Alistar Build Guide by yummybluewaffle
Recommended Runes + Notes
Ability Sequence + Notes
Masteries + Notes
(If you are wondering why I have so many items listed in the build sheet, it's because Season 4 makes supports much stronger. While Alistar makes a great tank, and about 80% of the time I'm building straight up tank with him, he's actually a great AP and AD fighter and does well with the corresponding items. Make sure you read the Late Game Items section for more in-depth explanations!)
Hello friends, welcome to my guide on my favorite champion in the game right now: Alistar, one of the oldest supports in the game, as well as one of the hardest to play. His difficult mechanics, CC that can win or lose a game, it all shied me away from him and towards "easier" CC-focused supports like Thresh and Leona, until I learned of his true potential from a friend who played countless games as him.
Thus, this guide I am writing will be focused on much more than item builds and support tactics, since these things are only a fraction of truly playing Alistar up to his full, overpowered potential. Since Alistar is so strong, and since season 4 makes every support champion much stronger, I'll be writing towards the audience of players with any and all depths of knowledge and skills, emphasizing things vitally core to Alistar's gameplay, things you might not know about Alistar, and things I have learned through pioneering different builds and tactics, like building him beyond his typical tanky build, such as AP/AD Assassin/Bruiser.
I love hearing suggestions and comments, so feel free to give me your feedback!
-Updated masteries and runes to accommodate the more widely accepted meta.
-Added a video for "The Turret Feed: Q, Flash, W into turret" combo. It's got slow-mo and everything!
-4.3 patch stuff. Mainly just slight adjustments on support item descriptions for Alistar ( Talisman of Ascension is still the best though) and adjusted some stuff here and there.
-Formatting for clarity.
-Added Glacial Shroud to "Core Items." Normally a great item for top mana-using top laners who struggle against strong AD in lane, it's also a great item for support Alistar if you happen to be behind in lane, since at that point the bonus damage from Sheen would be totally useless.
-Added Banshee's Veil to "Tanky Items" because Korea.
-Added Abyssal Scepter to "AP Items," not sure why I forgot it.
-Updated "Introduction" to further emphasize the goals of this guide.
Previously updated (will delete these next update):
- Doran's Shield added to "Starting Items"
-Q > Flash, instead of Flash > Q
-Added a matchup against Karma support
-Added Sightstone to "Core Items" after realizing I was too optimistic in thinking that other players would ward with me :(
-Added Vision Ward to "Core Items"
-Added Enchantment: Distortion to "Boots" as a notable enchantment upgrade, mainly for more Q > Flashes
-Moved Boots of Mobility up in recommendations.
-Moved Ignite up in recommendations.
-Elaborated more in these sections: Pulverize, Triumphant Roar, Draven, Ravenous Hydra, Ezreal.
Planning to add:
-Looking to transition this guide from a support guide to a general guide on all things Alistar, such as playing him AP Assassin Mid, AD Bruiser or Assassin or Full-Tank Top, Hybrid, Jungle. One of the reasons why I have SO MANY ITEMS listed is because this guide was intended to originally be a crazy long super guide, but after designing it, I didn't like how it looked. I decided just to stick with leaving it as a support guide, but I had all this content I made that I didn't want to go to waste, so I just left them ヽ༼ຈل͜ຈ༽ﾉ
-General support tips section, with the most important parts being How To Lane, Mid-Game/Roaming, and Late-Game with Engaging and Peeling.
-AD Alistar combo order and explanation
-Videos for each combo - I'm just using LOLReplay when I'm playing in game, and whenever I happen to use Alistar and make a perfect example of a combo, I'll upload it to YouTube and update this guide with it. I'm kinda picky with what I want to be shown in the videos, so it's not gonna be a short process.
Pros / Cons of Playing Alistar
As with every champion, Alistar has his pros and cons.
-Great base damage and ratios.
-Can heal minions.
-Not many people know of his strengths, so you can surprise a lot of people and kill them to carry the game.
-Easily counters some of the most popular played supports right now, like Thresh, Leona, and Blitzcrank.
-Great potential to secure kills in ganks, as well as outplaying.
-His WQ combo is similar to a Malphite ult, and thus can be used to initiate.
-Has incredible versatility, allowing him to fulfill any role, including a tanky initiator, AP assassin or bruiser, AD bruiser, or a hybrid bruiser.
-Long cooldowns on his abilities.
-Extremely high mana costs that sets his early game back hard.
-His ult is the main source of his tankiness, and it doesn't last forever, has somewhat long CD, and the fact that his other abilities use up so much mana means that he might not have the mana to use his ult.
-Quite dependent on teammates, as with most Tanks.
-Not only is his learning curve so high since his abilities are really difficult to perform correctly, incorrectly selecting targets or failing to pull off combos often results in disaster and flaming.
As with most rune builds, rune choice is pretty lenient with user preference. Just keep in mind all of Alistar's weaknesses and strengths, as listed before. With that in mind, I'll list all the good choices of runes you can have for him.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Greater Quintessence of Gold
Greater Quintessence of Armor
Greater Quintessence of Health
Alistar is slow, Alistar is a support. Thus, movespeed or gold quints are always good on him. Movement speed on Alistar is particularly important to allow him to close gaps on slow ADC's and supports so he can lock them in with his CC. Also, you can choose to get armor or HP if you want to be a full-on tank. Though AP or AD can be considered, I don't list them because you have to keep in mind that the only way to increase Alistar's movespeed with runes is through quints.
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration
Greater Seal of Gold
Now, Seals are quite tricky to pick, because they give the most mana regeneration of any rune, while at the same time give the most armor of any rune. Whichever option you value most is the rune you should opt for. Gold is another option since Alistar's a support, but I find I don't ever need these anymore because of the new support items. I also think that the rune slots can be used for better runes anyways.
Greater Mark of Armor
Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Mark of Mana Regeneration
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Marks, as runes, typically have the highest stats in physical damage as well as penetration, be it armor or magic or hybrid. Alistar doesn't particularly need these stats unless he's going for an aggressive lane, which is typically why I opt for Armor Marks. Hybrid and magic penetration are also really good with Alistar to help give him the damage he needs to secure kills, especially when facing those tanky supports. I don't usually go with armor penetration or AD for bot lane, since bot lane usually stacks armor for the early game, but it's an option, since Alistar's autoattacks also deal a pretty good amount of damage, especially when he uses Unbreakable Will.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Scaling magic resist is good for strong AP mids that you'll be forced to face later in the game. Flat AP is good for the damage on your combo that you need to secure kills during laning phase. Mana regen glyphs should be taken if you didn't take Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration, reason being that I value mana regen higher than AP since Alistar does not have enough base mana regen to let him remain in lane while pulling off a good number of combos. You can go flat MR if the support can poke you hard (like if you're facing a Karma, Sona, or Annie support), or you can go scaling AP if you want to evolve into an AP assassin late game.
This is what I run on Alistar now. With season 4's changes to the masteries, the utility tree now has some pretty cool masteries for supports. Especially when playing Alistar, utility has a big emphasis, with some masteries practically being completely required for him. These masteries should highly, highly, highly be considered for Alistar (if not required for him), which I'll explain in detail:
- Intelligence : This mastery goes great with Talisman of Ascension, Mikael's Crucible, Locket of the Iron Solari, Warding Totem, etc. In general, supports love this mastery because of the ridiculous amounts of active items they have to manage. It will allow you to initiate with Talisman, protect with Mikael's and Locket, and the fact that you can ward more often with it effectively makes it a GP-10 mastery too!
- Fleet of Foot: Alistar is incredibly slow. The movespeed really helps him catch his prey and lock them in with his combo, especially since enemy ADC's are usually extremely slow as well.
- Alchemist and Culinary Master : Such a good pair of masteries for a wide variety of champions and playstyles, it helps you trade, bait, and simply sustain. They effectively are GP10 masteries, making potions more effective so it's more bang for your buck. The 10 instant mana itself is good enough to warrant the use of these masteries.
- Greed , Scavenger , and Wealth : Money is good, and supports need as many ways to generate money since they don't farm. Greed and scavenger are pretty much standard for supports, while wealth helps give you one more pot or an extra ward to help you stay in lane longer.
- Meditation : Alistar's ability mana costs are incredibly high, and he has relatively low base mana and mana regeneration, so this mastery will help out.
