Alistar Build Guide

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Alistar, the bull

written by Varkentjeknor

Alistar Build

Starting items

Core Build

Late Game / Luxury Items

Situational Items

  • OR
  • OR
  • OR

Skill Order

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • Trample
  • Pulverize
  • Headbutt
  • Triumphant Roar
  • Unbreakable Will

Runes for Alistar

Masteries for Alistar

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Hi all. I\\\\\\\'ve played this game for some time now and decided to write a guild for Alistar, my number one favorite champion. People may know me as Varkentjeknor, and those who have seen me know what I\\\'m talking about.

    Alistar is the one champion I have never lost a ranked game with and win most normal games. I have waited a long time before I decided to write this guide because, well... I\\\'m not sure I want to see good Alistars. At least, not in the opponent team.

    Currently, I see 90% of the Alistars fail hardcore. Most of them are helping the enemy by pushing them away, or interrupt stuns from others (like warwick).

    This guide will teach you how to play tank Alistar. Some people prefer to play him ability power, but in my opinion this is not the best way to play him. Since the ratio has been nerfed, I get better results with this. Also the cooldowns are rather long, so he doesn\\\'t do a great job as a mage. The only spell with a short cooldown is his Roar, but this spell has terrible scaling (0.2:1 ap)

    update patch v1.0.0.124: Unbreakable Will

    Duration adjusted to 7 seconds at all ranks from 6/7/8 seconds
    This hurts Alistar quite hard. You might find yourself dying a lot more often. Still, it doesn\\\'t make him bad.

    The recent patches reduces the cost of all his abilities, with the exception of roar. This one has increased mana. Even more reason not to level roar. Also the damage of his passive has increased.

  • Abilities

    Trample is a nice passive. It helps last hitting creeps a lot. It also deals damage to turret, which is also nice. However, it doesn\\\\\\\'t scale well with your ability power, so magic penetration works better. You can also run through units with it. This is great for iniating.

    Be aware however, casting a spell near a turret will activate this ability and you will aggro the turret if you stand next to an opponent.

    Another sidenote: It does! activate rylai\\\'s.

    This is one hell of a move. Area stun, for 1.5 seconds. Any other champion needs an ulti to do so, but Alistar doesn\\\\\\\'t. Because he\\\\\\\'s a bull.

    Now, with this move and his headbutt there are several combo\\\\\\\'s.

    Looooooong stun&damage:
    To do this combo your opponent has to be near a wall. Start with a headbutt to headbutt him into the wall. This will stun the opponent for about a second. Right before he starts moving, follow up by pulverize. This will stun for 2.5, making it ideal to get some early kills.

    However, headbutt can headbutt enemies through walls, so try to use thick walls.


    - Does a lot of damage because both of them hurt and his passive does some extra damage in between.
    - Stuns for a freakin\\\' long time.

    -Requires some thinking. Try to position yourself somewhere in a bush, so opponents won\\\\\\\'t see it coming.
    -Can be hard to do. One small mistake and you\\\\\\\'ve saved the basterd.

    Loooooooooong stun&damage without wall:

    When you\\\\\\\'re following someone around, you may want to do this one. Headbutt him, run to him and follow up by pulverize before he got too far. You can make it easier to do this one when you activate ghost. You need some boots to pull this move off.

    -Stuns for 2.5 seconds.
    -Doesn\\\'t require a wall.

    -Does less damage then the previous one because you don\\\\\\\'t hit them with your passive.
    -Very dangerous. Has a high chance of saving enemies. Only do this when you\\\\\\\'re an experienced Alistar.
    -Headbutts the enemy away. This means your teammates may have to run to him, making it a bad idea in teamfights.
    -requires boots


    Start with pulverize, then headbutt him away. Focus the one that deals most damage, so you can kill the rest of the opponent team first.

    -Stuns for about 2 seconds.
    -Can make teamfights easier.
    -Not so hard to pull off

    -only usable in teamfights
    -Has a chance of saving opponents.

    When you find an opponent being targeted by a turret or running from teammates, flash to him, pulverize, position him and headbutt him in your teammates/back in turret. Always use this one when you can, instead of \\\\\\\'looooong stuns&damage without wall\\\\\\\'.

