Alistar Build Guide

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Psst... I can make your alistar stronger

written by Attilla

Alistar Build

Table of Contents

  • Table of contents

    1) Spells

    2) Introduction

    3) The problem Alistar has to face

    4) Masteries/Runes

    5) Items

    6) Skilling Order

    7) Build Example

    8) Alistar's Combos

    9) Pro/cons

    10) Working in the team

  • Abilities

    [spell=Colossal Strength]
    Your main purpose in this build. Kill all these red turrets!

    Used to help creeping, to aoe stun, or just to show you're on drugs

    If this one doesn't seem like a chasing tool (it ejects his target even far away) just consider it only ejects ONE target. That's means you can eject any other enemy champion in order to reach a nearby one faster. It can also projects someone under your turret or away from his own.

    Triumphant Roar
    That's the reason why people like Alistar. On a lane, it's like having a permanent potion available.

    Unbreakable Will
    Can be used to clear any CC, to try surviving, to kill a turret or even to kill a champion.

  • Introduction

    The purpose of this guide is to present you a different but efficient way to play Alistar. I'm not pretending it's the best build, you'll have to decide that yourself. But this one can really make your Alistar stronger.

    Let me try to explain "Why" with a little story.
    Once upon a time there was a champion who ruled the battlefields of justice. He was a strong healer. He was a killer. He was draging your team to victory as easily as a nowadays' malzahar can farm even from the spawning point. Let me help you understand what his power was... like a 2.2 duration stun, a 20 second Unbreakable Will (yes, 20 seconds). It goes without saying that he was creeping & assisting as well as an hungry bull would.
    But then players started to overuse him. He was part of some champion-combos that included healing & turret killing for instance. He was feared and he could laugh. When some other champions like the old owerpowered Ryze could win teamfight by their own, when twisted fate was teleporting with his 3rd spell, Riot decided to start a massive serial-nerfing in order to balance the battlefield. And what is more, when a lot of new champions came to life, lot of them had huge healing power, high ap ratio, and strong fighting abilities, way beyond our poor Alistar. For example, Sona can heal quite well. Taric got an auto-mana-making passive & a permanent boost to damage with his ulti. Kayle still has the highest range with his heal, and an op synergy between his ad & ap. You could imagine Riot comparing the new heroes' power to our poor chained Alistar and deciding to update him. He never was. On the contrary, they deleted the innervation locket, the one and only core build item Alistar needed most. It's like he was either condamned to die, either he got simply forgotten.
    I'm proposing you this build in order to make you able to have some fun and victories with Alistar. According to me, Alistar is just way too cute to be left behind. Who can walk in a funnier way?
    But is there really a way to make it possible? There is. Let me give you the tricks.

  • The problems Alistar has to face in game

    The FARMING Problem or "OMG looks Alistar item after 45 min! Only 3! Noob Alistar!"

    Alistar requires a decent farm. Like nearly all heroes, he needs items to be usefull. That means he HAS to farm. However, his starting damage is 62, his range is melee, and his movement speed is 300 which is the WORST part of a melee farmer. That means every time you'll try to make even a poor last hit, you'll get focused and damaged. And with an armor starting at 18, you'll feel the pain. Ouch. What is more, his attack speed is 0.625 which is not only ugly but his main problem. That means even when your lane opponents will leave their lane and let you temporary creep, you won't have time to farm a lot with your auto attack. Of course, Pulverize may look helpfull. But it won't kill a minion at start. That means you'll need time to do all the last hits you can, before your own minions finish them. And, remember, this is only when your opponents will let you creep. This is not going to happen...
    You may not have noticed it, but the other melee champs have farming trick. Warwick and Amumu can jungle, Gangplank and Katarina can use their ranged spell to last hit. Other have specific "farming spells" like Yi's first spell. You don't. And of course, these heroes have better movement speed, better armor, etc...
    Do you still believe you can farm because you can heal again and again? Firstly, there is a lot of hemorage champions (Tristana, Miss Fortune, Gangplank, Katarina...). Even if they don't have, they will probably have one ignite just for when you'll need your healing most. Stunned or silenced alistars will not heal as don't count on your heal. Even with a full ap starting stuff, you'll loose little by little your life and your mana. If 20 mana looks cheap, the amount of heal you will need for each wave won't be enough. If your mates let you solo laning, then there is an huge chance you'll go back very fast to the spawning point. Teleport and Clarity may look helpfull, but it won't be enough alone to farm properly. Because even if you had 1 million mana pool...
    ... your main problem is your lane teammate. Yes, a teammate can be a problem, and he is indeed when you play alistar. Because he'll for sure make or at least try to make every last hit possible and therefore you won't have a single minion kill. If he is a melee then you can be sure, with an Alistar ap build that doesn't include armor penetration that when you'll require two hits on a nearly dead minion, he'll requires one. And if he is a ranged or half range mate (Katarina, Kassadin), then he'll shoot them from faaaaaar away, targeting if possible the one you're desperatly trying to last hit. Did you count on the help of your turret? By the time Alistar's hand will reach the minion face, your teammate will have killed him, washed his hand and already choose his next last hit.
    Of course you can decide to use Pulverize. Of course this time, the mana cost is huge, so your mana pool will drop very fast. And of course, you won't be able to use pulverize to save your mate, to save yourself or to help the jungling guy in a gank. However it's true, this way you may get 1 or 2 minions for each wave. You can then be sure your teammate will be happy to finish off those you didn't kill. That means you will reach mid game with.... 2 or 3 basic items, preferably the boots and some mana, maybe an amplifying tome? Even more horrible, with the game progression the creeps are becoming stronger. 2 turrets hits + your melee attack won't be enough anymore. And of course, your lane mate will become stronger, faster at farming.
    And you can't even blame your lanemate for playing this way. Can you blame a Veigar who needs to farm his ap? Can you blame an Akali last hitting your own target? Even a Mundo needs to buy items. Then, what can we do? Some gold by 5 items, runes and masteries? An [item=Heart of Gold] gives you 30 gold by minute. In 20 minutes, we will then have... 600 gold. Ugly, isn't it? Then what?
    The answer is Attack Speed. Yes, it's not full ap + Pulverize. It's not gold by 5 items. It is Attack Speed. You need attack speed to farm faster, even if it may not be obvious with Alistar. But the fact is, attack speed drasticly change your farming potential. Considering we had an huge attack speed, we could autoattack every creep in a wave in combination, or not, with Pulverize. We could even two hits a damaged creep before the turret or your mate finish him. Yes, attack speed solves the farming problem.

