[Guide] Alistar - The Support Tank

Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Aralain

Senior Member

12-31-2009

Greetings! Welcome to a culmination of personal experience and opinion I like to call my Alistar guide. While this will not go heavily into numbers and theory crafting, we will touch on these things as they are the nature of guides in general. This guide is split into sections:

1. Your role
2. Gold - You need it!
3. Masteries and Runes - IMPORTANT
4. Items and 'how to build'
5. Skill progression, Summoner spells, and why
6. How to 'roll' Alistar correctly.


1. Your Role

So you are Alistar, what is your job? Well taking a punch in the face seems the obvious role of any tank. But as Alistar, you are one of the few tanks that can control a battle with offensive and defensive manuevers. As the tile suggests you are a 'support tank'. This means that your job is to support your team as well as tank. You should always ask to lane with a high dps champion like Yi, Shaco, Twitch, or I find Eve to be about the best as she can initiate a stun out of stealth, then you can run up and stun, then punt so far back the wrong way Eve just lol's all the way to the bank. Understand that as Alistar playing this way, your stats should look like this at the end of a game: 3/8/24. On really good games you may break even at 4/4/16, and sometimes you'll come out ahead, but don't count on it. You are the reason stuff dies, but you don't necessarily do the killing. Also note that Alistar is one of the best 'feeders' in that you can feed your high dps team mates kills like no other. Remember never to commit to a gank unless you have a turret or a friendly dps'r nearby, otherwise you'll scare your oppnent a little, then they'll kick your arse for ya.

2. Gold - You need it!

Face it folks, items make the game and you need cash for items. Alistar is not a farming machine so you need 3 very important things to get you where you're going:

1. Learn to last hit, do not open auto attack all the time.
2. Use gold Quints, they really do help ALOT with this hero until you learn to farm alot better.
3. Gank early, gank often. Work with your lane partner, OR even switch up a lane and surprise the enemy solo lane BEFORE level 6. Assists and the occasional last hit on a gank will be your primary source of income. I have finished games with a full item load out, and less than 20 minion kills. CRAZY...

3. Masteries and Runes

At the time of this writing I am not yet level 30, but I can see where this build is heading. I currently run 0/21/5, but the final will be 0/21/9 for the extra mana regen and cash income, as well as the survivability from the defensive tree.

Runes are kind of trickey, but my best setup so far is:

Red: Mana regen, FLAT, not scaling. Early mana regen and a good solid BASE to work with our Chalice of Harmony is what we're after.

Yellow: Scaling health - nothing says beefy like a growing cow, that grows even more at top tier. These really make a difference around level 10-14, which I find is where most games are really decided at.

Blue: Half flat magic resist, the other half sclaling magic resist. This lets you have good magic resist that will stay ahead of your armor early game, and put you into a balanced armor/magic resist late game with both mitigations running 50% ish at level 10, and 60% at level 18.

Quints: For starts (which I consider myself) use the +1 gold per 10 quints. This really helps your struggling economy. If you get good at ganking and last hitting to the point you don't need the guarunteed cash, I would roll with scaling HP OR dodge. Your choice. I personally would prefer the HP.

4. Items and 'how to build'

OK, now for a small peice of newbie info I was not aware of when I started:

'everytime you go to the shop, get an item that builds towards your goal. There is no reward for saving up and buying an item all at once. There is also no penalty for peicing them together'

Now that we have that basic concept, let's move to what I call the standard tank build, as it works for all tanks and makes them good and tough early/mid game:

1. Buy boots first. You are the toughest thing in the lane early so you can afford to chase. You may just get first blood. And remember, we're building up to another item here.
2. Ninja Tabi - GET IT. The armor is good, but the 11% dodge is just enough to give you basically 10% more resist to standard physical attacks, which are still the most prevelent damage in the game. The only exception here is if you see a very VERY magic / stun happy team, get Mercury.
3. Chalice of Harmony - Mana problems are no more. Magic resist puts us around 40% magic resist, and the ninja boots sets us at 40%ish as well. Now we're beefy and tough. And that's a good thing.
4. Aegis of the Legion - You are a support tank. As a tank, this is the only item in the game with magic resist, armor, AND health all in one item. As a supporter, an aura that gives you damage 10 extra damage, and yourself is just a really nice perk! Get this thing, it will put you over the magic 50/50 for magic resist and armor. Along with your health runes and this you should be near or over 2K HP mid game, which is big. Especially with 11%dodge, 50% physical reduction, and 50% magical reduction. Now you can be a little reckless, especially with Unbreakable Will!
5. Guardian Angel - Let's face it, tanks initiate battles, and sometimes you have to charge into a turret to stun/punt a squishy back to your team. You shouldn't die, but IF you do (and all tanks do sadly) this is what gets you back into the game to finish the fight you started. The armor and magic resist on this push us up and over the 60% mark on armor, and dang close on magic resist. Now we can initiate and 'appear' completely reckless and beserk, but in truth you're just a solid machine and you can take. Oh and now you have the 'get of jail free' card once every 5 minutes!

