Raizins' Challenger Alistar Guide Patch 12.1 - Q for ELO!
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Runes: Aftershock (Read notes!)
+8 ability haste
+8 ability haste
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist
Ability Order Ability Order
Threats & Synergies
Good Ahri players can charm your W effectively preventing you from getting clean combos off. Her ultimate also lets her avoid your engage on her so play around her CD's carefully.
Rell is basically a giant walking screw you button to your W + Q combo. She can interrupt it in mutiple ways, with her E stun, with her W2 mount attack, and her ulti. This is a matchup that only gets harder the better the Rell player is so I would play very carefully in lane and make sure not to use your combos for no reason. On top of that she has a disgusting amount of CC so even if you combo her adc she will chain CC you till you die.
This matchup is very hard for one reason. Janna Q denies your combo in lane, and she scales quite well into late game to peel her carries when you try and go in. You need to play around her CD's, don't lose too much HP early game to her W poke and find opportunities to suprise her with flash or from bushes. It's not that easy to react to combos if you are creative, but this matchup gets very hard against good Janna players,
Gragas is used as a soft-counterpick into Alistar due to his E interupting your combo. He also has a lot of disruption for your backline which can be a big problem. Even if you can land your CC onto his carries he can use his R to prevent them from following up. However this matchup relies a lot on the gragas positioning correctly, something which they are bound to mess up on eventually. So try to find opportunities where Gragas is standing too far from his adc and punish him.
Braum is a pick that basically tries to deny you opportunities to combo by threatening to CC you into the stratosphere if you go in. His main poke Q is also his disengage and engage so make sure you track that cooldown. Be very careful using combo when he is nearby as he can block your carries damage and then turn around and CC you till you die.
Draven can be a problem if you don't play around his E ability, which can interrupt your W and make it quite hard to initiate onto him. However just remember that Draven's usually have to manage catching axes so use this to your advantage when threatening combos and you can get him to drop axes or get confused and use E for nothing.
I have found that Ekko can be a problem for Alistar, especially when you are the primary source of CC on your team. He has enough mobility and dashes that your combo can sometimes whiff, and on top of that his Ulti essentially denies your combo. So be careful to not waste your spells on him unless you are sure you can get the kill.
Ezreal is a champ that pretty much every engage support has some issues getting on. So don't expect reaching him to be easy. Do you're best to zone him with your R and threat of combo in teamfights, and make sure that you don't blow your W + Q combo onto him only for him to E away and make you useless.
Fiora has one ability which you need to keep in mind at all times when she is in a fight with you. Her W will punish you extremely hard for wasting CC on her if you don't outplay or mind-game her. Do your best to bait out her W before comboing her, and make sure your teammates don't get CC'ed by your attempts to stop her
As with most mobile champs, you need to make sure you don't waste your W+Q CD's on Fizz while he has his E up and is paying attention
Galio is one of the harder lane matchups for Alistar, and also in Mid-lane. He has multiple ways of stopping your combo, with a quick W taunt to interrupt you, or his E which can make you whiff your W+Q and then you get knocked up. Make sure you keep track of his ultimate as well, as if you over-commit to a fight and he counter-engages with Ulti you might have just put yourself in a no-win situation.
This super speedy horse can become a 1v9 machine if left unchecked, and the worst part is his Ultimate prevents him from being CC'ed. So good Hecarim players will save his ultimate to stop you from chain CC'ing him and get a free pass to your backline. Your best bet to peel hecarim is to stay near your carries and when he goes in, cleanse the CC with your R then W him away fast. It's not ideal but this champ packs a punch and alistar is often too slow to catch up to him after the fight ends.
Jarvan's E+Q combo will interrupt your W if you are in the line he is travelling, there are some strange interactions between these two combos but in general his E+Q seems to have priority
Jax is quite straightforward to deal with by knocking him away with W. But it's important to note that his E dodge prevents you from stunning him with Alistar E.
