Tristana Build Guide

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"Direct Hit !" Full AD carry guide by SeriousSly

written by guepard24

Tristana Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Hello everyone, i'm SeriousSly FR player from the EU servers. Therefore, it will not be an example of good english. Whatever i think that it should be understandable for all of you ;). I am definitely not a high elo player but i thought it was important to write a guide on Tristana here because there are not many! At least an updated AD carry one. Even if Tristana didn't get any nerf/buff since the last few patches, i think it is really important to have an up-to-date guide about her.If Elo means something to you, i was 1550+ Elo in Season 1 and I am currently 1480 Elo since i've had some trouble in my first games ^^
    This is my second guide, the first was about Olaf but as i don't play him anymore, i deleted it.

    I've not updated this guide for a long time because Tristana didn't fit for me anymore. But since a couple of weeks, i can see this champ still have something the other champs don't have and i really wanted to update this guide for the new masteries. Also, I use a different stuff on her that i feel it's important to speak about.The update is not totally finished, but it's at least up to date with the new patch.

    So, let's talk about Tristana a bit. Tristana is an unique ranged carry. You won't see any champ looking like her (about her playstyle i mean ;) ). She is extremely team and stuff reliant, so even if you're a incredible Tristana player, you WILL have bad ratios sometimes with her. Unless you only play arranged 5v5 but it's not my case ^^. It can be explained by the fact she doesn't have "burst" abilities (like Piltover Peacemaker for Caitlynn, Double Up for MF or Volley and Enchanted Crystal Arrow for Ashe and then, she is a bad 1v1 fighter in mid game.
    Well, what i said isn't totally true, in very late game, she has so much range and damage output that she can destroy any champ without too much CC. But my point is that she's made to stay behind the team and destroy the ennemy carry safely, like a real sniper :D.

    Tristana has good escape spells. The Rocket Jump is really good to avoid ennemy melee carry and your ultimate ( Buster Shot) can make your ennemies fly.

    I hope you will enjoy this guide. Let's start !

  • Logs

    04.01.2012 Updating the guide for the new masteries / my new way to play her.
    23.05.2011 Modifying the following sections : Summary / Masteries and Runes. Put back the hp/lvl seals in best choice. Using the old masteries tree back. There are now the 2 masteries+runes build.
    19.05.2011 Adding a video for the combo Rocket Jump + Buster Shot in the section Unique Skills. Adding an epic replay :D
    16.05.2011 Major changes in the skill order / masteries / runes. Updating for the new patch Adding the source of the new skill order / masteries in the conclusion
    04.05.2011 Minor changes in the following sections : Intro / Abilities / Pros/Cons / Summary / Runes / Items / Build Example / Laning / Working in team / Unique Skills / Farming / Replays. Minor layout changes. Update for the patch 1.0.0116.
    23.04.2011 Adding the sections Noticeable changes in the previous patchs / Replays. Modifying the guide for the new (awesome) patch
    28.03.2011 : First version of this guide. Intro / Spells / Pros/Cons / Summary / Masteries+Runes / Summoner Abilities / Skilling order / Items / Build Example / Working in the team / Laning / Unique skills / Farming / Conclusion

  • Noticeable changes in the previous patchs

    Here is a list of the patches where Tristana has been modified (I will update it asap) :


    League of Legends v1.0.0.118
    *New Item: Cloak and Dagger
    **+20% Attack Speed
    **+20% Critical Strike Chance
    **+25 Tenacity
    Comments : The new Tenacity system allows you to reduce the effectivness of the CC against you. 1 of Tenacity gives 1% of CC reduction duration. Tenacity doesn't stack.
    This item is for the AD carry. This will help you a lot against a high CC team.


    League of Legends v1.0.0.116
    Nothing noticeable here.


