Alistar Build Guide by bive
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+30-270 Health (at levels 1-18)
Threats to Alistar with this build
|Galio||tell team u will ult his ult then q him|
|Sejuani||never cc her like malphite|
|Kennen||team fight: save W for his ult, tell team that this will be your job|
I am low challenger of season 4 in NA and I fill during rank. I do not have an impressive win rate with this champ but he is my most played in season 6. I am making these guides for myself and friends mainly so sorry if you're looking for visuals. I am top 1000 Alistar on lolskill.net for 2016, but I do not know how good that website is compared to 2014.
updated items and mid game chapter 4/21/16
Updated skill usage, team fighting, when to pick alistar chapters and morgana matchup 4/25/16
updated thresh matchup 4/27/16
Updated braum, elise, and trundle matchup 4/29/16
added ezreal matchup 5/1/16
Updated soraka matchup 5/3/16
updated when to pick alistar and items chapter 5/6/16
Added aurelion sol and maokai match ups 5/7/16
updated when to pick alistar and early game chapter 5/9/16
Updated dragon chapter 5/20/16
updated when to pick alistar chapter 5/25/16
Added katarina matchup, items, when to pick alistar and items chapter 8/12/16
updated tahm kench matchup, alistar runes and runes chapter 8/29/16
Updated leona matchup, masteries, and masteries chapter 9/6/16
updated mid game chapter and vel'koz matchup 9/10/16
Updated when to pick alistar chapter 9/22/16
updated when to pick alistar chapter and added kennen matchup 10/8/16
Updated jhin matchup and when to pick ali, masteries, and items chapter 10/15/16
updated leashing, early game, and baron chapters 10/17/16
Updated when to pick alistar and masteries chapter, lulu matchup, and masteries 11/28/16
updated items and skill order; updated items, the level one before minions spawn, leashing, early game, mid game, late game, and dragon chapters 11/29/16
Updated runes; when to pick alistar chapter 12/9/16
updated when to pick alistar and conclusion chapters 2/18/17
Updated matchups and skill usage to replace old E 3/9/17
updated masteries and skill order; masteries chapter 4/26/17
Updated yasuo and elise matchup; added anivia matchup 4/28/17
updated runes; when to pick alistar and runes chapters, removed masteries chapter 12/13/17
When to pick alistar
As of patch 7.24, the supports that are competitive or strong in no particular order are Xerath, Alistar, Shen, and Miss Fortune. Alistar should be picked when you have at least zero tanks and/or engage. He is good at ganking mid with jungler, but your mid needs to be a viable champion to succeed. Alistar is primarily a roamer since your solo kill potential is low unless your laners burn cooldowns(use skills and miss or use on minions) for example going for a trade when Janna shield is down or going on the other that isn't shielded. If you have a tank and have good engage, then its better to play Karma, such as teaming up with Kennen and Skarner. Disclaimer: Not fully updated for preseason/season 8.
Flash is mandatory for all. When I think about Exhaust and Ignite, I think about when we 5v5 is there someone on the front line that I need to exhaust? For ex. Yasuo, Riven, Fizz, Annie, Rengar, Vi, Zed, and more would need exhaust. If there is no one in the front to exhaust, you take Ignite since it would be very hard to exh their adc. An exception would be that if your team has no answer to Twitch you would have to use all your skills then flash forward and exhaust him and sacrifice urself. You can take Heal if your adc uses Cleanse. You can also take Ignite if you have a strong early game adc. Get Ignite with Kalista against caster adc and Exhaust against auto adc, can lvl 2 gib all in vs support with no Exhaust with Kalista w/ Ignite.
Locket of the Iron Solari prioritized most if they have double ap, Ziggs, Rumble, or Karthus since it is 60 second cooldown you can fight often against mikael users, then Mikael's Crucible if they have critical cc, buy Refillable Potion in your first or second back and if its past 2 backs then just buy 1 health potion. Buy 2 Vision Ward every back after lane phase. If no towers have died then only 1 pink ward.
Buy boots as your first core item for warding the enemy jungle with jungler or warding defensively around mid lane after backing. Boots of Mobility helps roaming after pushing lane if the opportunity is there. If your mid is not gankable, buy Sightstone instead so you can ward mid and bot and change trinket. It is preferable to get Boots of Mobility first. Can get Boots of Mobility when against 3+ slow .
Your adc will play back when you're gone or else you have to tell him to wait at tower. Come back to your adc when the minions are gonna hit your tower.
Banner of Command is only bought when they have only ap wave clear and their ad is short range.
Frozen Heart if Locket of the Iron Solari/ Banner of Command or Mikael's Crucible is not needed, but bought after one of those items.
eye of the equinox is not best anymore since Ruby Sightstone is the quickest item power spike. This helps stacking hp to make face of the mountain effective.
