Alistar Build Guide by MTaur
Mastery Tree Is Outdated
WARNING: These masteries are still using the old tree and have not been updated to the new tree by the guide author. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Ok, the items are great, but the writing is too long, sort of cluttered, and not entirely necessary. I'm trying to fix that somewhat.
The item order is pretty solid, though. Build 1 is slightly punchier, and Build 2 is the purest of pure tanks.
Either way, Philosopher's Stone, Spirit Visage, and Triumphant Roar make Alistar about as sustainable as anyone else in the game. It's kind of great.
NEW ADDITION: Epilogue (at the end, naturally)
Also: comment-free voting. I can always use more feedback, but it looks like I'm just about happy with the build for now. Might still mess with the runes more, I don't know.
NEW ADDITION: Alternate setup (8/16/11)
Tried reworking it a little. Differences in second setup:
* Warmog's Armor instead of Abyssal Scepter. Secondary build now includes the trinity of HP5 synergies now - Spirit Visage, Warmog's Armor, and Force of Nature. The loss of AP and aura might not be worth it, depending.
* 9/0/21 masteries for a few reasons: defense masteries are overkill with this item setup. CDR keeps you from getting ignored too much, and this also gets you Flash on a short cooldown. Teleport is given as an example spell; teleporting to a ward can give you position advantage in some cases.
* MR/lvl glyphs make up for lost Abyssal Scepter, rounding out the resistances/health/hp5 monolith.
The second build I would consider using in games where the enemy team is getting fed a lot, or in games where the other team is carry-heavy. Sometimes they can burst you down too quickly, and then you need the extra help staying alive. If they're just sort of ignoring you, then the scepter lets you hurt them more. With careful playing, you might not need Warmog's in any case. It's your call. It takes a while before the builds start to differ, so you can play by ear.
Key strategic point
Just a quick note - the health pool on Build One is a bit smaller than some pure tank builds - 3200 or 3300 or so instead of 4000+. I feel like you can get away with this because of your ultimate. You have to know who's the burstiest, baddest threat on their team, and not waste your ult on mere scratches. I mention this in the cons at the end, but it's important to single this point out from the start.
You can also vary the build by swapping out whatever is helping the least. Banshee's Veil or Warmog's Armor could replace Abyssal Scepter, for example, but then you can get ignored more easily, so I generically favor Build One.
The Incredible Regenerating Minotaur is my favored Alistar build. It is a pure tank, with just enough AP to make pushing work a little better. It also costs about 13.5k or 13k, depending on whether you skip Doran's Ring. Most of the savings comes from taking Spirit Visage, a very cheap item, but also an important source of CDR, and it synergizes incredibly well with Triumphant Roar and Force of Nature.
This Alistar is hard to kill unless focused on. Of course, there is the danger of just being ignored, but between CDR, Abyssal Scepter, and move speed, you should be more than a little disruptive if they choose to go that route. Near the end of the build, you can slow enemies down and speed allies up with the Randuin's Omen active, further stretching your utility during cooldowns. Remember that a cooldown is just an opportunity to get in better position for your next Headbutt. This build is extra sturdy, so if you get fed, then crowd control isn't a threat so much as it is a compliment.
This build has been upvoted a lot. I got a little bit lucky with this build, because the more I become familiar with it, the more I find that it has going for it than I originally realized. For one, I mostly wanted to stack resistances and HP5, but a few pleasant surprises: 15% CDR on the Spirit Visage, and move speed on Force of Nature makes you faster than most champs. More importantly, there's 250-350 health in items here and there and it adds up to a fair amount in the end. 3300 or so health might not seem like a ton, but between high resistances and using Unbreakable Will at just the right times and you'll heal faster than you take damage anyway. If your team has your back, then it's very hard to kill The Incredible Regenerating Minotaur. And more importantly, if you have their back, then it's very hard to kill them.
LeagueReplays footage - Intermediate bots
LeagueReplays footage - PvP
June 3, 2011:
I just played my first PvP game with my build. I went 2/8/19 and won, after a rough start. Here you are.
At one point, Blitzcrank pulls me under the turret, but I reply with R + Q + W. Ouch!
