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Alistar Build Guide by Pelikins

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Pelikins

Ali the MOST OP Dominion Champion (updated for new items)

Pelikins Last updated on April 10, 2013
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Support Role
Ranked #5 in
Support Role
Win 52%
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 21


Utility: 0

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A Note From the Author to First Time Readers:

First off, note this is a Dominion guide. For normal games, please see my other guide for Alistar:

Secondly, read the whole guide before voting, especially if you see something you don't like and wish to down vote. The guide does a good job of describing every decision made for the build, if you give it a chance and read it.

If you still wish to down vote after reading the whole thing, please leave me constructive feedback so that I can improve upon that aspect.

I highly recommend asking questions in the comments area. I have an entire section of the guide dedicated to answering your questions. I've played since Beta and am highly opinionated...try me ^_^

Note: If the guides pictures are out, it's because I've exceeded capacity on photobucket and they temporarily suspended my account. The pictures will come back up at the beginning of the next allowance. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Lastly, I love seeing that my guides have had an impact on people's game experiences. Vote! I highly encourage it. I also appreciate +reps!

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Rammus is a chump

Alistar has long been known to be the king of both tower diving and screwing over tower divers.
Hence it comes to no surprise that in Dominion he is a very powerful ally.

I've found Ali to be very well suited at two roles:

1) Get a defender out of turret range where he can be focused.

2) Sit inside the turret and defend against multiple enemies nearly indefinitely.

Being able to do both these things make Alistar, in my opinion, much more formidable than any other champion in the dominion setting (with the exception of Blitz).

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A warning to Epeen Players:

First off, Ali is not a carry. You won't 1 shot anyone.
Secondly, you very well may be the single most influential player on the team. I know I am almost every game. However, the scoring system put a lot of emphasis on running around like a rammus scrub and capping things you can't hold... than defending. In fact, the best way to gauge your success is to see how willing the enemy is to face you top. If you can keep 1 or two of them derping around your tower and still keep it, then your team has a 4v3 somewhere else and should be winning. You were the most important person on the field by long term CCing two of their players, but you get no points for it. As such, the Teemo noob running around backdooring is going to have a lot higher score than you.

Additionally, Ali takes a sleak combination of skills including:

Map Awareness
Knowledge of every opposing champion and their mechanics
Forsight- You must learn how to bait and dodge skill shots!
Attention to enemy build progression
Ability to gauge teammate's skill- feed a noob and it does no good...fed the most competent carry!
Ability to use summoner skills, item activations, and champion skills seamlessly
Ability to hit W and Q in rapid succession
Keep in mind that you are not a carry and defer kills to carries when possible
Ability to troll the enemy in /all so that they focus you instead of the carry

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The first thing I focus on is getting a bit of health, ap, and mana regen. Hey look at that! The Prospector's Ring works perfectly! Great stats at a low cost.

I also boost my mobility with Boots of Speed and I snag 2 hp pots you'll find that these are very helpful as you'll need to stay at that tower for a long period of time to defend and would otherwise run out of resources.

On my first return I'll usually upgrade my boots to Ionian Boots of Lucidity. The only time I don't is if I don't return for a really long time and can straight buy a Blackfire Torch but this isn't typical.

I start building defense. I buy a chain vest and a negratron cloak first.

I upgrade the chain vest to a Glacial Shroud

The shroud will improve your mana pool, give additional CDR and some armor.

I now purchase a sheen. A Sheen will give you a nice boost to your skill's damage and will make your triumphant roar a damaging skill by providing a sheen proc. Alistar's base damage is very very high. So your sheen procs are going to be worth more than the typical champion's sheen procs. In addition, you've got a lot of CDR so you'll get more sheen procs. The sheen deals physical damage, which you may find helpful against players who have stacked MR against your torch, but lack armor.

I now upgrade the shroud and sheen into Iceborn Gauntlets. These will be your damage and CC staple. The really shut down melee and don't allow casters to escape you.

After IBGs are complete I build a torch. This item works well to give Ali the free damage he needs.

I next upgrade the negatron cloak into an Abyssal Mask. This will provide Ali with a nice magic pen aura to help him and allies deal more damage. It will also boost his AP.

Once I have solid resistances, a good amount of CDR, and the Iceborn Gauntlets + Torch setup my core is complete and my build opens up.

You can build a WotA to help allies. OR a Reverie for extra mobility. Or more defense via a RO or Veil.

Be reactive with your build and counter what is doing well...

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Abusing the Torch:

The new Blackfire Torch is incredibly powerful on Alistar.

The first reason is that it doesn't scale with AP. So you can build the torch and no other offensive items and get full effect from the item.

The second is that it does scale against your opponents. Scaling off their health means that it inherently will deal more damage to opponents the more gear and levels they unlike the sunfire cloak which falls off hard late game, the torch is going to deal a sizable amount of damage all game long.

The this reason is that Alistar's kit has crazy synergy with the item. His trample procs the item with each skill he uses, making even his spammable heal Triumphant Roar deal a massive amount of damage.

With full CDR and proper CD management Alistar can have his passive up for the entire fight...meaning he gets to CC like Alistar...gets to go ultra tank like Alistar, but gets to deal damage like his name is Amumu.

Furthermore...CDR works well with Alistar's kit and combos with this his effectiveness stat and his dps stat are the same stat...nifty right?

CDR also works great with his other free damage item Sheen completing the CDR+CC+free damage trifecta.

The fact that the item deals damage over time works well for Ali. He can simply CC people to death or wait for them to melt while in his ultimate...

I fully anticipate this item being nerfed...but I plan to enjoy it while it lasts...