    -Has a great chance of getting a kill with it.
    -rather fast

    -Requires flash

    Pulverbutt (or headverize =D):

    When you have to damage the opponent quickly, use this one. First, target someone with headbutt. Then, before he gets out of reach, follow up by pulverize. This will, pretty much, just throw them up in the air, but, does a lot of damage.

    -Does quite some damage in a short period of time.

    -Doesn\\\\\\\'t stun for a long time.
    -Can go wrong, headbutting them away.

    Well, this is pretty much every combo he can do with it. May be I have forgotten one so maybe I\\\\\\\'ll add another someday.

    His most powerfull spell. While laning, you can headbutt the enemy without following up. It does quite some damage, even without any ability power. This will be the spell you max out first.

    One sidenote:
    you can bash enemies through walls.

    Triumphant Roar
    One of the best healing spells in the game. It doesn\\\\\\\'t heal much, but heals everyone near him and has a very short cooldown. It also costs very low mana, making it a great way to stay in lane for a long time. The cooldown shortens everytime a nearby unit dies so try to kill creeps when you need to heal.

    Unbreakable Will
    The one ulti that makes alistar a tank, no matter what. You can survive 5 man ganks with it and makes stuns go away like they are nothing. It also gives a nice amount of attack damage.

    Use this when you find yourself being in a situation you won\\\\\\\'t survive otherwise. Try not to this ulti before you are being attacked. It lasts for quite some time (6/7/8 seconds) but you want to make this as usefull as possible.

  • Pros / Cons


    -Doesn\\\\\\\'t need items to shine, unlike pretty much every other champion. That\\\\\\\'s why you can try all sorts of things. You can still tank.
    -Can turn tides in any teamfight.
    -Can stun for a very long time
    -Hard to kill
    -Has great healing abilities
    -Has combo potential
    -Is strong early game
    -One of the best tanks in game


    -Pretty hard to master. Alistar is the one champion I have seen failing the most.
    -Not so fast
    -Doesn\\\\\\\'t deal much damage
    -Needs summoner spells a lot.

  • Summoner Abilities

    Summoner Abilities are, unlike his items, pretty clear. Always grab and . Other Summoner Abilities can be pretty good as well but are just not as good as these two.

    Other summoner spells that are great are clarity (no mana problems), clairvoyance (kills in bushes/no unexpected ganks) and exhaust (slow/weaken enemies). The only problem is: Alistar really needs flash and ghost. You need ghost because Alistar needs to reach someone before he can actually be usefull. Sure, often enough you can get to someone because he walked towards the bush you were standing in, but most of the time you have to chase someone. Because Alistar has low movementspeed, its not likely you can run faster than him.

    Flash is also pretty obvious. Ghost works great, but enemies can see it coming. When you start running towards someone its not likely he is going to wait for you. With flash, you can reach them without expecting it. For instance, you can wait in the bush untill they are close, flash, and stun them.

  • Masteries + Runes

    About the masteries: there isn't really one way. In fact, you can use pretty much everything. You can either build him ad or ap in offensive tree. While all of his abilities scale with ap (except for his ult), he also does a lot of damage with his autohit. While I wouldn't recommend ad masteries for serious games, it's fun to try it sometimes. Ap masteries is pretty much self explanatory.

    Defense masteries also work great. Defensive masteries give him just that little bit more defense so he won't die all the time.

    Utility has the best stats. It covers pretty much every problem Alistar has. Lack of gold, movementspeed, cooldown (both summoner spells and abilities) and gold per second. The only problem is: whenever I go utility I find myself dying too much. Although can pretty much spam abilities, it's kinda useless when I'm dead. That's why I usually go defensive masteries.

    About the runes: I like to use mana regen on red. Alistar needs mana regen but doesn't really need any 'red' runes. With the additional mana regen, it's like faerie charm for me. On yellow I like to go armor or hp. Blue magic resist and purple hp. Basic tank runes. Works great. With the defensive masteries your damage is pretty low but then again, you are support/tank. Support don't have to deal damage.

  • Items

    Now, as for the items.