I only got through Abyssal/Warden's in the build, but even before Warden's, spamming E together with Spirit Visage and Philosopher's Stone allowed for healing on the run. Not as extreme as with the full build, but enough to tank long enough to score more assists before going down later.
New LeagueReplay footage (as of July 20)
Here you go. Long game, we won. Could've been cleaner maybe.
Why no Warmog's Armor?
Veterans probably already know the answer, but let me explain a bit. The thing to know about HP5 builds is that it synergizes with resistances; if you have 50% damage reduction, then 20HP5 is like having 40HP5 on someone with no damage reduction. Also, having 50% damage reduction is like having twice as much max health as someone with no damage reduction. This is why I skipped Warmog's Armor; in Atma's Impaler builds, it might work, but I just didn't have room for it. Once could argue that Warmog's Armor synergizes with Force of Nature, but there just isn't room for it, and it's the odd man out. You might get it to work, perhaps in place of Randuin's Omen in games with very little enemy AD, for example. If they absolutely fail to mix up damage types in this way, then they deserve to have you do this to them, I say.
(EDIT: I added a second build. Might test it sometime.)
Old builds under a glass case
Both of the pre-patch builds were more or less designed around using GP10 to compensate for poor farming. These builds are now somewhat obsolete.
Mana regen is important, since a high-level Pulverize can help with farming. Health regen helps spare you casts of Triumphant Roar (this was before Trample). Sunfire Cape helps elevate your pushing to a tolerable-but-substandard level.
Colossal strength + Atma's Impaler + Unbreakable Will used to be sufficient for backdooring a turret for the majority of its health. Regen + armor helped with this also, and you would contribute slightly more damage to teamfights, but nothing great. If you're good at last-hitting, Atma's Impaler is an adequate farming tool.
I have reasons for doing things in this order, and some aspects of it are more flexible than others. For example, I always open with Doran's Ring -> Philosopher's Stone, or Regrowth Pendant + Mana Potion -> Philosopher's Stone, but I might take the boots much earlier or much later, or I might grab a Negatron Cloak early or I might pick up an early Blasting Wand.
Optional starter item. I find that Alistar is mana-hungry even with this AND Philosopher's Stone, so I take Doran's Ring first. If you don't think you can earn 800 gold on one trip out, though, this could set you back. If you're a fan of Heart of Gold, though, you should probably skip this because you'll run out of room too soon.
If you skip Doran's Ring, I recommend a Regrowth Pendant and a Mana Potion.
might suffice if you want to postpone Boots of Swiftness. Boots of Mobility might also be a decent choice if you want to roam and/or you don't want to take Teleport. Another good reason for getting Boots of Swiftness is if you want to give them an incentive to not ignore you; also comes in handy when chasing. It's up to you. (I don't really like Mercury's Treads because Unbreakable Will has a Quicksilver Sash effect built into it, when you REALLY want to do something important. Usually I'm just waiting for cooldowns anyway, so I take CC as a compliment and wait it out)
MRes, CDR and 15% healing buff. Not very expensive, and synergizes with Philosopher's Stone. Now that you have Trample, you'll be using Triumphant Roar (level 1) a lot to activate it, so you may as well get more health from it than before.
This is your farming tool, and it gives you magic resist and it makes you more useful in team fights. Usually I take negatron cape as the first component, but I take Blasting Wand early sometimes too. Resist is better than health in a regen build, so we don't take Rod of Ages or Rylai's Crystal Scepter. When your resists are high, that HP5 counts for that much more against DPS. It's kind of expensive to finish, so it's reasonable to pick up one or both components and move on to something else.
This is the only item I broke up in the build. The reason is that Warden's Mail is pretty cost-effective compared to Randuin's Omen, and there isn't much armor in the rest of the build.
By now, there should be enough health restoration for tower dives, and a 8% move speed + Move3 boots might be enough to get by without the mini-ghost from Shurelya's Reverie for a bit longer. Also, you get slightly more Stone money if you get this first.
More CDR, more regen, more health. Don't forget to activate the "mini-ghost" ability when you need help chasing, running, headbutting, whatever; use it in conjuction with Trample, usually by doing Triumphant Roar. You can get this whenever, but I like GP10. Sometimes I like to do this around the time I sell my Doran's Ring to get the MP5 back.
