Alistar General Guide by Pelikins
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Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Alistar Top: Solostar
Alistar top is an amazing new way to play him.
Top Alistar boasts a lot of great perks that absolutely will give Alistar's team a substantial edge.
Tons of CC, great for initiating and for peeling teammates.
Great AoE damage.
Accepts ganks really well.
Avoids being ganked really well.
Duels melee really well.
CRAZY CRAZY TANKY.
Deals lots of damage in AoE.
Will passively carry a team by negating their most useful player(s).
Can be difficult to CS.
Doesn't shut down farm lanes well.
Doesn't build MR as well as armor (makes him weaker against AP tops).
Heavy sustain champions can mitigate his harass.
Build order / Itemizaton
Alistar is very mana intensive but is also very good at not getting taken down from full hp this item helps Ali keep enough mana in his pool to harass while it helps mitigate incoming harass. It also has gold/10 on it which will effectively snowball Ali through the game.
This item is really really strong for Ali. By purchasing it you'll no longer need to buy potions for the rest of the game. This is very helpful because as I've stated, Ali is very mana intensive. This is also really nice for mitigating a burst of damage from a gank or a mistake. It keeps Ali in lane longer and it makes returning for a resupply even more beneficial to him.
This item is your damage staple. It makes Ali pretty fierce in lane even with just the Sheen.
The item gives you all the stats you want in lane: CDR, armor, and some bonus mana on top to allow you to harass more readily. While the AP and sheen procs will provide a huge damage boost to your headbutt harass.
This is pretty simple. Buy some MR to mitigate magic damage so you don't get nuked by mages.
This is the item that makes Ali top viable tbh. It makes up for Ali's really poor late game scaling by providing a huge amount of free damage. It has great synergy with Ali's kit and Iceborn gauntlets as it deals double damage to anyone standing in the slow from the gauntlets or is CC'd due to any other means.
This one purchase will make Ali able to solo enemy bruisers, and carries.
Build freedom: Once you have your core completed. You have great freedom in your build. Build support items for max effect. WotA, RO, Abyssal Scepter, Reverie, Aegis/Bulwark are all great items to support teammate that work well on Ali.
Alistar Top basics:
This section will simply explain how Ali top works.
This is how you win your lane. Headbutt your opponent and follow that up with a melee for a considerable amount of damage. The melee will hit instantly as you collide with them. With a sheen purchased, this is a lot of damage. And by leveling it first you'll have even more damage and have a low CD on the ability.
What you really want to do as Ali top is peel the enemy away from you when they want to deal damage while keeping up sustained harass with headbutt. That means not using pulverize and always keeping enough mana saved to use pulverize at all times. You want to pretty much only cast headbutt for damage as it is by far the most mana efficient ability. You'll want to use your consumables and Triumphant Roar to keep your hp bar full too though.
Using your ult:
Make sure to remember all the mechanics your ultimate provides. It gives lots of damage mitigation, but it also gives a large amount of AD, and it removes a CC from you. Using it most effectively may be different each and every fight. But remember, especially in team fights, to use the ult sooner rather than later. I see many Alistars take 70% of their hp before ulting and then get finished off with true damage like Ignite or Feast. Use the ult to mitigate incoming skill damage...don't using after their AP carry has blown all their skills on you already. Also remember the CC removal. That is really strong to counter a gank.
Chain together headbutt and pulverize to instantly close and knockup and enemy. Its great for dealing one heavy burst or to give an Unstoppable Force initiate effect.
Don't forget to support your teammates:
Alistar is an excellent support. He can heal his whole team. He can peel for them. He can tank skill shots for them. He can bring to focus a focus target. Make sure to set up your teammates to succeed.
This is a pretty simple concept. Use Ignite to secure kills. People don't expect Ali to deal as much damage as he really does. So they stick around a bit too long. Sand bag ignite to deal that bit more damage than they can handle.
The best headbutt possible:
Anyone who has played Alistar...or played with one that isn't very experienced...knows that headbutt can hurt the team as much as help it. So learning which headbutts are the best ones is very crucial.
Sometimes the difference between and amazing play and a terrible on are a pixel different. Keep your mind keen on what each headbutt is going to do for enemy positioning. Often, it's better just to was a few seconds for Pulverize to come off CD and do an uber-combo or take a little more time to position rather than pushing the enemy along.
Keep in mind the terrain. Use it to your advantage. Is their ADC full hp and standing next to a wall? If so that can certainly be a team fight winning headbutt if you punch the adc through the wall to keep it from being able to attack a priority target for that whole team fight...unless of course your assassin had it in their grasp and it was going to get bursted down in a second... each scenario is different, keep your eyes open.
Runes: Why magic pen?
Alistar's base damages are actually pretty high while his AP ratios are pretty low. By building magic pen we make best use of those base values.
Flat armor and MR runes make Ali really sturdy pre-6 which is when he needs the most help being sturdy.
Masteries: Why utility?
Alistar has two main issues:
1) He is extremely mana instensive.
2) He doesn't scale with AP/AD well.
Surprisingly, utility masteries do the best job of fixing this.
Improved manage regen allows Alistar to cast more spells. That's pretty straight forward.
Now here is the surprising bit. CDR saves Alistar mana. How does being able to cast more spells save mana? Seems wrong right?
With CDR Ali doesn't have to use pulverize at all for damage. He can completely rely on headbutt which is a lot more mana efficient. Less pulverize = less mana used.
Third is $$$. Ali needs the money to be effective and utility gives it to him. Greed and pickpocket both supplement his income to snowball him. Ali needs his core gear to be effective and the extra income helps him get there faster.
Now I do have a bit of defense and improved ignite as well to help him be more sturdy and improve his burst a little more.
This guide pretty well explains all there is to know about Ali top.
I'm on a 6 game winning streak with Ali top.
I've beaten so far:
I feel like I just out played the vlad. I have a feeling that a good vlad would win the lane against Ali. Olaf is the other possible counter for him.
Here is the last game I played (lolreplay needed to watch). Everyone on the enemy team was gold ranked or higher in S2.
I feel like this game especially shows that Ali does not fall off late game with this build. I win my lane as does the friendly Ahri, but the enemy Kayle destroys bottom lane and our jungler falls way behind. In a rough hour long dogfight we go back and forth on gold lead.
It's a real nail biter!