Alistar Build Guide by very hot
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+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Threats & Synergies
Ashe is a squishy target and your ult basically nullifies her ultimate, but if you engage and fail to kill her, her slow ensures that you will be met with a lot of damage on the way out.
The bane of the cow. Her W grounds you so you can't flash or W, and she has so much sustained damage and healing w/ Conqueror. Just a sad champ overall if you're Ali.
In the early game, she will poke you out due to her long range. Her traps are also rather annoying, but with proper set-up she can be bursted down rather easily.
She will make your life hell. Her shield and Ult can make your engage worthless, and she can also polymorph you too, making you useless. Ban her if possible.
Her black shield will make your engage useless on one person, but your Q is an AOE so it's not too bad. Her root can stop your engage though.
Early, Blitzcrank can be a problem as you aren't very tanky. But, once you get some items and your R, If Blitzcrank pulls you in you can just go ham on this team and there's nothing he can do.
Try to stay close in turret range because if Leona ever tries to engage, W her into your turret for free gold. Be warned though – Leona can be surprisingly tanky with Aftershock + her W.
You can time your Q against Rakan's W such that both of you are knocked up. Moreover, if he tries to W-ult your team, you can just knock him back and ult his charm such that nothing happens.
Bard is more of a tankier support in the current meta, and many players run Guardian on him as well. He'll generally be hard to kill, and he has crazy peel with his E and Ult as well. Additionally, his W matches your passive's sustain.
Her ult can basically make your engage useless, and her W means that you have to time your abilities really well so you can stick to her. Usually, she can just escape.
Thresh is a big problem because his flay nullifies your W if he times it correctly, leaving you slowed and without any engage. Furthermore, if he hooks you, you're basically forced to engage otherwise you'll take a lot of damage on the way out. Finally, he has incredible peel with his lantern, so make sure to keep control wards handy to deny the lantern. Oh, and he's ranged by the way.
Due to the nerfs on Yuumi's mana costs, she has to spend a lot more time "outside," off of her teammate to proc her passive. You can abuse this by just landing ANY CC on her as she can't reattach to her ally for 5 seconds. Then, you can either burst Yuumi down or turn on her ally since Yuumi will probably E herself to get out of danger.
Braum is probably the most even you'll get in my opinion. Neither can engage very well as if you W-Q, the ADC will probably be able to reposition, while you get stunned due to Braum's passive. If Braum engages, you can just Q-W him into turret or just W him away. Overall, find the picks if you can, but don't expect to snowball.
High damage but Aftershock will keep you in the game against him. If he times his E, he will also be able to cancel your W so make sure to engage within a bush or fog of war. Since you have point and click CC, you should probably spend most of your time in teamfights negating his ability to deal damage.
Once Jhin builds up MS, it'll be rather hard to catch him, but before then, you easily trash Jhin. His only mobility is running, so in the early-mid game you can easily capitalize on this with your lockdown.
Lucian is rather useless when you're around as he relies heavily on his E to dash around, but you can just stop him. His damage is also primarily AA, so Ninja Tabis + Randuin's will make his damage nonexistent.
Squishy target but has great poke and sustain. This will probably be a slow lane unless you have an super aggressive ADC, in which case you should look to engage when Nami's W is down or the enemy is in a bad position.
Super annoying because he can slow you to oblivion and his ult will heavily reduce the threat of your engages. Overall, you should try to grab some free kills early in laning phase as the lane (and game) will be super hard if the Zilean is left untouched.
Biased because I duo with a Lucian player, but Lucian's mobility really synergies with Alistar because of the immediate follow-up to your engage.
Ashe's arrow (ult) and lockdown with her slows synergies well with your engages since you can stack your E more reliably with Ashe's slows.
Alistar has a lot of CC and this helps proc Kai'Sa's passive by adding a lot of stacks. Alistar's peel also will help Kai'Sa a lot as well due to her carry potential.
Rather similar with Lucian. Her W makes her so much better on laying down immediate damage upon your engage, and her W also allows you to roam knowing that she will be relatively safe.
Upon your engage, Caitlyn can lay down traps which basically will guarantee a kill.
No special interactions really. Draven is just a super strong laner and Alistar has high kill potential, which can lead to some early snowballing
Laning with Ezreal as Alistar is kind of a nightmare because your engages will generally be useless due to the minion wave (Ez's Q will likely not land) and Ez just doesn't have enough damage early to be effective. You'll probably get pushed in as well since you and Ez are quite weak pre-3.