    League of Legends v1.0.0.115
    *Explosive Shot
    **Damage now applies over 5 seconds instead of 4 to 8
    **Total damage increased to 110/140/170/200/230 up from 100/125/150/175/200
    **Healing reduction duration is now a static 5 from 3 to 8
    Comments : Ok, this spell is now not as good as before to shut down someone like Mundo. But the increased damages are good for the early game. This nerf is not that bad for the gameplay

    *B.F. Sword
    **Attack damage reduced to 45 from 50
    **Gold Cost decreased by 200 (this reduces the Gold Cost of all items built out of B.F. Sword as well)
    *Cloak Of Agility gold cost decreased by 50
    Comments : When i saw this, i thought i was in a dream. This is so great, i can't even believe it actually happened ! Now, if you do the first blood or if you are farming well, you don't always need to buy the 2nd Doran's Blade. I've been once able to buy it after 6min !!! The damage is a bit nerfed, but now, you won't have to wait 13min to get it. Incredible... Oh, and as you do it twice in the game for Infinity Edge and The Black Cleaver, you save 400 gold !

    *Infinity Edge
    **Attack Damage increased to 80 from 75
    **Critical Strike increased to 25% from 20%
    Comments : Again, what the fuck happened to riot ? I'm not complaining but increasing the critical chances on IE ? Really ? I love you riot

  • Abilities

    Draw a Bead
    Tristana's attack range is increased by (9 per character level)(162 at lvl 18)

    This is what makes Tristana Tristana. This passive gives you the BEST auto-attack range you can find in this game. It will allow you to destroy the ennemies while staying safely behind your tank or wall (yep, WALL !).
    Not really noticeable early game (you will have less range than ashe/caitlynn/etc.).

    This passive will also make you hit towers really easily. When your team is pushing a tower but the other team is defending it, you will be the best person to take down the tower. With your range, the ennemy team won't be able to stop you unless they engage the entire team.


    Rapid Fire
    Increases Tristana's attack speed by (30/45/60/75/90)% for 7 seconds.

    This spell is really good. It probably is the best AS buff in the game and makes a lot of work in mid/late game. Really usefull when teamfights start and you need to quickly kill someone (their carries !)
    The cooldown is a bit long, so don't expect to use this spell more than 2 times in a teamfight. Choose when to use it wisely.

    When to use it :

    - In teamfights, just as the teamfight starts and you begin to hit your focus
    - Push a tower. With or , you will destroy it as fast as a Master Yi
    - Quickly push a bunch of minions
    - When you do buffs/dragon/nashor

    Don't waste it because of its cooldown !


    Rocket Jump
    Tristana fires at the ground to propel herself to target location, dealing (70/115/160/205/250) (+(0.8 per ability power point)) magic damage and slowing surrounding units by 60% for 2.5 seconds when she lands.
    On a champion kill or assist, Rocket Jump's cooldown resets.

    The first spell you want to max.

    This is another unique spell. In this guide, you will use it for its damage only in early game, maybe mid game. After that, you will only use it defensively.

    Thanks to this spell, you don't need a flash with Tristana. See the Summoner Spells section for more informations.

    It has a little casting time, which can be really tricky when you want to go away but "oh wait, xin just stunned you at the same time !".
    The move is also not instant. The time Tristana uses to travel the distance you want, the opponnent can move, don't forget it ! That will be the main thing which will make you fail your ultimate ;)
    The slow is also really good when you chase someone.
    The cooldown resets when you get an assist or a kill, so feel free to use it in teamfights but don't spam it.

    I will describe the possible combos with it in a special section.

    When to use it :

    - To quickly get away of an incoming gank
    - In early game, to hit someone. USE IT CAREFULLY !
    - To get behind your ennemy and ulti him (when your team is chasing or while the laning phase to put him under your tower)
    - To slow the opponent your chasing
    - To stay away of the core of the fight in teamfights
    - When you want to quicly push a lane / kill minions

    When not to use it :

    - To hit the ennemy in a teamfight after mid game. This is a mistake you will at least do once. Tristana is meant to stay ranged ! This spell is not meant to make a kill in teamfight !

    - When you will be too far away of your team after using it. You don't want to be focused, so stay behind your tank and your team, your awesome range is made for that.

    - To hit someone mid/end game. Your auto-attack hits a lot more...


    [spell=Explosive Shot]
    Passive: Enemies explode when slain by Tristana's attacks, dealing (110/140/170/200/230) magic damage to nearby enemies.

    Active: Explosive Shot rends target enemy, reducing healing and health regeneration by 50% and dealing 110/140/170/200/230 (+(0.25 per ability power point)) Magic Damage over 5 seconds.