Don't get Baited by Kalista R. Don't get Baited by Kalista R. Don't get Baited by Kalista R. Don't get Baited by Kalista R. Don't get Baited by Kalista R.
I threw Karthus in as a threat because he can be a real problem especially in lower elos for Alistars. Just remember you might be able to combo him and use R to survive but if you're whole team decides to jump onto a karthus make sure you don't get rekt by his R afterwards.
This champion has 50,000 dashes so make sure when you combo him you can burst him, otherwise he's gonna pay a visit to your adc and kick their shins.
I really hate playing against good Kayn players, as they have so many tools to stop you from dealing with their spells. Make sure you don't waste combo if they can R, and also don't get interrupted by RED Kayn's W knock-up. Blue kayn is easier to deal with if you can reach him, but that's another issue.
Major part of Kled is his Dismount invulnerability. You cannot target or CC him during this, and if he Dismounts he cleanses CC's. So make sure not to waste your combo on Kled as he is about to dismount.
Welcome to the 50,000 dash club. Please remember to pay at the counter. Leblanc is going to be a problem if the leblanc player is smart. She can deny your combo by W'ing and will force you to hold onto spells to try and save your carries. Quite an annoying champion.
Stupid fast Deer.
Lulu causes some problems for Alistar as the game goes later due to her insane kit. She can deny your combo with her R, or her W and will force you to only take combos in which you can one shot someone. The pressure to win the game early is on so make sure you have a plan to snowball.
Make sure you don't waste combo on his passive, it takes a split second to wear off, so use W.. Wait a bit, then Q. Also make sure you R his R, otherwise you'll have a bad day.
I threw morgana in here because a lot of people think Morgana counters alistar. But the reality is that her Black shield (E) CD is so huge that she really doesn't have much going after using it. Bait out that CD and she struggles to do anything, you can also facetank her entire combo at 6, or W her away when she black shields her adc. Another option is to W her, bait the shield out then flash Q her adc. It's not that bad a matchup honestly.
Olaf R completely negates all of your abilities and denies you from comboing or peeling him entirely. Not to mention his E is true damage which your ultimate doesn't help with. On top of that they usually go red smite so enjoy dying through ultimate if you let him get to you.
make sure you track her W CD, it stops you from using W so if it's up your best bet is either to wait it out or flash Q. Her E also interrupts your W if she times it right.
Sett R can deny your combo and also give him a nice way to get into your team, on top of that if he times his E properly he can deny your W. So make sure you position in a way which give him less ways of counter-engaging.
If Sylas is in the game, your life is gonna be hard. Sylas stealing Alistar R is the single biggest threat for 7 full seconds. He becomes such a monster that pretty much nothing can kill him. Make sure you buy your team time by W'ing him away. Other than that, I strongly recommend not allowing him to steal your ulti, as hard as that is.
Make sure you keep track of her E CD. If she doesn't have it she is much less threatening but against good Syndra's they will often keep an eye on you and deny you from going in, creating a cone of death.
Taric is one of the best teamfighters in the game once he gets some items. Don't engage into Taric without being able to one shot someone and then disengage because his R will deny any follow up and his healing also makes prolonged fights very difficult.
This is often a skill matchup, but early game in lane thresh has the upper hand. Make sure you don't over force as once you burn your CD's running from thresh is often very difficult. Outside of laning phase you can tank his hook then R to counterengage. Keep his lantern in mind as comboing someone who is about to be lanterned can be a big waste. Either pink ward it or try to interrupt the lantern when they take it.
I personally don't see a lot of Tryndamere at the top of the ladder, but when I do, this guy is a giant pain in the ass. He simply has too much mobility and safety with his R. But you can deal with him by stalling him out with your W, then Q'ing him when he tries to spin into your team. It's not perfect but it's something.
Don't waste your combo on someone else when there is a fed Twitch in the game!
This depends on whether Udyr is ahead or behind, but when ahead he is a really huge problem for Alistar. he can chase you down forever and has permanent shields so killing him is difficult.