Her W's range is absurdly long, so as long as you engage in range of her W, your enemies won't be moving for awhile. Not a standard ADC, but nonetheless a viable pick.
200 years. Basically in the same boat as Draven, except Aphelios can't really follow up until he gets Gravity (purple gun). As of 10.18, he's been hit with a bunch of nerfs and isn't very meta.
Alistar sets up Xayah really well as she can probably hit her E with around 6 feathers after your engage, dealing a considerable amount of damage.
Alistar gives Yasuo a free AOE knockup that is basically guaranteed to land. It doesn't get any better than this (for Yasuo). Laning phase wise, you two will be farming under turret the entire time being double melee but you will have huge kill potential post 6.
Jhin can easily follow up on your engages by W'ing.
Her synergy with her ult and W makes this a great lane. Your lockdown allows Kalista to easily stack her E, and you have another form of engage with her ult. Due to Kalista's mobility, she can easily follow up on your engages as well.
A super chill bot lane, as Senna's Q + Your Passive gives tons of healing. You just sit back, relax, and let Senna farm and scale. If possible, try and set up for a gank from your jungler, but this lane isn't going to be super active and you might have better luck roaming.
Broken champ – super good follow-up to your engage with her passive and E. Your lockdown is also quite effective for her ultimate, and as long as you guys survive laning phase it should be a great game.
Also just a shoutout to Jovy for the banners. Truly a kind-hearted soul.
|This is your main source of sustain during the laning phase as minions' deaths will add stacks. A neat part of this ability is that CC-ing enemy champions also builds stacks, so make sure to always consider the amount of stacks you're currently at, as the extra health can turn a risky engage or teamfight into a less risky one.|
|One of Alistar's signature moves. You knock up all enemies within a small radius around you. Overall a great peeling ability and can help chain CC as this is a rather easy spell to land once you are in range. Perfect for wombo comboes involving Orianna, Yasuo, or Malphite.|
|The other signature move. You knock an enemy in the direction you charge in. Thus, if a champion engages on you, you can position yourself around them and knock them into your turret, for example. Besides being an engage tool, this can also be used as an escape mechanism – you can W to a minion wave to outrun enemy chasers, and you can also dodge skill shots if you time this ability correctly.|
|Your third CC ability! While this does require you to stick to an enemy champion, you actually deal a solid amount of damage on your next auto. Once again, this really helps you peel for your team.|
|A free QSS and essentially a busted increase in tankiness. With fast reaction timing, considering it has a channel time, this ability will allow you to escape narrow situations. But, the real killer is the damage reduction – this allows for extremely easy turret dives as you can W-Q in, ult, and just sit under the turret tanking the aggro while your team cleans up the kills.|
While the build shows a Q-max, it really depends on the matchup. For example, if you're against a Yuumi, you might consider going for a Q-max such that your knockup is on a lower cooldown – after all, it'll be really hard to reach Yuumi if she's attached. If you're against a Leona, maxing W could be really nice as it'll be up whenever Leona tries to E you.
Overall, the consistent patterns that remain is that you want to level up your Ult whenever possible, as the increase damage reduction and lowered cooldown is just way to valuable to pass up, and you want to max your E last, as it is generally the least reliable form of CC.