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Dominion Alistar: A brief 1v1 guide

We will call those two types: Fighters and Mages
We will handle these two types very differently.

Fighters are fierce melee warriors that have strong sustained damage but limited range.
Mages are spell casters with high amounts of burst damage and great harassing capability.

Against fighters, we definitely don't want to stay in melee range any longer than we need to. We will bait their lunge/gap closing ability and dodge it if it is a skill shot, (if not then we still bait it) and then use a spell rotation to punish him and knock him back. The rylai's slow will keep them from reclosing the gap. If there are minions around and the enemy can life steal, we will save pulverize to keep them from life stealing the creeps while your CDs refresh. We spam our heal constantly to replace any damage we do take. If we get the enemy fighter into the red and we have offensive cds such as Ignite, Exhaust, Unbreakable Will, udyn's veil, OR if we have a carry in position to kill the target we jump on the enemy fighter and kill it.

On the other hand we treat mages very differently. Mages will way out harass you in a time elapsed contest. Therefore, we want to close on the enemy quickly kill them in one engagement. Remember that your ult will remove any CC (including silence). Most mages have some sort of CC attached to their kit. We want get the drop on them by hitting them with the first skill and then instantly remove that CC with our ult and bring pain on them with the extra AD your ult gives along with any other offensive CDs. The iceborn gauntlets and rylai's better keeps them in melee range while you do this. Generally, if you can keep them in melee you will win, if they escape, don't stick around (unless your carry is about to make an appearance) because now you're oom and short on CDs and they have the advantage.

The hardest thing to figure out with solo-star is when to use summoner skills. They are great tools and will turn fights, but they have decently long CDs and wasting them when un-needed means not having them when they are.

Turrets are your best friend or worst enemy depending on if they are yours or theirs. Keep in mind that it takes a while to kill or be killed- so that turret damage is really gonna add up over the duration of the fight.

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Do I always build the same?

Absolutely not!

Be reactive in your build.

Look to see which enemies are being effective and counter them.

If they are stronger AD than AP get extra armor. Other way around? REACT!

Are they all ranged squish? Rush some AP and be the bull in the china shop! Ali is one of the few champions that can catch and kill a late game Ashe...MAKE HER PAY for not getting defensive items.

The great thing about Alistar is that he has a flexible build order making him very versatile, especially in blind picks. Unlike many other tanks- such as Galio, Rammus, and Amumu- Alistar has a good tool kit to counter any damage type or play style.

Make sure to be flexible in order to optimize!

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I grab 9/21/0 for masteries.

Get 8% magic pen from offense and dump the rest into the defense tree to get more tanky.

Resistances have become more valuable in the dominion map since they changed the global aura.

Being tanky in the early game is easier and hence that is the route I'd recommend.

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Summoner Skills:

Revive and Ignite

Yes, I know, no Flash!

I really found it necessary to run flash in this format due to lack of team fighting, the abundance of tower fighting, and the presence of speed buffs.

Revive is great for this format in general. You can respawn and make it to a fight that normally you could not. That's a game changer.

Ignite. Having ignite on the cow is amazing in this format. So often fighters rely on lifesteal for defense and ignite is a great answer to them. Also ignite provides that little extra damage that so often you'll need to finish someone off. It is true damage which is very helpful against rammus, other Ali's, and poppy. All of which are common in the format. Ignite makes Ali scary.

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Using Summoners: Learning when to secure a kill

One thing that is really important to note when playing with offensive summoner spells such as Exhaust and Ignite is to know when to use them.

While the most obvious strategy is to use them when they will swing the battle in your favor, it isn't necessarily the most profitable.

Consider this:

What does a kill mean in dominion?

The answer is:

A kill itself is worth very little. Bounties are reduced in the format and the passive gold earned out weighs gold earned from kills considerably unless you really are on a killing spree.

The kill isn't important, the opportunity to do something unchallenged (or at least less challenged) is the real profitable thing earned from a kill.

If you kill one of their team members, but it doesn't allow you to cap or defend a really didn't gain you or your team much.

Sometimes its worth letting someone with a sliver of hp live rather than killing them as they will now roam around the map uselessly picking up health packs instead of contributing to their team for a longer duration than if they were actually dead.

Sometimes they will even go to the lightning shield buff and you can rid their team of a major buff more easily.

So when do you use a summoner spell to secure a kill?

The big three are:

1) When it allows you to capture a base

2) When it allows you to defend a base that otherwise would fall

3) When it the outcome of the fight effects the health and safety of 3 or more members of your team. Team fights and large skirmishes are more important than small duels, especially small duels away from towers.

Gauge the value of the opportunity that will arise if the kill is secured.

One of the most important times in a Dominion game is the opening struggle for the top node.

Who ever secures this point first has the advantage of getting to react rather than rally and has a tower to defend with. Also, the winner reaches level 6 first which can effectively snow ball your team.

If you get top node, you get the driver's seat to control the rest of game for as long as you hold it.

Use your summoner skills in the initial fight if it is going to make the difference!

Other crucial times are capture and defending quest nodes. The buff that completing the quest gives is substantial. Don't give it up by being selfish with your summoners!

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I grab all 3 abilities at the start. They are equally important to the team in the first fight.

I then level Pulverize first. This ability can hit multiple targets and is more reliable than the glitchy Headbutt.

I level my Headbutt second. This lowers the damage and the CD with each level where the heal only improves the healing amount. The bonus damage scales well and the CD becomes especially effective in 1v1s and 2v2s which are the most common engagements for dominion.

My last ability to level is Triumphant Roar. I've found there is so much combat that the heal actually becomes less valuable to the bonus damage Headbutt provides. Also, roar is the only ability that doesn't reduce in CD by leveling it.

