Alistar Build Guide by Pelikins
This build has been archived and is for historical display only.
PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
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.
The Alistar that dominates his lane and feeds his carry.
This is my best Alistar build yet!
This Alistar is designed for lane domination. It is focuses on a strong early game in order to feed your lane partner and give your team an early and significant advantage.
Since Alistar typically is a poor farmer and defers most killing blows to his carries, he doesn't typically fill his inventory in most games. Because of this fact, running cheap items, especially with gold/5 is a huge benefit to Alistar that is often overlooked.
I've been play testing this recently and LOVE the results I'm getting. Here is a blurb of my recent match history:
The idea behind this build is to make Alistar a formidable damage dealer in the lane phase and then shift to a strong tank by mid game. We do this in order to feed the carry in our lane and to keep the enemy champions zone/under leveled and from last hitting. This gives our team a significant advantage at the first team fight.
Play guard dog for the dps/supports. Who ever the opponents focus, you use an ability to peel them and bring down the pain on them as well. All the while, spam your heal to mitigate harass. Do this until one over commits, if one never does you can push them into their tower and whittle the tower down.
If possible you can headbutt carries or supports to locations where they can be focused as well.
Alistar is also a great initiator and chaser.
Protip: Headbutt and Pulverize can be chained to cause an effect similar to Malphite's ultimate. When in range for headbutt, use the ability immediately followed by pulverize. Alistar will lunge forward and pop the enemy up in the air instead of back and deal both skills damage at once. This is a great way to initiate against clumped enemy teams (as pulverize is aoe and will hit all enemies in aoe range) it is also a great way to stop a fleeing opponent from escaping. It also does an incredible amount of burst damage once you have a decent amount of AP- making it excellent for harassing, or bursting down opponents. It is especially effective against extremely squishy but mobile opponents such as Eve and against characters such as Trynd which rely on activating CDs to survive focus.
General build concepts:
The need for speed! Alistar needs to have a movement speed advantage over his opponent to be effective. In order to properly position himself for headbutt and to effectively land pulverize Alistar must literally run circles around his target.
HP: Ali's ult will not protect you from true damage abilities. This means Olaf, Cho, Corki, Vayne and ignites are going to tear you apart unless you have stacked hp to some extent. Also, your ultimate needs to be activated. Getting a decent amount of HP to be able to take a few full damage hits without keeling over helps tremendously.
Mana Pool and Regeneration: Alistar's skills are very powerful, they are also very expensive. Getting your mana regeneration and pool boosted early is a necessary part of building a successful Alistar.
Aura stacking: Due to Alistar's low AP ratios and lack of AD ratios, he will never be a damage dealer in a team fight.
We instead make Ali a threat by providing the team with auras to make them more effective.
The order that I purchase auras in is determined by my team comp and by the meta of the game.
My masteries for Ali are 9/10/11
Out of the offense tree we get Ali some AP, CDR, and magic penetration. This helps Ali be more damaging early on.
I make Ali sturdy since he needs to be in the fray to be effective. We grab armor, MR, and hp out of the defense tree.
I then grab 11 points in utility for extra mana, mana regeneration and move speed. I prefer getting improved recall over 15 sec shorted cd on flash. Very very rarely do I use flash within 15 seconds of it being off cd anyway. I prefer the constant benefit of faster recalls since I shop often.
Flash: Flash is a must have for any Alistar. You can flash in and pulverize then aim up a headbutt to punt them to desired location, or you can flash behind them and headbutt them up you lane and pulverize them to stun them in a tower or in an allied gank pack. It of course also is great for escaping when needed (which is necessary occasionally due to most of your survivability being in your ult duration.)
Exhaust: Exhaust is my second choice for Ali. Your AD carry really should run heal while you cover exhaust. Exhaust will allow you to shut down an enemy fighter or AD carry in a team fight. Improving exhaust with summoner's wrath will also allow you to mark a target for focus as they will take additional damage due to penetrated defenses. Exhaust is a much better tool for saving your carry in the lane phase as it is both a slow and a damage debuff.
Heal: with the recent buff to heal and nerf to CV, I have been using a lot more heal lately. Heal will allow you and your team mate to have additional health in a clutch. Also strategies such as heal baiting will open up for your team.