    The MANA problem or "I can't heal you! I can't fight anymore! I have no mana!"

    Old Alistar used the Innervation Locket in order to have a constant mana pool. It's now impossible. With the nerf of the mana regen runes, there is little need to count on them to have an easier early farm (come on... 0.055 mana in 5 seconds?...). Even flat mana regen runes (0.31 mana in 5 seconds) are ugly. It's sad how Riot seems to forget, as there is now lot of non-mana heroes, how hard it is for some heroes to manage their mana. Even if you decide to go for a starting [item=Meki Pendant] then keep in mind it may be one of your last item before the game ends. Pulverize cost 70 mana at level 1 which means you'll need 50 seconds to have the mana back just with a Meki Pendant. Considering you might want to heal sometimes at least, the rest of your mana regen power (runes, abilities?) will just be inneficient. What we need is a Clarity. Because we don't require a constant Pulverizing of the area each time it is available, we can keep a well managed mana pool, constantly half full or totaly full with a Clarity. Of course, you'll require later some additionnal boosts, like Philosopher's Stone. This time, attack speed indirectly solves the mana problem.

    The HEALTH problem or "OMG Alistar feeder!" or "OMG Alistar coward! Go tank it!"

    Alistar has a decent health. For a fighter. However Alistar isn't a fighter. He is mainly a tank so it's not enough. You need to take the damages, your team will expect you to initiate and it is indeed your duty. A powerfull and overfed Veigar will still let Alistar initiate a turret. If another tank in the team is doing this job, then you are or will become useless, even less usefull than a dead Twisted Fate is with his passive.
    You can heal it is true, however you have to stop moving in order to heal, and then you'll get injured even more. Dont even consider healing if an Ashe with frost arrows target you. You'll die. Some champion like Kayle can still move while healing. You can't. And if you want to heal your injured friend(s), please consider that you'll need to come at shooting range of the opponent(s), making you an easy target constantly.
    Flat hp quint are a joke mid/end game. But we can't use them even for early game on Alistar because he needs to farm with Attack Speed. So we'll count on hp regen items, like Philosopher's Stone. This will also reduce the amount of mana you'll need to heal. This will also makes you lane easier. That's why Regrowth Pendant will be our starting item.
    On mid/end game, you'll need movement speed to solve this problem. Alistar got burst power. He's not an hp bag like mundo. That means after doing his (fast) job he has to run away.
    And I don't mean boots+2. I mean huge amount of movement speed. Because HP items won't make you survive, even a Warmog won't help you run away. So we need movement speed items, and if possible lot of them. Luckily for us, our build will provide large amount of movement speed boosts.
    Why don't we use frozen hearth or force of nature? Alistar is a tank!
    Yes he is. Force of nature & Frozen hearth, or even Warmog are cool items for survivability. However, their cost is expensive (2610, 3075, 3000....). If you go for any of them, then it'll be one of your three items in the game. I'm suggesting you keep defensive items for end game IF you are sure they'll help.