|Aftershock is generally the best and safest rune to go on Alistar. Upon any CC to the enemy, such as your Q or W, you gain armor and MR, making you tankier. As a side bonus, you'll also deal additional damage after some time.|
|Font of Life is the best rune in general in this row because you don't have a reliable shield for Shield Bash. If you're up against a melee support, you can consider Demolish for quicker snowballing, but against double ranged and if you roam a lot you really won't get a lot out of Demolish. Overall, the extra healing will start getting better once the game progresses and you obtain more health. It also synergizes very well with Knight's Vow.|
|Bone Plating synergies well with your engages as the enemy will focus immediately on you when you engage, so you'll be able to reduce a decent amount of the damage taken (assuming Bone plating is up when you engage). Conditioning and Second Wind can be chosen in certain circumstances, e.g. when you're against mixed damage or a poke comp respectively.|
|I generally prefer Revitalize as Alistar will put out a lot of healing over the game with Font of Life and his passive , and this synergizes extremely well with items like Knight's Vow, Locket of the Iron Solari and Redemption. Unflinching is also very viable against heavy CC compositions, but the changes made nerfed its usability on Alistar. Overall, I find the extra sustain is usually just better, considering its synergies with your core items and passive.|
|Hextech Flashtraption, or hexflash, allows you to make surprise engages basically out of nowhere and helps reducing the distance between you and the enemy. Super necessary rune on Alistar. If you really don't think you'll be engaging often due to your team and enemy team composition, getting a stopwatch for a Gargoyle Stoneplate is also viable or instead taking Cosmic Insight, which is overall just a great rune.|
|Biscuit Delivery is generally the safest rune to go, although Cosmic Insight is very viable. I like Biscuits because you'll generally be poked down (especially if you're against double ranged) and Alistar is rather mana hungry, so biscuits basically solve both problems in the laning phase, while adding permanent mana so you can engage more often.|
You also might notice that there is a Phase Rush rune page. This is generally only for higher elo players, and if you're in high elo, you don't need this guide at all! The main gist is that you can immediately proc Phase Rush with your W-Q-AA or W-Q-E. In laning phase, this lets you get super good trades since you can run away taking little damage. In larger fights, Phase Rush lets you stick to targets to get your E auto off. Nimbus Cloak synchronizes perfectly with hexflash as well. While you sacrifice durability, this gives you more playmaking abilities. (Check out TL vs GG Game 1 of Summer Playoffs 2020 for a pro example).
Core Mythic Items - Engage or Peel
|A bit costly but this is still the most reliable boots to go if you're just going to be roaming. These boots allow you to go basically wherever you want at a much lower time cost due to Alistar's somewhat slow MS. As you transition from the laning phase to the midgame, you want to look for any potential roams Mid and Top, and these boots help you do just that.|
|A cheaper alternative to Boots of Mobility. If you're a bit short on cash but you still want to roam, then these boots are the way to go. These are also very effective boots against enemies with a lot of slows or skill shots. Very good synergy with Shurleya's as well.|
|If you're behind or the enemy is full AD, consider immediately buying Ninja Tabi. The unique passive reduces the DPS of ADC's and other AA-based champions significantly, and the extra armor is always helpful against lethality. Finally, if you're at the late stages of the game and you need more tanky stats, just sell your mobility boots or boots of swiftness – roaming is not as effective due to grouping.|
|A great item against heavy MR or CC compositions. These boots are especially effective against champions like Syndra, Zoe, Morgana, and Cassiopeia due to their kits.|
Core Support - Buff/Heal your allies
Defensive Options - Keep you alive
|This item actually became a lot more useful for Alistar since your engages will always proc the item's passive, allowing your team to deal extra damage to up to 5 people. If your team is up against 3+ AP, this item is a solid pickup, especially if you are getting a lot more kills than your allies.|
|Get this item when the enemy has a lot of crit items, such as the ADC, Yasuo, Tryndamere, etc. This will considerably increase both your and your team's tankiness due to the item's active, which simultaneously enhances your peel as well since it slows nearby enemies.|
|This item is great on Alistar because of its huge armor and mana stats. Coupled with its aura passive, this item will work wonders against ADCs like Vayne and Kalista due to their huge reliance on auto attacking. It's important to note that you shouldn't build Frozen Heart with Randuin's Omen, as the unique passives will not stack.|
Situational - Only gold-efficient in certain conditions
This is basically the most standard engage on Alistar, and it is most effective on ranged champions. Your W, being a point and click, allows you to immediately and accurately get into range of the enemy so you can then Q to knock them up. One thing to keep in mind is your timing of your Q. If you Q even a little bit too late, the enemy will be too far for your Q as your W sends them off at a rather fast speed. If you Q too early, then you might just Q nothing and W the enemy, which just ends up as a waste of mana and makes you very vulnerable. If you have trouble with landing your combos, simply go into practice tool.
Another great engage tool for Alistar. Essentially, you can flash into range of your enemy, Q them into the air, and then W them "backwards" into your team. This should be a guaranteed kill, or at least blow some summoner spells as long as your team follows up on your engage.
This combo depends on what direction you are W'ing in.