Alistar's goal in life is battlefield control. You protect squishies, and you help focus targets get focused. The best way to do this is to help them not get in trouble to begin with. With CV you can keep track of their jungler to make it difficult to gank and to light up bushes when your teammates are chasing in order to prevent an escape.
CV is still a strong summoner skill. Using it properly WILL change the outcome of a game.
This is an initiator tank build. It is designed to pick a target, get to that target and move it to a position where it can be focused. After this point the battle is already won. This being said, Ali has all the survivability he needs in his ult. We want him to play a supporting role doing major damage while keeping the enemy team tied up.
These are your most important rune purchases. They will make Ali truly formidable in the early game. We take runes that make Ali an offensive early game powerhouse. The heal is very strong and will help your carry by being able to keep them topped.
Mana Regen Seals are a great benefit to Ali. They greatly help him be effective by being able to use skills more freely. It may sound strange to be getting so much mana regen on a champ, but he has all the survivability he needs in heal and cc (as long as he has mana to cast).
Magic Penetration marks and quints will improve the damage Ali deals considerably in the lane. This is the best marks for Ali as his base damages are decently high and this also improves the damage dealt by his passive.
Cool down reduction glyphs. These will help Ali support his carry better with more healing and also help him in a sustained fight get his abilities back for a second spell volley.
Itemization of Alistar is where 99% of players will fail. Most have the mentality of stacking tank items on Ali like you would with most other tank characters. If you do this with Alistar you won't be an asset to the team come mid game. The other team is going to ignore you and you won't be able to hurt them for doing so.
I start off with boots, a ward, and a hp potion.
The boots will give Ali a significant move speed advantage in the lane allowing Ali to position better, ward more safely, gank less noticeably, and harass while avoiding being harassed more successfully. Move speed is the most important stat and it's what we get first.
The hp pot should cover you until you get level 3 for heal. Get heal early if you take more damage than expected or if your partner takes hits. If you do golems with an AD carry that either doesn't know how to kite them or doesn't deal much damage...it may be a good idea to get heal sooner too.
When I shop next I buy a philosopher's stone. The gold/5 this item gives will help you with your build order while you support with the wards.
Once I have a philo stone built. I now consider buying an Oracle's Elixir. If you get an elixir, you must establish complete ward control (I put one on tri-bush and then in fornt of dragon and pop the oracles as I walk back to sweep for wards) on your lane because they will gank you repeatedly to try to get the oracles off you.
I next get a Heart of Gold to give even more gold/5
I then build up my mobility. Getting tier 2 boots will help with positioning and allow you to gank more effectively. I will usually go one of 2 ways. If my bot lane can handle his own down there without me for a while, I'll grab Boots of Mobility and flank a couple lanes for easy ganks. I don't do this if I bought an oracles however. If you have an oracles you need to spend time in your lane to get levels and protect it behind ward cover. Otherwise, I'll get Ionian Boots of Lucidity. The exception to this is if they don't have a balanced team...in which case I counter build my boots.
I next like to upgrade my philosopher's stone to a reverie. The active on this item will really help the team position in fights. Your fighter will love you for the active on this item, while your carries will appreciate the mobility as well.
I next build an Aegis. This item will substantially buff your defensive stats and provide an aura for your team. The total cost is low which is a good thing because you won't have inventory slots for components anymore.
After this point my build will vary game to game as I buy the best Aura for my team.
If you have double AP, and one of them doesn't get a WotA, consider getting one. If they both have one, rush Abyssal Scepter next.
If you have 2 or more auto attackers on your team, get a zeke's herald next.
If neither of those are true and they didn't go double AP, I get a Randuin's Omen next.
Fill your inventory with these auras for the rest of the game to make your team more combat effective.
Alistar is well known as a very good disable tank. He is well known to be a great turret pusher and diver, and be one of the most unkillable champions in the game. It is little known, however, that Alistar is perhaps the single best carry feeder in the game, and that he is also very offensively capable late game if built correctly.
This section will cover how laning Alistar should be played, both early and late game.
Early game: Alistar the FEEDER
That is, feeding your carry effortless kills.
You will want to lane with a carry who can deal some decent damage early game if that carry has CC of some sort even better. The best laning partners for Alistar to feed are AD ranged carries.