    On of the things that make Alistar so special is that he doesn't need items much. That's why you can always try something new. However, I'll tell you which items i prefer. This does not mean it's the only way he should be played!

    Usually start with . Why? Because alistar does have some mana problems early on. The regen is just enough to spam Triumphant Roar every few seconds without ever running out of mana. Also, the hp increase makes him a little more durable. The ap is just a nice extra.

    Now, as far boots go, I like to get . Alistar lacks movement speed, that\\\\\\\'s why I always buy this one. Cooldown reduction boots also work, but I prefer movementspeed over cooldown reduction. You can read why in the frequent asked question section.

    Ok, at this moment you have some mana regen, movement speed, hp and ability power. That\\\\\\\'s pretty much the core already. The only item that\'s left is Shurelya\'s Reverie ([item_icon=Shurelya\'s Reverie]). It does give some nice stats. The mana regen, cooldown reduction and health sure is welcome. The main reason to buy this item however is it\'s active. Like I have said before, Alistar relies on his summoner spells a lot. The active of Shurelya\'s is pretty much a mini ghost. Not to mention the fact that it has only 1 minute cooldown and gives increased movementspeed to your entire team when close. To build this item, you might want to start with Philosopher\'s Stone. Most of the time, I finish Shurelya\'s right away, because of it\'s increased mana regeneration. But, the gold per 5 is nice.

    Once you got these items, you got the core build. After that, it\'s a good idea to build warmog. While Warmog has been nerfed not so long ago, it\'s still a very powerfull tank item. Since Alistar already decreases damage with his ult, he doesn\'t really need armor and magic resistance. However, hp makes him a lot more scary because that makes him really hard to kill. The reason why I\'m suggesting warmog instead of Rod of Ages like I did before, can be read in the Frequent asked question Section.

    Also keep in mind to buy wards all the time. Never leave base with more than 75 gold. Now, any others items are unlikely. Since Alistar won\'t be getting lots of money (Ironically espcially when you play well) you shouldn\'t expect much more than your core build. However, if you somehow end up with tons of gold, I suggest tank items, such as Frozen Heart (to pretty much reach the cd reduc cap, armor and a nice aura),Banshee\'s Veil (Magic resis and spell block). You can also build Force of nature instead of Veil. The magic resis is welcome and so is the additional movementspeed. However, once you got boots of swiftness, ghost and shurelya\'s reverie you got pretty much the movementspeed problem solved. Also, the huge hp regen increase isn\'t really needed because you already have roar to heal yourself. So, most of the time I buy veil, so you don\'t have to use ulti just to escape from stuns but can ult to reduce damage.

    Another warmog would also be welcome. You can also buy Rylai\'s Crystal Scepter. While you don\'t really need the ability power (since it\'s not your job to damage) you will heal a little more with your roar but now you can slow enemies. Because your passive does apply the slow (only 15% though) you turn into a sort of slowing aura. Your headbutt will also a little bit more usefull because it will apply a 35% slow and your pulverize will also slow for 15%. It\'s not that much, but once you find yourself tanking but no one targets you, you might want to be a little more usefull.

    Another luxery item is Trinity Force. Because your base attack damage is pretty good, sheen is a good item on Alistar (also because you spam roar). The additional movementspeed helps and you can now slow enemies with your autohits. The only problem is, Trinity force would be most usefull during early/mid phase. Lategame, even Trinity wouldn\'t make you that much of a threat. But, since you won\'t have much gold anyway and trinity is expensive (not to mention the fact that there are other items more important) I wouldn\'t buy it often.

  • Skilling Order

    At the top you can see the skilling order. Here, I\\\\\\\'ll explain why I\\\\\\\'ve chosen to level them like this.

    First off, we start with Pulverize. We do this, because it will save your teammate from dying when you try to get first blood. It will also increase the chance your team gets first blood.

    That is, unless you\\\\\\\'re mid. Then you might want to start with

    Now, for level 2 it kinda depends on the situation. Is either one of you dying, go for Triumphant Roar. Are you not, go headbutt. You need pulverize and headbutt to combo. That\\\\\\\'s why it is a good idea to get pulverize/headbutt as soon as possible. However, it\\\\\\\'s of little use when you\\\\\\\'re dead.

