Alistar Guide by Evol 1

Hello my name is Ruben “Evol” Ballegeer. I’m a high diamond support, playing for Sector One. Welcome to my second League of Legends guide, this time about Alistar. This guide is meant to be an in-depth view at how to play Alistar as a support. I hope this guide will motivate you to give this awesome champion a try or at least help you learn something more about him and the support role.

Summoner Spells:

Flash

Just a great summoner spell overall.
Gives you the opportunity to make “Flashy” plays like Flash->Q->W.
Offers both offensive and defensive usage, never play without flash.

Exhaust

I recommend you always pick exhaust vs champions that can do a lot of physical damage really fast to your marksman.
Think Riven, Rengar, Fiora,… Overall exhaust is slightly better than ignite since you can always use it offensively since it also provides a 30% slow and shreds their resistances by 10.

Ignite

When you’re up against champions with a lot of heals like Soraka, Dr. Mundo, Fiddlesticks… definitely go Ignite!
Versus
Good-Match-ups I also suggest you go ignite since you’ll probably get kills with it.
Almost every ADC runs heal these days so it’s always a good pick-up when you know you’re favored to win lane.

Runes & Masteries:

I’ll start of by saying you have 3 options when picking runes and masteries for Alistar right now. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. The runes and masteries are pretty different and in-depth and all have a different playstyle. For the lazy “Cows” who don’t want to read the theory behind the runes and masteries I suggest you Copy-Pasta the Bond of Stone Route.

Windspeaker’s Blessing Route: (Your heals and shields are 10% stronger. Additionally, heals and shields on allies increase your target’s armor by 5 – 22 (based on level) and magic resistance by 2.5 – 11 (based on level) for 3 seconds.)

Alistar Guide Masteries 1

Why? “Windspeaker’s? Huh ? You don’t have any shields man!” I can hear from deep down the ladder. Well let me explain. Alistar’s E his heal is AoE and this applies the armor and MR to everyone healed. So this mastery is in fact super effective on Alistar since you can give your whole team +22 armor and +11 MR in teamfights where everyone is close to each other.

When? I suggest you pick this mastery when the enemy has a ranged support that can pokes a lot.( Nami, Annie, Brand, Janna even Thresh,..) This mastery is also the best vs long ranged ADC’s or “Lane Bullies” like Miss Fortune or Caitlynn.

How to use: If you go this route you will still be the annoying cow we all know but more as a peeler. You’re not going to dive in and instantly combo, instead stay a little more behind and give your team that MR and Armor with heal spamming. But don’t be a soraka though you can still dive and soak a lot of damage. Headbutting an enemy away from your carries and healing them up a little mid-fight does wonders with this mastery.

With the Windspeaker’s Blessing Mastery I suggest this Runepage.

The Mana Regen / 5 helps a lot with keeping your mana up while spamming E which you’ll be doing a lot.

Marks: 9x Greater Mark of Iron (+0.91 Armor each)

Seals: 9x Greater Seal of Health (+8 Health each)

Glyphs: 6x Glyph of Cooldown Reduction (-0,83 each) + 3x Glyph of Mana Regen (+0.33 Mana Regen/5 sec. each)

Quintessences: 2x Armor (+4,26 Armor each) + 1x Mana Regen (+1.25 Mana Regen/5 sec.)

Alistar Guide Runes 1

Thunderlord’s Decree Route:

(Hitting an enemy champion with an ability (ability damage) or basic attack (on-hit) marks them with Thunderlord’s Decree for 5 seconds. At 3 stacks, the target takes 10 – 180 (based on level) + (30% bonus AD) + (10% AP) magic damage. Thunderlord’s Decree can only be triggered once every 20 seconds.)