Some masteries are good on Alistar, but they aren't listed on the cheat sheet either because I personally don't prefer them or there simply weren't enough points. You can tweak the masteries to fit your own preference, and here's some good masteries I like but didn't list:
- Perseverance and Second Wind : If I didn't prioritize utility over tankiness on Alistar, I would definitely try to put points to get these two. Anyone with a large health pool greatly benefits from the percent health regen, and anyone with a self-heal ability would greatly benefit from the healing boost when low health, and Alistar fits both categories.
- Expose Weakness and Double-Edged Sword are both great if you are trying to do more damage during laning phase. You'll obviously be sacrificing some defensive stats, especially with Double-Edged Sword , but the ever so slight boosts in damage can honestly make the difference between whether someone dies or walks away with 10 hp.
- Bandit : This mastery is quite risky to take, mainly for melee champions. As support, you'll be getting a lot of assists of course. Say you have an average of 15 assists a game. With 33 minute games being average, this mastery is on average a 1.14 GP10 mastery. It's great only if you can do great, but it almost pushes you to be aggressive, which could be a bad thing in some cases. It's go big or go home, so you decide.
- Enchanted Armor : I know a lot of people really don't like this mastery, especially on support, because it literally gives you nothing for the early game. But, if you're going to evolve into a full-on tank, which you normally would if you play Alistar correctly, it could make you noticeably tankier.
Some masteries just aren't worth taking on Alistar. Aside from the obvious, here's a few deceiving masteries that I would try and cross off the list:
- Expanded Mind : Same reasoning for Strength of Spirit . You know how "Twice nothing is still nothing"? Same logic. 5% bonus of the mana you have will literally give you like, 10-30 mana in the early levels where mana is an issue, which is useless.
I take these two 95% of the time. There really is zero reason not to take Flash with Alistar, because one of the greatest things to do with Alistar is to Flash in with Pulverize, and then Headbutt a target into your team/turret (which I go over later).
This QW combo can be done with Exhaust on special occasions (mainly if the ADC or support has no escape or CC), but aside from that, Exhaust itself incredibly useful. The AD and AS reduction often will save your ADC when the opposing ADC is about to kill them. It can set up ganks really well, keeps enemies locked in for the kill, and works really well in teamfights when there's an opposing Jax or Master Yi or anyone who is autoattack reliant that can do tons of damage.
I don't take any of these, but they can be viable.
Ignite is great on most all-in supports, as any boost in damage is always highly valuable. Just be smart about taking this, as in many cases Exhaust will be much more useful.
Teleport might work with Alistar since he can actually gank incredibly well, as well as save time returning to lane since he's so slow. Something hilarious to do with Teleport is to keep a lane bush warded, let the other team push, fall back like you're recalling, Teleport to your ward in the lane bush, and gank your own lane with a Headbutt into your turret from behind.
Heal, as with all supports, is generally always barely viable but is definitely a crutch. Fun to bait with, but the heal is so insignificant in lane that the summoner spell slot could probably be used better.
Ghost just doesn't seem viable to me since you will be rushing a Talisman of Ascension, and you would really never pick this over flash because the effectiveness of a Ghost + Pulverize + Headbutt combo into your turret is about as effective as if you used Exhaust, aka not-as-good-as- Flash.
Barrier maybe if you wanted to be tankier and initiate with it. That's about all it can be used for, because you shouldn't be needing to use it ever if you're playing correctly.
Clairvoyance, I mean okay if you're into that but idk buy wards lol.
Clarity maybe on ARAM or something (you better be going AP Alistar, I swear).
Everything else is no.
AbilitiesAlistar's passive. Then, I will move onto his abilites, starting with a description of the ability, the ability's stats, and most importantly, why or why not you would max it first.
Every time Alistar casts an ability, he starts doing this angry dance that passively causes magic damage over time to enemies nearby for 3 seconds. He even does damage to structures! The damage is doubled against minions and jungle creeps. Trample refreshes on new ability casts too. In other words, it doesn't stack, meaning if you cast your multiple abilities in a short time, you will simply refresh the 3 seconds on his passive. Thus, if you are trying to jungle him or clear creep waves, you'll want to cast abilities at time intervals (like Lee Sin).
Alistar also gains the ability to pass through units for the 3 second duration. Approaching units will still attempt to walk around you, which is awesome because if you are peeling someone away with your abilities, they still have to walk around you. However, you really shouldn't be trying to use this passive as an escape tool to walk through minions if you are being chased, because most of his abilities take up a significant amount of time to cast. I find this part of Trample only good when I Headbutt-autoattack combo (more on this later), and then quickly sinking behind my minions so others can't retaliate without going around the wave.
Damage to Minions and Jungle Creeps: 12 + (2 × level) (+ 20% AP) magic damage per second
Alistar causes all enemies in a 182.5 radius around him to be knocked up into the air for 1 second and then are stunned for 0.5 seconds when they land. The channel time is about 0.25-0.50 seconds. As with all knock ups, tenacity does not effect the air time, which is awesome; however, the stun time when landing is affected.
Cost: 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 mana
Cooldown: 17 / 16 / 15 / 14 / 13
Why max it?
Comparing Pulverize's cooldown with that of Headbutt (W), you'll notice Pulverize has a much longer cooldown. You generally would max it first if you like to pull off more ability combos in a short span of time, since its cooldown is the bottleneck when it comes to the CD of your combos. I also like to put my starting ability point in Pulverize to help with the leash (no jungler wants their buff knocked over a wall), and a 1-point Pulverize does a bit more damage than a 1-point Headbutt, not to mention that it is AOE. However, I cannot emphasize enough the fact that you WILL run out of mana very fast if you try to do a lot of combos, which is why I personally choose not to max this first.
However, if you're the kind of balls-deep player who is blood thirsty, prefers farming champions over minions, and maybe you even think you can set up kills better than your jungler can (which can be true if you have like a pre-6 Warwick or Malphite jungler), maxing Pulverize is great since you'll be able to combo in faster succession. Often times it's the second combo set that really seals the deal on kills, and you'll only be able to reach that quickly by lowering the cooldown of your combo via maxing Q. Just keep in mind that you'll also need an ADC with a high damage output early game.
If you decide to max this first, you also have to keep an extremely careful eye on your mana bar. If you find that you're struggling with mana, I suggest rushing an early Crystalline Flask or maybe even a Chalice of Harmony so you can regenerate mana and not be completely useless if you're forced to stay in lane after a spam sesh.
Alistar dashes to an enemy within a 650 radius of him, dealing magic damage and knocking them back 650 from the point of impact over the span of 1 second. The enemy is rooted around 0.25 seconds when they land as well. Alistar can knock enemies over walls, and if the wall is too big to be knocked over, the enemy will simply land in front of the wall. If this happens, the 1 second travel time and 0.25 root time are still applied. It's one of the funniest and most unique abilities in the game, as well as one of the hardest to master. Few champions have an ability like this, making it quite signature on Alistar, as well as quite hard to master. Knocking away an enemy at the wrong time typically means your team just lost a potential kill.
Alistar can also travel through walls when dashing, allowing you to escape through walls into jungle camps if you have vision of them. He dashes extremely fast, and if you manage to hit Pulverize immediately after hitting your target, they'll be knocked up instead of knocked back (the famous WQ combo that I will go into detail later). Alistar can be CC'd while dashing, canceling the effects. Lastly, where you click to dash is where you will end up at the end of the dash, meaning no Maokai effect. If an enemy Flashes out before you make impact with them, you will simply end up to where they were before the flash. Headbutt's effects also won't register if the target can blink out before you hit them.
Cost: 70 / 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 mana
Cooldown: 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10
Why max it?
Maxing his W gives it a whopping 275 base damage. It also scales with 70% of his AP, making it one of the strongest abilities on a support, quite significantly stronger than Pulverize. Maxing it will allow you to take off about a quarter to a third of an ADC's health when you combine your Pulverize with it.
While maxing Pulverize is more for the hyper aggressive playstyle, maxing Headbutt is more of my kind of playstyle, which is basically passive until a good opportunity to go in arises. It's great if you have a jungler who can gank really well and can provide some extra CC and good damage, as well as if you have a naturally bursty ADC like Tristana, Ezreal, and Draven. The single target damage from maxing W makes your combo basically take out a quarter to a third of a squishy champion's health bar.
