Alistar Build Guide

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How to not suck as Alistar

written by I am the Walrus

Alistar Build



Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Ah Alistar, one of the most hit-or-miss champions in the game. Great Alistars cause the enemy team to run in fear at the mere sight of him, while bad Alistars make me cry a little inside every time they headbutt the enemy carry to safety. Why write a guide for this enigma? Because he has a strong team presence at all stages of the game, and is 100% viable in both normals and ranked play on summoner's rift? Because he's gaining popularity steadily even though he was once considered bottom-of-the-barrel trash? Kinda. Most importantly, Alistar is fucking fun to play.

    This is intended to be a comprehensive guide to all things Alistair for both beginners and those who just want to learn more about the bull. I've been playing Ali on and off since Beta, and have won several games in 1900 elo with him, so what I'm saying is at least somewhat legit. If you enjoy this guide I have two other relatively popular ones on this site, one for Gangplank and one for Kayle(which is a little outdated, but I've tried to keep it up through over a year's worth of patches o.o). Feel free to check them out, let me know if you like them, upvote them, or even let me know if you think they're terrible and I'm a terrible person.

    Without any further rambling, be prepared for further rambling.

    How to not suck as Alistar

  • WHY IS THIS GUIDE SO LONG I DONT WANT TO READ WTF

    Some people hate reading, some people hate thinking, and some people just randomed Alistair because they just got back from the bathroom. This is for you:

    Runes:
    Red: Greater Mark of Insight / Greater Mark of Desolation depending on preference, magic is more popular usually
    Yellow: Greater Seal of Clarity
    Blue: Greater Glyph of Shielding or whatever you want
    Quints: Greater Quintessence of Swiftness

    Masteries:
    9-0-21
    or
    0-9-21 if you want to be really aggressive early game

    Summoner Spells:
    Flash
    Ghost

    Tank Items:
    Boots of Mobility or Mercury's Treads
    Choose among these to suit your playstyle:
    Banshee's Veil
    Shurelya's Reverie
    Spirit Visage
    Frozen Heart
    Aegis of the Legion
    Randuin's Omen
    Sunfire Cape
    Trinity Force

    AP Items:
    Doran's Ring X 1-3
    Sheen
    Rabadon's Deathcap
    Lich Bane
    Choose among these depending on how the game is unfolding
    Boots of Mobility/ Mercury's Treads/ Sorcerer's Shoes/ Ionian Boots of Lucidity
    Void Staff
    Abyssal Scepter
    Zhonya's Hourglass
    Deathfire Grasp
    Will of the Ancients

    Skill Priority:
    R - Q - E or W

    General Tips:
    -Flash+Pulverize is great initiation
    -Don't use Headbutt to kill unless you're 100% sure it will work (they have 5 health, not 300)
    -Headbutt can stun if you knock them into a thick wall that they're close enough to
    -Your heal heals everything allied except wards and buildings
    -True damage such as ignite penetrates your ult: be careful
    -Your ult is great for tower diving: abuse it
    -Headbutt->Pulverize is good for harass or finishing off low hp runners, but is not always the best choice for initiation

  • Updates

    Posted 7/4/11: Will probably add videos in a couple months to all my guides when I get my shit together. Making this section now due to the rate Riot and the player base have been changing the cow over the past few months.

  • Abilities

    Trample
    Whenever you use a spell, Alistar stops giving a fuck and busts out his "haters gonna hate" walk, ignoring unit collision and dealing negligible AoE damage to everything around him.

    This does help Alistar deal a little more damage in team fights and helps him clear minion waves somewhat easily with his Q and W. It can mess up your farming early game if you/re not careful, so always be wary of this spell when trying to bring in the duckets.


    Pulverize
    This is your defining move. Carefully read what this ability does, and then try to convince anyone why Alistair doesn't have the best level 1 presence in the game next to maybe Blitzcrank. A powerful AoE knock up and stun that does heavy damage with a strong ap ratio.

    The only flaw about this move compared to other initiation abilities is the range; it takes a while to get used to, and can be deceptive at times. You need to be close to the enemy, which is why movement speed and positioning-based summoner spells like ghost and flash are extremely important. This is also Alistar's only reliable farming mechanism, so max it first every game.

    Flash+Pulverize is basically equivalent to Malphite's Ultimate, and makes for some of the best initiation in the game at all levels (especially level 1 jungle fights). This will be discussed later in detail.


    Headbutt
    The use of this skill separates the big league Alistars from the terrible, god-awful ones you never want on your team again. This skill is a single target knock-back that also has a decent ap ratio, but is rarely used for damage; its most important aspect is its repositioning effect.

    Amumu just bandage tossed in and is about to ult? Tryndamere is all up in you Ashe's grill? Soraka thinks she's gonna get away? An extremely angry Irelia is chasing after you and you only have 100 health left? Headbutt them away or toward your team accordingly.

    The move has many hidden tricks which will also be discussed later.


    Triumphant Roar
    I can heal my teammates for 90 health every 12 seconds at max rank? Holy crap that sounds terrible - you might say. At first glance...you're probably right. The manliest sounding heal in the game is also one of the most negligible heals in the game, and the AP ratio is awful to boot. It does have a few redeeming qualities though that makes it worth using.