If your team has very little CC, you might pick this up sooner for the activated ability.
Nice starter item:
I tried this out on an AP build I'm working on. This is a nice starter item, but you have to play catch-up if you get it. If you think you can up your early-game k/d/a by 1/0/1 or 0/0/2 by taking this, then it pays for itself; if you have 800 gold after 4 or 5 minutes, then you can get Philosopher's Stone and be loaded with mana for a long time to come. The AP and the MP more than compensates for missing a Regrowth Pendant, but if you don't score some early points in the lane, you'll really miss that 235 or so gold lost on sellback.
It used to be that Alistar farmed so badly that he needed to stack GP10 just to finish a build. Now it's a bit different, but if you have a very rough start, you can pick this up right after Philosopher's Stone. If the game goes on for a very long time and you get ganked a lot, you can still finish the build if you're hanging tough. You don't really need the 250 health, generally, and you can earn gold faster by Trample farming with Abyssal Scepter. But... if you get serial ganked or a bad case of lag plague or something, get this and just play as safe as you can. This item can really save you in those games where you start so badly that you can barely get off a good Headbutt before dying.
Also good for
intentionally avoiding last-hitting when babysitting a carry or something. If you're trying to feed a lane mate, this helps you pick up slack in your own pocketbook while your ally gets fed. I solo queue a lot, so usually I just farm away. However, if your ally is so good that you want to feed them, then you're probably making assist money, anyway.
Cheap item, large impactThis is good after Spirit Visage, for example. Builds to Shurelya's Reverie later. CDR early is nice, but your item slots will be pretty close to full with boots, philo, kindlegem, spirit visage, and maybe even a HoG. That leaves one slot for wards and no slots for additional or partial items. If you're not warding or if you just want to ward a lot and save money for large purchases after upgrading your philo, then ok.
Usually I'd rather use Trample for light pushing and an occasional Pulverize for heavier pushing, but Sunfire Cape makes pushing a little easier. If your team is a perfect storm of horrible pushers, I guess you can take this instead of Abyssal Scepter, but then magic damage might be an issue. Probably not worth it.
DPS failure on your team:
instead of Randuin's Omen is probably the best way to tweak this build to gain AP without losing much tankiness. I don't really recommend it generally, but there are those solo queue games where your carries just aren't getting it done and you need to chip in a little more just to get any kills in before they heal.
Complete lack of AD on enemy team:
taken instead of Warden's Mail/ Randuin's Omen. If for some reason the enemy team fails to bring any AD to the table, then this should be enough to seal your immortality. This should almost never happen, but if it does, then you don't need armor anymore, and this will bring your HP5 straight to crazy town.
Huge threat from mostly AD sources:
taken instead of Force of Nature, preferably early. Sometimes there's just that one AD champ that's messing everything up. Might also delay Abyssal Scepter and get your health total up with Heart of Gold and Randuin's Omen earlier than usual.
I've redone this because of a helpful comment on Page 6. Simply put, spamming Triumphant Roar constantly makes a bigger difference than I thought in the lane phase. With a Philosopher's Stone and a Spirit Visage at level 9, it's sort of sick how sustainable you'll be. It's nice to have shorter cooldowns, but you can still do your part if you save QW for when it counts for the time being.
Team Work - When to headbutt
When not to headbutt
Alistar's Headbutt is one of those rare skills that can literally do more harm than good when used at the wrong time. The more you play other champs and know what their combos are, the less you should run aground on this issue - and vice versa, they should be able to tell when you're lining up for a Headbutt. It's not ALWAYS your fault if you disrupt their combo.
I've saved an enemy or two from Infinite Duress or Absolute Zero in the past, I'm ashamed to say. It just takes practice and it takes knowing all the champs.
