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Alistar Build Guide by yummybluewaffle

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League of Legends Build Guide Author yummybluewaffle

***WIP*** Encyclopedia of Cow (Support, AP, AD)

yummybluewaffle Last updated on August 19, 2014
Guide Top

Introduction

***STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS, I'M TRANSITIONING THIS GUIDE FROM A SUPPORT GUIDE INTO AN ALL THINGS ALISTAR GUIDE. ONE MORE SECTION TO GO!***

***To see the cheat sheets for AP and AD builds, click on one of the other 4 Alistar icons at the top of this page!***

Hello friends, welcome to my guide on my favorite champion in the game: Alistar, one of the oldest champions in the game, as well as one of the hardest to play. His difficult mechanics, CC that can win or lose a game, and dark hidden secret combos all shied me away from him and towards "easier" CC-focused supports like Thresh and Leona, until I learned of his true potential from a friend who played countless games as him, not only as a support, but as an Assassin mid and a Bruiser top.

After playing watching and playing many, many games of Alistar, I am confident enough in my knowledge and abilities to be able to come out and write this guide on Alistar, not only as a support (though I would consider myself a support main), but also as many other roles, including an AP Assassin/Bruiser, AD/Crit Fighter/Bruiser, and even Jungle! (Unfortunately for you guys, adding jungle into this guide would take up way too much time for me, given how I've already spent HOURS adding the non-support stuff in, so I'll work on it for the next update, but for now I'm leaving it out)

This guide will be LONG and contain a lot of assorted info. However, I will keep everything "role-related" organized and separated, that way when scrolling through you can easily identify if something is "Support" or "AP Assassin" related or whatever, while also being able to easily identify and therefore skip all other things you do not wish to read.

Keep in mind, just because it contains every role doesn't mean I won't skimp out on the detail for each role. This guide will literally be 4 complete guides in one, and soon to be more if I decide I have the time to do so.

This guide was recently updated to include EVERYTHING, so if anything looks weird, has typos, or is unclear/lacks clarity, please let me know in the comments! Don't just downvote and leave!


Guide Top

Notes

NOT YET DONE WITH THIS GUIDE, there is a whole hell of a lot of info I need to update when transitioning this guide from a Support guide to an EVERYTHING guide. But I'm almost done! Here's some stuff I did, am working on, and planning on adding someday:

UPDATED:
-Cheat sheets
-Pros/Cons
-Runes
-Masteries
-Summoner Spells
-Abilities
-Early/Core Items
-Boots
-Added a video for the "Headbutt and a Free Autoattack" Combo

STILL WORKING ON:
-Late Game Items (the final and LONGEST section.... oh boy)

ALSO PLANNING TO ADD:
-W > pause > Q- Flash combo (W to send a champion flying backwards, and then Q-Flashing on them to knock them up, OR W at a minion to reposition yourself, and then Q-Flashing for far away targets)
-W > early Q, where you Q early enough to let them fly away instead of getting knocked up, making it a free super burst of damage that still sends them flying off with no chance to retaliate. It's really only good for AP builds though.
-General laning matchups for top and mid, to match the support matchups. I want to try to phase out the matchup "section" in the guide, and instead include the matchups in the cheat sheet.
-General tips section, with the most important parts being How To Lane, Mid-Game/Roaming, and Late-Game with Engaging, Assassinating, Peeling, etc.
-Videos for each combo: I'm just using LOLReplay when I'm playing in game, and whenever I happen to use Alistar and make a perfect example of a combo, I'll upload it to YouTube and update this guide with it. I'm kinda picky with what I want to be shown in the videos, so it's not gonna be a short process.


Guide Top

How To Use This Guide

The fact that I'm including Support, AP, and AD makes this guide naturally EXTREMELY long. If you don't know already, to access the cheat sheets for the AP Assassin, AP Tanky Bruiser, and AD builds, just click on the 4 Alistar faces at the top left of the pages.

To help YOU, the reader, find all the things you need in this guide, this will be the way I organize things:

1. Chapter Headings: Looking at the chapter headings in the "Table of Contents" will help you find the general type of content you need. If you are looking for Item Building or Runes/Masteries, simply click on the chapter in the "Table of Contents" and your browser will take you to the chapter.

2. Subchapters for each Role/Position: Within each chapter, it will contain subchapters specifically focused on the role you are trying to learn about, like Support, AP, etc. so as not to overcrowd the "Table of Contents" These subchapters and roles will contain a large Header/Title and will be color coded to make it easier to find when scrolling.


The order and corresponding color will be as so:
-Yellow: Support
-Blue: AP Assassin
-Purple: AP Tanky Bruiser
-Red: AD Bruiser / Crit

Here's an example header:


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(FYI this is the prettiest it's gonna look until someone sends me some nice, easily identifiable headers that are highly contrasting with the other headers, for all of you artsy and giving people out there hehe)

3. Role-Specific Mini-Texts: In sections where it's pointless or excessive or too complicated to use large subsections, I will instead resort to mini little texts for any role-specific things I would like to mention. I will simply make a color coded little mention, and then include the corresponding info immediately after.
AP Assassin: like so.

You'll likely get the gist of how this guide works by simply looking at it too!



Also, for those of you wondering what exactly I mean by "Support", "AP Tanky Bruiser", etc., I will list their descriptions here:

Support: The most typical role for Alistar. Your #1 role is to babysit your ADC. This means protect and peel (peel is a fancy word for protect; for example, you are "peeling" off the assassin that is currently on top of your ADC, as if the assassin were an orange peel), set up the best environment and lane you can to allow your ADC to farm (healing, warding, zoning/lane presence), and setting up good opportunities for not only your ADC, but your team as well (warding for dragon, engaging in fights/ganks, etc.). You will typically build Tank and Utility.

AP Assassin: Generally, you will be solo laning in the Mid lane. You will Assassinate important, squishy targets in fights, normally either their Solo-Lane Carry/ies or their ADC. You will typically build high AP and penetration and do almost solely magic damage.

AP Tanky Bruiser: Think Singed. As the name infers, you are a tank, or at least you are tankier than most others, while at the same time you do quite a bit of magic damage. You will solo lane, either mid or top (generally top), and perhaps even jungle (but like I said, that's for this guide's next update). However, mid lane is also a good place to put bruiser Alistar, and at this position you will likely opt for more damage than tankiness (like 21/9 masteries instead, picking an Iceborn Gauntlet, etc. Think Gragas). Your role is to set up a good environment for your team to fight in due to your survivability and crowd control, while also pinning down their carries and preventing them from doing damage to your team.

AD Bruiser / Crit: This is quite broad, since I'm including AD and Crit together. While it's important to know the differences, I don't think it's a good idea to keep them separate, since the core to both builds are so similar. Nevertheless, this role for Alistar is to deal high amounts of burst and sustained physical damage, whether it be in fights or taking objectives. You can be considered an Assassin or a Tanky Bruiser, but his playstyle is quite unique so it's hard to say what exactly you are.

Jungle and maybe hybrid (it really works, trust me) are for another day, when I have the time to update this some more!


Guide Top

Pros / Cons of Playing Alistar

As with every champion, Alistar has his pros and cons.

Pros:

-Extremely high CC
-Great base damage and a strong late game in all roles
-Good sustain in lane with his heal
-Can heal minions too to help with pushing, sieging, and denying CS
-Not many people know of his strengths, so you can surprise a lot of people and kill them to carry the game
-Full tank Alistar is unkillable; Literally THE tankiest champion in the game
-Easily counters some of the most popular played supports right now, like Thresh, Leona, and Blitzcrank
-Great potential to secure kills in ganks, as well as outplaying
-His WQ combo is similar to a Malphite ult, and thus can be used to initiate
-Has incredible versatility, allowing him to fulfill any role, including a tanky initiator, AP assassin or bruiser, AD bruiser, and even go hybrid (which I might include how to do later, it's the most fun build imo!

Cons:
-He is super slow
-Long cooldowns on his abilities
-Low base mana and mana regen. Just because his mana costs got lowered doesn't mean he can't run out of mana anymore, especially if you are spamming heal. And a mana-less Alistar is a useless sack of beef.
-His ult is the main source of his tankiness, and it doesn't last forever, has somewhat long CD, and the fact that his other abilities use up so much mana means that he might not have the mana to use his ult
-When building Tank, he is heavily reliant on teammates, as with most tanks
-Prone to harass
-Not only is his learning curve so high since his abilities are really difficult to perform correctly, incorrectly selecting targets or failing to pull off combos often results in disaster and flaming
-You can't milk those :(


Guide Top

Runes

As with most rune builds, rune choice is pretty lenient with user preference. Just keep in mind all of Alistar's weaknesses and strengths, as listed before. With that in mind, I'll list all the good choices of runes you can have for him.

I'll make use of the col[/color]or coded role-specific subchapter headers here, using the same order as it goes.




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Quints



Best Choices:
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Greater Quintessence of Armor
Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist
Alternatives:
Greater Quintessence of Gold
Greater Quintessence of Health
.

Alistar is slow, and movement speed on Alistar is particularly very important to allow him to close gaps on slow ADC's and supports so he can lock them in with his CC. Also, you can choose to get armor or HP if you want to be a full-on tank. Armor and MR are good because you'll likely be choosing health seals, so you'll want a bit more boost in mitigation. Gold is another option, though I find it less useful since there's a lot of gold incorporated already with the items and masteries. Though AP or AD can be considered, I don't list them because you have to keep in mind that quints provide a lot of stuff other types of runes can't, like movement speed.


Seals


Best Choices:
Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Greater Seal of Health
Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration
Greater Seal of Armor
Alternatives:
Greater Seal of Percent Health
Greater Seal of Gold
.
.

Seals are one of the trickier runes to pick. There are a lot of good options. Alistar likes being tanky, but he enjoys mana regen if he's going to spam heal. Out of all the runes, Seals grant the highest stats per seal when it comes to health, armor, and mana regen, which is why it's tough to decide. For health, deciding on Flat, Scaling, or Percentage is heavily dependent on your playstyle and itemization. Flat health best for early game, Scaling health evens with Flat health at Level 6, and Percent health generally gives the most health mid game but not late game unless you can get over 4.8k health via items, which usually means you have a bit less mitigation (armor/MR). Armor seals are good all around but at a certain point, you need health too. Mana regen is only good if you plan on spamming a bunch of heals in lane. Lastly, you can opt for gold if you want, since you are a support, but I wouldn't.


Marks


Best choices:
Greater Mark of Armor
Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Alternatives:
Greater Mark of Mana Regeneration
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
.

Marks, as runes, typically have the highest stats in physical damage as well as penetration, be it physical or magic or hybrid. Alistar doesn't particularly need these stats unless he's going for an aggressive lane, which is typically why I opt for Armor marks. Hybrid and magic penetration are also really good with Alistar to help give him the damage he needs to secure kills, especially when facing those tanky supports. I generally op for hybrid pen for any champion that deals mixed damage. Also, something worth noting is that gaining attack speed from Greater Mark of Attack Speed will allow Alistar to do his W-autoattack combo for his entire W range (see "W and a free Autoattack" subsection of "Combos" for more info). Usually 2-3 of these runes will suffice. As for the other runes, Mana regen is good, but marks don't give as much of it as other runes. Magic pen isn't bad to increase your combo damages, but I prefer Hybrid if I'm trying to get more damage, since Alistar does good mixed damage.


Glyphs


Best choices:
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Alternatives:
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
.

Scaling Magic Resist is good for strong AP mids that you'll be forced to face later in the game. Mana regen glyphs should be taken if you didn't take Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration, reason being that I value mana regen in order to allow you to spam your heal in lane without running out of mana. Flat MR is ideal if you're facing a lane with a lot of magic damage ( Corki/ Tristana and a Karma/ Sona/ Zyra/etc.). Lastly, if you want to build AP to help increase the damage on your combos, as well as increase the amount you heal, it's not too bad of an option either.




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Quints


Best Choices:
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Armor
Alternatives:
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration

As standard with many melee AP champions, you will want to get some early AP. Also, going armor as melee midlaner is also very good if you decide to get health seals, since you need some damage mitigation. Movement speed is also very good for melee mid laners, since it helps with dodging skillshots. Magic penetration is also a good option, since Alistar's ratios aren't the highest.


Seals


Best Choices:
Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration
Greater Seal of Health
Alternatives:
Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Greater Seal of Armor

Mana regeneration seals are incredibly useful for mid laners, since they give the highest mana regen per rune than any other type of rune, and Alistar needs the mana regen to allow him to spam his harass and heals. Seals also give the most health per rune, making Flat and Scaling health very viable. Armor is particularly good if you decided not to get any armor quints.


Marks


Best Choices:
Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration
Alternatives:
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

There are many reasons to choose hybrid penetration over magic penetration on Alistar. You only sacrifice a meager 2.15 magic penetration when you choose hybrid, but you also gain 8.1 armor penetration. Since Sheen is such an important item, and it stays with you for a relatively long time before you upgrade it to Lich Bane, and since Sheen procs deal physical damage, having hybrid penetration in effect will allow you to deal quite a lot more damage than magic penetration alone will. Hybrid penetration also allows you to farm a lot easier! Honestly, it's the only Mark you should consider getting. However, I put magic penetration in simply because it does in fact give you 2.15 more magic penetration, meaning you do a slight bit more damage late game when you get your Lich Bane.


Glyphs


Best Choices:
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Alternatives:
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
.

Flat AP is quite typical, and so is Flat magic resist since Alistar is a melee champion. Scaling AP isn't a bad option either if you would prefer a bit more late game damage, and Scaling AP evens out with Flat AP at level 7. CDR isn't too bad of an option either, but I prefer doing more damage. Also, many AP melee champions pick Scaling MR, but Alistar actually doesn't need too much late game tanky stats since his ult helps him with that, so Flat MR is good enough.




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Quints


Best Choices:
Greater Quintessence of Armor
Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Alternatives:
Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
.

With this version of Alistar, we value tankiness quite a bit. Thus, armor and MR are our favorite quints. However, if you wish to do more damage, then you may choose AP or magic penetration. Lastly, movement speed is another decent item, since it allows you to move quicker in fights and follow your targets around to continue to cripple them.


Seals


Best Choices:
Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Greater Seal of Health
Greater Seal of Armor
Alternatives:
Greater Seal of Percent Health
Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration

Seals give a lot of really good stats. Out of all the runes, they give the highest amount per rune of health, armor, and mana regen, and all of these stats are what we want. Flat health gives nice early tankiness, while Scaling health eventually evens with Flat health at level 6. Percent health gives us a lot of health mid game, more than any of Flat or Scaling, making them actually pretty good since we are getting a lot of health items. In fact, when we get passed 4.8k health, Percent health gives more health than Scaling at level 18. Lastly, mana regen is good if we want to harass more often.


Marks


Best Choices:
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration
Alternatives:
Greater Mark of Armor
.

Magic penetration in this case is more valued over hybrid penetration, unlike for AP Assassin, since we want to boost the damage we do over time as much as possible, which is all magic damage. When going tanky, we do very minimal amounts of physical damage. However, hybrid penetration is still very good in cases where we build Sheen or if we want to farm easier with the added autoattack damage. Armor marks are also a good option if we really want to be extremely tanky or simply don't have enough armor from other runes.


Glyphs


Best Choices:
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Ability Power
Alternatives:
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
.

MR is important since we want to be tankier. If we face an opponent with a lot of magic damage early, then Flat MR is generally good. Scaling MR evens out with Flat MR at level 8, and if you don't need the MR until then, then Scaling is a better option. AP is also good for more damage. CDR is also a very good option if you want it.




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Quints


Best Choices:
Greater Quintessence of Armor
Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Alternatives:
Greater Quintessence of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Life Steal
.

Armor is pretty typical for bruiser top laners. Attack speed is also very good, since Alistar really likes attack speed to dish out more damage when he uses his ult. Attack damage is all around good as well. Magic resist is useful in lanes where you will be facing a lot of annoying magic damage poke. Life steal is also an option if you want to help increase your sustain in the top lane, but I don't usually run it on bruiser tops.


Seals


Best Choices:
Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Greater Seal of Health
Greater Seal of Armor
Alternatives:
Greater Seal of Percent Health
Greater Seal of Mana Regeneration
.

As stated before, Seals provide the highest amount per seal for health, armor, and mana regen. Flat health is good for early, Scaling health evens out with Flat health at level 6, which is good if you are facing an opponent who has a weak early game, and Percent health generally gives you more health mid game if you decide to build some health items. Armor is all around good, particularly if you didn't get any armor quints. Lastly, mana regen is a very good option, since it will allow you to harass a ton and be incredibly annoying.


Marks


Best Choices:
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Mark of Hybrid Penetration
Alternatives:
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
Greater Mark of Armor
Greater Mark of Critical Chance

Attack speed is an incredibly good stat on Alistar. When he ults, he gains a huge AD boost that doesn't last that long, and the only real way to utilize this AD boost is through attack speed, rather than more attack damage. However, this doesn't mean attack damage and armor penetration are bad, since boosting either of these abilities will significantly increase your harass damage. Hybrid penetration is also a great option, since you only sacrifice a mere 3.42 armor penetration for more damage with your abilities, which themselves are quite a significant source of damage. Armor penetration is also good too if you think you'll be doing more damage with your auto's than abilities. Armor is not a bad option if you don't already have armor from other runes, but you honestly should be using other runes to boost armor. Lastly, having 1 crit mark is not a bad option if you are feeling lucky. One W > autoattack combo that manages to crit early in lane itself will simply send your lane opponent home.


