Alistar Build Guide by Leaguecitizen
Alistar High-Level Guide - Includes Video ExamplesBy Leaguecitizen | Updated on December 23, 2019
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Runes: In my opinion the best rune setup to climb without duoing
++8 ability haste
+8 Magic Resist
Ability Order Order of ability maxing for effective climbing
Threats & Synergies
Ban this champion every game. There's a simple reason: her E. Regardless if the Morgana is good or not, just knowing that she has that spell shield to block all your CC, requires you to change your playstyle completely. Not banning Morgana while playing Alistar is a cardinal sin.
Brand is a big problem in lane. His consistent damage output is always a threat. This is a very passive lane for Alistar, where you won't be able to do much without your jungler. However, Alistar is one of the most flexible champions in the game. Through distance management and effective usage of your flash, you could easily get a kill or more bot lane and take control of the lane through your pressure.
Braum is a big threat in many ways due to his passive. Play around this by roaming, set up by ideal back timings. Through roaming, you decrease the value of the countermatchup.
A very good Thresh can make this an even matchup, but most Threshs aren't that good. He can flay you out of your W, but it requires great timing on his part. If you get a gank and Flash W-Q on him, it's almost guaranteed he won't be good enough or able to react in time.
I don't feel Lucian himself is that strong as a champion currently, but his kit works well with your W-Q combo in terms of following up with his E.
Strong synergy with Draven's Blood Rush and high damage. Be careful though - in this type of lane things can go VERY wrong if you're not on the same page. The playstyle of you and your ADC needs to match strongly for this lane to work. 99 % of the time, my ADC's have no idea what they're doing, so champ synergies in bot lane means very little I feel. In a way, you could consider the synergy to be at 1 when taking the madness of Solo Queue into account, and differences in playstyles.
I feel like Alistar actually has good synergy with Jhin, but Jhin's reload time and the necessity of him landing his W and being in sync with you makes things difficult. Too many variables that can cause many things to go very wrong in Solo Queue.
I dislike laning with Tristana due to her E passive, which automatically shoves the lane. Because of this, you'll be vulnerable to ganks constantly, unless the enemy botlane mindlessly shove the wave back. When the wave is shoved into the enemy turret, it also makes it harder for you to make plays based on bad positioning by the enemy in lane. Her W gives her the ability to get out of tough situations independently (possibly while you're roaming), and to engage whenever you W-Q. This allows for decent synergy.
Champion Build Guide
Throughout my journey, I've learned what builds and runes work best, and how to effectively carry games playing a tank support with virtually no damage.
My YouTube channel actually has several video series that feature my climb from Bronze to Diamond, almost exclusively playing , in entertaining, informative 3-minute videos you might want to check out :)
In each video, I break down specific things you can do and improve upon to elevate your own gameplay, which I in part will go through in this guide.
If you want to master , I strongly recommend you check them out.
Here's a video in which I apply many of the principles featured in this guide:
Another focus I have, is to explain why you should do certain things.
Understanding the reasoning will give you deeper insight into what it means to play League at a high level.
Before the laning phase
The reason is simple: is contingent on consistently auto-attacking to make it worthwhile.
As , our main focus is to make use of our crowd-control (cc), not auto-attacking.
Defending against invades
After getting , and , move to defend against potential invades.
It's always important to defend against invades, every game.
How do you defend effectively?
On Red Side, stand in front of the entrance to your Blue, but not too far into the river.
Use your to ward river at 1:25 when on Red Side, unless one of your teammates does it.
Sometimes, they'll ward the river Pixel Brush, however this is done erratically, so don't count on it most games.
The reason you want to ward at 1:25 is threefold:
1. Warding at 1:25, still leaves you time to help your jungler leash.
2. If the enemy late invades, you'll catch them on the map.
3. Warding as late as possible will catch their jungler's rotation if he either tries to steal your Blue level 1, or goes his Red, then River for a surprise early gank, which is pretty typical pathing early game. If he doesn't invade to get your Blue or try to pull off an early gank, that still gives valuable information about his pathing.
As you can see, the importance of the Pixel Brush/River ward is extremely important.
What about Blue side?
Same principle, but this time you want to stand in the brush closest to your tower bot side (Blue side tribush).