    For starters, you heal every allied unit, not just champions. This includes minions and champion pets like Tibbers or Heimerdinger's turrets, which makes it a very strong pushing skill. Second, you heal yourself for double the amount of your allies, and it does become rather noticeable on yourself early/mid-game. Third, the cooldown is reduced by 2 seconds every time a nearby enemy unit dies, most notably, minions.

    The real strength of this spell comes from pushing; you can heal your allies and minions pretty decently as enemy minions die, which helps set your team up for a strong push. It is rare that this alone will save your life or the life of an ally next to you, but it can happen, so don't forget about it when your 10 health Teemo comes running toward you followed by 3 slow-moving purple caster minion attacks (or you can just let him die and /laugh on his corpse, but that's probably not the best idea).


    Unbreakable Will
    This move is just as epic as its icon implies. It gives you a free cleanse, a significant amount of attack damage, and most importantly, an absurd amount of damage reduction. It makes you amazing at tanking, because when it's activated, only a ton of true damage can kill you. Champions, monsters, and most importantly, turrets, will do negligible damage to you, and with enough base health upon activation, you're practically invincible. This move also has plenty of tricks which I will once again discuss later.


  • What is Alistar?

    Some sort of Minotaur on steroids that likes to bull fight or ironically wrangle cattle apparently. But that isn't important. What is important is what Alistar can bring to a team.

    His Q and W give him some of the strongest Crowd Control in the League
    His R gives him immeasurable tanking prowess regardless of items
    His E gives him a touch of support/pushing power

    But most importantly: Alistar does not need to be nearly as farmed as other tanks in order to be effective, and is extremely useful at all levels of play.

    Essentially, Alistar is the very definition of a true tank (unless you elect for a more unorthodox build, more on that later). He has low damage output but game breaking cc, initiation, and survivability.

  • Masteries + Runes

    :::::MASTERIES:::::
    Preferred: 9-0-21 or 0-9-21
    Jungling: 1-8-21 or 1-16-13

    -You need 21 in the utility tree in order to have you Flash/Ghost up whenever possible. Alistar also greatly benefits from the cooldown reduction, the movement speed, the mana regen, and even the gold per 5 for more wards. Learn to love the Utility tree.

    -The 9 in offense is better late game, as the spell penetration and cooldown help your damage output greatly.
    -The 9 in defense gives you more armor, magic resist, and health regen, which allows you to be more aggressive early on and go for the more risky kills. Up to you, but generally I prefer the 9 in offense.

    -You don't need 21 in defense because your ult gives plenty of damage reduction; utility offers much more.
    -You don't need 21 in offense because you're a sane individual who doesn't stack infinity edges on Alistar.


    :::::RUNES:::::
    -Marks/Reds: Greater Mark of Insight / Greater Mark of Desolation / Greater Mark of Resilience
    Magic Penetration or Armor penetration (magic preferred) or Flat Armor
    These are the least important, I personally use magic pen to help my damage.

    -Seals/Yellows: Greater Seal of Clarity / Greater Seal of Resilience / Greater Seal of Vitality
    Mana regen/5/level or Flat Armor or Health/level
    Alistar has some mana problems before you get your items going, so mana regen helps a lot. If you feel you don't need it, feel free to try other more standard tank runes.

    -Glyphs/Blues: Greater Glyph of Shielding / [ Greater Glyph of Warding / [ Greater Glyph of Focus
    Magic resist/level or Flat Magic Resist or Flat Cool down
    These come completely down to personal preference, as many rune sets can synergize with Alistar. Personally I like magic resist per level, as it allows you to build up a decent amount of magic resist without any items, and is extremely noticeable mid-late game. If you have other runes you prefer, go for it.

    -Quintessences: Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
    Movement Speed
    This is by far the most important part of your Alistar rune set. These + masteries + level 1 boots gives you more movement speed than almost every other champion early game, which makes you a very scary cow. As Alistar you need to be faster than your opponent's carries in order to catch them (unless they're suicidal), and these will help you do it.

  • Summoner Abilities

    :::::The Two best spells that you will need for 90% of games:::::
    Flash: Obviously necessary for the Flash+Pulverize combo. This is borderline mandatory on Alistar, as it allows you to position yourself perfectly for your Crowd Control in team fights, chases, or initiations. When this is up your are essentially a Malphite who took his ult at level 1.

    Ghost: This allows for a different kind of initiation: It allows you to catch up to crucial targets and initiate when your flash is down, or to combine the two spells to allow you to initiate whenever you want. Gives you the movement speed you so desperately need, and is always a great choice.



    :::::Situationally Useful Spells:::::
    Smite: Sometimes, you need to man up and jungle. Alistar isn't the best jungler, but he can jungle decently assuming you take this. Generally ghost is the best counterpart to this due to its lower cooldown and its ability to catch people more than 5 feet in front of you, but sometimes flash is better, it's personal preference and team comp dependent.

    Clairvoyance: Competitive play mandates the current incarnation of this spell, and sometimes you just have to take it. Extremely boring, but sometimes necessary.

    Teleport: So they have a Pantheon, a Twisted Fate, a Shen, and a Nocturne. God I hate blind pick sometimes. This spell gives you a semblance of map control, and is really only useful to counter split pushers like Teemo, Nidalee, and Twisted Fate. This is generally only useful for high level play, so don't bother unless you feel your team really needs more map control.