Another skill matchup, make sure you don't waste W into vayne as she can E you. This isn't that easy for Vayne to do however, so try to bait it out by just walking into her. It's a long CD.
Another matchup that gets very hard if Veigar is ahead. His cage basically denies you from going in as he can zone your backline and simultaneously stop you from running. You can R to cleanse the stun but make sure you don't just get chased down by his team after. His E CD gets very low later in the game.
I think that a good xayah is often quite difficult to deal with. She is basically an anti-melee and anti-dive Adc. So moving into her zone-control needs to be done with caution. Otherwise you'll get feathered up the butt.
This guy when scaled is something to be feared. Be very cautious about when you combo, as he can dodge it in many ways. He can use E1 to dodge it, he can use E2 to cleanse the CC or he can simply Ultimate, which is unstopabble. All 3 methods mean you should respect his CD's and make sure not to bait your team into a bad fight where he Ultimate's your backline.
I personally struggle against a specific Zed player on the ladder, as he has so many ways of deny your combos. Good zed players when they go on your adc can use shadows to dodge your combo and still get their dmg off. This champion is scary in the right hands.
Similar to Lulu, when the game goes on for long, Zilean simply does more than you. He turns one member of his team into a supercharged turbo-beast so make sure you have an early game plan and a way to deal with his ultimate.
I put this guy this high up simply because I've played against some of the best Master Yi players on EUW and lemme tell ya. It's not easy to combo a good master Yi, and he one shots your adc with 1 Auto + Q so you better get creative with how you deal with him. In the event that the Yi isn't a one trick then they probably screw up their Q and you're gonna be fine.
Hey folks! Welcome to the only Alistar guide you'll ever need made by me, Raizins!
I've been playing League of Legends since Season 2 and started as a jungler before switching to support around season 4. I have had competitive experience playing in the UK League Championship and have been high elo on EUW since around Season 3, both in jungle and support.
I stream relatively regularly so if you want to see my climbing the ladder and learn about how to be a better support feel free to tune in!
The Guide has been updated with new runes + items for Season 12! Phase rush is no longer the best rune page, and there are some items that Ali players should try out.
So why did I choose to play Alistar? Well to be honest I have only been One-Tricking since the start of season 11. Before that I played many different champions, but I wanted to find out just how high I could climb with only 1 champion and I ended up choosing Alistar as my choice of one-trick. I'll get into exactly why I chose him in the next section but the first and main reason is I love the playstyle!
If you enjoy a champion enough then you'll never have to worry about champion select again, and I strongly recommend Alistar to players who want to take control of the game and feel like you are the reason your team is winning.
So strap in and prepare to smash the Q button for Elo.
Let's get started!
+ Very easy to learn kit
+ One of the best roaming champs
+ Exceptionally good engage
+ Decent disengage
+ Can abuse Hexflash
+ Great gank setup for junglers
+ Good sustain in lane
+ You are a second jungler (Perma gank!)
Alistar is a fantastic champion to learn if you want to carry from the support role. He has an amazing mix of both engage, roaming potential and peel mixed into a very tanky angry cow. Dominating on the map and forcing your opponents to play scared is one of the reasons support is a very broken role in high elo and climbing should feel very much in your hands if you learn when and how to punish the enemy for being out of position!
- Not the best laning phase
- Vulnerable to poke champions
- Long CD's
- Squishy when behind or no ultimate
- Struggles against heavy disengage
Alistar Can be deceptively difficult to play, especially as you climb. As you play against better players they will respond to your combo faster and with less hesitation, so keep that in mind as you climb. Early game can also be very tough, as laning against poke champions or ranged matchups can mean you have to give up early laning phase pressure until you hit level 2 or 3 and have your Headbutt + Pulverize combo.
