Moo summoners, This is Markovicius bringing you one of the best and most fun supports out there since season 1. I have played this champion pretty much since I started playing the game, and in this period I have also played him in nearly every role. My goal with this guide is to convince you guys out there about the potential of the Cow. In my opinion, Alistar has the potential to be multifunctional in his support role: - A big threat to the enemy backline and - One of the best peelers out there. [i]About me[/i] I started playing league in season 1, where I reached silver, and since then have moved to gold in season 2, Platinum in season 3, and now Diamond in season 4. I am currently at Diamond IV (degraded from diamond I for not playing). I main mid, followed by Support and Top, however my 2 most played champions are Irelia and Alistar, basically because I pick Alistar support almost every time I support, and I pick Irelia top most of the times I lane top. I would post some fancy pictures of me being D1 at one point or my amazing 60% winrate after 300 games but Frankly I don't want to. Now in playing Alistar support, you have to know one very important thing. You HAVE to play like a [big]man[/big] to utilize this champion, if this is not your playstyle, then I suggest playing [img=champ/janna.png] instead. With this I mean you always have to be ready to aggressively engage, trade and most importantly: counter-engage when a priority target on your team gets engaged upon. If you do not do these things, then there are many champions better than Alistar at simply peeling, like Janna. [big]Alistar's Pros and Cons[/big] [b]Pros[/b] - His [img=skills/alistar/r.png] can instantly make him into a supertank for 7 seconds - He has a small Malphite ult roughly every 10 seconds with his [img=skills/alistar/w.png][img=skills/alistar/q.png] combo - He will always remain relevant throughout the game, no matter how hard he feeds - Can do a lot of damage to squishy targets with minimal damage gear - He is a motherfucking bull (With horns but you can't milk them) - One of the best peelers in the game - One of the best backline divers/disruptors in the game [b]Cons[/b] - He has a terrible level 1 laning phase - He has reasonably high mana costs - He has reasonably high cooldowns - He has no ranged abilities (Ranged where you stay at range) which makes him fragile to ranged attacks and kiting when he does not have his combo - Somewhat weak against true damage (because it will go through his ult) but this can be helped by buying HP items. [big]Guide Summary[/big] [b]Runes[/b]: Magic Pen reds, AP Quints, Armor Yellows, Magic resistance Blues. [b]Masteries[/b]: 4-5-21, with cooldown reduction in Offense and Reduced damage + resistance in defense. [b]Summoners[/b]: Preferably [img=summoners/ignite.png][img=summoners/flash.png], if needed [img=summoners/exhaust.png][img=summoners/flash.png] [b]Items[/b]: Starting item: [img=items/dorans-ring.png]2x[img=items/health-potion.png]1x[img=items/mana-potion.png] Core items: [img=items/targons-brace.png][img=items/sightstone.png][img=items/sorcerers-shoes.png][img=items/forbidden-idol.png] Final build:[img=items/sorcerers-shoes.png][img=items/face-of-the-mountain.png][img=items/ruby-sightstone.png][img=items/morellonomicon.png][img=items/abyssal-scepter.png][img=items/randuins-omen.png] [b]Playstyle[/b]: Aggressive, in lane with aggressive W>Q Combo's, and after that with aggressive initiates, also using the Alistar combo. When your ADC needs it, be there to peel with Q, W and summoners, when it is not needed, move on their backline. Alistar works best with a strong early ADC with burst.
Even though your W does slightly more damage and has a slightly lower cooldown, it is definitly best to level your Q first. This has 2 main reasons: 1. Your Q has a longer cooldown than your W, so leveling Q will synchronize your Q and W cooldowns a bit. (handy for the combo) 2. Your Q will hit multiple targets and can also be used for waveclearing/jungle camps. [img=skills/alistar/w.png] should be leveled second over [img=skills/alistar/e.png] because its base damage is greatly improved by it and the same for the cooldown. Leveling your heal is not very effective because the cooldown does not go down and the mana costs increases immensely.