I grab my ult Unbreakable Will at 6/11/16

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General Strategy:

Support your teammates whenever possible. Ali is capable of turning fights single handedly. So many of the champions that are popular in the format rely on life steal/ spell vamp mechanics. By hard CC'ing them, many of them will tip right over.

many champions cannot self sustain themselves. Your healing will keep them going. Make sure to utilize it.

The top turret is key to success.

While it is good to ninja a turret now and again to keep them on their toes. Keeping turrets near the enemy's nexus is very difficult. Keeping the top turret is key as it is the closest 3rd turret to your respawn. My general rule is if there are more than one mia, I'm at top turret defending the coming invasion. If one is mia, I'm pushing my lane as to get the creeps to get the next turret while I can still go back and defend my base if needed.
If none are mia, I go to where the fight is and fast. This is how you Dominion properly.

So many pugs fail at dominion because they lack this basic concept.

I make defending a huge priority, because it is what Ali is good at. If you own top, Ali should be there. People will often start to channel your turret while you're under it. We like this. Pulverize will interrupt their channel and the turret will start pegging them. Then get behind them and headbutt them into the turret. The turret will usually finish them off, if not ignite ftw.

If more than one is assaulting your base...first off call for aide! Ping the turret several times to get your teammate's attention. Most commonly, one will channel the turret on one side while another does the same on the opposite. Best case scenario is that you see this before it happens and beat the snot out of the first guy there while his friend is out of position. But if they do get this setup, melee one guy then headbutt pulverize combo the other. This will interrupt both channels and the turret will attack one of them. You need to kill one now. Whichever one has the most hp missing (usually the one you combo'd) lay into them with everything you've got. Ignite, the veil's active, exhaust, your ult even, (especially if you have a sheen). If you kill one before they neutralize your turret you can easily fend off the other. It's important to not allow them to push the lane and then double assault. The creeps will cap the turret too quickly. If you see them push your lane, call for aide. If one is pushing your lane. Headbutt them and pulverize their creep wave, then get out of their range. Keep this up until you decimate their waves. This is tricky but important. Just remember to heal yourself constantly to mitigate harass and creep damage (don't underestimate the creeps).

If you don't own top or are assaulting for a quest, then you want to group up with your best carry and tie one guy up while the carry does carry stuff to him. Remember to be a sneaky cow. Use the speed buffs and flank an unsuspecting enemy and headbutt them out of turret range. Defenders without turret support are much easier/safer to kill than under their turret.

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Here are some of the games from my match history.

Unfortunately, you will still have games where no matter how much you do for you still will lose. I was working on a different guide to help pugs reach the cognitive capacity of an average goldfish. After many fruitless attempts, I'm now thinking it may be easier to genetically alter a goldfish to use a computer...

A random screeny of a game I had where I went on a killing spree. My epeen grew 3 inches.

I dual que'd with Blitz on this one. Legendary Ali is Legendary! P.S. Yes, that is an AP MF; no I don't understand. Yes, she was pretty useless...

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You're Comments and My Answers

Tharcide wrote:

Good guide for dominion alistar

I tried the build and failed miserably though.

You said you held Windmill, but any good team won't ever leave windmill empty
It won't ever be a 1 vs 1 fight up there.

I'd suggest adding in the guide that alistar should be a defender, and hold the bottom LANE unless he is absolutely needed elsewhere. Such as almost all enemies are @ Bot, and you had just defended off your mid tower

It all depends on how the other team is set up. I hold windmill alone a lot- sometimes against 2 or 3 players. Now if 2 good/coordinated "takers" go up at the same time, you'll be able to hold them off for a short time, but you'll need to call for aide. The good news is, even if aide isn't available. You can still hold them off for a long while, and give your capturer and takers time to grab something else. But a well coordinated team will always have someone in a position available to aide top in a moment's notice.

If your team left you to die alone at windmill repeatedly, it was their fault that the game went miserably- not my strategy's. Dominion is perhaps even more reliant on good team work than a classic game.

I do not like the idea of Alistar being a bottom laner. First off. Ali has two powerful and uncleansable crowd controls and a spammable heal. He's the best carry support in the game and VERY influential to winning top turret at the start. Secondly, he doesn't scale well with farm. Third off, while at bottom he can't effect the game at the other areas. I think bottom lane should be someone like Heim, Karthus, GP, or Teemo who can not only push and escape ganks, but also alter the game while doing so. If you stick Ali at windmill however. He can not only influence the windmill, but he can be at your middle turret, the shield buff, or their middle turret in a small amount of time; putting him in positions where he can support carries readily in addition to being able to defend.

That's all in addition to having a perfect tool set to handle a single assaulter; making him ideal for the job.

Centrifuze wrote:

I disagree with the use of Sunfire. I feel like it's really lackluster for the cost. The armor can be better achieved elsewhere. Like Warden's Mail into a Randuin's later. As if the slowing from Rylai's wasn't enough, pile on a Warden's to make them second guess attacking you under your turret.

That aside, it's a great build! I've been using it really successfully in Randoms. The only problem is I get 3rd or 4th place on the team consistently, and again, because defending isn't valued anywhere near attacking. Shame too. Defending is extremely important, and undervalued in games by the scoreboard.

I don't believe that Rylai's and Randuin's slows stack. It's worth looking into, but in general only one item's similar effect can be applied to a target. You do have exhaust however, which will stack with Rylai's because summoner skills and item effects are on different layers. I think that those two are enough for slows.

I also didn't really like the sunfire cloak. It's decent but that late in the game the damage it provides is pretty minimal and the defensive bonus's aren't incredible on the item either.

