Hello, I'm Spellbane and I'm here today to cover a few basics over a supporting Alistar. Alistar, while not tagged as a support, does an incredible job at keeping his allies alive as well as initiate fights or peeling enemies off important teammates. I'll suggest a fairly standard support build, as well as my own take on his role and the many ways he can be built and played as a bottom lane support.
Marks: As a support, having the right runes can gives you a distinct advantage over the enemy support. I find Flat Armor Marks to be useful during laning phase, as you will be undoubtedly be receiving some harassment from both the enemy support and carry. It will help soften the damage and keep you healthy if you play carefully while you lane.
Seals: Now, seals are debatable and many combinations work. However, I find gold per 10 seals to be very useful. Combined with the mastery that grants an additional 2 gold per 10, and gold per 10 Quints, you'll begin the game with a hefty advantage and be able to purchase a Philosopher Stone by around the 6 minute mark. It simply makes being a support more affordable.
A fine alternative to gold per 10 seals are flat armor seals.
Glyphs: Magic resist is always nice to have, as it scales better than armor does. So scaling magic resist runes are a very good option. It also lessens damage from poke heavy supports like Sona or Soraka.
Quints: For the same reasons as the seals, having an early gold advantage will simply make your support life a lot easier. Earlier gold per 10 items means more income sooner, which means more wards and earlier items in general.
Masteries: I choose these masteries because they're the most efficient to me. While many people would prefer the points in Awareness over Swiftness, I do not. My reason being, movement speed is a very important and often overlooked stat. being able to catch up and pin down a straggler, or simply being fast enough to get out of a tough situation is more valuable to me, than having a mastery that stops being useful at level 18.
I choose not to take Flash because I feel that once Alister initiates a fight, he cannot run. It's an all or nothing fight for the poor bull. Flash will often times not save you as you are in the thick of things.
However, Exhaust may save both yourself and other teammates by quickly and severely hurting an enemy's damage output. Heal is useful for clutch situations or as a bait to get and enemy to attack your team.
The skills for Alistar are situational. However, I mostly go by what I have on this guide, I'll call it the standard.
However, if you're in a lane that keeps poking and manages to zone you out. Max heal before the other skills. otherwise, max pulverize for maximum damage and kill potential. A level one Triumphant Roar is great because it's low mana cost means it can essentially be spammed without losing almost any mana.
Worth mentioning is Alistar's amazing ability combo. While headbutting an opponent, quickly, very quickly activate pulverize to stun and knock them up into the air. They barely move and are extremely vulnerable during this time as they cannot do anything to help themselves. It's an amazing set up for kills and a great way to initiate. To perfect the combo takes some practice, but once you have it down, it's a nightmare for your opponents.
His ultimate is also extremely useful. It can turn a fight around if the enemy decides to focus you down first, as it grants you quite a lot of tankiness. It also makes Alistar a safe tower diver (Well, as safe as you can call tower diving) Just do not overestimate your ultimate if turret diving.
Items are a big deal for supports. What you build needs to compliment your team as well as counter-act the enemy.
Faerie Charm, Sight Wards x3, and a Health Potion should be your standard and most often bought items at the beginning of the game.
At around the six minute mark (Depending on whether or not you're using gold per 10 seals and Quints) return to base if your carry is able to safely stay in their lane. If not, postpone your return until you get the chance. But do not wait till long.
On your first return trip, buy a Philo Stone and wards if possible, then return to your lane. After that, purchase boots and then build up a Heart of Gold. Remember continue to buy wards as needed. Then you complete your core build with Boots of Mobility.
Now, here is where you need to pay attention to what the enemy composition, their items are, and how well your team is doing. This will decide which items you will purchase first.
Example 1: If the enemy team has a high amount of Attack Damage (little to no Ability Power) and they rely on auto attacks, then quickly build a Frozen Heart and follow it up with a Randuin's Omen. Not only does it help your team with it's auras, but it greatly increases your survivability and your ability to tank.
Example 2: If the enemy team has a dangerous mage, quickly build an Aegis of the Legion. It provides a little of everything. Most importantly, it grants an aura that also gives magic resist to your entire team. From there, most on to other items, depending on how your team coninutes to preform. (Buy Zeke's Herald if your team is barely making it through team fights. Shurelya's Reverie if your team needs to run from dangerous fights, etc.)
Remember to regularly buy and place wards in vital areas. Such as the dragon entrance, the river tribush, and possibly even your lane's bushes if the enemy likes to hide in them. If you've got the chance, ward areas of the mid lane. Such as the jungle entrance or the river bushes.
Pick up an Oracle's Elixir if you need ganks and the enemy is constantly warding. It'll pay for itself after a while, provided you're confident in your ability to stay alive while it's active. It'll make you a target.
Important: Always keep an empty item slot for wards. You'll want to be able to ward at any given time and having your inventory full will stop you from doing so. Knowing when and where the enemy is, is extremely vital.
Summary and Pros/Cons
Alistar is a great well rounded support champion who can easily set up kills and chain cc enemies. While it may take some practice to fully realize his potential, do not worry, everyone needs practice. Remember, build accordingly. Do not blindly follow my item build as it will not always work. Learn when and why to build some items. Do, however, always buy wards. Wards grant vision, and vision gives information. Information wins games just as much as gold, turrets, and kills do.
The pros of Alistar are:
+ Great CC (Crowd Control)
+ Has some sustain
+ Works well with most carries
- Has no escape once in a fight
- His sustain is weaker than Sona's or Soraka's
- Easily kited by some champions. (Ashe/Caitlyn/etc)
I hope you've enjoyed and found this guide useful. Thank you for your time.