Passive - Triumphant Roar
Alistar's passive allows you to survive in tough lanes by sustaining through some of the poke. It's uses outside of laning phase are quite limited, and it lives up to its name being something you will passively gain benefits from early game rather than actively keeping an eye on it. However in lane you can use it to your advantage by forcing fights as you are about to heal, surprising the enemy with your extra HP.
Q - Pulverize
Your Q is your most important CC ability. It's a very simple spell with a tremendous amount of power and flexibility. Basically, you hit the ground very hard and everything in a small AoE around you is knocked up for 1 second. This doesn't apply to baron or dragon 's and is also stopped by abilities like Spell Shield and Black Shield. Using your Q effectively can be the difference between an "Alistar" player, and an Alistar player!
Pulverize can interrupt a wide range of movement and channeled abilities, so learning when to use it can make or break a fight. Understanding the value of when to use it aggressively or defensively is something that you'll have to practice!
There are a lot of really important interactions so think creatively!
W - Headbutt
Keeping the trend of simple abilities with awesome depth, Alistar's Headbutt is a point and click skill which dashes to the target and then knocks them back a fixed distance. There are some very interesting interactions with this ability, but first it's important to know that during the knockback the enemy is effectively "stunned". The knock back actually counts as a displacement which means tenacity doesn't affect the knockback at all.
Combining this ability with your Pulverize is your bread and butter combo. But the complexity increases the more you learn!
For example, a simple W + Q combo seems to be useless against Tristana's Rocket Jump but if timed properly you can interrupt her jump with both Headbutt or Pulverize depending on what angle you are comboing her from.
Additionally, if the enemy is Headbutted against a wall they still get "stunned" for the duration meaning you can extend the time they are CC'ed in place allowing you to stack your Trample much easier.
E - Trample
This is another very simple ability with a lot of depth. When activated Alistar deals damage in an area around him every 0.5 seconds. Every time he hits a champion with his damage tick he gets a stack up to 5 stacks. This is indicated by a buff under alistar. Once at 5 stacks his next attack stuns a target for 1 second and deals bonus damage.
Stacking Trample effectively is something you should always be thinking about as combined with your W + Q combo you have a tremendous amount of CC on a target. The interesting thing to note about your E is that your W + Q combo doesn't give you enough time to stack your E on the target fully, as you need 2.5 seconds. So any filler CC by your teammates often can secure your E stun and allow you to chain CC the target.
Trample is very powerful with Phase Rush, and I'll discuss some uses in the runes section!
R - Unbreakable Will
Alistar's ultimate ability is the reason he becomes a super tank during fights. This is an extremely powerful resource which you can use to absorb enemy cooldowns and continue disrupting the backline.
As soon as you press R, all CC is cleansed from you (That includes Suppressions) and you gain massive physical and magic damage reduction for 7 seconds. Using this ability properly can allow you to facetank some of the most deadly abilities in the game, and force your opponents to use their skills in very sub-optimal ways.
For example, using Unbreakable Will to deny an enemy Skarner's Impale means he can never use it on you. Which in turns means he can never prevent you from standing between him and your carries, this makes teamfights against a good alistar very difficult!
You can also use your ultimate to tank towers during dives, or prevent the enemy from killing you, so you can land a second combo on the enemy backline. A great example of this would be if your backline is struggling to survive against a fed Jinx because she outranges them. Well you can dive into Jinx and keep her from hitting your backline, pop your Unbreakable Will and then stand in between her and your team, giving your team some more time to deal with the enemy frontline.
A few very important notes about your ultimate.
- It scales very well with levels and tanky items. You will notice a massive increase in tankiness when hitting level 11, and if somehow you get to level 16 as well.
- Sylas can steal this ultimate and become the strongest champion in the game for 7 seconds, do not give him your ultimate easily
- Your ultimate does NOTHING against true damage! This means effects like Challenging Smite and other abilities that deal true damage will ignore your damage reduction. Keep this in mind as some champion don't care about your ultimate, e.g. Camille.
When should you pick Alistar?