Alistar Guide Masteries 2

Why? Thunderlord’s Decree is definitely a strong mastery on alistar since this makes his burst insanely high. A simple W->Q combo already triggers thunder because of Trample (Passive). When? I suggest you pick Thunder vs Melee supports only. You can easily proc thunder vs them because they’re likely to go Targon’s. You can simply run up to them when they want that Cannon Minion, Q->AutoAttack and run away. This is both safe and really annoying for the enemy support. Also pick Thunder when your ADC is a heavy all-in champion who wants to snowball.(Draven, Quinn,…)

How to use? It’s pretty straightforward. Just the normal playstyle with more damage. Try focusing the enemy ADC with the thunder proc in all-in situations though. You don’t want to waste your burst on a support.

Important notes:

-Thunderlord’s Decree has a 20 seconds cooldown!

-You’re still a support! Don’t be that guy who goes in thinking he can 1v1 the enemy ADC cause you have Thunderlord’s.

-Comboing a lot to proc Thunder is not suggested since you’ll go out of Mana. Try going for good all in fights with your jungler or when your ADC is in good position to take a kill.

With the Thunderlord’s Decree Mastery I suggest this Runepage.

The cooldown reduction combined with tankiness gives you the opportunity to use Thunderlord’s without being too squishy. Note though, when facing an AP support don’t go 10% cooldown reduction. You would want to go 6 CDR + 3 flat Magic Resist Glyphs instead.

(But 99% of the time Thunder is not the best option vs AP’s)

Marks: 9x Greater Mark of Iron (+0.91 Armor each)

Seals: 9x Greater Seal of Health (+8 Health each)

Glyphs: 9x Glyph of Cooldown Reduction (-0.83 each)

Quintessences: 2x Armor (+4.26 Armor each) + 1x Cooldown Reduction (-2.50% CDR)

Alistar Guide Runes 2

Bond Of Stone Route:

Grants 3% reduced damage. While within a 1000-range of an allied champion this bonus is doubled to 6% and 6% of the damage they would take from enemy champions is dealt to you instead (cannot reduce you below 5% health).

Alistar Guide Masteries 3

Why? Despite having your R to tank a lot of damage Bond of Stone is always good for surviving early game (pre-Level 6). Unbreakable Will gives us 70% damage reduction so 6% doesn’t seem that much but it is. The damage your ADC takes is also lowered by 6% so not that bad as it seems after the nerfs.

When? This mastery is definitely not as good as the 2 other routes imo but also not bad at all. I suggest you pick this mastery when casually playing Alistar or don’t feel like the 2 other play styles fit you. Nothing wrong with being even tankier anyway just not ideal.

Important Notes:

-When you’re not within range of an ally your damage reduction is only 3%. Think about this when roaming or invading solo for deep wards.

-This mastery might be more popular on Alistar again when Thunderlord’s Decree gets nerfed.

-When an ally is in trouble Bond of Stone might actually soak the damage which would have killed him. So stay in range!

When going for the Bond of Stone route this is the Rune Page I think works best.

The defensive Runes give you the possibility to take quite some damage and be a scary cow in the frontline.

Marks: 9x Greater Mark of Iron (+0.91 Armor each)

Seals: 9x Greater Seal of Health (+8 Health each)

Glyphs: 6x Glyph of Cooldown Reduction (-0.83 each) + 3 Flat Magic Resist (1.34 each)

Quintessences: 3x Quintessence of Armor (+4.26 Armor each)

Alistar Guide Runes 3

Skill Order

Since we have so many masteries and runes options skill orders are also a little different. When going the Windspeaker’s route & Bond of Stone route I suggest option 1. For Thunderlord’s I suggest option 2 this is a more aggressive skill order with more points in Q early for more damage. We still go 2 times E early though because otherwise the heal would be to weak.

Alistar Guide Skillorder 1

Spells Breakdown

Alistar_Passive

Trample (Passive): “After using an ability, Alistar stampedes for 3 seconds, becoming ghosted and dealing 7 – 24 (based on level) (+ 10% AP) magic damage per second to nearby enemies and enemy structures, doubled against minions.”

