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Alistar Build Guide by brikbot

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League of Legends Build Guide Author brikbot

Alistar: the Protector (S3 Updated)

brikbot Last updated on February 13, 2013
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Introduction

Due to item updates in Patch 3.02, I am currently reviewing this build and experimenting with alternate builds. I will update in a week or two with any changes and thoughts on alternate items.



This guide is designed to introduce the build and its permutations that I have been using with Alistar as a bottom lane support and seeks to explain why I chose what I have as this build is a little bit unconventional. While Alistar may not be a full support (such as Sona or Soraka), I have found this build to enable him to be very effective in the support role, in addition to being very simple to play well. I am assuming if you are reading this you are fairly new to the game, so my apologies to the experienced if you feel like I'm talking down to you.

I have also included a couple alternate tank builds I sometimes play/tinker with (these are not support builds). They try to balance health with armor with magic resistance, with a side of some damage. The first is an AP build to maximize the damage caused by Alistar's passive and abilities and to improve his heal. The second is based purely on maximizing health and using an Atma's Impaler for auto-attack damage. Personally, I feel the AP build is much stronger than the AD build, simply because Alistar does not have enough attack speed to maintain a high DPS.

But before continuing let me be clear on one thing:

I have not played this build in ranked play as I do not play Alistar in ranked. So if you are playing at that level, use this guide at your own risk as its viability has not been tested.
You have been warned.


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Thanks!

Before continuing with this guide, I want to give a big thanks to everyone who has taken the time to provide feedback to me, both the good and the bad as both have helped me to refine the build further. Also with this being my first guide I have learned quite a bit the past couple months from you guys, and am flattered to note that this guide is now one of the top builds on MobaFire for Alistar.

So thank you!


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Abilities

Ability Descriptions


Trample


Each time Alistar casts a spell he will be able to move through units and will deal 7 + (1 x level) + (+10% of ability power) magic damage per second to nearby enemy units and structures for 3 seconds. It deals double damage to minions and monsters.

Pulverize


Alistar smashes the ground where he is standing, dealing 60 / 105 / 150 / 195 / 240 (+50% of ability power) magic damage to all enemies in the area and tossing them into the air, knocking them up for 1 second and stunning them upon landing for 0.5 seconds.

Headbutt


Alistar dashes to an enemy, taking its position and rams them, dealing 55 / 110 / 165 / 220 / 275 (+70% of ability power) magic damage and knocking them back a distance of 650.


Triumphant Roar


Instantly restore 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 / 180 (+20% of ability power) health to himself and half of that value to surrounding allied units. Cooldown ticks down by 2 seconds each time a nearby enemy unit dies.

Unbreakable Will


On cast, Alistar removes all disables on himself. Alistar gains 60 / 75 / 90 physical damage and takes 50 / 60 / 70 % reduced physical and magic damage for 7 seconds.

Ability Sequence


The first skills to grab are his crowd control abilities - Pulverize and Headbutt. This enables Alistar to help his carry secure an early kill. After you have one point in both Pulverize and Headbutt you need to next max out Triumphant Roar, maximizing your healing output. Following that, you then max out your crowd control abilities. Because Pulverize is the more important of the two, I recommend maxing that out before Headbutt.

Ability Combo's


All of Alistar's combos are centered around croud control, and are very important to maximizing Alistar's impact.


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General Support Strategy

The name of the game with this build can be summed up with the phrase: ability spamming. Alistar's heal, while it heals all allies (minions included) around you, it does not heal them for very much. To compensate, we focus on spamming the heal as much as possible. This is core philosophy behind the build. In order to spam the heal, we are going to need a massive amount of mana and good cooldown reduction.


Early Game


During early game you have two main jobs: protect the carry, and pin the other carry down for your carry to kill. Finally, do not take cs from your carry. If your new to the support role you'll find it really tempting to do, but this will end up hurting your carry and by extension, you and your entire team. So don't do it. Only last hit minions if you're the only champ in lane or if you're team is pushing a lane.

Protecting the Carry


This is your primary role as a support: do not let your carry die unless doing so will for sure give the other team a double kill. With Alistar you have two options available to you for doing this: your heal, and you CC.

First is the heal. In general in the midst of combat this is not a very effective or practical. However, it may allow you to save your carry from death by Ignite or a poison (such as Teemo or Twitch have). Backing this up is Heal: save Heal only for saving your carry. Therefore, you should not use it for general healing.