    About the passive :

    This will be an extremely good harassement tool against melee champ while laning ! You won't even have to focus them, just kill minions and see their life melting down (if they don't pay attention of course). Anyway, don't expect it to give you a kill or something, it will just be good to hurt them a bit.
    It's also a great pushing/farming ability. Land your Rocket Jump in a bunch of minions, 2-3 auto-attacks and no more minions ! :D Of course, don't do it while your laning, you would be instantly focused by your ennemies.

    About the active :
    Be carefull, after some levels, the range of the spell will be really small compared to your auto-attack range ! It is really frustrating but you'll have to deal with it : After lvl 10 or something, you will not use it so much.

    When to use the active :

    - In early game, to harass and get kills
    - In mid/late game, to reduce the health regen/heals of your opponents. Use it on your focus
    when there is a healing support against you. Insane against Mundo ;) Don't go too close to your opponnents to do that !


    Buster Shot
    Tristana fires a massive cannonball at an enemy unit. This deals (300/400/500) (+(1.5 per ability power point)) magic damage and knocks surrounding units back (600/800/1000) distance.

    This spell has the same mechanic as the Vayne's knocback, but ours is better (of course, it's an ultimate). This ulti is really good, but so hard to master... It can knock multiple ennemies if they are close to each other !
    It also does a really nice burst damage in early/mid game. Combined with your E+W, it makes a lot of damage.

    I will describe the possible combos with it in a special section

    When to use it :

    - Early/mid game, to get kills. 300/400dmg is a lot !! It will burst your ennemy to death. Use it whether as an engage (with Rocket Jump) or as a finisher (with [spell_text=Explosive Shot] if needed). See the section Unique skills for more informations
    - Early game, again, when you get ganked and you can't get away, use it on your opponents
    - In teamfights, when the AD melee carry will try to kill you (and he will), use it and teach him how to fly
    - When chasing, with rocket jump, to knock your ennemy back and give the kill to your team (or not :p)

    When NOT to use it :

    - To last hit someone in late game. It will most of the time just push him back and you won't be able to hit him anymore. And you will need your ulti defensively, you're the main focus for the opponent team in end game.
    - Obviously, in any situation when your ultimate would get the ennemy too far away from you and you wanted to kill him

  • Pros / Cons

    Pros :
    - Awesome range
    - Good attack speed
    - Good escape mechanisms (hardly gankable)
    - Nice ulti to isolate someone or defensively to knock an enemy back
    - Reduces the heals on a single target. Insane against Soraka / Mundo.- Really good pusher- Good at safely taking down towers while the 2 teams are in front of each other

    Cons :
    - No burst ability after mid game
    - Always badly focused in teamfights
    - A bit squishy in early game
    - Hard to master
    - Hard to get kills in teamfights before end game (someone will always last hit your kill... AP carries, i hate you !!)

  • Summary

    Runes :

    Summoner abilities : and/or and/or  and/or

    Masteries : 21/9/0 with Cleanse and Exhaust (my personnal preference)

    Skill order : R > W > Q > E

    Items (standard) :
    or  + 3x

    (the game will hardly last this long)

  • Masteries + Runes

    Runes :

    Greater Mark of Desolation is the only good choice in red.

    best choice : Greater Seal of Resilience or Greater Seal of Vitality (personnal preference for armor because you will most of the time have and AD carry against you)

    best choice : Greater Glyph of Shielding
    viable : Greater Glyph of Focus, Greater Glyph of Celerity

    best choice : Greater Quintessence of Strength
    viable : Greater Quintessence of Fortitude Greater Quintessence of Desolation

    Comments :

    - 10455 IP for all the best choice runes (a bit more with the hp/lvl seals).

    - With the best choice runes, you will have enough armor penetration and early damage to be able to harass your ennemy effectively with your auto-attack early game. If you can't afford them, you may have some troubles...

    - Yellow armor (or hp/lvl) and blue magic resist runes are the best choices because you won't focus defensive item before 35min and you will need it not to die too fast. As you will most of the time face an AD carry against you, the armor runes are the best choice but if you may face a lot of magic damage, consider taking the hp/lvl.