When to headbutt
* Headbutt champs during channeled ultimates! Miss Fortune's Bullet Time, Nunu's Absolute Zero, Warwick's Infinite Duress, etc. This can mean NOT headbutting at a somewhat good time if you think their ult is off of cooldown. If Nunu is close by, and you haven't seen him do Absolute Zero lately, YOU SHOULD HAVE ENOUGH MANA TO DO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING, AND AT LEAST ONE SHOULD BE OFF OF COOLDOWN AT ALL TIMES: Pulverize/ Headbutt. There is almost never a good enough reason to use your skills otherwise. Even better, save enough mana to shake off CC with Unbreakable Will with enough mana left over to stop their nuke-in-progress. It's ok to Pulverize Nunu when his ult is ready if you're confident that your DPS is can finish him off.
* Headbutt Ryze right after he uses Rune Prison. He can really shred with that.
* Disrupt other things in progress that you've grown to recognize as dangerous.
Other good uses of Headbutt, secondary to the above considerations:
* Headbutt a squishy toward your DPS or a turret. NOTE: If enemy minions are taking turret fire, this can be a bit of a waste in some cases, as they'll just run past you unscathed. If they will indeed take turret fire, pop Fortify if you have it and don't think you'll need it defensively soon.
* Headbutt a chaser away. Take one for the team if absolutely necessary, e.g., 4v2. You *might* pull off a Pulverize and get away, but don't count on it. Shurelya's Reverie and Randuin's Omen both have nice actives that can be fired off at a time like this.
* EDIT: Humans know to stay out of Pulverize range when they can, so you can't just throw them around all day and then stun them whenever you wish like you can with bots. HOWEVER: You can use Headbutt as a short dash to get in Pulverize position. Not everyone realizes this. If they're close to one of their minions or allies, you can Headbutt to get close and then you can Pulverize.
* EDIT: I haven't tried this yet, but I'm told it's possible to Headbutt and then quickly Pulverize mid-air before they leave the radius; the timing sounds sensitive to say the least; two wasted moves if you're late. I should try it sometime, I suppose. Just check your mana so you don't accidentally waste a move or even rescue an enemy.
Team Work - positioning. Right-click is LOWEST PRIORITY
If you have enough mana to Headbutt, you should be blocking the escape route of your team's current priority target. Your right-click won't help much, but you can stay in Trample range while doing this. If they run away and your Q and W are on cooldown, keep running with them, staying just a bit ahead. Be ready to Headbutt, and get far enough ahead that you won't mess up the timing and headbutt them sideways or completely the wrong direction. Don't be a sucker and try to outrun them to get in position after they've already started running. At best you'll waste a Pulverize to get in position while taking turret fire. More likely, they'll get behind their turret and your team will lose a kill, and it will be your fault.
Also, when fights break out in mid, try if it all possible to come around from behind. It makes all the difference. Sometimes you can even Teleport if one of your stray minions are far behind the enemy lines. This is ideal when it happens.
Team Work - HP management
There are a few ways they can kill you.
* They can ignore and/or CC you and save you for last. You should be able to use your Q and W two or three times, maybe more.
* They can focus you HARD. If you save your ult and you're fed, this will really cost them.
* They can focus you just enough to get you to use Unbreakable Will, then ignore you, and then focus you soon afterward. This also costs them and leaves them somewhat vulnerable.
* They can catch you off somewhere by yourself or otherwise outnumber you. Avoid this if you can. If you can't win a 3v2 and help isn't nearby, you should probably prioritize helping your ally get away, if it's possible but they can't do it alone.
Other than that, if you have good DPS/nuke on your team, you should be tanking a little, CCing a little, and slinking away hurt but coming back for more sooner than they'd like, perhaps pushing a little on the side even.
You can't backdoor solo anymore, but a good DPS can take one down in an emergency if you tank the turret fire with R. Most better players will understand this. They should follow you up to the turret, but you have to get there just a little before them to take aggro. Pop Unbreakable Will. Trample nearby minions a bit too, maybe even Pulverize if necessary (your right-click should be on the turret, but it's worth repositioning to Trample better). A well-fed DPS carry should be able to shred a turret before your ult wears off, or maybe soon after.
You may want to scout ahead sometimes, headbutting enemy champs away while taking turret aggro. Of course, the enemy could come from behind or the sides depending on circumstance, so you might have to decide in the moment where the most defensive place to be is. Ideally, your ally should be positioned in such away that you can protect with Headbutt while continuing to take turret fire.
