Build Guide by MTaur
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This build focuses on getting
early. Other than that, it's a pretty conventional Alistar build. A lot of this guide I learned from other guides, and the rest is from experiment.
Alistar is tanky and self-sacrificing (within limits of proper discretion). He doesn't get that many kills - he just stuns the enemy and pushes them around places they'd rather not be. He also heals small amounts continuously.
I play mostly vs AI, so I can't say how well this would work against humans. What's different about this guide is that I will encourage you to solo open lanes mid-game and beyond - as soon as you get Sunfire Cape. You can definitely get away with this against beginner AI, but vs. humans, you might have to worry about tri-ganks.
With Alistar, it's impossible to make up for having no good allies. With two good allies, however, you can 3v5 a game vs beginner AI if you get two leavers (I've done this once). Usually you have at least two good players in any game, so you should be set.
Requiring comments to vote for now. I don't want this guide to get sniped down without knowing why. After a week or so, I might lower that restriction if I feel like I've gotten enough feedback.
The default build listed above relies on runes for MRes, and the total amount is sort of moderate. This might not be acceptable in some situations.
If you expect to need a lot of magic resistance, Force of Nature sounds like a good choice in place of Thornmail. I'll have to test this sometime.
Spirit Visage is cheaper, and it's enough to max out your badly-needed CDR, so it's an option if you'd like a small MRes boost, and its other bonus work well with Triumphant Roar and Force of Nature. Getting Force of Nature and Spirit Visage to replace Thornmail and Guardian Angel is sort of an option.
Aegis of Legion has some MRes and it's more team-oriented.
I hate giving up Thornmail since it's cheap, so Frozen Heart can go if your team has other sources of slow.
You do added damage to turrets. This will come in handy, and it synergizes with every aspect of this build; see Mid game sub-section of Farming.
EDIT: I have changed this part to prioritize Pulverize more. Upping the damage of Pulverize early makes it MUCH easier to farm early on, and the additional damage to enemy champs is ok-but-not-great; but you should be in a 2v2 lane, and the difference can easily be the difference between an assist and not. One level of Triumphant Roar is enough if you remember to use it continuously; mana efficiency stays constant, so leveling doesn't help any more than you have the mana for.
Buy Mana Manipulator and then get in a lane with an ally. Get either Pulverize first - if you can't lane long enough to get to level 2 for Triumphant Roar, then you don't understand the first principles of avoiding unnecessary risks.
You can spam Triumphant Roar as much as you like early on and still Pulverize occasionally. The best time to Pulverize is when you can hit one or more enemy champs and you have an ally in good position to get a few free hits in. To save mana, you should only Pulverize when you'll hit an enemy champion or when there are one or more minions who will be slain by it - preferably both. Last-hitting is hard without Sunfire Cape, so do whatever you can to make this phase go quicker; taking Fortify is an option. Also, save Headbutt for when it matters, too. Occasionally a computer AI will walk into a situation in which you can Pulverize them and then Headbutt them into your turret's range - needless to say, go ahead in such a case.
Unbreakable Will > Pulverize > Triumphant Roar > Headbutt, but one-point all of them ASAP.
Mid game: For you, this is whenever you get Sunfire Cape. You will instantly go from a very poor farmer to one who's so good that the AI actively hates you. Unfortunately for them, you're well on your way to becoming a tank. Therefore, this "farming guide" can't be complete without taking enemy hatred into account.
First of all, the following won't apply if too many of your champions are dead or wounded. Don't get too far from your turrets if you're outnumbered. Otherwise, read on.
If there's an open lane, go for it. Otherwise, start pushing whichever lane your team has the most control over. Whenever your health is high, it's better to run up to the enemy minions *before* your minions arrive for backup. Once you're surrounded, hit Pulverize and then auto-attack a strong minion if there is one. The minions will melt away in seconds. Keep doing Triumphant Roar as long as you or a nearby minion is damaged. Between Sunfire Cape, Triumphant Roar, and Pulverize, you will have everything you need to quickly melt minions while maintaining a healthy meat shield brigade. If you have a large wave of minions with you and you're not interrupted, you can take down a whole turret in one go with minions to spare. If there is intermittent interference or you favored stealth over growing more minions, you might lose all your minions and have to pop Unbreakable Will right after your last minion dies - it's worth taking 6-8 seconds of turret damage with UW up, and sometimes even a bit more than that, if it's the difference from a live turret and a dead one.
Of course, this will irritate the bots. If just one champion gets in your way, use Headbutt and Pulverize to counter-harass and keep them from hurting your minions too much; you'll keep Capeing theirs and healing yours, so you'll still be building a wave for as long as you can hold out. You can definitely hold out against just one AI long enough for a teammate to come around and gank for you - make it easy for them by headbutting the foe their way and/or stunning them at the right time. Depending on health, mana, etc., you might be able to go 2v2, even.