In light of this, I tried some new things and decided I liked building a liche bane over a trinity force and then selling the ring and buying a void staff.

See the itemization section for some math, but the damage output I'm seeing from these purchases are pretty extreme. This helps quite a bit since I was noticing the towers not doing a very good job of killing divers this late in the game.

There is a bit of a survivability loss due to this change, but the extra damage and healing capability from AP makes up for it and then some.

A photo from zaku_88 who used this build:

KrazyBone wrote:

bad early game

I giggled quite a bit with this one. I guess every guide and village gets an idiot!

You couldn't possibly have a stronger early game than this guide's build. You have flat runes which are the most powerful early game, you start with a prospector's ring which is a double doran's ring, and you have defensive masteries which tend to be the strongest in the early game. I'm trying to wrap my mind around how you can possibly be more over-powered in the early game than playing Alistar with this setup in the early game and I'm having a hard time thinking of anything.

If you are having a hard time in the early game with this build my best advice would be to find the uninstall feature and make good use of it!

I've stumbled across this build when I was checking how to finish the Masteries for some on my champions (including Alistar). I found yours and redid mine to 9:21:0 - and it worked. But apart from that, my build is a bit different and I want to share some comments (since I'm too lazy to make a full build on my own :P).

After reading this, I changed my starting items to what you suggested, the Prospector's Ring and Boots of speed. I don't get mana potion and rarely get a healing potion (if I do, it's 2, but mostly I don't since I keep forgetting to use them, ha). The following order of the items - like you said - depends on who are you facing and what's their build, but I'd recommend giving Force of Nature a try. The speed boost comes really handy. I tried building up the Frozen Heart first but it didn't really work for me that well, unless the opposite team is heavy AD. I'd pause to think about the choice of Rylai's and Void Staff, but then I play more tanky, so it might be a good choice for someone who prefers more AP.

The other thing I'd really think about is the lack of Ghost in this guide. Ghost is vital on Dominion, no matter if you're running all around the map to cap or just focus on defending. For one, it gives you MUCH more flexibility to react to what's going on and you're not so heavily team dependent. While having Ignite/Exhaust as your second might be a good idea (even if again, not my choice), maybe you could give Ghost a try and see how it works with you. It can often turn the game around completely.

That's all :) An interesting guide for more AP oriented Ali all in all.

First off, thanks for reading and up-voting! Appreciate it.

Now to your comments.

It's certainly ok to vary your build from the guide. I've never build any champion exactly how a guide says to because I like making improvements for my own play style. This is definitely encouraged.

I will suggest you train yourself to use potions and other inventory actives. Potions can turn early game team fights as they can be the difference between you gimping away and having them chase you at low hp while your teammates kill someone else, or dying and losing. I highly suggest learning to use them. Not to mention if you forget about potions you probably aren't using actives like Udyn's Veil, Ghostblade, Randuin's Omen, Deathfire Grasp, Hextech Gunblade, sight wards, and the list goes on. These actives are very powerful! You need to learn how and when to use them!

I would not suggest FoN as a main build item with this character. FoN is very well served on champions running high hp items such as warmog's and frozen mallet. These champions are usually fighters with 3 or 4 damaging abilities that need just max survivability to be effect and are NOT highly mana intensive. The veil, I feel, is a much better option for Alistar. The extra damage on the active is one more helpful damaging tool for a character that to some extent lacks teeth. Additionally, the veil helps your mana pool, which gets eaten up in a hurry by your large mana costs on abilities. Nothing is more frustrating on Ali than having the tools to be effective, but not being able to use them due to not having mana.

Rylai's is incredible for Alistar, if you know how to use it effectively. Most fighters only have one gap closer ability, while you have two CC's. By adding Rylai's to the mix, you can kite enemy melee indefinitely. This allows Ali to solo many AD champions that he otherwise would have no chance against. But that's not to say this is a solo only item. It also allows easier ganks on those he initiates on and supports allies by slowing potential aggressors. I've recently discovered a direct correlation between being successful and having this item. I'm not only going to stand by buying it, I'm going to rework the build order and move it up!

I find it interesting that you mention not buying void staff and rylai's but say nothing about the liche bane. The simple fact is that the 3 items in combination give you an offensive tool kit and taking one out of the build greatly reduces the effectiveness of the other 2. The whole package allows you to dish damage in addition to supporting. Ali needs this in Dominion because you will often be in positions to do great things, IF you can hold your own against a single opponent. Dominion Ali needs some teeth.

Your last comment was about Ghost over one of the other two summoner skills.

I do not suggest this. While ghost can play an important role for many champions in Dominion, I do not feel Alistar is one of them.

Ghost is great for champions that have a mobility theme built into them already. Champions such as rammus, eve, janna, ect should run ghost or flash. This is because of champion roles. Certain champions fit into the capturer role. They roam the map looking to take undefended bases and show up places they aren't expected. Alistar, however, fits more into a defender/ taker role. He'll be with his carry taking a base or under his turret defending. In either scenario, ghost isn't necessary. While with your carry, your movement is restricted by how fast your carry can position himself and if you are defending, movement isn't a benefit at all.

I do believe that Ali is best served as that immovable object- the battlefield controller who supports his carry to the extent that they have to bring superior numbers to win a fight against you. That's how Ali forces his advantage- not through mobility.

The itemization, as you put it, is AP oriented- I guess?

When I build Ali for normal games, I don't focus too much on damage and instead build him to survive focus and disrupt the enemy.

I build him more aggressively (and think this is the proper way) in dominion because I feel it's more effective.

