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Alistar Build Guide by rival kaz

Comprehensive guide on how to milk a cow (jungle & sprt)

Comprehensive guide on how to milk a cow (jungle & sprt)

Updated on October 28, 2012
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League of Legends Build Guide Author rival kaz Build Guide By rival kaz 149 11 1,173,870 Views 68 Comments
149 11 1,173,870 Views 68 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author rival kaz Alistar Build Guide By rival kaz Updated on October 28, 2012
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Alistar
  • LoL Champion: Alistar
  • LoL Champion: Alistar
  • LoL Champion: Alistar
  • LoL Champion: Alistar


LoL Summoner Spell: Exhaust


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


Cow announces retirement

WOOOOOOOOOT this was an awesome year, an awesome season.

Hitting 600 000 views, and holding the 2nd place for Alistar guides for a couple of months
was awesome.

Me and alistar had some fun back when he was at his prime, but following multiple nerfs (his heal, his trample, and his headbutt range) made me stop playing him because in my eyes he just wasn't strong enough.

Additionally the reworked jungle for season 3 will be too much for alistar to handle.

Having said that, I no longer have any motivation to work on a champ that riot has destroyed. And so I will not be updating this guide for season 3 :(

However I have fell in love with jungle cho'gath who I believe will be a dominant force in the future. Expect a guide near the end of the year.

So in the meantime farewell mobafire, forever my favorite website.
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A little bit about me and Alistar
  • Alistar was the first champion that I bought
  • He currently is my main
  • Plz don't hate, this is my first guide
  • Leave some constructive criticism in the comments
  • Oh and many thanks to JhoiJhoi's guide to making a guide

So without further ado here you go: how to milk a cow.

EDIT: Thank you everyone for their feedback and votes it was all very helpful. I've hit 4000 views and this guide made it to the top 5 :) Special thanks goes to all the review shops, bros who go around upvoting guides, and of course jhoijhoi who has helped nerf walls of text. You guys are the best.

A big thank you to Ssenkrad II who supplied with the masteries for my jungle Alistar build.

Credits to jhoijhoi for the template, which you can find here.
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The four builds

Support: At the moment support alistar is not the best support ever since the nefs on his headbutt's range, and heal. He does not excel at pealing like janna or lulu, his burst isn't amazing like taric's, he doesn't match sona's auras, and his kill potential isn't as good as blitzcrank's. He is an all around great support but not the best.

Attack dmg: With Alistar's dmg reduction on his ulti, he is an absolute beast in teamfighs, fulfilling both the role of tank and carry, just gotta survive the laning phase.

Ability power: Gone are the days of ap alistar, but he can still be fun. Try it in a normal game to have some fun, DO NOT RECOMMEND for serious play.

Jungle: Used to be the most op jungler in the game (some still consider him to be), his lvl 2 ganks, and turret diving ability are absolutely monstrous. The only problem is his slow clear speed, weak dueling, and mana problems. CURRENTLY BEING REWORKED

Pro: This is the build that all the pro, platinum players use etc......... It focuses on pure utility and auras instead of dmg.
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Tank Cow

Alistar can be played in a multitude or roles: as a tanky cow, support cow, tanky ad cow, or ap cow.

I will go through the pros and cons for each type of roles for alistar
Pros / Cons


+ Does not die
+ Excellent turret diver
+ Can tank anything

- Almost 0 aggro
- Not the best tank
- You can't milk those
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Support Cow

Pros / Cons


+ Is still pretty tanky
+ More useful to team than full tank (imo)
+ Good carry protector
+ Useful auras for team

- Can die pretty fast
- Can not initiate/ dive as well as tank cow
- you can't milk those
- Need a good carry to babysit
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Abilty power cow

Pros / Cons
ability power


+ Dps Cow
+ Tanky dps with ulti
+ Potential to one shot ad carries


- Very Squishy when ulti is down
- Item dependant
- Nerfs to ap ratios made this cow not do dps anyomre
- Huge cooldowns early game
- U can't milk those
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Attack damage cow

Pros / Cons
Attack damage

+ Dps Cow
+ Tanky dps with ulti
+ Amazing at teamfights
+ Huge ad boost with ulti
+ Will make people want to focus you

- U can't milk those
- Very bad early game
- Use at your own risk, can't guarantee it will work
- Considered a troll build
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Runes and Masteries

I am no pro at runes and masteries. In this guide I would like to concentrate on how to play the champion rather than find the perfect rune/mastery combination. Feel free to use my setup, create your own, or follow someone else's.