If more than two enemy champions go after you, then chances are help is on the way. Pop Unbreakable Will right before they unload their hate fest, and there's a good chance you'll be able to run away and live to tell about it (this probably isn't as true vs humans). 6-8 seconds is more than long enough for a good ally or three to come over, which they should. Even if they stay where they are, then chances are they're pushing hard anyway, and if you die, somewhere on the other side of the map, a turret is probably going down or an enemy champion is getting killed anyway.
EDIT: Another thing Alistar is good for: helping an ally take down a turret in the presence of a turret hugger. If you have minions and an ally, but you have one defender on the other team, 6 seconds of Unbreakable Will is long enough to headbutt the enemy away, chase them, Pulverise, and then run back. This buys a lot of time for your ally to finish off a turret. It's a bit of a judgment call, though - generally, if they're on my side of the turret, I Headbutt backward toward danger, and if they're on their side, I headbutt forward away from being able to harass.
Late game: Sort of the same when it comes to turrets, but you'll probably be engaged in team fights a lot more by then. If your team is cleaning up on the bots, then it's fine to go solo a turret.
By late game, you should be making a lot of money from assists.
1v1 Farming early on
I've had to solo the middle lane a couple times. It was awkward. There's a nice trick, though:
1) Wait for there to be one or preferably a couple weak enemy minions. (Slay them with right-click if they wander too far along your line, of course. Otherwise, see 2)
2) Headbutt the enemy champ. You should be standing close to the weak minion(s) now.
3) Pulverize ASAP.
4) Profit. At least with AI, usually they won't take positioning into account to avoid this farming combo.
Of course, don't overextend. They will definitely get a hit on you after you do this, but you need the cash. Be ready to take a hit.
It's probably not worth trying to take the middle turret just because your foe ports out unless you have all the health and mana you need. You might be better off picking off a few easy minions and then porting out yourself, unless you're at over half health/mana. Attacking a turret this early with 4 bruised minions and 1/4 of your health and mana is pointless, and you're just a little bit of bad timing away from taking a couple hits in such a case.
On the other hand, if someone ganks for you, then they should probably go try to intercept any foe who may be on the way. Just wait until you have several minions entering the turret's range before you go in, or else you're just running in circles.
Early on, it's hard to build a massive wave of minions because they spawn so close to the enemy turret and don't get to build up on the battle front for long before getting melted by a turret.
Don't get killed by a turret
Remember, a turret will focus its attack on you and won't stop until you leave range if:
1. You get in range when no other targets are present, or
2. You attack an enemy champion while within turret range. Sunfire Cape WILL trigger this. So be careful. Either get out of turret range before or after this happens, or pop your ultimate if it's really worth the pain. If you stay in place, auto-attack the turret and use any abilities you need to; this is only worth it if you know you can get that last sliver, and usually not worth it if you think you'll die.
You CAN solo a partially-damaged turret with no minions, but only for not much longer than your ultimate is up. Only under very special circumstances is it worth it to sneak attack a turret that much more quickly. In a build without Sunfire Cape, it might be a little more likely, but considering how quickly you melt minions now, it shouldn't be worth the trouble often.
Don't lose your turrets
If your ultimate is ready and you have half your health or more, then there's NEVER an excuse not to defend an outmatched turret close to your base. Recall ASAP (if it's quicker or if you're near-death already) and go defend it. Even if it's 5v1, you can pop your ultimate and significantly slow them down for 6-8 seconds. You'll get stunned a lot, but 6-8 seconds is long enough to Headbutt and Pulverize before dying. Your allies should either be respawning soon or on the way from elsewhere. If the circumstances are less dire than 5v1, you have a good chance of surviving, and you'll cape some minions into gold in the process. Meanwhile, their minions have melted, so turret is going after them, and the cavalry just arrived (hopefully). If someone popped Fortify, then you probably saved the tower. Depending on how close and good your allies are, the following counterattack probably took down 1-3 enemy champs.
If for some reason a big pile of enemy minions are unsupported by enemy champs is about to crowd around your turret, then you stand to make a lot of money. Do so, unless there's a compelling reason to be somewhere else.
Don't fight champs without help
Unless an enemy champ is on their last legs, you won't be killing them with this build. You can harass them and slow them down and whatever in 1v1, especially if help is on the way or they're trying to go someplace else, but you shouldn't find yourself right-clicking and standing there for 5 seconds trading blows. You probably won't like the results much. You're a team player, not a killing machine.
That is, you can take it, but you can't dish it out.
Atma's Impaler could turn things more in your favor in this sort of setting, but I haven't tried it and I'd rather just avoid full-on 1v1 combat anyway.
Unbreakable Will > Pulverize > Triumphant Roar > Headbutt.