Glyphs


Best Choices:
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
.
Alternatives:
Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Glyph of Attack Speed

Glyphs are typically reserved solely for MR on many bruisers. Whether or not you need it early should be what determines whether you pick Flat or Scaling. Mana regen is also an option too if you want to harass more, and CDR overall isn't a bad option either, as it allows you to harass and heal and ult more often too. I've seen some people take attack speed glyphs on bruisers because they believe they don't need any MR at all, which isn't a bad option either. It's not particularly cost effective with your IP, but if they have no AP damage, then MR is really useless anyways.


Guide Top

Masteries

This chapter will use color coded role headers like before, and will first describe notable masteries which I believe are must-haves, then alternative viable options, and lastly masteries that are deceivingly bad choices.




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░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ SUPPORT ░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░
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Masteries
4/4
2/2
2/2
1/1
2/3
3/3
3/3
3/3
1/1
3/3
1/1
1/1
1/1
3/3

This is what I run on Alistar now. The utility tree now has some pretty cool masteries for supports. Especially when playing Alistar, utility has a big emphasis, with some masteries practically being completely required for him. These masteries should highly, highly, highly be considered for Alistar (if not required for him), which I'll explain in detail:

- Summoner's Insight : One of the funniest and greatest ways to secure a kill with Alistar is, if an enemy is happens to get too close to your turret, you Flash into them while channeling Pulverize (Q) to knock them up, and then Headbutt (W) them into the turret to give them turret aggro (more on this combo and multiple other ones later). This combo can be done with Exhaust too! All in all, having your summoner spells on cooldown more often will greatly benefit Alistar (much like if you were playing Sona or Annie support).

- Intelligence : This mastery goes great with Talisman of Ascension, Face of the Mountain, Mikael's Crucible, Locket of the Iron Solari, Warding Totem, etc. In general, supports love this mastery because of the ridiculous amounts of active items they have to manage. It will allow you to initiate with Talisman and protect with Mikael's and Locket more often, and the fact that you can ward more often with it effectively makes it a GP-10 mastery too!

- Fleet of Foot: Alistar is incredibly slow. The movespeed really helps him catch his prey and lock them in with his combo, especially since enemy ADC's are usually extremely slow as well.

- Alchemist and Culinary Master : Such a good pair of masteries for a wide variety of champions and playstyles, it helps you trade, bait, and simply sustain. They effectively are GP10 masteries, making potions more effective so it's more bang for your buck. The 10 instant mana itself is good enough to warrant the use of these masteries.

- Greed , Scavenger , and Wealth : Money is good, and supports need as many ways to generate money since they don't farm. Greed and scavenger are pretty much standard for supports, while wealth helps give you one more pot or an extra ward to help you stay in lane longer.

- Meditation : Alistar's ability mana costs are incredibly high, and he has relatively low base mana and mana regeneration, so this mastery will help out.

Some masteries are good on Alistar, but they aren't listed on the cheat sheet either because I personally don't prefer them or there simply weren't enough points. You can tweak the masteries to fit your own preference, and here's some good masteries I like but didn't list:

- Juggernaut : Arguably one of the best tanky masteries, Alistar's main strength when it comes to tankiness is the fact that he has like a million health. 3% more of his health makes him just crazy tankier. If I didn't have the 4 points in the Offense tree, I would have put points into the Defense tree to get this mastery.

- Fury : If you happened to read what I said about Greater Mark of Attack Speed above and read the "W and a Free Autoattack" subsection of "Combos" as a result, you'll see why I say attack speed is actually quite useful on Alistar. Alistar's "W and a Free Autoattack" combo is limited in range, since the autoattack begins to animate later as the target gets further away. Gaining some attack speed will allow him to perform this combo for his entire Headbutt range. See the "W and a Free Autoattack" subsection of "Combos" for more info.

- Perseverance and Second Wind : If I didn't prioritize utility over tankiness on Alistar, I would definitely try to put points to get these two. Anyone with a large health pool greatly benefits from the percent health regen, and anyone with a self-heal ability would greatly benefit from the healing boost when low health, and Alistar fits both categories.

- Expose Weakness and Double-Edged Sword are both great if you are trying to do more damage during laning phase. You'll obviously be sacrificing some defensive stats, especially with Double-Edged Sword , but the ever so slight boosts in damage can honestly make the difference between whether someone dies or walks away with 10 hp.

- Bandit : This mastery is quite risky to take, mainly for melee champions. As support, you'll be getting a lot of assists of course. Say you have an average of 15 assists a game. With 33 minute games being the "official" average, this mastery is on average a 1.14 GP10 mastery. It's great only if you can do great, but it almost pushes you to be aggressive, which could be a bad thing in some cases. It's go big or go home, so you decide.

- Enchanted Armor : I know a lot of people really don't like this mastery, especially on support, because it literally gives you nothing for the early game. But, if you're going to evolve into a full-on tank, which you normally would if you play Alistar correctly, it could make you noticeably tankier.

Some masteries just aren't worth taking on Alistar. Aside from the obvious, here's a few deceiving masteries that I would try and cross off the list:

- Strength of Spirit : This mastery is really bad because Alistar's base mana is incredibly low, and it increases at a relatively low rate too. Picking masteries is all about putting points in the most efficient places, and while having some health regeneration is good, it's just not worth the mastery point.

- Expanded Mind : Same reasoning for Strength of Spirit . You know how "Twice nothing is still nothing?" Same logic. 5% bonus of the mana you have will literally give you like, 10-30 mana in the early levels where mana is an issue, which is useless.




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Masteries
1/1
4/4
3/3
1/1
3/3
3/3
1/1
3/3
1/1
1/1
2/2
2/2
1/1
3/3
1/1

As with most assassin melee champs, 21/9 is generally chosen over 21/0/9, since lane harass will absolutely always be an issue. There really aren't many necessary explanations for most of these choices like Havoc and Unyielding , as they are about as vanilla and typical as they can get. However, some are particularly important enough that deserve an explanation:

- Arcane Blade : One of the strongest masteries for AP champions who rely on autoattacks and Lich Bane. This mastery grants an enormous damage boost, especially late game when you have 600+ AP, giving you 30 extra damage on your autoattacks to make your "W and a Free Autoattack" combo incredibly strong. I'll explain the combo in the section labeled "Combos"!

- Double-Edged Sword : Looking at the masteries on the offense side, there are about 19 masteries that seem incredibly obvious ones to choose. For the last two points to assign, the choices just seem odd and difficult to choose. If you are a bit lost, I'll state right here, the two weird masteries I choose are Double-Edged Sword and Dangerous Game , meaning all the other masteries are ones that should be taken with no exception. Dangerous Game is a quite a bit more dependent on user preference, which is why I don't say it's a necessity, but I personally think Double-Edged Sword is a good mastery, more so than the other odd masteries to choose from. Alistar is melee, so he gets the large boost in damage, and since he is an assassin, the more damage he can do, the better.

However, the final two points for the mastery tree can be distributed in any way you please, depending on what you value and what your playstyle is:

- Spell Weaving / Blade Weaving : This combo of masteries is quite good for champions who do a lot of spell and autoattack damage together. Alistar fits into this category slightly, though not as firmly as champions like Fizz and Kayle. However, this does help boost your overall sustained damage a lot more than other masteries, so if you think you need it, I would say take these masteries.

- Butcher / Feast: I'm personally a fan of these two pairs of masteries. They give a deceivingly good amount of sustain, as well as help make farming a bit easier. If you think you need to aid in farming and sustain, these masteries are very good.

Lastly, there are a few masteries that are deceivingly bad. I will explain which and why:

- Expose Weakness : This mastery is typically reserved for initiators of fights, and as an assassin, you shouldn't be the one initiating a fight because you want to focus all of your abilities on killing a single target, alone. This stat doesn't grant anything to boost your own damage, only damage for your team.

- Enchanted Armor : Deceivingly useless, your ult only gives you damage reduction, not armor or MR. This mastery also depends on bonus armor and MR, and since you are an assassin and aren't going to build any of these, this mastery goes to waste.




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Masteries
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1/1

To be tankier, 9/21 is typically preferred, but if you are trying to get more damage, then 21/9 is also not a bad option either. If you are going 21/9 for more damage, I would run the same page as listed for "AP Assassin" with all the same reasoning, but for 9/21, there are many masteries in the Defense tree that I believe are incredibly good. Aside from the obvious like Juggernaut and Unyielding , here are a few that I think should be individually noted and always taken:

- Oppression : With Rylai's Crystal Scepter being so core to this build, we end up causing mass area of effect slows with our abilities and passive. This means with Oppression , we can get 3% reduced damage from practically the entire enemy team, which is incredibly good!

- Second Wind : This mastery is overall very good on champions who have an easy way to heal themselves for decent portions of their health. You will naturally fall low on health, as with the nature of the game, and this mastery will increase the amount you heal yourself with Triumphant Roar!

- Legendary Guardian : Your main role in fights is to initiate on their entire team. Legendary Guardian is incredibly good in these scenarios because you will be spending a lot of your time in the middle of the enemy team. We really like Second Wind too, which means we can't get that fourth point in Legendary Guardian without taking away points away from the offense tree. Either way is good!

- Hardiness / Resistance : These two masteries definitely are worth taking, even if it only means putting one or two points in them. If you look at the way the stats are given, they both give +2 when you have one point in, but then only increase by +1.5 for the second and third point, making these extra points a little less efficient. I think the first point is the most useful, and then the rest of the points can go into Legendary Guardian since that will give you more overall armor and MR when you start teamfighting.

- Swiftness : Alistar can get kited extremely easily, since his gap closing ability has quite a short range. Thus, Swiftness will help keep Alistar moving around in teamfights by more easily resisting peel and staying on top of their carries to keep them crippled.

- Expose Weakness : Another very good mastery for initators in fights. This mastery allows your entire team to deal 1% more damage to the enemy team. Some people think 1% is incredibly significant, but you must realize that this is only ONE mastery point, and it works for all 4 of your teammates!

I did not list some particularly good masteries, likely because I couldn't fit them and when it came down to it, I decided on the other masteries because they seemed more useful to me. However, it doesn't mean they are bad masteries! Here I'll list the ones that didn't make the cut but are still good in my book:

- Recovery : Few champions end up taking Enchanted Armor over Recovery , but when it comes to building Alistar as a tank and buying tank items, Enchanted Armor ends up giving more stats. However, if you prefer the early advantage of taking Recovery instead, then you can opt for this mastery instead, or even replace some other mastery in the tree!

- Reinforced Armor : This mastery is incredibly useful for matchups against Yasuo, Tryndamere, or the rare Gangplank. This mastery is also good for champs who particularly like to sit on top of ADC's, since ADC's are usually the only champions in the game who will critically strike. 10% damage reduction from the bonus damage dealt via crit with only ONE mastery point is actually quite significant!

- Evasive : Another extremely good mastery, considering how you are getting 4% damage reduction with only one mastery point! If only it didn't require 3 points in Resistance , I would choose this mastery all the time. This is incredibly good because most magic damage is area of effect damage anyways!

- Double-Edged Sword : This mastery is not half bad, but I think Expose Weakness is a better mastery. You yourself may do 2% more damage, but if your mage or ADC or fighter can do twice as much damage as you or even more, then boosting all of their damage is way more useful than boosting your own damage!

Lastly, a few masteries just should not be taken. Aside from the obvious, I see this next mastery taken occasionally, and it just baffles me why:

- Runic Blessing : This mastery is just a whack mastery. Even I'm not sure where it's viable, but I know for a fact it's not viable on tanky Alistar. I think it's a good mastery maybe for the jungle, if you really need to survive that one extra autoattack from the big golem, but other than that, it's just bad. Even if your lane opponent doesn't harass the shield away, minion damage will, since you are melee and will draw accidental minion aggro at some point or another.




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Masteries
3/4
1/1
3/3
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2/2
2/2
1/1
3/3
1/1
3/3
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3/3
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1/1

9/21 is just the standard, go-to setup for a lot of bruiser top laners. However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't go 21/9, or 0/21/9, or something weird like 6/13/11. Of course, a lot of the deeper Offensive tree masteries are incredibly good, and so are a lot in the Utility tree ( Summoner's Insight is incredibly good for tower cheesing with Flash and using Teleport often), but I will leave it mostly to you to try these out. In the meantime, I'll elaborate on why 9/21 is so standard and good, starting with the most notable mastery options that I believe should always be taken:

- Second Wind : This mastery is incredibly useful on champions like Alistar with a spammable self-heal like Triumphant Roar. It can help you survive when you're low in lane, and is particularly useful when you have ulted already, because every point of health you have is 170% more useful since you have damage reduction!

- Swiftness : Alistar is extremely prone to getting kited hard, since his gap closing ability has such a low range. Enemy teams are always chock full of slows and peels to keep you away from terrorizing their squishies. To help resist some of the peel and kite, Swiftness itself is an incredibly useful mastery.

- Butcher / Feast: This pair of masteries is very useful to help you farm and sustain in top lane. To utilize this, you really need to farm well! It seems minimal how much health you get back per wave (3 * 6 = 18 health, 1 * 6 = 6 mana per wave), but every little bit helps, especially for top lane where sustain is a large factor.

Some masteries I left out simply because I did not value them as much as the other masteries. With only 30 points to distribute, only the my personal favorites are the ones which are given the points, but how you decide is up to you! Some of the ones I like but did not give points to are:

- Legendary Guardian : I don't pick this mastery because I believe Hardiness / Resistance together is more useful when it comes to solo laning, rather than teamfighting. Teamfighting isn't Alistar's strongest suit. Though he's very good at it, he's much better at solo fighting/dueling. However, if you're more teamfight oriented, then Legendary Guardian is definitely for you! Just keep in mind, you'll have to sacrifice points somewhere if you want that fourth point in Legendary Guardian , since Second Wind takes up the fourth point. Unless you don't want Second Wind, but I urge you to take it!

- Expose Weakness : Another more teamfight oriented mastery, if you plan on initiating fights, then this mastery is incredibly good. But this will likely mean you will take away the Feast mastery, which I'm a fan of. It's up to you!

- Double-Edged Sword : I personally like sustain in the top lane more than trying to kill, so I opt for the two points required to take Feast. Also, I value attack speed highly, so I put as many points in Fury as I can before I run out of points for the rest of the tree. If you're willing to sacrifice one of these in exchange for a bit more damage, then take it!

There are a few masteries which you may be tempted to take, but in reality just aren't good at all. The few deceivingly good masteries are:

- Oppression : This mastery is normally only good for champions with slows and taunts, rather than hard CC like stuns and knockups. The reason being that champions that are hard CC'd can't attack you unless they have some form of damage over time, which usually isn't that significant. Thus, since Alistar is all about the stuns and knockups, he doesn't utilize this mastery.

- Enchanted Armor : This mastery is only good for champions who build a lot of armor/MR or possess a lot of it naturally with passives. Alistar's tankiness comes from percent damage reduction, not armor or MR, making this mastery useless since you really aren't building any armor or MR.

- Runic Blessing : Honestly, this mastery is just useless for laners. It's incredibly easy to poke down the shield, and even accidental minion aggro can destroy the shield, which naturally happens since you are melee. The only place this mastery is viable is weak junglers who can be level 1 invaded easily and killed. Maybe ultra passive supports too. Other than that, this mastery is useless and there is no reason to take it.


Guide Top

Summoner Spells

This chapter will use color coded role headers in order. I'll talk about the 2 summoner spells you should take for each role, as well as talk about the viability of some other spells.




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I take these two 95% of the time. There really is zero reason not to take Flash with Alistar, because one of the greatest things to do with Alistar is to Flash in with Pulverize, and then Headbutt a target into your team/turret (which I go over later).

This QW combo can be done with Exhaust on special occasions (mainly if the ADC or support has no escape or CC), but aside from that, Exhaust itself incredibly useful. It's one of the only abilities in the game that has pure damage reduction. It also has an auto-attack slow which is very useful against Jax and Master Yi that love to sit on top of carries.

Alternatives:

I don't take any of these, but they can be viable.

Ignite is a great mastery for much more aggression, but bear in mind that the amount of peel you have late game will be reduced. Don't forget that this spell grants true sight, which is incredibly useful against an enemy Twitch or Vayne or a ganking Akali. It's also very effective against champions with heals, like Soraka and Sona and even summoner Heal, since it halves the heals. Make sure you ignite them before they get the chance to heal at full!

Heal is also good, but it's typically reserved for ADC's, and the second heal amount gets halved when you both use your summoner heal together. If the ADC chooses Barrier, you can opt to take Heal since those two spells don't stack.




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Quite typical two spells for an AP Assassin. Flash is pretty self-explanatory, especially to help cheese lane opponents and hit them into your tower with Headbutt.

Ignite is great to help finish off a low health opponent who would normally walk away alive from a fight. It also scales very well, and reduces the amount of healing your target can do, making it very useful against ADC's trying to lifesteal their health back when you go in for the kill.

Alternatives:

Exhaust is honestly quite underrated for assassins. It helps keep your target locked in so you can keep hurting them, and it helps reduce the damage that your target likely can deliver to you in extreme amounts, like an ADC. It's also particularly good to help peel off enemy assassins or dramatically reduce the damage output of a mage's burst in a fight.