Although as a support I encourage you to get Awareness , since I frequently find myself underleveled because of roaming/ dying to save the carry.
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Ability Explanation

  • TRAMPLE: Mainly use it to farm minions

  • PULVERIZE (Q): use it to knock people up, more on that later

  • HEADBUTT (W): Use it to push people around, video on how to use it below

  • TRIUMPHANT ROAR (E): A small heal for yourself and your allies

  • UNBREAKABLE WILL (R): Makes Alistar take reduced damage and deal more damage.
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Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells

Flash: Mandatory for Alistar for his Q+W combo (more on that later)
Clairvoyance: The check bush for Garen spell, use it to save team mates *** by giving vision, use it to help track running enemies, use it in case you forgot to ward baron or dragon, use it to gank and avoid ganks... The ultimate support spell
Exhaust: A good spell to shut down that pesky Vayne, Tryndamere, "enter carry name here". Can alo be used to slow champion down so that you can Headbutt them back into your team-mates.
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Other Summoner Spells

Other summoner spells

Flash on cooldown, being chased by five angry summoners after stealing baron, feel like taking a stroll under enemy tower, wana gank?

Great for saving yourself or your carry, also useful in teamfighs. More on this later.

This spell does not show its potential until late game, ex. in a last desperate teamfight at your base, you are the ad carry but immediately get burst down, reviving will give you another chance at winning.

Are you a jungler?

Do you want to punch people really fast while Youmuu's Ghostblade is active, and your ulti. Trust me you'll hit like a truck, and take it like a Malphite.

You have a built in cleanse in your ulti so... its up to you.

Use your mana wisely and you shouldn't need this, but can be useful if you start with Ruby Crystal

Want to get first blood? Want kill Tryndamere, wanna crush Vladimir? take this a leave a trail of fire and destruction behind you.

Need farm? Need to push a lane? Need to make a minion's day? Answer: Promote

Want to get somewhere asap? Want to defend a turret? Want to get to that huge red minion wave before Corki? Want to backdoor?

Can help you get to your lane faster to help out your carry, defend a turret, join a teamfight, backdoor, and much much more.

If you like spamming your abilities, staying longer in lane, supporting your team-mates, pick this spell up.

When you want to take a stroll in the jungle.

For escaping and initiating purposes. Pretty straightforward.


You shouldn't be taking the kills

This will push your lane (not good), and useless once superminions spawn. Doesn't help in teamfights. AVOID.

If you get stunned you can just pop Unbreakable Will and wobble away. And since you are very tanky, you don't have to worry about being one-shotted.

There's a better summmoner spell called don't die

With this, a Youmuu's Ghostblade, a 6 item build, and Unbreakable Will, you will win a 1v1 against anyone. Still not viable unless you go for the ad troll build.

More useful if your carry picks this up (more heal). NOTE: Your heals are only half as effective once you use this.
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How to CC

CC means croud control, its the art of deciding the outcome of the battle by stunning,snaring, slowing, pushing, etc... Alistar has two CC abilities: Pulverize and Headbutt.

Combo number 1

You can use Pulverize to knock someone up, walk past them and then Headbutt them into your team, this is the most basic of Alistar's combos.

Tip: Headbutt enemies into turret range for an easy kill early game

Combo number 2

You can Headbutt enemy champions into a thick wall to stun them (the time normally spent in the air is converted into stun time). Once that stun is done you can proceed to pulverise them to further disable them.

