ALISTAR GUIDE: INTRODUCTION
Hey, Houdini here again, the elo-magician you all know and love. Today we’ll take a closer look at Alistar, and find out exactly why the cow is just so prevalent in season 8.9 meta. Alistar is a tank-support specializing in engaging, tanking, and zoning. If you have a hankering for hamburgers, you might want to stay away from the mad beast. However, if you’re strictly against milking cows without cow consent, Alistar is the support for you. There’s a reason CLG’s Aphromoo is called as such, and that reason is Alistar’s potential. Unfortunately, Aphromoo can’t give you the low-down on Alistar, but you’ve got the next best thing; Houdini’s how to master-tier guide to Alistar coming right from the
horses cow’s mouth. Dinner is served.
SUMMONER SPELLS FOR ALISTAR
Simply put, you’ve got two choices. Flash is necessary, as flash pulverize or flash headbutt-pulverize can be one of the most effective engages in the game. Let’s narrow it down to choosing between Exhaust and Ignite. As of 8.9, ignite is often the favored summoner spell. Alistar thrives off of all-in and single-target lock down. And as you all know, death is the most effective of crowd control. Ignite often deals with how effective heal is, just remember to focus down the enemy adc, or low-max health mage support alternatively. An ADC’s heal IS reduced by ignite. In short, if you’ve got a high burst ADC such as Lucian, Draven, Corki, , or Tristana you can consider running ignite to give your all-in some extra kick. This can be especially useful against champions such as Sona, or Nami as Alistar’s all-in on squishy supports can be devastating. Remember, Grievous Wounds “Reduces all healing received by 40%”, so ADC Summer Spell Heal, and self-healing can be reduced. this is huge against sustain supports on an all-in. However, If you’re ADC’s laning phase is weaker, such as Ezreal or Vayne, exhaust will generally be a more appropriate option. Exhaust is an end-game scaling spell, while ignite is more suited to getting early kills and exerting pressure on a lane. Keep in mind that if the enemy team has a high-burst assassin champion such as Zed or Talon, exhaust will be more effective as long as you use it during their damage cycles on that high-profile enemy.
Pros of Playing Alistar
- Alistar’s engage is among one of the best in the game
- Alistar’s abilities offer defensive and offensive options
- Alistar is a tank support with sustain outside of relic shield. As of 6.6, Alistar’s heal is less effective on teamates
- Alistar’s ult is one of the most effective ultimates at reducing at reducing damage. 55% at first ult rank is a substantial amount! At third ult rank, 75% damage reduction can be achieved.
- Alistar’s crowd control cannot be removed easily, as pulverize and headbutt are both considered knockups.
- Alistar’s abilities are simple to learn, and his influence is clear to see
Cons of Playing Alistar
- Alistar is very weak when his abilities are on cooldown.
- Alistar can be left stranded because of his engage force him into the center of the battle.
- Alistar has received many slight nerfs as of 8.9, a slight rework, and may change in the future.
- Alistar is simple, and as such it is very clear to see what he is planning on doing. This works for enemy and ally alike. Mainly flashes or stubborn tankiness can get him through skirmishes and battles.
RUNES FOR ALISTAR
Aftershock– +Defenses +Adaptive damage, much better then alternatives.
Bone Plating– +20-50 less damage, that is a ton, after 3 attacks. never underestimate bone plating.
Chrysalis– This is the best scaling support choice, you can choose others, but you won’t get the same gold value based on the effectiveness of the runes.
Unflinching– +Tenacity and slow resistance is so strong, and when you’re summoner’s are on cooldown, even more tenacity and slow resistance? Godly. With alistar’s escapeless self, that provides the tankiness he needs to re-initiate, or get away safely. Definitely the only choice.
Generally, you want to get Hextech Flashtraption- this summoner has extra utility on alistar, since one, it gives you an extra channelable flash, and two, hextech-flash is actually particularly useful for ambushing. Alistar is melee, so to close the gap he’ll have to use his W, often, but then he cannot W someone back away from their own safety. So, hextech flash frees up his W as a gap-closer to use it as a killling manuever. Solid.
As well as Future’s Market- Future’s market alllows you to get items earlier, and therefore become more useful earlier. Do not go into debt for pots, because you have to pay +50gold every time you go into debt. Try to max out the debt, and get your items, and thus powerspikes, early.
ALISTAR’S ITEM CHOICES
Relic shield is a must. The health statistic is exactly what you need, but more importantly, Relic shield allows you to:
- Assist your ADC in CSing.
- Push lane faster with execution on minions.
- Sustain better, meaning more health before potential all-ins or ganks.
- Increase your own gold generation.
If you are not using relic shield to it’s fullest potential and getting all of your stacks, then you’re missing out on free gold generation. Strive to use them often, but remember that the execution effect can push a lane accidentally, and the health restore obviously doesn’t work at full health.
Biscuits are also a must, with the increased cost an early pink ward could be viable, but without the sustain from the extra biscuits you’re likely to get pushed out of lane. If you get pushed out of lane, that pink ward is likely going to die anyhow. If you are going to buy an early pink, place it somewhere else besides lane.
If you are in or against a passive/even lane, Sightstone is generally a first priority. Jungler, Mid, or Top intervention is generally the only way a passive lane will end up chaotic, and can turn a lane upside-down if you are not careful in watching for enemy roams. If your other laners have heavy crowd control, or your jungler is ahead you can choose to get Boots of Speed for more effective roaming. Do not roam without a purpose. Roaming without a goal is the easiest way to get behind in your own lane. After Mobility Boots, and Sightstone are completed, work towards the Completed Ward Item, but do not finish it before mobility boots. Mobility boots optimal for Alistar, specifically. His roaming is particularly strong.