    :::::Things you probably shouldn't take unless you're feeling especially angry/insane:::::
    Ignite: This is really only useful for solo-AP-balls-to-the-wall Alistar. You can put out some serious burst early game with ignite+pulverize+headbutt+trample, but it really loses its utility later game when you need the positioning power of ghost and flash. Decent if they have a lot of healing or if you just want to kill everyone.

    Exhaust: As a standard spell this really doesn't bring anything new to the table. Your Headbutt and Pulverize give you PLENTY of cc, so this is really only useful if they have high threat targets that need to be exhausted, and no one else on your team can take an exhaust.



    :::::Other spells and why they suck on Alistar:::::
    Cleanse: Your Ult has a cleanse effect on a much shorter cooldown. Unless they have 8 million stuns/slows, you're not gonna need this. As a tank, you WANT them to blow all their crowd control trying to stop you so the people on your team who do damage can kill them all.

    Clarity: Learn to manage your mana. While Alistar's mana pool may be small, you need flash/ghost/whatever else significantly more than this.

    Heal: You have a heal already, learn how to use it. The cooldown is too large for it to be useful for anything past level 5 lane skirmishes, and it gives you no positional advantage.



    :::::You best be trolling:::::
    [spell=fortify]: This spell might be viable if the cooldown wasn't so gigantic. Also, you're the one who's supposed to be tower diving, not the other way around.

    [spell=rally]: This spell is for the manliest and bravest of men ever. Only take this if you give approximately zero fucks.

    Revive: If this spell comes off cooldown less often than your grandfather's...you can see where I'm going with this. While the move speed can be hilarious, this spell really isn't viable in any way on Alistar.

  • Skilling Order



    or




    Unbreakable Will > Pulverize > Headbutt/ Triumphant Roar

    Get Q first then get a level in W and E in the next two levels depending on which you need more. From there You want to max Q for the increased damage and decreased cooldown, then make a decision on whether you need more healing or more damage, then level W or E accordingly. Obviously get a point in R at 6, 11, and 16.

    Alistar's skill order is more situational than most champions, so just do whatever feels right for you.

  • Item Builds

    Building Alistar is based entirely on personal preference:
    Some people argue that you need to rush sheen
    Some people argue that you need to rush Gold/5 items
    Some people argue that you need to rush boots of Mobility

    Instead of telling you what you should do, I'm going to give you a pros/cons for each item, and let you make up your own mind like a big boy. If you don't want to be a big boy, I'll list my usual build at the end.


    :::::How To Build Tank Alistar:::::
    When building Alistar, there are 6 things you want:
    1. Movement Speed - You need to be able to catch up to people and initiate
    2. Mana - You need to be able to use your spells, buying 1-2 flat mana items is all you really need endgame
    3. Health - Your ult is worthless if you have no health to work with it
    4. Armor/Magic Resist - You need to be able to resist damage before/after your ult
    5. Cooldown Reduction - You need to be able to lay down as much cc as possible in teamfights/chasing
    6. Damage/teamfight presence - If your team is lacking in damage towards endgame, you will probably need ONE damage item (usually Trinity Force) or auras that inhibit the other team's damage (Frozen Heart, Randuin's, etc)

    If you want to play AP Alistar, check the later section of the guide.


    :::::Starting Item:::::
    Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion
    -These + masteries + movement speed quints = One fast cow at level 1. Makes it extremely easy to set yourself for early ganks with pulverize, and makes your roaming/duo laning incredibly scary for the other team.


    :::::Boot Upgrades:::::
    Boots of Mobility
    -PRO: These make your early game ganking insane.
    Makes you faster than almost every enemy.
    Gives you a strong map presence.
    -CON: Eventually these will lose their effectiveness once everyone gets level 2 boots and groups up.
    If you aren't roaming early these aren't the best choice.

    Mercury's Treads
    -PRO: They give you cheap magic resist (which you need to negate poke/harass damage).
    They allow you to move more quickly through slowing effects than boots of mobility do.
    -CON: Most Expensive boots.
    Limit your early game ganking strength against champs with little-no crowd control.


    :::::Viable Tank Items:::::
    I'm going to list off various items, and rate them 1-5 stars, 5 meaning they are Alistar's best friend, and 1 meaning I cry every time you buy them.

    Banshee's Veil *****
    PRO: Gives you lots of health, mana, and magic resist.
    Gives you a Spell block to help you charge in to the enemy team and initiate.
    Gives you plenty of Poke/harass protection.
    CON:There aren't any cons to this item really, it's one of the best items in the game, if not the best item.
    Really, it just lacks utility against auto-attack-based-AD champions.

    Shurelya's Reverie ****
    PRO: Gives you and your team 2 seconds of HOLY-FUCK-I-BROKE-MACH-3 movement speed: great for chasing/initiating.
    Gives you Health, cooldown reduction, and a little bit of regen.
    Builds from Philosopher's Stone, a good early game item (just one though, not 5).
    Relatively cheap item.
    CON: Gives no mana or resists.
    Lacks usefulness when the active is on cooldown.

    Spirit Visage ****
    PRO: Very Cheap CDR, Health, and magic resist.
    Noticeably improves your self-Heal.
    CON: Low stats are lacking end game.
    Can be a waste if you are already at max CDR.

    Frozen Heart *****
    PRO: Gives plenty of mana, armor, CDR.
    The aura can really inhibit some enemy's damage output.
    Early Glacial Shroud can work wonders when combined with a health item.
    CON: Gives no health.
    Somewhat useless against Magic based teams.