The enemy, if they are good strategists, are going to using the best strategy to counter your defense when attacking. This often will mean splitting the defense and making them defend multiple bases at once or having the capturer back door. Ali needs to be able to be at least solo-effect enough to win a 1v1 against a capturer, if not a carry.

The guide is a bit AP heavier because you will need to 1v1 and you don't need to survive a full 5 man focus, because team fighting is very limited. I do NOT suggest building full tank in dominion. Instead build tanky dps. Only get items with defensive stats that have offensive components. The Frozen heart has mana and CDR in addition to armor and the AS debuff. The Veil has the offensive active and mana in addition to the MR, health, and 10% magic damage reduction. The ring similarly has health (defensive), mana regen, and AP (offensive). The Liche Bane has utility benefits of movespeed, defensive magic resist, and the offensive AP/triggered.

Alkling wrote:

I just tried Alistar for the first time and this guide was a TON of help. I won two games in a row, never losing bot CP on either one. Though I did take flash on the second one. Even if there's a lack of team fighting, flash pulverise then headbutt nabbed me quite a few kills and point captures I could never have gotten otherwise, so I hope you'll reconsider not using it.

I won't/can't deny that flash is a great summoner skill for Alistar in ANY format. And by your comment of holding bot, I see you are playing him as a Defender role. While this is a legitimate way to play him, I find Ali to be very influential in capturing and holding the windmill at the beginning and holding on to it. Therefore, while defending is a major part of play, supporting allies and being on the offensive front is also a priority for my play style. Exhaust and ignite are skills that can be the Achilles's heel of many champions and also make the cow a very formidable opponent in a 1v1 scenario. For these reasons I favor them over flash. I also feel that flash looses some of it's luster because positioning is easier in this format and opportunities to initiate 3v3+ fights are pretty uncommon. Additionally this build is a bit more offensively oriented so your survivability is lessened and the passive 15% armor pen and 5% magic pen don't help your survival odds if focused either. Therefore flashing into a group of enemies to grab one isn't as viable.

Flash is fantastic in normal games where Alistar serves as a great initiator who can disable and reposition a target for focus. In normal games there is a pretty clear line of "our side" and "their side." And all routes to "their side" are warded to high heaven when the other team is experienced. Since ideally you want to be behind your target for headbutts, flash is very useful because simply flanking the enemy with out being detected is difficult.

Offensively in dominion, however, defenders will generally stay within the tower's range and the tower can be safely encircled as there are paths around them. This makes flanking defenders very easy without flash.

Defensively, you can hang out in the brush near the speed boost, or in the brush behind the point. These two positions allow you to flank a capturer without them seeing you setting up a headbutt on them.

What I'm getting at is that since the lines of control are not distinctly defined, flanking enemies is easier, and since this is true an experienced Alistar doesn't need flash.

Given, there will be instances when a kill will be obtainable only if flash was chosen as a skill, but more often exhaust and ignite will net kills/win fights in this format and all you can do is be BEST prepared for the MOST COMMON scenario.

If your play style accommodates flash more than the other options, by all means use it. But for the way I play Ali and for this guide (on how I play Ali) I will stick with what's proven its value.

Vexxer wrote:

I started with your build/guide and it really helped me out. Since then I've tried going more offensive earlier on and it works well for me.

If I have trouble surviving I trade in for the defense earlier but the boost I get in early game from getting Sheen makes me nearly two shot Teemo's and Vayne's early on. Well anyways:
Prospector's Ring + Boots of Speed + Pots > Ionian > Sheen > Glacial Shroud > Rylai's Sceptor > then either Abyssal Sceptor or Frozen Heart, then finishing Frozen Heart regardless > Lich Bane > Void/Rabadon's Deathcap(if no magic resist)

Try that out and see how you do? I mostly solo que, though just started playing with a group lately. At higher rankings its possible this build would fail but having that power early on is really nice.

What you are saying here falls well in line with the guide. The itemization is about the same, but the build order is altered a bit. Your build order is ideal against a squishy team that you can kill in a single spell rotation (you mentioned Teemo and Vayne, two popular squish champs in dominion). Your listed build order is, however, less powerful against teams of hardier champions where you'll need more survivability and shorter cds early on.

The fact that you are playing solo also suggests that you are playing more independently and less carry support (which isn't a bad idea since playing carry support isn't as effective if the carry isn't a good player [and most pugs are terrible.]) If you are playing independent Ali a.k.a. Solostar, then building more offensively is definitely suggested.

So it's a give-and-take to player preference/best team strategy. That's being adaptable! And being adaptable will make you a much better/more successful player than having one build order that you always use. I highly recommend changing up the build order in response to the opponent and your teammates. The order I have in the guide is a general order that I most commonly use against a balanced team with average skill teammates. It's certainly not the only one I use. In fact, if you look at the pictures I've posted, I don't have the exact items in my guide in any of those games.
ZeeWolfz wrote:

Definatelly A great Guide, Well Written, Well Explained. Though, Alistar its not given to play for all, Its skill-based champ and In most rounds you will meet either x4 AD or x4 AP so you wont have the room to build offensive without being burned down in seconds. But this is great for easier teams, the ones that you "Feel" Victory before hand. Alistar is my main And your guide trully came closest to my liking! =)

I read through this a couple times and I'm not sure what you're getting at. So if I don't reply with the response of your concern, you can make another comment and I'll try again. But, what I think you are saying is that since you often will see 4 damage dealers of the same type of damage, you won't want to use the build order that I list? And that's true. You need to adjust you build to your opponent. We like to see 4x AD or 4xAP because then you can get two defensive items of the the appropriate type and become nearly invincible and then work on offensive items and mop the floor with with.