If you're already behind the enemy and they will be in turret range after you headbutt them, consider going for this combo. Essentially, after you headbutt them into turret range, you want to Flash-Q so they stay there even longer, and this also gives you time to build up your E-stacks. On another note, if you know the enemy champion you just W'ed doesn't have any escape spells, like flash, then you can just walk up to them and Q, as they should still be in turret range after the stun from the W (unless it's the very edge).
If you're approaching the enemy and there is a minion wave or other target, you can instead W to a minion/target and then Flash-Q on top of the enemy champions. This is usually unexpected as most people don't factor in Flash to Alistar's kill range, and often the support flash isn't as well tracked at least in lower elos.
Double Ranged: If the enemy bot lane has two ranged champions, perhaps Ashe and Morgana, then you will have to just backoff. Play the bush game, that is appearing and disappearing out of the bush until you actually get pushed into the turret. Make sure to juke a bit up and down as well, as ranged supports will usually try to send their skillshots to poke you e.g. Karma Q. Until you're level 3, you are essentially useless, but if you do get pushed into turret this allows you to combo them into turret range.
Ranged and Melee: This scenario is completely match-up based on the ADC usually, as melee champions generally need level 2-3 to be truly effective. The ADC matchup at level 1 usually just boils down to their range since they will poke better; the only two champions with absurd range is Caitlyn and Senna.
So, you'll either be pushed in to your turret or you'll end up shoving to their turret. Before any of this happens, one team will hit Level 2 first. Hitting level 2 right now means one full wave and one melee minion, so you can count the minions you need to level up as well as the number the opponent needs. If you don't get level 2 first, especially against melee champions, just back off immediately. Likewise, if you hit level 2 first, you can push forward to make the enemy bot lane back off, which can sometimes even make them miss XP and CS.
Regardless, safely try to last-hit a melee minion with your relic shield, and back off – this is to ensure that you keep generating more relic stacks.
Suppose the enemy is pushing you in. Then, you can actually look to Flash-Q-W an enemy into your turret. Since they are basically guaranteed to take at least one turret shot, this should be an easy fight and lead to a kill. But, if you don't see an angle or if the enemy is just pushing up, try to set up a freeze, as this will put the enemy in a rather dangerous situation as they are in the perfect place for a gank.
Now, suppose you are the one pushing. This is where I generally try to assist my jungler, either by placing a deep ward in the enemy jungle or physically showing up by Scuttle so that they can take it without needing to contest. But, if the enemy has serious engage threat, like a Leona, then consider just staying in lane so you don't get question mark pinged by your ADC when he or she gets flashed upon. Further information on roams and warding will be covered in later sections.
- NEVER coward out of using your Flash. Worst case you burn the enemy ADC Flash and/or Heal/ Cleanse, but it is still worth because you still have hexflash, which allows for really sneaky engages.
- Try to match your ADC aggression. If you see an opening, ping them to let them know you want to go in, but if your ADC is super passive or they are a scaling champion, then see how they react to the 'go in arrow' and either back off or go in.
- Don't be afraid about taking too much damage from an engage. Your passive gives really good sustain that often isn't expected from a melee champion, and if you took
biscuits then you can just sit in lane and heal up while the enemy will generally remain at the same health unless they have health pots.
- If you can safely do so, always stand past the enemy's minion wave. This basically forces the enemy ADC away from the minions due to your engage threat, denying CS and potentially even experience. And by "safely," this means that either you're already ahead or you know the enemy jungler isn't around for a gank.
- Just because you're a support doesn't mean you can't manage the wave! If your ADC set up a freeze, then only use your relic stacks at the last possible moment so you deal the least amount of damage you can while sharing gold. On the other hand, if you want to shove the wave, auto the minions at around half-health to get the most value.
During the laning phase, you generally have around two general places to ward. Suppose you're on blue side. If you're being pushed in by the enemy laners, then it might help to either ward around tri-brush, blast cone, or over the wall into the dragon pit so you can be on the lookout for potential dives.
If you're the one pushing into the enemies' turrets, however, then it's a perfect time to look for aggressive wards deep into the enemy jungle. One sweet spot is either at the intersection of the jungle camps, or just over the wall such that you gain vision of the enemy blue buff and gromp. But, if you know the enemy jungler isn't going to be bot side e.g. a top fight is breaking out, it might be better to instead ward around midlane so you can set up a potential roam.