Start walking towards river at 1:11 and ward in the middle of the river at 1:15, before returning to either leash for your jungler, or simply going to lane to wait for your wave to spawn.
I recommend staying in tribush after warding at 1:15 if you're not leashing, and only walk out of tribush when your wave is close to your turret.
Be careful about lazy pathing when your wave spawns - this applies to both Red and Blue side.
When on Red side, I recommend pathing through the tribush and not going into River.
When on Blue side, I recommend pathing from tribush downwards to your lane safely - not walking into River.
Lazy pathing can give the opposing team an easy First Blood, or both you and your ADC's flash; don't let this happen.
Here's a video series showing my climb out of Silver, while applying these principles:
The flow refers to who's in control.
Don't base how you're going to play on the matchup; botlane is so much more complicated than that.
The CS difference between yours and their ADC, the ability their support has to harass and dwindle down your and your ADC's HP, not to mention individual, mechanical skill differences.
All these things are part of the flow of the lane.
A significant CS difference and one ideal back timing will change the course of an otherwise favorable matchup into a nightmare.
Therefore, in my opinion, it's so much more important to be able to read the state of the lane based on all these factors, to figure out what the best approach is.
How do you play in lane?
Oftentimes, I'll play pretty defensively overall.
At the beginning of the lane, I might try to go for a level 2 W-Q, or I'll be wary of the opponent trying to do the same thing, and play back if I see that they'll get level 2 first.
At level 2, I'm actively looking for opportunities to make plays - and not just in my lane.
If my jungler comes, I'll definitely try to make a play, and if not, potentially go mid.
If you notice the opposing midlaner playing aggressively, and playing far up, it's your time to shine.
Typically, you'll want to push your own wave bot into their tower before you roam. But playing creatively and unpredictably is also a part of League.
Even with the opponent dominating your lane and pushing their wave into your tower, don't let that discourage you from roaming.
If you feel like there's a good chance you can make a play mid, go for it, seriously.
Also keep in mind, if you're getting pushed into your own turret, that's a great opportunity for any good to punish bad positioning.
In this scenario, that would mean something like a moving up to poke with W, and you immediately -flashing and her into your turret.
If you time this type of play with the enemy having few minions left within turret range, that makes it even more effective, because the turret will automatically target the person you into the turret's range because there won't be any more enemy minions left to focus.
Here's an example of how I'll play the laning phase:
It's not that simple.
The way I see it, scaling is not simply about HP or Mana increasing with level, or powerspikes related to itemization.
In Alistar's case, I'd say a big part of his scaling, all the way from early game to late game, is his ability to roam.
The more the game progresses, the fewer towers there are, and the more opportunities will arise from bad enemy positioning, and your own vision control through and Ward placement.
Don't be swayed by what any guide or player tells you.
With any given champion, there are a multitude of playstyles.
Something I want to reiterate: doesn't necessarily scale well in the conventional sense, but fewer towers increases your ability to make plays. This is Alistar's form of scaling.
Knowing this, how do you concretely approach the mid game?
Regardless if you lost lane or not, there are now many ways you can impact the game heavily.
This is done by quick rotations made possible by your . Accordingly with your movement speed, controlling vision becomes a primary point of focus. What good are fast rotations if the enemy sees you coming?
Making sure you're utilizing to its fullest potential is key. Buy as many as possible at every back, but always prioritize your main build components first.
Place semi-aggressively. On both Blue and Red side, warding Pixel Brush is always a good idea. Through this checkpoint, you have some Dragon and mid control, and an easy way in to set up your wards.
Besides Control Warding Pixel Brush, it's also an idea to use a Control Ward in the Dragon Pit. The reason being the opposing jungler might try to sneak it early. Remember, spawns at 5:00. There are several champions who are able to solo Dragon this early. , and to name a few.
With experience, you might want to tailor your warding pattern depending on certain champions and matchups, because player's have specific tendencies with those champions. Knowing their tendencies, means increasing your own chances of winning.
Let's keep things simple for now: using your Control Ward in the Pixel Brush or Dragon Pit are both good ideas. Based on my own experience, it became increasingly important to ward Dragon Pit as I climbed, because people were routinely trying to secure advantages to stay ahead, and would take any chance they'd get. With no vision, it's very hard to punish this way of playing.