Triumphant Roar (E):
Alistar channels for about 0.25 seconds and lets out a signature roar that heals himself, as well as all allies (including minions) within a 287.5 radius of him for half of his self-heal amount. The cooldown is long, the mana cost is somewhat high, and the heal amount is barely noticeable, but for every enemy death nearby (including jungle creeps) the cooldown gets reduced by 2 seconds. And, you heal your minions too, which can mess with the enemy ADC's rhythm if you time it well.
Ally-Heal: 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 (+10% AP)
Cost: 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 mana
Why max it?
I honestly don't max this ever, since a healer doesn't really fit my playstyle with Alistar. Also, supports like Nami and Soraka are more ideal if you are trying to play someone who can heal, since they can heal more. Not to mention, the heal gets extremely costly in mana when it's leveled up, while the heal barely increases and the cooldown doesn't even decrease.
However, sometimes you are forced to max this if you are with an ADC who really can't burst with you (like Caitlyn or Ashe), or you are playing against someone who can really mess you up if you decide to engage with your combo (like Janna, Lulu, or even a good Morgana). Rare cases do I find myself having a hard time dealing with their disengage, but if I ever do, I'll max Triumphant Roar and freeze the lane, only using W and Q to disengage ganks so I can use my mana to heal.
If maxing this, there's a few things that you have to keep in mind.
-You'll run out of mana pretty quickly if you spam your heal, so always at least have 140 mana so you can disengage with your level 1 Pulverize and Headbutt. You could even consider rushing some early mana regen like Crystalline Flask or Chalice of Harmony so you can spam heals.
-You will end up pushing your lane somewhat hard, since you'll be healing your minions. Pushing is dangerous without vision, but it's a good tool to try and deny farm via turret. Be cautious with this.
-You can actually use your heal to mess with the enemy ADC's farming too, as I mentioned earlier. You can do this without even maxing Triumphant Roar too. Just keep an eye on any low health allied minions, and if you use your heal at just the right time, you could cause their ADC to miss the last hit, denying them bits of farm. This is what I do to pass the time in laning phase, since I'm usually just standing around doing nothing.
Unbreakable Will (Ult):
Alistar's ult, when cast, removes all crowd control effects currently on him, and grants him huge damage reduction and bonus attack damage. When cast, he becomes extremely ridiculously tanky, but not immune to true damage, so beware if there's someone like an enemy Vayne or Darius. You also have to keep an eye on your mana bar. Your other abilities cost so much mana that you might not have enough to cast your ult and save yourself! It also only lasts 7 seconds, so you don't have all the time in the world.
In my opinion, Unbreakable Will is one of the most balanced ults in the game, perfect for any Alistar build you are running. Tanky Alistar build? His ult makes him the hardest living shield in the game. AP Assassin Alistar build? Remove those pesky peeler's CC and damage while you are assassinating your target. AD Bruiser Alistar? The bonus AD and tankiness makes you an absolutely unkillable monster.
Keep in mind though, you don't have to save your ult for when you get CC'd. If there's an enemy with a lot of burst who can chunk you down before you ult, just insta-cast your ult. If there's an enemy ADC who is low and you think you can kill them, ult yourself for a damage boost. If you see someone worth tower diving, ult yourself and dive right in. The timing of it is extremely important, requiring a good amount of knowledge of your enemies. Otherwise, you might cast it after their burst and it would be a total waste. In general, it's always better to cast it too early than too late, since it's the damage that kills you, not the CC.
Bonus Attack Damage: 60 / 75 / 90
Cost: 100 mana
Cooldown: 120 / 100 / 80
Why max it?
It's an ult! Always max it!
Early Items and Core Rush Items
Early game for supports in general is relatively trickier than other positions, especially with the variety of support items and trinkets added this season. Few positions truly offer such a wide variety of possible types of champions to play, ranging from ridiculously tanky champions ( Taric, Leona, etc.) to super squishy poke champions ( Zyra, Sona, etc.) to even pure utility champions ( Janna, Thresh, etc.). Alistar's toolkit and base stats grant him some crazy versatility, allowing him to tank through poke, poke back with Headbutt, and provide some crazy utility and CC along with a heal. His playstyle is quite different from all other supports, and playing correctly is quite hard as well. It all stems from proper items, and I'll explain my personal take on what should be started with for Alistar.
The standard item start for supports is:
-A GP10 starting item
-A Stealth Ward
-A Health Potion
- Warding Totem or Sweeping Lens
-A GP10 starting item
-One or two Stealth Wards
-Two or no Health Potion, depending on whether you picked up the extra ward or not
- Warding Totem or Sweeping Lens
Alistar is no exception. The reason I prefer Ancient Coin over the others is because you generally just sit around and do nothing as Alistar until you see a good opportunity to go in, which doesn't fit the playstyle required for Relic Shield and Spellthief's Edge. Plus, Ancient Coin builds into Talisman of Ascension, which is the best tier-3 support item for him. Alistar is usually an initiator, be it in lane or when grouped, and as with most initiator's who use a dash to initiate, there's a great amount of times where you'll initiate but your teammates don't react quick enough to follow up ( Maokai and Zac players know this feeling, which is their main weakness too). The speed boost from Talisman of Ascension not only gives them the speed to follow you into battle, it's also a signal to your teammates that you're going in, allows you to move fast and surprise the enemy team with your initiate, and can get your team out of sticky situations. Alistar relies heavily on proper positioning to initiate and is highly prone to being kited, so this item will fix all these problems.
As for reasons why I don't choose Relic Shield, the biggest reason is that it doesn't build into Talisman of Ascension. But besides that, one large reason is the fact that it doesn't give you mana regen, which is one of the most important stats for Alistar. Also, Alistar is deceptively not as tanky as he looks. With Taric and Leona, they can shrug off the harass when attempting to last hit minions because they are naturally extremely tanky, whereas Alistar really can't since it hurts him more. You'd be forced to use your heal, which is overall bad because Alistar really needs to save his mana, especially since he has no regen. His other abilities aren't worth casting for the gold either since they cost so much. Plus, the Talisman of Ascension active is much better than Face of the Mountain active for Alistar, who is usually an initiator. However, if you are going for a full tank build, don't use too many abilities, and pledge to rush early mana regen, then it's not a bad option either, especially because late game Alistar has stupidly high amounts of health to donate for the Face of the Mountain shield.
And lastly, Spellthief's Edge is mainly good for ranged AP supports like Sona, Lulu and Nami, and is pretty much useless and inefficient for melee supports. I would only recommend this for the absolutely most blood thirsty, balls deep, insane support playstyle on Alistar where you're spamming Headbutt every time it's off cooldown for the bonus gold and insane damage, and even then, you'd still probably run out of mana. Talisman of Ascension is just too good overall to pass off.
As for trinkets, I prefer to have vision, rather than deny it, which is why I pick Warding Totem to start off. But, if you are the opposite (this is up to you), you can get the Sweeping Lens. Keep in mind, you can always switch trinkets, so you can easily switch over to a Sweeping Lens and make it into an Oracle's Lens for those pesky stealthed enemies. In fact, I've also gotten into the habit of immediately switching to Sweeping Lens as soon as I pick up my Sightstone, which I highly recommend.
One start that has recently gotten extremely popular in competitive play is starting with a Doran's Shield. Riot may have nerfed it slightly, but it's still stupidly good for the early game:
-A Doran's Shield
-A Health Potion
- Warding Totem
-A Doran's Shield
-Either one Stealth Ward or two potions (I like to do one Health Potion and one Mana Potion because mana problems)
- Warding Totem
This only works now for season 4 because of the fact that both you and your ADC have Warding Totems, so you practically won't need any Stealth Wards with proper teamwork. Nothing gives you tankier stats early game than Doran's Shield, allowing you to be quite a bit more aggressive in lane, since it's much harder for you to die.
In my opinion, starting with a Doran's Shield is the safest starting build. It will protect you when the enemy goes all-in on you, it will protect you against early ganks since your vision is a tad bit limited, it will allow you to absorb more damage when you decide to engage, and it will help you shake off the harassment from AA poke, which is particularly effective if you're playing against a Caitlyn or an Annie.
And while your early game obviously will become tremendously easier to play since you are practically twice as tanky as normal, the trade-off is the fact that you won't get the passive gold or mana regen from Ancient Coin, and you also won't be able to start building your Talisman of Ascension as early since you spent gold on your Doran's Shield. Also keep in mind that Doran's Shield becomes useless as the game progresses. In particular, once you hit level 6, where many enemy lanes become much stronger, you have Unbreakable Will, which laughs at Doran's Shield. In any level 6 engage by either you or the enemy team, it's your ult that will be doing the brunt of the damage absorption.