Knights Vow, Redemption, Shurelya’s Reverie
These items are all standard for Alistar at the moment. They are very good, particularly in this meta. Knights Vow is the most effective purchase to assist your ADC specifically.
Redemption is essential teamfight utility item almost all supports should look at purchasing
Shurelya’s is Alistar specific, as initiation, and helping his team initiate, is a very valuable tool to have.
Aegis into Locket is a preferable item choice if you are against heavy AP compositions. If you decide to build this, you must rush this right after FOTM, as the earlier Aegis is built the better team-fights capable.
Frozen Heart can be an extremely appropriate buy against heavy AD or AS compositions. If the enemy has a Vayne or Xin Zhao. The cost of this item is quite high compared to others, as such do not buy it if you are not team-fighting. The aura it debuffs enemies with is around 700 units. That means long range abilities from champions like Ezreal and Corki can circumvent it in certain instances.
Zeke’s Convergence- If your ADC is in the lead, this item can potentially snowball your ADC into the late-game earlier than expected. If your ADC dies, you can also bind to your mid-laner, as it provides bonuses as long as you’re binded.
Mikael’s Crucible- I would not recommend this item on Alistar in most circumstances. Generally, Alistar needs to build tank items, and use his ultimate to zone out enemy damage. Mikael’s is more useful on back-line supports, however, if against AP Mikael’s Crucible does provide Alistar tank stats. Mikael’s Crucible also allows an ADC to skip building Quicksilver Sash or even sell it after Mikael’s is purchased by the Support. It’s simply an ok item on Alistar, but has an effect unique enough to warrant buying it against champions such as Fiddlesticks and Lux. As of 8.9, it’s a terrible item to build all around, don’t do it.
ALISTAR IN LANING PHASE
Once all that pesky preparation about items, mastery pages, and runes is out of the way, you’re ready to get into the game and look at what Alistar has to offer in the laning stage. Alistar’s most powerful asset in lane is his ability to use his pulverize and headbutt offensively and defensively. Succinctly put, if one wants to disengage, you may headbutt the enemy away. If one wants to engage, you may headbutt-pulverize combo. Remember that Alistar’s headbutt changes his location as well, as such an Alistar that wishes to disengage should wait for an enemy to use their gap closing abilities before headbutting. This provides two effects; Alistar is further away from the enemy than a regular headbutt would have put him and enemy gap-closers can be interrupted. This becomes especially useful if the enemy gap-close ability used happens to do damage as-well, such as Leblanc’s Distortion or Nidalee’s Pounce.
Remember to stay near the enemy to proc Alistar’s passive stun, as well as Aftershock. This is VITAL for successful ALL-INS. However, do not let that forget your own health, get back earlier then later if you blow a flash or cannot get the kill.
Remember that Headbutt allows you to choose your own fights. While it might seem obvious, do not fight battles you cannot win. Experience comes with time, but if you aren’t sure where the enemy jungler is do not engage. The best case scenario is that you win the 2v2, the worst case scenario is that you were baited and die. Unless you have your own jungler on the way or your flash is available for a quick get-away, be careful about engaging when enemies are MIA. This may be simple but I cannot stress it enough with a front-liner like Alistar. If you do choose to engage, Alistar’s most effective combo against squishies in the 2v2 is Flash into Pulverize +Auto Attack followed by a Headbutt. Remember that the enemy can buffer their flash in some cases if you choose to Auto-Attack after Pulverize if your Headbutt is not fast enough. Be careful going in with this combo, as headbutting the enemy closer to your ADC can increase the likelihood of their death. Alistar’s goal is to successfully all in, and that means you must know enemy and allied summoner spell cool-downs. If Alistar burns a flash with a Headbutt> Pulverize combo, know that he has few gap closers left and can be kited easily. Headbutt+Pulverize is a 13 second cool-down, Flash is roughly 3 minutes in most cases. If you successfully blow a flash, back off and wait for another engage opportunity. Making the right decisions is vital as Alistar, as the wrong one can mean death.
By now, Alistar should have completed Mobility Boots and Sightstone, and have successfully been warding ahead of times on contested objectives. Warding in proper locations before fights is important for giving your team the edge, un-warded territory is likely dangerous territory. Do everything you can to avoid being caught while warding. The risk of face-checking enemy territory is not worth the reward of potentially deeper wards. Group up and push uncharted territory as a team to reduce risk. The more you stay near your teammates, the more likely you are to be able to help them. Alistar support can almost never get solo kills, the best you can hope for is catching someone out. In this case, you must hope that your team is close enough to assist you, or is getting other objectives across the map. If you ever die alone as Alistar, you have made a grave error in an earlier stage of the game. This is true for Alistar especially, as his abilities are catered to strong team-fighting.
LATE GAME GUIDE
The location of tanks in a late-game teamfight can be game-changing. With Alistar’s ultimate, even with his support budget, he becomes a bona-fide true tank, however temporary. The power of this cannot be underestimated. If you draw a battle-line, an Alistar who tanks the enemy back-line while peeling his own back-line is doing his job. Try not to use your Headbutt>Pulverize on the enemy back-line if your team cannot follow-up. If you prevent the enemy carries from damaging your ADC by zoning them out with your ultimate you have done your job.
By in large, this guide will not give you a comprehensive understanding of all that is Alistar, but it should have enlightened you to make the correct decisions when they matter the most. If you need some help making decisions, I also happen to work magic with proper decision-making. Contact me and we can work magic together.
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