Teleport is another good option for mid laners, specifically ones that can gank extremely well, as well as push extremely well. Alistar is both of these. He provides such an immense presence, and can apply strong map pressure with the high amount of damage he can do to towers by healing minions with Triumphant Roar, bruise towers and inhibs with Lich Bane, and passively lower tower and inhib health with his passive Trample.

Heal is also a really cheesy spell, reserved mainly for baits, which Alistar does all the time in order to hit careless people into his tower. The spell also grants a movement speed bonus, making it good for gap closing too.




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Again, Flash should be self explanatory. Teleport on the other hand, as opposed to choosing other summoner spells, is quite preferential. I think taking Teleport is particularly good for AP Bruiser Alistar since he can provide a lot of map pressure with his amazing ganks and awesome teamfighting ability, as well as his strong splitpushing ability. It's hard to get kills on Alistar without choosing aggressive runes and masteries for Alistar's early game and picking up a lot of damage for later. But since we are a tank and are mainly there for the teamfights, Teleport just fits our role much better.

Alternatives:

Ignite is good if you want to be aggressive and do a lot more damage. This likely means you're opting for 21/9 masteries and building damage, which is okay! Ignite helps a lot to kill lane opponents who would normally walk out alive, making it good for aggressive laners and people who want more damage overall.

Exhaust is my personal favorite for most roles, since it practically removes an enemy from a teamfight temporarily. Its high damage reduction means you can jump on their whole team, ult yourself with Unbreakable Will for dramatic damage reduction, and when it runs out you can Exhaust their carry for even more dramatic damage reduction!

Ghost is another great spell, thought you will actually take this along with Flash, rather than replacing it. It gives you a great deal of movement speed, allowing you to initiate with no chance of being stopped. It also allows you to chase down far, fleeing targets and lock them in to kill them. Try to take it alongside of flash, because there are still many key and core things you can do with Flash (just look in the "Combos" section to convince yourself!).




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Again, Flash is still extremely key to playing Alistar to his full potential and shouldn't be skipped. Teleport is also very meta for top laners nowadays, and for good reason. It allows you to base and return to lane extremely quickly, as well to join your team for important objectives and teamfights and provide them with your large CC. Alistar can split push extremely well too, as with most Trinity Force reliant AD bruisers, making Teleport even more useful to let him splitpush and also instantly join a teamfight on the other side of the map.

Alternatives:

Ignite is another great alternative for people who choose to be very aggressive. Early level cheesing and headbutting them into your tower might not be enough to kill an enemy, and ignite can really help finish the job.

Exhaust is one of my personal favorite summoner spells. It dramatically reduces the damage output of an enemy champion, making it great for baiting out tower dives or surviving a Riven's all-in. The spell also keeps your target slowed for a significant amount of time, so it's great if you want to focus a carry in a fight.

Ghost is another great spell, and in this case you'll want to take it along with Flash, rather than replace it, because there are so many things you can do with Flash as Alistar. But, with Ghost, it gives you another form of escape, and it helps you close the gap into their backline and avoid being kited. Your objective in fights is to terrorize the squishies (think the playstyle of Jax or Irelia) by getting up in their face, and Ghost can really help you get nice and close to them along with Youmuu's Ghostblade.


Guide Top

Abilities

Trying to juggle including desriptions for 4 roles with the descriptions of each ability as well as role specific leveling order would be a total mess with color coded role headers. Not to mention, the leveling orders for AP Assassin, AP Bruiser, and AD Bruiser are all the same.

To make things less complicated, this section will use color coded mini texts at the end of each ability. I will first list an ability, and then put in the color coded role mentions and talk about the ability in relation to the specific role, including when/why/why not max it.

But before I get into that, I must emphasize to you, when it comes to playing Support, unlike the other 3 roles, there is no ability that you must always level up first! Though I list Q, Pulverize, as the first to be maxed for Support, there are many cases where you instead will rather max W, Headbutt, or your heal E, Triumphant Roar. This will be included in the Support mini explanations for each ability! First I'll start with his passive:



Trample (Passive)


Every time Alistar casts an ability, he starts doing this angry dance that passively causes magic damage over time to enemies nearby for 3 seconds. He even does damage to structures! The damage is doubled against minions ONLY. Trample refreshes on new ability casts too. In other words, it doesn't stack, meaning if you cast your multiple abilities in a short time, you will simply refresh the 3 seconds on his passive. Thus, if you are trying to jungle him or clear creep waves, you'll want to cast abilities at time intervals (like Lee Sin).

Alistar also gains the ability to pass through units for the 3 second duration. Approaching units will still attempt to walk around you, which is awesome because if you are peeling someone away with your abilities, they still have to walk around you. However, you really shouldn't be trying to use this passive as an escape tool to walk through minions if you are being chased, because most of his abilities take up a significant amount of time to cast. I find this part of Trample only good when I Headbutt-autoattack combo an enemy to harass (more on this later), and then quickly sinking behind the minion wave so they can't retaliate without going around the wave.

Stats:
Damage to Champions and Structures: 6 + (1 × level) (+ 10% AP) magic damage per second
Damage to Minions: 12 + (2 × level) (+ 20% AP) magic damage per second

Support: Alistar's passive is good to help push lanes and knock down towers, but be wary! It means if you stand near a minion wave while your passive is on (for instance, if you just used your heal), you could accidentally steal CS or push a lane that your ADC wants frozen, especially since it does double damage to minions.

AP Assassin: Alistar's passive is surprisingly actually a significant source of damage dealt when going in for an assassination! 10% AP each second means you can deal an immense amount of damage to your target since they get CC'd by your knockups for so long. However, this doesn't mean you need to wait out its full duration before using your Triumphant Roar for your next Lich Bane proc; as an assassin you care more about burst damage than sustained, so as soon as Lich Bane's cooldown is off, use your heal for the final judgment slap! Other than that, since you naturally are building a ton of AP, it also helps push towers and minion waves like crazy as well.

AP Tanky Bruiser: Unlike AP Assassin Alistar, in this case you want to drag out your passive to it's fullest extent to allow your Rylai's Crystal Scepter to slow the enemy team as long as possible, which is why it's such a core item! The key is to spread out the times you cast each of your abilities, since the passive doesn't stack. By initiating, ulting, and healing mid-fight, you should be able to get off around 7-8 seconds of AOE slows on their team by not stacking the passive. Add in AOE damage from Liandry's, Sunfire, and Abyssal Scepter, and you are doing a bunch of crippling damage over time, plus tankiness from your items and ult, it's a perfect environment for your team to fight in!

AD Bruiser / Crit: Alistar's passive isn't as useful for AD Alistar, but it doesn't mean it doesn't come in handy! It has significant base damage that deals quite a large amount of sustained damage to waves and towers when trying to push, and the fact that killing minions lowers the CD of your heal, you can have your passive up constantly as you push waves and simultaneously deal a ton of damage to the enemy laner/tower.



Pulverize (Q)


Alistar causes all enemies in a 182.5 radius around him to be knocked up into the air for 1 second and then are stunned for 0.5 seconds when they land. Though a channel bar appears, it's really just an animation. The animation takes about 0.25-0.5 seconds, meaning he can do some funny things with Flash while it animates (check out the "Combos" section and see!). As with all knock ups, tenacity does not effect the air time, which is awesome; however, the stun time when landing is affected. We like to max this when we Support and Jungle, but never when solo laning. Just read Headbutt's descriptions as to why!

Stats:
Damage: 60 / 105 / 150 / 195 / 240 (+50% AP) magic damage
Cost: 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 mana
Cooldown: 17 / 16 / 15 / 14 / 13

Support: Comparing Pulverize's cooldown with that of Headbutt (W), you'll notice Pulverize has a much longer cooldown. However, after putting points in Q, Pulverize will lower its cooldown pretty significantly to the point where it will match W's cooldown at 4-points. You generally would choose to max Q first if you like to pull off more ability combos in a short span of time, since Q's cooldown is the bottleneck when it comes to the CD of your combos. I also like to put the starting ability point in Pulverize. A 1-point Pulverize does a bit more damage than a 1-point Headbutt, not to mention the fact that it is AOE and the stun is longer, making it great for leashing (better than Headbutting the buff and risk sending it over a wall), in level 1 jungle invades, counter-invades, and level 1 ganks/counterganks.

However, you must keep in mind that the recent lowered mana costs from Patch 4.12's buffs doesn't mean you can't easily run out of mana when spamming combos. Alistar's real weakness is his low base mana and mana regen. If you look at his stats and do a bit of math, you'll see exactly what I mean. Two WQ combos when he's level 6 cost a little less than 300 mana. Add in his ult, Unbreakable Will, and that's nearly 400 mana for an entire set of combos. At level 6, Alistar has around 440 mana. Not to mention, since his natural mana regeneration is so low, it means you either don't ult, don't heal often in lane, use a Mana Potion at some point, or run a decent amount of mana regen runes. Consider this before making your choice on maxing Q first! On a side note, before the 4.12 patch was introduced, this was the main reason why I advised not to max Q first. Just imagine those old mana costs... 360 mana for two WQ combos without ulting!!

AP Assassin: Pulverize for this role serves a few purposes. It's actually much more CC/utility focused than damage, since it doesn't really have a good ratio. You will max W, Headbutt, first, and not Q, and if you need a detailed explanation, just read below on my description for Headbutt. A 1-point Q costs a lot of mana and really doesn't do any damage, making it extremely inefficient with mana. Plus, keeping your enemy up close puts you at risk of harass and getting outtraded. Thus, instead of WQ'ing in lane, you'll more likely just W them away for free harass and then return to farming. This is the reason to always max this second.

However, a 1-point Q is still useful for the CC in many cases. For example, when facing any gap closing lane opponents or enemy junglers, you can use Pulverize to CC them, and then Headbutt them in the direction you wish. You stun an enemy Fizz immediately when he uses Urchin Strike, let him take a ton of minion aggro while he's stunned, and then Headbutt him away. Or if a ganking Amumu uses Bandage Toss on you, you can Pulverize him, walk behind him, and Headbutt him into your turret to get first blood and double buffs! Though this ability isn't your source of damage, it is still a very useful, CC-focused skill.

AP Tanky Bruiser: Pulverize, as with AP Assassin, is mostly there for the CC and utility, rather than the harass. Q keeps the enemy up close and personal with you, which you might not always want because they could harass you as you walk away. Since you aren't leveling it, it really doesn't become mana efficient either in lane. This ability typically reserved for when you want to get up and close with your enemy, be it a lane opponent you are trying to kill, or an entire enemy team you are trying to initiate on. Since we don't rely much on Q in lane, we won't max it until second.

AD Bruiser / Crit: As stated before, Q is mainly there for CC rather than harass like W is. With AD Alistar, however, you naturally do a lot more sustained autoattack damage. Unlike before when you didn't want your opponent up close and personal with you, in this case it's actually not a bad thing since you are AD and do a lot of autoattack damage. Thus, you don't need to be as afraid to pull off a full WQ combo nice and early out of aggression for a kill. Late game, this ability is also great for CC'ing your target(s), waveclearing, and adding Sheen/ Trinity Force procs and keeping your Trample on when trying to push down towers. As before, we max this second.



Headbutt (W)


Alistar dashes to an enemy within a 650 radius of him, dealing magic damage and knocking them back 650 from the point of impact over the span of 1 second. The enemy is rooted around 0.25 seconds when they land as well. Alistar can knock enemies over walls, and if the wall is too big to be knocked over, the enemy will simply land in front of the wall. If this happens, the 1 second travel time and 0.25 root time are still applied, making it practically a stun. It's one of the funniest and most unique abilities in the game, as well as one of the hardest to master. Few champions have an ability like this, making it quite signature on Alistar, as well as quite hard to master. Knocking away an enemy at the wrong time typically means your team just lost a potential kill.

Alistar can also travel through walls when dashing, allowing you to escape through walls and into jungle camps if you have vision of them. He dashes extremely fast, and if you manage to hit Pulverize immediately after hitting your target, they'll be knocked up instead of knocked back (the famous WQ combo that I will go into detail later). Alistar can be CC'd while dashing, canceling the effects, similar to a Leona getting Flayed during her Zenith Blade.

Lastly, where you click to dash is where you will usually end up at the end of the dash, meaning no Maokai/ Lee Sin/ Vi effect USUALLY. However, Alistar's Headbutt is actually very very buggy, and a lot of weird things happen when you try headbutting people as they are dashing/blinking. It's actually quite hilarious. Sometimes the game waits for them to complete the target's full dash/blink before they receive the Headbutt effects. Sometimes it just doesn't register at all. Sometimes Alistar somehow follows the target while they dash through a wall and ends up pulling a Maokai. It can be a bit weird.

We max this first when solo laning, and it's also a good choice when Supporting, but avoid maxing this first for Jungle!

Stats:
Damage: 55 / 110 / 165 / 220 / 275 (+70% AP) magic damage
Cost: 65 / 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 mana
Cooldown: 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10

Support: Maxing his W first gives it a whopping 275 base damage. Maxing it will allow you to take off about a quarter to a third of an ADC's health when you combine your Pulverize and a few autoattacks with it. While maxing Pulverize is more for the aggressive playstyle, maxing Headbutt is more fitting for a passive but opportunistic playstyle, since it ends up giving your combo quite a bit more single-target damage. It's great if you have a jungler who can gank really well and can provide some extra CC and good damage, since you aren't maxing Q and thus can't provide another combo for an extremely long time. However, W has the lowest cooldown of the rest of your abilities when maxed, meaning you can disengage extremely well when facing a lot of enemy gap closing potential, or even with some proper positioning or a Flash, you can hit an enemy back into your team twice in a fight. Consider this when deciding what to max first!

Also, on a side note, it's not a bad idea to put your starting point in Headbutt in some cases. For example, if you're facing a Leona and you think they are going to hit level-2 first and go in for an all-in, Headbutt would be better in this scenario to send the Leona away when she dives your carry with Zenith Blade.

AP Assassin: Headbutt is your br(H)EAD and BUTTer ability in lane. It scales the hardest and has quite a low cooldown, and now with the lowered mana cost, it's much more spammable. On top of that, Alistar has a really funny and easy combo called "W and a Free Autoattack" which you can find in the "Combos" section. To sum it up in short, he can proc Sheen and any other spellblade item every time he uses Headbutt, making his harass dangerously more painful. Maxing this first means more spamming, more harass damage, and since it has the lowest cooldown, you can even use twice in a duel, first as a WQ initiate, and then again as an execute. In short, max this first always.

AP Tanky Bruiser: Even though you are tanky, it doesn't mean you can't cause harass damage. Since Alistar has a relatively high amount of base autoattack damage, and since Headbutt has quite a large amount of base damage, "W and a Free Autoattack" harass is still quite painful even without building tons of AP or getting Sheen/spellblade. However, Sheen for AP Bruiser is still great and not bad to rush either, since you can build it into an Iceborn Gauntlet. But even without a spellblade item, maxing W is still ideal. Not much to say about this ability that hasn't already been said. Generally, always max it first.

AD Bruiser / Crit: This ability always gets maxed first solely for the reason being, when used correctly, you will proc Sheen/spellblade every time you use this ability, as I mentioned and will mention. Eventually, when you get a Trinity Force, your Headbutt/ Trinity Force procs can literally chunk 20-40% health for absolutely free. Not to mention the possibilities of critting on the single autoattack, or proccing Statikk Shiv if you choose to get it (not to mention that it's a dash and makes proccing shiv much quicker).



Triumphant Roar (E):


Alistar channels for about 0.25 seconds and lets out a signature roar that heals himself, as well as all allies (including minions) within a 287.5 radius of him for half of his self-heal amount. The cooldown is long, the mana cost is somewhat high, and the heal amount is barely noticeable, but for every enemy death nearby (including jungle creeps) the cooldown gets reduced by 2 seconds. And, you heal your minions too, which can mess with the enemy's farm if you time it well.

Stats:
Self-Heal: 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 / 180 (+20% AP)
Ally-Heal: 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 (+10% AP)
Cost: 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 mana
Cooldown: 12

Support: This section is long for support, because many people get confused on whether Alistar is an aggressive support or healing support, which I will help discern to you. There's a tl;dr below too.

When it comes to deciding whether to max E first or not, "Healer" is not exactly what Alistar is made to be, and a lot of other supports like Nami and Sona are much better at that type of role. However, Alistar can still fulfill this role decently. The few scenarios where I would choose to max Triumphant Roar when playing as support would be if the lane matchup were against an extremely poke heavy lane with strong disengage, like versus Caitlyn/ Zyra. But even then I usually won't put more than 2-3 points in E. The biggest reason for me to avoid maxing E is simply because the increased mana cost doesn't feel worth the amount healed, especially it is reduced by half for allies. I feel like the amount healed with a 1-point Triumphant Roar is perfectly enough to get through laning, since healers nowadays aren't meta and most ADC players are good enough to not rely on a healer. Also, Alistar is more of an engage/disengage support, and 1-point W and Q have extremely long cooldowns and just don't do any damage at all. All of these factors are generally why I like to max E the last, since it really doesn't add to his CC.