In my opinion, this starting build should only be taken against bottom lane comps who have strong early kill potential, can poke you down hard, or have a vulnerable early game (if you have a strong early ADC). For example, it might not be a great idea to take a Doran's Shield against a Janna/ Tristana lane (they have low early kill potential), Nami/ Vayne lane (can't really poke you much, not to mention the disengage), or a Taric/ Sivir lane (laning phase isn't particularly weak; difficult to all-in for a kill). But, if you're playing against a Leona/ Draven lane (they possess strong early kill potential), an Annie/ Caitlyn lane (can really poke you down hard), or a Sona/ Twitch lane (relatively weak laning phase with low disengage; easy to all-in for a kill), you can highly benefit from picking Doran's Shield.
Literally every single boot is good on Alistar.
- Boots of Swiftness allow Alistar to move quickly in teamfights. Alistar's positioning for his CC is massively crucial, and nothing beats these boots in the midst of a teamfight. With the nerfs to Boots of Mobility, these boots will be much better for Alistar unless he is the main initiator of teamfights.
- Boots of Mobility are still a good choice, not just because it helps with roaming to ward. Alistar is one of the few supports with really awesome ganks. With the extra roaming potential, you could easily surprise the enemy AP Mid and secure a kill without leaving your ADC exposed for too long. These boots are also necessary for warding important objectives. However, with the recent nerfs, you have to keep in mind that, in the middle of teamfights, you'll have 20 less movement speed than all other tier-2 boots besides Boots of Swiftness, a 35 movement speed difference. Therefore, these are much better if you are the initiator. If you are mainly trying to peel in teamfights, these might not be as good of a choice, especially with those highly mobile assassins you're trying to headbutt away from your carries.
- Ninja Tabi and Mercury's Treads are good if you'd like to be tankier, but I honestly don't build Alistar that tanky. His ult already does a ton of damage reduction, and it's also a cleanse so tenacity isn't as useful for him as it is for others, but if you are going for a straight Tank build, or find you need the tenacity, or you find the damage received in lane to be too overwhelming, then you should probably pick one up.
- Ionian Boots of Lucidity are great for the CDR so you can combo more often, though you should keep in mind that Talisman of Ascension grants 20% CDR, the masteries I have set give 10% CDR, and many other items that I push for give CDR too.
- Berserker's Greaves are good if you need more attack speed when you build AD bruiser, and they are the cheapest tier-2 boots, but I still prefer the 3 boots I listed above because I think utility is where Alistar really shines.
Another thing worth mentioning is the option to get the Enchantment: Distortion on your boots early. Alistar and Flash are incredibly potent together, allowing him to quickly surprise unsuspecting enemies with insta- Pulverize > Flash (more on this in the "Combos" section). While many of the boot enchantments are incredibly useful, I find this particular enchantment most worthy of mentioning, simply because every time Alistar uses Flash, someone usually dies, if not an entire enemy team. This enchantment has been used a lot recently in competitive play on initiating supports like Annie, and combined with Summoner's Insight , your Flash will only have a 3 minute 22.5 second cooldown, even shorter than an opposing ADC's Barrier!
- Sightstone is a must-have. Riot recently dropped the price on this item by 150 gold, giving you zero excuse not to insta-buy this on your first back. Bonus health is never bad, and the free wards make this item practically a 12.5 GP10 moneymaker that stays relevant the entire game. I typically don't upgrade to Ruby Sightstone until I'm finished with the rest of my core items. It's also funny to use this to help escape over walls in the jungle with Headbutt.
-Tired of hearing me talk about how good Talisman of Ascension is on Alistar? Good! Because it's amazing. It's also 100 gold cheaper than the old Shurelya's, but is better because it retains its awesome GP10 and mana regen stats, gives more CDR, and gives more health regen than before, a tradeoff for taking away the health bonus. I recommend rushing this first.
- Vision Wards are now cheaper, and despite the fact that they are visible, well placed pinks can often go unnoticed. Pink wards are now basically claims of territory on the map, and the fact that they last until killed really makes them worth buying, though remember you can only have one live pink ward. I like to put my pinks either in the small circle brush in the river, in the bush closest to my bot buff (red buff for blue side, blue buff for purple side), in the bot tri-bush (blue and purple sides have their own), in the rear-end of the lane-bush closest to my turret, or in the corner of dragon or baron pit. Where you place them will depend on many factors, like who their jungler is ( Evelynn, Shaco, Rengar, etc. should make an influence), the level of threat of counterjungling ( Nunu pls mercy), their range ( Caitlyn and Annie can poke lane-bush pinks easily), how hard you can and want to push, and if they have Twitch. Since pink wards take so long to kill alone, the act of killing a pink ward is often enough to scare off a gank or objective capture. And if some enemy is stupid enough to try and solo a pink ward when you have allies approaching, it's a perfect bait too.
- Oracle's Lens should also be rushed early, since it really helps your team clear wards in a larger area. Keep in mind, the true sight given by the item isn't in the circle of the sweeper; rather, it's a circle of true sight around you, similar to the way Oracle's last season was, but only lasts for 10 seconds. It's great to pop it as you initiate if they have champions like a Vayne or Kha'Zix who rely on stealth for their damage and mobility.
-As long as your lane isn't losing terribly and you are making a decent income, Sheen is also a must-buy, and should be bought immediately after acquiring all the other core items above. It will eventually be used in your spellblade item late-game ( Iceborn Gauntlet, etc.), something you really should be building since Alistar can greatly benefit from these items. Core to this buy is the large mana boost you get, as well as the significant boost to your damage output when you use your Headbutt-AA combo for harass (more information on this combo later) or when you WQ combo.
- Glacial Shroud is the tanky alternative rush item to Sheen, which I'll always opt for instead if I ever happen to completely lose lane. I'm personally a huge ginormous proponent of Glacial Shroud in general for any mana-using, ability-reliant tanks and fighters. It provides a large amount of mana, some good base CDR, and makes you quite tanky, which are all fantastic stats in general for a great price, and it also builds into fantastic items that work well on Alistar. While I normally prefer getting Sheen over shroud since Unbreakable Will ensures tankiness and presence in lane, there are always those games where you happen to lose lane hard to the point where the enemy can easily harass you out of lane or can easily and often engage on you for surefire kills. The only chance you have to crawl back is through tankiness, sustain, and disengage, and no item grants better all-around stats for these goals for a price as good as Glacial Shroud. All in all, take this over Sheen if you're losing hard, or if you just want tankiness.
Late Game Items
Here's the fun part about Alistar. He has so much versatility late game that you can literally build anything that your team needs. Season 4 grants supports much more gold, so instead of building the same items as always expected, supports can deviate and fill roles like AD or AP bruiser or even assassin. However, it's incredibly situational, and I would only recommend trying out new things aside from the typical Alistar build once you have mastered not only Alistar himself, but the role of support in general and have developed a strong sense of the game.
I repeat again, most of the time with Alistar, you should be building tank items and support items. On the rare occasion will you need to fill other roles if your team needs more damage. While Tank Alistar is basically unkillable, AP Alistar can practically one-shot or mortally wound squishies, and AD bruiser Alistar can teamfight and duel extremely well too.
I'll rundown the core items for whichever version of Alistar you would like to play. Use some good judgment on deciding which role you are going to fulfill and thus which items to get first, and don't be afraid to mix them up if need be!
Of course, if your team really doesn't need any roles filled, you should always grab support items to keep your team in teamfights.
-I love Mikael's Crucible, especially since it's dramatically cheaper this season (900g cheaper!). The cleanse and heal really helps your squishy teammate who is getting focused hard. However, it's important to know it's limitations, as well as to remember when to use it
- Locket of the Iron Solari is another great item to help teamfights with its aura. Just don't forget to pop the active as soon as you start fighting, preferably before you use Unbreakable Will to maximize its efficiency on yourself.
Twin Shadows is also a hilarious item, since it makes you move really fast and helps catch the stragglers at the end of fights. The bonus MR and AP is never bad either. I just don't recommend getting this unless every item niche is filled.
I also default to build tanky items if my team has no roles really needed to be filled. It's necessary too, since you are probably initiating fights.
- Iceborn Gauntlet is actually my favorite item on Alistar. It gives him lots of great stats, making him tankier, boosting his damage output on his initiate and poke, and provides some great utility with the passive and CDR. I almost always grab this item unless I'm turning my Sheen into something else.