Second is your CC, generally on a retreat. Here, you trail your carry and use your CC to prevent the other team from passing you and getting to the carry.

Pinning the Other Carry


This is the more difficult of the two, especially as you face higher and more experience players. The ideal way is this: you move to one side of the other carry, you hit their carry with Headbutt knocking the carry way from his support to your carry. You then charge the carry and use Pulverize stunning the carry. This gives your carry a full second and a half to freely attack the other carry before retreating.

Realistically, what generally has to happen is you charge in, use Pulverize stunning the other carry. In that time (with the help of Trample) you get behind the other carry so that he is between you and your carry. You then use Headbutt to knock the other carry to yours to kill. With smarter carries, it may be very difficult to do either of these. This is because a carry of any intelligence is not going to let you get around him. To help you can use Flash to get near enough to them in order to combo them. The danger is that you will not have Flash available for the next 3 minutes.

Mid Game


Starting mid game can be a little awkward: your not quite tanky yet, and your not quite able to spam your abilities yet either. Typically I find that it is best to continue try to stay near your carry during this period. By the end of mid game you'll have your Frozen Heart completed which will give you a solid amount of armor and the Tear of the Goddess is stacking right along.

When clearing minions, make use of the cooldown reduction built into Triumphant Roar by using the heal before killing any minions and then again at the end. You can usually end up using Triumphant Roar twice within a couple seconds. This both heals your allies up faster, but helps stack out the Tear of the Goddess faster.

Late Game


Late game is where this build begins to shine. Because of the mana provided by the stacks on the Archangel's Staff and Frozen Heart and the mana regen from Eleisa's Miracle, mana is no longer an issue. Combined with cooldown from the Frozen Heart you can now do a decent job of spaming Pulverize and far more importantly Triumphant Roar, keeping your team alive in team fights and then healing them back up afterwards.

Remember:

  • shard of true ice has an active that give you even more CC capabilities. Use it!
  • Once (well, if you get that far) your Archangel's Staff transforms into Seraph's Embrace its active provides you with a shield that can shield you from up to 900 damage. This shield is probably most useful at the start of a team fight when your mana is highest, but it can also save your life.


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Support Runes

Standard/Reverie Build Runes

Runes

Greater Mark of Scaling Health
9

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Mana
9

Greater Quintessence of Scaling Health
3

Against AP Build Runes

Runes

Greater Mark of Scaling Health
9

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
9

Greater Quintessence of Scaling Health
3


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Support Masteries

Masteries
4/1
3/1
1/5
1/1
1/5
3/1
1/5
3/5
4/1
1/5
2/1
1/
1/
3/
1/

Defense

  • Durability x 4: Increases your health. At level 1 it is only 6 health but by level 18 this scales to a bonus 108 health.
  • Hardiness x 3: Increases your armor by 5.
  • Resistance x 1: Increases your magic resistance by 2.
  • Veteran's Scars x 1: This provides some early game tankiness by adding a bonus 30 health.

Utility

  • Wonderer x 1: Alistar needs all the help, no matter how small, that he can get with movement. This provides a small boost to out of combat movement.
  • Meditation x 3: Improves mana regen by 3. This can be a significant help in early game sustain.
  • Mastermind x 1: Decreases cooldowns on summoner spells by 4%.
  • Expanded Mind x 3: Provides Alistar with more of that precious mana. At level 1 it adds 12 bonus mana up to 216 at level 18.
  • Greed x 4: As a support Alistar is going to have very little income. Greed helps remedy that.
  • Wealth x 2: Again, Alistar needs the bonus gold to do his job correctly. This mastery enables Alistar to get an extra ward out the door to help protect against ganks.
  • Biscuiteer x 1: This mastery give Alistar a starting biscuit that restores a little health and mana. This helps Alistar stay in lane early game longer by adding a little early sustain.
  • Explorer x 1: Provides Alistar with a starting ward. While it only lasts for a minute it give you a little extra flexibility with warding early for no extra cost.
  • Pickpocket x 1: Adds a little more income as you get 5 bonus gold for basic attacks.
  • Intelligence x 3: Cooldown reduction is very important to this build. Because of that we want to max out the cooldown reduction.
  • Nimble * 1: Gives slow Alistar an extra 3% movement speed.

Summoner's Resolve vs. Nimble


You basically have two options: max the utility tree for the bonus 3% movement or you can get the bonus healing from Heal instead. Unfortunately this is not an easy choice: you can either get an extra 11+ movement or you can end with a bonus 90 healing. As I generally save the heal as an emergency heal, I feel that the extra movement speed is more beneficial than the extra healing.

