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Alistar Build Guide by SawyerNelson

Support Engage for Elo

Support Engage for Elo

Updated on December 3, 2018
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League of Legends Build Guide Author SawyerNelson Build Guide By SawyerNelson 31 1 83,504 Views 0 Comments
31 1 83,504 Views 0 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author SawyerNelson Alistar Build Guide By SawyerNelson Updated on December 3, 2018
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Champion Build Guide

Engage for Elo

By SawyerNelson

Sawyer Nelson

This guide was written by Sawyer Nelson on October/10th/2018 for free, with the purpose of educating those interested. If you want to show your appreciation you can do so by Donating via [PayPal] or following Sawyer's Social Media:
  • Twitch - (Gameplay, Personality, Commentary, and Coaching League of Legends Live stream)
  • Twitter - A trash can for my stupid thoughts
  • Youtube
  • Instagram - Clips of my gameplay, maybe a picture of me once a year
Alistar is one of the last standing legacy Supports, his kit has been relatively unchanged since his creation. Alistar's kit is basic, but very effective. Alistar has the ability immediately CC a target and stay a alive for a very long time while being on top of a lot of enemies.


+ Great Engage for his Team
+ Good Roams
+ 3 CC abilities
+ Basic and Easy to play


- Bad Laning Phase
- Only a Tank(can only deal burst damage & CC based on Cooldowns, no DPS)
- Needs follow up to his CC
- No Poke

Alistar is a CC machine, his entire job is to keep enemies locked down for his allies, the better you do that the more value you can get out of Alistar's kit, when learning Alistar especially as a new player it will put you on the right path of learning Support and Tank play. Overall a great champion with obvious strength and weaknesses.

Basically theses Runes provide Alistar with extra tankiness, and also empowers his engages because of Aftershock's affect giving Alistar bonus Armor & Magic Resist for CC'ing a target. Alistar is already cut and dry, and the rune setup empowers what he already does, rather than adding other functionality, the only big change you get to his gameplay is through Hextech Flashtraption.

Resolve Inspiration
Aftershock gives Alistar more safety & a small amount of damage when engaging, when you CC a target you will temporarily gain bonus Armor & Magic Resist. Track the 35 seconds Cooldown on Aftershock especially during the laning phase so that you can make the best engage / trade decisions.

If you get engaged on and don't proc Aftershock than you will be easily bursted pre level 6, but can be countered with Alistar's ULT Unbreakable Will.
Font of Life
Font of Life is the best option in this row for Supports that can make use of it, which Alistar can. Font of Life will proc every time you go in. You don't get tons of value from Font of Life until you start team fighting, because then 4 champions are getting value from the healing proc rather than 1-2.
Bone Plating simply blocks damage for free, it's one of the simplest and best runes in the game. Bone Plating helps at all stages of the game, negages poke during the laning phase, helps you survive in fights, and lets you soak more damage in a late game team fight, and it happens automatically super good rune.
Revitalize empowers healing from Alistar's Passive Triumphant Roar & Relic Shield, bonus healing on lower targets can come in clutch. You can get away with running this rune over Unflinching which is what most Tanks want since Alistar can instantly cleanse CC with his ULT Unbreakable Will, and also has long cooldowns so if CC'd he's probably on cooldown anyways. All of that being said you can switch to Unflinching in matchups that you would want the Slow Resist / CC Resist pre level 6 such as vs Braum
Hextech Flashtraption Lets you channel for 2 seconds, locking you in place, and then blinks you to a nearby target location. The longer you channel the Hextech Flashtraption the further you can go. You will have your Flash down a lot while playing Alistar because so much of what you do involves using Flash to engage on the enemy. Hextech Flashtraption gives you more options of play while it is down such as waiting in the bot lane bush, channeling Hextech Flashtraption while in the fog of war, than engaging on the enemy with Headbutt + Pulverize. It will also let you get over walls, to potentially surprise / flank the enemy. Alistar is one of the few champions to make use of the rune, if you have to practice it in Practice Tool to get used to using it or to get a feel for it.
Biscuit Delivery helps Alistar's sustain in the laning phase, but is mostly used for it's Mana Regen. There is no other way for you to regen man throughout the laning phase, therefore giving you are finite amount of times you can cast your abilities. This lets you get off another Headbutt + Pulverize, that you otherwise would be out of mana to cast. It's huge for the laning phase.
Summoner Spells


Ignite is great for Alistar it adds a LOT of damage to Alistar's already pretty high amount of burst damage, enables you to get kills early and snowball games.