Elixir of Iron when full build or when a fight is happening soon.
You should have Vision Ward at all times, even for full build, you will have Vision Ward item slot.
Against full ad teams who have hard cc like a stun, get Mikael's Crucible after Ruby Sightstone and face of the mountain, then Frozen Heart. If they have no cc to crucible, then get Frozen Heart and either Knight's Vow or Randuin's Omen.
You can get Targon's Brace against range supports if additional sustain is needed and nothing else to buy.
You should always time the enemy summoners and let ur adc kno if ur summoners are down. Flash without Insight is 5 min, and with it is approximately 4 min 15s. Exhaust, Ignite, Cleanse, and Ghost are 3 min 30s and with the mastery 3 min. Teleport is 5 min and with mastery 4 min 15s. Heal is 4 min and with the mastery 3 min 20s. Flash, Ionian Boots of Lucidity, and Insight makes Flash become 3 min. Buffs are 5 minutes if you dont have vision of their buffs to make use of riot's buff timers. Dragon and baron are timed by the game scoreboard. inhibitor is 4 min.
Actions per minute; you should try to never stand still. It will warm up your hands if you keep clicking left and right. Also do some wrist exercise so you don't develop anything bad.
Alistar can Pulverize Flash, do not use Flash q since it is too slow. You can auto once if they have no spells to stop you and they have no flash after you q, unless its max range q flash. Pants are Dragon made a good video about regular q flash, but not max range q flash. https://youtu.be/XMAvVgOBnCk?t=134
You should save Headbutt Pulverize combo until enemies are grouped together.
You should use Headbutt Pulverize when your jungle gank is coming from the side or behind them. If jungler is lane ganking then you do q Flash then walk forward to w your target to your allies.
Unbreakable Will can be saved for removing cc, but for team fights should be used right when you take damage or after using Pulverize.
You can disrupt some dashes. You should keep an eye on channeling enemies to stop them with Headbutt or Pulverize Flash.
Never use Headbutt Pulverize on tanks when carries are nearby, save them for zoning carries.
Do not use Pulverize when about to hit lvl 2; do not use Headbutt without Q in lane when initiating trades.
Don't Headbutt a weaker carry from your stronger carry; W someone else with cc up or dmg.
Do not use skills on minions for the sake of farm. Enemies can be nearby and punish your team.
If Headbutt can displace enemy into wall, you can put one auto attack in usually then Pulverize. If he can't reach the wall then do W Q.
You can do Flash w q combo if your W isn't max range after you flash to give enemies less time to react. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2XtGiT2JNM&feature=youtu.be&t=2071
Use Headbutt on minions or someone in your escape path if you are trying to gain distance from an enemy.
Importance of vision control
In my early game section later on you will read about how to deep ward. Why should we deep ward? It lets your team know where the jungler is so everyone can play more aggressive if they can. Without knowing where the jungler is everyone will risk getting ganked if they play aggressive, especially under enemy tower. Your team can get buff timers, set up counter ganks if your team is stronger 3v3 or 2v2, and gank without fear of a counter gank. Maybe even kill the jungler while he is doing a camp. Warding river will not be enough since junglers can lane gank, even behind their tower without needing to go in a lane bush.
The level one before minions spawn
Skill Q right away. You should defend a choke point safely. If defending raptor area do not stand in bush. If defending mid lane then have vision of both bushes and no need to have vision of their tower. You should use your trinket ward somewhere generally at 0:45, unless you see a group of invaders then you ward where you are escaping to. If you ward in front of them, they can kill it. A delay invade optimally happens at 1:35, so warding at 0:45 at a decent spot to see the invade coming will let your team respond accordingly. If an enemy sees you when you are about to ward, its better to back off and ward a spot that they cannot see even though it is not as deep.
If jungler starts on bottom buff, then it is really helpful for you and adc to help leash and tank 1 hit each for jungler until 1:44 which you then go to your lane. You should not worry too much about a cheese in the river as purple team if you trinket warded well during the 0:45. Same with tri bush as blue team. Ask your jungler to start top, so you and adc can take control the lane by pushing or freezing. How to control lane will be in early game chapter.
Generally for all lanes, if you have more minions you can go aggressive if your adc follows up and you know where everyone is in the map; but not past the minions if you need your minions to help fight the enemy champs. If there are 10 enemy minions and you have 3 minions just back up all the way to tower as you will get collapsed on by the enemy. Since you will not lose any cs(creep score), you might as well go back to tower anyways. It takes 9 minions as duo lane to get lvl 2 so you should count both minion waves to see if you get lvl 2 first, they get lvl 2 first, or both sides will get lvl 2 at the same time. If they are getting lvl 2 first then you're gonna have to back off far and ping back your partner. If the lane is even then you have to be cautious. Only do short trades when playing aggressive or else you take too much minion damage.
