Alistar Build Guide

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I'M GONNA HEADBUTT YA! -- A selfless approach to Alistar (Guide got buffed!)

written by evo

Alistar Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    June 8 2011 -- Another big remake. Different masteries, skilling order, and items. This will probably only last for a patch or two, as word on the street is that philo stone and/or gold/10 items in general are getting nerfed. We'll see what happens. As of whatever patch I'm writing in, this is what I'd suggest.

    2/20/2011 - Remaking large parts of the guides. Worth re-reading, IMO. I'm biased though. I'm also going to try and trim the fat a bit. I feel like this guide gets more and more bloated. So I'm sorry if I cut out your favorite part... maybe we can work it back in later.

    Alistar's poorly represented right now, and understandably so. He is critically dependent on his team, in a metagame which has become less and less team focused. Alistar is not a champion that you should play with randoms, in my opinion. This by no means means that he's an underpowered or useless champ. His utility is amplification of others, and the others need to understand this and leverage it.

    You need to enjoy disruption, and appreciate that you're still being helpful despite reduced damage and heals compared to those of some other champions. Alistar will not be nearly as effective if you play him for personal glory. There's a few gimmick builds which people are using to make themselves feel better about their gameplay, while decreasing their ability to actually help the team. I would be wary of any builds that incorporate AD or AP.

    With this guide, you will have FOUR jobs:
    1.) First and foremost: Stunning and launching. You will CONSTANTLY be putting the enemy in situations that they do not want to be in
    2.) Saving lives. When your buddy is running away screaming, its up to you to launch yourself headfirst at their pursuers, giving your teammate the exit that they need.
    3.) Tanking towers: Anytime your ult is up, you can march on a tower with a DPSer and suck up the damage as you take significant chunks out of the towers health.
    4.) Screaming! if anyone on your team is missing health, then your roar should never be off cooldown.


  • Abilities


    Used to stun more than damage.

    A hugely valuable skill (they all are). This will be used to throw your enemies into the wrong place at the right time. This will put Karthas next to your turret; Annie next to your Yi. This stops Nunu and Kat's ults in their tracks. Enemies chasing your teammates? IM GONNA HEADBUTT YA!

    Not only is this an invaluable positioning skill, it also deals heavy damage. Make sure to use this to harass the enemy while minimizing your exposure. Use it to get the enemy's health to a vulnerable point.

    Finally, there is the riskiest, and the most potentially embarrassing use: finishing an opposing hero. This is your only ranged move, and CAN be used to kill a retreating hero. If you improperly gauge the enemy's health, you WILL look like a jerk. This requires that you get a feel for the damage you do, and leveling it up can help give you more room for error, and also make it a better harass. We will max this skill first. Yelling I'm gonna headbutt ya in the voice of the TF2 scout really makes a difference.

    This will be your primary nuke

    Triumphant Roar
    Another great reason for your team to love you, and your lanemate to forgo health pots in favor of mana pots or other items. You can create larger creep waves to push towers. Most importantly, you can keep your team alive, and help prevent deaths by poison/ignite.

    Roar is a boring name. Keep things interesting for yourself by switching it up. Screaming, yelling, and mooing are all acceptable.

    Unbreakable Will
    This skill is about as commonsense as Roar, but it has three uses.
    1.) Tanking/Backdooring towers -- The damage increase is nice, but the length of time you can absorb shots and keep a DPSer wailing on the tower is invaluable. (3/30/2010) I would argue that this has been remade (as opposed to merely patched). They have deliberately changed it to support pushing towers WITH creeps due to damage buff and duration nerf. Consider this as you strategize.
    2.) Team fights - After the opposing team finds out how much you rip things apart, they will think you're a bigger threat than you are. When they pile on you, fire your ult and let your team tear them apart as you laugh. Even if you die, your team should come off better than theirs.
    3.) Solo Fights - If you find yourself squaring off with another character, your ult can help you gain an advantage when they don't expect it.


