First off, a brief introduction about myself since I am rather unknown, at least for now. I was Platinum in S1 and I am also Platinum in S2. I was struggling to hit the 2k marker and one game I was demolished by a jungle Alistar. Immediately following that defeat I decided to try out jungle Alistar for myself. I instantly recognized his potential and fell in love with him. As a result, I took this brutal bull by the horns and rode him all the way passed 2k. Throughout this guide I will attempt to concisely, yet thoroughly, explore jungle Alistar in the hopes that you, too, can harness this devastating cow.
Despite not being one of the more popular junglers, Alistar is still one of the best in my opinion. With proper runes and masteries his clear time is very solid, his ganks are unmatched, and his team presence is invaluable.
- Strong Initiator
- God-Tier Ganks
- Insane CC
- Super beefy
- Mediocre Damage
- High Skill Cap
- Susceptible to counter jungling
Note: Due to Alistar's inability to single-handily carry games, I wouldn't necessarily advise using him in lower Elo games. Although, if you're confident in your carries' abilities, please feel free.
I've recently tweaked my preferred page to 9/11/10. The new change maintains the damage benefit from offense, while picking up some more sustain and utility. The points in offense significantly benefit his clear time, while the points in defense emphasize sustainability, and the points in utility address his mana issues. This combination allows for a well rounded platform for Alistar to build off and accentuates his intrinsic versatility.
For more tankier masteries consider 0/21/9. I used to use this build, however, I found my clear times to be rather weak. Weak clear time inhibits your ganking potential and makes you vulnerable to being counter jungled. Thus, I strongly recommend my previous 9/11/10 setup to remedy Alistar's weakness (lack of damage) while enhancing his primary strength (ganking).
My runes fall under the same logic of my masteries. That is, minimizing his weaknesses while maximizing his strengths. The runes promote synergism with the masteries, and vice-versa.
- Marks: Flat attack speed runes are the superior choice for a quicker clear time.
- Seals: Flat armor is essential for virtually every jungler.
- Glyphs: Magic Resist/LvL is necessary for Alistar's durability in battle.
- Quintessences: Movement speed helps clear time, as well as ganks/initiation.
Why did I even make this section? There's no other possible choice for summoner spells. Running smite on a jungler is imperative. Flash, too, is crucial for Alistar. It provides both offensive and defensive purposes. Although, it is primarily used on the former. See someone out of position? Flash, Pulverize, then Headbutt them back into your team and watch them tremble in terror as they cannot escape Alistar's CC, even with cleanse. They're attempting baron/dragon? Flash in there, Headbutt their jungler away, Pulverize surrounding enemies, and Smite for the win.
Whenever Alistar casts a spell, he gains Trample for 3 seconds ignoring unit collision and dealing 10-23 (+10% ability power) area damage per second (double damage to minions and monsters)
A nice little passive for clearing the jungle. Be sure to cycle your spells to keep it going, I cannot stress that enough. I generally start with E, then Q, W, then E again. But the order for casting your spells will vary greatly depending certain factors such as which camp it is, if you're already at full health, and other small things.
Note: This passive also allows Alistar to ignore unit collision. Thus, granting him the ability to easily navigate through the clutter and CC priority targets.
Alistar smashes the ground, dealing 60/105/150/195/240 (+50% of ability power) magic damage and tossing all nearby enemy units into the air and stunning them for 0.5 seconds.
Cooldown 17/16/15/14/13 seconds
Cost 70 / 85 / 100 / 115 / 130 mana
This is one of the most devastating non-ultimate abilities in the game. Its stun element is unmitigated by Tenacity as it is a knockup. With enough CDR (deriving from item build) you will be able to use this aoe knockup about every 8 seconds. Max this first for damage increase and reduced cooldown.
Note: It's easy to overestimate this ability's range. Become familiar with it cause if you miss this ability it could be severely detrimental for you and your team.
Alistar charges at an enemy and rams them dealing 85/130/175/220/265 (+70% of ability power) magic damage and knocking them back (does not stun).
Cooldown 14/13/12/11/10 seconds
Cost 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 / 120mana
Another immensely powerful skill. Knockbacks are extremely deadly for ganking, peeling, and (de)positioning priority targets. I typically max this second for a reduced cooldown and stronger ganks.
Note: This ability can also be used as an escape by targeting minions/monsters. Also, be wary at which angles you use this ability in the jungle. You can and will knock several camps over the various walls, which slows down your jungle and sometimes causes them to reset.
E: Triumphant Roar
Instantly restore 60 / 90 / 120 / 150 / 180 (+20% of ability power) health to himself and half of that value to surrounding allied units. Cooldown ticks down by 2 seconds each time a nearby enemy unit dies.
Cooldown 12 seconds
Cost 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 mana
A simple aoe heal. It adds to your sustain in the jungle and also procs your passive. Max this spell last, although I sometimes find myself throwing an extra point or two in it prior to maxing W for when myself or team are in need of heals.
Note: Don't forget the cooldown reducing component of this ability. When pushing waves you can spam this spell (should your mana permit it).