-One of the funniest things to do is initiate with a WQ combo and then pop Randuin's Omen's active once they land. It's hilarious and can mess a team up.
- Spirit Visage also helps against strong AP champions, as well as boosts the self-heal from your Triumphant Roar. CDR is always nice too.
-I'm personally not a big fan of Banshee's Veil on Alistar. Usually, players debate on whether or not to choose Banshee's over Spirit Visage for each and every individual champion, and Alistar in my opinion is definitely a Spirit Visage champion, since he has a heal and a cleanse, along with a need for CDR. But if you're into the Korean meta, then go for it.
- Frozen Heart's aura and Thornmail are really only good against enemy teams where there's 2 or more strong autoattack reliant champions, like an ADC plus a Jax or Tryndamere. Thornmail is actually really good because the damage is calculated before damage reduction, meaning that their Master Yi or Fiora would simply die from autoattacking you, especially with Unbreakable Will on.
- Sunfire Cape is great because Alistar is usually in the middle of teamfights, not to mention usually very alive and unkillable. As a result, he can DPS their team well with this item.
- Guardian Angel, of course, is a situational buy, but keep in mind that other items will grant him more armor and MR.
Alistar can fill the role of an AP Assassin quite well, able to trap and assassinate squishy targets with his hard CC. His WQ combo does 120% of his AP in magic damage, plus its already high base damage of 515. Get Sorcerer's Shoes. Add Lich Bane for some respectably high burst. Add a Deathfire Grasp, your standard Rabadon's Deathcap and Zhonya's Hourglass, and decide between keeping your Talisman of Ascension or opting for Abyssal Scepter or Void Staff. Typically you'll pick Talisman of Ascension if you like the mobility for yourself and your team, or Abyssal Scepter if you want to do good amounts of AOE and have a high-ranged AP carry who will benefit from the aura, or go Void Staff if you specifically want to focus one target only.
The only bad thing about this is that you can't initiate a fight because you need to save your WQ for the target you are trying to kill, since you have to use your DFG on them first (it's practically impossible to DFG while you are dashing in with W since Alistar dashes so fast. I mean, Q itself is hard enough to time!). I'll go into further detail on how to assassinate with AP Alistar in the "Combos" section of the guide.
JUST FYI I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS FOR THE MOST PART. Only some cases would this be okay, which is still really situational.
Standard bruiser items are great on Alistar. He can duel incredibly well since he takes dramatically reduced damage when he ults, while still being able to dish out immense damage with the AD boost. Don't forget to get at least one Tanky item so you don't just instadie.
- Trinity Force is a must have, dramatically increasing Alistar's damage output and dueling utility.
- Youmuu's Ghostblade is also a must have, since Alistar needs to close the gap for his WQ combo. It's also great for dishing out the damages while the target is stunned.
- Ravenous Hydra is a bit tricky to use because, in order to maximize the damage output from this item, you will actually have to use the active in between your WQ combo, rather than immediately after. In other words, if Hydra was in item slot 5, you would do a W5Q combo, rather than WQ5. It's not as easy as it sounds. You could even use Unbreakable Will prior to your combo if you're trying to duel a single target to maximize the active's damage.
- Last Whisper is pretty standard for a bruiser build.
- Maw of Malmortius is great against strong AP, as always.
- Blade of the Ruined King is all around a great item, allowing you to increase your burst, sustained damage, and overall dueling ability, as well as kiting if necessary with the active.
- The Bloodthirster is great for the damages, but I like BOTRK is much better.
-Going Crit is also viable, since Triforce and Youmuu's gives 25% crit together, making Infinity Edge or Statikk Shiv great too.
I don't suggest a Phantom Dancer because Alistar can already move through units with Trample, making it less cost efficient. I also don't suggest The Black Cleaver because his AOE is completely magic damage and he's already naturally tanky, making items like Last Whisper and Youmuu's Ghostblade much better since he's does more single target damage.
FYI I SEVERELY DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS UNLESS YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND WHY
Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Liandry's Torment both proc with Alistar's passive Trample. This is actually kind of stupidly OP because he can just DPS and slow entire teams like crazy from these two items by simply spamming abilities, especially since he'll have 30% CDR or more. Both Rylai's slow and Liandry's burn are applied throught all 3 seconds of Alistar's Trample, as well as the 1.5 seconds after Trample ends for Rylai's and 3 seconds after for Liandry's. Not to mention, these two items also make Alistar greatly tankier due to the bonus health. He also gains AP from these two items, allowing his Trample to do more damage. Combine this with a Sunfire Cape for the bonus passive AOE damage and tankiness, an Abyssal Scepter to boost your damage and more tankiness, and maybe even a Randuin's Omen and/or Twin Shadows for the active slows and even more tankiness, and you have yourself an unkillable angry cow doing tons of DPS and slowing entire enemy mobs for a good ol' time.
Hybrid Alistar is hilarious but completely viable. Since his WQ combo's total ratio isn't the highest compared to other AP champions, and since his ult also doesn't give him incredibly destructive attack damage without more items, going hybrid helps combine his two sides into one. As a result, hybrid Alistar can do respectable burst and sustained damage with a Trinity Force or Iceborn Gauntlet. Hybrid Alistar is also secretly my personal favorite because everyone underestimates your abilities, but then suddenly you're outdueling and killing everything you see. I actually always build hybrid on 3v3 map since it makes Alistar just stupidly fun to dominate unsuspecting players with.
FYI THESE ITEM SUGGESTIONS REALLY AREN'T RECOMMENDED UNLESS YOU HAVE LEGITIMATE REASONS WHY YOU'RE CHOOSING THEM AND KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU'RE DOING
Surprisingly, Alistar's two signature moves, his W and Q, can give him a ton of combos at his disposal. I've already talked about a lot of them, but here I will describe exactly how to do them.
W and a Free Autoattack
One mechanism that Alistar has for harass is an easy little combo with Headbutt. Since Alistar is a melee champion, his autoattacks do a fair amount of damage. If you happen to click on an enemy to attack them (right-clicking on them by default), but, instead of walking up to them to hit them, you use your Headbutt, Alistar will immediately autoattack the target as soon as he finishes headbutting them away. As a result, doing this combo can actually allow you to harass enemies. I like to do this when an ADC is hitting my turret, since I displace them away from damaging my turret, as well as hurt them for a good amount in the process.
The key to performing this combo correctly is to make sure that you allow a bit of time for Alistar's autoattack animation to complete after using Headbutt, otherwise Alistar won't autoattack and the damage won't register. Your autoattack must also be ready too, since Headbutt does not reset the attack timer. You also must remember to right-click the target before you Headbutt, or else you won't autoattack at all. You also shouldn't be doing this when you're trying to use Headbutt to disengage an enemy gank, because the autoattack takes a bit of time to register and you'll probably end up getting hit more by others as a result Also, the autoattack will proc a spellblade passive, which is why I advocate to rush a Sheen early in the game.
The standard classic W + Q
It took me a bit of trial and error to find out the best way to pull this off. My first time experimenting with the combo was HotshotGG status:
The best way I have found to do the combo is to not smartcast his Headbutt. Rather, what you'll need to do is simply hit the W key so the range circle appears around you, showing you the range of your W. As soon as your target enters the edge of the circle, click on your target to dash to them. As soon as you click, you'll want to hit the Q key to complete the combo.
Keep in mind, it's possible to hit your Q too early while you are dashing. If this happens, your Q will end up activating before you hit them with W, rather than the other way around. The result is as if you did Q + W instead, which is bad if you're trying to lock your target in with CC.
The best times to use this are when your jungler is coming in to gank, when you yourself are ganking, when you are chasing an enemy and want to lock them in, and to initiate a teamfight. Don't forget to pop Unbreakable Will right after your combo if you are initiating or going for a kill as AD Bruiser..
W into wall, slap, Q, slap
If you happen have an enemy standing by a big wall (for example, in the lane brush), you can Headbutt them into the wall. Since there is a 1 second travel time and a ~0.25 second root, Headbutting enemies into a wall is like Vayne's Condemn. Also, since you dashed to them and they were standing by a wall, you are in a great position to follow up with a slap or two. Once the Headbutt effect ends, simply hit your Pulverize and keep your target locked in for more slaps!