At least one-point everything ASAP, though. Headbutt is great as a utility, but the damage is hardly worth mentioning; you can take it over Triumphant Roar if you wish, though, for a little more punch (not that you'll be killing much). If you find it's a little too easy to stay healthy, then feel free to switch Pulverize and Triumphant Roar. Pulverize is good for farming, but the damage won't be significant to champions. Triumphant Roar scales with constant rate of mana efficiency, but there's hardly ever a time that you couldn't use it.
About your ult: Try to use it right before you're about to take a lot of damage. Try to be healthy beforehand - it's a waste to use it when you're only at 1/5 of your health unless there's good reason for it - it can at most prevent 3/5 of a lifebar's worth of damage in this case as opposed to 3 lifebars (that is, 4/5 of a lifebar's worth of damage does 1/5 of a lifebar's worth of damage in case 1, and so on). If help is on the way and you're stuck in a 2v1 or even a 3v1, that's a good time - if you're getting chased, popping UW immediately before help arrives works wonders if they take the bait.
Of course, you can use UW in emergencies, but it's a bit of a waste.
You won't be getting that many kills. In fact, every time you get a kill, it increases the gold reward for the other team when *you* get killed, so generally it's ok to make money from assists instead, and you're not good at killing anyway.
By all means, finish someone off in that occasional case where you cut off someone who almost gets away.
It's ok to die fairly often as long as you have 2-3 times as many assists and something very good happened as a direct result of what you were doing before you died. Remember, you won't be killing much, so the enemy won't get much of a reward.
It's better to stay alive and use tactical retreats and whatnot just like anyone else would, but if you can save an ally at the cost of your own life, do it. You're not building stacks or anything, so take one for the team if you have to.
When it comes time to start an all-out war, pop Unbreakable Will. Get bum rushed. You'll be stunned and hurting, but probably still alive long enough to Pulverize and then Headbutt a squishy someplace he or she really would rather not be. Meanwhile, your opponent's best skills are all on cooldown, and they wasted 4x as much juice taking down a target with massive damage reduction. Hopefully an ally dropped a massive AOE spell under you and hit at least two enemies, and whomever you Headbutted should've gotten ganked. EDIT: You can quickly activate the Quicksilver Sash and Randuin's Omen back-to-back in the chaos, or just activate the Omen at first opportunity if you don't have the sash. You should've completed the Soul Shard after the Sunfire Cape and Mercury's Treads. You'll want Mercury so when they spam disables on you, you'll still get a chance to wake up and push a squishy around before your ultimate wears off. If you do all this and live to tell about it, then you deserve the chance to retreat a bit if you need it. Now is a good time for Ghost, if it's a dangerous-but-surviveable aftermath for you.
There's a chance the bots won't take the bait; if all of them run away when you hit Unbreakable Will, then pop Ghost and chase down at least one squishy. Pulverize. Headbutt toward a friend. Smart human players will probably save an interrupt for just the right moment, but if you're playing against good players, then your team probably also has some good ideas what to do next, too. I find that AI bots will pour on the haterade and then massively regret it.
* Headbutt healthy tanks *away* from the action, *unless they're alone and about to get torn up*. You will know who they are because they have a ton of health ticks on their life bars and they hardly ever die.
* Headbutt weak enemy champs *toward* danger. Usually, it's whoever you hate the most. You're the minotaur, so you get to choose who's getting killed.
* If your friend is trying to run away from an enemy and towards you, Triumphant Roar when they're within range, then headbutt a chaser, then pulverize.
* If a tank is protecting a squishy (a low-HP character), headbutt the tank and then Pulverize the caster if you can. This is much more likely to work if they stand way too close together. Only do this if you have one or more allies nearby who can kill or seriously wound the squishy.
* Get as many assists as possible. Bonus gold is created whenever there is at least one player scoring the assist. This money is lost to the aether if someone does a solo kill, but it's split evenly among all assisters otherwise. If you casually stroll by while someone who didn't need your help finishes off solo-killing an enemy, you'll Sunfire Cape for the assist. You need the money to buy the items to tank the fights.
Ghost - Even minotaurs have to run away sometimes. Also, sometimes you can't get in Pulverize position easily. Also helps you postpone boots a little.
Fortify - Nice farming boost early on. Team-oriented skill.
Exhaust - Right after a good Headbutt and/or Pulverize, this helps things die. Or if you intercept someone trying to join a fight, for that matter. It goes well with these two skills.
Flash - I don't have it yet, but I've been told Flash then Headbutt then Pulverize lets you launch a squishy somewhere they don't want to be and keep them there for a while. Merry Christmas; I got you a Miss Fortune.
- Later becomes Soul Shard, a tanky item. You need the mana regen anyway.
- After humble beginnings, you will finally make it as a minotaur once you've got this item. It is a game changer for this build. Hang in there.