This build is set up to face a balanced enemy comp. That's the opposite of a free win team.
lolali wrote:

Great guide, thanks.
Only 2 comment i have.
Do you really manage to get that many items? In about 100 games I had, I only managed to get to Odyn's Veil once or twice, let alone the other stuff.

I'm surprised that with your devotion to defending you don't get Garrison. It's just so useful for interrupting multiple opponent capture or when you are too far to hit with abilities and the base is 10% or when you get pushed with a wave of creeps. Or plain fighting against multiple enemies under your tower.

No, I normally won't complete the build. Typically, I'll get the Odyn's Veil and the game will end shortly after. I've gotten to Void Staff three times ever. And people exploded when I did, but it isn't typical. The only time this will happen is when you (personally) are dominating but your team is awful. That means you are losing and recapping (which gives a large amount of gold) bases all over the place and you (personally) are getting a high amount of killing blows.

I've never been impressed with garrison. I find exhaust with cripple to be a much more effective way to punish tower divers.

The fact that you can channel a garrison'd point makes the skill really under powered IMO. Very rarely does a garrison saves a turret in a 2v1 from my experience.

Garrison provides no benefit away from the points and little benefit on enemy points.

In all, I'd say that garrison is an underpowered SS that's a waste to get on any champion.
S0lut10N wrote:

This is a great guide. Really the only thing I can argue with is your stance on Garrison. Garrison is far from useless if you know how to use it correctly. I consider it a must on Ali. First off, it interupts channels from range. I can't count how many times ive been on route to a node and would have lost it without interrupting their channels before I even get to the node. Follow it with a headbutt on the nearest enemy and thats basically one man down. Second, it adds heavy dps that you need when up against multiple opponents, especially on Ali who can CC everyone on the node and prevent them from channeling. Finally, it helps stop a couple enemies who are pushing a big minion wave because of the regen it applies to the turret. Not to mention reducing an enemy turrets dmg by 80% for 8 seconds is also nothing to sneeze at, though its admittedly less useful than applying the summoner defensively. All in all its a fantastic spell and I really feel that a defender without it is gimping themselves.

I'm not trying to tell you that garrison doesn't have its uses. Garrison is useful sometimes. Ignite and exhaust (especially) are useful always.

(My statement was that garrison is underpowered, not useless.)

Garrison is a ranged channel interrupt primarily. The regeneration helps against large creep waves, but won't do you much against a second channel.

The attack speed part of the skill is pretty much a wash. Most opponents are not going to stick around and derp in the buffed tower unless they are channeling it. You can sometimes CC enemies inside the buffed tower, this often will net a kill. But, you can do the exact same thing with exhaust or ignite the difference being that you can use them for this purpose away from the towers as well as at the towers.

The offensive part of garrison is really not great on Ali, all you have to do is flank and headbutt and opponent and they are out of turret range entirely. This is harder to do against certain opponents, but it's success rate is high enough to significantly devalue this aspect of garrison.

The fact that you just need to channel a tower from the edge of its range as apposed to melee it, as you do in classic games, makes garrison underwhelming IMO.

Garrison is able to do a lot of little things. The problem is, the scenario has to be just perfect to get it to do more than one of those little things.

That's not to say that you can't use it. I don't like it and it doesn't fit my play style. But if it fits yours, more power to ya!

I'm not sold on your opinion about Garrison. I've taken it in almost every game, and it has both been a great defender SS and a great offensive SS. Tower diving with garrison up has spooked many opponents into submission as they just stand there and take damage, wondering why their turret doesn't hurt me. Or, they push into the lane with a mass-load of creeps and one garrison nullifies almost the entire wave.

You are true about one thing. In the jungle it's a useless spell, however since I play either attacker or defender, I'm always near a turret.

It's under utilized in many games, where it's massive range can save an otherwise neutralized CP.

tl:dr IMO Garrison is on par with other SS's.

Again, use it if you want!

But your opponent being ignorant of a seldom used/new game mechanic that is powerful if ignored does not make it truly viable. People will, sooner or later, recognize the skills visual graphic, understand the mechanics involved and react accordingly. That is, if they have an IQ greater than a hamster (so about 50% of the time).

Personally, offensively, I don't think it benefits Alistar much. Because in the case of you diving, you plan on killing something quickly or getting it out of turret range and Ali has his ult to mitigate the turret's damage already, plus some defensive itemization.

Defensively, creeps really shouldn't be building up against you. You have pulverize which decimates creep waves. I go over a tactic of headbutting the enemy champ and pulverizing the creeps to clear creeps without taking damage from the person pushing. As long as you have mana to do this, you won't need the regeneration of garrison because large creep waves should never occur.

So as I said earlier, the largest benefit Alistar gets from garrison is the ranged channel interrupt.

Again, if you are sold on it, go for it...but 90% of the players out there do not use garrison (93% by my tally).

I took a sample of 20 games to see what people were using for summoner skills for twenty games with 9 people each game (I excluded my self as to not contaminate my sample) this is what I saw.

Exhaust: 142
Ghost: 93
Ignite: 61
Flash: 32
Garrison: 12
Promote: 11
Heal: 4
Revive: 2
Clairvoyance: 2
Cleanse: 1

Overwhelmingly, exhaust is the most used summoner skill.

Ghost is the second most used probably push ahead of ignite because of the capturer role being dependent on it.

Ignite is number three and these three lead number four by a considerable margin.

Flash is number four. While powerful, it suffers from the really really long CD so most players have turned from it.

Garrison starts the summoner skills that are largely unused. You could argue that people don't know how to use it yet. But IMO I think people turn from it because it's just not that strong...

Promote was most used by the bottom laners, but even they have turned away from it mostly. I saw multiple Heimerdingers with it though.

