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Alistar is a wonderful tank, has huge HP, and just comes out of the box tough. But I play my Alistar with a slightly different take. Alot of tanks play beefy dps (chogath and sion and singed stand out here) as they are tough and can deal out the damage. Alistar is NOT that champion. Alistar is more akin to a tank/support role as outlined by his positional move, AE stun, and AE heal. Nother here screams 'faceroll'.
So how do you make alistar a tank. Simply put I run the game in three classic stages:
early, mid, late.
Early game I prefer either boots OR a doran's ring. The 10AP is nice for pulv and headbutt, but the HP + mana regen are what we're after.
I then need 3 items by mid game to make alistar the good tough tank/support he should be:
Ninja Tabi OR Mercury Treads (read the other team. If they magic/CC heavy go mercury)
Chalice of Harmony (Magic resist is just as important as the mana regen)
Aegis of the legion (this is the only item in the game with Health, Armor, Magic Resist, And small damage increase.
So around mid game (level 8-12) you should be running around with 50% physical and 50% magical mitigation, 10 extra damage on attacks and spells, and a truck load of HP from your aegis/doran combo.
But wait!!!! Alistar can't farm so how do I get this gold for these items. Simple, you have to partner with a high dps lane partner and get some kills. With the one-two stun punt you should be feeding your lane partner and getting assist gold like crazy. I often times get first blood with alistar(funny i know) due to hiding in the bushes and some squishy just has to come see so my partner and I just slaughter him, or at the least burn both of his summon abilities and have him blue pilling back to recover. But understand, as support alistar you have to be agressive for your dps partner.
So now we have items and an idea of the playstyle, let's peek at the ability order:
1: Pulverize - this stun get's first blood more than anything else in the game.
2: Headbutt- haven't got a kill yet? Now charge out of a bush, slam them into a wall, walk up and stun them for 2 more seconds..... now you got a kill, provided you have a good lane partner.
3: Trimphant roar - It's good to have the health regen because you will take damage as an agressive player, this lets you stay in the lane
4,5: Headbutt lvl 2 and 3: Max headbutt for some complimentary damage
6: Unbreakable will: You need this to survive a tower dive to punt the bad guy back to your buddy. Really shocks people when they think they have you at their tower and suddenly they are 30 feet away with Yi or Eve all over them, and here you come too.... OMGosh
From here on out you will max headbutt first, pulverize 2nd. Do not get unbreakable will 2 and 3 until you max out pulverize. Max out your roar last as it's just a lane pusher, and rank 1 is sufficient to do that.
Summoner abilities: I typically run heal and ghost walk. Please honestly look at ghost walk. The speed burst allows for early ganks, but more importantly, allows you to position for your headbutt to send champs where you want them to go. Also note flash can be used this way to some extent. A person who is really agressive may want to investigate flash/ghost walk to make the most out of their 1-2 combo as often as possible.
Runes: At this point I run dodge quints and seals. With ninja and runes I have about 16% dodge which is huge for this big beast. marks I am running crit chance to get my good damage up. I also run mana regen on my blues, but consider CD reduction as well.
Masteries: I am not 30 yet so this is my build at lvl 24 that seems to work, so your other 6 points are gravey:
3 offense for 2%crit
1 utility for improved ghost walk
21 defense to get 4% reduction on damage and dodge with 10% movement boost. This will save your life more than you know.
Total game playstyle:
I am very agressive. I try to gank in the bushes from lvl 1, and I spend alot of time just watching my partner kill while I set in bushes and either keep the other folks scared to come out and hit, OR if they do Charge/Pulv, me and DPS partner finish and they learn to be afraid of the minion last hitting.
Around lvl 4 or 5 I typically go back and get my boots for move speed and will visit middle lane or other lane and help 1-2 a quick early gank for them. Totally freaks people out. Who ganks with alistar?? Surprise I DO!
Around lvl 7-8 go back for chalice, do another surprise gank. At this point there should be a tower down somewhere and I start roaming with a high dps to gank alot. This is how you net the gold to get Aegis. This puts you as a power house mid and early late game.
The topper items depend on how the game has went. If the other team is fed and has good damage, I'll grab a banshee or sunfire to help mitigate. If it's still even footing and they can't 2 shot me, I'll snag a Sheen for the proc and extra AP, then Atma's impaler to get damage based off my HUGE HP pool. Sheen and atma's stack fairly nice and your heal spam keeps it coming big.
Hope this gives you some fun with Alistar. I know I've won alot running around with him like a 1 man army. Good luck and good hunting!