But if you really need to fulfill the role as a healer, there is nothing wrong with putting 2-3 points or even maxing E! You could even put your first starting point in E if your ADC really needs it (hopefully they won't...). If you do, you will need to keep an eye on your mana bar to make sure you still have enough mana at all times in order to be able to disengage with your two other abilities (add 100 more mana if you plan on ulting as well). Also, keep in mind that you can heal minions, which may be a good or bad thing: healing allied minions and Trample-ing enemy minions mean you will naturally push waves harder if you stand on top of the minions. It's good for pushing down towers, but bad if you want to freeze the lane and deny CS, so position yourself wisely when you heal. You can also deny CS to your opponents by healing minions just as the ADC is last hitting them. Even a 1-point Triumphant Roar can make the difference between hitting or missing a wagon minion!

Finally, to address when and how often you should be spamming Triumphant Roar, it honestly comes down to instinct and mana management. Don't be a fool and heal your ADC when he's/she's at 80-90% health. It's a waste of mana and they can just life steal. If you are both around 20% health, keep smashing that E button repeatedly! It's really your own judgment when it comes to these scenarios, and I can't set a guideline for you, but I can say just manage your mana wisely and try not to dip so low that you can't cast any other abilities.

tl;dr maxing E isn't the most mana efficent. Heal increases minimally, mana cost increases significantly, and the heal amount to allies is halved. 1-point Triumphant Roar is perfectly enough because ADC players nowadays don't rely on healers because meta. But 2-3 points in it isn't bad if you need it. Just be smart.

AP Assassin: Despite Triumphant Roar being only a healing ability, it still has many uses when it comes to playing AP Assassin. Having a healing ability is actually quite useful in lane, since Alistar is melee and is extremely prone to harass from ranged AP Casters. Not only that, it will activate Sheen/ Lich Bane/spellbade. This is extremely important when going in for an assassination because more than likely, you won't be able to instantly kill someone with a W > Q > Lich Bane combo. Once Lich Bane comes off of cooldown, you can press E and slap them one more time for a final Lich proc and kill them! Lastly, it's great to use when clearing waves and camps and towers, since it keeps your Trample passive up, the CD gets lowered by kills, and overall means faster waveclear with more spellblade procs and easier farming. However, it should be self-explanatory as to why you would max this last.

AP Tanky Bruiser: AP bruiser Alistar relies a lot on his damage over time applied with his item synergy with Trample. It is this idea that makes Triumphant Roar quite useful, since casting his heal allows Alistar to keep his passive up to continually deal slows and damage over time with his items. Not only that, dying enemy champions and minions also allow him to lower his heal cooldown and continue slowing his opponents. Also, this ability helps give him a bit more sustain in lane, which of course is helpful. However, it still costs a decent amount of mana. With Alistar's low base mana and mana regen, it isn't advisable to rely on Triumphant Roar and spam it constantly in lane, nor would it be advisable to max it (though two points in E isn't half bad either)

AD Bruiser / Crit: Triumphant Roar for AD Alistar is similar in uses to the way used for AP Assassin. It's mainly there as another way to activate spellblade, in this case it would be Trinity Force, and boost damage output that way. It also helps keep his Trample passive up, which often will stay up continuously when clearing waves due to the fact that its CD gets reduced per kill and you slaughter minions with spellblade procs every time you cast heal. It helps sustain in lane a bit too, which is useful as a top laner, but try not to spam it, since you need all the mana you can to harass with Headbutt and eventually wear down your opponent low enough to kill him.



Unbreakable Will (Ult):


Alistar's ult, when cast, removes all crowd control effects currently on him, and grants him huge damage reduction and bonus attack damage. When cast, he lets out this incredibly scary but inspiring roar and becomes extremely ridiculously tanky, but not immune to true damage, so beware if there's someone like an enemy Vayne or Darius. You also have to keep an eye on your mana bar. Since your base mana is extremely low, often times early in the game you might not have enough mana to save yourself with ult! It also only lasts 7 seconds, so you don't have all the time in the world.

In my opinion, Unbreakable Will is one of the most balanced ults in the game, perfect for any Alistar build you are running. Tanky Alistar build? His ult makes him the hardest living shield in the game. AP Assassin Alistar build? Remove those pesky peeler's CC and damage while you are assassinating your target. AD Bruiser Alistar? The 90 bonus AD is literally like pulling out two B. F. Sword's along with the most ridiculously OP armor ever created, turning you into an absolutely terrifying monster.

In all honesty though, using his ult properly is much more difficult than it seems. Anyone can pull out a fancy combo. Anyone can do a Pulverize > Flash or a WQ. What truly sets apart the good Alistar's from the great are the ones who know exactly when to pull the trigger on Unbreakable Will. And this means for any and all positions. Finding that perfect time to ult is incredibly hard to judge, since it doesn't last forever and you can still get CC'd after you ult. Cast it too late, you die. Cast it too early, you lose your main source of tankiness and then you die. Cast it before you get CC'd, it goes to waste. Cast it after you get CC'd but take a lot of damage in the meantime, you die. Wait too long to cast it after getting CC'd, the enemy gets away. Cast it before you initiate, you lose a few seconds of tankiness. Cast it after you initiate, you can die before you get the chance to.

No single person can tell you when and when not to ult, and that's the true source of difficulty when it comes to playing Alistar, not his fancy combos and mechanics. Balancing the three parts of his ult with the goals of your specific role is truly how you master Alistar.

Stats:
Damage Reduction: 70%
Bonus Attack Damage: 60 / 75 / 90
Cost: 100 mana
Cooldown: 120 / 100 / 80

Support: I won't need to explain when to max it. 6/11/16 as with most ults. When it comes to when to cast ult, there are many generic scenarios specific to Support. As a tank or utility focused support, your job is either to peel or initiate with your abilities, and you can think of Unbreakable Will as a tool to help you complete this job. If you need to initiate, your ult will be there to help you absorb a lot of the damage that will result. This can be either with early tower diving and absorbing tower shots or initiating a 5v5 teamfight by diving in with a WQ combo. Or, if you need to peel and a Leona has you and your allies pinned with a Solar Flare, you can ult to remove the stun and then Headbutt her away when she tries to dive on your team with Zenith Blade.

As for the bonus AD, it honestly doesn't really help you all that much as a support, considering how you will have basically no attack speed and you'll be mostly focused dishing out CC rather than autoattacks. This doesn't mean don't autoattack!. It just means it shouldn't be your focus. The most important part is balancing goals of your job as a support with what the scenario calls for and permits you to do, and Unbreakable Will is there to help you with that.

AP Assassin: When it comes to playing an AP Assassin, Alistar's ult is still incredibly useful. First, to address the bonus AD, yes it can indeed help you kill whoever you are trying to assassinate, but it shouldn't be relied upon considering how you have absolutely no attack speed for it to be utilized with, and nothing scales with AD. Try not to think about the AD bonus when playing as an AP Assassin. Instead, focus on the CC Cleanse aspect and the Damage Reduction aspect. Alistar is unique as an assassin in that he can cleanse CC. And when enemy supports and tanks are so focused on peeling for their carries with their stuns and slows, using Unbreakable Will means you can ditch their efforts and keep going after the kill. However, you must analyze the amount of peel you think their team can provide for your target. There's no use cleansing a stun if another one is immediately going to follow up. Use your instincts to find the perfect time to ult and then continue chasing after your target.

The Damage Reduction aspect is also quite important. No successful assassin lets himself die easily during or after killing his target. Assassins always have a way of exiting a fight after killing their target, and Unbreakable Will is Assassin Alistar's way out. Even if you cast it early to shed CC, it still lasts for 7 seconds, meaning you should be able to still walk out of a fight if everyone is doing their job. It's also great for early tower dives and outplays against lane opponent's bursts and executes. As soon as you see Zed Death Mark you in lane, or Fizz throw Chum the Waters at you, or Ahri lands a Charm on you and you think she's going to go in for the kill, immediately cast Unbreakable Will and get ready to fight back!

AP Tanky Bruiser: In this role, your main role is an initiator, meaning your number one focus should be on drawing in as much damage from their team as you can. Thus, the most important aspect to focus on when using your ult is to absorb damage with the Damage Reduction. You shouldn't be too worried about getting cleansing CC since they probably won't focus you, so you should only really be cleansing CC is what is holding you back from doing your job. For example, if their team engages with a Curse of the Sad Mummy or Solar Flare, you can use your ult to cleanse the CC and then jump on their entire team for an amazing counter-engage. But generally, you will be ulting after you have already engaged, and then waiting right before they start sending all of their damage at you before you ult. As stated before, the AD bonus isn't relevant to you, since you have no attack speed and will be focused mostly on positioning and CC.

AD Bruiser / Crit: Now is when choosing when to ult gets really quite tricky. Why? Because all three parts of the ult are incredibly important for you. It's almost like a Jax/ Tryndamere ult + an Olaf/ Master Yi ult + Vayne/ Twitch ult, and balancing all three aspects is incredibly difficult. Unbreakable Will is practically like a 7th item for AD Alistar, like pulling out a Mercurial Scimitar with 20 Randuin's and 30 Banshee's. I can't exactly explain how hard it truly is to decide when to ult when it comes to AD Alistar because the scenarios are endless. To list a few, going in for a kill in lane with a WQR combo (AD Boost), teamfighting and cleansing the peel for an ADC when you're trying to smash their face in (CC Cleanse), or when getting ganked and 2v1'ing them and getting a double kill because they tower dove you and underestimated your power (EVERYTHING). The scenarios are endless, and it simply comes down to knowledge and instinct.


Guide Top

Early Items and Core Rush Items

This chapter will use color coded subchapter headers for each role. I'll talk about the different items to spend the first 475 (515 with Wealth ) gold on, and then include items that are key to rush.




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Early game for supports in general is relatively trickier than other positions. Not only are there many different support items and starting builds, there's also a large variety of supports you will face and need to adapt your itemization to match. There are strong engage supports like Leona, squishy AP poke supports like Zyra, disengage and utility supports like Janna, and passive healers like Soraka. And then there's a lot of in-between supports like Karma and Braum and Nami. With that being said, I'll list the 3 main starting item builds for Alistar (I don't include Ruby Crystal start because I honestly think it's terrible), and then after, I'll talk about important items to pick up as the game progresses.


Starting Items




STARTING BUILD 1: ANCIENT COIN





The standard Ancient Coin start for supports is:
(without Wealth mastery)
- Ancient Coin
-Either a Stealth Ward and a Health Potion, or 2 Health Potions and 1 Mana Potion
- Warding Totem or Sweeping Lens
.
(with Wealth mastery)
- Ancient Coin
-One Stealth Ward
-Either 2 Health Potions, or a Health Potion and a Mana Potion
- Warding Totem or Sweeping Lens

In general, I'll always take the Wealth mastery. The extra potion honestly can make an incredibly dramatic difference during laning phase. With this extra gold, I will always pick up a Mana Potion instead of a Health Potion, simply because if you are planning on using Triumphant Roar a decent amount in lane, while at the same time are planning on being very aggressive in lane, you will need the extra mana to pull off that second WQ combo.

Also, I advertise Ancient Coin first because I believe it is better for Alistar than other items. Though it sacrifices a bit of tankiness, it's not a big deal because you are naturally tanky anyways and have Triumphant Roar to cushion the laning phase. Ancient Coin also gives much needed mana regen, which translates to more sustain in lane by allowing Triumphant Roar to be spammed more often. Lastly, it builds into Talisman of Ascension, which is an incredibly good item on Alistar. It gives CDR, lots of regen, and also allows you to close gaps for awesome engages, speed up your entire team to follow you into battle, and helps you save allies with even stronger disengage than you already possess.

As for trinkets, I prefer to have vision early, rather than deny it, which is why I pick Warding Totem to start off. But, if you are the opposite (this is up to you), you can get the Sweeping Lens. It's a great option if you are trying to be extremely aggressive early and want control of the bushes. Keep in mind, when you end up picking up Sightstone later, you'll switch over to Sweeping Lens anyways.


STARTING BUILD 2: RELIC SHIELD





The standard Relic Shield start for supports is:
(without Wealth mastery)
- Relic Shield
-Either a Stealth Ward and a Health Potion, or 2 Health Potions and 1 Mana Potion
- Warding Totem or Sweeping Lens
.
(with Wealth mastery)
- Relic Shield
-One Stealth Ward
-Either 2 Health Potions, or a Health Potion and a Mana Potion
- Warding Totem or Sweeping Lens

As stated before, I always take Wealth for that bonus Mana Potion I can buy with it. You can also pick a Health Potion instead if you think you need it more. But, especially when starting with Relic Shield, you don't have any mana regen, making mana much more valuable to you than with Ancient Coin. And when you run low on mana after a spam session, like an early engage or spamming a ton of Triumphant Roars, you'll need the extra mana to allow you to stay relevant in lane, because a mana-less Alistar is absolutely useless.

Relic Shield start is a great option if you really need to be tankier. It also provides you with another way to heal your allies, though that is less important on Alistar since he has Triumphant Roar (if you were playing Leona or Braum, then this heal would be much more valuable to you). However, if I plan on getting more utility focused items later in the game, rather than tanky items (like Ardent Censer), then getting Relic Shield is a good buy, because otherwise you would just be way too squishy. Lastly, the active of Face of the Mountain (the final tier item of the Relic Shield line) scales incredibly well on Alistar because he has naturally an insane amount of health late game.


STARTING BUILD 3: DORAN'S SHIELD





The standard Doran's Shield start for supports is:
(without Wealth mastery)
- Doran's Shield
-A Health Potion
- Warding Totem
.
.
(with Wealth mastery)
- Doran's Shield
-Either a Stealth Ward or two potions (I like to do one Health Potion and one Mana Potion because mana problems)
- Warding Totem

As stated already, I always take Wealth for the extra Mana Potion I can buy, but you can opt for another Health Potion or even a Stealth Ward instead of potions if you think you need it. You just need to keep in mind to conserve your mana and avoid spamming Triumphant Roar if you're planning on being aggressive or need mana to disengage with other abilities.

This is a very preferential starting item build. It's great for early aggressive all-ins or defending against an early Leona level-2 all-in, since it allows you to take dramatically reduced damage early on, but it doesn't give you any mana regen and slows down your overall gold income. Keep in mind, if you're looking for a starting option to help you tank through early poke and harass, this might not be ideal. The other two options are much better because you can buy more potions, make more gold income, and give yourself more chances to heal yourself and teammate. But it's still a great option if you're looking to be aggressive or heavy on disengaging.

It's important to note that you still really should pick up either Ancient Coin or Relic Shield later, preferably on your first back to base. These items are so niche and required for supports to keep up with the gold income with the rest of the teem, you absolutely need them.



Core Items





- Sightstone: Pretty much synonymous with the role of Support. Not much to say that isn't obvious. It saves you money in the long run, makes you tankier, and gives you lots of vision. Just overall the best item for supports in the game. One conundrum you will likely face is when you get back to base for the first time with 800-1200 gold and deciding whether to buy your second-tier support item ( Nomad's Medallion/ Targon's Brace) and a few wards, or to buy a Sightstone instead of the second tier support item. It's up to you, but generally, I buy Sightstone before Nomad's Medallion, but I buy Targon's Brace before Sightstone. So for me, it depends on which of the two starting items I have. And if you went Doran's Shield to start, you should pick up a support item first. Also, PLEASE don't upgrade to Ruby Sightstone yet. Your money is much better spent else where, and that one extra ward is really not that worth it. Wait until you have 6 items before you upgrade.

- Sweeping Lens: there's no reason not to pick up a Sweeping Lens when you buy your Sightstone, since you'll be getting free wards from the Sightstone anyways. Denying vision is an incredibly vital and underrated part of the game, not to mention clearing wards gives you more gold! Even if you don't pick up a Sightstone on your first back, you can still get a Sweeping Lens if you bought enough Stealth Wards to the point where you won't need the ward from Warding Totem. Keep in mind, Sweeping Lens does not give true sight, which means you can't use it to de-stealth an enemy Akali in her Twilight Shroud or anything like that.

- Talisman of Ascension/ Face of the Mountain: try to finish building your support item as soon as possible, because these two items provide an incredible amount of usefulness overall. I recommend getting these immediately after getting Sightstone. With Talisman, you can get really aggressive in lane by popping the active, sprinting up to your targets, and then using Pulverize, letting you use your Headbutt for something other than as a gap closer (like, hitting them into your tower/jungler/a wall to keep them stunned and out of position. Face of the Mountain is incredibly good since it gives your allies a HUGE shield, since Alistar's base health is so enormously immense.

- Glacial Shroud/ Kindlegem: Early, cheap CDR and tanky items are incredibly useful for CC focused supports like Alistar. I personally think Glacial Shroud is one of the best items for Alistar to rush. Every single stat that this item gives is just so useful and core to Alistar, and it's incredibly cheap to buy too. More mana means more opportunities to use your abilities without running out of mana. More CDR means faster spamming and more CC. More armor means you're even harder to kill. And it builds into two items that Alistar can utilize incredibly well, Iceborn Gauntlet and Frozen Heart. Kindlegem is another alternative to cheap tanky CDR if you think you'd prefer health over armor/mana, and it builds into all sorts of useful items later that Alistar can use. Not to mention, it's cheaper than Glacial Shroud! If you're ever lost when it comes to what to build after Sightstone and Talisman of Ascension/ Face of the Mountain, you can't go wrong with either of these items.

