A pubstomping Alistar guide
Updated 9/20/2011: This guide is now obsolete, see the last post of mine in the thread
Hello there forums! I've seen a lot of folks confused about how to play Alistar lately, and thought I'd make a guide on how I play him. I've played Alistar for four hundred games or so, and in the process I've stumbled upon a build that has served me extremely well in games both normal and ranked. With this build you will be playing the roles of feeding your lane partner from levels 1-7, level 7+ initiator, ganker, and anti-carry, and level 12+ tower-puncher.
First, the primary problems with Alistar:
1. he gets ignored in late-game teamfights due to his great survivability, but terrible damage output.
2. he has trouble farming and acquiring gold
The solution? Don't build pure tank. As Alistar, we only need enough tank items to survive through teamfights with our Ultimate. Once we have enough survivability to do this, any more will result in diminishing returns and generally become less and less useful as we go. therefore, to avoid both problems of ignorability and lack of farming, we must build for tank and damage. The enemy team cant ignore us if we initiate, pop our ultimate, then turn and crit their carry for 600, and those mobs become much easier to last hit with 200 AD.
Disclaimer: This is a mid-late game build, designed to shine at level 10+ (his early game is already strong)
Ranked Results: I have thus far played 48 ranked games as Alistar, and am at 29 wins and 19 losses at the date of this update, and have an average of 5.4 kills, 4.9 deaths, 17 assists, and 1 tower per game. I have found that this is largely dependent on the early damage output of my lane-mate, as when such is high we are generally able to go on a rampage during the laning phase and dominate the early game. I have had great success in laning with Vayne, Tryndamere, and Pantheon; Vayne for her wall-stun and high damage, Tryndamere his ridiculous crits, and Pantheon for the stun-locking capabilities in addition to him always doing full heartseeker damage. Hopefully these and similar combos will continue to be successful as i rise beyond the 1200s in ELO (if i do). Twitch has also proved to be a good lane partner, especially if I can get him fed to carrying-levels.
Pulverize (Q): This is your primary skill which you will level up as much as possible after your ult. It is both your main method of farming and burst early-game, and your main CC throughout the game. Try to catch as many people in this as you can, to maximize the effect. This can win you a level 1 lanefight if you catch both opponents.
Headbutt (W): this is your second most important ability to level after your ult, Headbutt will be the source of many assists, and is very effective in both saving teammates and punting your enemies back to waiting allies. It is vital that you master the various forms of the pulverize-headbutt combo with Alistar. You can also try last-hitting with this skill, but be careful in doing so, nothing is more disappointing that sending someone to safety with ten hp left. Right-click on enemies before you try and headbutt them for a kill, as this will give you an extra auto-attack on them as they sail through the air.
Triumphant Roar (E): this ability is useful, but not a primary aspect of the build, and remains constant in it's mana-effectiveness throughout its levels. Get it at level 3 and don't touch it again until you have to. You will primarily use this ability to proc sheen for last-hits.
Unbreakable Will (R): This is your ultimate, is incredibly useful, and has multiple functions. Use it when you initiate to gain tons of effective hp, use it in fights where you aren't being focused to increase your damage output, use it to escape CCs, use it while fleeing to increase your odds of survival. Use it to tank turrets and push them down quickly.
generally your skill-build should be as follows:
R>Q>W>E with 1 rank in E at level 3.
General tactics: at levels 1-7 you exist to feed your lanemate. try to get in a lane with a dps or hard CC champion like Sion, Pantheon, Tyr, Olaf, or anyone else with good early sustained damage and keep stunning and punting your squishiest opponent into your partner's waiting arms. Once you get your boots of mobility, you may want to go to mid, and help gank there. If you are laning against another squishy, murder them as soon as possible (with a level 1 flash-stun if possible), and never stop. You are one of the best tower-divers in the game, and once you hit level 6 that squishy should dread the very sight of you. If they keep coming pack and counter-pushing, gank them mercilessly. If they don't, punch their tower down.
Once laning ends, you are the initiator, and it its now your job to open up teamfights with a stun, punt a squishy back to your team, pop your ultimate, and go to town on another squishy. If your team wins the fight, you are likely your team's best chaser, so hunt down any fleeing enemies and punt 'em back. If your team loses the fight, don't hesitate to sacrifice yourself if that is what's necessary to let two or more of your teammates get away. If you manage to kill 3 or more of the enemy without significant losses and the rest of their team got away, immediately push a tower, and put your passive to use. In teamfights, look for opponents with channeled abilities (fiddle, nunu, katarina, etc.), and disrupt these abilities with a headbutt or stun.
Throughout the game, gnaking is essential. Start as early as possible and always be on the lookout for opportunities. Your boots and your abilities make you one of the best assist-gankers in League of Legends, and you should take advantage of that fact whenever possible, even when it means taking less common ganking routes, such as through the tower that's behind an enemy.
It is absolutely essential that you master your ability combos, as you wont be effective without them.
You can go several different builds with Alistar and be effective as far as runes go. Personally I go 9x ArmPen marks, 9x flat armor seals, 9x MR/level glyphs, 2x ArmPen Quints, and 1x flat health quint.
Go for the full standard 21 in utility, picking up improved ghost and flash. You will need that extra effectiveness and decreased cooldowns on your summoner abilities, which you will rely on heavily.