Tip: Ward the bushes in your lane so that you can do your Headbutt + Pulverize combo. This will let whatever carry you are babysitting to autoattack the **** out of them.

Combo number 3

This is the most difficult of Alistar's combos, it will take time to polish but this combo is what makes a great Alistar player great. The trick is to Headbutt a target but before it flies away from your range Pulverize to knock it up. This is a great chasing, ganking, and initiating tool.

Tip: To get this combo right, wait for Headbutt to be halfway through its animation before smashing Q to Pulverize. Practice, Practice, Practice.

Other Variations

Flash + Pulverize + Headbutt
Flash past them + Headbutt + Pulverize
Exhaust + catch up to champion + Headbutt + Pulverize

Tip:Headbutt a minion or somehing to get out of sticky situations.
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Alistar has very long cooldowns (why I build so much cdr on him), approximately 5-7 seconds which means that you will probably only get to use your combo once or twice.

Things you can do:

  • If you are in the jungle try to Headbutt one of their melee dps through a wall to get them out of the fight (try not to save a champion doing that)
  • Headbutt + Pulverize to disable their carry
  • If you are playing support save up your abilities to protect your carry
  • Activate Unbreakable Will to tank at the front lines then come back to defend your carry
  • If you are playing mage or dps cow activate your ulti, dive in tank and deal dammage...profit!
  • If you have Clairvoyance pop it over your team so that they can see anybody running into a bush and give your team the advantage
  • If their are any stealth users like Akali, or Twitch drop down a Vision Ward and look at the fireworks go.
  • Don't forget to spam your heal, it really does make a difference.
  • If any opponents have channelling ultimates you can disrupt them (cancel them) by using either Pulverize or Headbutt. EX: Use it against Nunu & Willump's Absolute Zero, or Katarina's Death Lotus.
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Skill Sequence

If you want early game damage max out Headbutt, if you want more sustain max out Triumphant Roar. Usually if I am dominating the lane (almost always) I go for headbutt, if Caitlyn won't stop poking me I put my points in E. If the lane is pretty balanced put points in both abilities. I always level Pulverize last so that I always have at least enough mana for one cc.
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Starting items

Starting Items

  • sight ward : The enemy will quickly learn not to get into your combo range, the boots let you do that. Either use the ward to protect yourself from the jungler or ward the bushes in your lane so that your carry can harass them/you do your Headbutt+ pulverise combo. Health pot cuz you don't want to waste mana healing yourself with Triumphant Roar. This is for the aggressive bull.

  • : Cures your mana problems, gives you some nice health, and makes your abilities pack a little more punch. The drawback is that you don't get the speed from Boots or the vision from sight ward, and you can't build it into something else (can't rush that gold per second item). This is for the starter cow.

  • sight wardsight wardsight ward Three wards gives you the most support, you also get mana regen and Health Potion*2 which is very nice. If you plan to lane longer, and support longer go for these items. This is for the nice cow.

  • Once in a while I start out with this item which lets you and your carry spam abilities a bit more freely. Sometimes I get this item on my second trip back because of the edge it gives you against the enemy champions in lane.
  • Used to be my starter item, makes you very tankyearly game (800 hp at lvl 1 is very intimidating). Can also be easily upgraded to Heart of Gold which is nice. I stopped starting with this item because it lacked mana regen. You can try using it if you get mana regen seals and masteries.
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Ward placement on summoner's rift

Colour code:

Red: Most basic mandatory places for you team to ward. With that kind of ward coverage, ganking will become very hard for the enemy jungler.

Orange/Green: These wards will let prevent counter jungling, while giving your jungler the opportunity to steal buffs.

Purple/No colour: In late game these bushes have to be warded. Face checking those bushes could lead to your team losing. Ward, ward, ward.