At lower elos, a well-placed Pixel Brush gave me a way to consistently get deep wards in the enemy jungle, or gank mid.
At higher elos, Control Warding Dragon Pit early (after my first back), let me control the pace of the game much more. If I saw the enemy try to get Dragon, I'd thwart their attempt by spam pinging and rotating immediately.
Both wards are good, but their functions are vastly different.
Understanding the differences should be the basis of your own warding pattern in game.
I want to circle back to something I mentioned in this paragraph: What good are fast rotations if the enemy sees you coming?
This is true, but only in part. Being innovative is a skill in League too. It's not just about playing by the book. If you understand the rules, you can break them and surprise your enemy.
Let's use an example, and see what we can learn from it: laning phase is going even. The enemy midlaner is smashing your midlaner. Toplane is even. You want to win because you're in promos to Gold.
You want to roam mid and make something happen, but as you're contemplating doing that, you notice that the enemy has Scuttle Vision. You already started walking towards River, and if you turn around and path safely, you won't get to midlane in time because the wave will reset.
Normally, you'd just go back and give up on the idea.
Going in a straight line to mid through Scuttle Vision isn't going to work because they'll see you coming, right?
Not necessarily. Assuming that the enemy will realize you're roaming, even when they have vision of you, is a big mistake. This is contingent on their skill and how good they are at the game. This is a loophole you can utilize in many situations - exploiting the enemy's lack of skill or game understanding. Be unpredictable; create chaos - go against the mold and make your enemy uncomfortable. Countless times I've done this exact thing, all the way up to Diamond, and I can speak to its effectiveness. 70 % of the time, even walking over Scuttle Vision, I'll still pull off a gank mid and get a kill or a Flash.
Knowing about this loophole, let's you take advantage of it.
Never restrict yourself, not from any guide or any video.
Minion wave reset when pushing into turret: Minion wave into turret will reset quickly due to the turret focusing minions, as well as the opposing team's wave reaching your minion wave first.
Straight line: Going in a straight line saves you time when pathing/roaming, but is much more predictable; it's easier to land skillshots on you.
But that doesn't mean you should play passive or too defensively.
If anything, it's even more important late game to make use of any small positioning mistake or rotational mistake the enemy makes.
The easiest way to win as in a late game situation, is through vision control and then play-making.
Control vision, which leads to openings to make plays, which then leads to advantages like towers, baron or dragon.
This is how you want to approach every game.
Here's an example of how to play the entirety of the Early Game, all the way to Late Game:
Try to secure hits on melee minions and cannons whenever possible to maximize the effectiveness of this item, as well as proccing its active as early as possible.
Melee minions give more gold than ranged minions, while cannon minions give the most gold.
Two Health Pots help with survivability, and is very good to ward river early, as well as securing deep vision in their jungle when roaming.
Always go , every game, regardless of team composition.
is both a defensive and an aggressive item.
In lane, it allows you to make plays because of your increased movement speed, and it also allows you to roam quickly and unexpectedly.
Whenever you find yourself in a bad situation, the increased movement speed is often a lifesaver.
Never go anything else besides > > > , early-mid game.
This combination is insanely good to carry and consistently make plays, with or without .
After , it's a decision between , and .
Let's keep things simple:
when the opponent has immobile to semi-mobile champs that want to get to your backline and wreak havoc (think , or ).
when either or both sides have team compositions that lead to frequent teamfights. Also good to buy when the opposing team has a lot of mobility or gap closers, that make much less effective.
upgraded to if the enemy team has heavy AOE magic damage (think or ).
There's not one specific way to play League, both from a total perspective, as well as an individual perspective based on a respective champion.
You can play completely differently than me, and focus much more on lane domination than roaming if you can make it work.
Figure out which way you like to play, and play to that playstyle's strengths.
To figure out what your playstyle is, try things out; make mistakes and learn from them :)
To learn how to combine all the principles you've read about in action, I recommend checking out the video below, where I break down my decision-making throughout a full game in Diamond:
If you liked this guide, consider following me on either YouTube or Twitter :)
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