Your botlane matchup only really matters as far as getting out of laning phase is concerned. The main way you impact the game on Alistar is through roaming and pressuring mid/jungle on tempo. So playing away from lane is generally much more effective than locking yourself into laning phase where you most often get out ranged and out pushed. Understanding this means you should focus your effort on picking Alistar when you have good laners and junglers that can be played to.
Apart from the roaming aspect, when your team needs frontline the cow is your pick. Alistar functions as both engage and disengage so don't feel like you have to dive the enemy backline always!
There are some champions I would be VERY careful picking Alistar into. Take a look at the threats section of the guide for specific matchup details!
Champions such as Sylas will ruin your day by stealing your ultimate and you should take the time to weigh the cost of giving him Unbreakable Will in fights. Consider picking another champion who has a less impactful ultimate for Sylas!
Primary Tree - 3 Choices!
Aftershock section to come! But remember to try and learn how to use Phase Rush, you'll thank me later.
Before we talk about any of those flashy items, I want to show you something!
What does this tell you? Well the higher the elo, the more people buy Control Wards! If you ever have any doubt as to why I put these 75 gold wonders at the top of this section then hopefully that image can clear some things up! Think of pink wards as an investment into a future play, and good use of wards will allow you to roam more, have more information and make better decisions using that information.
Buy a pink... Save a life!
|This is still a solid Mythic item for Alistar. As I've mentioned we LOVE movement speed and Shurelya's comes with a boatload of it on demand. An item that allows you to engage, disengage and reposition in fights alongside giving these benefits to allies. Be aware that you are giving up a fair emount of tankiness for this item, however if you learn to use the active properly you'll understand why a lot of good Ali players still favour this item.||Is the option I would take when I don't need to dive or chase the enemy backline, and would rather stick to my carries and protect them. A great example would be if we had a really fed Jinx and the enemy team didn’t have enough DPS to win teamfights if Jinx is alive. I would prioritize going locket to make sure my fed Jinx can survive whatever they throw at her.|
Mobility boots > EARLY ROAMING
I get asked a lot, "Why Mobis? Why not go Boots of Swiftness and always have the movement speed?". And my answer is that Mobility Boots offer what Ali needs more. Which is OUT of combat movement speed. You'll quickly realise that it's very powerful getting to a fight sooner, rather than needing to run around faster in fights. Remember that after you use your combo in a skirmish you have to wait a REALLY long time before you can do it again! This is the main reason why high elo Alistar players currently favour Mobility Boots.
Ninja Tabi (That's their name dammit) > FULL AD TEAMS LMAO
Best boots if you're against a heavy AD team. Especially against autoattackers. You will feel a little slow if you're used to playing with Mobility Boots but remember you can tank for much longer, so alter your playstyle and play to soak as much damage as possible in fights.
I've recently started appreciating the power of picking up a Zhonya's Hourglass in many games where I didn't know what else I needed. I can't count the amount of times I've baited out big abilities on the enemy team, or managed to go in and Hourglass then land one more combo to win the fight. This item is severly underrated in SolOQ and forces the enemy to not waste CD's on you. Just be aware that if you go in an instantly use it the enemy team CAN just ignore you if they aren't being threatened by your team!
This item shines when the enemy has 1 or 2 threats that are the main DPS and need to be shut down ASAP. Not only does this reduce their damage against you heavily but also increases the CC they take from you. This only really affects your Trample stun, as your Pulverise and Headbutt stuns are masked by their displacement effects so the impact isn't really felt there much. Keep in mind you also DO NOT reduce true damage so champions which build Kraken Slayer or have a Cho'Gath Q on their Q ability... ( Camille I['m looking at you) are still quite scary.
Anti-MR baby, just build this when enemies are full magic damage or the AD threat isn't very strong. It's a solid choice when you need a bit of MR, as frankly the other MR items kinda suck.. Ask riot to add some better MR items for support please!
