Alistar Build Guide by Knightro
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Season 4 Jungle Alistar
Final Build Example
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.
Welcome everyone, to my updated Jungle Alistar guide! It's been a long while (Since season 3), but I have finally updated this guide for season 4. Alistar is a very tanky melee champion who excels at displacing enemies with his assortment of crowd controls and setting up kills for his allies. His clear times might be slow, but the ganks are extremely strong, to the point that it could rival those of even Rammus and Nautilus.
Jungling as Alistar is very situational, as he fills a very small niche in the current meta. That niche, is a full tank who hits like a wet noodle. Very similar to those such as Nautilus and Maokai, he should be built as a full tank and soak up as much damage for his team as possible. Because of this, his team mates are extremely important. Generally, you want High damage dealers in your lanes that can burst targets down while you CC lock them. Good examples are Kha'Zix, Tryndamere, Syndra, Annie, and oh my god Yasuo, yes! - etc. It doesn't matter what kind of CC your lanes have, since it is you who will be bringing the CC to the ganks.
There are some teams that Alistar cannot fit into and therefore should not be picked. If you have team mates like Malphite, Shen, or that kind of champion, the kind that goes tanky with little damage, and even less burst damage, then they will not be able to make a good gank, since they will lack the burst needed to kill the target while you CC lock him.
Please take into consideration that this build is focused primarily at normal games. I don't play Alistar in ranked, but if you feel confident enough, then give him a whirl! But make sure you have a ton of experience as him!
Why I Wrote This Guide
Well, once upon a time, I was playing a normal game. I was selecting a jungler, but having a rotten time of it. All my junglers, they were boring. I couldn't pick which one to play. But then I thought about LilBallz and his pro player pick of Jungle Alistar. So I figured I'd give him a try. In theory, it sounded like it might work out pretty well. Good CC, Tanky, etc.
So as the game is preparing to load, I'm selecting my runes and masteries, when it hits me: I have no idea How to jungle Alistar! I quickly open up my internet and rush over to MobaFire to find a jungle Alistar guide. However to my despair, the only jungle Alistar guide is expired and of rather poor score! I scan through it quickly, and agree with the rating.
As the game begins, I realize I'm gonna have to make this up as I go along. Selecting cheap, effective, yet tanky items, I throw together a build and dominate the game. Afterwards, I take note of what worked. Then I go back and play it again, this time taking different items, masteries, and runes. I repeat this process until I find a solid build that's cheap, effective, and runes and masteries that help me clear quickly.
So then I realize, I'm not the only one who wants to jungle Alistar! I need to share what I have gathered with the community. So I wrote this guide, hoping that it will achieve a notable rating so as to help others find a jungle Alistar build when it's most convenient for them.
Eventually, I decided to update this guide. There have been few Alistar guides this season, and even fewer for the Jungle Alistar. So I have decided to update this to current standards. I hope you all enjoy!
Why? Jungle Alistar? Is it even a thing?
Why Jungle Alistar?
Jungle Alistar brings some amazing ganks to the table. He has some of the hardest CC ( Crowd Control) in the game, able to thrash around his opponents and lock them down while your allies tear them to pieces.
He is also extremely tanky, and can soak up a huge amount of damage for his team mates. He can tank turrets, dragon , baron , and block incoming spells from hitting his allies like Ace in the Hole. He also has an AOE heal that can be spammed (with blue buff) to keep his allies health topped off.
He also isn't set that far back by counter-jungling. If he does get counter jungled, all you need to do is make sure you don't feed the enemy jungler. You can be very far behind and still be an asset to your team through your spells. You don't need to be really fed and a high level to land a Headbutt onto and enemy and knock him into your turret. You don't need a ton of items or gold to then Pulverize that sorry fool underneath your turret.
TL;DR: Just don't feed and you'll be Ok!
If you need more reason to jungle as Alistar, then this video might intrigue you...
