Tristana Build Guide

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Carrying with Tristana for Dummies

written by Jinjo

Tristana Build

Table of Contents

  • Quick Reference

    All you need to know about Tristana in a few seconds.




    Skill Priority:
    [spell_icon=Explosive Shot]

    Item Start:

    Item Core:

    Items to kill your enemys even faster:
    [item_icon=Madred's Bloodrazor]

    Defensive Stuff:

  • Abilities

    Draw a Bead
    IMO this is one of the most awesome passives in the game (besides maybe Annies and co. duh). This is the ability that defines Tristana and the reason i picked her up quite some time ago. At level 18 you have the largest auto-attack range in the game, whick makes Tristana quite hard to kill in teamfights (if you have the right positioning) even without defensive items. That doesn´t mean that you shouln´t get defensive items. Also you are a quite good counter to AOE Spells like Fiddles and Kennens Ultimate.

    Rapid Fire
    This is simple. It´s just attackspeed. Which makes it absolutely awesome for an AD carry like you!! With this skill you don´t have to buy a lot of AS items and you can focus on building damage items. The +90% AS-Bonus at Rank 5 is just tremendous. When you found a position in teamfights that you feel safe, turn this on and and turn their screen grey for a minute.

    What is important to know though: Do ONLY turn this on if you´re attacking an opponent that has committed to the fight and doesn´t run away. It´s just a waste of CD and Mana if your opponents runs for his life you can only get like 1 shot every 2 seconds on him.

    And remember: ALWAYS use this spell if you´re attacking a tower.

    Rocket Jump
    The most important skill. This is your life assurance and you absolutely need to know and learn how to use this skill. And it´s one of the most versatile spells in the game and its good for more than just getting yourself out of sticky situations. It´s actually useful for so many things that i want to talk about it in an extra topic.

    [spell=Explosive Shot]
    Your best friend during the laning phase, both the active and the passive. The active does quite some damage early game and is always helpful if you need a little extra damage boost in order to get first blood. Don´t forget to always shoot this at a potting opponent to screw up his heal and use it at the beginning of the fight with ignite to not get killed by one of the few players which still use heal...
    The most amazing part about this skill though is it´s passive. It will help you farm like a boss and lets you outfarm your opponent quite easy. Another little technique with this spell is, to last hit a creep near your opponents, so that you can farm and harass the other player at the same time.

    Buster Shot
    Awesome Ultimate, which can not only be the enemys worst nightmare but also his best dream if it´s not used correctly. I´ve seen quite a lot players who tried to KS and shot this thing at somebody who was already dead and pushed him into safety -.-

    Here are a few things this Ultimate is good for:
    - Early Champion Kills in lane to finish your enemy with a 300dmg ult (The damage of this spell is quite high even if you don´t play ap)
    -Get these meele chars away from you
    -Get these meele chars away from your teammates
    -Towerdiving with a 300-500 dmg nuke
    -Interrupt channeling enemies (Nunu, Kata, Karthus etc.)
    -Push a single enemy into your team (besides, do not jump into the enemy team try to push someone back and die, you´re not Alistar...)
    -Push an enemy into your turret with the deadly Rocketjump->Bustershot combo
    -You can also use that combination to push someone into your fountain ;D

  • Masteries

    I prefer standart 21-0-9 AD masteries.

    Make sure to take [mastery=Deadliness], [mastery=Sunder], [mastery=Lethality], Havoc and [mastery=Utility Mastery]

    Maybe some of your are complaining now:


    Well now compare [mastery=Good Hands] and Perseverance.
    I´ve used Perseverance for a while and i´ve never found these few % bonus really noticeable.
    And realisticly seen, you die. Maybe a few tines more than you would like even if you have a freaking long range, a W which can get you almost anywhere and a badass ult. It´s just a fact.
    IMO these 10% decreased death time is a really good bonus for a T1 Mastery (not to mention it´s at least noticeable). If you die in lane you can get back to the action slightly faster and endgame when you die and respawn like 1 and a half year later, I found this little mastery extremely helpful.

  • Runes

    Greater Mark of Desolation+ Greater Quintessence of Desolation ArPen on AD Chars is always nice, because the enemies always have armor (no matter what) and you always want to penetrate it (no matter what). But to be honest: These runes will really really really improve your early game damage output by A LOT. Think about it. Most chars have about 30 armor at level 1. And with [mastery_text=Sunder] you have 31 ArPen which lets you hit your opponent with True Damage. Nothing more to say about that here.
    Greater Seal of Vitality You are squishy->You need health. Look no further
    Greater Glyph of Warding It´s MRes early game. I don´t think there is too much to say about this other than you don´t die to Casters too quickly. You can take other Glyphs if you feel like it but I personaly love that early game advantage against casters (hate to fight Malz and Brand...)