Clarity would be overkill. An occasional Mana Potion is ok, but underleveling Triumphant Roar and saving your Q and W for when it really matters helps the most.
It's ok to Pulverize minions when you really need to push hard and fast. It's ok to Pulverize minions when you're really underfed and need to catch up. It's good to Pulverize when a bunch of minions pile up on your turret. The rest of the time... Not so much. Do the right thing and Triumphant Roar + Trample.
Other than that... look for good times to recall, honestly. If your team is playing smart, they'll play a little more defensively while you're gone. You can't do much without mana. Sometimes you can intermittently roar and headbutt while mostly just hanging out maybe trampling a minion or two, but it's really awkward and should be done only when you think just one more headbutt might be enough to seal the fight. This is something I personally have trouble with in aggressive games.
MP5 glyphs aren't a bad idea. I tried it once because I was out of rune pages. However, the item build won't let you max CDR without CDR glyphs, so MP5 seals might be a better substitution.
Summoner Spells - Recommended
EDIT: Ok, Flash is really good. I'm kind of sold now. Get it. Q and W are so much more useable this way.
Teleport is nice for anyone who's not Shen. Sometimes you can get lucky and Teleport far behind enemy lines, if they leave a stray minion alive. Just be sure that the odds are in your favor first. Works on wards, too, for extra fun behind-the-lines positioning.
Fortify is team-oriented and boosts your farming early on especially. A strong choice, especially if no one else is taking it. EDIT: You can occasionally combo this with Headbutt and Pulverize if you can get an enemy locked up under your turret. Don't expect humans to fall for it, though, unless you Flash from the bushes or something. It's a bit easier to execute when your base is under attack, though.
Rally is ok for team fights, but better for taking on turrets. It affects minions. Triumphant Roar + Trample makes it easier to push a lot of minions quickly up to a turret, at which point you can drop Rally for some decent damage. The good thing about pushing sort-of-fast-but-not-too-fast is that there's a little bit of time for your minions to build up while you heal them and farm the enemy's. Fast-push if you have at least several minions and an ally or two, but Rally and a massive wave of minions will give them a very bad day if they don't try to stop you soon enough.
Heal is also nice for some bursty situational healing, especially since your HP5 and your E are gradual. If you don't have any healers, this is a nice choice, especially since you're a support character. I don't really tend to take this, though.
Exhaust is pretty handy. I used to have this as "not recommended", but it's pretty devastating after a headbutt.
Summoner Spells - Not recommended
Cleanse - Your R key is a Quicksilver Sash, and don't you forget it. Play smart, and you won't need Cleanse.
Smite - You're not a jungler. (It can be done, but this isn't the build for it)
Ignite - There just aren't enough slots for it. Someone else should have it, and it's not really your job as the tank to get the kill. It's your job to throw the enemy around so someone else can get *their* ignite in and score the kill.
Revive - Not dying is better. Being able to Teleport right back into the action is better than being alive 60 seconds sooner and spending the whole time running. If you get a lot of mileage out of Revive, there's a good chance you're losing anyway.
Clarity - See Mana Management section.
Promote - This has been taken out of the game altogether. Apparently having 4-5 on a team use it at the start of a match broke the game. Check it on YouTube.
Ghost - You're already half of the way there if you press the E on your keyboard. Shurelya's Reverie can get you the other half of the way there, and the cooldown is much shorter. You can also do runes and Move3 boots if you don't want Reverie, I suppose. It's handy, but I'd rather get something else in this build.
Evaluating your performance
k/d/a scores don't tell the whole story. You should be able to tell how you're doing, but generally...
* You should have the most assists on your team by far. (Unless someone takes Taric. Why are you taking Alistar???)
* Assists > 3*Deaths - 2*Kills
It's not a magic formula, and of course you could pick up kills by luck or even kill stealing. But It's pretty rare to feel like I've had a bad game when I get numbers like those. 3/5/10, 4/8/17, 4/10/23, etc. Those are just borderline "good enough" by my made-up formula, so you can still play well and do worse than that.
This formula isn't really scientific and can be argued. Maybe even this would be better:
Assists + Kills > 2*Deaths
I'm open to suggestions. The first formula is much harder to attain, I think.