    Are you playing aggressive, go . With this one and pulverize you can pull of all of the combos, making it easy to kill.

    Level 3 also depends on the situation. Is either one of you damaged and did you not level this one at 2, go Triumphant Roar. If not, you can put another one in headbutt. This will increase the damage quite a lot, making this one able to use it just to damage them.

    At 4 grab roar if you don\\\\\\\'t have it yet. Otherwise get headbutt.

    At level 6, 11 and 16 always grab ult. Your ulti is what makes you a tank. Without it, you are not half as usefull. At level 6 it\\\\\\\'s not that great, but at level 11 you are pretty much tanking like you would, before the nerf.

    The most important spell is your ult. Then headbutt. Then pulverize and then roar. The reason why ult first is for reasons I just said.

    The reason why I like to level headbutt, is because it\\\\\\\'s your harassment spell. While both pulverize and headbutt are needed to pull off combo\\\\\\\'s and would leveling pulverize be more usefull, you can\\\\\\\'t really harass with it. You have to be in close range to hit pulverize and once you\\\\\\\'re that close, you use one of your combo moves. Headbutt has decent range. Not mage-like. But enough to hurt the enemy early phase. Do keep in mind though, don\\\\\\\'t try to steal kills with it. First of all, Alistar doesn\\\\\\\'t need kills. Leave the kills to carries. They need it more. Second, using headbutt to last hit is really dangerous. Make the slightest mistake and not only did you prevent the carry from getting the kill... none of you do. Because you have just helped the enemy getting away. Don\\\\\\\'t try to kill him with headbutt, unless there really isn\\\\\\\'t any other way. When you are alone or the enemy would have gotten away otherwise.

    Once you\\\\\\\'ve maxed headbutt, pulverize is a good idea. This will increase your damage and thats always nice.

    You may want to know why I don\\\\\\\'t level roar once I\\\\\\\'ve put one point it. The main reason is the mana cost. The increased healing is awesome, but the mana costs are high. At level 1, the mana cost is only 28 mana. With your dorans ring, you can pretty much spam it all the time. Roar at level 5 costs 80 mana. You can\\\\\\\'t spam this, unless your mana regen is really high.

    But when you have roar level 5, you heal more so you don\\\\\\\'t have to spam it to heal. Wouldn\\\\\\\'t that be better?

    No not really. The reason is simple. Not only does casting roar heal, it also activates your passive. Aoe damage+passing through units is very usefull. If you spam your roar, you can pretty much walk through unites all the time.

    Still, mid/late game it\\\\\\\'s pretty usefull. However, I just think that dealing that little bit more damage is a better idea. Alistar doesn\\\\\\\'t deal much damage after all. If you deal a little bit more damage, you are also more dangerous.

  • Frequent Asked Questions

    Why not buy cooldown items so you reach the cooldown reduc cap (40%)? Or are you just gonna mooh untill the teamfight is over?

    Sure, cooldown reduction is great on Alistar. However, it is your job to your teammates kills in lane. To do so, you need mana (regen or just mana), some defensive stats (hp/armor/magic resis) and some movementspeed. You don\\\'t really need cooldown reduc to be efficient.

    In teamfights, it is your job to initiate. When you are standing in the middle, stun them, and headbutt one of them towards the team for an easy kill, or just headbutt away so he can\\\'t attack right away. To do so you need to reach the center before you\\\'re dead. Thats why I suggest you start with warmog. After that, sure, some cooldown reduc would work. Still, you should keep in mind that cooldown reduc items are at the cost of other important stats and not to mention, wards. Alistar is a champ that doesn\\\'t need much gold and will also get little gold. Defensive stats first.

    Wards? Do you have to buy wards with Alistar?

    Certainly. You are tank/support. You are supposed to give kills to teammates and tank. Since Alistar can pretty much tank just by activating his ult, he isn\\\'t thet item dependant. Since you are also support, it is your job to keep the place warded. It\\\'s also a good idea to place wards in bushes. Like I\\\'ve explained already, headbutting enemies into walls is very powerfull. When you can\\\'t see someone because he\\\'s standing in the bushes, you can\\\'t do anything. So it might be a good idea to place wards during early phase into bushes.