    - Mana regen runes (blue) can be usefull when you start with Tristana and you have issues with your mana. You shouldn't need it if you don't spam your spells. If you take mana regen runes, you will need a defensive item sooner. Right after the Infinity Edge i think. And you won't hurt as much as you should...


    Masteries :


    External Image

    The 9 in Defense are really usefull because you need to tank a lot of damage (from champions AND minions) when you want to harass or engage for a kill with your Rocket Jump.21 in Offense, for obvious reasons.

  • Summoner Abilities

    Best choices :

    Cleanse Since the update (I don't remember which one), Cleanse allows you to disable the and . And it still removes all the CCs on you of course ! Good combo for escaping with

    Flash If you are not comfortable with the use of W as an escape ability in early game, you may want to take Flash. It will save your life a lot of times ;)

    Exhaust Will give you kills early game and helps you a lot against AD melee carries in late game. If you can do without Flash, take this instead

    Ignite Is also a really good pick for Tristana. It helps a lot to do kills in early game (W+E+Ignite+Autoattacks = insane burst in no time)

    I personnaly use Cleanse and Exhaust/Ignite. Use Exhaust + Ignite when you want to do insane early kills.


    Viable :

    Heal Since the update (again I don't remember which one), heal is really good and may save you a lot of time. I don't really like it but it works with some people...


    Dont use them ever :
    Revive NO !
    Surge Nah... I mean, not totally useless, but there are so much better spells...
    Smite You're already a good pusher and you will never jungle early game
    Clarity One of the most useless summoner spell. It's good on only 1-2 champ, which not includes you
    [spell=Rally] I've not seen it since my summoner lvl 25...
    Clairvoyance Let the support take it Promote I've never seen this spell. I can't imagine why you would take it.

  • Skilling Order

    My usual skill order (risky but gives kill(s) early game) :

    You need your Rocket Jump maxed as soon as possible to burst your ennemy. Don't take your Q before level 8 to prevent the use of mana, this spell is mana hungry for nothing in early game. With this skill order, you are able to get kills with the burst given by the Rocket Jump + [spell_text=Explosive Shot] + Buster Shot.
    On the other side, this skill order is risky if there is a jungler in the opponnent team. As you actually use your Rocket Jump to engage, you won't be able to flee unless you get the kill, and then the cooldown resets.

  • Items

    Begin with a Doran's Blade if you can. I mean by that, if there is a healer with you as support (Sona/Soraka/Taric/Alistar/Karma). Unless, take Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion.Doran's Blade has all you need : Health to tank more damage when you engage with , Damage to harass them more, and a bit of lifesteal for the sustain.If you don't have a healer with you, Health Potions are mandatory because you need more sustain than just a bit of lifesteal. Pick boots with that to dodge the more harass you can. This way, you are able to stay in the lane longer and farm longer (mooaaaar gawld !)

    First trip back :
    I really recommend you to buy at least another  Doran's Blade (so you have 2 of them) and the  Boots of Speed. It will make your laning stronger and you will be able to take kills easier. Take then the  Berserker's Greaves.

    Second trip back :
    After that, focus on taking Infinity Edge. To do that, buy first the B. F. Sword (if you already have it, good for you ;) ), then the Pickaxe and finally finish the Infinity Edge. Now, you will hurt nicely, especially when you score a critical strike.

    IMPORTANT : Somewhere between all those items, i strongly recommend you to take a Vampiric Scepter unless you are godlike. It will give you a lot more sustain on your lane and will be really good later in teamfights.

    Then, go for the Phantom Dancer. Sometimes, you may want to only buy the Zeal and finis the Phantom Dancer later. Do what suits the best with the current game. If you can, doing the whole Phantom Dancer is really good.

    Those are your core items.

    Now, you will have to deal with situational items.


    DPS items :

    The Bloodthirster Is a really good item to do after the Phantom Dancer / Zeal. It will give you a lot of damage and a good load of sustain. If you're not focused too much, go for it ! And you already have the Vampiric Scepter for it ;)
    Last Whisper I do it almost every game in late game because there always is a lot of armor against you. Bruisers/Tanks/Supports usually have 100+ armor and this is where Last Whisper shines. This will allow you "Herp Derp i deal 500 crits on a 200 armor tank". But don't focus the tank unless the carries are dead of course.
    The Black Cleaver Great item to low the armor of the focused opponent, especially if there is another AD in your team. It also gives you a bit of attack speed, not too much, not too less. The bonus damage is great too. I never do it because Last Whisper is better on Tristana.