Flash is standard on most champions, Alistar is no exception. So much of Alistar's play making potential comes from the use of, or the threat of his Flash engages.

Alistar can buffer Q Pulverize, then Flash to instantly knock up targets in the area he flashed too.

In the laning phase when the enemy is pushing into your tower, you can also look for Pulverize + Flash, then Headbutt them into your Tower.

Passive: Triumphant Roar
Alistar gains stacks when stunning or displacing enemies, and when near a dying minion. At 7 stacks Alistar heals himself and all nearby allies.

This passive, you guessed it is pretty passive, only work you have to put in is being nearby your ally laner during the laning phase to proc the heal, and during teamfights it will happen automatically.
[Q] Pulverize
Alistar slams the ground around him dealing damage and knocking up all enemies hit.

You can cast Pulverize then quickly Flash to knock up the targets hit where you Flashed to. During teamfights look to knock up as many enemies as possible with Pulverize. Pulverize can interrupt dashes, use this to your advantage.
Alistar launches himself into an enemy, knocking them backwards and stunning them.

Headbutt + Pulverize is Alistar's main combo so W + Q, you dash to a nearby enemy, then knock them up. Casting the Q after W can be tricky, and will take practice to perfect.

The extended combo is using Headbutt on a minion / champion to close the gap, then Flash + Pulverize the target.

Since you will be maxing Headbutt you will likely be able to cast it twice during a fight, potentially using it to finish off a target since it's base damage when maxed is pretty high.
Alistar stomps the ground building up stacks for trample, at 5 stacks his next auto attack stuns and deals bonus damage, like a lot of damage.

Use Trample after W + Q combo run past the enemy so you can continue to build up Trample stacks, if you stop to auto attack after the W + Q combo and while building up trample stacks the enemy will gain distance away from you, and you won't be able to either build up stacks or stun them.

You can cast Trample when you are about to be, or are on top of an enemy champion.
Unbreakable Will
Alistar gains lots of damage reduction for the next 7 seconds, and cleanses himself of all CC.

Use Unbreakable Will after you engage onto the enemies so you can either tank multiple enemy champions or a tower while diving, don't hold onto the ULT either if you dive into 5 people and don't cast it they can burst you down.

Use Unbreakable Will to purposefully tank CC, immediately cleanse it, then engage.

Use Unbreakable Will to survive longer during team fights to get off a 2nd rotation of Abilities Pulverize Headbutt Trample

Alistar's kit is simple enough, you truly have 2 abilities in Pulverize and Headbutt also Flash. These are the main 3 that you need to be factoring in when planning and acting out engages, since there is a few variations to Alistar's engages here are a couple of examples:

Basic combo:

W Headbutt > Q Pulverize > e Trample > move past the enemy & build up trample stacks > Auto Attack

Push enemy into Tower:

Often your lane will be pushed into you since Alistar isn't ranged and can't offer any damage onto the minion wave, this gives you the opportunity to Flash > Pulverize > Headbutt the enemy into your tower.

Make sure to do this when your tower isn't hitting any minions, so that it will agro them.

Immediate Engage:
You can buffer Alistar's Q Pulverize before Flashing to get the fastest engage possible, to do this simply cast Q then immediately flash afterwards, if you didn't land the knock up to where you flashed than you did it wrong or to slow. With this combo you can cast E Trample before hand as well to build up stacks as you are on top of the flashed on target.

At any time during a Headbutt you can Flash to relocate Alistar's Pulverize location, the same way you can buffer Q + Flash you can also Flash to relocate during the Headbutt. This can be useful when looking to engage on target with Flash that you are expecting to flash Alistar's W + Q combo. It can also be used as a misdirection and in general has a lot of utility and not knowing that Alistar CAN do that limits your range of possibility mechanically.
Starting Items

Starting items for Alistar never changes, you will play out the early levels 1-4 every single game with Relic Shield, 2 Health Potions, and a Stealth Ward.