The last spot I leave open to you. I personally prefer a banshee or a sunfire if goes this far depending on what i'm facing. I would also suggest a Frozen Mallet or Ryjai's scepter as slows and snares are dominate late game when you finally get that illusive carry pinned down and they can't run.

5. Skill progression, Summoner spells, and why

We'll start with summoner spells:

1. Heal - You are a support hero and a tank. This will save you and your team. Use it, and put the one point to reduce it's cooldown. You'll need it.
2. Ghost - You are heavily reliant on your positional. It will either make you pro, or just another noob that kicks kills out of NuNu's death circle. Don't be that noob. Use ghost to outrun your enemies and instead of doing the stun then punt 1-2 punch, use this to do the 2-1 punt then stun. This is what you have to master is how to use the headbutt to position, THEN the slam to keep them there so your lane mate/team mates get the kill. Both 1-2 and 2-1 are appropriate, and only experience can teach you when and where. Practice. OH and remember to put the point into improved ghost, it is uber.

Your skill progression is very different from others will teach you. Here we go:

1. Pulv - Stun for first blood. You or your lane mate should get it!
2. Headbutt - At level 2 we already have our 1-2 or 2-1 combo. Start ganking.
3. Headbutt - Hit harder, get more ganks
4. Triumphant Roar (TR) - this is more for health 'regen' in our build. Let's you stay in lane after you gank an enemy and their team mate 'punishes' you.
5. Headbutt - We're maxing this first BTW
6. Unbreakable Will - it's on
7. Headbutt
8. Pulverize - we max pulv second on our list
9. Headbutt
10. Pulv
11. Pulv - NOT unbreakable, the extra 2 seconds isn't real big right now.
12. Pulv
13. Pulv
14. Unbreakable - Now we up UW
15. TR - Gotta spend the point
16. Unbreakable - Maxed at 10 seconds of tank dishing fun!
17. TR
18. TR

So why this way. I want bigger heals, max it first? WRONG. You are not a lane pusher in this build. You are a support tank, which translates into, you are really big beefy ganker! Get mobile. Change lanes. Make them afraid of the brush that's hiding the big mad cow. My favorite move is to catch the solo mid (Ussually ashe) at their tower, bot behind, pound ghost and headbutt her ass out into the lane, then stun and let my carry get some free cash. This really creates a big 'I'm not even safe at the turret' mentality that carries all game. Especially when you pop UW and walk into the turret and punt some poor idiot out to your team.

6. How to 'roll' Alistar correctly.

So as you can see, we are not lane a lane pusher, we are not a ninja ganker, we are a support tank. Alistar will rarely get the kill, but he should always get an assist. Be there. Never go alone. If your alone, your just a long drawn out gank. It'll take 25 seconds, but you will die, they won't, and unless your team is close, you're wasted. Always be the initiator. They need to focus on you and Unbreakable Will so that your team can 'punish' them mercilessly. Roll with your highest dps, and if they are a disabler, stagger. Wait till there stun almost expirest before you hit yours.

USE SMART HEADBUTTS

Do not use it for damage unless they have less than 150 health. You will save them more than kill them. Save that bugger. Also note that as Alistar, if you are facing a NuNu, it is your job to headbutt/pulv to shut down that Ultimate. Make sure you save one for the team fight, don't burn both. Always find their carry (twitch, yi, etc...) and stun/punt them to your team. These are your jobs as the support tank. Roll it to victory, and don't forget when you get a kill with headbutt to type:

/all If you mess with the bull, you get the horns...

And watch both teams lol at your dominance, or stupidity. Either way someone's laughing and that's a good thing!

I hope you enjoyed my first 'OFFICIAL' guide to Alistar. I also hope this helps! Good luck and see you all later!