Keep in mind that Alistar really can't deal fatal damage early game on his own, so getting a kill with this combo really only works if you have your ADC with you hitting the target. Here's a video of this combo in action
This video shows how the walls aren't limited to the edges of the map. Pay close attention to the angle I took to make sure the Jinx didn't fly over the wall.
The Turret Feed: Q, Flash, W into turret
You're probably wondering... Q and then Flash how does that work? Well the thing is, the animation for Pulverize is actually somewhat long. If you Flash in and then Q, they could anticipate it and dodge it. However, with perfect positioning and timing, you can press Q to begin the animation, and then immediately Flash into your target for an instant knockup. Then, you could easily just use Headbutt and hit the target into your turret or team Lee Sin style.
This combo really only works if they are pushed near your turret. Most importantly, the turret can't already be targeting minions when you pull this combo off, as your target needs to get the tower's aggro. Also, keep in mind of when your target has flash or not, because they can easily flash out of it. Here's a video example. It's during mid-late game, and we were losing really badly, but it shows all of the mechanics quite clearly:
Trading Flashes isn't bad either, since you have Summoner's Insight . You can also pull this combo off with Exhaust or Talisman of Ascension by using them to initiate your combo, which is a bit harder against ADC's that have escapes like Vayne and Lucian, though these cooldowns are much shorter than that of Flash and therefore are much better to trade.
I've found that this combo works especially well with Vayne, Varus, and Jinx.
- Vayne can easily follow up with a Condemn into the wall by the turret to chain your combo and secure a kill.
- Varus can throw his Chain of Corruption on his target after your combo to allow him to easily spam all of the rest of his abilities and guarantee a kill. It's important to tell him to wait to throw his ult until you finish with your combo, otherwise he could miss when you Headbutt the target away from where he is aiming.
- Jinx takes a bit more coordination with her Flame Chompers!, since it has a brief activation period. If she throws it down too late, they could simply Flash out before getting snared. Make sure you communicate with your Jinx prior to when you go in, telling her to throw down Flame Chompers! by the turret as soon as you Flash/ Exhaust/Talisman so you can line up the Headbutt into an immediate snare.
Lastly, this combo is hilarious to use against other supports with targeted dashes, since you won't need to position yourself with the Flash to land your Pulverize. I've baited countless Leonas into grabbing me with Zenith Blade, only to send them flying into my turret for a first blood. This also works against Thresh when he dashes to you with Death Sentence or Blitzcrank if he happens to be close enough to do this. Even some enemy junglers aren't spared, like Lee Sin with his Resonating Strike, Amumu's Bandage Toss, and Maokai's Twisted Advance, where they attempt to fly at you or your ADC, only to be sent into turret hell.
Turret Feed 2: Optional Flash/ Exhaust/ Talisman of Ascension, W into turret, Q
If an enemy is getting really aggressive to the point where you could Flash past them, you could simply use your Headbutt without burning your Pulverize. Then, since your Q hasn't been used yet, you could use it on the enemy to keep them locked in under the turret.
This combo also works great against an enemy Blitzcrank who accidentally pulls you past his ADC. You might not even have to burn a Flash if this happens too! This combo is also used when you gank a pushed lane (like if you decide to roam mid), though you might not have to burn a summoner spell to pull it off.
Lastly, this combo is hilarious to use on a jungler who is quite aggressive when ganking your lane. In particular, this situation would be when their jungler decides to almost dive your turret by dashing to your ADC (think Lee Sin, Amumu, Xin Zhao, etc.). Rather than retreating to the safety of your turret to attempt to disengage, you can instead head in the opposite direction, going inside your lane bush instead. Most people will not notice you doing this or will not care, as they will think you are crazy and will be a free kill once the ADC dies. Then, when the jungler comes between you and your turret, simply use your Headbutt so they fly deep into your turret. The dash also re-positions you under your turret, where you are safe, putting yourself in control over the situation. Follow up with a Pulverize for double-buffs.
W a turret-hugger past their turret
This combo is a one-ability combo (yes, an oxymoron). This is great to re-position a low-health turret hugger past their turret to allow your ganking jungler or midlaner to secure a kill behind the turret without having to dive. The hardest part is the timing and coordination. You should try to time it so there isn't an enemy minion wave approaching that would interfere with the gank. Communicating with your teammates with chat and pings on what you are doing is key to help secure a kill, otherwise the target will simply walk back into their turret. I love doing this combo with an allied Volibear, Ahri, or Rammus, who can all follow up your re-position with another re-position.
You can also do this when you gank a lane. Rather than hitting the target behind their turret, you yourself can come from behind their turret and hit them towards your side out of turret aggro. This is what made Alistar jungle so popular (RIP).
Of course, you will get turret aggro, so try to avoid doing this if you can't survive the hits. You can opt to use Unbreakable Will to reduce the turret damage if need be, making this an actual ability combo. Your allied teammates also have to be waiting in the bushes behind the turret (enemy Golem bush when you are blue team; enemy Wight tri-bush when you are purple team) so they can receive the delivery.
AP Alistar's One-Shot Assassination Combo: DFG > W > Q > Lich Bane > R > E > Lich Bane
Keep in mind, you really need a fairly high amount of AP, as well as certain core-items and 100% be able to pull off a WQ combo, to be able to pull of a one-shot assassination. However, Alistar usually can't completely nuke a full-health squishy, so a little bit of help is always great too. As stated before, you can't be the one to initiate because you need to save your WQ combo for after you pop Deathfire Grasp. Plus, you are really squishy too if you build full AP.
To properly pull off this combo, the order is somewhat simple. Pop your Talisman of Ascension to quickly close the gap between you and your target. Use your Deathfire Grasp active on them, and then instantly pull off a WQ combo on them. Autoattack for Lich Bane magic damage. You'll actually want to save your Unbreakable Will until after getting CC'd or before getting bursted down because the bonus AD is useless for you. If the target hasn't already died, wait for Lich Bane's cooldown to come back and use your Triumphant Roar to proc it again for a final slap before the Deathfire Grasp debuff ends. Your Unbreakable Will makes you tanky enough to be able to survive and ignore the peel, as well as walk out of the fight when you killed your target.
Also, with 40% CDR since you have Deathfire Grasp, Talisman of Ascension, Intelligence , and Sorcery , your Headbutt has a 6 second cooldown, allowing to use it to dash out if you need to, finish other low health enemies in the fight, or simply to peel for your squishies once you've walked backed into your team.