    Randuin's Omen ****
    PRO: Gives plenty of armor and a bit of health/CDR.
    The Active is great against Auto-attack-based champions, and makes chasing/initiating much stronger.
    The Passive makes kiting against you difficult for ranged AD champions.
    Builds from Heart of Gold: a good early Purchase.
    CON: Practically Useless against AP/Magic champions.
    Doesn't give that much cooldown for the price.

    Aegis of the Legion ***
    PRO: Extremely great early-game aura item for you and your team.
    Relatively cheap.
    Gives good amounts of Health, magic resist, armor, and even a bit of damage.
    CON: Loses effectiveness later game.
    Needs to be rushed for maximum efficiency, and is difficult to rush on Alistar as it lacks mana


    [item=Force of Nature] ***
    PRO: The best magic resist the game has to offer.
    One of the few items that gives movement speed.
    Gives a good amount of regen once you get a good health pool
    CON: Inferior to banshee's early game until you get around 3000ish health
    Lacks mana/health, making it a very poor mid-early game choice.
    Is really only useful late game once you have health items already against magic heavy teams: a niche item.

    [item=Soul Shroud] **
    PRO: The cooldown aura can be very helpful to certain team compositions.
    Gives a very sizable chunk of health.
    CON: Considering the other items you will be most likely building, the cooldown will be wasted on yourself.
    The mana regen is pretty negligible unless you are playing an all mid game.

    Thornmail ***
    PRO: Completely wrecks AD carries when combined with a good health pool.
    CON: Like Force of Nature, this is a niche item: only buy it against strong AD threats once you already have 2.5k+ health

    Warmog's Armor *
    PRO: It gives an unrivaled amount of health.
    CON: It only gives health and takes forever to farm unless you're in a solo lane.
    You need to rush it in order for it to be effective, and i doing so you lack the mana/cdr that Alistar desperately needs.

    Leviathan *
    PRO: If you get 20 stacks your Ult makes you a deity.
    CON: As a tank you're going to need to die at some point probably, as you SHOULD be the first man in and the last man out: This item forces you to play selfishly, which you shouldn't do as a tank.
    Even at 20 stacks you don't really need the increased damage reduction, and if you've managed to reach 20 stacks chances are you've already won the game by this point, and you could have bought better items instead.

    Guardian Angel **
    PRO: Makes you EXTREMELY hard to kill, and lets you engage more recklessly.
    Gives strong Armor and Magic resist.
    CON: Gives nothing but resist, so when the passive is on cooldown it's somewhat useless to Alistar.
    Chances are buying this will cause the enemy team to completely ignore you in teamfights, which is generally a bad thing as a tank.

    [item=Eleisa's Miracle] *
    PRO: ...It's Cheap?
    CON: Waste of an Item slot once you fill the other ones


    :::::Damage Items for Tank Alistar:::::
    Trinity Force *****
    PRO: This gives you the highest Net damage increase of any item, making it a strong choice for a solo dmg item.
    Gives Movement speed and a slow, which can be very, very useful for chasing/initiating.
    An Early sheen can completely crush your enemies in the lane when you have the right partners.
    CON: The Most Expensive item in the game: Hard to get unless you get good farm/kills.
    Adds very little to your survivability: needs to be purchased after a few tank items.

    Sunfire Cape ****
    PRO: Gives you good health and armor.
    The damage gives you a stronger teamfight presence while still being a good tank item.
    CON: Weak choice against magic damage teams.
    Weak choice against Kiting based teams that you won't be standing in the middle of.

    Frozen Mallet *
    PRO: Adds more teamfight utility.
    CON: More Expensive than Warmog's for almost 1/2 the health and a slow that you don't really need.
    Trinity Force is better on Alistar in almost every way.

    Abyssal Scepter ***
    PRO: Helps all your spells do noticeably more damage.
    The Aura can help a magic damage based team greatly.
    Gives a good chunk of magic resist.
    CON: Less useful against teams that have 100+ magic resist.
    Only offers magic resist, lacking in the tank department.

    Atma's Impaler ***
    PRO: Gives you a strong and very cost-efficient chunk of damage and crit chance once you get 2.5k+ health.
    Gives a good amount of sustained DPS, not so much burst though.
    CON: Really only useful against tanky dps teams that have long-drawn out battles: a niche item.

    Youmuu's Ghostblade **
    PRO: This + Reverie + Ghost + Boots of Mobility = move speed so high you'll make Kenyans jealous
    Gives A decent amount of cooldown as well.
    Increases your pushing power by a pretty damn good amount.
    CON: When the active is on cooldown it's a pretty weak item.
    Really only useful for the fun of the crazy movement speed: Trinity gives much more damage.

    Wit's End **
    PRO: A strong, cheap choice for Twisted Treeline where gold is tight.
    CON: Lacks utility on Summoner's rift as you really don't need the attack speed and its only defensive offering is magic resist.

    "What about [Death cap/Infinity Edge/other pricy high end damage item]?"
    You aren't building tank Alistar at this point, so it doesn't really matter.


    :::::My Normal Alistar Build:::::
    Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potion
    Philosopher's Stone
    Boots of Mobility
    Catalyst the Protector
    Glacial Shroud
    Banshee's Veil
    Shurelya's Reverie
    Frozen Heart

    Then build the appropriate counter items depending on if their AD or AP champs are doing better, or Trinity Force if the team needs more damage

    * Don't be afraid to swap out your boots of mobility for merc treads later game if you need the tenacity and magic resist, which you often do later on.