These warding areas are generally mirrored if you're on red-side, but there are notable differences. For one, it is rather risky to go ward outside the dragon pit and by the red buff, since there is a bush that could conceal the enemy jungler. The area outside the raptors is also rather far away. Thus, I generally ward up the river in the center of the dragon pit as it helps look out for potential ganks and also ensures that the dragon won't be sneakily taken.
One final remark on this topic is lane wards. Sometimes, supports will ward the bushes so that they can track where you are so you don't have easy access for engaging. If you want to set up a lane gank from your jungler, place a control ward down at the bush closest to your turret.
Generally, lane ganks are infrequent in lower elos, but for counterplay against lane ganks, I'd say just be extremely careful if the enemy has shoved into your turret and the wave is bouncing back to around the center of the lane. Don't push up unnecessarily far, especially if you don't know where the enemy jungler is. Another prevention method is getting your ADC to freeze the wave just by your turret.
By now, you should be roaming all over the map. Vision control starts to become super important around this time as a single pick on the enemy can decide a dragon and/or baron fight. One important tip to always keep in mind is your Oracle's cooldown in respect to the Dragon and Baron timers. Essentially, if Dragon is up in 50 seconds and your Oracle's is up, consider saving it so when your team reaches the dragon pit you can sweep out vision outside or inside the pit depending on where your team is, as the enemy is 99% guaranteed to ward the area.
Laning Phase: In the laning phase, you should only be roaming under two instances.
The first is when you have pushed all the way to the enemy turret (refer to laning phase). Now, if you're on blue side, you should just wade up the river and see if you can make anything happen midlane or in the jungle. If you're on red side, you should be able to go to the left or the right from the tribrush, or instead go up the river from the lane. Tribrush is a bit risky since it's usually warded, so the enemy can fire some missing pings, but the river pathway takes a bit longer.
So now you know when to roam, but you actually need to make the roams successful. After all, if you don't want to waste time roaming when you could potentially set up a 2v2 botlane. First pro-tip is tracking the enemy's summoner spell cooldowns. Especially in lower elos, players don't often respect the enemy when their Flash is down, and this means that you can easily capitalize on even the slightest aggression from them. Something else to keep in mind is who you are ganking. It might not be worth it to gank a Fizz or LeBlanc as they have easy escape tools.
Here's a real example from a ranked game, putting . I (as Alistar of course) ganked mid, and the enemy Lux burned Flash and Barrier. Great. Over the course of the next ~5 minutes, I returned mid 3 times, each time setting up a kill against the Lux since she is an immobile mage without true escape mechanisms.
Ganking top lane can also be quite beneficial as they generally will not expect the support to show up, but you should do so at your own discretion. Not only is it very time consuming, many top lane champions are powerful duelists, such as Mordekaiser or Aatrox, and you might just be another source of healing for them as Alistar simply doesn't have enough damage to match the damage and healing of bruisers and juggernauts.
In teamfights, either the enemy engages on you or you engage on the enemy. Let's tackle the first scenario.
If the enemy engages on your team, your role is to peel for the most valuable player on your team. The "value" of a player can be decided based on their damage output and bounty, though the bounty doesn't factor as much as damage output. Generally, the most valuable player on your team will be your ADC as ADCs deal the most reliable and consistent damage.
Peeling for your ADC will generally involve W'ing back enemy champions and Q'ing enemy champions that get near, while building up stacks of your E simultaneously. Additionally, try to position yourself so that enemy champions don't have easy access to your ADC , and attempt to block single-target spells, for example Ashe ult .
If you have certain actives like Locket or Redemption , time them so you get the most value.
Now, suppose your team is engaging on the enemy .
Similarly, just as if you'd want to protect your most valuable player, as the engager you generally want to go for the enemy's most valuable player. As Alistar, you should be the first one in the battle, unless you have e.g. a Wukong on your team; in this case, where you have two really good divers, you can afford to stay a bit back and look to layer CC on the Wukong's engage instead of just diving in.
But, due to the nature of League, it's not always going to be a set decision of just aiming for the most valuable player. If you know the enemy midlaner doesn't have flash but the enemy ADC definitely does, even if the enemy ADC deals more damage, you might have better luck instead just trying to burst down the enemy midlaner since you should be guaranteed a kill.
This also brings in the topic of tracking cooldowns in general. You should generally be aware of the cooldowns of enemy summoner spells and CC spells, such as Syndra E or Tristana R , as these types of spells will completely negate your engage.