Alistar Build Guide by yogidabear
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Not Updated For Current Season
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Hello and welcome to my first guide here on Mobafire. I have been playing/maining Alistar since the game was released and have seen his amazing defensive capabilities turn losses into wins in Dominion. If you think having a good KD ratio or having the highest score are important stats then read no further, this isn't the guide for you. Its not uncommon to end up 3-8 in 5th place on points and be called a noob because people don't understand how you are helping them secure the win. If you value the most important stat (destroyed enemy nexus) then please read on.
- King of Defense.
- Ult + stun + Garrison makes enemies think twice before diving your tower.
- Enemy team wastes a lot of time killing you and need 2+ people to do so.
- Loads of CC.
- Annoys enemy by hanging out so close to their spawn point.
- Very influential in winning games.
- He's a Minotaur.
- Low damage.
- Might not have a great personal score since defense is underrated by the score system. This could also be a pro since the scoring system is flawed.
- Might have low KD ratio. Doesn't matter since you will probably win anyways.
- Defense style of play isn't for everyone.
Ghost and Exhaust
In a map where speed is of the essence, Ghost works perfectly. I use it at 1:20 when the gates open and run to the Windmill via the speed boost in the jungle. When you are in danger of dying, Pulverize + Ghost away into the jungle works well quite often.
When the enemy team tries to dive you on the node you are defending, Unbreakable Will Pulverize and Exhaust will make them wish they hadn't.
Other Viable Spells to replace Exhaust:
Garrison I like to win the initial fight at lighthouse and this doesn't help with that.
However, if you only own 2 nodes this can help a great deal to secure your 3rd while you tank the tower damage, maybe consider if no one else on your team has one.
Flash Helps you avoid crucial skill shots, and can be used offensively to secure kills. It doesn't really fit in with the idea of defense though, you want to defend your node for as long as possible.
Don't Use these:
Promote Your job is defense, not pushing lanes.
Revive 9 minute cooldown in a 20 minute game is kind of steep. You can use this twice? No thank you.
Cleanse Your ult cleanses you, if you need another then Quicksilver Sash.
Heal Exhaust late game prevents more damage than heal heals.
Clairvoyance Most of the map is visible already.
Ignite Your job is defense not racking up kills.
Clarity Pretty useless on most champions since healthpacks give mana. Maybe try Anivia or Amumu.
Smite Worst choice possible.
Pick up all three skills at the start for the fight at windmill.
r > w > q > e
Multiple cappers capping the node I am defending tend to spread out so Pulverize isn't so effective.
A typical node defense would be:
Headbutt the first guy.
Run to the second guy and Pulverize (he might stop capping and dodge it)
Autoattack third guy.
I max Headbutt first since it does more burst damage and it is harder to avoid. People know the range of Pulverize and will run out of range of it. In addition, maxed rank headbutt is 1.8 seconds shorter cooldown than maxed rank pulverize so you can use it more often.
Max Pulverize second to help clear minion waves that reach my tower and get them to stop attacking the tower for a second.
Max Triumphant Roar last due to 20% reduced healing effects in Dominion.
With 40% CDR you will have the following cooldowns:
- Rank 5 Pulverize 7.8 seconds
- Rank 5 Headbutt 6 seconds
- All ranks Triumphant Roar 7.2 seconds
- Rank 3 Unbreakable Will 48 seconds
9 Greater Mark of Magic Penetration(Flat magic pen) Your weakness is low damage and these help a bit.
2 Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction(Flat CDR) You need 1% CDR from runes to cap at 40%.
7 Greater Glyph of Magic Resist(Flat Magic Resist) Helps you survive the initial fight at windmill and throughout the game.
9 Greater Seal of Armor(Flat Armor) Counters tanky melee AD that a lot of people like to use.
3 Greater Quintessence of Armor(Flat Armor) Counters people I consider dangerous like fed Graves Tryndamere Vayne or Lee Sin. AD usually scales better into late game in my experience so counter with additional armor. If you don't own these then insert whatever defensive quints you have to counter the enemy team here. (magic resist, flat health, dodge).
Finished Balanced Build:
If the games goes any longer than this which is unlikely sell Prospector's Ring and pick up Odyn's Veil or Warmog's Armor.
I start with Boots of Speed Prospector's Ring and a Health Potion for the fight at lighthouse. Prospector's ring gives you a nice health boost, some damage and enough mana regen to keep you comfortable for the rest of the game. The health pot is for intense Lighthouse fights where you need the extra 200 effective health.
Alistar's most important stat is cooldown reduction and as such we will be "maxing" it to 39.95% which is for all intensive purposes close enough to 40. This leads to building Ionian Boots of Lucidity next followed by Glacial Shroud. As a general rule I usually build the defensive components like Chain Armor first and things like Sapphire Crystal later if I have to make a choice. At this point we are doing good on armor but weak on magic resist so lets build a Negatron Cloak. Finish off the Frozen Heart to max your CDR. Now turn your Negatron Cloak into a Force of Nature which is great because it counters mages, gives you movespeed which is great on Dominion, and health regen is great for sustained defense of a point.
Next up is Sunfire Cape if their best fed players are AD, or Odyn's Veil if their fed players are AP.
Next up is Giant's Belt for more survivability and turn it into Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Health works really well with Alistar's ult, 500 heatlh on Rylai's becomes 1666 effective health during an ult as well as giving you a slow for kiting purposes.