NOTE: You are not responsible for warding the whole map early game (duh). Mid buys his wards, top buys his wards, jungler got his Wriggle's Lantern, but make sure that you always have vision in the bottom lane.
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Oracle's elixir

When to buy:

  • When you notice that the enemy support has 50 wards in her inventory
  • When the enemy team has a Shaco, Twitch, Evelynn, Akali, Talon, Wukong etc... that is destroying your team.
  • Before going for dragon/ baron (alternative: pink ward).
  • If your jungler is getting counterjungled hard and you are a nice guy.

Early game:

Oracle's Elixir is a great item early game of you are dominating, you can further shutdown the enemy team by eliminating their vision. It can also make Shaco, Evelynn, and Twitch ganks completely useless ( although vision wards are a less expensive alternative until you build your gold per 5 second items).

Mid game:

This is when baron/ dragon/ and buff control is most important. Get an Oracle's Elixir and start actively seeking wards and destroying them. It will pay for itself if you keep doing this and you won't get "noob ali stole all the creeps gg". Just make sure you don't die, oracle's elixir is only great if you don't die.

Late game:

Once you have completed your build keep buying oracles and wards. Preferably the tank would get one too because he should be face checking the bushes (ward everything to avoid face checking which can turn a game around if the enemy team is well coordinated).

Also its great when this happens (credit goes to Marcus Hadlock)
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  • Philosopher's stone: Gives you the much needed mana regen + gold.
  • : Increases your health pool and gives you more gold.
  • : Excellent item, gives an awesome aura + makes you tanky
  • : Cooldown reduction + awesome escape mechanism when active.
  • : Great item gives you health regen, cooldown reduction, armor , more health, and a very annoying active :)
  • : You will probably never be able to build this item since you need this last slot for wards, and you simply won't have enough money for it (curse of the support).
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Last item

[Last item (a.k.a 5th item)]

  • : Pick up frozen heart to cripple the enemy team (not exactly cripple but you are reducing their attack speed)
  • : More useful early game for the health regen, but the 230 hp shield at lvl 18 is not bad since in team fights you can shield up to 1150 hp 5*230 = 1150. And imagine the "OMG he had locket" and the "ty so much ali <3"
  • zeke's herald: Again this is most useful early game where your ad carry has not reached attack speed cap and has no or little lifesteal. If you rush this item you will help out your carry a lot early game + you get much needed cd and health. Late game you have capped your cd, 250hp isn't much, your carry has capped his attack speed (maybe offtanks can benefit from this), late game only the lifesteal is good. Basically you are a walking Vampiric Scepter.
  • : I really like this item, and is a good choice if your ap carry doesn't already have one. All abilities benefit from spellvamp . Rush this item if you have Annie, Ahri, vladmir, Cassiopeia on your team xD.

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Item Order


Starting items are up to you

You want to support: Philosopher's stone> Mobility Boots> Heart of Gold> Shurelya's Battlesong> Aegis of the Legion> Randuin's Omen> Oracle's Elixir> sight ward*infinity

You want to deal damage: Sheen> Mobility Boots> Phage> Trinity Force> Avarice Blade> Youmuu's Ghostblade> b.f. sword> Black Cleaver> Hexdrinker> Maw of Malmortius> Atma's Impaler

You want to tank: Philosopher's stone size> Mobility Boots> Heart of Gold> Randuin's Omen> Force of Nature> Warmog's Armor> Guardian Angel
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Jungling route

Okay so once you and your summoner buddies have spawned head to the jungle since that is where you will graze. Your farmers should give you a leash so that you don't get lost, (also tell them to protect your red.) Once they let go of the leash to go farm, don't be scared and slowly take down blue. After that you will have gained the confidence to butt heads with other people. Head to the top lane or bot lane and get first blood (not you but your farmers since you are vegetarian.) Then go to mid and do the same thing. After that go face the ghosts, and the big mean lizard and kill him. Then just roam around grazing on your jungle camps as they spawn, looking for gank opportunities, as well as covering for those who need to b.
Counter jungling/ getting counterjungled

BE VERY careful when entering the enemy jungle since that is the enemy wolve's slaughterhouse, if you spot the wolf stay hidden in the grass, you will have three options: kill the wolf, steal the buff, or call over little red riding Annie and lumberjack Sion for help. Be very careful with the first two options since you are not a very good dueler, and wolves generally are very fast and will eat your heart if you steal their dinner. To not get counterjungled take buffs as soon as they spawn or ward them, if your jungle is invaded call again for Annie and lumberjack Sion.