  • Tips and Tricks

    Unbreakable Will:
    -You are still 100% vulnerable to true damage spells like Ignite or Feast: BE CAREFUL
    -Silences can interfere with this move if timed carefully
    -Don't forget about the cleanse effect: if a Galio ults you and your team, sometimes it is best to Ult and then interrupt his immediately: get creative
    -This allows you to tank any tower except the base Obelisk for team pushes.

    Pulverize:
    -This spell is a bit buggy at times, try to make sure you are as close as possible to your intended target before using it.
    -You can auto attack once immediately after using this spell and still get away before the enemy can retaliate early game: try to do so whenever possible in lane.
    -Try and nail as many people as possible with this spell in teamfights: save your Headbutt for interrupts if possible.
    -If the enemy has a banshee veil, a possible way to initiate is to Headbutt the banshee and then immediately Pulverize, giving you a free knock-up without knocking the target away slightly as well.
    -This spell will help you clear minion waves

    Headbutt:
    -If you headbutt an enemy into a large wall (Ones that you can't blink over, like those found in top and bottom lane) when they are close to the wall, the will effectively be stunned for a second or so (similar to Poppy's stun), giving you plenty of time to line up a good Pulverize. This is VERY, VERY strong when duo laning, as you can come out from the bush and headbutt an enemy into the river wall, pulverize them, and wail on them for about 3 total seconds while they stand there motionless.
    -This spell can be very helpful for last-hitting and farming, as it doesn't push the lane as much as a Pulverize will.
    -You can actually somewhat deny with this spell, especially against melee champions: When an enemy moves up for a last hit, headbutt them away right before they can attack, and they will miss the last hit. This may seem silly, but you can effectively take away a couple hundred gold, and most likely, they enemy will start to get pissed at you, and lose focus on farming when their mounting rage forces them to prioritize murdering you. Try it when laning as it is quite possibly the most annoying harass in the game.

    Triumphant Roar:
    -This heals every allied unit except for Wards and towers: this includes things like Annie's Tibbers, Shaco's clone, Heimerdinger's turrets, and all other pets and minions.
    -When pushing with the team this spell will come off cooldown very quickly: Be ready to spam it

    Flash:
    -Flashing over walls in the jungle will extend its total range: try to abuse this whenever possible, but know that your team may have difficulty following you.
    -When enemies are overextended in front of your turret, you can flash out and then use your Q and W to knock them into turret range, causing them to take more damage than you can load the average ass with (they'll probably die or have to run away crying).
    -Try to save this for when it's absolutely necessary: it has a long cooldown and smart enemies will know to harass and exploit you when it is unavailable.

    Ghost:
    -If the enemy is out of range of flash, it's generally better to initiate with ghost as it cover more net distance.
    -Try to not use both summoners at the same time: generally you can get away with only one and you will have the other as a backup

    The Headbutt-> Pulverize combo:
    -This is great for harassing as it does a good chunk of damage, and is relatively easy to do once you get the timing down: you basically use headbutt, then press q right before Alistar collides with the target: The better your timing the less of a knock-back the headbutt will have.
    -You can get off a free auto attack if you time it right as well, which is very potent if you have a sheen.

    *****IMPORTANT*****:When it comes to initiation, it is generally better to Pulverize first and then Headbutt an enemy into your team, as it will allow your team to safely gang bang that unlucky soul. Only use the combo for damage or when your summoner spells are down.

  • How to Roam

    Roam: Verb
    -To move about
    -To wander
    -To run around an be a gigantic asshole to the enemy solo laners and junglers

    Roaming effectively is harder than laning in general. You need to effectively balance ganking with actually getting experience and gold. If you're just starting off as Alistar, I recommend just duo laning bottom, because if you mess up your roam you can become extremely under leveled and under farmed.

    -Step 1: Buy boots first with 3 health potions. You need the movement speed to close the gap and land your Q. The health potions let you recap the damage that you're going to take from either a tower shot or enemy harass/minion damage.

    -Step 2: After the level 1 jungle shenanigans before minions spawn, try to position yourself aggressively in a bush near top or middle. Examples include the enemy-side bush in top lane, and one of the river bushes in middle. Be creative, and try to stay hidden. If possible, you want to hold on to your Flash/Ghost so you can come back a second time shortly after the enemy expends their escape spells and ensure the kill with your own gap closers. Wait for the minions to meet and aggro each other, then let your enemy and lane partner start farming as though everything is normal.

    -Step 3: Ping, and then go in for the attack. Your want to accomplish at least one of these things:
    A: Make them blow a summoner spell. Your ally will now have the advantage of an escape, so they can play aggressively while their opponent can not.
    B: Cripple their health, forcing them to recall or expend numerous health potions. This will give your ally a gold and experience advantage, helping them win their lane.
    C: Just fucking murder them. This is obviously best case scenario. If you gank a lane with strong cc (Sion, Swain, etc) of high level 1 damage (Ezreal, Akali, etc) you can probably get a kill if you catch the enemy of guard. If you're a real team player, try to give the First Blood to your ally as they should be able to translate that into a won lane. If you're a greedy motherfucker take it and get a head start on your Philosopher's Stone or your Boots of Mobility.