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

nicosharp

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Senior Member

12-31-2009

Hi Aralain. Nice first guide. I'd just like to point out a few things that are a bit different than how I run it:
If you go Gold Quints, because you are newer and have trouble farming with Alistar, you should possibly avoid going boots first. Boots first is not noob friendly, and will hurt you if you want to be agressive in lane mana-wise. Alistars biggest disadvantage early and mid-game has always been mana-pool. Items like Meki Pendant, Sapphire Crystal and 2 hp pots, Doran's Ring, Mana Manip are typically better for survivability/harrasment. I sometimes run Doran's Shield, or a Ruby Crystal if the enemy lineup looks particularly challenging.
Second Runes - I also love the MR blue runes, but the Clarity Blue runes are just too good. The Red regen runes are really bad. you end up with all of 2.5 mana regen / per 5 or something with all 9 tier 3s.. (please correct me if I am wrong, can not currently view)

You may want to also try Flash as a Summoner Skill. It is pretty good on Alistar, but not 100% needed. His mobility is very very important, and it helps you stray from a boots first build. Heal+Ghost walk is awesome though for a free big Roar, and Mobility.

As far as skill spec and item build I totally agree. A few things I will mention is -
1 - Frozen Heart is awesome on Ali, and I typically grab it prior to Aegis.
2 - Sometimes boots of mobility, or mecury treads are the better choice than ninja tabi - it depends on their crowd control. This is important to keep your mind open to more so than just the stun, is the slow, and ranged carries that may run phage. Your only escape is a headbutt and mercury's/or a lucky dodge or 2 with tabi's. I find myself buying mercury more, although i do love tabi, getting out of stun and slows early seem to help my team more as my positioning is better.
3 - Rushing Chalice is typically a good idea for aggressive play.

I'd love you to check out my guide as well, and let me know what you think:
http://leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=36784


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Bait

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Senior Member

12-31-2009

his item build is fine.

the runes are okay too but the quints should be flat hp.

id recommend flash over ghost. the problem with ghost is the other team tends to scatter.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

nicosharp

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Senior Member

12-31-2009

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bait View Post
his item build is fine.

the runes are okay too but the quints should be flat hp.

id recommend flash over ghost. the problem with ghost is the other team tends to scatter.
Have you been stacking HP lately Bait? Im leaning towards that as well. Still going movement quints, and movement specced utility though. What is the % mana regen on reds? I thought it was .26 or something bad like that? Armor Pen reds help me quite a bit, and makes it easier to last hit melee minions.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Aralain

Senior Member

12-31-2009

Nico, already read your guide, as I am a raving Alistar fan and pretty much scoped as much out about him as I can.

Wanted to touch that your points are very valid and wonderful. I only put the starter tips in that I felt were not readily apparent for new folks. I did not know that +gold quints existed for the longest time. Overall this is not intended to be a newbie guide, as Alistar is very 'unfriendly' to new players. I poorly played Alistar not only feeds the enemy kills, but can also 'save' an enemy from a gank or two with a poor played headbutt.

I note that the red mana regens aren't the best, but blue had better MR, and yellow had best 'non-quint' health. I'm not a big fan of 'flat' health as the return on scaling HP seems to outdistance flat by almost 2 to 1, and Alistar doesn't really have an HP problem early. And since we aren't rushing to sunfire or banshee veil, We are not getting a giant's belt or any other 450+ health items until the very end.

Much appreciated on the post and pointers. And I really appreciate the props for my first guide!


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

nicosharp

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Senior Member

12-31-2009

I do miss the extra gold from my old way of speccing runes for alistar, but that extra 4.5% movement has really helped me pulverise someone on the chase in the first 7 lvls of the game.

Only other thing I could recommend, since you are fairly passionate about Ninja Tabi, is possibly stacking yellow Dodge Runes, and Dodge quints? In the long run, it may benefit you more than the HP scaling runes.

With all the tanking you will be doing, the armor pen reds might help out more than the mana regen just to support your last hitting and tower pushing ability.

Then again after realizing you are going tank/defense mastery, this all makes sense and is a real wise way to play alistar provided your mastery choices. Your Summoner skills support your mastery setup well, and going boots first makes sense. I think I will give this a run when I get home, with slight tweaks to runes, but everything else the same and see how it goes.

Oh and nice tip about going mid through the tower to knock an ashe out to your carry and kill her. That is my favorite thing to do, I haven't seen anyone else besides myself do it yet, but I think its going to be the new flav of the month kill with Ali's.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Aralain

Senior Member

12-31-2009

Haha! No doubt Ali's bustin from behind the tower is hilarious. I ussually get a lol from my lane partner and sometimes a big ole ragequit from the person that just got the shaft.

I do have to say, my weak spot in my game right now is rune configs so as I get IP enough, I'll be playing with the ideas you put out. I used to run full dodge yellows and 2 dodge quints (all tier 1) and they made my ninja tabi sing, but as you can see I've since shifted to higher HP and MR as I find that spells and the big burst from abilities that do magic damage seem to be just as bad as physical attacks. That's why I've moved to a balanced high armor/MR combo with a lesser emphasis on dodge and more 'moderate' hp since Alistar is naturally beefy.

Hope this build works out for you.