Alistar - Guns Up Support

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Crayceratops

Senior Member

08-10-2011

I've seen A LOT of Alistars lately trying to play support bot and unfortunately failing hard at it. Being that he has become a favorite of mine and even my main, I decided to make a guide on how I play support Alistar. I'm hoping a few people will read it, learn a few things, pass it on, and I can finally have a semi decent or maybe even good support Alistar for once.
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The biggest mistakes every single support Alistar I have seen make are treating Alistar like an actual support. They stack gp5 items, try to roam gank mid as if they were taric, and play passive thinking their heal will actually sustain a lane like a soraka. Alistar IS NOT a standard support champion, he is more like a Blitzcrank where his support abilities come from disruption, peeling, and protecting the carry. He also does most of the initiating and team fight/out of position ganking.
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First let?s start with my Masteries, Runes, and basic item build.
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Masteries - Simple. A standard Support build of 9/0/21. Go AP, CDR, Magic Pen in offense and Mana/Health Regen, Experience, MP5, Run Speed, Imp Flash, CDR, Imp CV, and of course Summoner CD.
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Summoners - Flash/CV - Flash/Ignite is actually pretty amazing for getting first blood and multiple early kills but CV is just so powerful. I'd highly recommend Flash/CV for every game, but it?s not like Flash/Ignite is terrible. It just isn't as valuable in a team environment as CV.
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Runes - Magic Pen Reds, Mp5 Yellows, AP Blues, AP Quints
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Starting Item - Doran's Ring (Boots+Pots works too but I prefer the extra ap, health, and Mp5 for lane sustain. It allows me to harass a lot early without having to pill.
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My first item when I pill is Level 1 boots, a couple pots, and a ward or 2. This NEVER changes. After that I get 1-2 more Doran's rings, Sorcerer's Boots, Sheen OR Needlessly large rod (depends on how dominant the lane is), and Rabadon's Deathcap. You want to constantly get wards throughout your build and if you aren't dying very often get a Oracle's. Usually my games go well enough my Jungle will pick up the Oracle's instead, after all he spends more time roaming then I do. Most games end before you reach anything close to a full build. Usually a Couple Doran's Rings, Sorcerer's Shoes, Sheen, and Rabadon's is all I ever get to, if that. But if your game happens to last just that long finish off Lichbane and start building defensive items. Defensive items vary wildly depending on enemy team comp but safe bets are Hourglass and Guardian Angel. Basically defensive items that allow you to stay in the fight longer and continue to disrupt their game play.
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Game play - I think out of every 10 games I play with Alistar there might be only 1 that I DON'T level 1 fight. I start every game by getting Pulverize and having my team head straight up mid and go into the bushes waiting for CV to cool down. Upon cooling down, CV their Blue Golem brush and immediately head to it, if you can Pulverize someone without using flash, great, but 80% of the time I use flash to Pulverize the entire enemy team giving my team time to get in and lay down a couple of abilities and ignites. 75% of the time we get First Blood or more and at the VERY LEAST you waste most if not all of the enemy team's cooldowns. This leads to a passive early game in which your team can safely farm a bit before they come up again. Steal Blue Golem if the situation is right and proceed to bot lane. If you got a kill b and get boots, pots, and wards.
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Level 1 isn't very exciting...stand around, leach xp, and get to level 2. Where most of the fun begins. At level 2 you now have Headbutt and can begin to heavily harass/go after kills which will be your primary source of income. Even if all you are getting all game is assists, that is ok because it means your AD Carry is getting crazy fed. You know how they work...they snowball quickly with a couple early kills. Usually I let the enemy team push us to tower or at least halfway to maximize the distance the enemy has to run away. Now just because you can Headbutt into a Pulverize doesn't mean you should do it all the time. In fact I RARELY use that combo because it is very limiting in its effectiveness. To maximize your damage you should get in position where you can Pulverize and then Headbutt the enemy towards your enemy carry or into a wall. This will give your carry more time to DPS the target and maximize your chance of a successful kill. DO NOT be afraid to use Flash to get yourself into a position to Pulverize. Cooldowns are meant to be used and you shouldn't worry about saving them. Because of Alistar's ult I think I use Flash Defensively maybe 5% of the time. There is simply almost no reason to have to use it defensively or save it for that purpose. Use it to gank and use it often. Same thing with Pulverize and Headbutt. After your do your Pulverize/Headbutt combo if someone isn't dead be preparing and setting up for the next attempt so within seconds of Pulverize cooling down you are ready to do it again. You want to CONSTANTLY be harassing the enemy team, making them use Summoner cooldowns, mana, etc. You want Vayne to have to use all of her abilities defensively instead of letting her set up offensive combos. Your goal is to frustrate the enemy team by making them play defensive and screwing with their farm.
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What about heals? At level 3 you do indeed get Alistar's heal...1 rank of it...after getting 1 rank max Pulverize to get it's CD as low as possible and then max Headbutt. His heal is the LAST thing you max. Why? Because no matter what rank it is the heal is near insignificant. What IS significant is the low mana cost, relatively low cool down due to your carry farming, and the fact that at low level this ability gives you decent sustain. A lot of Alistar's for some reason think they are Soraka...don't kid yourselves your heal isn't near her level so stop being passive and harass with your other abilities.