Pros / Cons
* You are a minotaur
* Sustainable tanking
* Heal faster than you take damage while using Unbreakable Will
* +.5 gold/sec for most of the game. (Another optional .5 gold/sec available)
* Cheap build; 13560 gold, or about 13k if you skip Doran's Ring
* ...but in spite of that, Spirit Visage is deceptively good given Triumphant Roar and all the item synergies
* Lots of health regen
* Adequate pushing with Abyssal Scepter
* Provides great help for good allies
* Optional Heart of Gold can help you catch up when things go bad early
* Not much DPS later on
* Unable to compensate for shoddy allies
* Can still be ignored somewhat in team fights
* Prioritizing regen instead of health leaves you susceptible to getting focused. Saving your ultimate for this circumstance is vital.
Calculations for the lulz
HP5 at 18 calculation
Strength of Spirit : 1% of max mana = .01*899 =
Triumphant Roar (once every 12 sec, -2 sec per kill): 180 + .2*AP = 180 + .2*70 = 194 per cast
Assuming once per 10 sec, =
Force of Nature passive: Max health * .0035 per second = 3200 * .0035 * 5 per 5 sec =
Total before Spirit Visage:
After Spirit Visage:257*1.15 =
or... 60 health per second, if you round up (assuming you Triumphant Roar a little more often than once every 10 seconds)
Let's redo this with Warmog's Armor in place of Abyssal Scepter:
Force of Nature passive: .0035 * 4570 * 5 =
New total before Spirit Visage:
After Spirit Visage:375 hp5
75 health per second
Ok. So the real gain comes from base health increase as a buffer against burst damage. Even then, losing 70 MRes is a pretty big deal. You might want to look at this. If you take a lot of magic damage, the base health gain from Warmog's Armor is just about offset by the loss of MRes from giving up Abyssal Scepter... and you also give up an aura and some AP while you're at it. I don't think it's worth it. Someone else like Leona who has built-in resistances but NO built-in healing could benefit more from Warmog's, I think.
(Come to think of it, I forgot to subtract the lost AP from the Triumphant Roar part of the calculation, but it's not a big deal.)
Using "effective health", the main build gives you about 150 effective health per second, meaning it's like preventing the first 150 damage each second before applying resistances. This is assuming 160 armor. During your ultimate, that's 600 raw damage per second that you have to take just to go negative. (If you take 60 true damage, on the other hand, that's all your health regenerated for that second lost, yikes)
Yes, fed Katarina can definitely do that, but you're not going to solo fed Katarina anyway if you can help it. Anyway, go have fun tanking. If it feels like you're restoring a full health bar every minute, it's because you are.
Just a Minotaur on a Saturday night
Lookin' for the fight of his life
Taking Doran's Ring coming out of the gate
Face-checks bushes like he's crazy
Locking teams out of lane with the threat of his Q
Spamming E to restore all his life
Throwing you into the danger zone
When you give him half a chance
He takes Philosopher's 'round six
He'll tank whatever he desires
Want him to get tired,
But he will never be
He's a minotaur, minotaur for sure
And he's spamming level 1 Triumphant Roar
He's a minotaur, minotaur for sure
And he's tanking like he's never tanked before
Around Level 12 he's got Spirit Visage
Your morale's nowhere to be seen
It's hard to put down a tanky minotaur,
With or without your Sheen
You call in your carry to put in a gank
Before the whole game snowballs away
But then he just pops R and he shrugs off the stun
And says, "sry not today"
Now you want to admit defeat
But the vote goes two to three
Your team still thinks that they can win
He's a minotaur, minotaur I know
And those horns of his, they aren't just for show
He's a minotaur, minotaur I know
And he's tanking like he's never tanked before
At 14,000 gold he's fed
Got Force of Nature and Randuin's
The vote goes 2 to 3
But you can't touch that HP
He's a minotaur, minotaur I know
And he goes wherever he may want to go
He's a minotaur, minotaur I know
And he's tanking like he's never tanked before
(...minotaur, minotaur I know.......)
The Great Barrier, an Alistar Support Guide
Feeding Your Team With Milk
Alistar - Rampaging Through the Twisted Treeline
Milchkuh?-Träum weiter!! [S3 ready (German)]