    -Step 4: Go to the other solo or go for round 2 in your current lane. If you think you can get a kill this time (they blew flash and you didn't), let them see you leaving the lane, then sneak back to the area. If you didn't get anything done the first time, you probably won't the second time. Repeat Step 3 for the other solo lane and see what you can do. From here there are 4 scenarios:
    A: You one or more kills. Good job, you should be level 2, and you can either go bottom for more exp or go buy items to make your roaming even stronger.
    B: You gave your allies an advantage, via summoners or experience. If you don't think you can get any more ganks off, go bottom and lane for a bit to get to level 3. If you need to leach some experience from the solo lane to get level 2 do so, but DO NOT take their last hits. If you are Leaching experience, try to zone out the enemy by using bushes (top) or just running at them and forcing them back (mid). You might need to use a health potion when attempting the latter.
    C: You don't accomplish anything. Just go bottom and lane down there until level 3-4 then try again. Sometimes you're just unlucky, try to not let it get you down. You are technically behind at this point, but the game is by no means over.
    D: You die and your allies type "/all gg fail Alistar." You flashed barely into tower range and got stunned by accident. Now you fucked up. You just accomplished the opposite of what you were hoping, and probably lost your summoners in the process. The best way to recover is to just go bot and play a bit defensive until level 3-4 when you can try to roam again. If you think you still have a shot at ganking even after you died, go for it, but if you die again, you risk putting your team at a significant disadvantage. If this happens to you, just do your best to assist your team and not die anymore.

    -Step 5: This has two phases:
    Before level 6: You can still gank, apply pressure to any lane including bottom, or ward the map. If you have boots of mobility you can be a serious threat, so try to get your gank on.
    Post level 6: Now you can get more reckless with your ganking. As long as you have a decent amount of health when you pop your ult (i.e. not 100, don't be stupid) you can get away from almost anything, and you can actually tank 3+ tower shots for your ally during a dive. Be smart and be aggressive, and once again do your best to make sure you and your ally don't die or get counter-ganked. Buy a few wards and keep pressure on all lanes, making sure to help bottom if they need you. Try to keep up in experience by making trips to bottom or the enemy wraiths, as pulverize+your passive can easily take them down. (leave immediately if you sense a problem though) You don't need to be as high level as your solos, but make sure you are at least on par with the enemy bottom lane.

    From here you can take up residence bottom lane and occasionally run to mid/top after going to base, or you can just run in between lanes and keep constant pressure on while leaching exp only when you really need to.

    Roaming takes a lot of game sense and map awareness, so don't be frustrated if you have difficulty with it at first. Practice in normals/customs and learn from your mistakes.

  • How to Duo Lane

    Ideally you want a partner with a non-ultimate hard CC (stun, snare, knock-up, etc), or at least someone who can dish out some solid damage to a target, and a combination of both is fantastic. Use the bushes to try and position yourself so that you and your ally can chain cc a target and really lay the hurt on them. Play aggressive, but keep an eye on the map to make sure you aren't getting ganked. Bottom lane Alistar is pretty simple, and is a really good place for beginning Alistars. Here's a few tips:

    -A great way to start a cc combo is to headbutt from the bushes onto an enemy that is farming close to a solid walls (next to the bushes or river), essentially stunning them into the wall (depending on how far/close to the wall they were). You can then easily Pulverize them from that point, and your partner has plenty of time to land his abilities after that. With a little practice this becomes really easy to preform.

    -If you or our partner takes a lot of damage early on, get heal at level 2 instead of headbutt

    -When using your heal, try to stay away from the minions, as it will really push your lane all the way to their tower quickly, making it difficult for you to effectively harass and zone them.

    -Same thing with your Pulverize or passive, it can push the lane easily, so try to avoid harassing the enemy in the minion wave if possible.

    -When the enemy is at your turret, you can Flash at them, Pulverize, walk behind them, and then headbutt them into the tower. If your partner has any cc to follow up with this will almost certainty result in a kill on everyone but the hardiest of champions.

    -You can harass with headbutt->Pulverize if you're scared of retaliation from the enemy team, but generally Pulverize into headbutt combos will result in more damage from your ally and make kills/ganks easier.

    -If the enemy is pushed to their tower, you can try ganking mid quickly and do a bit of roaming. Be sure not to leave your partner in a bad spot though, and don't spend too much time away from lane, as you will be missing exp.

  • Good/Fun Laning Partners

    I'll go through some combos that work really well or are just fun. 1-5 stars rate how strong it is.

    Blitzcrank *****
    Holy shit. If done right this can be the most fun lane in the game. You have 2 ways to knock people up, and 2 ways to push people towards your turret. You can completely crush a lane with a semi-competent blitz

    Cho'Gath *****
    While not as strong as Blitz, this guy can be a close second. He can easily land his rupture after your pulverize, and his silence can hit really hard. Once he gets 6 you can kill most characters when you use all of your abilities. He can also easily hold the lane if you decide to roam a bit.

    Garen ****
    Crazy Damage and a long silence that really benefit your combo nicely. Garen in a bush is scary, but Garen Alistar in a bush is goddamn terrifying.

    Maokai ****
    His ranged root makes landing your pulverize easily, and he has some decent damage and harass to boot

    Lux/Morgana ****
    Their snares and shields make landing your Pulverize easy and they have some decent damage and support as well.