The Alistar combo is a well known combination in League of Legends, and is achieved by first pressing [img=skills/alistar/w.png] quickly followed by [img=skills/alistar/q.png]. This combination is so deadly, because it makes for a small Malphite Ultimate. Without this combo, Alistar would almost never be able to get in range for [img=skills/alistar/q.png] without Flash. I would say you pretty much have to get this combo right in order to become a good Alistar it's just that important. [big]There are a few possible outcomes to attempting to do the W>Q combo on Alistar:[/big] [b]1) A correct combo[/b] [i]When you press W>Q at the correct speed:[/i] The combo applies [img=skills/alistar/w.png] but then interupts the knockback with [img=skills/alistar/q.png], making the target take damage from both abilities and be knocked up rather than knocked back. [b]2) A slow combo[/b] [i]When you did not press Q fast enough after W:[/i] You will first knockback your target with headbutt and then pulverize the ground without hitting your target. CONGRATULATIONS YOU HAVE SUCCESFULLY SAVED YOUR ENEMY, YOUR TEAM WILL BE SUPER HAPPY WITH YOU. [b]3) An out of range combo[/b] [i]When you try to do your combo on a target, but the target is out of range:[/i] Your W will tell you it can't go that far and your Q will hit the ground where you stand, meaning you look pretty lame, HOWEVER, i feel that this is a lot better than the slow combo, because it will just mean Q is on cooldown rather than you saved an enemy. Also, the range on W is pretty hard to estimate, meaning you should often just try your combo, and if you were out of range, not much harm done. [b]4) The superspeed combo[/b] [i]When you press Q extremely quickly after W:[/i] You will W>Q, and your target will take damage from both of your abilities, but your target will still be knocked back, meaning what probably happened is something like W>Q>W? This is one of the strangest Alistar things, and I'm still pretty sure it's a bug. I mostly get really annoyed by this, but it can have its uses. For instance, this can allow you for free harass, in lane, or even later on in the game, because the target will get damage from your full combo but still be out of range to retaliate. The thing about this outcome, is that it is extremely hard to predict. For myself, it feels like I always press it at around the same speed, but only sometimes the target is knocked away, and the rest of the times the combo is working as intended. If you have this problem and want to avoid it, simply try to press Q a tiny bit slower after W.
The best synergyzing AD Carries for Alistar are very aggressive high burst damage AD carries with a strong early game. [b]Good synergyzing AD Carries[/b]: These AD Carries all have a pretty strong early game and good burst. [img=champ/graves.png] [img=champ/draven.png] [img=champ/lucian.png] [img=champ/missfortune.png] _________________________________________________ [b]Decently synergyzing AD Carries[/b]: These AD Carries have some form of a good early game or burst, but lack the real early powerhouse burst. [img=champ/varus.png] [img=champ/corki.png] [img=champ/jinx.png] [img=champ/ezreal.png] [img=champ/vayne.png] [img=champ/twitch.png] [img=champ/kalista.png] _________________________________________________ [b]Pretty badly synergyzing AD Carries[/b]: These AD Carries rely mostly on auto attacks and thus lack hard burst but do have sort of a strong early game in a way. [img=champ/ashe.png] [img=champ/caitlyn.png] [img=champ/tristana.png] [img=champ/sivir.png] _________________________________________________ [b]Very Badly synergyzing AD Carries[/b] [img=champ/kogmaw.png] Kog'maw does not have reliable first nor has he a strong early game. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Of course, the fact that a champion is not very synergizing with Alistar [b]does not mean you cannot pick Alistar with this specific AD Carry[/b], he can work with pretty much everyone, however, [b]his strengths are utilized more with the best synergyzing AD Carries[/b]. But for instance, I have had loads of succesful games with caitlyn AD Carries.