All 4 heals were on Poppy. Not really a surprise...

Two revives, one on Yi and another on Eve

Two CV's one on Nid and another on Jayna.

I saw one cleanse on a Riven.

Given this is a small sample size in relation to all games played, and I did play with some friends (we all swear by exhaust and most use exhaust+ignite in dominion- which may have swayed the results slightly, but I didn't tell them I was counting either.

The masses say that there are options better than garrison, it isn't just me...
Atomix wrote:

love this build. its made alistar my new fav champs. i usually throw thronmail in my core build. i know its situational but it just usually works so well for me.

I don't think you're the only one who's made Ali one of their fav's I have trouble getting him in draft these days!

Thornmail is a very good situational item. But I wouldn't suggest it for a true core build item for most champions.

It does have the highest armor value per gold of any upgraded item in the game and also the most armor per item slot. This makes it a very powerful option against AD heavy teams. But the item does literally nothing against mages (with the exception of sheen users, it helps a little against them). Against auto-attackers especially, the item is amazing.

It's one of those items that I consider during the loading screen whether or not I'll grab it. More often than not though, I see more AP damage champions than AD these days.
Aeni wrote:

Hi there,
first of all: I love this build. You really put a lot of work into it and the result is exellent.

There is only one thing that wont really get into my mind.
Your math about the void staff and it's efficience doesnt match with the math I did about it.

I'm only talking about the magic penetration part. the other values like AP, AP ratio, etc. don't effect that.

Your math:
100 MR - 8,55 flat magic penetration (runes) = 91,45 MR
91,45 MR - 5% magic penetration (aura) = 86,8775 MR
86,8775 MR - 15% magic penetratio (masteries) = 73,845875 MR
73,845875 MR - 40% magic penetration (void staff) = 44,307525 MR (~44,31 MR)

I don't understand why you don't just add up the percentage magic penetration (5%+15%+40%=60%) since it is the same kind of reduction.

My math looks like this:
100 MR - 8,55 flat magic penetration (runes) = 91,45 MR
91,45 MR - 60% magic penetration (5%+15%+40%) = 36,58 MR

Since you put that much time and work into this guide I suppose that I am wrong, but I don't get the point why.

This is a good question, Aeni.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for game balance), multiple %pen effects don't add cumulatively, but are instead calculated independently. It doesn't matter what order you calculate the reductions in, as the commutative property applies. But the effects don't snowball- as that would be sickeningly over powered (as your math shows lol).

Hence why the math is the way it is.

If this weren't true, every AP champion in the game would be forced to buy a void staff and get the AK talent; MR would essentially be a washed out stat and there would be no counter...
Pyjamas wrote:

Im new to alistar and I dont play tanks often. I run this build exactly the same except for the movement quints (I dont have them, didn't want to buy them so I use flat hp) I see why u need them, but I still come in the top 3 most of the time, and get to be first usually at some point in the game. This guide is excellent and I will continue to use it (no wonder its the top rated build)


First off, thanks! I'm honored to have your first comment and your nice comments.

Concerning the move speed quints: this is really player preference, there really isn't a right or wrong answer for quints. Personally, I like the quints because they allow me to more easily dodge skill shots, position headbutts, escape/kite, or chase down opponents. I would highly suggest eventually purchasing MS quints to try them out. 4.5% MS doesn't sound like a lot, until that first time you get ganked and simply walk away from it. One real advantage to them is that with just move speed 2 boots you can max range pulverize and get on the other side of them before they can move or retaliate for a headbutt up the lane. This is a subtle but often out-come changing advantage.

Other perfectly viable options would be: Flat AP, MR, or Armor. I tend to stay way from the heavily nerfed flat HP runes. But, if you enjoy them, go for it.
Zalastra wrote:

Great guide, helped me a good deal getting started with alistar now that he's free. Will most likely end up buying him and become my main character to play with on Dominion.

I only disagree with one thing on the guide: the boots. I really can't live without the mobility boots. I must say that I don't have momevement quints but I dont think they'd help me enough to move away from the mobility boots. They just feel so essential to get in position. Either for kiting from a good angle, avoiding skill shots or rushing to an ally to aid. I get a kindle gem for extra cooldown reduction and put three points in the cooldown reduction mastery in the defensive tree. I also like the kindle gem because it builds into an hextech sweeper if you're up against stealthy heroes. Alternatively I guess it would be viable to go for a Fiendish Codex to build into a deathfire grasp.

I've never really gotten close to finishing the build though. Only had one game in which I was able to nearly finish my build, but had to go tanky that game as I was the only one able to counter the enemy fed ad sion and was getting focussed a lot. (And well what's better than being focussed as tank) Ended up winning by just a few points :D


That may be the best way for you to go then. Personally, I find the CDR really helpful early on. And Ionian boots are a very effective CDR/gold option.

I don't want to say positioning isn't important, because obviously it is. But unlike in normal games where you have strong turrets and long laning phases, Dominion is more direct in its PVP combat early on. As such, importance shifts more towards doing higher dps and having more CC's and away from sitting in a bush waiting for the enemy to make a mistake. Hence, I take the CDR boots over the swiftness.

firerebel wrote:

Rylais slow lasts as long as your stun does, so its useless there, literally. It will only have the chance to work for .5-.7-8 seconds max on your headbutt, so that only leaves trample... Is the 15% slow really worth it?

Pulverize will trigger trample and pulverize is an AoE ability. What I'm getting at is that while they are slowed while in the air, you aren't losing anything by double CCing them since the Rylai's slow from pulverize isn't any different than from that of trample.

