Last Updated: Dec 30th 2010
A01 - BASICS
Aura-Bot Build reasoning:
Alistar is one of the few tanks in LoL that doesn't need defensive items to be tanky. His Ultimate does all that for him with its only weakness being TRUE damage sources such as Ignite. This is why we want to stack HP on the side with this build.
A lot of players argue that one of Alistar's greatest weaknesses is that he can be ignored for 99% of the fight after he has completed his combo. This is mostly correct, which is exactly why we stack OFFENSIVE auras on him. Sure, you can build Sheen and go Trinity force, but wouldn't you rather focus on helping your carries do more damage instead?
Note that these aura items also benefit Alistar really well. His AP ratios on Pulverize and Headbutt are solid and Stark's boosts attack speed so it synergizes nicely with his Ultimate and Passive.
Why to max Triumphant Roar first over Headbutt
90% of Headbutt's power is in its positioning potential and not the damage. Although it is possible to do some harassment with Headbutt during laning phase, it's highly situational depending on who you're laning against.
Triumphant Roar is a skill that is strongest early-mid game. Players don't yet have that late game explosive potential and players generally rely on kiting to get the advantage before initiating. Roar provides some decent protection from low damage kiting and will often let you lane way longer than your opponent. As Alistar, you also always want to have FULL HP before a fight to benefit completely from his ultimate. Triumphant Roar really helps in that respect and lets you get away with some minor farming and still have FULL HP before a fight.
The order at which the aura items are built should come down to team composition. So don't build Will of the Ancients if you know your team doesn't benefit from the AP.
Another possible start for Alistar is to go Doran's Ring and build RoA as your first item. Mercury's Treads is also a decent choice if the opposing team has lots of CC. Otherwise you'll be relying solely on your ultimate.
Shurelia's Reverie is also a decent item for the movement speed boost on low cd. And note that the recipe is very similar to Soul Shroud's. You can always sell one of the Faerie Charms and go for Shurelia instead.
Runes can be adjusted as well. The above build provides 30% CDR at level 18 in combination with Soul Shroud and Masteries. However, a mix of more HP runes or Movement Speed Quints can also work depending on your play style. Some extra Mana Regen runes is also a possibility for those that aren't good at conserving mana. Going Attack Speed Marks is also not a terrible bad idea.
A02 - ADVANCED
Here are some advanced Alistar nuances and tactics that might not be known to the new player.
Wall Headbutt stun lock
Headbutting an opponent towards a nearby wall actually kind of stuns them. (They have to be close to the wall already, and it isn't a true stun - they just won't be able to move.) Use this to your advantage to get a double lock down. Basically, I believe the animation when the character should be flying, he's "stunned". So if they're already against the wall, during that animation, you can still wail away at them.
Alistar's Ultimate breaks crowd control
This is essential knowledge for Alistar players. Try to save up your Ultimate to break out of a stun.
Alistar's Ultimate boosts your auto attack damage A LOT
Don't forget this. Use your autoattack when you ulti, especially early game where that bit of damage can make all the difference.
Alistar tower diving
Alistar can tower dive once level 6 is reached. Be cautious with this, but always know that it's possible.
Alistar tower dive push
Alistar can dive push a tower with your team to force it down. Wait for the cannon minion wave and start attacking the tower. Immediately when they focus you, turn on your ultimate. Use your own judgment as to when to back off, but try to take down the tower if you can.
Alistar should always be the first to head into a brush as a team when 5-man roaming. If they're hiding there, you can always Ulti and Pulverize.
Alistar doesn't need that much farm to do his business. Don't hesitate to buy wards for your team. Alistar is ideal on the bottom lane. Try to ward the dragon at around level 3 to prevent an early dragon kill.
True damage >>> Alistar's Ultimate
Chogath can and will attempt to eat you up. Ignite hurts! Be careful about TRUE DAMAGE and don't wait until you have 300 health left to active the ultimate!
The mythical Headbutt into Pulverize combo
Yes, it is possible, but it takes some practice. Essentially, you can't just spam Pulverize and expect it to work. You need to tap Pulverize just ONCE and it must be done a split second after the Headbutt connects, so when the target is in mid-air, but within Pulverize range. There's only a tiny window for this, but it's definitely possible.
Note that the timing will be different depending on the range of the target. Since when you're closer, the headbutt connection occurs faster. This is a powerful harassment tool during laning phase, and can save your *** big time in multiple situations.
Late Game Alistar Baiting
One tactic with Alistar late game is to have your entire team hide in a brush nearby and YOU slowly pushing a lane towards a tower. Ideally, the enemy team will try to gank you, resulting in your allies coming out of brush and pwning them.
This can be useful for breaking defensive teams, as you should have map control at this point with wards everywhere and this is frustrating for the opponents to deal with. They're too scared to come out, but they clearly see that you're farming up and pushing towards a tower. Plus, your allies are all MIA except you.
A03 - Initiating
How to initiate with Alistar. Basic stuff really, but you need to know it to play Alistar.
Alistar Initiation 1 - Bread and Butter
Flash or Ghost close to enemy
Headbutt towards allies
Alistar Initiation 2 - Team Gank
Hide in brush with team
Ghost and charge towards enemy team
Flash onto enemy team
Headbutt someone towards allies
Alistar Initiation 3 - Basic Gank
Hide in brush or get the jump on someone from the back
Headbutt first so your ally can continue auto-attack
Pulverize as they try to run away
Don't waste a skill when initiating
Whenever you can, DO NOT WASTE any of your skills. Each one is crucial, including your summoner skills. Alistar is all about timing each skill to max potential. If you can get away with just using Flash and not Ghost, do so. Save Ghost for later, you never know when it can come in handy. This comes down to experience, as you don't want to hesitate too much on your skills either.
Initiate with your team, not without them
Make sure your team is ready. Signal, chat, talk. Don't be an idiot and do it all alone, then blame your team because they didn't follow your lead.
Watch your mana before initiating
Make sure you have at least 450+ mana before a fight. This lets you throw all your skills once. It's ideal to have at least 600+ so you don't even have to worry about it.
A04 - Team fight role
This is what Alistar should be doing during a chaotic team fight.
A good headbutt can go a long way in saving your ally. Use it to break Pantheon's stun and heartseeker combo or to push away a charging Eve, Yi or Tryndamere, etc. Another strong example of Headbutt is to push away Kennen when he uses his AoE Ultimate. They'll really hate you for that. :D
Thus in team fights, it can often be a good idea to push away the opposing team's carry instead of just randomly headbutting stuff for damage.
Fight with and protect your carry
After the initiation, fight with your carry and protect him. Don't go running off chasing Ashe, you won't kill her. Make sure your carry doesn't die, and let your offensive auras do the work. The auras are useless if you guys are all scattered.
Sacrifice yourself for your carry
You dying > Carry dying. If you can save your carry at the cost of your life. Do it. Try to not be the last one to die. Cause you probably won't be able to finish off the opposing team anyway even if they have low health.
Take for example you guys are running away and you know they're going to catch up. It's up to you to stay back, headbutt, pulverize, or do whatever to slow them down. Yes, you'll die, but you saved your team, so it's all good.
Save yourself if they're focusing you
Yes, this is a bit going against the previous note, but the point is that you should still try to avoid dying. Dying gives them gold and XP, so try to save yourself if you're about to die. You aren't Tryndamere or Mundo. RUN AWAY when you're low health!! Hide in brush, juke them, do something!