    [item=Madred's Bloodrazor] Nah, Last Whisper is better against tanks. The bonus damage as magic damage is really dumb, every tank has some magic resistance to lower it...

    Atma's Impaler I never do it with Tristana, it's only good if you build Frozen Mallet, which i don't.

    Executioner's Calling In theory, could be a good item. Critical chances for your Infinity Edge and some lifesteal to stay alive. I've never tried it because you won't need its active and the passive is made for the early game.

    Manamune Tristana doesn't need mana. If you're having trouble with it (you definitely should not), take some mana regen runes.

    [item=Tiamat] Meh...

    Youmuu's Ghostblade It should be a good item for her but the active doesn't work on the ranged auto-attack (i mean, the increased duration doesn't work). There are better items to do.

    Wit's End The new With's End seems great, but i've not tested it yet.


    Defensive items :

    Quicksilver Sash If you don't have Cleanse, you better do it quickly. When the ennemy team focus you with CCs, just active it and Rocket Jump away.
    Guardian Angel Really good if you want to keep your Bloodthirster charges and have some resistance to last longer in teamfights. Must be the best defensive item in late game you could do.
    Banshee's Veil Not bad against a high magic damage team (Veigar/Leblanc etc.)

    Frozen Mallet Good item for a melee champion, not for you.

    Cloak and Dagger Quicksilver Sash is better against high CC teams.

    Hexdrinker Do it if you're having trouble against Lux/Karthus/Leblanc.

    Wriggle's Lantern Only good in early game for you, you will have enough sustain with the items i described sooner.


    Comments :

    - When you need a slot for a new item, don't be afraid to sell your Doran's Blades (don't do it too early)

    - Tristana is extremely items reliant, be carefull about what you're buying

  • Build Example

    These are just examples. Please, don't apply them exactly just because you saw it here. You always have to think about what could be the best for you in the current game. Every game is different.

    The usual late game build (when everything is going ok, or against tanky team)

    Against heavy caster team

  • Laning phase

    THIS SECTION IS STILL IN WORK IN PROGRESS. But the main ideas are in ;)

    The early game (and then the laning phase) is really important for any AD carry. As any other carry, she will need to get the more gold she can by killing minions or having kills on her lane (called feeding xD). Your insane burst damage makes you a really good champion to get fed on your lane if the ennemy is not paying attention. The best is when you have a good support (sona/janna/taric are so good with Tristana) who helps you to harass the opponnents.But if you can't get kills, don't panic, just fam ! This is the most important thing in early game :

    FARM !

    The laning phase with Tristana is split in 2 sections.


    Before level 6

    - Kill minions without pushing too much (not so easy with your [spell_text=Explosive Shot])
    - Harass your ennemy with auto-attack. With all the armor pen you have with the runes, you will hurt him. Killing minions is more important than the harassment, don't forget it !

    If you do this well, the next part will be really easy ;). As i said, the early game is really important with her, try not to screw this up. You will need a lot of training to know what to do, and when (when to harass, when to farm).


    Since level 6

    By now, you really can think about getting kills. Of course, you still have to apply the points stated in the "Before level 6" section (FARMING !). But now, if you harassed your ennemy enough, you can easily get a kill with the combo described in the Unique skills section (Rocket Jump + [spell_text=Explosive Shot] + Buster Shot). But don't only focus on getting a kill, farming is really important too.

  • Working in the team

    Working in team with Tristana is not that easy, the team should normally work for you ^^.
    You are the AD carry, they should protect you.

    Whatever, you have some things you could do to facilitate their job.

    You have to protect your support ! I mean, really. Even more if this is a healing one (like Soraka/Sona/etc.). If your support is focused, Buster Shot all of them. He will flash away and thank you by healing you like a 'tard.

    You have to stay carefull. Don't stay in front of your team. Stay behind, harass the ennemy team with auto-attack if you can but never go in front of the fight. You will die in 3 sec and all you allies won't be able to save you.