Relic shield gives Alistar and his bot lane duo a good amount of sustain in lane, always use the Relic Shield on Cannon or Melee Minions since they will give you the most gold. Relic Shield's execute on minions lets you control the minion wave somewhat.

Early Build Path

> targon's brace >


> > targon's brace

If you are playing for Bot Lane and your ADC than targon's brace, Refillable Potion, and Control Wards are the best purchases. Boots will let you move from bot to Mid lane, but you really need Mobility Boots to get a gank off top lane, or a faster roam Mid.
So if you get a kill early, or happen to back with 900g than you can delay purchasing targon's brace and buy Mobility Boots, Mobility Boots allows you to move around the map and gank other lanes. Alistar has some of the best forced roam plays in the game, so know that you have the option to leave lane and make things happen around the map.

If you recalled around level 4-5, and have enough gold for targon's brace + Refillable Potion, than you should consider the purchase. Refillable Potion gives you a lot of sustain in lane, and through out the Early to Mid game, and can be sold later in the game.


After completing Mobility Boots you should look to complete Remnant of the Aspect it gives Alistar a lot of health, and an extra ward for control vision, which is the entirety of Mid Game play. Alistar doesn't have to rush other completed items either.

Gives lots of Armor and Magic resist, and adds extra damage to your binded ally (most likely your ADC) when you engage, and a small slow to all enemies around you after you ULT. Zeke's Convergencehas a good amount of utility, and is very cheap.

Best 3rd item, during the Mid-Late game is the time you will likely be able to purchase Knight's Vow is the time in which the extra Armor it offers you and your binded ally will be most important, the healing / damage absorption it offers is whatever, it's mostly a good purchase for Alistar because it's cheap and gives Armor + Cooldown Reduction during the Mid - Late Game.

Gives lot of Magic Resist and some armor, and active gives team a shield based on the casters bonus health & allies level. You want to purchase Locket of the Iron Solari later in the game because it gains more value later in the game. Alistar doesn't benefit from early Magic Resist as much as he does early Armor in most matchups, and the shield from Locket is more impactful and bigger late game.

This is the only Magic resist item Alistar needs, building items such as Spirit Visage or Adaptive Helm are to expensive and don't help your allies.

Alistar can get away with not purchasing a tank item as his last item because of his ULT Unbreakable Will. Redemption offers a good amount of health for potentially your entire team late game, just adds a bit more numbers for your team in fights, you can swap Redemption for Gargoyle Stoneplate as a last item.

Stats and Bonuses offered are almost worthless for Alistar, but the active lets you cleanse your ally of CC, would only recommend it if the enemy has lots of layering unavoidable CC such as Malzahar + Skarner + Annie. 2200g is a lot for no heal, shield, armor, or magic resist.

Quicksilver Sash lets you instantly get rid of CC, which Alistar's ULT Unbreakable Will already does, but if the enemy has multi layered CC you may need it. Like it is super, super rare that you will ever need to purchase QSS, and even when you do it will be hard to use correctly. Good Luck.

Gargoyle Stoneplate is actually a great last item for Alistar you get to use a Stopwatch one time before completing it late game can have huge impact. When completed the active not only makes you tankier, but when around 3 enemies and used it gives you tons of bonus health, making Locket of the Iron Solari's shield almost double, along with making you bigger and tankier. I didn't list it as the last item to build in this guide, because I figure worse players that simply look at the guide for the build will be able to use Redemption easier than Gargoyle Stoneplate.

Very rarely will you be playing into all Attack Damage teams, but when you do you can consider skip building Knight's Vow 3rd item, and build Frozen Heart instead. Frozen heart gives you 20% CDR, 100 Armor, and a lot of Mana. It's one of the highest Armor items in the game, abuse it when the enemy team comp sucks haha.

If you are again a Crit ADC such as Tristana, Yasuo, Caitlyn, Xayah you can replace Redemption with Randuin's Omen as your last completed item.