Pros and Cons
+ Tons of Crowd Control
+ Good Initiator and Peeler
+ Sustained Jungler
|Alistar is a tanky champion, even when not building as a huge tank, capable of taking a huge amount of punishment. He brings a ton of crowd control to ganks, small skirmishes, and large teamfights. If you can pull of a perfect gank, you can knock the enemy into your turret and finish them off before they have time to Flash away. In a teamfight, he can knock up enemy teams, single out and separate high-value targets, and keep allies alive at the same time. He has a stun, a knockback, a heal, and a MASSIVE AD steroid. His heal keeps him sustained in the jungle, with the cooldown lowering each time a monster dies.|
|- Slow Clear times
- Mana-heavy Jungler
- Positioning is key
- Poor Duelist
|Alistar relies on his spells to jungle, and with high base cooldowns, ends up using his auto attacks more often then his skills. This results in a slow clear speed, especially without Smite. His spells have a steep mana cost to them, meaning without blue buff, his clear speed will be reliant on proper runes and basic attacks. His ganks are incredibly strong, but require a great deal of practice to perfect. He also has low single-target damage, and without teammates to back him up, has a low chance of winning a duel with the enemy jungler.|
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Scaling Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
|Either one of these can be taken for Alistar. Both increase your clear speed, but I find that the flat attack damage offers a little faster clear then the attack speed. They also increase your damage in ganks.|
|Flat armor seals are a very good pick, but since their nerfs they have been over shadowed by other strong runes. Scaling armor will offer 3 times as much armor as the flat ones, and they out-scale the flat ones at level 6. Whichever ones you pick are up to you.|
|Usually we want to take some magic resist glyphs to survive the burst from late game mages or AP champions we will face. Scaling are most useful for the late game, but if they have a potent roaming mid or magic-damage jungler prone to counter jungling, then some Flat magic resist will be more useful. If they have no Magic damage whatsoever, then you could take Greater Glyph of Armor for more early game defense.|
|Alistar has terribly low movement speed, so we take movement speed quints to help with that. They are mandatory 90% of the time. If you don't have movement speed quints, or you feel you need more tankiness, then you can take defensive quints like Greater Quintessence of Health or Greater Quintessence of Armor.|
What we get out of the defense tree is a lot of tankiness, and resistant to disables bonuses. Even though our ultimate, Unbreakable Will, removes all disables, we are susceptible to Crowd Control after its initial cast. Thanks to our masteries, we are more resistant to CC, and harder to kite or catch, on top of being very tanky throughout the entire game. Since Alistar is a super tank, he benefits greatly from masteries like Juggernaut and Enchanted Armor .
I find that 9 points in the utility tree are more beneficial then 9 points in the offense tree. The movement speed from Fleet of Foot is extremely helpful. The summoner spell CDR is very useful since it lets us Flash more often and Smite more often as well, increasing our clear times. Runic Affinity is amazing, extending the duration of any buffs you will acquire.
| Smite is a must for a jungler, especially one like Alistar who has low clear speed. It increases clear speed, secures buff and important objectives. Without it, Jungling becomes almost impossible for Alistar. You need to take this 100% of the time when you jungle, but don't take it if you aren't jungling.
| Flash is the universal summoner spell with 1001 uses. Flash overs more surprise to your play style over Ghost, flashing into the enemy team and hitting them all with pulverize. This spell should be taken 99% of the time. If you aren't yet level 12 (and for some reason jungling) then take Ghost.
| Ghost increases our movement speed, allowing better chases, ganks, initiates and escapes. It is extremely useful for ganking, allowing you to run through minions (if you have to) and allows better positioning for Headbutt. It is extremely useful for super-early ganks before I have a chance to go back and buy boots. If you are too slow, you won't be able to make any good ganks at all.
The standard start for any jungler. It has strong build paths, and good clear stats, as well as sustain.
Spirit Stone increases the damage done to monsters, from any source of damage. This helps our clear speed. It also provides some health/mana regen. Boots of Mobility are a must on Alistar, as without movement speed, our ganks are pretty poor. These boots help us roam the map faster, and allow for better positioning when ganking. Make sure to stock up on health potions and wards every time you go back to the shop! Keeping tabs on the enemy jungler is essential to jungle Alistar, since he is very susceptible to counter-jungling.
Spirit of the Ancient Golem offers health, CDR, sustain, massive increased damage to monsters, and Tenacity. Everything we could ever want on a tanky jungler. And with the Conservation passive, you gain additional gold when killing a large monster. Do your best to cash in these stacks as often as possible! Don't let the stacks sit at the cap for a long while, you want to maximize your gold income! Sunfire Cape is a great item, offering health and armor, negating physical attack quite nicely. It also helps to clear jungle camps and deals damage in team fights, letting you contribute even if you never touch the target. Around level 9 you should swap out your trinket and take the sweeping lens, so that you can check objectives and other areas for wards. Don't forget to upgrade it!
Any of these can be bought after your core items. You can take these accordingly, based on what you are your team needs. Try not to buy all the items with CDR, you don't want to waste the stats and make the items less gold-efficient. Need to shut down high attack speed pains like Tryndamere? Grab Frozen Heart. Need some health to tank turrets and objectives? Pick up Warmog's Armor. Randuin's Omen is great for chasing and disengaging, and provides a ton of armor to boot. It also synergizes perfectly with Oppression . Spirit Visage provides a ton of magic resist for those annoying AP-burst champions, and an increase to your heals. Banshee's Veil can be taken if you need even more magic resist.