- Try not to be too aggressive with enemies until you get this. You can't headbutt as easily without it. You get debuffed too easily without it. You can't even run away without it unless you pop Ghost.
Soul Shard You've got Mana Manipulator. You need the health, you need the cooldown reduction. Now's a good time. EDIT: You may choose to get Thornmail first, though.
EDIT: Try to get Thornmail before walking into any hate storms. Even if you're a little behind on items and you don't have it yet (you should by then), it's still better for you to do your job when the time comes, anyway. AIs don't seem to gang up that much mid-game, though, so you might have time to earn this item even if you're behind.
EDIT: You probably won't finish the whole build, so a Quicksilver Sash is nice and has a great hate negate. Good for the money, and the rest of the build lags a little in magic defense. You should probably get this, maybe even a little earlier if you're anticipating ability damage. If you plan to use it, an option is getting Ionian Boots of Lucidity for CDR instead of Mercury's Treads, and then skipping Frozen Heart in favor of whatever you need instead.
EDIT: I tend to need the mana and CDR, and the aura is nice for the late-game. When your skills are on cooldown, it's nice to know that you're still slowing them down at all times. Easier to use and more consistent than Randuin's Omen.
EDIT: More armor. Nice to activate the ability after waking up from a multi-enemy hate storm (probably; will test this)
- The game probably won't be this long, but if it does, you'll be level 18, and being dead for 60 seconds is a dire and serious prospect. If you have a ton of extra money, get the armor, MRes, and an auto-resurrect buff. Sell the Quicksilver Sash to do this.
EDIT: These were in the build before, but are now gone: Frozen Heart/Aegis of Legion. Frozen Heart is a little more beginner friendly in that you will have help running away no matter what. This can come in handy if you're outmatched, e.g., if your team isn't that good in a solo queue. If things are drawn out, you might like Aegis and Frozen Heart. If your team is good at acting at a decisive moment, then Randuin's Omen is probably better. If you can sucker an AI into chasing you, Frozen Heart + Thornmail can slow them down and hurt them while they peck at you. Frozen Heart also has a lot of CDR and some mana, which goes well with Triumphant Roar, which picks up the slack where Omen gives health regen. I'm not sure which I like better - maybe Frozen Heart after all. Aegis is a sort of nice compromise between support and tankiness.
I'm not sure. Flat AP (ability power) boost to help Pulverize your way through the early game? Or maybe AS for basic attacks early on? Or maybe every extra bit of armor and magic resist helps? To me it seems acceptable to waste some runes on AP, since you really need to get the ball rolling with your Sunfire Cape. Making more money faster will more than make up for any wasted rune slots, it seems to me. I'm leaning toward AP, but *only* for runes. The only time I'd consider buying an item with an AP boost is if I didn't have enough money for Sunfire Cape, and then I'd sell the item later. Blasting Wand or Amplifying Tome.
Alternately: Stack nothing but Might runes (attack damage per level) to bring down turrets in a hurry. Actually, this might be better than what I posted. Try it both ways and see what you like better.
EDIT: I changed the build so that everything goes toward MRes. The items lag behind the armor rating on this front, so picking up the slack with runes is an option.
Pros / Cons
* You can farm (gets better mid-game)
* You can take down turrets
* You can build massive waves of minions
* You can tank
* You will rack up assists
* You are a minotaur
* You won't get kills except as a fluke
* Early game is a real chore
* If you don't get enough money fast enough, you won't get the Sunfire Cape soon enough, you won't farm fast enough, and you'll be relatively squishy for a tank at the end. Still, you'll get the cape before too long either way, and every build either snowballs or doesn't.
Epilogue: A note on kill stealing
Everyone stop complaining gratuitously about "kill stealing." While intentional kill stealing might occur in some circumstances, it doesn't seem that common in my experience. It would take dedication and lightning reflexes to consistently time it such that the bots keep losing that last sliver by your hand after someone else did all the work.
Not everyone is able to mathematically calculate instantaneously when an enemy champ is going to die, so we'll put some hits in because we know how frustrated we get when Miss Fortune scampers off with half a health tick left.
It's not kill stealing just because you're doing 2-3 times as much damage as everyone else but you didn't get the last hit in.
It's definitely not kill stealing if you went into solo queue to farm a beginner vs AI game for IP and the above happens.
Maybe in a highly competitive setting, it's important to hold back and let someone else get the kill, especially if one wastes mana to do so. But some noob who doesn't want Annie Bot to get away and scores a lucky last hit isn't "kill stealing," so cut it out with the pettiness already. You should be playing on Intermediate or in competitive matches if you want to whine about kill stealing.
p.s. - # of kills won't affect your rating anyway. Ok, you're trying to build stacks, fine. You're still being a jerk.
p.p.s. - The rest of you are cool.