Recognizing tower dives
You should watch your lane and your teammates to see if they have the factors of getting dived. The most obvious one is low health. Others are no flash, huge incoming minion wave, and champions missing. If you pay attention to other lanes or yourself, you can warn the possible dive and move your jungler, others can roam to help, or get in a spot for a safe teleport, all to turn around the dive. If none of the responses are available then the possible victim must leave. The duo lane should generally be together when the minion wave is at their tower, or else the enemy duo can 2v1 dive the lonely bottom player. Tell that bottom player to leave or call others to turn the dive around.
Farming under tower
Towers will prioritize minions toward the bottom of the lane first. During early levels you can auto once on a full hp caster minion. The caster minions near the top of the lane will most likely get hit by your minions which means you need to auto those more than once or not at all.
Generally you recall when your adc is recalling or dead. Best case scenario is you know where everyone is on the map and you can safely push to their tower if you have more minions or freeze when they have a bit more minions. You can recall before a siege minion wave(which spawns after 2 minion waves during early game), so that by the time you go back to lane you won't miss out on too much cs since siege takes a while to be killed by tower as well as enemies can't push that fast.
If you killed your enemy laners and you do not know where everyone is on the map then you should go to your tower and recall. Do not risk getting killed by their jungler or whoever. If you got a successful jungler to gank you then ask him to push with you unless you are all low enough for a triple kill. After recalling, buy while walking to edge of fountain always until 20 minute mark.
Ask your jungler to start top. If your jungler starts top, then you and adc should control lane. Be in the enemy lane bush and then push or freeze minions. To freeze, you stand in their lane bush then exit to take aggro then go back in bush so that their melee minions are clumped and will hit your minions harder, making the enemy miss one minion.
With the new jungle, you must beware of a lvl 2 or 3 gank by the jungler if his red buff is bottom side since junglers can do red then krugs and get lvl 3. In the level one chapter, your team must put down some vision to learn where the jungler started as well as keeping track of who leashed to know if a lvl 2 gank is possible.
Level one is alistar's weakest point. Use a Total Biscuit of Rejuvenation when you are 1/2hp. You usually don't push the lane. It takes 9 minion kills for duo lanes to level, but with a jungle camp a duo lane can become lvl 2 after 3 melee minion and 1 caster minion ; 1 melee minion to 3 caster minion to 1 melee minion .
After lvl 2 you should play passive unless you know where everyone is in the map. Combo whenever the enemy adc and support are next to each other, you and adc are healthy, you know where everyone is in the map, and back off after for a short trade. If going all in make sure enemy Teleport is down or your allied Teleport is up.
Ward mainly when you push to enemy tower and let your adc know to back off; you can also fake ward by walking to a spot and pretending to ward. Only use your cc during all ins or ganks, as it takes away mana from your Triumphant Roar and baits your adc to a bad all in. You can use cc if it can hit one when the other is far or both of them and you know where everyone is.
If the mid or jungler(who is missing the most) is missing then you should expect a gank and should back off. Watch for Teleport as well as you can't all in unless your jungler and your teleport(s) is ready to help. Get all 3 skills lvl 3. If jungler comes from behind you then Headbutt him immediately to your tower so you can gain distance away from their duo. If jungler uses summoner spells then you use summoner spell(s) as well. Call jungler to break freeze.
After first back get a Control Ward and run in jungle near mid lane to ward the river bush near mid towards dragon or to deep ward the enemy jungle that isnt the buff bush. The deep Vision Ward in jungle will take the most time and highest risk. It is best to ward and roam with jungler. Try to ward the gromp area/ raptor area as that is the easiest after your lane is pushing(preferably under enemy tower), tell your adc to play back or follow you as you deep ward so he doesn't get 2v1. For warding the raptor make sure you see the wraith camp to see their jungler. For warding the gromp you dont need to ward the blue buff bush, just ward over the wall that can see both blue buff and gromp. If you see their jungler and he can 1v1 you or is not scared then you should just back off and ward a spot where he can't see you place since he is preventing u from deep warding. Generally when your jungler comes, you let him show first before engaging since you don't want to die in a 2v2 before your jungler gets to do anything.
As purple team, many blue team players pink their tri bush at bot. It is very risky to take out pinks without your jungler, so instead you can ward these spots to see an incoming gank from the jungle but not from river.