Other than the normal [img=skills/alistar/w.png][img=skills/alistar/q.png] combo, there are many other things to do with Q, W and often [img=summoners/flash.png]. This is why I will list other useful things to do with Alistar's Q, W and Flash down here: [img=summoners/flash.png]>[img=skills/alistar/q.png]>Walk Behind target>[img=skills/alistar/w.png] This was mentioned before in the Alistar Q section, and can be used mostly for getting people under your tower. Many AD Carries will be in flash Q range harassing you or your ADC when you are under your tower. Using this combo means they will either burn flash or die or burn flash AND die, so it is always a good idea to do this combo even though you need flash for it. ___________________________________________________________ Under the enemy tower: Walk behind the enemy>[img=skills/alistar/w.png]>[img=summoners/flash.png]>[img=skills/alistar/q.png] You should now have succesfully gotten the enemy away from his tower and knocked up. ___________________________________________________________ [img=summoners/flash.png]>[img=skills/alistar/w.png]>[img=skills/alistar/q.png] is a combo I use in the teamfight phase a lot. Generally, teams do not stand very close together if alistar is in combo range, but a bit further away they are often grouped up closely together. This is when you can Flash in range of your W immediately followed by the Alistar combo. This might take a bit of practice to get right but it is extremely useful as people will not see it coming. ___________________________________________________________ In lane when collapsing on a target against the wall, always initiate with [img=skills/alistar/w.png]> run up to the enemy against the wall and only then followup with > [img=skills/alistar/q.png] so that the enemy is CC'ed for a longer time. You can also do this when you have your W up but not your Q. Note that the enemy has to be at least somewhat against the wall, because out in the open, the CC duration of W is too short to allow you to walk up to them and followup with Q.
Alistar's Headbutt ability: [img=skills/alistar/w.png], makes him a very good escaper, especially when combining this with his durability in his [img=skills/alistar/r.png] and his additional CC'ing ability [img=skills/alistar/q.png] against melee chasers. [b]There are a few common ways for alistar to get away with headbutt/combo:[/b] - Headbutting/Combo'ing to a jungle camp - Headbutting/Combo'ing to an enemy champion over a wall - Headbutting/Combo'ing to a (sort of) isolated enemy champion or minion Now why do I say headbutt OR combo rather than Headbutt? Sometimes you might want to do your combo to avoid getting hit. For instance: when headbutting to a jungle camp with 10 hp you will die, when combo'ing to a junglecamp with 10hp, the minions will be knocked up and you can get away before they deal damage to you. Of these 3 ways of escaping, the only constant (not moving) one is the jungle camp escapes, so I can elaborate on that one. You can escape via any of the 6 jungle camps. All you need is a ward and headbutt. The course of action is painfully straight forward. You ward over the wall of the jungle camp and use [img=skills/alistar/w.png] to the nearest member of the jungle camp. In the pictures below, I am at a jungle camp on either purple or blue side, but this does not matter as both sides will work: 1. Headbutt to the Blue Golem. A good way of escaping when being chased from mid. [img=http://i.imgur.com/5IsYYBl.png] 2. Headbutt to the Bullfrog. A good way of escaping especially when playing toplane Alistar, I use this extremely often. When I am pushed up against the enemy inner tower, I always use my trinket ward to ward at the Bullfrog. Then when I get ganked by the jungler I just escape to there. [img=http://i.imgur.com/mQ8GfNA.png] 3. Headbutt to the closest small lizard. Also best when being chased from mid. [img=http://i.imgur.com/Q8VVw5x.png] 4. Headbutt to either of the 2 Golems. This is probably the one that has saved my life as a support Alistar most of all, and the one I use mostly when in enemy territory. Of most use when escaping from enemy jungle towards the bottomlane. [img=http://i.imgur.com/nLAyce6.png] 5. Headbutt to the small wolf. Useful when escaping to your midlane coming from your blue buff. The enemy might be chasing you here after doing drake or stealing blue buff. (I guess you could be running from midlane towards your bottom lane too, then you could just headbutt from the other side to the other small lizard) [img=http://i.imgur.com/FOq1YYg.png] 6. Headbutt to the closest small wraith. The best way of escaping a chase from the midlane, because it is closest to it. [img=http://i.imgur.com/no4MfzJ.png]