If CDR is so important, why not grab the 4% CDR in the offensive tree?


To counter, let me ask this: how much to you like to die at the start of the game? Primarily the defensive masteries protect Alistar through those first couple clashes. If you know the team you are going against won't be a threat right at the beginning, then feel free to give up some of that for the CDR, but I strongly advise against it. If you still want to go this path for masteries, then I would just forgo the defensive tree entirely and put all 9 into Sorcery , Blast , and Arcane Knowledge .

No Summoner's Insight ?


Summoner's Insight is a strong mastery for any type of support role as it improves everything from Flash to Clairvoyance to Teleport. However, it is my opinion that the as it is the benefit is too minor to have any real impact. Since you do spend quite a bit of time out of combat, I feel that the slight bonus out of combat movement has greater overall benefit.

Why Mastermind and not Artificer ?


I spend quite of bit of time in downplaying the benefits of summoner spells with this build, yet I choose a point in Mastermind over a point in Artificer . The reason is that you end up with only two items that even have an active, and both have a relatively short cooldown. So we end up seeing slightly more benefit from the summoner spell CDR than the item CDR.

No more Awareness ?


Before the season three update this build had three points in Awareness to help Alistar keep up on levels, but I have instead choosen to put those points into Biscuiteer , Explorer , and Pickpocket instead. The reason is not that those masteries are so much better, but that Awareness actually works against the items: the extra experience forces Eleisa's Miracle sooner, cutting your income down sooner in the build making it more difficult to build up that later items. So we'll forgo the extra experience in favor of being able to keep up with the build.


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Tank Runes

AD Tank Build Runes

Runes

Greater Mark of Scaling Health
9

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Mana
9

Greater Quintessence of Scaling Health
3

AP Tank Build Runes

Runes

Greater Mark of Scaling Health
9

Greater Seal of Scaling Health
3

Greater Seal of Scaling Armor
6

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
5

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
4

Greater Quintessence of Scaling Health
3


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Tank Masteries

AD Tank

Masteries
4/5
3/1
2/1
2/5
4/1
3/1
3/5
1/1
3/1
3/
1/
1/

Offensive

  • Fury x 4: Gives Alistar some a little extra attack speed taking him from glacial speed glacial-on-a-hot-summer-day speed.
  • Deadliness x 2: Adds a little bonus attack damage.
  • Sorcery x 3: Adds 3% CDR.

Defense

  • Perseverance x 2: Increases health regen by 4.
  • Durability x 4: Increases your health. At level 1 it is only 6 health but by level 18 this scales to a bonus 108 health.
  • Hardiness x 3: Increases your armor by 5.
  • Resistance x 3: Increases your magic resistance by 5.
  • Veteran's Scars x 1: This provides some early game tankiness by adding a bonus 30 health.
  • Juggernaut x 3: This mastery is crucial, increasing your maximum health by 4%. When the build is completed this is about an extra 200 health.
  • Legendary Armor x 3: Another important defensive mastery, this increases both armor and magic resistance by 5%.
  • Reinforced Armor x 1: Reduces damage from critical hits by 10%.
  • Honor Guard x 1: This reduces incoming damage by 3%.

AP Tank

Masteries
4/1
4/5
1/1
4/1
3/1
3/5
2/1
1/1
3/1
3/
1/
1/

Offensive


Defense

  • Perseverance x 2: Increases health regen by 4.
  • Durability x 4: Increases your health. At level 1 it is only 6 health but by level 18 this scales to a bonus 108 health.
  • Hardiness x 3: Increases your armor by 5.
  • Resistance x 3: Increases your magic resistance by 5.
  • Veteran's Scars x 1: This provides some early game tankiness by adding a bonus 30 health.
  • Juggernaut x 3: This mastery is crucial, increasing your maximum health by 4%. When the build is completed this is about an extra 200 health.
  • Legendary Armor x 3: Another important defensive mastery, this increases both armor and magic resistance by 5%.
  • Reinforced Armor x 1: Reduces damage from critical hits by 10%.
  • Honor Guard x 1: This reduces incoming damage by 3%.


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Items

First Buy


Recommended

Item Sequence

Faerie Charm
125

Health Potion
50

Health Potion
50

Health Potion
50

Stealth Ward
75

Stealth Ward
75

Optional

Item Sequence

Mana Potion
35

Mana Potion
35

I would recommend starting with Faerie Charm to begin building towards your gold items in addition to adding some mana regen. Optionally you can also get a couple Mana Potions to aid in staying in lane longer, but I would recommend to save the gold and trying to be frugal with your mana to help build the gold items sooner.