    Pantheon ***
    His brief stun is a bit negligible, although it can help, but most importantly he can deal some pretty insane single target damage given the chance with his spears.

    Poppy ** to ****
    If they have a lot of ranged harass you can be in trouble, but if they don't, you can deal some pretty insane damage though stun-lock. Very Hit or miss lane

    Renekton ***
    Single target stun and some good damage. Not much else to say

    Singed ****
    Similar to Blitzcrank, but not quite as strong. His poison can deal good damage throughout the cc chain though

    Sion/Taric ****
    Their ranged, low cd stuns really help you put the fear into the enemy

    Swain *****
    Has some pretty retarded damage output and cc at early levels. Very Scary lane

    Tryndamere ****
    This may seem silly, but his crits can do INSANE early level damage if the enemy stands still and lets Trynd wail on them. If only there was a way for Alistar to stop enemies from moving. Oh right

    Zilean ***
    Putting a bomb on Alistar and them speeding him up as he runs out of the bush is fucking hilarious. For you. Not them

    Any AP/Burst Caster with cc (Anivia, Annie, Brand, etc) ** to ****
    Generally these characters will be in a solo lane, but if they do show up bottom (usually in normal games, rarely ranked), you can deal some really strong damage if you do things right.

    :::::Combos to Avoid:::::
    Janna *
    She does like no damage. While she can chain cc with you, you really aren't gonna get anything done against an enemy with any sort of heal/sustain

    Soraka *
    Your only hope if you're stuck with this lane is to constantly harass with headbutt pulverize and hope that the damage will add up fast enough. All she can really do is silence someone for a bit, and even then, her damage is lacking

    Veigar *
    He's going to spend all his mana farming with his q, so the only time you're going to get kills generally is when your jungler comes for a gank

    Any other low damage tank like Shen/Amumu/Rammus * to **
    Your harass is limited and you're only going to get a kill if they overextend at your tower. Generally not a fun lane unless your enemies are dumb or have an even worse lane

  • How to AP Alistar

    *WARNING*
    You need to have experience with Alistar before jumping into AP Ali. He is extremely Squishy without his ult, so you need a good sense of positioning and timing in order to make it work.

    Honestly I'm not the biggest fan of AP Ali personally, but he's still a viable pick for a solo lane. He's a very strong counter laner (just like old solo Malphite and Locket-era-Gragas), and excels at chipping away at enemies health without retaliation. Headbutt Harass deals solid damage, interrupts the enemy's farming, and is really hard to counterattack duo to the knock back.

    Here's what changes for AP Alistar:

    -Summoner Spells: Flash/Ignite is pretty standard for AP Alistar. Higher burst leads to easier kills

    -Runes: You might want Ap/Level or flat AP Quints/Blues

    -Laning: You're probably going to need a solo lane. Chip away at your opponents health with harass while making sure to farm at the same time, as Ap Ali needs much more farm than tank Ali

    -Skill Order: Depending on your playstyle, you might want to max Headbutt before Pulverize. It makes your Harass stronger and less mana reliant. Obviously you're going to need to max heal last in order to deal out the maximum damage possible for your W-Q combo

    -Items: The core for an AP Ali consists of Doran's rings, Deathcap, and Lichbane. Here's a sample build order, but other paths are possible.
    - Doran's Ring (1-3)
    - Sheen and Boots of Speed
    - Boots of Mobility/ Sorcerer's Shoes/ Ionian Boots of Lucidity/ Mercury's Treads
    - Rabadon's Deathcap
    - Lich Bane
    - Void Staff/ Abyssal Scepter
    - Zhonya's Hourglass/ Deathfire Grasp/ Will of the Ancients

    Obviously Defensive items Like Banshee's are always a later game option if you find yourself needing them

    AP Alistar has a playstyle similar to AP Sion: You chip away at your enemies with your 1-2 combo and then try to finish them with a flash/ignite/1-2 combo. You can initiate easily on out of position enemies, but initiating on 5 grouped enemies is extremely risky, and is completely suicidal without your ult.

  • How to teamfight

    Generally, you are going to be the initiator for the team. It helps if you have an Ashe or someone else to get the party started, but don't cont on it. Obviously the best way to get things going is to Flash->Pulverize, but that isn't always an option. Use your common sense and don't run into the enemy team unless your teammates are right behind you and ready to fight (i.e. not at 10% health with no mana).

    Your goal is to maximize the usefulness of all your spells, and here is how to do so.

    Pulverize: Try to hit as many important targets as possible, but most importantly, hit targets that your teammates can actually follow up on. Try and get to the enemy carries with Flash and/or Ghost and disable them so your team can destroy them.

    Headbutt: This has three main uses:
    A) Interrupt and enemy channel (Nunu, Katarina, etc.). Always try to use headbutt to break channels due to its range and the fact that pulverize is AoE disable, and is best used on multiple targets
    B) Protect your allies. If a Tryndamere/Master Yi/Other melee Dps is up in your ally's grill, knock them away and give your ally precious time to switch focus or reposition.
    C) Screw over one unlucky enemy. Right after Pulverizing, you can knock a target into your team for them to focus down 4v1. For the love of whatever deity you worship, DON'T KNOCK AMUMU OR ANY OTHER INITIATOR TANK INTO THE MIDDLE OF YOUR TEAM.