One of the biggest setbacks of Alistar's laning phase is his extremely weak level 1. And if you think: 'Gee Markovicius, that's only 1 level, what the hell difference does being weak at level 1 make?' YA BETTER THINK AGAIN. Tell your ADC at the start that Alistar is not made for level 1 aggression and that you should really avoid taking harassment at level 1, because it will negatively snowball your lane if you both have to go back right away. Missing a few cs is a lot better than being a level behind early on. The reason that Alistar's level 1 is so weak, is that he can only have 1 part of his combo (probably Q) which will not allow him to engage or disengage succesfully. The other choice is to take heal first, but if you take heal, you delay your combo to level 3, so that is not really an option either unless you really feel like you will struggle anyway and cannot afford aggression (hardly ever the case, trust me). Alistar becomes pretty strong at levels 4-6, where his combo will do some real damage, especially if you started dorans ring. - When your lane opponents are close together, just use the [img=skills/alistar/w.png]>[img=skills/alistar/q.png] combo on their ADC (and support) everytime and immediately disengage. Make sure your ADC knows that you mean to immediately disengage too. They should be going low untill the point where they have to back or be killed. - Even better is being pushed, so that you can do your [img=summoners/flash.png]>[img=skills/alistar/q.png]>walk around>[img=skills/alistar/w.png] on their ADC to get him/her into the tower. Mind that you do not try this against a support that can stop you from walking behind their ADC, because then you just wasted your flash and you will not be able to headbutt the ADC into the tower. Use your trinket ward wisely. I would recommend to pay close attention to where their jungler starts to know when he might stop by. Especially in levels 1-5, a gank can mean 2 deaths for you and your ADC. However, it is always hard to gank an Alistar and he has many opportunities to get counter kills.
By now you should have the midgame items: [img=items/sorcerers-shoes.png][img=items/face-of-the-mountain.png][img=items/ruby-sightstone.png][img=items/morellonomicon.png][img=items/greater-vision-totem.png] as can be seen in the item. What these items together will grant you is a lot of HP, which is pretty much all you need to survive cause of your ultimate, and enough damage to halfshot their squishy backline (midlaner+adc mostly). You should be warding offensively but you should also be putting down your pink ward defensively (else it will be instantly destroyed every time). Insist in moving up the midlane and enemy jungle with your grouped team. Don't underestimate your teamfighting power, also you are great at catching people, so use it often, especially because IF you happen to walk into the entire enemy team, you will still have ur ult. If the enemy teamcomp has a too hard to reach backline for you, you have to be ready to switch to a peeling playstyle. Stay next to your ADC, and be ready to use abilities and summoners to protect him/her. Even if you CAN reach their backline pretty easily, if the enemy has a heavy assassin like [img=champ/zed.png] and your ADC is important to your team's damage, deal with zed first. [b]Always be ready to counter engage with your combo when the enemy team engages, this is one of your main strength's throughout the whole game, exactly as in the lane[/b] SO: enemy [img=champ/amumu.png] ults your entire team? [img=skills/alistar/r.png]>[img=skills/alistar/w.png][img=skills/alistar/q.png] onto as many enemy targets as possible. Your ADC is hit by [img=skills/ashe/r.png]? Immediately [img=skills/alistar/w.png][img=skills/alistar/q.png] onto as many enemy targets as possible to be sure the arrow cannot be followed up and your ADC escapes. Because remember: [b]Offense is the best defense[/b], A dead or CC'ed backline cannot focus your ADC.
There are no big changes in playstyle for Alistar support lategame compared to his midgame. Your dmg will probably be a bit less relevant, so you should transition to a bit more peeling and less diving. However, even though your damage might be less, you still have huge (AOE) disruptive power for the backline, so it is still often worth it to go in deep. The thing is that you cannot be ignored, even if your damage is not huge anymore, because you will still have very reliable CC. Weigh off their backline against your backline to see what your course of action should be. Ofcourse a [img=champ/kogmaw.png] ADC will need a lot more peeling than a [img=champ/tristana.png]. Make sure your [img=summoners/exhaust.png] or [img=summoners/ignite.png] is aimed for either the enemy damage threat or the enemy assassin wanting to rek your ADC. [b]Always be ready to counter engage with your combo when the enemy team engages, this is one of your main strength's throughout the whole game, exactly as in the lane[/b] SO: enemy [img=champ/amumu.png] ults your entire team? [img=skills/alistar/r.png]>[img=skills/alistar/w.png][img=skills/alistar/q.png] onto as many enemy targets as possible. Your ADC is hit by [img=skills/ashe/r.png]? Immediately [img=skills/alistar/w.png][img=skills/alistar/q.png] onto as many enemy targets as possible to be sure the arrow cannot be followed up and your ADC escapes. Because remember: [b]Offense is the best defense[/b], A dead or CC'ed backline cannot focus your ADC.