R: Unbreakable Will
Alistar gains 60 / 75 / 90 physical damage, and takes 50/60/70% reduced physical and magic damage for 7 seconds.
Cooldown 120 / 100 / 80seconds
Cost 150 mana
Now you might ask: Where's the beef?
Finally, I can provide you with an answer to that question which has perplexed even the greatest minds for almost 30 years. The answer is found within this ultimate. This is what enables Alistar to be so versatile in his build. You don't necessarily need items, runes, or masteries to make you beefy, all you need to do is press this bad boy and you're an insta-tank. Typically, you want to wait for a hard CC before its use. Although, timing this just right is key. If it's used too soon they can simply run and wait for it to expire. Or you could use it too late, in which case they'll just finish you off anyways.
Note: The damage bonus should not be overlooked. For early game ganks you can use your ult fairly soon for extra damage. Also, you're still vulnerable to true damage during your ultimate, but then again, who isn't? Just be cautious when thinking you can tank that fed or
Item BuildsIn general, you should aim to attain the early game/core items in the order I have them listed. Although, sometimes you can alter the order depending on the gold you have when you're at base. For example, say you only have 700 gold when you back to base. Instead of sitting on that gold to build a Sheen you can buy your Boots of Mobility earlier to help your ganks. After these core items, your itemization should be in accordance with your team's needs and with your opponents' damage composition. Coordinate with your support which auras each of you will be getting. I don't provide too much argumentation for these items as they should be pretty self evident. Each of my builds features a minimum of 30% CDR to maximize CC potential. They also exemplify a harmony of tankiness, utility, and decent damage.
Early Game (Core)
Faster clear time
More effective ganks
Note: Don't get if
you're not going to build
Faster clear time
Larger mana pool
Increased roam-ability and ganking
Alleviates mana issues
CDR for more CC
Increases beefiness for all
Faster clear time
CDR for more CC
Great for initiation/escapes
CDR for more CC
USDA grade beef
AS debuff aura
Change boots accordingly
vs. CC/Magic teams
vs. heavy AD
MS for initiation
Sustain in battles
Spell Block for initiation
Even more beef
Jungling and Ganking
Invading lvl 1: Alistar's is great for invading early. If you know where they will start you can attempt to kill them with your team. However, I only advise this is Solo Q for the most part as an organized team will anticipate your invasion and you will blindly face check a brush with their entire team and most likely get destroyed. But if you have some sort of sight enabler (CV, wards, spells, etc.) you can pull off a combo and then your team should be able to finish them off. Warning: invasions can go terribly wrong in a variety of ways so please use discretion when attempting. Sacrificing an early start on your jungle for First Blood can actually be more detrimental than helpful. If you get a late start on the jungle you will not be able to get off your famous, early lvl 2 ganks. Thus, I generally prefer not invading and getting my teammates to set up scout so no one invades.
Route 1: Your standard route is to start at wolves, with help from your team, and then proceed to Blue, with a leash of course. After getting blue immediately hit an adjacent lane (top/mid if you're on blue side; bot/mid if you're on purple side). They never see it coming as they're still lvl 1. I almost always get first blood, if not, their summoners are definitely blown. After that, swing by wraiths and then pick up red buff. Once you've acquired red buff attempt a gank where necessary. I generally avoid top as they're harder to gank and it leaves dragon open to the other jungler. Also, try to avoid the golem camp unless you have smite cause it's harder to kill quickly because your single target damage is weak. Once you've acquired your core items, the majority of your endeavors should be focused on ganking lanes and objective/buff control. I suggest giving your teammates your jungle buffs (generally, Blue to AP carry and Red to AD carry) to ensure they can perform better in the upcoming battles.
Route 2: Although I'm less familiar with this route, it actually seems really strong. It acquires lvl 2 with Wraiths and Red so your ganks are actually stronger. I would suggest switching to this route should your Blue be invaded/stolen.
Ganking: Ganking is jungle Alistar's strongest element. So let me being with a brief overview of ganking in general. First, be aware of the location of wards when attempting ganks. Try asking your teammates where the wards are (if they know) so you can determine the proper ganking route. This leads to the second part of ganking: be knowledgeable about alternate ganking routes to avoid being seen by wards. For example, if their tribrush is warded you can stick to the blue wall in the river to avoid being seen. If they have a river ward you can come from behind through tribrush (assuming the wraith side entrance to their jungle isn't warded). If all those areas are warded then you can attempt an in-lane gank. That is, have your team push up slightly so you can sneak into the brush from your tower. Simply wait and strike once they're out of position. In general, Alistar provides the CC during the ganks, but he doesn't have much damage output. So be cautious about ganking a lane that has weak damage (e.g., tanky top lanes or bottom when the AD carry isn't there). In addition, it's hard for you to perform solo ganks or counter jungle for this reason, too. Therefore, I generally babysit mid and bot because of their contribution to the ganking process and getting carries fed is a always lucrative endeavor.