    I have seen you play. You are fucking awesome man. There is no better player in the world.

    Not much of a question but thanks I guess.

    When do I activate my ulti?

    Quite often I see people wait using ulti untill they are pretty much dead, because it removes stuns/snare on activation and they don\\\'t want to waste it. However, this ulti is most usefull at max hp when you\\\'re being focussed (because you initated and you are surrounded). Try to activate once the enemies start to attack you. Sure, the stun removal is great, but once again, it\\\'s of little use when you are dead the next second.

    Is Alistar a bad champion? Everytime someone from my team picks Alistar, we lose.

    No Alistar isn\\\'t a bad champion. He is pretty hard to play though. The slightest mistakes result into saving the enemy or killing teammates. Alistar has often been picked in tourneys. Now they have nerfed him, so I don\\\'t know he is still a good option but he isn\\\'t bad. However, Alistar is a support champ that requires teammates that know what they are doing. Unlike soraka, who just heals you and restores mana, Alistar has to set up kills. When your lane mate/team don\\\'t finish them off, Alistar is pretty useless, sometimes even suicidal.

    Do you dance often?

    I don\\\'t see how this question is relevant, but sure, I like to boogie

    Best lanemate?

    I\\\'d say Vayne. Since Alistar is good at keeping enemies in place, it\\\'s a good idea to lane with someone who has abilities that are hard to land. Such as poppy\\\'s stun, ashes/ez/lux\\\' ult and some other stuff. However, poppy is melee and with the current meta not a good idea to bot lane with two melee. Ashe, ez and lux are also pretty good, but have to reach level 6 first. Vayne can simply stun them into the wall, while beating the shit out of them. Another good lanemate would be blitzcrank or naut, but once again, this isn\\\'t the current meta that works. If you want to troll, it\\\'s fun while you can also get some kills with it.

    More about this in the section below.

    But I don\\\'t want to give kills to my teammates. I want kills myself.

    Then Alistar isn\\\'t the right champion for you. Trust me. There is nothing wrong with tanks getting a kill or two. Sure, carries need it the most but tanks also need to get some gold. However, since Alistar does fine without gold, you should avoid kills at all cost. Sometimes it can\\\'t be helped. Sometimes your passive gives you kills, or there is no one else around whose alive. Still, you shouldn\\\'t walk around trying to steal kills. It\\\'s not your job.

    Those questions here are bullshit. Did you make them up? I don\\\'t think anyone said you were awesome.


  • Good/bad champions to lane with

    First of all I would like to point out why bot lane is a good idea. Alistar is good at helping teammates getting kills. He also tanks, but early phase he\\\'s mainly support. Top would work as well. Because of his roar, he can heal himself and is also capable of defending the tower quite well. However, he doesn\\\'t require much gold, so it\\\'s better to leave top to other champions that benefit more from gold and xp.

    Another viable option is jungling. While Alistar isn\\\'t that good at killing minions per se, he does have very powerfull ganks from level 3. More about Alistar jungle in the section below.

    Now about lanemates. Like I have explained before, Alistar is good at keeping enemies in place. He can stun and bash them into walls to prevent them from running away. Also he does have the ability to heal teammates, so it would not be bad idea to lane with someone who needs a healer.

    Good champions to lane with:


    So far I must say that out of all champions, vayne seems to be the best choice. While alistars damage is pretty low, vayne does an insane amount of damage for a ranged carry early phase. She is ranged ad, perfect for the current meta. Also, she has a stun that\\\'s hard to lane. The enemy requires to be near a wall and vayne needs to be in the right place at the right time. Luckily, there is no one better to do that than Alistar. The most powerfull combo \\\'looong stun&damage\\\' also requires a wall. You just have to wait into the bush untill the enemy decides it\\\'s safe to get some minion kills. This is what you were waiting for. You run to them, casting headbutt. With the right timing, you will bash the enemy right into the wall. Then you can walk to them and use pulverize. The only thing vayne has to do is come close and condemn someone into the wall. With the right time you can stun enemies for a very long time.