  • Masteries + Runes

    New Masteries: 9/21/0, with the 3 points in CDR, the 15% spell pen, and whatever points you want up defensive. This is because with my new build Ali can get to 38% cdr without using the utility tree, so we're free to make Ali a bit tankier.

    I do my runes as follows:
    red - armor pen
    yellow - mana regen/18
    blue - mana regen/18
    Quints - movespeed

    I get alot of people all, waaaaah evo why you use armor pen on Alistar that hardly makes any sense at all I love the rest of your guide but it looks like your logic decided to drop a load in its trousers. Well. Here's the deal. I don't think Alistar gains anything meaningful from reds. Arpen gives you something which synergizes with a bit of what he does, and benefits Sheen as well, something that has recently been reinstated in my Alistar build.

  • Summoner Abilities

    Ghost. Flash. Ghostflash. Flashghost.

    If you get ANYTHING else, it will make my heart hurt, unless you trade ghost for Fort... Even then. NOT HAPPY. Ali needs his positioning in the fight. He's a slow dude. Help him out. And may god have mercy on your soul if you take ignite.

  • Items

    This is the new gold/10 build alluded to in the beginning:

    0.) 2 faerie charm + hp pots
    1.) 2 philo stones
    2.) boots 1
    3.) sheen (if desired), else HoG
    4.) ionian boots
    5.) shurelya
    6.) randuins (38% cdr at this point)
    7.) miracle
    8.) assorted tank items as needed. Look to the same standbys as before: Force of Nature, Sunfire Cape, etc.
    9.) triforce last item if you got sheen. alternatively, sell sheen and get tankier.

    The gold/10 item stacking lets you speed through your build with great survivability and lanestay, while letting your lanemate get nearly all the last hits (especially after you get your philos)

    Shurelya and randuin give you additional cc, team utility, and positioning. sheen may or may not be used, depending on deeps needed.

  • Skilling Order

    New Skilling: Despite headbutt harass being a better nuke, we will max pulverize first. This is because of the cooldown reduction. Headbutt will be the primary nuke. It's important to notice how much damage you're taking over the course of the game. If your heals can't keep pace with the harassment, you're going to need to focus on that over your headbutt.

    1.) Pulverize
    2.) Headbutt (heal if needed)
    3.) Headbutt(heal if needed)
    4.) Heal (if not taken before)
    From here on out, take Unbreakable Will>Pulverize>Headbutt>Heal, unless for some reason larger heals are needed.

    By doing this, we get 2 early ranks in headbutt for harassing and some cdr, as it will be the more used spell during laning. We then switch to pulverize to get the cdr down so that its all the way maxed out by the time teamfights start happening and the multiple stuns per fight become necessary.

  • Pros / Cons

    - You are going to infuriate the other team
    - Your team will LOVE you
    - Towers tremble before you
    - You will initiate teamfights like a pro
    - Unparalleled CC
    - Ability to dictate the terms of fights
    - Lifesaving ability

    - No ability to do damage.
    - No kills

  • Working in the team

    So for all of you that care about something other than my item build and abilities, here's how we play Ali like a pro, and make all sorts of friends on LOL. The basic ideas are pretty wash, rinse, repeat, but execution is what separates the men from the boys.

    First off -- ALWAYS SPAM ROAR. Spam it to heal. Spam it to make creep waves. Spam it to save your enemies from poison. Spam it to make yourself feel aggressive. There is no wrong time. This is applicable all game.

    Secondly -- learning to save lives is important. If a weak teammate runs past you, trailing some enemy heroes, its your job to create space. My personal technique is roar, headbutt, pulverize. The reason for this as is follows: roaring as you pass your teammate gives them a bit more of a health buffer, headbutt lets you remove one hero from the equation, while putting you in position sooner. The speed boost is what's crucial. Once you've arrived on the scene, pulverize lets you hold the remaining hero(es) while your team gets back to a better position.