Alistar’s Passive is not as bad as it seems and a lot of people don’t really know the strength of it. His passive is what makes Thunderlord’s Decree so easy to use on him. The ghost effect (being able to run through units) is also something a lot of people forget. And since Riot’s Coding is “spaghetti” and people get stuck between creeps Alistar is even stronger!

The damage Trample does is not that high but can be really useful. When your adc can’t solo farm under tower just use E and stand next to the caster creeps for 1,5 sec. this should make them low enough for your adc to kill them after 1 tower hit.

Also note that Trample damages towers!

Alistar_Q

Pulverize (Q):Alistar slams the ground beneath him, knocking up nearby enemies, stunning them for 0.5 seconds upon landing and dealing magic damage.”

This is the ability that makes or breaks an Alistar player. It seems like a pretty straightforward ability but it’s definitely not. Pulverize is a point blank knock-up that hits ALL surrounding enemies. This means you can hit multiple people at a time with this ability. So most of the time it’s not worth it to just smash that Q the moments you can. Try using it on multiple people during a fight since it’s definitely game changing when you can knock 3 or more people in the air.

Alistar_W

Headbutt (W): “Alistar dashes to the target enemy, dealing magic damage, stunning them for 1 second and knocking them back.”

This ability doesn’t sound that great at first. Knocking someone away means you’ll have a harder time killing them most of the time. But there’s more to it than that. Headbutt can be used in various situations. For example if an enemy who jumps on your ADC, you can simply Headbutt them and they probably won’t even focus your Adc anymore because they would have to walk all the way back. (If they do charge back at your Carry just Q to stall time)

Headbutt also prevents the enemy jungler from stealing Dragon/Baron Nashor as showed in this GIF. Always keep a good eye on the enemy jungler when going for Dragon or Nashor. Also keep a spare ward for placing over the pit like I did in this clip.

Alistar Guide Combo 1

Here are some tips on how effectively use the combo:

-At first it’s pretty hard to properly use the combo but just practice it vs bots. And trust me everyone fails a combo every now and then. A very handy tip here is that it’s way harder for you to hit the combo on people who have dashes or a lot of movement speed. Versus champions like Vayne or Lucian I suggest you wait till the Headbutt actually hits before Q’ing because they might dash mid-air and you’ll Q to soon.

-Headbutt is an ability you need to get used to. It takes practice before you’ll understand properly how and when to use it. Sometimes keeping your headbutt until an enemy bruiser jumps on your ADC is way better than comboing your W with Q.

Another way to use your Q-W combo is by flashing on the target first with Q, running around and W’ing the knock-up’d target as shown in this clip. (We did actually kill him even though they had a really good peeling support.)

Alistar Guide Combo 2

Important notes!

-Be careful you don’t W a minion. If you watch the clip you’ll see sometimes it’s really close to each other.

-You’re very weak after this play. You wasted all your cooldowns on an engage and have only heal left so make sure before making this play the enemy can’t kill your ADC.

-I only make this play when my jungler is ganking or I’m 100% sure we can kill someone with it.

-This combo can be dodged. They can expect the flash and flash themselfs which is fine. But if they have a dash and actually dash the combo you’ll have a bad time in Lane.

-Practice your timing on the Headbutt. If your timing is wrong people can flash over you and you’ll knock them away.

Alistar_E

Triumphant Roar (E): “Alistar roars, healing himself and nearby allies for half as much.”

(Passive: Triumphant Roar’s cooldown is reduced by 2 seconds whenever an enemy dies near Alistar.)

Despite the heal not being too high it is actually better than most people think it is. The passive makes it spammable so keep a good eye on the cooldown. Especially when a minion wave is being killed nearby you can really spam it.

This ability got really interesting with the introduction of Windspeaker’s Blessing. Windspeaker’s gives us more sustain and stronger heals overall (see masteries).

Don’t forget your E triggers “Trample” as well so when spamming heal keep in mind you’re dealing a little AoE damage and have no unit collision.