Try to gank mid and call jungler to gank with you during incoming siege wave or after backing. Flanking in lane phase you get next to them to burn Flash then Pulverize Flash, walk forward then Headbutt. If enemy mid is already in combat then do w q combo instead. If your mid is dying then Flash w q. If enemy has no Flash, then w q can be enough with your jungler and mid. If behind him and he has no Flash, then w him to teammates then q only if jungler is not next to you. All of this can be done in bot lane as well when coordinating a gank with jungler.
Mid game generally starts when a tower dies or when someone gets lvl 6 as they can tower dive. Call for help to ward enemy jungle if your team is ahead. Always have 2 pink wards to contest objectives. When you are lvl 9 you need to switch to Oracle Lens. Buy Elixir of Iron when you expect a fight. Flank with Unbreakable Will behind enemy towers and tower dive when your team outnumbers them. Keep track of Teleport first.
Get all tier 1 towers, trading towers is fine.
You should generally be grouped with your team, not hang with adc. Don't let your teammates push past river without grouping to ward enemy jungle. If your team is even then generally ward rivers and wait for next dragon fight. If your team is behind then generally ward your jungle/river and hope to get a pick.
Try to get enemy buff timers then set up a minute before with deep wards and a pink when your team is ahead. As support, you do not go to a lane where there are massive minion waves going towards your tower as you need to group and control vision.
Your team can make plays when your massive minion wave is pushing by making a play on the opposite side of the map with an objective or decent minion wave to push. Or use the big wave by going with the huge minion wave for a strong siege or tower dive in that lane.
With baron buff, don't dive to see if your team can get tower without fighting. At inhib towers, if all inhib towers are up don't dive up front unless they make severe positioning mistake only, not skill cd. Beware Frozen Mallet and Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
Always have a Control Ward slot. Do not put down a pink if you are not contesting the area. Only engage in fights that are ideal and you know your team can win. If your team is grouped and one of you gets picked on, disengage immediately and try to save your teammate. Usually a fight ensues from that since no one can afford to lose a teammate at this stage of the game.
Try to slow push a side lane by telling your a teammate to leave 1 siege minion and 2 caster minion alive, so you can coordinate a timed push on the other side of the map w/ the massive wave. If there is backdoor pressure on your base, then ward up your jungle with Control Ward and Sightstone wards.
Only do dragon when 2 enemies are dead or at base & while your team isn't low, or it is a free dragon. A free dragon is when the enemy team is aced, their teleports are down, completely cleared their vision, they're taking top buff, or recalled to base.
If they have Shyvana, Fiddlesticks, Nunu, Master Yi, Udyr, Shaco, Elise, Karthus, Lee Sin, and possibly more(not to mention laners helping out), then you need to keep it warded from a specific lvl onward for a possible sneak.
If the enemy starts dragon, poke them until dragon is half hp, then fight. Poking them makes them disoriented to either finish, run, or fight. Dragon does aoe so if you start it, have one person in the pit to tank it away from team.
Do not do elder dragon with 2 people or less.
When securing baron for bait or to take, you want to deep ward and ward surrounding bushes to keep from getting stolen or to get a pick. Do not exclude the tri bush towards top lane.
As purple team you want to pink outside the pit and sweep inside the pit.
As blue team u want to pink in the pit near the entrance so that the enemy doesn't kill it over the wall.
Do not stand behind baron when taking it. It does damage to everyone standing behind it.
Your teammates need to have sweepers and pinks to help. As for positioning when taking baron you need to stand outside the pit with your carries. As for ward kills in the pit, support should be the one since support's dmg against baron is least important. When the enemy is in the baron pit, hit the baron to make it hit your enemies. Never use your cc at baron when enemies are around. One person should zone the enemy team if they are coming to stop the baron attempt. Communicate with your team beforehand to finish, run, or turn to fight.
At 20min and onwards you must ward it against sneaks from high objective junglers such as Nunu, Udyr, Karthus, Fiddlesticks, Master Yi, and possibly more(not to mention laners helping out).
Alistar should be flanking when Oracle Lens is up if team has no melee carries, except in their base. Can flank behind tower by using Unbreakable Will.
After using Headbutt in a flank, stay with enemy team and get ready to Pulverize when the w'd person comes back, ult.
Late game when flanking, headbutt adc or immobile channel mids like Vel'Koz.
Don't flank if other lanes are pushing and without Oracle Lens.
Can't flank when they have glass cannon melee. Be with team at all times and use your skills only on the glass cannon melee. Tell team to focus them and not the backline.
At all stages of the game, whether 5v5 in river or 2v2 in lane, you must tank skill shots for your allies.
Alistar is very strong and versatile. He is hard to play mainly by decision making. He can work in all team compositions, but is behind the mentioned supports in the When to pick alistar chapter. All questions in the comments will be replied by private message.