Headbutt, on the other hand is another story. There is actually no stun associated with headbutt, just a 650 distance knockback. The knock back takes about .5 seconds. That means the full effect slow is effective for 1 second. It may not sound like much until you get knocked into a turret or a carry and realize you're moving at a snail's pace.

You're point is somewhat valid. You don't get the full effect most of the time. But a near permanent 15% slow is nothing too small either. Cass gets a Rylai's for the same effect as a core item. Singed does commonly as well. Alistar's goal is to be disruptive, and this makes him especially so. A permanent 15% slow means a world of difference to your carry, and to yourself as you both kite your target effortlessly. To mitigate the slow low, the whole other team is going to have to make substantial mobility purchases. 1 person's purchase effecting a whole's team to mitigate is a huge advantage.

That's not to say the slow is the only thing the scepter offers either. There are good/relevant stats on it as well.
Buri wrote:

I made an account just so I could post this comment. :D

First off I wanted to say thanks, this guide has been a great supplement to my already established knowledge about Alistar. I mained Alistar before this guide and this guide has really made playing him a lot more fun and rewarding.

The reason I am making this post is to discuss a few things with you. They mostly have to do with some of the mechanics for Alistar and hope that if we can agree you'll add the information to your guide.

The first mechanic I wanted to discuss with you is the Headbutt into Pulverize combo. The reason for this is because I feel it's one of Alistar's strongest features and that not enough players actually know it even exists. If you happen to know know about it, or for anyone reading this comment who doesn't, I'll explain it. Alistar has the ability to combo his headbutt directly into a pulverize resulting in what is best described as a mini Unstoppable Force. It works excellent as high burst damage, a gap closer, and general CC. Of course, being able to know when to combo them together and when to use them separately is very important.

I think you could have used that well in your arguement against Garrison. Of course, you could more in depth explain its mechanics, usage, advantages, and disadvantage. I just think you should make a mention of it.

I've successfully managed to interrupt 2-3 even 4 champs who were channeling a capture by Headbutt Pulverizing into them. There really is no other time, other than by sheer chance, that you'll have multiple champions bunch up that well than when they're channeling a capture. Because of this being able to pulverize them all is a very usefull skill to have. But as soon as you are within attacking range they'll peel off and start attacking you. Luckily, Headbutt has such a massive range and chaining it into Pulverize will almost always catch them off guard. Especially if you're headbutting from the other side of the wall. Essentially Headbutt can replace and even outperform Flash as a gap closer.

The other mechanic I wanted to talk about was using Headbutt to knock champions into walls. This is where I really wanted to start the discussion with you. You see, I've been noticing that knocking champions into a wall with headbutt seems to have an odd stun effect on them. I wanted to see if you might've been noticing this as well or if it's all just in my head.

If what I'm experiencing is actually real and not me over thinking what could just be having knocked the brain out of the player himself, I feel this is also worth adding into your guide; strategic knocking into walls.

My theory is that the travel time, as short as it may be, must carry out no matter what, regardless of whether a the travel distance is achieved or not. If I'm right what ends up happening is that when someone is knocked into a wall with headbutt the travel time that isn't fully realized forced the player into a pseudo stun. I guess you could essentially call this a glitch, as it also varies in results. Whether it's a glitch, a manipulation of the game's physics, or simply knocking a player into sheer stupidity, I think that this should also be offered as a tip, I think it's worth bringing up.

When I first read your post, i thought that I had covered theses techniques and you had over looked it, but reading through I guess I did forget to mention those (if you write enough guides about a champion you start forget to write about certain things your previous guides covered.)

But yeah, lets go over these quickly.

QW combo is an Alistar combat staple. You'll use is mostly for chasing and occasionally for bursting and the cc effect is similar to Unstoppable Force as you champion will lunge out and pop the enemy in the air. Headbutt and pulverize damage is applied to the main target and pulverize damage applied to any nearby targets along with the knock up.

A good Alistar will know when to use this and when to not. Unlike Malph ult, you won't want to use this to engage because if you do, you be spent for cc and channeled ults like Crowstorm Death Lotus and Absolute Zero can now wreck your team.

But in a focused burst and especially while chasing, this is an excellent tool.

To perform this, you'll first want to be in headbutt range. You need to know you are in headbutt range because immediately after using headbutt you need to hit pulverize. You have just a fraction of a second to hit q after performing w to make this work making it one of the most difficult skill combos to master in the game.

Practice it before attempting this in a game.

Your observation about headbutting into walls is also accurate. What would have been travel time is turned into a stun duration if you hit them against a wall. I'm not sure if this is intended or not, but it has been this way since Ali's release.

This is especially useful when working with a teammate (especially an AD teammate). If you headbutt normally, you'll have pushed the opponent out of attack range. But if you push them against a wall, you both get full dps time on them. If you are trying to kill a target, headbutting into a wall will net you an auto attack and a second and a half of trample damage.

Also consider your carry's abilities. If you have Poppy or Vayne on your team. Headbutting against walls becomes even more rewarding as your carry then gets a stun and additional damage. See Heroic Charge and Condemn.

Thanks for bringing those tactics up!

Thanks for the comments and hope my feedback is helpful!

Guide Top

Guide History:

Sept 26th: Guide is created.
Sept 28th: Late game itemization is reworked. Comments Section Added. Minor typos corrected.
Sept 30th: Pictures Added.
Oct 3rd: Build order reworked slightly. Rylai's crystal scepter brought forward and upgrading frozen heart delayed.
March 3rd: I made some stuffs pretty with colored text.
March 10th: When to use summoner skills section added.
October 28th: Itemization Reworked due to new items being available in Dominion including the obnoxiously over powered Blackfire Torch.