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Once you hit Level 6 you should already have 2-6 kills between you and your carry and usually no deaths, but 1 is definitely ok. On average I'd say 3 kills and 1 death is solid. At level 6 you can do back to back harass/gank attempts with little to no risk. Often you will do it enough that the enemy team is beat up and hanging up under their turret with under half health. This is where you make your push for the turret itself or the very least a couple more kills. Alistar's biggest strength is he cares not for your turret damage, your awesome ultimate abilities, or whatever damage you do to him. Once his ult is up either you or that turret is going down and it?s up to the enemy to decide what they are handing to you. The ONLY thing that can save that turret is if their jungle happens to be close but if you are smart you will coordinate a push like this when you see the jungler doing a gank attempt at top. Once the turret is down head mid and your team can start making heavy pushes and really taking the upper hand. Your bot and mid lanes should be relatively farmed from minions and maybe even a few kills. Due to how you handle bot with your carry the Jungler can spend more time in mid and top lanes giving them safe farm and hopefully some kill advantages.
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The game can vary wildly at this point but usually just make good decisions on what to push, when to push, and fitting in dragon/baron where they make sense. The reason Alistar is so brutal, especially when built as AP like mine is you are a mediocre support with RIDICULOUS initiating/disruption abilities as well as being able to add some decent damage. Teams can't turtle you because if they do you can simple ult onto their turret, Pulverize the enemy team, Headbutt the enemy carry into your team and proceed to take the objective. Usually because of your aggressive play/turret diving a team will become accustomed to this and back off the objective all together. I can't tell you how many times I have ulted onto a turret just for an enemy team to run away and practically let us have it. These aren't bad teams, there just simply isn't much you can do to counter it unless they have a team built heavily with true damage.
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To sum things up essentially you are playing AP Alistar in a support role which works extremely effectively when done right. Below are some pro tips to help you get there.
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1. COMMUNICATE to your AD carry the play style that you play so they can understand what you are doing and when to go after kills. If you don't do this you can be off Pulverizing the enemy carry, knocking him into yours, and your AD just stands there. You die. These players can be considered bad but I've even had this happen to me at 1600 elo. Some AD carry players are just passive farms and need to be told what to do...NICELY. Once they understand you are simply trying to get them fed they will not worry about the 1 or 2 last hits they are missing.
2. COMMUNICATE in champion select and when the game first starts about your intent to level 1 fight. If your team doesn't know what is going on it will always turn out bad for you. They aren't mind readers. Let them know I intend to flash into the team if necessary, Pulverize, etc so they can know they might have to use Flash, Ignite, etc and get the kills.
3. COMMUNICATE (notice a pattern here) to your jungle that you don't need his help if you guys are doing well bot, which 90% of the time, you will be. Let him know he can focus on top/mid lane and work on getting them advantages. Also let him know when a good time to dragon is and go to assist him.
4. Taric can be a...problem...I guess is the word. Usually with a Soraka, Sona, or standard support you can go for them, burst them down, and move on to the carry. With Taric he will simply stun your attempts while his carry punishes you for trying. Instead focus on the carry and try knocking the carry into yours. You can usually do this before Taric stuns you if positioned and executed correctly. Often Taric's stun will be wasted on you allowing your carry to free harass while they run. Worst case scenario you just have to play slightly more passive against him and wait for jungle help, although this is rare you find a Taric/AD combo that skilled to make you do so.
5. Roaming is often a terrible idea. You lose experience, higher elo ward so often early it usually doesn't yield anything, and you expose your carry to an easy gank. Tower diving happens so often lately, people have just gotten good at doing it without dying. Especially if their jungle happens to be anywhere close and notices you are gone. The only time you should be away from your carry is when you are buying items, which itself should be a calculated, well timed decision.
6. Every time you b, get a couple pots, some wards, and a pink ward if you want to do dragon soon. All your other items are secondary. But don't worry, you will get exactly what you need if playing correctly. Remember, your gold comes from assists, kills, and good dragon control. You can also do a bit of jungle/lane farming when appropriate.
7. Finding a ranged carry who can fully understand your play style can be a huge asset. If you find someone who understands your style and synergizes well with you ask about playing a couple games with them. *hint* Urgot+Alistar can be a little bit ridiculous and comical if not simply unfair.
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If you have any questions please let me know and I will be happy to help. I'm not the greatest player, currently only 1600, but I think I finally found a champion I can consistently win at that works well in varied comps. Alistar is the single most disruptive champion in the game and can do wonders for your team. His healing isn't the best but he is the only support who can tank, cc, heal, and to relatively good amounts of damage at the same time.


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Warrrrax

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Senior Member

08-10-2011

You are quite heavy AP and I am curious why. As you well know, his AP ratios have been nerfed TWICE, such that his heal is just awful (0.2 AP? really?), and his 0.5 and 0.7 ratios are fairly mediocre.

I understand that Alistar gets a lot of survivability for 'free' thru his Ult, so you have some leeway in how to build. But how is this high AP approach superior than the 2 other approaches.
i.e. TriForce ADish build which boosts his movespeed considerably and gives sustainable damage.
or Aura Support where he maxes Cooldown reduction and gets frozen heart, aegis, and other useful auras.