Alternate

Item Sequence

Boots of Speed
300

Health Potion
50

Health Potion
50

Health Potion
50


Alistar is slow. There's no getting around that. Because of that some people will want to go ahead and build Boots of Speed. However, this delays both the gold items and the Tear of the Goddess delaying it's impact. Additionally it also does not allow for wards to be purchased, leaving you blind and vulnerable to ganks.I recommend against these as your starting items.

Early Items


Item Sequence

Nomad's Medallion
850

Frostfang
850

Sightstone
800

Boots of Speed
300

Tear of the Goddess
750

Boots of Mobility
900

Ideally, you want to rush to gold items first. This is because as the support, you will not be getting gold from creeps - that is your carries job. Therefore, the gold items provide you with some income to compensate for that.

By the time you get the gold items built, you'll be out of those initial wards. Time to restock on wards by getting the Sightstone. This give you two wards active at a time, with four available. This is also a good time to build the Boots of Speed to help with getting in position for initiating.

You may choose to instead rush Tear of the Goddess before the gold items. This enables you to benefit from the mana boost and to begin building the passive. The downside is that by delaying building your gold items, you are delaying the entire build. Either way, this should be one of the first things you build. I would recommend building it right after the Boots of Speed, though I do tend to build it before the Sightstone/ Boots of Speed if my carry is having a hard time and the other team is not ganking my lane.

Time for those boots! I generally complete my boots after the Tear of the Goddess to start getting the stacks on it and never build boots until the gold items are completed, however you will be very slow until you get your boots built.

Mid Items


Item Sequence

Glacial Shroud
1000

Iceborn Gauntlet
2700

Eleisa's Miracle
1100

Ruby Sightstone
1600

Frost Queen's Claim
2200

The Iceborn Gauntlet should be purchased as soon as the foundational items have been purchased. It increases your mana, adds some badly needed armor, adds some cooldown reduction, and has a fantastic proc. Between the Glacial Shroud and Sheen, I highly recommend building the Glacial Shroud before Sheen because the armor it provides is critical. For the most part I have found that, if your team is either ahead or only a little behind, as soon as this item is completed your team will start plowing down and obliterating the lanes.

The Eleisa's Miracle is the tier up on the philosopher's stone. It increases the philosopher's stone's stats and adds 20% summoner heal cooldown reduction. But more importantly is that after three levels it will be consumed and it's benefits permanently added to your stats.



Important: this removes the 5 GP of the philosopher's stone, but requires at least three levels in order to be consumed. It is therefore important that you build this at level 15, and it is better to build this a little early (at level 14) than to be late on it. The lost gold can be made up, but the lost item slot cannot. If you fail to build this by level 15, skip it. Instead, once all your item slots are filled sell the philosopher's stone to make room for the Runic Bulwark.




Somewhere in here these the Sightstone and kage's lucky pick should be upgraded. The extra health from the Ruby Sightstone is nice, and the extra active ward can be invaluable. The shard of true ice can be done almost any time, because it only improves kage's lucky pick: you still have the 4 GP, but you gain more ability power, and you gain more CC from it's active.

Late Items


Item Sequence

Archangel's Staff
3100

Aegis of the Legion
1100

Runic Bulwark
2950

Time for the Archangel's Staff. At this point you should have enough health and armor to make it through team fights. Additionally, since team fights are starting the heal becomes far more important, both during and after. That makes this a good time to complete the Archangel's Staff to get the extra mana and to improve the heal from the increased ability power.



Important: you have to watch the stacks on the Tear of the Goddess to make sure you build the Archangel's Staff before the Tear of the Goddess fully stacks out. This ensure the transformation into the Seraph's Embrace.




The final item in the build is the Aegis of the Legion/ Runic Bulwark, and will be built post-level 18 (when the Eleisa's Miracle is consumed). The Aegis of the Legion/ Runic Bulwark provides armor, magic resist, and health with the aura providing a buff for the team. If another team member if building the Runic Bulwark, then you may optionally go with either the Frozen Heart or the Banshee's Veil, though I am of the opinion that the mix of armor and magic resist is a wiser choice than going with either just armor or just magic resist.


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Item Notes

Why the Archangel's Staff?