Now that the basics are covered, let's get into the specifics for Alistar ganking. Ideally, you want to come from behind them and use your to drive them towards your team. However, you can also them into terrain so you can follow up with your . Spacing out your is severely important so the lane can do as much damage as possible. With your ridiculous MS you can easily first and still have enough time to run up to them and . Now if you can't come from behind or knock them into some sort of terrain then simply resort to your combo (explained below). In addition, don't be scared to use your to secure kills. can grant you that perfect position you need to someone where you want (like into your tower!). Lastly, don't forget about . Your lanes too pushed and you can't get a typical gank off? Who cares?!?! Alistar sure doesn't give even the smallest fuck. Come from behind their tower and (as usual) then immediately after to mitigate tower damage and then follow up with your . Often times, you won't even need to cast your ult because you have so much CC that they can't even do anything. With these routes and Alistar's kit there should never be an Alistar saying "I can't gank your lane." Yet to reiterate, just because you CAN gank a lane, doesn't mean you always SHOULD. If the lane you're trying to gank has weak damage (tanky top lanes) then, honestly, you shouldn't even gank it. It will just be a waste of time and it will expose various objectives (buffs and dragon). Warning: please, for the love of all that is Holy in Jungle Alistar, do not someone over a wall and save them. Your team will cry and the enemies will laugh.
Counter Ganking: With Alistar's destructive CC and tankiness you can counter gank extremely well. If you see a lane getting ganked then quickly stampede over there and disrupt their futile attempts to gank. You can simply someone away and the other(s). If you some how manage to start taking lots of damage then just and spam /laugh as you run away to safety.
Counter Jungling: Due to Alistar being a poor duelist I do not advocated counter jungling regularly. Of course, if you have their buffs warded and they're already low on health, then you might could attempt a steal and/or kill. Furthermore, his poor dueling abilities and relatively slow clear times make him susceptible to counter jungling. However, I don't typically find this an issue because you can easily escape with your CC and you don't rely on buffs to perform well such as other junglers. Nevertheless, it would be advantageous to ward the entrances to your jungle so you know when they're invading. Since you can't go toe to toe (or more appropriately: hoof to toe) with most junglers I would suggest asking your teammates to help you gank the invader. If they're unable to help simply move to their jungle and steal theirs or continue ganking.
This combo is critical to being a good Alistar, jungle or otherwise. Thus, it's imperative you master how and when to use this combo. It's essentially a mini-Malphite ultimate, yet you acquire it at level 2 and with a significantly shorter cooldown.
How to do it: Begin by casting your W, and as soon as the headbutt animation begins start spamming Q. At first, you'll probably have trouble timing your Q. But once you get that down, you encounter another problem: hitting Q prior to casting W. If using smartcast it's easy to mistakenly gauge the range of W and prematurely cast Q. Just keep practicing it and you'll eventually have it down. You will still miss your combo every now and again, so don't beat yourself up about it or allow others to scold you for it.
When to do it: You don't always want to combo. Generally you only combo when someone is running away or you're trying to initiate. You can maximize your CC by headbutting first (from behind), then running up to them and pulverize. Or alternatively, you can pulverize first and then headbutt them into your team. The second option is slightly more difficult to pull off as you can be kited, but with your build you can easily have over 500 MS to just straight up run in there.
Team FightsYour role in team fights is initiator, tank, and support. As for initiating, despite your aesthetic beefiness you aren't as tanky as you might think, at least with my build. So be cautious about engaging without your ultimate. Nonetheless, with you can initiate like no other. If you see them start to flee or someone's out of position, simply activate your and flash/pulverize/headbutt a priority target (usually a carry). Don't forget to use , too.
Concerning tanking, as previously mentioned Alistar's tankiness derives almost entirely from his ultimate. Once again, timing it just right is vital. I've died several times because I used it too late or too soon.
As for supporting, this is when it gets a little bit hectic. You can offensively or defensively support. Offensively supporting would be CC'ing their carries and disrupting abilities. While defensively supporting involves "peeling" enemy champions off your carries. You'll inevitably be doing offensive supporting, however, it's imperative that you keep an eye on your carries and not let them get gimped by someone because you were being too aggressive. Is that bruiser harassing your carry? Then that sucker away!
This is a video from StoneWall008, it's very informative and shows the basics to jungle Alistar: aggressive ganking and minimal jungling. He uses slightly different runes/masteries, however, they're both effective. Jungle Alistar doesn't have a strict route since you should be constantly ganking from level 2. Thus, I find MS Quintessences to be more beneficial.
Final CommentsAlistar is always a solid pick because of his versatility, devastating ganks, and his ability to disrupt entire teams. Some people may be quick to criticize you for playing jungle Alistar because he's uncommon, however, once they realize your pernicious ganks and deadly team presence they'll reconsider their opinion of him. He's also one of the funnest champions in the game, even as a support. Mastering him takes some time, but if you put in enough effort you'll for sure be a force to be reckoned with.
Comments: If you have any criticism for my guide I genuinely embrace and welcome it. However, I cannot make necessary changes and address your concerns if you don't provide me with reasons for your disapproval. This guide wouldn't be where it is today if I didn't receive any feedback. That said, I am thankful for those of you that share your questions and discuss things in a mature, intellectual manner.
Lastly, if you wish to speak to me you can find me "The Guide Team" channel or send me a personal message here on SoloMid.