    During the laning phase, its important to use Flash, Pulverize, and Headbutt together when trying to get your team kills. There are three ways that I do this, and always assume that are aiming your headbutt towards your tower (best) or another player on your team (still cool). From best to worst, here they are
    1. Flash, headbutt, pulverize -- This is going to quickly put the enemy somewhere they didn't expect, and hold them there. This should result in a kill almost every time. I generally hide in the brush before executing this, but figure out where you're comfortable
    2.) Headbutt, pulverize - Again, you want to isolate and trap. This is less effective than using flash first, because the enemy has some time to organize against you. In addition to knocking backwards, I've found that flying out of the brush, knocking them against the far wall (very hard to describe, but we're talking about the wall on either side of the river), and then stunning can be a great place to trap them. This works best when coordinated with your teammate
    3.) Pulverize, headbutt - This gives you the most time to aim the headbutt, but they will be able to start leaving as soon as their feet hit the ground. This is best against squishier heroes that need to be brought down quickly, or against players that won't let you get behind them.

    Once team fights start happening, your job will to be to appear on the scene, stun as many people as possible, and then immediately headbutt the squishiest/most dangerous hero towards your salivating team. While your abilities are on CD, make sure to roar and autoattack to maximize damage. As soon as your abilities come online again, stun, and feed another enemy to your team, or prevent heroes from escaping, depending on the situation. IMPORTANT: if at any point you start to take a lot of heat, its time to create a distraction. Pop unbreakable will, and start trouncing away from the enemy, letting them chase, and your team devour them. Continue to stun and headbutt as they come online, and one of two things will happen:
    1.) you survive, start roaring, and march on their base
    2.) you die in a blaze of glory and gunfire, but their victory is Pyrrhic; they lost the majority of their team bringing you down, and your carries have gained experience and gold.

    Pushing towers is central to Alistar as well. The combination of Armor and DMG from your ult allows you to push towers HARD (esp with your passive), and tank tower shots if you need to. Make sure you can get a few hits in every time you get close.

    Specialty Alistar Moves

    Headbutt techniques:
    1.) Putting enemies through walls: If an enemy gets close to a thin wall, and you headbutt them into the wall, there's a chance they'll go right through. This can be used offensively and defensively. One big risk is doing this inadvertently, and putting your team in danger.
    2.) Mini stun: Even if your enemy doesn't go through the wall, or you headbutt them into a thick wall/map barrier, you can get a mini stun as your enemy sticks against the wall for about .5 seconds. This can be used in combination with sheen procs and pulverize for heavy damage

    Sheen Techniques:
    Sheen is an important part of the build that I've brought back. Using sheen I can deal more damage to enemies, pick up CS easier, and deal heavier damage to towers. Combos will allow you to maximize your damage, but it's important to slow down combos as much as you can to maximize sheen procs. Ideally, you should be able to stun, auto attack, headbutt, auto attack, heal, auto attack for huge damage. It's also important to note that sheen benefits from your ultimate's damage increase as well. If you're looking to maximize your damage output, start with an ult + autoattack for huge damage.

    Against towers, it's important to leverage sheen procs as well. Heal will keep creeps at the tower longer, give you a sheen proc, and help your teammates. Additionally, don't be afraid to use your Q to gain an additional sheen proc. Maximize your damage to the tower when you can, and know when the right time to get out is.

    If you've followed these tenants, odds are your team loves you. You've done everything you can, you've been everywhere, helped everyone, destroyed towers, restored health, and generally annoyed the daylights out of the other team. You can rest in the knowledge that you resisted the urge for personal glory as a carry, and instead have worked behind the scenes as an underplayed character. If it doesn't stick at first, keep trying! Solo queue needs more support and tank characters! You will be appreciated!

    Last thoughts:
    I love LOL, and love playing with new people, and helping new players. Don't hesitate to add me (EDIT: my summoner name is "just call me evo", and I'd love to talk to you and play with you. If you've got Vent, I'd love to work on in game strategies with a variety of players and characters. Hope to see you on the fields!

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