- Vision Ward: These wards are incredibly essential to the support role as well as League's current meta. Well placed pinks can often go unnoticed, and pink wards are now basically claims of territory on the map. The fact that they last until killed really makes them worth buying, though remember you can only have one live pink ward. Especially early game when no on has attack speed, killing Vision Wards is often a very difficult task, especially well placed wards in hot, contestable areas. Careless enemies can often be baited into trying to kill pink wards, and ending up paying with their life. Pinks are also pretty dirt cheap, so there's no excuse not to buy one at some point of the game. Don't be afraid to put drop them in front of dragon, by your buffs, in the tri/river bush, lane bushes, etc.

- Oracle's Lens is a great item to get early on too, if you feel like you need to start clearing larger amounts of wards. It's also great against enemy Vayne's and ganking Akali's to help de-stealth them, though it's important to know that it's not where you use the Sweeper that gives the true sight; it's actually a circle around you that gives the true sight.




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There's generally only one build path for AP Assassin Alistar, as with most AP Assassins in general. Thus, this section will be mainly devoted to early itemization to help you survive and (hopefully) thrive in the early and mid game. I'll start with starting item builds, and then talk about core items to pick up as the game progresses.


Starting Items


Typical Start
Unfavorable/Sustain Start

Alistar's starting item choices aren't much different than any other solo laning AP champion. Doran's Ring is incredibly efficient in that it gives you quite a decently large amount of AP, a bit of health, and most importantly, good amounts of mana regen. It's a great all-around starting item to pick up since it strengthens a lot of stats for an incredibly cheap price.

However, if you yourself are not used to laning as a melee champion versus say a Ziggs or Syndra who can poke you heavily throughout laning phase, Crystalline Flask is another great and cost-efficient option. However, Crystalline Flask's usefulness falls off relatively quickly as you continue to level up, whereas Doran's Ring continues to help you out throughout the game with all of its useful stats (in particular, mana regen). This fact is the reason why I say Crystalline Flask should only be for extremely unfavorable matchups that you are not comfortable with: if you think you are going to have way too much trouble during the early laning phase and are willing to sacrifice some kill potential, tankiness, and mana regen, all of which stay useful throughout the entire game, in order to help you to keep up with the early farm, then Crystalline Flask is a much better item to pick up instead.

However, since Alistar has Triumphant Roar, sustain-focused items aren't necessarily as efficient on him. I will often take Doran's Ring over Crystalline Flask in many matchups which seem to be extremely hard (like versus Orianna or Ziggs) because, if you can dodge skillshots while farming properly, the mana regen from Doran's Ring can help supply the mana for Triumphant Roar to help you sustain through the harass.


(Optional) Choose One: Mana/Mana Regen Item





With the 4.12 buffs to Alistar, which reduced his mana costs on Headbutt and Pulverize by a dramatic 25 mana each, the need for mana and/or mana regen isn't as largely important as before. Consider how Sheen is such a vital item to Alistar (which I'll talk about after this). Sheen gives you mana, plenty enough for the mid portion of the game if you budget your mana wisely, which is why I say these items listed here are optional. However, mana regen is still incredibly potent on Alistar, and budgeting is much easier said than done. Particularly for newer players who are still trying to get accustomed to him, and/or if you're having trouble balancing harassing vs. healing in lane, mana regen can really help out in making the game easier to play.

-A 2nd Doran's Ring: Picking up another Doran's Ring after your first recall is a great option if you find yourself needing just a tad bit more mana regen. It's cheap and gives you lots of good all around stats, and it stays quite relevant and useful throughout the game. If I ever find a need for more mana regen, 90% of the time, I'll just get a second Doran's Ring.

- Chalice of Harmony: This is another good item if you feel like you need more mana regen. This item grants unparalleled mana regen for the price, and also provides a decently large amount of MR to overall make it much harder for your opponents to harass you out of lane. It's a more defensive-minded mana regen item.

- Tear of the Goddess: A cheap item that gives a very large amount of mana and mana regen. It's good if you want some cheap but hefty mana regen, though it doesn't really give any concrete defensive stats. However, upgrading it to Archangel's Staff and then eventually to Seraph's Embrace, it will give you an incredibly large amount of AP. So, this is overall a great item if you want something cheap that eventually gives you a ton of AP.

- Catalyst the Protector: This item is particularly good for champions who like to be more bruiser-like and enjoy sustain and tankiness in lane and later in the game. Overall just a great item in general, but keep in mind it only grants mana and not mana regen, at least not until you level up. Also, many assassins don't take it because it doesn't give all that much core stat-wise for assassins.

- Forbidden Idol: A very utility-minded mana regen item, mainly because the items it builds into all possess some form of odd utility. It's cheap and gives nice stats, but doesn't exactly build into any conventional assassin item except maybe Morellonomicon. Pretty iffy-buy overall, but I'm not gonna stop you from trying it!


Core Items





Preferably, purchasing the items in this order is most optimal. Getting Lich Bane before Deathfire Grasp might help increase harass damage, but it doesn't do as much total damage burst-wise. You can try rush either one first and see for yourself. One thing's for sure, always get Sheen first!

- Sheen: Sheen is your best friend during laning phase. By constantly spamming the "W and a Free Autoattack" combo (listed in the "Combos" section of this guide) on your lane opponent, you will do stupidly high amounts of poke damage.

- Deathfire Grasp: No AP Assassin is complete without this item. Optimizing it properly is quite difficult, since its active has a much lower range than your abilities. It takes a lot of practice to be able to pull off a DFG > W > Q combo quickly, but if you can do it, you usually will be able to 5-0 a lane opponent easily, combined with Ignite. And, to get your opponents low enou60h to kill them is easy by spamming harass with Headbutt and Sheen.

- Lich Bane: This item gives you a huge power spike. Now, instead of 50-0'ing an enemy, you can 80-0 them, or even 100-0 them if it's a squishy ADC and you're decently ahead. The spellblade proc from this item works with the Deathfire Grasp debuff, since it's magic damage. Getting this pretty much means your opponent can no longer farm because you will just harass them the entire time, every time your Headbutt comes off of cooldown.




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Alistar in general has a bit of a tough time with solo laning at the earliest levels, making defensive/sustain-minded starts highly preferable. Also, early items you pick up generally fluctuate quite a bit more for tanks than for other types of champions. However, for Alistar, you are generally going to focus on early mana/mana regen, since mana is so dire to Alistar's power and lane presence/sustain. I'll list here the many options you'd generally try to get early on, as well as which scenarios you'll opt for one item over another.


Starting Items


Typical Start
Unfavorable/Sustain Start #1
Unfavorable/Sustain Start #2

I like to compare AP Tanky Bruiser Alistar to Singed, except there are many key differences. Though they are both considered AP Bruisers, Alistar's kit is obviously quite a bit different than that of Singed. In particular for this section, the fact that Alistar lacks the early waveclear and lane presence that Singed has means that Alistar won't always pick up Crystalline Flask like Singed does, because Alistar doesn't benefit from the early mana boost. However, it's not a bad option if you are planning on being highly aggressive and want to spam your abilities early, like if you're mid and facing a squishy mage.

Aside from that, you will generally be picking up either Doran's Ring or Doran's Shield. Deciding on between these two items is completely dependent on one factor: whether or not the opponent can easily and freely harass you or not. When facing champions that can't free-harass you in lane, in particular "trading" reliant champions like Riven, Jax, Renekton, etc., I'd actually pick Doran's Ring over Doran's Shield. This is because champions who rely a lot on trading and out-damaging their opponents in lane generally all need to get into melee range to do all their damage. This is good because you can literally just Headbutt these people away when they are trying to trade with you, making the tanky-focused Doran's Shield not as useful for you.

Doran's Ring is also a great item to start if you're going mid against mages, as long as you know how to dodge all their skillshots. The mana regen boost and passive are incredibly useful on someone so mana dependent like Alistar, and this item remains relevant for much of the game. But if you don't know how to survive with a Doran's Ring on a melee mid-laner, you might want to consider the two other options.

Doran's Shield is an incredibly good item particularly against ranged champions who can freely autoattack you in lane. It overall gives you more early sustain than a Doran's Ring will, and its passive block of autoattack damage makes it incredibly good against champions like Teemo and Jayce.


Mana/Mana Regen





Usually immediately, you will want to rush some form of mana/mana regen. The type of item you pick up will heavily depend on what your matchup is and what your team needs, which is what I will emphasize for each item. Particularly, you'll need to take into account what the item builds into and what niche they fill.

- Sheen: Not too atypical from the other builds, Sheen is just a great item in general for Alistar. Overall, this item simply provides Alistar with much more lane presence and trading potential, while at the same time giving him a respectable amount of mana. However, this is not an absolute must-buy, unlike for other builds, because damage is often not your biggest priority. You can often just skip this item entirely, unless lane presence is what you desire.

- Glacial Shroud: This item is great if you or your team need armor. The CDR is also very useful to let you spam things like Triumphant Roar or Headbutt more often. The amount of mana it gives is quite good overall. Really, there's nothing bad to say about this item, but you should only get it if you need armor.

- Chalice of Harmony: Though Chalice is mainly known for its mana regen, the main reason you will pick Chalice over other items would be because you need Magic Resist. This particularly would be ideal when facing champions like Ryze or Teemo in lane, or if you're mid and facing a mage.

- Catalyst the Protector: This item is one of the best items in terms of sustain and tankiness to champions who also desire AP. Overall, I'd say this is the type of item you'd rush if you really want brute tankiness, health, and sustain. It's imperative to rush Rod of Ages as soon as possible if you decide to get this item.

- Tear of the Goddess: Tear doesn't provide any defensive stats at all, but it gives you an incredibly cost-efficient source of mana regen and mana. The main reason you will want to get this item though is because you just want pure AP, because it builds into Archangel's Staff and eventually into Seraph's Embrace. With Seraph's, you get the highest amount of AP that any item in the game provides (aside from Deathcap but only after you stack a bunch of AP), making it a great buy if you just want to do tons of damage at the cost of some tankiness (at least until you get Seraph's and can use the active, but that takes a long time).

- Forbidden Idol: This item is extremely situational. It practically gives nothing in terms of defense or offense, but the items it builds into are some of the most unique, utility-based items in the game. In fact, I would only advise getting this item if you're facing some unique situation that requires special utility, like if you need a Morellonomicon for an enemy Swain, or Ardent Censer for your ADC and Feral Flare jungler, or Twin Shadows for... whatever reason you'd need that. You won't often get this item, but it doesn't mean it should be crossed off your list.


Core Item: Rylai's





This item is absolutely core on Alistar when making him into an AP Tanky Bruiser. This item works with Trample, meaning if you engage on the enemy team, you can literally slow their entire team. Pop Unbreakable Will for 3 more seconds of slow, then pop Triumphant Roar for ANOTHER 3 more seconds of slow. Not only that, the item grants you an incredibly large amount of health, and it also works incredibly well with Liandry's Torment (though I don't list this item as an absolute core because sometimes you'll simply value pure tankiness over tanky damage, since you already have one tanky damage item, Rylai's).




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As a solo laner, Alistar is relatively very weak and does not trade well at all, particularly at the earliest of levels. This is the reason why we start with defensive items rather than offensive. However, once we get our items, we quickly become an incredibly strong laner with extreme harass and outtrading potential by using Headbutt freely and repeatedly. I'll list what we'll typically start with and what these core items are and why.


Starting Items


Typical Start #1
Typical Start #2

As with most AD top laners who have a bit of a rough time at the earliest of levels, we will usually end up starting with Doran's Shield, since it gives unrivaled early game tanky stats. Its passive block from autoattack damage, high amounts of health and health regen, and cheap price are all extremely attractive and useful, making this a great option for general matchups that you think you really won't be winning at the earliest of levels.

Crystalline Flask start is another great start, but particularly only for certain situations. Typically, you will pick up a flask mainly for the mana regen. Spamming Headbutt-autoattack comboing in lane is a lot of fun and is incredibly painful for your lane opponent (more info in the "Combos" section!), but it costs quite a decent amount of mana. Crystalline Flask will be there to help you harass more often since it gives you quite a decent source of mana, making the item a more aggressive-minded start. And even if you know that the earliest of levels usually won't spell out a kill, Crystalline Flask is still useful in the later levels, like level 6 and beyond, which means you can still freely spam Headbutt all the time and get a kill when your power really spikes. I like to take this against squishy caster top laners who build mainly damage, like Riven or Ryze, because I know I can usually kill them if I spam Headbutt enough.

I don't advise getting Doran's Blade or Doran's Ring to start off. Blade is particularly good for aggressive, dominant early laners, which Alistar isn't, and he can't optimize any of its stats. Ring is also very cost inefficient for AD Alistar since he doesn't need the AP. The mana regen is useful, but not that useful on Alistar since he's not absolutely mana starving like Warwick-top, and he has Teleport to help him get back to lane anyways.


RUSH SHEEN





Once you get Sheen, you instantly become stupidly strong. Unless you are facing an absolutely stupidly tanky champion with incredible amounts of sustain (like Nasus or Dr. Mundo or even Irelia simply because her sustain), you should really be able to bully out a lot of champions and likely kill them if they stay too long. Sheen practically doubles, even triples, your overall damage output and harass, and it makes farming under your tower a piece of cake.

This is all done through your Headbutt-autoattack combo, which is listed in the "Combos" section of this guide. Perfecting this easy combo and then adding Sheen will let you practically always outdamage your opponent and outharass them, even if you're facing a Teemo or Ryze. The mana this item gives you also means more chances to harass and more opportunities to kill.

There is literally no item you should be considering to get first other than this item. You don't need sustain because you have Triumphant Roar, and you generally don't need tanky items just yet unless you are just incredibly behind because either you're still learning or just some bad luck (then pick up a Cloth Armor or Null-Magic Mantle first). The damage it lets you deal for free in lane is literally the only thing that makes Alistar good in lane.


Core Items #1: Your Bread and Butter





These two items are your absolute, no exception must-haves. You might think that in some cases, you might want to get Iceborn Gauntlet over Trinity Force, but on AD Alistar, there are just so many reasons why Trinity is better than Iceborn.

The tanky stats on Iceborn Gauntlet generally go to waste on AD Alistar because he has Unbreakable Will to let him tank through any damage and survive. And if you're really worried about physical damage, just take Ninja Tabi early. The damage that Trinity Force lets you do literally triple or even quadruples the amount of damage Iceborn Gauntlet lets you do because it severely boosts your harass in lane, gives you lots of attack speed for when you ult, gives you crit, and lets you move very very fast.

The rarest scenario I'd ever suggest you get Iceborn Gauntlet instead of Trinity Force would be if you went like 0/8 in lane against some AD top laner and just want to be at least somewhat useful to your team by being a tank and CC machine. But at this point, you aren't really even playing AD Alistar anymore. Just a tank.

As for Youmuu's Ghostblade, this item is just incredibly good in so many ways. The movement speed boost is so useful, I'd call it core to playing Alistar correctly and to his full potential. It lets you resist kite so you can barge in and kick ***. It gives CDR and armor penetration for more painful harass, and the attack speed boost from the active means more painful slaps powered by Unbreakable Will. Lastly, the crit given is incredibly good, which gives you 25% overall when combined with Trinity Force. This item is another must-have with no exceptions. Don't even consider getting The Black Cleaver because Alistar literally does 0 physical damage other than autoattacks.


Core Items #2: Life Steal





Lifesteal is lastly one incredibly important step for any AD top lane bruiser. There are really only 3 options for you, which I'll talk about when and why you'll pick them over the others.

- Ravenous Hydra: This item is particularly good when you want waveclear. This item is usually an item you'll try to get early on, rather than later, because waveclear starts becoming less of an issue when you get into the later part of the game when you can just one-shot minions anyways. However, it does give a respectable amount of AD and lifesteal, while at the same time letting you also boost your burst damage with the active as well as AOE.

- The Bloodthirster: BT is a very good "Defensive"-minded lifesteal option, since it has the passive "overheal" which gives you an incredibly respectable shield. Don't forget that shields work with Unbreakable Will's damage reduction, so you might want to pop your ult before engaging if you want to save the shield.

- Blade of the Ruined King: BOTRK is considered an extremely "Offensive," single-target/dueling/assassination type of item. It gives a plethora of incredibly good stats when fighting a 1v1 or assassinating. Its passive damage means your Headbutt-autoattack combos in lane really mean business against the many high-health top lane champions. Its active lets you really stick to your target when trying to take them out in a fight. It also gives you much needed attack speed, which let you seriously turn on the pain when you use Unbreakable Will. It doesn't particularly have much to say for waveclear or defense, but for offense, it's hard to beat this item with any other lifesteal item.

I don't include Essence Reaver because it's a very niche item, and Alistar really doesn't need it, unlike a few other champions. He does quite fine alone mana-wise later in the game now, since his mana costs are no longer stupidly high. The CDR is useful, but we really don't need it that much.


Guide Top

Boots

Boots are incredibly flexible on Alistar. You will be purchasing your Tier 2 (aka upgraded boots) according to the goals of your build and your role on the team. This means you might not always be building the same boots every single time (unless you are AP Assassin, read on for more info). Here in this section, I will briefly re-emphasize each role's goals before I list the boots, overall to help you hopefully understand the reasoning behind the viability of the selection of boots I list.

This chapter will use color coded subchapter headers.