Early Game

The Laning Phase is very simple on Alistar, don't overthink it, if you haven't read the Ability section yet, do. Not knowing what Alistar does to the fullest limits your ability to play him well.

So, Level 1 what are you options on Alistar? You have Pulverize and Flash. So you can't do a lot, Flash pulverizing the enemy lane level 1 will almost never result in a kill unless you are against squishy champions such as Sona. You can assist your team with an invade with these to abilities, but other than that you don't do much.

When you get to lane, you can use 1 Relic stack on a melee minion, they have higher HP and it will help even out the minion wave. If you save 2 relic stacks for the 2nd minion wave it's better since you can take the 2 Melee Minion s from that wave faster, therefore getting level 2 faster.

Once you hit level 2 you can actually use Alistar's kit briefly, if the enemy is mispositioned you can Headbutt + Pulverize allowing your ally to hit them, and that combo and maybe auto attacking the enemy once, you should kite (move) back into your minion wave so that you lose any minion agro you gained and so that the enemy champions can't kite into you and continue to damage you.

As you go in you will proc Aftershock temporarily making you very tanky, once that wears off you will start taking more damage simply because you don't have the bonus Armor and Magic resist it grants, so early game Aftershocks cooldown is very important you and should play around it with your Headbutt + Pulverize engages.

Alistar's actual spike is level 3, when you can combo in and build up Trample's stun + damage really hurts the enemy giving you enough to kill them.

So play it slow until level 3-4 it's fine to do absolutely nothing but hit relic shield stacks until then.

ADC's ability to follow up.

Different ADCs will be able to follow up on Alistar's engage to different degrees, understanding which champions are good and not good at different stages of the lane with Alistar will come with time.

What's more important for you to practice is not only watching the enemy bot laners and trying to punish their mispositioning with an engage, but also watch your Ally ADC to see if they will be near you to follow up on your Headbutt + Pulverize.

With any CC champion, if you CC'd a target and got not follow up, you didn't CC them. If you got a 5 man Malphite ULT and your entire team was in another lane, what happens? Nobody dies and they all turn on you and you die.

The power of CC in League of Legends is that it enables your ally champions that otherwise don't have good options of dealing their damage to be given brief timing windows to deal their damage without any counter play from the enemy.

So simply put, don't Headbutt + Pulverize when your ADC in a million miles away from you in lane or you will be wasting your time.


When you use Flash you will gain access to Hextech Flashtraption which can be channeled in the fog of war, allowing you to close short distances over walls or out of bushes to get a surprise engage onto the enemy. It doesn't matter if you get a perfect use of Hextech Flashtraption, just spam it in lane to practice it and also to confuse your enemies.

Mid Game

Mid game is when multiple towers go down on the map, or champions start moving around the map. Alistar is very strong at moving around the map, he is naturally safe because of his tankiness and ability to disengage / survive fights long enough for his allies to assist.

Mobility Boots allow Alistar to make plays literally anywhere on the map, just know if you are say investing time ganking the Top lane it will take away a lot of time from the Bot Lane. If you move say from Bot lane to Mid lane for a gank, you can quickly return to the Bot Lane.

When you are moving around the fog of war play mindfully, think about who can be where you are going, understand the risk, and don't take the risk when it is too high. Would you walk in the enemy jungle when you have no wards in the river, the entire enemy team is missing and your allies won't be behind you? Of course not.


Roaming on any support is pretty simple, it's when you take a timing window in which your ADC is safe to have an impact somewhere else on the map. Alistar's roams are effective simply because he offers a lot of CC and damage that is hard to miss, but cost Alistar's position.

So when should you roam is very, very easy don't over think it, and don't over do it.
  • When the Bot Lane wave is pushed into the enemy tower
  • When you have recalled and can move to any lane
  • When your ADC is dead / recalling and you would be alone bot lane
  • When the enemy laners are pushed up

These are all good times to roam, how effective that particular roam will be is affect by literally everything on the map, the minion wave positions in Bot lane & the lane you are ganking, the likelyhood of the gank, the HP, Mana, level values of your ally laner compared to the enemy laner. Moving with your Jungler also helps pull off a gank. Some ADC champions such as Ezreal have abilities to farm the minion wave from long range safely, others such as Kai'Sa will be zoned completely if you leave.