You should shoot for the goal of 1 kill for your carry per flash CD (about 2 minutes).
Allow your carry to get last hits while you keep the enemy from getting last hits of their own. Do this by advancing toward your enemy when a friendly minion gets to low hp. They will either not get the last hit and retreat or get headbutted and still not get the last hit. Do this frequently and heal through the harass they toss your way when you advance on them.
Your carry should also try and harass as much as possible especially while you make your retreat after ramming someone.
The strategy you use to get kills early on will be determined by what you are up against. Most simply, harass which ever one has less defensive capability. Consider shields, self healing, base hp, armor, and mr. If you are up against a support you will, most likely, have to harass the support. Basically, do everything possible to keep them from self repairing. Most champions with self healing do so through life steal/spell vamp. If this is the case, harass them relentlessly if they attempt to hit creeps.
Some champions (Soraka, and Sona for example) are difficult to keep from self healing and healing others. If your partner has a healing debuff (Katarina, MF) keep it on the target as much as possible. It may be necessary to stop harassment and setup an ambush to kill them from full hp.
Ambushes are best setup from bushes or by circling in from behind.
The most basic ambush is to sit in a bush waiting for an enemy to get within flash range. Your partner needs to be notified that ambush is about to happen so he can have all his CDs ready and be in position. If your partner is a ranged champion they do not need to stop last hitting to be ready.
When the enemy you wish to ambush presents itself, flash to it and immediately pulverize. This pops the enemy into the air. Your partner should be unloading abilities on the target as this point. You should get behind it and toss it toward your partner (make sure your partner has enough hp or the target might just jump on your partner and kill him.) If necessary toss exhaust on the target to keep it from running away, killing your partner or lifestealing heavily.
By doing this with a carry you should frequently score kills.
Continue to mess up your opponent's farm and help your carry.
Tip: your heal can screw over enemy last hits by giving them just enough hp to survive, this really frustrates people especially Viegar, Sion, and Nasus who rely on last hits for stats.)
Around level 10 team fights begin to erupt. You are a huge asset to your team. At this point, your carry should be able to kill people very effectively. It's your job to position his targets and to keep him safe from enemy focus by disabling would be attackers.
If your carry is comfortably engaging, killing, and getting out alive the game is over already.
By mid-late game the key damage dealer on either side is pretty well defined. You have two options each team fight.
1) Protect your carry (do this if the enemy damage dealer is an assassin or if multiple melee are pressuring him. Also, protect your carry from initiator/disable tanks such as Rammus, and Galio)
2) Go after their damage dealer (do this if the target gets within flash range, your carry isn't being pressured (and there are no mias sneaking up on him from behind), or if you've got a numbers advantage. Once you catch the enemy carry pop him up and punt him to where he can be focused.
Your Comments; My Answers
Does the 5gpm items stack ? If they do, RLY nice, but I thought that one unique passive overrules the other equal passive...
Gold per 5 will stack as long as you have different gold per 5 items. For instance, two philo stones will not stack, but one philo stone and one heart of gold will.
I would not recommend switching out Frozen Heart. Frozen heart has substantially more armor than RO or Sunfire. The other real winner is the CDR. Alistar has an amazing tool kit. If you don't get a substantial amount of CDR, you won't be anywhere near as effective.
The CDR is centric to the build. It allows Liche Bane and Rylai's to do there jobs more readily. Also, Alistar is very very mana hungry and most likely won't be given blue buffs. Therefore, you should really have a larger mana pool (frozen heart help here too). RO and Rylai's in combination isn't very effective either since the slow on both items is redundant. Basically, by having both Rylai's and Frozen heart you are doing everything RO does except the debuff is permanent.
Sunfire cloak is an appreciable damage source if it is one of the first three items you build and you're playing a decent farmer. This doesn't apply to Alistar or this build. By the time you get a sunfire on Ali, the damage the item provides is pretty minimal. You also really shouldn't be trying to sustain presence on enemies as a skill based champion anyway. I find Ali works best if you put you skills on and then get out of focus, then hop back in, and just irritate the enemy rather than trying to pull a Garren and face tank the other team.
Enjoy the new Alistar build!
Grab yourself a friend who plays a carry and duel que to victory!
Comment below and vote!