Put the last 9 wherever you feel is best, I generally go 3/6/21 with points in the flat MR and armor bonuses, and the 2% increased crit rate.
Summoner spells: Flash and Ghost. This is non-negotiable.
Boots of Mobility: chasing, initiating, these are essential. Can be replaced by lesser boots, but i prefer that MS5. EDIT: the new CDR boots might be equally valuable if your game is gonna be teamfight-heavy.
Atmas Impaler: 45 armor, some crit strike, and attack damage that syncs up very well with Alistar's high base health. If you don't like Atmas and want more early-game bang for your buck Glacial Shroud can be a good alternative.
Aegis of the Legion: Spirit visage isnt really worth it on an AD Alistar anymore, so this item will fill your MR requirement until lategame (your ulti, base hp, and MR runes already makes you too tanky to burst down) while giving you some armor, health, damage, and a nice aura for your team.
Trinity Force: AD, attack speed, AP, crit chance, movespeed, health, mana, slow on hit, +150% base damage proc, all of these things are good on Alistar and this should give you the damage you need to be unignorable.
I generally start out this game with a boots of speed, 2 health pots, and a mana pot. This allows me to chase people down at level 1 and generally have an early MS advantage, while the potions give the ability to lane for quite some time before one has to recall. I usually rush Sheen, though occasionally it is better to complete Boots of Mobility first. After Sheen and boots, the items depend upon the lane composition. If your lane opponents are purely physical and you feel that laning may last for awhile longer, you may wish to get a chain vest first to give you a sizeable chunk of armor. If they are both casters, are balanced, or you think that laning will end soon, get Aegis before going for Atmas. From here, finish Atmas or Trinity Force in whichever order you feel would be best (Atmas if you need more armor, TF if you want more hp and damage). After completing these items, the game should be nearly over but if not you can go for another zeal, a Youmou's, a Banshee's Veil or a guardian angel. As an alternative to Atmas, you may wish to take Glacial Shroud. This will lessen your physical damage, but give you mana and cdr, which are both useful.
So, the item order that I use is thus:
standard (vs balanced team):
Boots of Speed
BoS > Mobility (ninja tabi/merc treads for pure physical/magic teams)
Atmas/Trinity Force/Glacial Shroud
Atmas/Trinity Force/Glacial Shroud
Against all or 4/5 physical:
Heart of Gold
BoS > Ninja Tabi
HoG > Randuins
TF/Spirit visage (if one magic)/youmou's
Against all or 4/5 magic:
BoS > Merc Treads
Negatron > Banshees
Trinity Force/Spirit Visage/FoN/GA
Alternate for-fun DPS build:
In a number of games over the past several days I've been playing Alistar, and building as normal, then finding myself with 5 kills and a bunch of leftover gold when i port back to get sheen or BoM. After this happening a couple of times, I decided to try and switch up my build in such situations, and rushed a full Trinity Force, and the last time i tried it, going for youmou's immediately. The results were rather silly and immensely fun, with me becoming a mid-game carry able to do as much damage as anyone on my team while still being tanky with my ulti. I also at this point became the best 1v1er in the match, with very high movement speed, and on-hit slow, and of course the incredibly helpful ulti. If you should find yourself in a similar position and are confident in your ability to pull it off, you may wish to partake as I have of the joys of dps Alistar, and bring about a great weeping and gnashing of teeth amongst your foes. If fed enough, DPS Alistar is the strongest 1v1 champ in the game, able to take on anyone else (except for possibly Trynd) and win handily if his ult is up.
Boots of Speed
Tanky, or, if you really want to, Youmou's (if you can get youmou's early enough you become practically godlike once you hit its active with your ultimate)
I always go tanky at this point, but more tanky dps might be an option. If your kill/assist streak is still holding strong and you are confident that you can keep it up, leviathan then atmas may even be an option for good survivability and more dps, or possibly a starks/last whisper/more zeal/etc. if your foes haven't wised up to your vulnerability outside of your ulti.
Questions? Comments? Post and I, or a more knowledgeable observer, may be able to answer. Feedback is appreciated!
Straightforward guide. Can't find the skillbuild tho.
R>Q>W>E, with one level in E at level 3?
Hm, I personally like building my alistar to be an unbreakable wall, and therefore focus on stacking armor, magic resist, and health (usually pick up a Frozen mallet for that super sexy slowdown effect too).
be an unbreakable wall all you want, without cooldowns all you are doing is being ignored.
alistar cant be ignored when he has 40% CDR... its just too much stun and knock back in a team fight. if enemy team ignores you, then they will be stunned 22,2% (min)-36.3% (max) of the time just from your pulverize: not good for them.
at least thats my build with him (have played over 250 games with alistar probably)
why would they rather target a dps alistar vs a dps yi or annie? dps alistar gets ignored just the same
Seriously, just try and ignore a DPS Ali as he rapes your squishies.
Its actually funny, and if you choose to focus him his Ult provides such a nice damage reduction.
Just gotta know how to use them :]
i tryed the other day AP alistar. not good
some MR of some sort
Tower crush like a baws with Yommu active while having full (or even overkill) CDR so you can pulverize over and over.
It can be nice for the burst/heals, but i really find DPS to be better [there is also some very nice DPS items that add defense as well as damage]
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