As if you didn't have enough CC already, Frozen Mallet makes all of your auto attacks slow the opponent. This can help your team catch up for the kill, or buy them enough time to escape a fleeing foe while you distract him. It also grants a huge chunk of health, making you even tankier. Iceborn Gauntlet creates a slow zone around the target when you land a basic attack after casting a spell. It also grants some nice CDR and armor for tankiness. This item helps in team fights, slowing groups of enemies. zeke's herald is a situational item, but a good one with the right team. It grants you and your allies some damage and life steal. This automatically benefits your ADC well, in addition to any attack damage allies you might have. This should only be taken if your jungler and either mid or top laner are also physical damage based. Any less is not worth it, for only 2 other champions will benefit from the stats it offers.
Each time you cast a spell, you deal damage to enemies around you for 3 seconds. In order to jungle effectively, we want this passive effect as often as possible. Proper timing of spell casts will keep this passive up and keep our clear time high. It also makes us ignore unit collision, letting us walk through the enemy team to position ourselves for a proper Headbutt.
Our main jungle-clearing tool, we take a point at level one to clear the Blue buff. Knowing the exact range of the skill is important, as it immobilizes us the moment we cast it, so enemies can get out of our range if we fall short and fail to land it correctly. We max it first over Headbutt because it deals AOE damage, which is a faster clear then single target damage.
Alistar's most valuable tool, it also takes the most practice. Depending on your positioning, you will either launch your target into a good place to kill them, or accidentally save them by knocking them away, even over a wall. Movement speed helps us with positioning for this skill. We max it second, for the lower CD and the fact that it has high base damage.
Casting this ability heals Alistar and nearby allies for a small amount. The amount is small, because the cooldown lowers each time a nearby enemy unit dies, including monsters. It also triggers Trample, helping our clear speed. Take a point at level 2, for the sustain and to trigger Trample, but max it last in favor of our damaging abilities.
Activating this ability removes any current disables (stuns, snares, etc.) and grants Alistar a massive AD boost. This spell is great for ganks, increasing the damage you do and also helps keep the gank going if you get snared while engaging. It also reduces all damage you take by a huge amount, letting you tank for your team like no other tank can.
Early Game (Levels 1-6)
Start at the Blue Golem and ask your teammates to leash you. Make sure to have your mid laner stand in the bushes near the river to watch for potential invades. If you are nervous about losing your red buff, then ask your other laners to guard it for a few seconds until the minions reach the lane.
Just kill off the Blue golem using auto attacks and Pulverize. Make sure that you Smite it for the kill, so that an ally can't accidentally steal it with some DOT (damage over time) like Hemorrhage or Toxic Shot.
Go for your second buff, generally the red lizard. Attack it, and then pull it into the nearby brush. This way the enemy jungler will not be able to steal it with Smite without you knowing. Make sure that you are spacing spell casts out to maximize the usefulness of Trample. Smite will be off cooldown in time for you to smite it, so make sure that you do! A level 2 smite will deal 410 true damage, so watch the buff's health and then smite it when it gets that low.
Keep in mind that while you have a blue buff, you can spam Triumphant Roar as much as you like to keep your health topped off. Be wary once your blue wears off however, you don't want to run out of mana.
After you clear your 2 buffs and one small camp you should be level 3. With all 3 of your skills, you can either keep jungling, or look for a gank depending on how much health you have. If you have less then 60% of your max health, you should try to avoid ganking unless you can spam pots and your heal. You don't want to gank a lane with low health and give up a kill and double buffs.
How to Gank
This is by far the most challenging part about jungle Alistar. Ganking is all about proper positioning, teamwork, and practice. A few rules for ganking:
1.) Always come in BEHIND the enemy laner. You can't lead your ganks with Headbutt when ganking from a side bush.
2.) Keep track of enemy Flashes! Sometimes all you need to do is walk into the lane, charge at them, and make them pop Flash. When that happens, just walk away, and gank later. Also, if you see they have no escape spells, such as Ignite/ Teleport, then you can gank whenever.
3.) Counter ganking is not so much about getting a kill, it is about keeping your teammate safe by peeling for them. Peeling is using your skills to keep enemies off your ally and keep them alive. If you have ever supported as Alistar, then you will know exactly what I'm talking about. If you see your teammate getting ganked, then focus on the enemy jungler. If they die, and they have any buffs, then you or your laner have the potential to claim those buffs for yourself. However, only try to pick up a kill if you and your laner are very healthy, and have a high chance of winning that 2v2 fight.
4.) Help lanes that are ahead stay ahead. If your mid lane is doing fine, and asks for a gank, but your bot lane is dominating, and the enemy bot lane is still overextended, then gank bot and help them get even further ahead. A 7-0 Graves in the bot lane is much better then a 2-1 Morgana in the mid lane.