When you do get a roam off, look to either recall and reset bot, or to immediately walk back to the bot lane. Do NOT overstay doing pointless things like hitting a tower as Alistar or hitting objectives as Alistar your auto attacks do like 50 damage, VS giving your ADC around 20CS.

When you leave lane you will also be missing Relic stacks so gold, and experience from the minion wave. Basically the longer you stay in Bot Lane the more levels and gold you will have.

All of these things should be running through your head when calculating a roam, if you are uncomfortable with roaming just look up pro Alistar replay on youtube [1][2][3], and you will likely see what a good roam looks like or atleast get an idea for it.


Defensive warding is warding on your side of the map
Neutral Warding is in the river / lane bushes.
Offensive warding is warding into the enemies side of the map (past the river).

When you should or shouldn't ward depends on your allies location and the enemies location / potential location. Look at the map and think.

Control Ward, Control wards are to deny the enemy vision, not to give yourself extra vision. Especially on a champion such as Alistar you can abuse the fog of war to surprise the enemies and engage on them unexpectedly.

Throughout the Mid - Late game there will be moments of no action in which it is optimal for you to drop 3 wards around an objective, then recall to refresh the ward count on your Remnant of the Aspect and return to your team.

Late Game

Alistar's job Late Game is the same as early - Mid game, to get good engages and CC the enemy properly, but Late Game it is WAY more important to do this properly, messing up one fight could mean the game.

Be mindful of how strong you and your allies are, you can or can't take fights depending on items. You don't have to start a fight every time you see the enemy, your allies may need time to farm, but when your team has the advantage you should be in position to force the fights. Once you get a good feel for this you will understand how polzerizing it can feel to play Support depending on the game state, you are doing a lot or nothing at all, waiting for your allies to scale and for the enemy to push in.

If you aren't the only Engage for your team consider staying back in fights and peeling for your ADC. Say if both you and a Malphite CC the enemy back line, but the enemy Talon solo dives your ADC there is nothing your ADC can likely do to deal with it themselves.

When engaging you really have to make sure that your entire team is on the same page, and the only way to do this is through pinging, and pinging a lot. Pings are loud, quick, and everyone understand them. You can't be pushing down Mid Lane then take 5-10 seconds to type out " Hey guys i'm going to go in here pls follow up". By that time the wave has hit the tower and you are way to far away. Instead be in position to punish the enemy, and ping on the way or for assistance as many times as you can as you are engaging.

Don't be ARAMing the entire late game either, if you aren't warding or playing around the fog of war you are just showing yourself to the enemy and hoping they walk into you. It's a lot more valuable to make the enemy miss position when trying to ward the area you would be in, than it is to move at them down the mid lane because they showed up on your screen.

Alistar regardless of the game state will have ULT Unbreakable Will which will make him very, very tanky regardless of items. So you can pull off a lot of fights that other champions just wouldn't be able to at an item disadvantage. You can also get away with miss playing a good amount simply because Alistar is so tanky with or without ULT. I can't stress it enough of how good of a Support champion Alistar is to play to learn the Support role and how to play Tanks to some degree. It is all so basic on Alistar that it should come naturally once you get the hang of his kit, and once you get the hang of it you can start refining it. Once you have better refined Tank Support gameplay such as moving past enemies after CCing them to get off another ability, or holding abilities to counter enemies actions, and knowing how much you can and can't tank at certain game states you can really start dominating matches and getting around a %60 Win Rate.
If you have any other question about Alistar leave a comment on the guide or message me on any of my Socials. Alistar is the legacy CC Tank support and I hope you have fun discovering and learning him!

Sawyer Nelson

This guide was written by Sawyer Nelson on October/10th/2018 for free, with the purpose of educating those interested. If you want to show your appreciation you can do so by Donating via [PayPal] or following Sawyer's Social Media:
  • Twitch - (Gameplay, Personality, Commentary, and Coaching League of Legends Live stream)
  • Twitter - A trash can for my stupid thoughts
  • Youtube
  • Instagram - Clips of my gameplay, maybe a picture of me once a year
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