    Triumphant Roar: This spell is really only strong for pushing, so its only real use is to either heal yourself or and ally, or to proc your passive or proc your sheen/trinity force/lich bane

    Unbreakable Will: If you keep going in first and gunning for the enemy's carries, they will start to focus you and cc you to halt your progress. The best time to use this is:
    A) You're about to take a butt ton of damage from the enemy's burst and dps champions. If you see the enemy is about to throw everything at you (usually when you are isolated/out of position), be ready to ult and either run away or turn the fight around and stall while your team closes in.
    B) The enemy has blown their strongest cc's on you to try and get you under control (Warwick Ultimate, Malzahar Ultimate, Ashe Ultimate, Etc.). Ult out of them immediately and keep charging straight at them. You may "Malzahar won't ult me I'm the tank," but you'd be surprised how often bad players will try to focus you, especially if you're a bit out of position.
    C) The enemy is trying to kill you first (which is what you want) and is blowing all their collective loads on you. This rarely happens unless you become crazy fed, but if it does, pop your ult and get up in their grill.
    D) You're getting low on health (40-30% or less) due to their AoE and ranged damage. You'd be amazed at how easy it is to bait some people with your ultimate. They see a health bar at 20% and try to finish it, even though their attacks are doing 10 damage. This requires careful timing and awareness of enemy true damage, but if done properly it can be very strong.

    Try to force your enemies to focus you, and stay in the fight as long as possible. If you're diving, make sure yo tank the turret for your allies, with your ultimate if necessary.

    Get in your enemies face so they have to die, focus you, or run away.

  • How to troll/lose the game

    Trolling is a difficult art. Everyone has their own style, but here's some tips if you want to Trollistar.

    :::::Optimal Build:::::
    Boots of Mobility
    Trinity Force
    Shurelya's Reverie
    Youmuu's Ghostblade
    Phantom Dancer
    Phantom Dancer

    This gives you the ability to catch ANYONE as well as the ability to get bursted down in record time. The move speed is just plain silly, but your health and mana pool is pretty damn small. If you can get a blitzcrank to go for this build as well you two can run around and single out targets and then proceed to pummel the everliving shit out of them.

    :::::High Level Tactics:::::
    -Run into the enemy team, pulverize them, almost die, pop your ult, and flash out. Yell "ZONED" in all chat while your team is yelling at you wow why were you typing now you're dead.

    -Headbutt the minions people are trying to last hit. This will allow you to apparently barely miss every goddamn last hit. And now your partner's complaining. And Taric dazzled him. Should probably get on that.

    -Headbutt people out of your team's Malzahar ult/Warwick ult because the animation totally didn't display come on Riot.

    -Headbutt enemies into skinny walls so they don't get barely knocked over and get away with 100 health like last time.

    -Tank a tower with your ult and ping frantically. This will almost guarantee that any surrounding teammates will help you kill the tower and ok that's an Ashe arrow. And there's Warwick, see ya later Tristana, good luck.

    -When trying to chase people down, ALWAYS lead with headbutt, then what the hell how did pulverize whiff. Obviously there is "a new bug on his q, fuck Riot"

    -Headbutt enemies to the best possible places. Make sure to knock Amumu as close to your bunched up team as possible, so they can focus him down fast before he ults and oh dear god they're all dead. Good thing you have Revive.


    Be creative. Start bad fights and use your summoners to escape. Headbutt at the most inappropriate possible time or target. Remember, if you have Ult+Flash+Ghost, you can get away from anything, but your whole team sure as hell can't.

  • How to win the goddamn game

    Destroy the Nexus

  • How to actually win the goddamn game

    If you're going to win as Alistar you need to be one of 3 things:

    A) A team player that is willing to make occasional sacrifices
    B) An aggressive player that knows when/how to initiate and when to get the fuck out (especially if you're AP)
    C) A crazy son of a bitch that doesn't even know how to give a fuck if given the chance to

    Basically, you need to adopt either a very aggressive playstyle or become a babysitter. When trying to initiate and close the gap, you can't hesitate, and need to know when to commit and when to flee. If you dance back and forth you'll take a bunch of chip damage and effectively cripple yourself.

    Go in when you team pings or has a strong initiation (Ashe arrow, Malphite ult, Amumu ult, etc) or lead the charge (but make sure your team follows, pings beforehand help).

    Early game do your best to get a few ganks for your team, as your cc is extremely powerful early on, especially against people with no escapes.

    Do your best to keep up in gold/experience, and after the laning phase always try to lead your team's roaming though the bushes, because you're one of the few champs that can run into 5 people and live for more than 2 seconds if you use your ult correctly.

    Make sure to tank towers, protect your carries, draw enemy fire, and disable as many people as possible.

  • How to finish a Leaguecraft Guide

    Say something witty then thank everyone for their support. Carefully hint at +1'ing the guide, then close with something profound/fulfilling.

    Seriously though, lemme know what you think, and I'll try to update this a much as possible. I've been working on the draft of this guide on and off (mostly off) for the past 4 months or so, and guess what champion has seen probably the highest increase in popularity and greatest increase in playstyle divergences over that period (hint: you can't milk those).

    Anyway, thanks a lot for reading if you actually made it this far, and good luck pulverizing the competition.

    ...

    God that was a shitty pun, I can't end on that. Also this is getting too meta.

    Good luck and have fun with the cow.



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