    The DAMAGE ON TURRET problem or "My passive says I can kill turret, but my damage sucks!"

    If [spell=Colossal Strength] was supposed to help killing turret then it's a fail. Your base DPS capacity is close to an AD Karthus without his range. Poor attack speed, poor damage, the fact that you won't have armor penetration runes, even if Unbreakable Will will help you damage a turret, how many hits will you provide before it runs out? 3-4? Any ranged char will make much more damage than you by harrassing a turret little by little. Are we gonna just ignore his passive? No!
    Considering you would have an huge attack speed then everything it's easier. 7-8 hits, or even 9 on a turret are deadly. With my build, I killed a full hp turret in 10 seconds. This is Alistar power: he is not a basic tank, he is a turret killer. Whatever happens near the turret isn't relevant: a turret down is a turret down. If the enemies are stupid enough to target you while under your ultimate, then it's even easier. Your teamates will score an Ace. That's why, if possible, try to GET focused by the turret by hitting one hit on a nearby opponent. This way your team can just ignore the tower and kill whoever they want. However, who would cast any spell on an Alistar that doesn't seriously threathen the turret life? That is why you need Attack Speed.

  • Masteries + Runes

    Pure Attack Speed. Blue, Red, Yellow and Quint. Yes, no HP Quint, no Mana Quint, no Armor/magic Penetration. Just pure Attack Speed.

    Because it solves each problem Alistar may meet. Because it is a tricky but working solution to farming, mana, and tower damaging issues. Because you will rape AP/TANK Alistar like young cows. Because it's just fun to see him auto attack that fast. Because you want to win your games to have even more fun. And last of all, because you might want to have kills.

    9* Greater Glyph of Alacrity
    9* Greater Mark of Alacrity
    9* Greater Seal of Alacrity
    3* Greater Quintessence of Alacrity

    It is not wise to trade 3.4% attack speed for anything so I don't recommend changing the Quint. Greater Quintessence of Swiftness just doesn't give enough movement speed boost, even if you have 3 of them, to be taken. Armor Penetration would be good if we didn't need desperatly attack speed.
    Runes aren't something you can count on for MANA (Alistar /L on the 0.055 mana/lvl boost) and there will be some decent cooldown reduction in the build.

    Our Masteries includes attack speed [mastery=Alacrity] and some Armor & Magic Penetration [mastery=Archaic Knowledge] [mastery=title] [mastery=Sunder]. It's up to you if you wanna build the rest with tanky masteries or utility masteries, however, armor penetration + Magic penetration boost by large amount your damages, so I don't recommend a 9/21/0 or a 9/0/21. But feel free to build him 21/0/9, 21/9/0 if you feel confident. I'm using defensive tree in order to reach the [mastery=Nimbleness] which may provide in fight a little movement speed quite usefull.

    Alistar doesn't need the 4% damage reduction from [mastery=Tenacity]. He can make use of it, he does enjoy it like anyone however his ultimate is more than enough in short/medium games. But the attack speed and armor penetration boost is just something you need in this build, so we'll pass. You are not Gragas or Garen.

  • Items

    Core build


    All these items are either cheap, either buildable part by part. It also includes two gold/5 items, which I recommend you do fast and keep them non-upgraded to Shurelya or Youmuu as long as possible. This way you can spare a bit of gold.

    The rest of the build depends on the game: you might want to grab a warmog or a force of nature if you get trouble surviving, or a BF Sword if you want to push harder turrets. It might be usefull to start a Madred because it's cheap, it helps farming, and it helps making buffs, including Dragon & Baron. With an huge attack speed, you can even seriously damage any opponent with a full Madred. What is more, Madred gives you attack speed and damage... Yum.

  • Skilling Order

    Keep in mind Alistar's spell cost more and more as you level them. You can choose not to level healing if you prefer keeping your mana at start. Starting with Pulverize for ganking is a fail: you'll reach your opponent, stun him, then what?
    Headbutt won't help you make a lot of damage early, but it can save you or your lane mate from ganks. That's why we will max it last.

  • Summoner Abilities

    We need Flash for escaping, for Stun Headbutt Combo, and for chasing whoever flashes and needs a proper hit in the back. And we need Clarity not only to lane longer, but also to keep your mates with some mana if they are in need.

    You might want to use Teleport or Ghost, however with this build you'll have huge burst movement speed power so it's not needed. Clairvoyance might be interesting so swap clarity for it if you feel like.

    [spell=Fortify] is special for Alistar. Because you are supposed to hug your turret early, it might looks efficient to use fortify. However, if you kill minions with turret, how are you supposed to creep? The +9 damage to minion can be usefull though. But it's not worth wasting a spell on it.