    Don't forget that you can hit the ennemies through the walls. If the teamfight will be near a wall, place yourself just behind it. They won't be able to focus you. Be carefull if there is a Kassa/Leblanc in the other team ;)

    If the opponent team has a healing support, don't forget to [spell=Explosive Shot] him before you start the focus. Don't get too close to the fight to do that or you will be focused as hell.

    You shouldn't buy any [item=Oracle's Elixir] in your entire life. You have more range than the oracle vision ! What would you do with that ? Anyway, if you really are focused by an Eve/Shaco, you may want to buy one to kill/ulti him before he can destroy you.

  • Unique Skills

    These videos are a bit old, so don't look at the details (my stuff or whatever) ;)
    Rocket Jump + Buster Shot

    The main utility of this combo : to put someone under your tower

    When the ennemy is under tower

    Here, coming from behind. A lot easier to succeed

    When you and your team are chasing. You will notice that the Rocket Jump's slow (and Urgot's one too) allowed me to position myself right in front of Galio for a good ultimate


    [spell=Explosive Shot] + Buster Shot

    A good combo to finish someone early/mid game.


    Rocket Jump -> kill -> Rocket Jump

    Rocket Jump in, get a kill, Rocket Jump out ! By the way, you can see in that video how important it is to farm. After 28min, i had almost 200 minions. That way, i was able to destroy them and have all those kills you can see at the beginning of the video.

    I don't think i will add any other video. If you want one specific (about a combo i didn't show you), please ask me in comments

  • Farming

    Farming in lane is really important for Tristana. You will need a lot of gold to buy the items you need. Then, you will stay a lot on you lane to kill the more minions you can. If you can reach 100 minions kills before 15min, you are on the good way to be fed ;).

    Learn to last hit minions. I mean, hit the minions ONLY to kill them. The best you can do is 1 auto-attack = 1 minion (maybe more with [spell_text=Explosive Shot]). This will allow you not to push too much and then you will not be gankable too easily by the opponent jungler.
    You will need to learn how to kill minions under your tower too (when you're laning against a mad Sivir for exemple). This is not so easy because of your [spell_text=Explosive Shot]. It will hit the surrounding minions and then, the tower will be able to ks them... In conclusion, you better not be under your tower when you want to farm effectively :p

    Even when the laning phase is over, you will still need to get the more gold you can. When there is no teamfight/dragon/nashor to do, go on a lane and kill some minions. If you can't, go in the jungle and do the jungle minions/buffs.

    A good game will end with 200+ minions for you (for a 35-40min game).



    Blue buff :

    You don't really need that one. The cooldown reduction and mana regen are really nice, as alway. But most of the time, there will be a better champ to take it. Any other mage is better than Tristana with the blue buff.

    Red buff :

    This one is for you. You are one of the best champ to get it. Why ? Because of your range, of course ! You can slow someone from an awesome range at lvl 18. Then, if you see someone farming, you will be able to harass him like hell (use the Rapid Fire) and he won't be able to go back easily. Sometimes, you will be able to get kills that way. Opponents are sometimes surprised by the slow.



    I've never seen a Tristana jungling (early game i mean) and i don't think she can.
    Anyway, after the laning phase, doing the wraiths/golems/wolfs is a good idea to earn some gold when you don't have anything else to do. The wraiths are the best for you. You just have to Rocket Jump in, 2-3 autoattack the big one and they will all die with [spell_text=Explosive Shot].

  • Conclusion

    In conclusion, i want to say to you to not be surprised if your first games with Tristana are bad, i did a lot of training/normal games to master Tristana. But the day you will do your first pentakill with her, you will know you did a great job with her and all that time spent in training was worth it.

    I can't conclude this guide without telling you, one more time, that the laning phase is the most important of all ! If you don't get enough gold, you won't be able to get kills. Learn it. Feel it. You have to master the power of farming early game !

    Last words, i hope you enjoyed this guide and it helped you. Let me know if my guide did, i will be glad :D. Tell me in comments if you have any other way to play Tristana (about the items), i will be happy to see the stuff you use with her, and maybe test it.

    Any comments to improve this guide are also welcome !

    Don't forget to vote for this guide if you liked it :D

    Enjoy your Tristana


    Special thanks to Chaox and SK Candy Panda for inspiring me with your streams. You rulez !

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