Special notice
Once in a while the wolf will come diguised as a grandma or our beloved Urf (R.I.P), that is where I give you free reign to rip that wolf apart. Tip: If the wolf tries to suppress you with his Infinite Duress just use your ultimate and break his paws.


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Jungling items

  • : Combined with your masteries, and speed quints you will have the extra speed needed to gank your opponents. Speed will also let you go around the map much faster which means more ganks and map presence. The health pots are their for the sustain since healing up with your e would take too long.

  • catalyst the protector: The perfect item for alister at this stage of game, it increases his health pool making diving with your ultimate very easy, you also get an increased mana pool for two or three additional combos, on top of that the passive will give you great sustain. NOTE: If you feel the need, buy Ruby Crystal and Sapphire Crystal, get your lvl 2 boots, and then finish catalyst the protector. I get this item instead of the orthodox philosopher's stone or the Sheen rush, since the additional health and mana is necessary for successful dives, and additional sustain.

  • : Makes you even faster, at this point farming will become a dangerous activity for enemy champions.
  • : You need to deal dmg so that your ganks net kills. With your ultimate, you will hit like a bloody truck while taking it like a bloody rock :)

  • : At this point catalyst the protector will not provide the sustain needed therefore you need his item. Also don't forget cooldown reduction + awesome escape/initiate mechanism when active.

  • : Since you are jungling you are probably replacing a tanky dps, therefore you will need to do your own fair share of dmg. With Trinity Force you will destroy enemy carries GUARANTEED.

  • : At this point in time, the enemy ad carry starts to get scary. The armour from this item and the aura will help deal with this problem + its the best item in the game (http://www.reignofgaming.net/blogs/a-different-view/diff-the-ender/20556-why-frozen-heart-is-the-best-item-in-the-game). (+ mana and cdr ftw)

  • : Despite you not being the main target by the enemy ap carry. You will probably get caught in the crossfire, so to not get one-shotted by the 1000 ap Karthus. Pick up this item + the passive will prevent you from taking a blue pill to heal after every teamfight.

  • : First I would like to extend a hearty congratulations for whomever has survived Alistar all this time. However dying at this crucial moment of the game, when re-spawn times are so long is disastrous. Guardian angel will truly make Alistar immortal (and harder to kill}.
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Thoughts about ad alistar

Being a support can sometimes become boring, you can feed your carry 5 kills in 10 minutes and you just might be given a ty in the chat box. No one ever credits Alistar for carrying a game. A long time ago you carry with Alistar by playing him as an AP mage. Unfortunately after AP ratios for Alistar got nerfed, he stopped being a viable AP cow (sad day.) After much experimentation I found that Alistar could be played as an AD cow while still getting very good results. Feel free to try out this new cow (the items are in the cheat sheet). I will post my results with this build later on, meanwhile enjoy this video that inspired me to play the cow as an AD bull. DISCLAIMER:I do not claim that this build is viable in ranked, nor do I claim inventing AD Alistar. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
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Generally you would be giving all your cs (creeps) to your carry but incase he/she is recalling
or you are soloing top:
To farm use an ability to activate Trample then walk over minions.