Alistar_R

Unbreakable Will (R):Alistar removes all hostile crowd control effects from himself. Additionally, he gains bonus attack damage and takes 70% reduced damage for 7 seconds.”

Alistar’s ultimate is what makes him so strong at turret diving and engaging. You can tank so ridiculously long with your R active that turrets almost become decoration. Also when engaging a teamfight don’t worry about going really deep you’ll probably survive it anyway when using Unbreakable Will correctly. It’s not as easy as it looks though so I have some tips and tricks.

-One of the most important tips I can give you guys is focus on your timing. Watch how many damage they can do instantly when you flash in. It’s a shame being bursted down without using your R.

-Don’t be too trigger happy though there’s no reason to ult when not taking a lot of damage (in most situations the AD bonus is not worth it in my opinion).

-Unbreakable Will removes CC-effects but new CC after you activated your R do stick. So sometimes it’s better to wait a little before ulting. They might throw more CC at you.

-You can bait the enemy really hard into hitting you. For example an enemy bursts you down to like 50% Health. Just engage with your combo and pop R from the moment you take damage. They will most likely try to kill you and waste a lot of things into trying to kill you.

-7 seconds is freaking long but not forever! When you’ve played a few games on Alistar you’ll know when it’s almost going to stop. Make sure you’re not dieing instantly when your 70% dmg reduction wears off.

Itemization

Starting items:

Relic_Shield_itemtotal-biscuit-of-rejuvenationtotal-biscuit-of-rejuvenationtotal-biscuit-of-rejuvenationWarding_Totem_item

Explanation: Only logic start right now on Alistar. Gives Health and sustain.

Must have:

Sightstone_itemSweeping_Lens_itemBoots_of_Mobility_itemOracle_Alteration_item

Explanation: Sightstone & Sweeping Lens for vision control. Boots of Mobility helps a lot with roaming and closing the gap to combo someone.

Core items:

Aegis_of_the_Legion_itemFace_of_the_Mountain_itemWarden's_Mail_item

Explanation: Aegis of the Legion despite being nerfed is still a really strong item. I buy it almost every game when facing a team with strong AP’s like Orianna. Face of the Mountain is pretty standard, gives you a really solid shield and CDR. Warden’s Mail is a personal preference, I almost always build either Randuin’s Omen or Frozen Hearth lategame so might as well buy Warden’s Mail early. Really solid stats for 1100 gold.

Situational:

Randuin's_Omen_itemFrozen_Heart_itemEye_of_the_Equinox_itemLocket_of_the_Iron_Solari_itemMikael's_Crucible_itemRighteous_Glory_itemThornmail_itemZeke's_Harbinger_item

Explanation:

Not that hard to understand, watch how the game goes and adapt to it

-Randuin’s Omen, Frozen Heart or Thornmail: When enemy AD’s are a problem.

-Eye of the Equinox: When you don’t feel like Face of the Mountain is needed.

-Locket of the Iron Solari: When the enemy team has a lot of AoE damage.

-Mikael’s Crucible: The enemy has some annoying CC your ADC or APC is having trouble with (Morgana Q, Amumu R, Ashe R,…)

-Righteous Glory: When you can’t really engage without a movement speed boost.

-Zeke’s Harbinger: When your ADC is doing well and he is not over 60% Crit chance.(You benefit a lot from the cooldown reduction and AP yourself too)

Match-ups

Good Match-ups:

Blitzcrank_Square_0Leona_Square_0Braum_Square_0TahmKench_Square_0

Explanation: These champions are all pretty tanky and have decent kill potential in other match-ups just not vs Alistar. Blitzcrank is looking to grab your ADC just stand in front of the grab and engage when he does grab you. Leona will also try hard to kill your teammate just Q her mid-air of her E so she can’t engage. When she does hit your ADC and you can’t stop her W the enemy carry away and disengage. Braum & Tahm won’t be a problem at all just W them away when they start messing with the horns.

