on the idea is to really act as a big brother bully support to your lane partner. This means keeping them safe thru your two crowd control abilities, and also keeping them topped up with your triumphant roar.
The other ability that is often overlooked of Ali's is his passive champion ability, which does pulses of area effect damage to all enemy units and allows you to ignore unit collision whenever you cast one of your spells. A favourite tactic of mine is to run along the enemy minion waves chipping them down and letting my lane partner snap up the last hits (with your two gold/per items this will not starve you at all).
Another good tactic to really annoy enemy champs is 'deny' them minion kills by healing low health minions just as they got o last hit them. If timed well you can deny them the last hit wasting their attack, but mostly it just adds to their mounting frustration at facing a lane Alistar.
The most common approach to getting Alistar into the fight is to get underneath an enemy champion, knock them in the air and then run behind them to headbutt them back towards your lane partner. This is effective mostly on melee champions who have to get in much closer to obtain last hits, and done a couple of times - even if it doesn't result in a kill will cause them to be wary of walking into range of you.
Another favourite trick of mine is to use my flash as a surprise charge to get me into position to knock the enemy up. Used from the bushes is most effective, as they can't be sure where you will strike from. For this to result in a kill you must ensure your lane partner if close enough in range to assist you for a kill, otherwise you will not have enough damage on your own (usually) to kill an enemy champion.
Another point to remember is that once you have your Ultimate available for use, it virtually makes you invincible for 7 seconds and gives you a damage buff equal to a BF sword. Using this to dive champions on low health is very viable early game, even if it means only getting in range to knock them back to your partner and let them take the kill.
Once lane phase is over your job as Ali tank is to be wherever the action is, meaning always be at the team fights. With your CDR boosted up you can keep your team topped up just about if the enemy is poking at you with range abilities. But mainly your job here is the usual idea of being up the front, taking the hits and staying alive as long as possible.
The best tactic I've found is to not pop your Ult before going into the fight - run into range and take a few hits, then once your health is below 50%, hit your Ult. The reason for this is that the enemy team will assume you are close to death and continue to focus you while your team moves in to engage. For those seconds while your Ult is up you will take almost no damage and the enemy team will take a second or so to realise what is happening, hopefully during which time your team will have mopped up their carries and be finishing the tankier champions.
While the fight is engaged, your job is to use your CC abilities to keep their carries off your squishies, knocking them up or away and giving your squishies a chance to relocate and continue to fight. With your CDR as it is you will be able to just about spam your roar (E) and throw small AoE heals, both your CC abilities will be Cd'ing in less than 10 seconds, allowing you to continually use those in the team fights if they drag on.
Most importantly though, your Ultimate will be coming off CD so quickly during team fights, so as long as you continue to spam your (E) ability and keep topping yourself up, you should be able to go straight into the next fight and throw up another Ultimate.
Ali's ultimate is even more powerful now as it affects AP based damage now as well. For those 7 seconds you are now truly a force to be reckoned with, combined with the tanky items built by mid to late game.