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When it comes to support Alistar, the two things we really like are Utility and Tankiness. I very much value utility more than tankiness in general because Unbreakable Will will often be enough in terms of tankiness. However, in many cases, pure tankiness is also incredibly useful, particularly if you are a bit behind.

- Boots of Swiftness are my personal favorite boots on Alistar in general, especially for support. Many people prefer Boots of Mobility on supports in general, particularly ones who can roam incredibly well (like Alistar). I'm not saying those boots are bad (I'm listing them next, in fact!). However, I still prefer Boots of Swiftness for many reasons. Though Swiftness does indeed slightly detract from your roaming potential, inside of teamfights, these boots are incredibly good. They'll allow you to engage on the entire enemy team, and then you can quickly and immediately fall back to protect your squishy carries, especially since you have Trample and ignore unit collision. Though Alistar is great at roaming, teamfights is really where the cow shines, and Boots of Swiftness are nearly unbeatable in terms of teamfight movement and utility.

- Boots of Mobility are still a good choice, particularly if you like to roam. Alistar is one of the few supports with really awesome ganks. With the extra roaming potential, you could easily surprise the enemy AP Mid and secure a kill without leaving your ADC exposed for too long. These boots are also necessary for warding important objectives, which is the other important aspect of warding. They also allow you to force an engage with your combos easily, whether you're hiding in a bush waiting for your jungler or if you're trying to force a fight, since prior to the fight you'll be moving incredibly fast. Lastly, they are a huge 200+ gold cheaper than the rest of the tier-2 boots, making them a great buy for support since you're typically trying to save gold. However, you have to keep in mind that, in the middle of teamfights, you'll have significantly less movement speed than most other tier-2 boots.

- Mercury's Treads and Ninja Tabi are good if you'd like to be tankier. Generally in the game of League of Legends, if you are winning, you try to build items to further snowball and cement your win (offensive), which would be the first 2 options listed above. If you're losing, you generally try to try to build sustain and tankiness so you don't keep feeding them (defensive), which would be Mercury's Treads and Ninja Tabi. Thus, these two boots are great for if you are on the defensive, or if you simply need to be tankier against a team with a ton of damage. Lastly, it's worth keeping in mind that Alistar's ult already does a ton of damage reduction, and it's also a cleanse so tenacity isn't as useful for him as it is for others.

- Ionian Boots of Lucidity are great for the CDR so you can combo more often, though you should keep in mind that Talisman of Ascension grants 10% CDR, the masteries I have set give 10% CDR, and many other items that I push for give CDR too. Thus, I practically never get these boots. However, these boots still have a place for Alistar players with different builds and playstyles. For instance, if you'd rather opt for a different set of masteries that only give 5% CDR instead of 10%, these boots are great to fill in that missing %5. Or, if you're building a straight tank build like Randuin's Omen, Sunfire Cape, Banshee's Veil, you won't have much CDR. You'll likely want some source of CDR to allow you to CC more often in teamfights, and that's where these boots would come in place.

- Enchantment: Distortion: This isn't really a "boot," but it's still worth nothing. For Alistar support, it's surprising how times you'll actually be using Flash to surprise an enemy with a sudden Pulverize. Distortion enchantment, combined with Summoner's Insight , puts your Flash on a 216 second cooldown, or 3 and half minutes. Getting this enchantment follows the same reasoning behind getting it with Annie or Sona support to allow you to surprise out-of-position enemies with sudden AOE CC.




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As an AP Assassin, you are literally trying to absolutely destroy one person on their team. Thus, you pretty much need to be as offense-based as possible, meaning there's really only one build option.

Sorcerer's Shoes is really the only viable build for AP Assassin Alistar. It really significantly boosts the damage you do on enemy champions, a lot more than I think most players believe it does. Alistar lacks the high AP scaling that many assassins possess, so penetration as a stat is valued dramatically much more than other stats.

On a side note, some might say that Boots of Mobility are a good option if you are trying to roam and kill, but you must keep in mind that Alistar doesn't have the greatest waveclear, which means roaming will be harder since he can't really push a wave in. Also, I'll say again, penetration is incredibly important as a stat for Alistar.

Don't consider ionin boots of lucidity either. CDR on AP Assassin Alistar is pretty much useless because you should theoretically be one-shotting champions with one combo and thus CDR is overall useless. If you're trying to stack CDR for laning phase harass, don't bother; it's the late game that matters.




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This list's order is quite different from Support. It may seem surprising to you, but not when we examine AP Tanky Bruiser Alistar as a whole. His build is centered around high amounts of health as his main source of tankiness. With this being the fact, we generally are a bit lacking in the damage mitigation department. It's not the biggest issue when we are teamfighting, since we have Unbreakable Will, but when we really lack damage mitigation overall, mitigation as a stat becomes much more valuable, making tanky boots much more viable than utility. I mean, what happens if Unbreakable Will is on cooldown? Or what happens if you're facing a harass comp? However, don't forget that there are still many situations where utility or damage is much more preferred.

- Mercury's Treads and Ninja Tabi are of course the best boots when you are looking for tankier stats. It's important to build according to your/their team comps. If they have lots of magic damage, get Mercury's Treads. If they have lots of physical damage via autoattacks, get Ninja Tabi. It's also important to build according to your own build. If you have Iceborn Gauntlet and Sunfire Cape, you already have quite a large bit of armor, so you might get Mercury's Treads instead, or even boots like Boots of Swiftness or Sorcerer's Shoes!

- Ionian Boots of Lucidity are a great option if you don't think you need the tankiness. These boots are my preferred boots when damage mitigation is not needed. The reason these boots are rated higher than on Support is because many of the items you build as an AP Bruiser don't really give you much CDR, unlike Support items. AP Tanky Bruiser Alistar is a utility/CC/AOE machine, and generally the only sources of CDR you'll be possessing are from iceborn gauntlent and the 5% from masteries. Without CDR, he just seems to lack a bit more teamfight presence, so these boots will dramatically help him out to let him spam more abilities and continually be a nuisance for their team.

- Boots of Swiftness are another good option. Just like I stated in the Support section for Boots, Boots of Swiftness are unbeatable in terms of movement inside of fights. If you don't need mitigation, if getting kited is a big issue for you, and if you think you're going to have trouble staying on top of their backline during teamfights, then these boots are incredibly good to boost your mobility in teamfights. Not to mention that you have Trample to allow you to move through units.

- Sorcerer's Shoes are surprisingly also incredibly viable, despite your main goals as being a tank. The added penetration really dramatically boosts the amount of damage you can do to the enemy team. Though when I build primarily tank items for AP Bruiser Alistar, I generally prefer getting mitigation boots, there are also times you can do offensive AP Bruiser Alistar (which I've been talking about throughout this guide, like going 21/9 masteries and whatnot, but I haven't really emphasized much since it's not exactly the most ideal competitively; it's still viable though in the right hands and comps!). In this case, or if you simply just want to boost your damage output since you're tanky enough, Sorcerer's Shoes are an incredibly good option!




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Now, it's quite true that AD Alistar is generally built like a glass cannon for the entire early and mid portion of the game. However, this does NOT mean you completely skip out on tanky stats where you can get them! This is the reasoning behind going 9/21 masteries and starting out with a Doran's Shield. This is also the reason why I value tanky boots first and above all other boots. If you completely skip out on getting defensive items, you will find yourself taking much more damage, losing lanes much more often, and dying more often.

-Following what I just stated, Mercury's Treads and Ninja Tabi are going to be generally the boots you will be taking for the majority of the time. You drastically need the tanky stats when building exclusively damage items, otherwise when you get into the mid-game teamfights or get ganked, you can die incredibly fast. Unbreakable Will might reduce the damage you take by 70%, but if you have no tanky stats at all, all it means is that it's gonna take a few more seconds longer for you to die.

- Boots of Swiftness is another incredibly good pair of boots for AD Alistar. There definitely are some cases where you might not even need the tankiness, like if their team doesn't do much damage. In that case, picking up Boots of Swiftness can dramatically increase your teamfight presence. These boots are unbeatable in terms of teamfight mobility, and they seriously help you out when you are getting kited. You will feel much scarier since you WILL be moving faster than almost everyone, allowing you to target enemies at your discretion.

- Berserker's Greaves are good if you need more attack speed, which stacks incredibly well with Unbreakable Will. It's quite important to note that they are cheaper than most other tier-2 boots. I personally don't get these boots very often because they just seem a bit odd to get on Alistar. You really want a bit of tankiness, and you really want to resist getting kiting. Attack speed is great, but generally those other two stats are more important. But when they are unneeded, Berserker's Greaves are actually surprisingly very useful! It's also good if you're mainly trying to splitpush.

- Ionian Boots of Lucidity surprisingly are also quite viable for AD Alistar. If you're looking to harass harder in lane or CC more in fights, these boots can get the job done incredibly well. You may not think CC is all that useful on AD Alistar, but once you realize that you actually will spend a lot of time and effort chasing down low-health enemies and waiting for your cooldowns to reset, you'll see that these boots are surprisingly a good option.


Guide Top

***WIP***Late Game Items

****THIS IS TEXT FROM THE OLD GUIDE. I WOULD LIKE TO KEEP IT ALL INTACT SO I CAN TAKE PORTIONS OF IT AND INCORPORATE IT INTO THE NEW CONTENT. MUCH OF IT MIGHT SOUND WEIRD, IRRELEVANT, OR OFFENSIVE. SORRY BUT DEAL WITH IT.****

Here's the fun part about Alistar. He has so much versatility late game that you can literally build anything that your team needs. Season 4 grants supports much more gold, so instead of building the same items as always expected, supports can deviate and fill roles like AD or AP bruiser or even assassin. However, it's incredibly situational, and I would only recommend trying out new things aside from the typical Alistar build once you have mastered not only Alistar himself, but the role of support in general and have developed a strong sense of the game.

I repeat again, most of the time with Alistar, you should be building tank items and support items. On the rare occasion will you need to fill other roles if your team needs more damage. While Tank Alistar is basically unkillable, AP Alistar can practically one-shot or mortally wound squishies, and AD bruiser Alistar can teamfight and duel extremely well too.

I'll rundown the core items for whichever version of Alistar you would like to play. Use some good judgment on deciding which role you are going to fulfill and thus which items to get first, and don't be afraid to mix them up if need be!



Support





Of course, if your team really doesn't need any specific roles filled, you should always grab support items to keep your team in teamfights.

- Mikael's Crucible is a great buy. With Riot's recent change to this item, it makes it a bit more difficult to buy, which is okay because I personally always thought it was way too cheap to be a final item. Now it grants an even larger amount of mana regen, as well as a bit of CDR. The item's active, thought untouched, is still incredibly useful and helpful. The cleanse and heal really helps your squishy teammate who is getting focused hard. However, it's important to know the active's limitations, as well as to remember when to use it. I'll usually only take this, however, if they have a strong assassin on their team, or if they have a pick/catch comp with like an Elise, Braum, Morgana, etc. where cleansing a stunned ally is really important.

- Locket of the Iron Solari is another great item to help teamfights with its aura. Just don't forget to pop the active as soon as you start fighting, preferably in conjunction with your Unbreakable Will to maximize its efficiency on yourself. The AoE magic resist doesn't stack, so if your top laner or jungler already has this, don't get it. Keep in mind, this item is specifically designed to help defend against strong AoE magic damage (like an enemy Karthus or Orianna, etc.), and if they don't have any magic damage, this is a wasted item.

- Aether Wisp is an interesting buy for Alistar. Though it's labeled as a "foundational support item," the stats from this item alone aren't exactly that useful on Alistar. However, being an intermediate item, it's important to examine the items it will eventually be built into: Morellonomicon, Twin Shadows, and lastly, the new Ardent Censer. Of course, only two of these would be considered viable on Alistar in certain scenarios, and that alone is the reason why I would recommend buying this item. If you're having trouble guessing which two items, I'll be listing the two next!

- Twin Shadows is a hilarious item, since it makes you move really fast, and its active does some pretty useful things, like scout, break stealth, add a bit more CC, or catch stragglers at the end of fights. Be wary though, as Twin Shadows is never really an item you practically need. It doesn't belong in any recommended or required niche for team itemization; rather, it's more of a luxury utility. It's stats are completely offensive, with no defensive stats given at all, but if you feel like your team has enough teamfighting capability and items, you can opt for more utility and damage with this item.

-I want to talk about Zeke's Herald first before moving onto Ardent Censer. Zeke's isn't an item I usually get except for certain specific cases. It's one of the most aggressive items a support can get, granting tons of CDR and team offensive stats, but along with it, gives a tiny bit of defensive stats for yourself. It's basically a manly version of Locket of the Iron Solari, and you should only get it in a few cases: you happen to get your lane extremely snowballed, you have another ally besides your ADC who could benefit from the life steal, and/or someone else has Locket of the Iron Solari. Similar to Twin Shadows, Zeke's doesn't really fill an item niche.

- Ardent Censer, once you look past the hype, is actually not that great on Alistar. Aside from the passive, the item only grants you mana regen, CDR, ability power, and some movement speed, overall making it just another offensive item with no defensive stats. Not only that, the offensive stats it gives are quite minimal when you compare it to other offensive items you can buy, so aside from the passive, the item isn't all that useful. So now, we must examine the passive to see if it's actually worth. With the passive, "your heals and shields on another unit grant them +25% Attack Speed for 6 seconds." Of course, Alistar's Triumphant Roar is an AOE heal, thus it would actually be quite useful for an autoattack-centric team. But doesn't that sound familiar? Yes, I'm talking about Zeke's Herald. Basically, this item, instead of granting AD and life steal, grants aoe attack speed, specifically on Alistar. So it's just another Zeke's, but instead of granting a bit of health, it grants CDR, AP, and movespeed, leaving you a lot squishier than intended. Consider the fact you'll have Ardent Censer and Talisman of Ascension in your item slots, two items that are pure utility and grant no tanky stats, meaning you can't initiate fights without using Unbreakable Will first, unless you want to explode. Thus, I would actually prefer taking Face of the Mountain and Ardent Censer together to at least give a bit more tankiness, since you'll get a decent amount of mana regen from Ardent Censer anyways. If you choose to do this, you must spam more blue pots until you can finish the Censer.

- Ruby Sightstone, as I mentioned before, isn't something I particularly rush. The gold you spend on upgrading this from a Sightstone could be put to better use buying other items, and I'll only upgrade once I finish building the rest of my items. Once you get to that point, there's no excuse not to upgrade. I only included this item because I felt like it at least deserves a mention to help you guys remember it exists.



Tank





I also default to build tanky items if my team has no roles really needed to be filled. It's necessary too, since you are probably initiating fights.

- Iceborn Gauntlet is actually my favorite item on Alistar. It gives him lots of great stats, giving him a lot more mana, making him tankier, boosting his damage output on his initiate and poke, and provides some great utility with the passive and CDR. I almost always grab this item unless I'm turning my Sheen into something else. Not to mention, it's 350 gold cheaper now without sacrificing stats by too much.

-One of the funniest things to do is initiate with a WQ combo and then pop Randuin's Omen's active once they land. It's hilarious and can mess a team up.

- Spirit Visage also helps against strong AP champions, as well as boosts the self-heal from your Triumphant Roar. CDR is always nice too.

- Sunfire Cape is great because Alistar is usually in the middle of teamfights, not to mention usually very alive and unkillable. As a result, he can DPS their team well with this item.

- Frozen Heart's aura and Thornmail are really only good against enemy teams where there's 2 or more strong autoattack reliant champions, like an ADC plus a Jax or Tryndamere. Thornmail is actually really good because the damage is calculated before damage reduction, meaning that their Master Yi or Fiora would simply die from autoattacking you, especially with Unbreakable Will on. Keep in mind, none of these items grant you health, which is more important than armor once you reach a certain amount of armor.

- Guardian Angel, of course, is a situational buy, but keep in mind that other items will grant him more armor and MR.

-I'm personally not a big fan of Banshee's Veil on Alistar. Usually, players debate on whether or not to choose Banshee's over Spirit Visage for each and every individual champion, and Alistar in my opinion is definitely a Spirit Visage champion, since he has a heal and a cleanse, along with a need for CDR. But if you're into the Korean meta, then go for it.



AP





Alistar can fill the role of an AP Assassin quite well, able to trap and assassinate squishy targets with his hard CC. His WQ combo does 120% of his AP in magic damage, plus its already high base damage of 515. Get Sorcerer's Shoes. Add Lich Bane for some respectably high burst. Add a Deathfire Grasp, your standard Rabadon's Deathcap and Zhonya's Hourglass, and decide between keeping your Talisman of Ascension or opting for Abyssal Scepter or Void Staff. Typically you'll pick Talisman of Ascension if you like the mobility for yourself and your team, or Abyssal Scepter if you want to do good amounts of AOE and have a high-ranged AP carry who will benefit from the aura, or go Void Staff if you specifically want to focus one target only.

The only bad thing about this is that you can't initiate a fight because you need to save your WQ for the target you are trying to kill, since you have to use your DFG on them first (it's practically impossible to DFG while you are dashing in with W since Alistar dashes so fast. I mean, Q itself is hard enough to time!). I'll go into further detail on how to assassinate with AP Alistar in the "Combos" section of the guide.

JUST FYI I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS FOR THE MOST PART. Only some cases would this be okay, which is still really situational.



AD/Crit





Standard physical damage items are great on Alistar. He can duel incredibly well since he takes dramatically reduced damage when he ults, while still being able to dish out immense damage with the AD boost, which make his crits dramatically stronger. Don't forget to get at least one Tanky item so you don't just instadie.