Let's start with addressing the elephant in the room: why do I use the Archangel's Staff in my build? First, I'm surprised and am not sure why I have never seen this item used in any other support build for Alistar as I have found that it seems to compliments him very well in the support role: it gives Alistar an insane amount of mana once it's stacked out and also grants Alistar some extra ability power making his abilities (specifically Triumphant Roar) more effective. Once transformed into the Seraph's Embrace, it now also provides a shield that is very useful in absorbing some of the opening burst in team fights.

Which boots do I pick?


There are several different boots that are viable with Alistar:
  • Boots of Mobility: Recommended These are the boots I tend to use. These boots are very good with Alistar because they give him the speed to get into position to initiate team fights and to single out the other team's carries. Additionally, they allow Alistar to quickly move between lanes as needed.
  • Boots of Swiftness: These boots are also a strong choice to Alistar. They have the advantage of giving him some run-away, and also let him move faster in the midst of a team fight. However, I feel that all things considered, the Boots of Mobility are a better choice.
  • Ionian Boots of Lucidity: These boots are quite viable as they add even more cooldown reduction on top of the other items. If you do not need the extra speed from either the Boots of Swiftness or the Boots of Mobility because you are against a slow team, then these are the boots you should get. Do note that it may be difficult to get into position for team fights with these boots.
  • Mercury's Treads: The benefit of these boots is that they add to your relatively low magic resist in addition to the 35 tenacity. However, I find that they typically don't add enough speed to Alistar. I do not use or recommend these boots.
  • Ninja Tabi: These boots provide additional armor and reduce damage taken. These may be useful if you are against a very AD heavy team at the expense of some speed. However, your primary role with this build is as a support not as a tank, and Alistar generally benefits more from the extra speed of either the Boots of Swiftness or the Boots of Mobility. I do not use or recommend these boots.

Why the Iceborn Gauntlet and not the Frozen Heart or the Banshee's Veil?


The Frozen Heart provides more mana for the Archangel's Staff to scale with, which is nice, but more importantly is it's aura. The aura provides 20% CDR to both you and your allies in addition to reducing the attack speed of the enemy. On top of this it adds an extra 99 armor. Against this the Banshee's Veil provides even more health and beefs you up against magic damage. My opinion is to default to the Frozen Heart unless you are being hit hard by magic - then instead use the Banshee's Veil. If you stick with the Boots of Mobility, then you will know which to build by the time you get to that point in the build.

Could I build the Frozen Heart before Archangel's Staff?


Yes, and in fact I do almost half the time. This will be a situational decision: do you need the armor and cooldown from the Frozen Heart more than the extra ability power from the Archangel's Staff? Then you probably should go ahead and build the Frozen Heart. In general, you'll build Frozen Heart sooner in one of two cases: 1) you're significantly behind in the build or 2) rather than a single big team fight, you're having a series of rapid, smaller skirmishes. In the later you need the Frozen Heart to get your CC abilities cooled down for each fight.


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Change Log

  • 12/5/2012: Updated all builds for new masteries and updated support builds for new items. Also added another alternate build.
  • 12/6/2012: Reworked tank build for the item changes and added a new build. Finally, updated Introduction chapter to reflect changes and wrote more of the general support strategy.
  • 12/7/2012: Replaced Frozen Heart with Iceborn Gauntlet (Thanks to Xarsious for the idea). Updated Runes chapter to reflect new rune names and new builds and also began updating Masteries chapter.
  • 12/8/2012: I seem to be developing the "great wall of text" syndrome. Guess it's time to start looking at ways of breaking it up with making things messy. . . .
  • 12/10/2012: Added a no-Aegis/Runic build variation
  • 12/12/2012: Forcing comments due to two down votes without any explanation (which does not help me improve this guide).
  • 12/16/2012: Finished updating masteries for season 3.
  • 12/19/2012: Grouped support and tank masteries/runes together. Flows better I think. Also started updating the items section.
  • 12/21/2012: Fixed tank mastery images being flipped (thanks ZereosBlade for the catch).
  • 12/23/2012: Updated the first buy and early items of the "Items" section.
  • 12/24/2012: More "Items" section updates; completed the mid game and finished the late game sections. Just have to do the notes now!
  • 12/31/2012: Began to change formatting in the items section to something that looks better, breaks up the text more (easier to read), and is consistent with the mastery and runes presentation. Also removed the Meki as a possible starting item, as it does not exist any more. Oh, and added a needed note of thanks and updated the introduction note to be more accurate.
  • 01/01/2013: Happy new year! Further updated the items section to complete the new(er) item formatting.