What I also sometimes like to do, is play Toplane Alistar. I feel like Toplane Alistar is best used as a hybrid damage tank, with the means to deal damage with both skills and auto attacks, while still being tanky enough to survive without ult. Toplane Alistar does pretty well against other tanks like [img=champ/malphite.png], because of his massive sustain after RoA, but can struggle a bit early on against strong toplaners with even better sustain like [img=champ/leesin.png]. Some people feel like [img=champ/yasuo.png] top is hard for Alistar but I have to completely disagree with this. Yasuo should be destroyed by almost all toplaners in general. __________________________________________________________________________________________ As summoner spells I would recommend [img=summoners/teleport.png][img=summoners/flash.png] and if you really feel like a man you could go [img=summoners/ignite.png][img=summoners/flash.png], but I would only do this in rare cases. __________________________________________________________________________________________ As runes you should be taking hybrid runes like: [img=runes/Greater-Mark-of-Hybrid-Penetration.png]x9 and [img=runes/Greater-Quintessence-of-Hybrid-Penetration.png]x9 with Armor yellows and magic resistance blues. __________________________________________________________________________________________ For Masteries I feel like there are 2 good mastery builds: The first one is an offensive mastery build, with 3 points in [img=masteries/4313.png] in utility, 4 points in defense in [img=masteries/4211.png][img=masteries/4213.png] and the rest of the points in Offense, taking hybrid talents and flat stat talents. For instance I leave out [img=masteries/4142.png][img=masteries/4143.png] because you do not focus very heavily on a lot of AD or AP. The second is a defensive mastery build with 4 points in offense in [img=masteries/4113.png], 3 points in utility in [img=masteries/4313.png] and the rest of the points in Defense. __________________________________________________________________________________________ My item build for toplane Alistar often looks like this: [img=items/sorcerers-shoes.png][img=items/rod-of-ages.png][img=items/trinity-force.png][img=items/frozen-heart.png][img=items/abyssal-scepter.png] + a last item of choice, like [img=items/blade-of-the-ruined-king.png][img=items/hextech-gunblade.png][img=items/randuins-omen.png][img=items/banshees-veil.png][img=items/spirit-visage.png] A good starting item would be [img=items/crystalline-flask.png] with 2x[img=items/health-potion.png] and 1[img=items/mana-potion.png] because he is pretty mana heavy early on. __________________________________________________________________________________________ Toplane Alistar will be extremely strong (late) midgame and will remain very relevant in the lategame too, his main weakness is going to be in the (early) early game.
[img=http://i.imgur.com/07dRFWH.jpg?1] WELL that was it peeps, I hoped you enjoyed my support Alistar guide. Be sure to pick him up because you can play him in nearly all scenario's and he is definitly one of the most fun supports around (for me nr.1 definitly). Remember, when playing this champion, be a [big]man[/big], master the combo's and make plays. If you have any comments leave them in the comment section below and you can always add me on league (markovicius, EUW) to ask any additional questions. Make sure to also check out my other 2 guides: Generic guide about team compositions and winning objectives: http://www.solomid.net/guide/view/123634-generic-build-guide-apc-by-markovicius Tanky brand guide: http://www.solomid.net/guide/view/124774-brand-build-guide-apc-by-markovicius Cya summoners and have fun playing support Alistar!
[b]19th of January[/b], 'How to Cow' is online. [b]20th of January[/b], New chapter: 'Getaway Cow', about headbutting to safety. [b]13th of July[/b], fixed masteries and removed DFG.