    Ezreal can also be build ranged ad carry. He can also deal a lot of damage. However, he is more mana dependent than vayne. Also, he doesn\\\'t really need the enemy to be stunned much because he is pretty good at harassing without any help. Once he reaches level 6, a nice stun does help to hit enemies with his ult. Making ezreal a viable option.


    Also a viable option. Since ashe is also a ranged carry, it\\\'s fine for the current meta. However, Ashe doesn\\\'t really seem to deal must damage early phase. Ashe really needs items to be dangerous. While her ult is great to setup kills, you may have a hard time actually killing the enemy.


    Caitlyn does some decent damage but it isn\\\'t really that special. She should be able to damage the enemy quite well without any help. The reason why she\\\'s noted here, is because of her traps. If your aim is perfect on alistar, you can headbutt enemies into traps. This does require a lot of practise.


    Just like most ranged ad carries, his damage is decent. However, when Alistar can time his pulverize well, graves can deal a lot of damage with his buckshot.


    While i\\\'m not a big fan of teemo because most carries are better, Alistar is good at pushing the enemy around. This makes hitting shrooms easy.

    Okay picks (or troll picks that somehow work)

    Any other ranged carry works. Sure, most of them would be more usefull with someone other than Alistar, but it\\\'s not bad.


    While two support/tank bot is a bad idea, it can be fun to try it sometimes. Alistar only has to headbutt someone in range of your tower and the enemy is dead. Or blitzcrank pulls one into range of the tower and they\\\'re dead too.


    Read Blitzcrank


    If someone deals a tonload of damage, it\\\'s tryndamere. Since he is melee ranged, it\\\'s not a good idea for the current meta. With alistar however, some interesting stuff might happen. When Alistar pulls off a nice combo move, tryndamere can just beat them to pulp and then slow when they try to get away.

    Cho gath:

    With Alistar, cho gath has an easy time hitting abilities. Once again, two tanks bot isn\\\'t really smart.

    Fiddlestick: This works pretty good. Since fiddlestick can deal a lot of damage and stun (fear) the enemy, he is a good in lane. Fiddlestick can simply fear the enemy so Alistar has a free pulverize+headbutt. Fiddlestick can then drain his life and the kills will be coming. At 6, alistar can just bash someone into the wall, while fiddlestick ulties. You are likely to dominate your lane, but then again, fiddle isn\\\'t an ad carry.


    Nocturne needs to be close to deal damage. Alistar can just stun the enemy so noc can fear them and then beat them to death.


    Because of rammus\\\' taunt, you have an easy time getting the enemy into tower range. First, Alistar can pulverize. Then, Rammus can taunt them so they get closer to the tower. All Alistar has to do is simply headbutting them into tower range and you can most likely get some kills.

    Bad picks

    Pretty much any supportive champion sucks. Alistar doesn\\\'t deal much damage and needs someone who does. Any support champion (soraka, sona) usually deal hardly any damage.

  • Dangerous enemies

    One of the most troublesome enemies is Soraka. Since you are playing bot lane, soraka will always be bot as well. Alistar is very obvious. Once the enemy is in the right spot, Alistar, will stun and headbutt (or headbutt then stun). Soraka can pretty much mess up everytime you want to do this. With some good reflexes, soraka can prevent you from being usefull at all.

    Kassadin is also one hell of an enemy. It\\\'s unlikely for kassadin to go bot, but when he does, be carefull. He can also silence you to mess up your combo\\\'s, but needs some more time before he can actually silence. Soraka\\\'s silence is instant, but kassadins ball has to hit you first. At level 6, quite often your headbutt will be bugging. When kassadin uses his ulti the same time you use headbutt, your headbutt won\\\'t happen. So have wasted your mana and cooldown, but kassadin simply ultied and didn\\\'t get hit at all. This also works with flash.

    Another champion that can cause trouble is vladimir. Vladimir is also unlikely to go bot (he can either go mid or top) but his pool can also mess up your combo\\\'s. Not to mention the fact that he heals more than you.

    Other than that, Alistar doesn\\\'t really have enemies. If you think I\\\'ve missed someone, please let me know and I will add them =)

Do you have your own
Build Guide?

Submitted by Varkentjeknor

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