|Alistar loves playing against people who can dash to him and feed them to their turret. Try to stand close to or behind your ADC. As soon as she throws her Zenith Blade and dashes, immediately Pulverize her so she can't cast any abilities. Then, you can choose to feed her to your turret with Headbutt if she is close to it, or you can Headbutt her or the opposing ADC or Jungler away if you aren't by your turret. Both of your initiates are equally as good, though hers requires aim unlike Alistar's. Alistar can also counter-initiate well with his ult and combo.|
|Another support that relies somewhat on a dash, which in this case is Death Sentence. Thresh can be killed quite easily early in the game. Play similarly against him as you would Leona, but keep in mind that he has Dark Passage as a shield and escape for others! As a result, it's usually much better and easier to kill Thresh instead of his ADC. If he pops his ult, The Box, try to save your Unbreakable Will for after you walk into one of its walls so you can cleanse the slow. In teamfights, Thresh will try to initiate with a Death Sentence dash, and maybe even bringing a buddy in with Dark Passage. Use your Headbutt wisely, knocking away either Thresh or his teammate, whoever is the bigger threat, or even counter initiating with a WQ. Or you could simply CC Thresh and have your team instantly kill him before he can Flay or pop The Box.|
|I hate playing against Blitzcrank in general, mainly because my ADC's always get grabbed by Rocket Grab and killed. If this happens, all you can really do is Headbutt their ADC away and Pulverize Blitzcrank as you walk back. On the other hand, Alistar has no trouble with getting grabbed. The animation for Alistar's Pulverize is quicker than Blitzcrank's autoattack for Power Fist, so if you pop a Q when you get pulled, you can often knock up Blitzcrank before he can knock you up, allowing you to Headbutt him away, his ADC away, dash to a minion and escape, or simply walk away. Getting pulling into a team isn't bad either, since you just pop Unbreakable Will, laugh while you knock their entire team up, and Headbutt their ADC into your team Lee Sin style for good ol' times.|
|Alistar has a weakness against getting poked down, which Sona excels at. However, Sona is extremely squishy and easy to kill since she extremely limited escape and peel besides Crescendo, Flash, and Exhaust. Let the lane push, and when Sona comes in for harass with Hymn of Valor, surprise her with a Pulverize > Flash, and send her into your turret. This combo is easier said than done, because many good Sona players will be smart enough to avoid this, so just play passive until she makes a mistake. It's just a bit hard to get this lane down to low health to secure a kill, since Sona can spam heals with Aria of Perseverance.|
|Nami's Aqua Prison is an extremely inconsistent skillshot because it's pretty hard to land. With a good ADC and unpredictable movements, you pretty much won't get hit by it, which is what you should be worried about the most. If you or your ADC gets hit, try to Headbutt the enemy ADC away and then walk through the minions with Trample. Other than that, her Ebb and Flow costs a ton of mana, and she's somewhat squishy, so this lane really shouldn't be too hard. Keep in mind that Nami's ult, Tidal Wave is a great initiate and counter-initiate, so always beware of it and its cooldown. Don't be afraid to pop Unbreakable Will to cleanse the slow so you can counter-engage or disengage.|
|I don't know why people say she's so hard to play against with Alistar. Yes, Alistar is somewhat aggressive, dependent on his dash and combo for kills, and Janna can disengage incredibly well with all of her abilities, making your engage combo pretty much useless when trying to secure kills in lane. All this really does is force you to freeze the lane, which isn't all that bad because Alistar can play passively well too. You might find difficulty in teamfights though, since she makes everyone move super fast and can disengage your team so well with Monsoon, but Alistar is awesome because he doesn't ult to engage, and thus can engage again in a short amount of time. All in all, she just forces you to play passively. Dodge her Howling Gale, remember that she is probably maxing her Eye Of The Storm making it really hard to get kills in lane, and play passive while capitalizing on opportunities.|
|Lulu is actually really annoying, because as soon as you decide to engage, she can turn you into a bunny with Whimsy, which sucks especially when you haven't hit level 6 yet. She does a great job protecting targets, especially with Help, Pix! and Wild Growth, all while being able to poke you in lane pretty hard. She is extremely squishy, but it's hard to catch a good Lulu player vulnerable without being hit by an annoying spell. Just play extremely passively, capitalize on her mistakes, and keep an eye on her mana bar, since she's quite mana hungry.|
|Zyra really pokes hard in lane, which sucks for Alistar. However, she does push lanes somewhat hard with her spells, granting you good opportunities for a turret feed with Headbutt. Do your best to dodge her Grasping Roots, and don't get baited to step on a Rampant Growth because they only initially grant vision (like Bushwhack). She's also squishy, extremely slow, and somewhat mana hungry, so if she ever gives you the opportunity, you can probably kill her early if your ADC can follow through too. Her Stranglethorns is always a problem for teams that initiate, so you have to play smart against her in team fights.|
|I personally find this lane extremely hard. Though her cooldown on Black Shield is longer than your WQ combo, she's much less mana hungry than Alistar. When she uses her shield, your abilities are useless, which mainly sucks when you're trying to Flash in to Headbutt feed their ADC to your turret, since she can easily shield them once she sees you flash. Keep in mind, if you can quickly Q-Flash Morgana instead of the ADC, the knock up prevents her from casting Black Shield so you can easily Headbutt her in for the kill. What sucks the most about playing against her is that she probably won't come anywhere near your turret because she's trying to bush-snipe you with Dark Binding, and you probably can't hit her away with Headbutt when she casts Soul Shackles because she probably shielded herself. Just keep a mental note on when she has her Black Shield on cooldown (it's really long), and try to target the enemy who isn't shielded by Black Shield. When your jungler comes, WQ Morgana to bait her to cast Black Shield on herself, then Exhaust their ADC and let the jungler's CC help secure the kill. Dodge her poke, capitalize opportunities when you can, and play passive when you can't.|
|His fear is actually not as bad as it was before, since it was nerfed with 3.15 patch. But still, I've had so many times where I've gone in with a Headbutt to the wall on the ADC, slap, pulver---jk fear. Flashing in for a Pulverize- Headbutt turret feed on their ADC is also hard when he can insta- Terrify you. Silence with Dark Wind is a total buzzkill too, pausing your combos when you need them most, as well as poking the heck out of you. Hit away their ADC when yours is feared, following up with a Pulverize to cancel Fid's Drain, and don't forget that you can always Headbutt Fiddlesticks away when he Crowstorms. You can also combo him when you see him start to channel his ult to cancel it. He also has no escape and is extremely squishy.|
|Nunu's mobility, sustain, and poke really can hurt Alistar in lane, making it difficult to secure kills. His poke with Ice Blast really hurts quite a bit. However, you can cancel his Absolute Zero with your W or Q, though you'll probably be forced to save your abilities for when Nunu channels his ult. Nothing is scarier than engaging with WQ, only to find that Nunu started to channel his ult and you can't do anything to stop it.|
|The only real problem you'll run into with this lane is getting poked by Infuse, as well as getting baited by all of her heals. Just play smart in this lane and it should be no problem. She barely has a disengage, and she can't silence you mid-WQ with Infuse unless she's a ninja. She does make it a bit hard to do a flash turret feed combo, since she can easily silence you mid-combo. Thus, it's better to try and target her rather than her ADC for a turret feed, as with most supports with CC against abilities.|
|Also not really a problem to lane against. His Dazzle takes a while to arrive, so you can easily use your abilities in response. His heal is pretty high though, making it harder than normal to wither down your opponents to low health for a kill. However, he grants himself an armor bonus while you do magic damage, letting you chunk him hard for your ADC.|
|Lux supports are getting rarer, but they still get played. She does some good poke damage, like Zyra, which makes laning quite hard for Alistar. However, she's easier to face than Zyra because her ult, Final Spark, is pure damage with no utility, allowing you to play more aggressive post-6 compared to facing Zyra. Just try not to get baited in with a Prismatic Barrier and dodge her poke.|
|Too many people play against Annie incorrectly, letting her zone too much. Though she does provide high AOE burst and utility with Pyromania, she's also ridiculously squishy, especially since most players build her glass cannon. The recent patch 4.1 nerf to her early game dramatically decreases her disengage, allowing much better all-ins against her. This lane comes down to who has the quicker reflexes and who seizes opportunities better. Keep in mind that your W has 50+ more range than all of her abilities and autoattacks, giving you somewhat a range advantage when you want to go in for an initiate. Annie supports often put points in Summoner's Insight , like I recommend for Alistar, so watch out for ganks that she initiates with a Flash and Summon: Tibbers. This lane is one of the few lanes which I will start with full Greater Glyph of Magic Resist runes, Mercury's Treads, and maybe even a Doran's Shield to bait her stun and the ADC prior to a gank.|
|Laning as Karma is literally all about poking and running away like a sissy. It's so incredibly annoying to play against, since she has some pretty high damage, with range and AOE, good disengage and engage, and has a built in Talisman of Ascension with her Defiance. Everything in her skill set spells out trouble for Alistar, since he can't really do much against her. However, Karma can run out of mana if she spams too hard, and she's quite squishy too, meaning that capitalization on opportunities can easily spell reward. Her tether with Focused Resolve can be easily broken with a Headbutt too. You just can't get too aggressive with this lane, as with most lanes where you face a sissy, poking support.|