- Trinity Force is a must have, dramatically increasing Alistar's damage output and dueling utility.

- Youmuu's Ghostblade is also a must have, since Alistar needs to close the gap for his WQ combo. It's also great for dishing out the damages while the target is stunned.

- Ravenous Hydra is a bit tricky to use because, in order to maximize the damage output from this item, you will actually have to use the active in between your WQ combo, rather than immediately after. In other words, if Hydra was in item slot 5, you would do a W5Q combo, rather than WQ5. It's not as easy as it sounds. You could even use Unbreakable Will prior to your combo if you're trying to duel a single target to maximize the active's damage.

- Last Whisper is pretty standard for a bruiser build.

- Maw of Malmortius is great against strong AP, as always.

- Blade of the Ruined King is all around a great item, allowing you to increase your burst, sustained damage, and overall dueling ability, as well as kiting if necessary with the active.

- The Bloodthirster is great for the damages, but I like BOTRK much better.

-Going Crit is also viable, since Triforce and Youmuu's give 25% crit together, making Infinity Edge totally viable. It's hilarious to use your "W and a Free Autoattack" combo and get a crit for your autoattack to really make your enemies cry (see below in "Combos" to learn about this combo), not to mention the AD boost with Unbreakable Will will apply to his crits!

- Statikk Shiv is actually a hilariously good item on Alistar. He can use the passive to boost his "W and a Free Autoattack" combo, he can move quite a good distance with his Headbutt amidst a duel or fight to re-proc the passive, and the item itself makes him move quite fast too.

I don't suggest a Phantom Dancer because Alistar can already move through units with Trample, making it less cost efficient. I also don't suggest The Black Cleaver because his AOE is completely magic damage and he's already naturally tanky, making items like Last Whisper and Youmuu's Ghostblade much better since he's does more single target physical damage.

FYI I SEVERELY DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS UNLESS YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND WHY



Alternatives





I promise this section is not a troll section. These items are strangely quite viable on Alistar, but require heavy experience with Alistar to be used properly. These items provide an incredibly unique niche of itemization for a completely unique group of roles.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Liandry's Torment both proc with Alistar's passive Trample. This is actually kind of stupidly OP because he can just DPS and slow entire teams like crazy from these two items by simply spamming abilities, especially since he'll have 30% CDR or more. Both Rylai's slow and Liandry's burn are applied throught all 3 seconds of Alistar's Trample, as well as the 1.5 seconds after Trample ends for Rylai's and 3 seconds after for Liandry's. Not to mention, these two items also make Alistar greatly tankier due to the bonus health. He also gains AP from these two items, allowing his Trample to do more damage. Combine this with a Sunfire Cape for the bonus passive AOE damage and tankiness, an Abyssal Scepter to boost your damage and more tankiness, and maybe even a Randuin's Omen and/or Twin Shadows for the active slows and even more tankiness, and you have yourself an unkillable angry cow doing tons of DPS and slowing entire enemy mobs for a good ol' time.

Hybrid Alistar is hilarious but completely viable. Since his WQ combo's total ratio isn't the highest compared to other AP champions, and since his ult also doesn't give him incredibly destructive attack damage without more items, going hybrid helps combine his two sides into one. As a result, hybrid Alistar can do respectable burst and sustained damage with a Trinity Force or Iceborn Gauntlet. Hybrid Alistar is also secretly my personal favorite because everyone underestimates your abilities, but then suddenly you're outdueling and outsustaining and killing everything you see. I actually always build hybrid on 3v3 map since it makes Alistar just stupidly fun to dominate unsuspecting players with.

FYI THESE ITEM SUGGESTIONS REALLY AREN'T RECOMMENDED UNLESS YOU HAVE LEGITIMATE REASONS WHY YOU'RE CHOOSING THEM AND KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU'RE DOING


Guide Top

Combos

Surprisingly, Alistar's two signature moves, his W and Q, can give him a ton of combos at his disposal. I've already talked about a lot of them, but here I will describe exactly how to do them.



W and a Free Autoattack




One mechanism that Alistar has for harass is an easy little combo with Headbutt where Alistar immediately follows up his headbutt with an autoattack as they fly away. Since Alistar is a melee champion, his autoattacks do a fair amount of damage, making this easy-to-do combo quite effective for free harass when solo laning, be it AP or AD. I also do this combo as a support sometimes if I'm trying to stop an enemy from taking down my turret.

To do this combo, you will need to get Alistar to aggro your target (right-clicking on them by default). In other words, right-click the enemy and make Alistar target this person with autoattacks. But, instead of simply walking up to them and hitting them, you will instead use your Headbutt while still aggroed on them. Alistar will immediately autoattack the target as soon as he finishes headbutting them away. As a result, doing this combo can actually allow you to harass enemies.

The key to performing this combo correctly is to make sure that you allow a bit of time for Alistar's autoattack animation to complete after using Headbutt, otherwise you could easily cancel his autoattack completely. Your autoattack must also be ready and off cooldown too, since Headbutt does not reset the attack timer. You also must remember to right-click the target before you Headbutt, or else Alistar won't even attempt to autoattack them. Lastly, Sheen/spellblade work in conjunction with this combo, which is why I advocate to rush a Sheen early in the game for solo laning.

It's important to note that the closer the target is to Alistar, the quicker he will autoattack. Conversely, the further away the target is, the later his autoattack will occur. As a result, if an enemy is near the edge of Headbutt's range, it is very possible that Alistar won't complete his autoattack, which is very significant! This happens particularly at early levels when he has the lowest attack speed. It means if the enemy is too far away when you attempt to do this combo, you might not proc your Iceborn Gauntlet or get that finishing autoattack for a kill, only sending them to safety!

A way to counteract this is to get some attack speed, either from runes, masteries, or items, revealing how taking Fury , Greater Mark of Attack Speed, or Berserker's Greaves are actually viable on Alistar. Once he gains enough attack speed, he can complete his autoattack after his headbutt no matter where Alistar's target is. I'm experimenting to determine the exact amount of attack speed to allow him to perform this combo at full range.



The standard classic W + Q



This is the famous Alistar combo. It's not exactly ideal for harass, but it's incredibly good for all-ins and engages. It took me a bit of trial and error to find out the best way to pull this off. My first time experimenting with the combo was HotshotGG status:

To summarize how this combo works, basically you are Headbutting your target away, but before they get a chance to fly away, you use Pulverize to cancel the knockback with your knockup. It's important to point out the fact that Alistar can channel his Pulverize while he is dashing to his target when using Headbutt, which is what makes this combo possible.

To do this combo, I find that the best way to learn this combo is to not smartcast Headbutt when you're first learning. By turning smartcast off, you will be able to see the visible circle that indicates the range of your Headbutt. This lets you see which enemies you can and can't use Headbutt on, which makes it one less thing to worry about.

When your target is in range, use Headbutt. As Alistar begins to dash towards his target, you will cast Pulverize mid-dash. The enemy will first be hit by your Headbutt, but before they get the chance to be knocked back by it, your Pulverize will hit them and they will then be knocked up.

During your first few times trying out the combo, it will be very easy for you to cast Pulverize too late and the enemy will end up flying away from you. However it's very important to note that it's also very possible to cast Pulverize too early too. This means your Pulverize hits them before Headbutt does, and they get knocked back in the end instead of up, just like if you did it too late.

The last thing I would like to mention is that, since Headbutt is a dash, enemies far away take longer to travel to than enemies shorter away. This makes timing your Pulverize a bit hard because you're at a real threat of casting it too early if the enemy is far away, and late if the enemy is extremely close to you. All it really takes is practice before you develop the mechanics for it.



W into wall, slap, Q, slap



If you happen have an enemy standing by a big wall (for example, in the lane brush), you can Headbutt them into the wall. Since there is a 1 second travel time and a ~0.25 second root, Headbutting enemies into a wall is like Vayne's Condemn. Also, since you dashed to them and they were standing by a wall, you are in a great position to follow up with a slap or two. Once the Headbutt effect ends, simply hit your Pulverize and keep your target locked in for more slaps!

Keep in mind that Alistar really can't deal fatal damage early game on his own, so getting a kill with this combo really only works if you have your ADC with you hitting the target. Here's a video of this combo in action

This video shows how the walls aren't limited to the edges of the map. Pay close attention to the angle I took to make sure the Jinx didn't fly over the wall.



The Turret Feed: Q, Flash, W into turret



You're probably wondering... Q and then Flash how does that work? Well the thing is, the animation for Pulverize is actually somewhat long. If you Flash in and then Q, they could anticipate it and dodge it. However, with perfect positioning and timing, you can press Q to begin the animation, and then immediately Flash into your target for an instant knockup. Then, you could easily just use Headbutt and hit the target into your turret or team Lee Sin style.

This combo really only works if they are pushed near your turret. Most importantly, the turret can't already be targeting minions when you pull this combo off, as your target needs to get the tower's aggro. Also, keep in mind of when your target has flash or not, because they can easily flash out of it. Here's a video example. It's during mid-late game, and we were losing really badly, but it shows all of the mechanics quite clearly:
/league-of-legends/summoner-spell/flash-14

- Vayne can easily follow up with a Condemn into the wall by the turret to chain your combo and secure a kill.
- Varus can throw his Chain of Corruption on his target after your combo to allow him to easily spam all of the rest of his abilities and guarantee a kill. It's important to tell him to wait to throw his ult until you finish with your combo, otherwise he could miss when you Headbutt the target away from where he is aiming.
- Jinx takes a bit more coordination with her Flame Chompers!, since it has a brief activation period. If she throws it down too late, they could simply Flash out before getting snared. Make sure you communicate with your Jinx prior to when you go in, telling her to throw down Flame Chompers! by the turret as soon as you Flash/ Exhaust/Talisman so you can line up the Headbutt into an immediate snare.

Lastly, this combo is hilarious to use against other supports with targeted dashes, since you won't need to position yourself with the Flash to land your Pulverize. I've baited countless Leonas into grabbing me with Zenith Blade, only to send them flying into my turret for a first blood. This also works against Thresh when he dashes to you with Death Sentence or Blitzcrank if he happens to be close enough to do this. Even some enemy junglers aren't spared, like Lee Sin with his Resonating Strike, Amumu's Bandage Toss, and Maokai's Twisted Advance, where they attempt to fly at you or your ADC, only to be sent into turret hell.



Turret Feed 2: Optional Flash/ Exhaust/ Talisman of Ascension, W into turret, Q



If an enemy is getting really aggressive to the point where you could Flash past them, you could simply use your Headbutt without burning your Pulverize. Then, since your Q hasn't been used yet, you could use it on the enemy to keep them locked in under the turret.

This combo also works great against an enemy Blitzcrank who accidentally pulls you past his ADC. You might not even have to burn a Flash if this happens too! This combo is also used when you gank a pushed lane (like if you decide to roam mid), though you might not have to burn a summoner spell to pull it off.

Lastly, this combo is hilarious to use on a jungler who is utilizes a form of targetted gap closing when ganking your lane. In particular, this situation would be when their jungler decides to almost dive your turret by dashing to your ADC (think Lee Sin, Amumu, Xin Zhao, etc.). Rather than retreating to the safety of your turret to attempt to disengage, you can instead head in the opposite direction, going inside your lane bush instead. Most people will not notice you doing this or will not care, as they will think you are crazy and will be a free kill once the ADC dies. Then, when the jungler comes between you and your turret, simply use your Headbutt so they fly deep into your turret. The dash also re-positions you under your turret, where you are safe, putting yourself in control over the situation. Follow up with a Pulverize for double-buffs.



W a turret-hugger past their turret



This combo is a one-ability combo (yes, an oxymoron). This is great to re-position a low-health turret hugger past their turret to allow your ganking jungler or midlaner to secure a kill behind the turret without having to dive. The hardest part is the timing and coordination. You should try to time it so there isn't an enemy minion wave approaching that would interfere with the gank. Communicating with your teammates with chat and pings on what you are doing is key to help secure a kill, otherwise the target will simply walk back into their turret. I love doing this combo with an allied Volibear, Ahri, or Rammus, who can all follow up your re-position with another re-position.

You can also do this when you gank a lane. Rather than hitting the target behind their turret, you yourself can come from behind their turret and hit them towards your side out of turret aggro. This is what made Alistar jungle so popular.

Of course, you will get turret aggro, so try to avoid doing this if you can't survive the hits. You can opt to use Unbreakable Will to reduce the turret damage if need be, making this an actual ability combo. Your allied teammates also have to be waiting in the bushes behind the turret (enemy Golem bush when you are blue team; enemy Wight tri-bush when you are purple team) so they can receive the delivery.



AP Alistar's One-Shot Assassination Combo: DFG > W > Q > Lich Bane > R > E > Lich Bane



Keep in mind, you really need a fairly high amount of AP, as well as certain core-items and 100% be able to pull off a WQ combo, to be able to pull of a one-shot assassination. However, Alistar usually can't completely nuke a full-health squishy, so a little bit of help is always great too. As stated before, you can't be the one to initiate because you need to save your WQ combo for after you pop Deathfire Grasp. Plus, you are really squishy too if you build full AP.

To properly pull off this combo, the order is somewhat simple. Pop your Talisman of Ascension to quickly close the gap between you and your target. Use your Deathfire Grasp active on them, and then instantly pull off a WQ combo on them. Autoattack for Lich Bane magic damage. You'll actually want to save your Unbreakable Will until after getting CC'd or before getting bursted down because the bonus AD is useless for you. If the target hasn't already died, wait for Lich Bane's cooldown to come back and use your Triumphant Roar to proc it again for a final slap before the Deathfire Grasp debuff ends. Your Unbreakable Will makes you tanky enough to be able to survive and ignore the peel, as well as walk out of the fight when you killed your target.

How much damage can AP Alistar actually do??


Guide Top

Support Matchups

The number of shows the difficulty of the matchup, ranging from 1 to 10




Leona
Alistar loves playing against people who can dash to him and feed them to their turret. Try to stand close to or behind your ADC. As soon as she throws her Zenith Blade and dashes, immediately Pulverize her so she can't cast any abilities. Then, you can choose to feed her to your turret with Headbutt if she is close to it, or you can Headbutt her or the opposing ADC or Jungler away if you aren't by your turret. Both of your initiates are equally as good, though hers requires aim unlike Alistar's. Alistar can also counter-initiate well with his ult and combo.




Braum
Overall, Alistar doesn't have too big of a problem with Braum. If an ally has Concussive Blows applied to them, Alistar has a pretty easy time Headbutting away any threats to his allies. He can also cleanse away the stun if it is applied to him by using Unbreakable Will. Alistar can also headbutt away Braum when he uses Stand Behind Me and/or Unbreakable to leave his targets exposed, and then follow up with a Pulverize on the rest of the enemy team. Overall, the key to winning this matchup is using your Headbutt properly on targets, since Braum is all about protection. Glacial Fissure is similar to Nami's Tidal Wave, and both are overall very good at engaging, disengaging, and counterengaging. Make sure you keep in mind when Braum can and can't use his ult, so you don't happen to get caught out against it with no ability to disengage with your abilities.




Thresh
Another support that relies somewhat on a dash, which in this case is Death Sentence. Thresh can be killed quite easily early in the game. Play similarly against him as you would Leona, but keep in mind that he has Dark Passage as a shield and escape for others! As a result, it's usually much better and easier to kill Thresh instead of his ADC. If he pops his ult, The Box, try to save your Unbreakable Will for after you walk into one of its walls so you can cleanse the slow. In teamfights, Thresh will try to initiate with a Death Sentence dash, and maybe even bringing a buddy in with Dark Passage. Use your Headbutt wisely, knocking away either Thresh or his teammate, whoever is the bigger threat, or even counter initiating with a WQ. Or you could simply CC Thresh and have your team instantly kill him before he can Flay or pop The Box.




Blitzcrank
I hate playing against Blitzcrank in general, mainly because my ADC's always get grabbed by Rocket Grab and killed. If this happens, all you can really do is Headbutt their ADC away and Pulverize Blitzcrank as you walk back. On the other hand, Alistar has no trouble with getting grabbed. The animation for Alistar's Pulverize is quicker than Blitzcrank's autoattack for Power Fist, so if you pop a Q when you get pulled, you can often knock up Blitzcrank before he can knock you up, allowing you to Headbutt him away, his ADC away, dash to a minion and escape, or simply walk away. Getting pulling into a team isn't bad either, since you just pop Unbreakable Will, laugh while you knock their entire team up, and Headbutt their ADC into your team Lee Sin style for good ol' times.




Sona
Alistar has a weakness against getting poked down, which Sona excels at. However, Sona is extremely squishy and easy to kill since she extremely limited escape and peel besides Crescendo, Flash, and Exhaust. Let the lane push, and when Sona comes in for harass with Hymn of Valor, surprise her with a Pulverize > Flash, and send her into your turret. This combo is easier said than done, because many good Sona players will be smart enough to avoid this, so just play passive until she makes a mistake. It's just a bit hard to get this lane down to low health to secure a kill, since Sona can spam heals with Aria of Perseverance.