In the jungle use an ability to proc Trample, then wait for Trample to finish and use another ability to reactivate it.
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Lane Partners

This lane in my experience is the worst match-up for Alistar. Because of Caitlyn's range and lack of a true gap closer she will not be able to follow up on Alistar's engagements. If you have to lane with Caitlyn make sure to communicate to her to stay close and follow up on your combos.
A pretty good matchup, Alistar can lock down champions long enough for Corki to land his Phosphorus Bomb as well as a healthy dose of Gatling Gun. A well placed bomb could also give you bush vision for a quick combo.
I have not played enough games with Draven to make an accurate judgement, although my impression of him is "not bad, but not great".
A very strong lane composed of the best support and the best ad carry in the game. Graves has everything needed to sync well with alistar, burst and dash. Note: Alistar's Pulverize makes it very easy for Graves to land his Smokescreen.
You are more likely to see Kayle top rather than bot, but she is very powerful with Alistar. The slow on her q and the speed boost on her w will give you opportunities to do your combos. The dual sustain is also very nice. And not to forget the that this lane setup is the most powerful turretdiver in all of the game through Unbreakable Will and Intervention. The only con is that Kayle turns into a melle champ every couple of seconds.
No particular synergy, but I have to note that Alistar's cc combined with Kog'Maw's poke makes it very easy to zone out enemy champions.
With miss fortune's very strong early game, you can easily net a couple of kills by playing aggressive and then just snowballing for the win. Note: Miss Fortune's slow will easily let you catch up to the enemy champ for your q+w combo.
Alistar's Pulverize makes it easier for Sivir's boomrang to hit twice, but other than that nothing special about this lane.

Arguably the best match up for Alistar. All you have to do to win this lane is smash buttons. Its not rocket science Alistar, and Tristana were made for each other. I have yet to lose a lane with Tristana.

I haven't played with a Twitch since his rework so I can't say much about him.

As Alistar, using your Pulverize will guarantee Urgot landing his Noxian Corrosive Charge (unless he is absolutely terrible). Very easy lane to zone enemy champs, and even if you happen to get zoned, wait till lvl 6:
Hyper-Kinetic Position Reverser ---> Headbutt into turret range---> Pulverize ---> profit???

I have not seen much of him since his release, so all I can say is that alisar's cc makes it easier for Varus to build up his blight stacks.

Has a very weak early game, and a subpar mid game, but is an absolute monster late game. Alistar works quite well with Vayne because of their ability to lock up a target into a wall with Pulverize and Condemn.

Ezreal is my favourite ad carry, and ever since pulsefire ezreal, he has been one of the top played ad carries. That said this lane composition relies heavily on Ezreal's skill (and yours). Therefore it could go both ways (of course me being so pro I stomp every lane with Ezreal or Alistar).

Frejold Ashe's art is my personal favourite <3, and this lane matchup is also one of my favourite. People end to underestimate Ashe's kill potential but somehow I always find a way to feed my Ashe 5 kills a minute. Ask for frequent ganks, since Ashe's perma slow combined with your cc provide excellent kill potential.

The best lane partner for Alistar is actually Blitzcrank MORE SOON
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My scores:



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Final Comments

Alistar is a very fun champion to play and experiment with. Show some love and upvote, +1 whatever gives me a bigger percentage (I don't know how the system works). I wish you all good luck on Summoner's rift.

If you are bored

favourite anime: Code Geas (i know its misspelt but mobafire would censor it ohterwise)
book: The count of Monte Cristo
movie: The Lord of the rings/Star wars/Gran Turino
game: League of legends ^.^

  • 03/08/2012: Added a laning partner section
  • 03/07/2012: Added alternate runes
  • 02/07/2012: Added videos of the combos, starring me and my brother
  • 01/07/2010: Added a proper ability power Alistar build, and changed the ad build.
  • 27/06/2012: Added jungling section as well as build
  • 21/06/2012: Added warding section
  • 18/06/2012: Changed items after Ssenkrad II pointed out a massive mistake. Thank you. Also masteries mistake + changed ability priority level to R>E>Q>W
  • 17/06/2012: Added viable, and not viable summoner spells
  • 28/o4/2012: added item order, changed ad build, added starting items, fixed a couple of typos
  • 01/06/2012: added last item section and oracle's elixir chapter, changed my starting items for support.

League of Legends Champions:

Teamfight Tactics Guide