|This duo is one of the most popularly played duos (maybe because they are both free? Hue). Tristana has a high amount of burst and a huge dash. When Alistar throws up the alley-oop with his Pulverize, Tristana completes the dunk with a Rocket Jump. Not to mention, her Buster Shot with Alistar's Headbutt can lead to hysterical chain knockbacks that send their ADC flying behind your turret for the jungler to clean up. He also does a decent job protecting her in mid-game, where she is weakest.|
|Twitch is incredibly squishy and his escape, Ambush, isn't as reliable as many other ADC's escapes. Alistar can protect and peel for Twitch well, and with a WQ combo, Alistar can help Twitch lock-in and burst down enemies. However, Twitch's burst isn't as immense as other ADC's, and as a result, this lane can get zoned pretty hard by a lane with more burst and poke, something Alistar can't really defend against (remember, Alistar's weakness is getting poked). I don't really do this duo as often because Twitch can do better with other supports, but Alistar still does a great job with him.|
|Again, Alistar can protect his ADC well, and Vayne is one of the ADC's that really needs protection. Alistar's engage is also great for Vayne, and one of the best and easiest combos to pull off is a Flash Headbutt turret feed, followed by a Vayne Condemn to lock a target under a turret as mentioned. Also, as I mentioned before, Alistar's Headbutt can be used similarly to Condemn when you hit the enemy into a big wall. If Vayne can land a Condemn on someone, you should follow up with a Headbutt after the stun wears off, then Pulverize after that wears off. This will keep an enemy locked in for around 4.5 seconds if they haven't died already. However, since Vayne is so squishy and has such a small range, this lane is highly prone to getting zoned by a high ranged or heavy bursting lane.|
|Corki has some significant burst in the early game, which works great with Alistar. Alistar's WQ combo can lock an enemy into Corki's Gatling Gun for lots of bursty damage. Corki's poke on his Missile Barrage also gives Alistar a lot of presence in the bushes, letting him play quite aggressively too. It's just too bad that Riot nerfed him down 50 tiers.|
|Not that great of a duo because Caitlyn is all about poking and zoning people out of lane, which Alistar really can't match. She has little burst, while Alistar has zero sustained damage and poke. In this case, Alistar's only real job is to protect Caitlyn and play passively, only WQ comboing when a kill can arise from it. However, you can attempt to pull off a Flash turret-feed into a Yordle Snap Trap, similar to what I mentioned before with Jinx's Flame Chompers!, to lock an enemy under your tower, but it's actually extremely hard. It's also pretty funny to Headbutt people away who are trying to block an Ace in the Hole from landing.|
|This combo is overall pretty good, since Jinx is the definitive glass cannon. Alistar simply protects her with his hard CC, and there is some really good synergy between Headbutt and Flame Chompers!, allowing the combo to be used both offensively (as I mentioned before, by chaining it with your flash turret-feed combo under your turret) and defensively too. She can match your WQ combo by placing a Flame Chompers! directly under where the enemies land, allowing her to completely lock in a target and eat them up. And if a pesky enemy jungler is ganking, Alistar Headbutts them away and Jinx throws down her traps to completely disengage the gank.|
|Lucian himself is already pretty strong, able to bully people in lane with his constant poke damage. With Lucian's big zone, Alistar can actually use his WQ combo as a means of harass. A good Lucian will follow up and throw his Piercing Light and Ardent Blaze with autoattacks in between to really put a bruise in the enemy's bot lane. Lucian's good early game burst and big zone allow Alistar to play really aggressively.|
|Also another good combo. Graves' early game is incredibly strong, allowing him to all-in very early in the game. Both Alistar and Graves' possess some natural tankiness, and Alistar's WQ sets up a perfect Quickdraw + Buckshot for Graves. The hard CC Alistar provides is also great since Graves doesn't have the biggest range.|
|Varus is a lane bully who has mean poke and both great sustained and burst damage. Since Varus basically has no escape besides his minimal slow on Hail of Arrows and Chain of Corruption (his ult), Alistar can protect him well. However, the nature of Alistar's WQ combo makes his targets move a bit, making it somewhat hard to land Varus' skillshots. This could mean a wasted ult from Varus, or a missed Piercing Arrow that ends up dramatically reducing Varus' damage output. However, with a good Varus player and some coordination, you could easily pull off a Flash turret feed combo with a Chain of Corruption under your turret for a kill.|
|Miss Fortune dominates her lane through bullying with her poke. She does incredible sustained damage, but doesn't burst as hard as many other ADC's. As a result, Alistar can't really do much for her in lane other than protect her from ganks. However, with some good positioning, a great WQ combo inside of a Bullet Time will spell devastation for the entire enemy team. Alistar's main job in lane though is to protect Miss Fortune because she has no escape besides her minimal slow on Make it Rain.|
|This is really not an ideal duo. While it still works, since Alistar can peel really well for Kog'Maw, Kog'Maw's early game is incredibly weak. This lane is quite vulnerable to getting zoned by poke or getting bursted down, since the only early game strength Kog'Maw has is a little bit of autoattack poke from his Bio-Arcane Barrage. Kog'Maw can't really poke back early in the game and has no escape from all-ins. Alistar can't do anything to fight off constant poke, so this lane can get shutdown really easily. However, if the duo can somehow make it to mid game, they can actually shine because Kog'Maw has some respectable burst with the right items and can poke back with his Living Artillery. One successful WQ combo from Alistar can easily be followed up with a Void Ooze into multiple W-empowered autoattacks and some ults from Kog'Maw. And late game, Alistar can peel really well for Kog'Maw, who needs protection above all else.|
|A respectable duo, since Ezreal has both good early poke and burst with Rising Spell Force. Ezreal's zoning ability gives Alistar a lot of presence in the lane bushes, allowing for some great initiates that can easily be followed up by Ezreal's burst. Not really much to be said, other than hope that your Ezreal can land his Mystic Shots. Just note that there are other ADC's with more early burst than Ezreal, which could force you to have to protect him rather than initiate for him.|
|There is so much beautiful win in this duo. Draven's early game is still monstrously OP, and all Alistar has to do is initiate. Make sure that your Draven has two Spinning Axe's up, and go in hard with a combo of your choice. Once the target(s) get too far away, Draven can easily throw a Stand Aside to keep them kited (hopefully your Draven is good and waited to use it until this time, rather than stacking the CC like some do). Focus more on positioning yourself in front of the targets' intended path so you can Headbutt them backwards when it comes off cooldown. You could even Flash for this. #farmchampions|
|Despite being mainly a lane bully, Sivir can actually have some decent synergy with Alistar if played correctly. Sivir's sustained damage actually feels quite bursty, and Alistar's "W into wall, slap, Q, slap" combo behaves similarly. Combined, if you can manage to pin an enemy into a wall, Sivir can land an easy Boomerang Blade on both ways without the damage reduction from minions, since they will pretty much be hard CC'd to a wall for about 3 seconds. The total damage is actually quite high, and since Sivir can zone pretty hard, Alistar can continue to be pretty aggressive in lane. And On The Hunt is one of the greatest ults for teammates who have initiate with a dash (like Alistar's WQ), since it allows the rest of the team to catch up quickly.|
|This lane pretty much suffers the same problems as with Kog'Maw. Ashe's early game really isn't that great, though she can zone pretty well with Volley. However, Ashe can easily get zoned and bursted down, as well as get poked down hard, with nothing that Alistar can really do to stop it. However, one good combo that can be pulled off in this duo is a Flash turret feed into a Enchanted Crystal Arrow to try and lock down an enemy. Ashe's Frost Shot also allows Alistar to follow up with a WQ combo that sets up ganks well too.|
|Not a bad lane, since Quinn actually has some respectable burst. Quinn's main strength is in her early and mid game, where she can duel quite well. The only bad thing is that she can get poked down pretty hard, since she doesn't have a strong and reliable poking mechanism, other than her Blinding Assault that tickles and hardly ever lands. The slow from Vault also helps Alistar come in for a WQ combo to further help Quinn continue to deal DPS.|
Hopefully this guide helped give you a new perspective on Alistar. Simply reading this guide won't make you a better Alistar player, especially since playing him correctly requires not only practice with his mechanics, but you also need a good knowledge of the game to know who to hit and when to initiate and when to ult and what to build and which combo suits the situation best.
Feel free to leave comments and criticisms, as I am a bit of a perfectionist and get really picky with what I do. I'll leave you guys with a little bit of background info on me:
I started playing League of Legends in the summer of 2012, only casually playing. I got more into it as more of my friends got into it, and I really enjoyed playing weird champions that weren't played often, like Cassiopeia, Kog'Maw and Syndra before she got popular. I eventually settled with playing jungle and support as my main roles, since these roles fit my personality more.
Along with Alistar, I play a lot of Thresh, Annie, and Soraka. On an off-topic side note, I think Soraka is incredibly good at Solo Queue and is one of the most difficult support champions to master and play properly. I mean, 725 range 2.5 second silence with NO MANA COST, like wtf! Free poke Caitlyn?? OP as heck!! Rush Archangel's and 40% cdr, everything dies. A global heal to help your mid or top laner not only survive a turret dive but get a double kill too, sheesh riot pls nerf. Heal your ADC from like 0-100 lmao and they get a million armor too.
Anyways, this guide is pretty dynamic. I am quite theoretical about my playstyle and I love to take advice from anyone and any source, so this guide gets updated quite frequently to keep up with the meta. Check back in and read what I have on the "Recently Updated" portion in the "Notes" Chapter to see stuff that's been added!