Nami
Nami is a bit on the passive side and doesn't have painful poke like other ranged supports do, making this matchup a bit easier. Nami's Aqua Prison is an extremely inconsistent skillshot because it's pretty hard to land. With a good ADC and unpredictable movements, you pretty much won't get hit by it, which is what you should be worried about the most. If you or your ADC gets hit, try to Headbutt the enemy ADC away and then walk through the minions with Trample. Other than that, her Ebb and Flow costs a ton of mana, and she's somewhat squishy, so this lane really shouldn't be too hard. Keep in mind that Nami's ult, Tidal Wave is a great initiate and counter-initiate, so always beware of it and its cooldown. Don't be afraid to pop Unbreakable Will to cleanse the slow so you can counter-engage or disengage.




Janna
I don't know why people say she's so hard to play against with Alistar. Yes, Alistar is somewhat aggressive, dependent on his dash and combo for kills, and Janna can disengage incredibly well with all of her abilities, making your engage combo pretty much useless when trying to secure kills in lane. All this really does is force you to freeze the lane, which isn't all that bad because Alistar can play passively well too. You might find difficulty in teamfights though, since she makes everyone move super fast and can disengage your team so well with Monsoon, but Alistar is awesome because he doesn't ult to engage, and thus can engage again in a short amount of time. All in all, she just forces you to play passively. Dodge her Howling Gale, remember that she is probably maxing her Eye Of The Storm making it really hard to get kills in lane, and play passive while capitalizing on opportunities.




Lulu
Lulu is actually really annoying, because as soon as you decide to engage, she can turn you into a bunny with Whimsy, which sucks especially when you haven't hit level 6 yet. She does a great job protecting targets, especially with Help, Pix! and Wild Growth, all while being able to poke you in lane pretty hard. She is extremely squishy, but it's hard to catch a good Lulu player vulnerable without being hit by an annoying spell. Just play extremely passively, capitalize on her mistakes, and keep an eye on her mana bar, since she's quite mana hungry.




Zyra
Zyra really pokes hard in lane, which sucks for Alistar. However, she does push lanes somewhat hard with her spells, granting you good opportunities for a turret feed with Headbutt. Do your best to dodge her Grasping Roots, and don't get baited to step on a Rampant Growth because they only initially grant vision (like Bushwhack). She's also squishy, extremely slow, and somewhat mana hungry, so if she ever gives you the opportunity, you can probably kill her early if your ADC can follow through too. Her Stranglethorns is always a problem for teams that initiate, so you have to play smart against her in team fights.




Morgana
I personally find this lane extremely hard. Now that she's considered one of the highest tier supports, I would say this is one of the most important champions to learn how to play against. With your high movement speed from quints and masteries, you should be able to dodge Dark Bindings decently. It's important to note that Morgana will never level her Black Shield first. This means, if you max Headbutt instead of Pulverize, you can destroy her Black Shield with Headbutt, and then you can Pulverize. This is similar to Krepo's tactic of maxing Death Sentence first on Thresh when facing Morgana because you can pop the shield with a hook and then you can Flay them. But, maxing Q first is still good because your combo cooldown is shorter than her Black Shield cooldown, meaning if you can bait out an early Black Shield in a fight, you can quickly combo her or her ADC again without the worry of it getting nullified.




Fiddlesticks
His fear is actually not as bad as it was before, since it was nerfed with 3.15 patch. But still, I've had so many times where I've gone in with a Headbutt to the wall on the ADC, slap, pulver---jk fear. Flashing in for a Pulverize- Headbutt turret feed on their ADC is also hard when he can insta- Terrify you. Silence with Dark Wind is a total buzzkill too, pausing your combos when you need them most, as well as poking the heck out of you. Hit away their ADC when yours is feared, following up with a Pulverize to cancel Fid's Drain, and don't forget that you can always Headbutt Fiddlesticks away when he Crowstorms. You can also combo him when you see him start to channel his ult to cancel it. He also has no escape and is extremely squishy.




Nunu
Nunu's mobility, sustain, and poke really can hurt Alistar in lane, making it difficult to secure kills. His poke with Ice Blast really hurts quite a bit. However, you can cancel his Absolute Zero with your W or Q, though you'll probably be forced to save your abilities for when Nunu channels his ult. Nothing is scarier than engaging with WQ, only to find that Nunu started to channel his ult and you can't do anything to stop it.




Soraka
The only real problem you'll run into with this lane is getting poked by Infuse, as well as getting baited by all of her heals. Just play smart in this lane and it should be no problem. She barely has a disengage, and she can't silence you mid-WQ with Infuse unless she's a ninja. She does make it a bit hard to do a flash turret feed combo, since she can easily silence you mid-combo. Thus, it's better to try and target her rather than her ADC for a turret feed, as with most supports with CC against abilities.




Taric
Also not really a problem to lane against. His Dazzle takes a while to arrive, so you can easily use your abilities in response. His heal is pretty high though, making it harder than normal to wither down your opponents to low health for a kill. However, he grants his allies an armor bonus while you do magic damage. He also has a tendency to run out of mana if he is forced to spam abilities. Aside from that, Taric does make it a bit hard to engage and kill because of his heal, protect, and peel ability set, so pick your fights wisely, otherwise you'll simply be wasting mana.




Lux
Lux supports are getting rarer, but they still get played. She does some good poke damage, like Zyra, which makes laning quite hard for Alistar. However, she's easier to face than Zyra because her ult, Final Spark, is pure damage with no utility, allowing you to play more aggressive post-6 compared to facing Zyra. Just try not to get baited in with a Prismatic Barrier and dodge her poke.




Annie
Too many people play against Annie incorrectly, letting her zone too much. Though she does provide high AOE burst and utility with Pyromania, she's also ridiculously squishy, especially since most players build her glass cannon. The recent patch 4.1 nerf to her early game dramatically decreases her disengage, allowing much better all-ins against her. This lane comes down to who has the quicker reflexes and who seizes opportunities better. Keep in mind that your W has 50+ more range than all of her abilities and autoattacks, giving you somewhat a range advantage when you want to go in for an initiate. Annie supports often put points in Summoner's Insight , like I recommend for Alistar, so watch out for ganks that she initiates with a Flash and Summon: Tibbers. This lane is one of the few lanes which I will start with full Greater Glyph of Magic Resist runes, Mercury's Treads, and maybe even a Doran's Shield to bait her stun and the ADC prior to a gank.




Karma
Laning as Karma is literally all about poking and running away like a sissy. It's so incredibly annoying to play against, since she has some pretty high damage, with range and AOE, good disengage and engage, and has a built in Talisman of Ascension with her Defiance. Everything in her skill set spells out trouble for Alistar, since he can't really do much against her. However, Karma can run out of mana if she spams too hard, and she's quite squishy too, meaning that capitalization on opportunities can easily spell reward. Her tether with Focused Resolve can be easily broken with a Headbutt too. You just can't get too aggressive with this lane, as with most lanes where you face a sissy, poking support.


Guide Top

ADC Synergies

The number of shows the level of synergy with an ADC, ranging from 1 to 10




Tristana
This duo is one of the most popularly played duos (maybe because they are both free? Hue). Tristana has a high amount of burst and a huge dash. When Alistar throws up the alley-oop with his Pulverize, Tristana completes the dunk with a Rocket Jump. Not to mention, her Buster Shot with Alistar's Headbutt can lead to hysterical chain knockbacks that send their ADC flying way behind your turret for the jungler to clean up. He also does a decent job protecting her in mid-game, where she is weakest.




Twitch
Twitch is incredibly squishy and his escape, Ambush, isn't as reliable as many other ADC's escapes. Alistar can protect and peel for Twitch well, and with a WQ combo, Alistar can help Twitch lock-in and burst down enemies. However, Twitch's burst takes a while for it to stack up, and as a result, this lane can get zoned pretty hard by a lane with more, quicker burst and poke, something Alistar can't really defend against (remember, Alistar's weakness is getting poked). I don't really do this duo as often because Twitch can do better with other supports, but Alistar can still do well.




Vayne
Again, Alistar can protect his ADC well, and Vayne is one of the ADC's that really needs protection. Alistar's engage is also great for Vayne, and one of the best and easiest combos to pull off is a Flash Headbutt turret feed, followed by a Vayne Condemn to lock a target under a turret as mentioned. Also, as I mentioned before, Alistar's Headbutt can be used similarly to Condemn when you hit the enemy into a big wall. If Vayne can land a Condemn on someone, you should follow up with a Headbutt after the stun wears off, then Pulverize after that wears off. This will keep an enemy locked in for around 4.5 seconds if they haven't died already. However, since Vayne is so squishy and has such a small range, this lane is highly prone to getting zoned by a high ranged or heavy bursting lane.




Corki
Corki has some significant burst in the early game, which works great with Alistar. Alistar's WQ combo can lock an enemy into Corki's Gatling Gun for lots of bursty damage. Corki's poke on his Missile Barrage also gives Alistar a lot of presence in the bushes, letting him play quite aggressively too. It's just too bad that Riot nerfed him down 50 tiers.




Caitlyn
Not that great of a duo because Caitlyn is all about poking and zoning people out of lane, which Alistar really can't match. She has little burst, while Alistar has zero sustained damage and poke. In this case, Alistar's only real job is to protect Caitlyn and play passively, only WQ comboing when a kill can arise from it. However, you can attempt to pull off a Flash turret-feed into a Yordle Snap Trap, similar to what I mentioned before with Jinx's Flame Chompers!, to lock an enemy under your tower, but it's actually extremely hard. It's also pretty funny to Headbutt people away who are trying to block an Ace in the Hole from landing.




Jinx
This combo is overall pretty good, since Jinx is the definitive glass cannon. Alistar simply protects her with his hard CC, and there is some really good synergy between Headbutt and Flame Chompers!, allowing the combo to be used both offensively (as I mentioned before, by chaining it with your flash turret-feed combo under your turret) and defensively too. She can match your WQ combo by placing a Flame Chompers! directly under where the enemies land, allowing her to completely lock in a target and eat them up. And if a pesky enemy jungler is ganking, Alistar Headbutts them away and Jinx throws down her traps to completely disengage the gank.




Lucian
Lucian himself is already pretty strong, able to bully people in lane with his constant poke damage. With Lucian's big zone, Alistar can be much more aggressive and engage with a combo at a good opportunity. A good Lucian will follow up and throw his Piercing Light and Ardent Blaze with autoattacks in between to really put a bruise in the enemy's bot lane. All in all, Lucian's good early game burst and big zone allow Alistar to play really aggressively.




Graves
Also another good combo. Graves' early game is incredibly strong, allowing him to all-in very early in the game. Both Alistar and Graves' possess some natural tankiness, and Alistar's WQ sets up a perfect Quickdraw + Buckshot for Graves. The hard CC Alistar provides is also great since Graves doesn't have the biggest range.




Varus
Varus is a lane bully who has mean poke and both great sustained and burst damage. Since Varus basically has no escape besides his minimal slow on Hail of Arrows and Chain of Corruption (his ult), Alistar can protect him well. However, the nature of Alistar's WQ combo makes his targets move a bit, making it somewhat hard to land Varus' skillshots. This could mean a wasted ult from Varus, or a missed Piercing Arrow that ends up dramatically reducing Varus' damage output. However, with a good Varus player and some coordination, you could easily pull off a Flash turret feed combo with a Chain of Corruption under your turret for a kill.




Miss Fortune
Miss Fortune dominates her lane through bullying with her poke. She does incredible sustained damage, but doesn't burst as hard as many other ADC's. As a result, Alistar can't really do much for her in lane other than protect her from ganks. However, with some good positioning, a great WQ combo inside of a Bullet Time will spell devastation for the entire enemy team. Alistar's main job in lane though is to protect Miss Fortune because she has no escape besides her minimal slow on Make it Rain.




Kog'Maw
This is really not an ideal duo. While it still works, since Alistar can peel really well for Kog'Maw, Kog'Maw's early game is incredibly weak. This lane is quite vulnerable to getting zoned by poke or getting bursted down, since the only early game strength Kog'Maw has is a little bit of autoattack poke from his Bio-Arcane Barrage. Kog'Maw can't really poke back early in the game and has no escape from all-ins. Alistar can't do anything to fight off constant poke, so this lane can get shutdown really easily. However, if the duo can somehow make it to mid game, they can actually shine because Kog'Maw has some respectable burst with the right items and can poke back with his Living Artillery. One successful WQ combo from Alistar can easily be followed up with a Void Ooze into multiple W-empowered autoattacks and some ults from Kog'Maw. And late game, Alistar can peel really well for Kog'Maw, who needs protection above all else.




Ezreal
A respectable duo, since Ezreal has both good early poke and burst with Rising Spell Force. Ezreal's zoning ability gives Alistar a lot of presence in the lane bushes, allowing for some great initiates that can easily be followed up by Ezreal's burst. Not really much to be said, other than hope that your Ezreal can land his Mystic Shots. Just note that there are other ADC's with more early burst than Ezreal, which could force you to have to protect him rather than initiate for him.




Draven
There is so much beautiful win in this duo. Draven's early game is still monstrously OP, and all Alistar has to do is initiate. Make sure that your Draven has two Spinning Axe's up, and go in hard with a combo of your choice. Once the target(s) get too far away, Draven can easily throw a Stand Aside to keep them kited (hopefully your Draven is good and waited to use it until this time, rather than stacking the CC like some do). Focus more on positioning yourself in front of the targets' intended path so you can Headbutt them backwards when it comes off cooldown. You could even Flash for this. #farmchampions




Sivir
Sivir is mainly a lane bully who excels at harassing and pushing hard, but unfortunately possesses an extremely low autoattack range, thus making this lane susceptible to being harassed by poke, since Alistar can't counter poke. However, these two actually can have some decent synergy if played correctly. Sivir's damage actually feels quite bursty, and if you can manage to pin an enemy into a wall, Sivir can land an easy Boomerang Blade on both ways without the damage reduction from minions, since they will pretty much be hard CC'd to a wall for about 3 seconds. The total damage is actually quite high and can chunk the opposing lane low enough to discourage them from harassing for a while, allowing Sivir to zone pretty hard. With a bigger zone, Alistar can continue to be pretty aggressive in lane. However, And On The Hunt is one of the greatest ults for teammates who have initiate with a dash (like Alistar's WQ), since it allows the rest of the team to catch up quickly.




Ashe
This lane pretty much suffers the same problems as with Kog'Maw. Ashe's early game really isn't that great, though she can zone pretty well with Volley. However, Ashe can easily get zoned and bursted down, as well as get poked down hard, with nothing that Alistar can really do to stop it. However, one good combo that can be pulled off in this duo is a Flash turret feed into a Enchanted Crystal Arrow to try and lock down an enemy. Ashe's Frost Shot also allows Alistar to follow up with a WQ combo that sets up ganks well too.




Quinn
Not a bad lane, since Quinn actually has some respectable burst. Quinn's main strength is in her early and mid game, where she can duel quite well. The only bad thing is that she can get poked down pretty hard, since she doesn't have a strong and reliable poking mechanism, other than her Blinding Assault that tickles and hardly ever lands. The slow from Vault also helps Alistar come in for a WQ combo to further help Quinn continue to deal DPS.


Guide Top

Lessons? End of Game Scores? Cool Icons and Headers For This Guide?

I'm gonna try and start up some Alistar lessons soon, for an affordable price. I'll likely be doing LOLReplay analyses, One-on-ones, and duoing (ranked on a smurf or unranked on my main) with comms and stuff.

I can also post up some pics of people's scores of their Alistar games from reading this guide. Just send me a screenshot.

Also, if anyone wants to help pretty-up this guide with cool headers and icons and stuff, I'm more than happy to take submissions. I'm not too picky, as long as it looks nice!

You can contact me via Mobafire PM's or shoot me a message on Youtube, Twitch (same name), or send me an email at yummybluewaffle@yahoo.com ( ゚∀゚)彡


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End Notes

Hopefully this guide helped give you a new perspective on Alistar. Simply reading this guide won't make you a better Alistar player, especially since playing him correctly requires not only practice with his mechanics, but you also need a good knowledge of the game to know who to hit and when to initiate and when to ult and what to build and which combo suits the situation best.

Feel free to leave comments and criticisms, as I am a bit of a perfectionist and get really picky with what I do. I'll leave you guys with a little bit of background info on me:

I started playing League of Legends in the summer of 2012, only casually playing. I got more into it as more of my friends got into it, and I really enjoyed playing weird champions that weren't played often, like Cassiopeia, Kog'Maw and Syndra before she got popular. I eventually settled with playing jungle and support as my main roles, since these roles fit my personality more.

Along with Alistar, I play a lot of Thresh, Annie, and Soraka. On an off-topic side note, I think Soraka is incredibly good at Solo Queue and is one of the most difficult support champions to master and play properly. I mean, 725 range 2.5 second silence with NO MANA COST, like wtf! Free poke Caitlyn?? OP as heck!! Rush Archangel's and 40% cdr, everything dies. A global heal to help your mid or top laner not only survive a turret dive but get a double kill too, sheesh riot pls nerf. Heal your ADC from like 0-100 lmao and they get a million armor too.

(PS If you read this part before LCS decided to popularize Soraka, then hopefully it further adds credit to the things I've said xD )

Anyways, this guide is pretty dynamic. I am quite theoretical about my playstyle and I love to take advice from anyone and any source, so this guide gets updated quite frequently to keep up with the meta. Check back in and read what I have on the "Recently Updated" portion in the "Notes" Chapter to see stuff that's been added!


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