Medium Match-ups:

Karma_Square_0Bard_Square_0Nami_Square_0Brand_Square_0Lulu_Square_0Sona_Square_0

Explanation: I know a few people might disagree with this but let me explain why I think these match-ups are Medium. Even though they can bully us from a distance most of the time when you’re able to engage on them they are pretty screwed. Try to take as little damage early as possible and try to make an all-in engage. If you’re not poked down you’ll win this. If you’re having trouble just ask your jungler to come and try flashing on them. It’s fine to kill the support since they probably do more damage than the marksman anyway and have no escape.

Hard Match-ups:

Morgana_Square_0Thresh_Square_0Janna_Square_0Soraka_Square_0

Explanation: When facing one of these champions you’re going to have a pretty hard time but it’s definitely not unwinnable. All of these champions have something that counters our combo. Morgana has “Blackshield”, Soraka has her Equinox(Silence), Thresh can “Flay” us mid air and Janna can “Howling Gale” mid-air. So these match-ups take some mind games to win. Try baiting the ability that counters our combo. From the moment they use it zone the enemy as much as possible. They will be so scared you’ll engage with combo they’ll probably miss some Farm. Don’t try to kill these match-ups without jungler because you will probably die. Sometimes it’s way better to act like you’ll combo than to actually do it.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Lots of dive and all-in potential with R.
  • Sustain even when not going windspeaker’s route.
  • Great roaming champion.
  • Versatile playstyles.
  • Just a fun and really good champion to play.

Cons:

  • Can be bullied in lane sometimes cause he’s melee.
  • Takes practice to learn and use correctly.
  • Failing a combo can be frustrating or ruin a few kills. (Practice that combo!)

If you made it this far thanks a lot for reading the whole guide! I do really appreciate it. I hope it was worth the read and you enjoyed the guide. If you still have questions, suggestions or just want to give some feedback feel free to comment!

Hello my name is Ruben “Evol” Ballegeer. I’m a high diamond support, playing for Sector One. Welcome to my second League of Legends guide, this time about Alistar. This guide is meant to be an in-depth view at how to play Alistar as a support. I hope this guide will motivate you to give this awesome champion a try or at least help you learn something more about him and the support role.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Oh, that’s one sweet guide! Sometimes a lot of details maybe about the standard stuff but perhaps because I’m a diamond scrub I think a bit ahead already.

    +1 and reddit gold

    • Thanks a lot! Yeah I know it’s pretty detailed on the obvious things for diamond players. But I want everyone to improve not only the high elo players.

  2. Dear Evol, first of all thank you for the amazing and insightful guide! I have a question regarding the first build, I find the lack of MR very counterintuitive, especially since you recommend it vs AP lane bullies. Is the healing enough to sustain through the poke or wouldn’t it be better to run at least 3 MR Glyphs, 6 CDR Glyps and 1 Mreg Quint? Thanks in advance!

    • Hello Vorpal, first of all thanks for the great feedback! I understand your question since it’s something a lot of people asked me before. The problem with your theory of running MR is that you think you’re the one being poked down. This is not the case, 9/10 times they will bully your adc not you. So the Mana reg is better to keep a sustained ADC. I personally feel like the mana reg. is more useful since MR won’t stop the damage. The enemy ADC is still AD so MR helps nothing vs them either. I would rather heal more and get the bonus MR and Armor from windspeakers than put those resistances in my runes. Still personal preference though. Hope this helped if not feel free to comment again 🙂

      • Thanks for replying! Your reasong makes a lot of sense, especially with your playstyle. I’ve tried various setups and I found that running 3 armor quints, 6 health seals, 3 manareg seals, 3 MR glyps and 6 CDR glyphs got me the best results. The armor quints are so valuable that I didn’t want to give them up. If I’m not against an AP support I can switch between MR and extra Mreg on my blues. I found that this gives me nice stats all around at the small cost of some health. Just wanted to share this, looking forward to your next guide!

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