Of course if the enemy team is heavy AD or Heavy AP you need to adjust accordingly. Not going to go over this too much since the actual game strategy is much more important than the specific items you build. Just focus on the core items and keep an eye on what kind of damage the enemy team has most of and counter it.
I'll do the summary first since this section is fairly long followed by a detailed explanation for those that want to learn more.
Summary: If you own 3 nodes, defend the closest node you own to enemy base Enemy mid > Enemy bot > Lighthouse. Attack and cap the least defended node if you don't own 3. Push minion waves if people are ignoring your node(not too far though or people will neutralize before you can get back). Have map awareness on the location of all enemies and if they move greatly out of position leave your node and cap something if they are ignoring you. If someone on your team is sitting on your secured node "helping you" defend it, tell them to go defend something else, cap something, gank someone or farm.
To keep things simple I will call the 5 nodes: Enemy bottom, Enemy mid, Lighthouse(top), Friendly mid, and Friendly bottom.
Ghost out of the gate at 1:20 and head top to lighthouse via the speed boost in the jungle. Alistar does not need to farm gold in bottom lane nor does he need to cap mid which is gold better used on your carries. Your friendly mid capper should keep an eye on the enemy mid capper and if they skip theirs you should skip capping yours so you are 4v4 top and not 3v4. Once the fight breaks out you are always looking for opportunities to Pulverize more than 1 person, Headbutt that pesky Garen away from aoe'ing your team down, and spam your heal on cooldown. Headbutt someone to charge in, Pulverize multiple people, and then back off and wait for the cooldowns to come back. If your cooldowns are down try to get the near healthpack even if its just to prevent the enemy from getting it and don't forget to use your Health Potion. Also if both teams are at a Mexican Standoff you should always be looking for a chance to sneak off and cap enemy mid.
IMPORTANT: If you control 3 nodes Alistar should always defend the closest node you own to the enemy base(Lighthouse, enemy mid, or enemy bottom) in the following order of importance.
- Enemy mid.
- Enemy bottom.
The reason for this is that the enemy is lazy, and will attack the closest thing to their base if the defenses are weak there. So to counter we send our strongest defense to hold it. Furthermore, if you own enemy mid, you probably also own friendly mid and friendly bottom since they are on your half of the map. Enemy mid is nice and centrally located and you can push minions in either direction towards the enemy controlled lighthouse and enemy bottom if people are ignoring you(which isn't likely).
"But wait!" you might say, "yogidabear you're a nub, you'll never be able to hold enemy mid solo they will hit b, and send 3 people to kill you and take it back". This is exactly what I want them to do. True, I cant hold them off forever but they will take so much time taking me down that the rest of my team is 4v3 or better and free to do whatever they want. They might surround my tower and start capping it from multiple sides, at this point headbutt one, pulverize the next, autoattack the next and repeat. If they get bored of this and dive you or they end up neutralizing your tower you pop Unbreakable Will and Garrison if your tower is still active. Then Pulverize when you feel like you will die soon and head towards the nearby health pack using Ghost if they are light on stuns and you think you can make them waste more time on you. They will most likely pursue and the reason you go towards this healthpack is because it is far away as possible from everything. If you don't have lighthouse capped you don't want to drag a bunch of enemies towards lighthouse as you are making a tactical retreat because they will kill you anyways and this saves them some travel time to lighthouse which your team should be grabbing since they are 4v3 or better. Any move that wastes multiple opponents time gives an advantage for your team.
If you don't own 3 nodes for some reason your team should be attacking the least defended place. Since the enemy owns 3 they most likely own Lighthouse enemy mid and enemy bottom. Based on this their least defended spot is probably enemy mid but of course this varies from game to game. Map awareness is key as if you see 4 enemies attacking your friendly bottom, lighthouse and enemy mid are probably really easy to take and you can just retake friendly bottom later since its so close to your spawn point.
The key to this strategy is the enemy takes much longer to kill Alistar than your team takes to kill whatever defense they have. They need at least 2+ people to take you off of a node so the rest of your team will be at an advantage of 4v3 or better. Keeping this strategy up you end up trading nodes back and forth which is a good trade since you already own 3 and they didn't really accomplish much trading one node for one. If they realize what is happening and start ignoring you then they will start attacking the much further away friendly mid or friendly bot which is nice and close to your teams spawn point and easily taken back.
A note on "Pillar Humping":
If you have ever played WoW you might know what this is but basically it involves getting someone to chase you around a pillar so that they keep losing line of sight and can't attack you continuously. Luckily there is such a pillar very close to the enemy mid health pack. I have used this strategy with a team that was having a really hard time capping 3 nodes. 1v1 it will take someone an incredibly long time to take you down like this so usually they get annoyed and bring more people to come kill you. Again you annoy them ult, cc them, and drag them as far away from what your team is trying accomplish as possible.
Yes its suicide sometimes, yes its a thankless position, yes you are giving them gold, yes you might go 2-10 and be 5th on points and be called a noob even though you end up winning the game, but you are Alistar. Even when the sky turns black from arrows and all hope is lost you show no fear and will do whatever it takes to buy your team the time they need to win the game. Even if you are giving them gold its not a big deal, they could have probably got more gold faster by killing a few minions. If through all your efforts your team still doesn't capitalize on all the time the enemy team is wasting on Alistar then you were probably going to lose no matter what anyways. This being said, I feel that this strategy is extremely powerful and will turn the outcome of the game to your favor. Enjoy!