    Heal Don't you already have a heal? but it may be interesting in a team fight to further improve the amount of healing you can provide to your mates. Just to point something: Heal only reduces by half other summoner healing, it doesn't reduce champion's healing.

    Do NOT take these:
    Revive Alistar isn't supposed to feed.
    Smite Even if you get able to creep, you're not able to jungle at level 1. And do not use it to creep on a lane! It's a waste!
    Exhaust and Ignite Those are just not your spells. Let them for the carry.

  • Build Example

    Start with a Regrowth Pendant. Try to make Avarice Blade and Shurelya's Reverie as soon as possible

    The biggest question is when to grab boots. I suggest you don't go back to base before having gold to buy Philosopher + Avarice + Boots+1. You might want to wait for an additionnal Zeal as well.

    When you farmed enough, get the [item*Boots of Mobility] (and a Zeal if not already done). These boots might be swapped with level 3 boots if you prefer, but please consider healing doesn't reduce your movement speed with level 5 boots so you'll benefit from the bonus nearly constantly out of a team fight. And it's just a must to run from lane to lane that fast. I do not recommend Mercury Treads because they won't allow you to chase, to run for combos, or to do anything else than tanking.

    When you think teamfights will start (few turrets down on sides for example), change your gold/5 items to Shurelya and Youmuu. You may start to initiate with your speed combos.

    After few times you should be able to buy little Madred and a Phantom Dancer. The rest depends how the fight goes on.

  • Alistar's Combos

    A) The classic FLASH + Stun + Projection

    It's a common combo with Alistar. Flash under your opponent, instant Stun him, then go behind him and project him, to an ally turret, closer to your friend(s) or just somewhere else when a kill would be easier. This combo is the main combo of Alistar, however keep in mind Flash has an HUGE cooldown, so you can't count on it everytime.

    B) Youmuu + Shurelya + Stun + Projection

    Both items have 1 minute CD. That means you can use this one much more often. Go quickly near your opponent, stun, go behind him, then project him. With boots +5 you can rivalise with Rammus' speed!

    C) Youmuu + Shurelya

    Good to change lane or to reach a turret from base, or just to escape whoever could kill you. It is especially good when you just killed an inhibitor after an Ace and that everyone in the enemy team is able to kill your whole damaged team. Keep in mind Shurelya also boost your friend's speed! You can also use it to chase down a damaged running opponent. No one can fool an angry Alistar by hiding in jungle.

    D) Projection + Stun

    When there is two opponents close to each other and that you want to finish off one, project the second one, and then instant stun. If there is a distance between both, you can use Youmuu + Shurelya to reach your target, then stun.

    5) Youmuu + Ultimate

    Perfect to kill any turret. But you can also use it in teamfight.

    6) Ultimate, then Flash + Youmuu + Shurelya

    Do some heavy damage and sustain a lot of damage, then escape like a cow.

    7) Projection, then Stun

    If someone is stupid enough to be between you and your turret, just push him towards, then run to him, then stun him while he is getting hit by the turret.

    8) Projection + Wall

    When you project someone on a nearby wall, it'll stun him for a few moment. This allows your team to reach him, or even to make another stun with Pulverize.

  • Pros / Cons


    -High tower breaking potential, and that's not only on the paper
    -High DPS potential (But you're not the main DPS!)
    -High creeping potential which means
    -High amount of gold which means
    -Lot of cool items available
    -High speed and nice combos
    -Doesn't depends exclusively of Flash
    -Can speed up a full team for a gank or a change of lane
    -Can farm Baron & Dragon faster
    -You won't only feed without any thanks for your healing. You'll KILL, and even without turrets.
    -Great escape mechanism
    -You can still make a decent game even if some random retarded pickup is feeding
    -Teammates have more confidence in themselves if you keep on healing/Clariting/Shurelying them and thus make better games.


    -Low damage from Pulverize & Headbutt
    -Low healing in comparison with an AP Build
    -Medimum health in comparison to a tanky build, but you can at least afford Warmog AND farm it.
    -You might be flammed in solo queuing.
    -You can't win alone, which means ragequitters and other leavers will still ruin your day.

  • Working in the team

    Of course you're not the main DPS. You don't have AP, you don't have AD spells. However you can help make some damage in team fights. Try to initiate only if your team has confidence in itself. That means, try to anticipate if your team will follow you or not. Don't use Youmuu + Shurelya if there is no urgent need of it. Try to gank as much as possible.

    On a solo lane, just keep the enemy creeps 1 meter away from your turret's range. This way any opponent that wants to hit you will instantly be targeted by the turret.

    Let the blue buff for some other mana users, but if there is noone, enjoy them.

    Try to heal as much as possible. And do not use your ultimate just to run away: it's +90 damage!

    And last but not least: don't be a cow. You can make this lost game into a win.

    Sorry for my poor english :$ And I hope you liked this guide.

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