I build this when the game is very spread out and I need to cross the map fast. Stacks well with Mobility Boots and allows me to get to side-lanes very quickly, for example I have 2 splitpushers and they are not grouping. I don't need as much in the way of combat stats, my main role will be running around making sure things are warded and everyone is safe to push.
A solid choice if you have a hyper carry who pumps out damage and desperately needs help staying alive. Pairs very well with Locket of the Iron Solari.
I pick up item up in situations where my team needs Grevious Wounds and doesn't have a good application of it on our carries, or in the event that the enemy team has a ridiculous amount of healing. Which for some reason feels like it's a lot these last few seasons! So I tend to grab this item to apply anti-heal on targets I combo instantly, it usually helps burst targets down.
A lot of people ask me why I don't build Watchful Wardstone in my games. And the answer is suprisingly simple. The higher elo you go, the quicker the games are. People don't generally let you scale when they are ahead. And if I'm ahead I would want more useful items, and when I'm behind... Well I'm a support so I am not getting much gold either way. If you find yourself super late game and need an item it's very gold efficient but don't stress about reaching this. You're a support so you shouldn't be soaking up gold until every else on your team has reached full build.
Most of your games will finish before you complete your second item if you roam properly on Alistar. Keep in mind your gold income is severely reduced after you finish your Relic Shield quest so don't bank on getting 3 or 4 items before the game ends!
Focus on getting to lvl 3, as that is when you have the most kill threat against most squishy bot lane champions. Don't take too much poke early on, and learn how to manage the minions, so you aren't pushing too close to the enemy tower, leaving yourself vulnerable to ganks. Focus on finding windows to help your jungler secure bottom crab, and prevent your adc from being pressured off the wave. Remember that in certain matchups you can actually take short trades, but keep in mind that you will run out of mana incredibly quickly if you spam your combo!
This is where Alistar comes online. After you get Boots, you should start looking to be constantly moving on the map, in between waves botlane. Don't abandon your ADC completely, but keep in mind that if you stay botlane forever, you are much less useful than if you're roaming in most cases. Look for Hex Flashes over walls and between brushes in botlane, as well as ganking the enemy jungler with your jungler whenever possible. Essentially you are a second jungler, move around on the map and annoy the enemy as often as possible.
Even just dipping into fog of war can be extremely threatening to the enemy jungle/mid and make them second guess whether you are about to gank them! Use this to your advantage and put the fear of the cow in them.
When you do find yourself in a fight, remember you have huge CD's so never waste your combo on a target if there is no follow up. The number one issue I see with beginner Alistar players, is blowing their combo when there is no way that their teammates can DPS. This is a massive mistake and often leads to you forcing fights that are unwinnable. Play around your teammates CD's and make sure that you know the most important targets to combo. Don't waste your CC on someone useless if that means the enemy Yasuo can ult your backline for free!
Try to trade when your Keystone rune ( Aftershock, Glacial Augment) is up, and use your ultimate only when you are about to take burst damage and need to wait for a second combo. Think of your ultimate Unbreakable Will as a panic button you can press when you put yourself in a situation that you have no way out of. Otherwise, save it for when you are about to take the most burst damage if possible after you blow your combo, to allow you to reach your second combo if the fight goes on that long.
This is where Alistar's can show off their mechanics. Often in late-game team fights there are a few extremely important abilities that can win or lose a fight based on team-comps. Examples include Katarina's Death Lotus, or Orianna's Command: Shockwave. If you play around certain abilities and identify which abilities you can either deny outright (such as interrupting a Katarina R), or enable your team to use, then you will have a better understanding of how to play fights. Almost all of late-game teamfighting revolves around CD management and situational awareness, so make sure you have an eye on the big players in fights and track their big abilities!
Remember to check out my videos for educational league content and Pulverize that upvote button if you found this guide helpful.
As a reminder, I stream regularly in the evenings (GMT) and would love to hang out and answer any questions you have so drop by and say hi.
Thanks, and good luck in soloQ!