5.) Gank as soon as you get to the lane. If they have wards, they will generally back off as soon as you get near the lane. If the lane is warded, just walk away and come back later. Waiting two minutes in the brush for an opportunity to gank will set you behind, and we can't have that. You should be able to gank the moment you get to the lane, otherwise come back later. Try to keep track of which lanes are warded, to save time. If you don't know, then assume the lane is warded.
6.) Anti-Diver. If an ally is being dived, you will make them regret it. Headbutt them into the wall nearest the turret, and then Pulverize them. Usually they will be stunned long enough for the turret to finish them off, resulting in a kill for your team.
7.) Only gank when very healthy! Don't gank a lane if you are low on health. Generally, the jungler tanks damage for the laner to help them pick up the kill, especially if you have to dive the turret. If you die, especially with any buffs, then you will lose them and can be set back by this.
After Laning Phase
Mid-Late game (Level 7+)
During the mid game, once you have your boots and a few finished items, just roam the map looking for ganks. You should constantly be warding the map and keeping track of the enemy jungler. Nothing ruins a jungler more then having constant vision of him so you can see his ganks coming from miles away.
Since Alistar's clear speed is very low, especially at later levels, you won't be doing a lot of counter-jungling. However, if you know an enemy buff is up, and their jungler had just died ganking a lane, or is currently ganking another lane, you can quickly steal their buff. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE Smite! Without it, your clear is too slow, and you will not have enough time to get the buff and get out without getting caught.
Once you have a good gank on bot lane, or you know the enemy team has gone back to base, then ward the area around the dragon pit, summon your allies, and get secure it quick. Dragon is a huge priority and you should be on top of securing it. Keep track of the timer (re-spawns after 6 minutes) and make sure your team is ready to secure it the moment it re-spawns.
During the late game, STAY WITH YOUR TEAM! You are the tank, you need to peel for allies and keep them alive. You can engage or disengage, peel or tank, initiate or run. You must stay with your team! You can win fights and then push to get turrets or objectives. Team fights are super important to be a part of, peeling for your carry and tanking for your team.
This map shows important areas to plant wards at. Important areas like Dragon and Baron should always have a ward protecting them. Where you plant the pink ward is very important. You can only have one on the map, and if the enemy team finds it they can destroy it. You need to place a pink ward in a high-importance area, like say the large bush outside of red buff or in the long bush near the wolves and blue buff. If the enemy team finds your pink ward, try not to place it in that same spot again. Chances are they will check that spot and see if they can find it again and destroy it.
Since each player can only have up to 3 wards on the map at once, it is vitally important that you have your share of wards out on the map at all times. Don't simply let the role of warding fall onto the support! It's all about team work.
The reason for leading ganks with Headbutt is so that you can knock them into your turret, and then keep them in turret range with Pulverize. This is the most effective way to gank, as it keeps them as far away from safety as long as possible.
If you are poorly positioned, or coming in for a gank at a bad angle, (like the side brush) then you can lead with Pulverize, and position yourself for Headbutt. NEVER use Headbutt at a bad angle. You might knock them towards your weakened ally, or over a wall and end up saving them.
Don't even worry about your timing of spells for Trample. The damage to champions is so low, it's not even worth it. Just do you combo without consideration of spacing spells out.
Tips and Tricks
- If you can, try to Headbutt tanky enemies that have a ton of CC over a wall during a team fight. If you can get them away from the rest of your team, you can finish off their team, leaving them the only thing standing between you and an Ace.
Walls for Headbutt
Using this trick, you can knock an enemy into your own turret through a wall, making them tank turret shots for no reason at all. Knocking an enemy away into the dragon or Baron pit can easily set them back if you are in a teamfight.
- Keep track of the timers for important buffs! For example, when you finish your Blue Golem, Note what time you killed it at. It has a 5 minute CD, so if you kill it at 2:15, it will respawn at 7:15 (5 minutes later). The timers are as follows:
- Ancient Golem / Elder Lizard : 5 Minutes
- Dragon: 6 Minutes
- Baron Nashor: 7 Minutes
- Ancient Golem / Elder Lizard : 5 Minutes
- If you need to, ward your own jungle to prevent any counter-jungling. Keeping tabs on your own buffs to make sure they aren't stolen from you is very smart thinking. If they have an enemy Evelynn in the jungle, you might want to plant a Vision Ward in key areas to make sure she doesn't catch you by surprise.
Thanks for checking out my Jungle Alistar guide. If you enjoyed, consider a +1 upvote, a +rep, and have yourself a good day. Good luck with your ganks! And remember, practice makes perfect! If you have any questions or suggestions about this guide, leave your feedback in the comments section. All your questions will be answered.