  • Summoner Spells

    What I use:
    Ghost It´s Ghost. It let´s you chase. It let´s you escape. That´s what it makes a perfect summoner spell choice (You can also use Flash instead, but I tend to like this one more)
    Ignite I love to have this in the early stages of the game. It will help you a lot in order to score first blood, catch running opponents or get rid of these freaking Tryndameres...
    What you could use:
    Cleanse It´s actually not a bad choice since CC is your worst nightmare, but I think that this spell isn´t versatile enough to be completely viable for Tristana
    Exhaust If you take this and Ignite, it´s almost guaranteed that you draw First Blood so I guess you can take it if you feel like it.
    Teleport Why not? BD-Action and almost no XP and Gold loss after dying or going back to base? Sure!
    Flash Flash is Flash and It´s so useful blablabla[...] I don´t think I´m telling you something new or special about it here. It´s viable on like every character and if you think that Rocket Jump is´nt enough you can go ahead and just double flash with this.

    What you shouldn´t use:
    [spell=Fortify] If your team wants to use this, let a tank grab it.
    Revive You know, you can´t carry your team if you´re dead, but I think the cooldown of Revive i waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to high to be even close to be viable.
    Heal Oh there is someone trying to kill me, oh he ignited me, oh the heal on this is an absolute joke now oh i´m dead.
    Clairvoyance Nice spell, but let a support take this.
    Clarity How broken do you have to be to spam your abilities so hard that you would need to use this?
    [spell=Rally] Don´t even get me started on this ... It´s not even a good spell
    Smite You´re already one of the best farmers in the game so why would you want to take this?

    Tommys answer (Level 5, Mains Mundo with Revive and Smite): To secure Baron and Dragon!!
    Response of like everebody above Level 20 (or anyone who is the just a proud owner of a brain): Get a jungler and let him take it-.-

  • Skilling Order

    The skill order I prefer (focussed on [spell_text=Explosive Shot])

    The alternate skill order (focussed on Rapid Fire)

    I prefer maxing [spell_text=Explosive Shot] first, because it´s IMO the only spell that will help you improve your early game by increasing your farm potential. In the most cases you won´t gain any profit from the Bonus Attackspeed from Rapid Fire. One thing to note is, that you should your first skillpoint into Rocket Jump and then only skill it again once you´ve hit Level 14 eventough this is your most important spell. It just doesn´t worth skilling, because the only thing you get from this is a little extra damage and slightly decreased cooldowns.

  • Items

    In 95% of my games i start my with a Doran's Blade. The 10 AD extra will make last hitting so much easier and 100 HP is always nice.
    However, you should always pick your start item depending what you´ll be up against in lane. For example:
    You should propably pick up Boots of Speed against a karthus to dodge his Lay Waste easier, or a Doran's Shield if you have a heavy harasser like Zilean on your lane.

    As soon as you are in lane, start farming like a boss and get that B. F. Sword ASAP. Getting this item is like a milestone for your damageoutput, it´s so good that you don´t even have to time your attacks on creeps to last hit them-the B. F. Sword will do that for you! Don´t be afraid of going back before you have earned the 1650 Gold for your little item. Go back, grab your Boots of Speed and a couple of Health Potions and go back into lane.

    Once you´ve got your B. F. Sword, it´s time to upgrade you Boots to Berserker's Greaves or Mercury's Treads if the enemy team has really really really really REALLY strong CC.
    Finish your Infinity Edge as soon as you can (starting with Pickaxe).

    Thats your core, the next items you buy are supposed to be completely situational

    More offensive items

    Phantom Dancer You will most likely choose this as your third item. 55% AS, 20% Critchance and the nice Speedbonus makes it one of the items for Tristana and you should get it, unless the enemy team has some crazy defensive items at this point of the game.

    Last Whisper is your first choice if about 3 or more enemies are stacking armor, you should pick this item up and just shredder their armor. Alternatively you can get a The Black Cleaver for some team support if only 1 or 2 enemies are buying armor (I´m still not a huge fan of that axe to be honest...)

    [item=Madred's Bloodrazor] The enemy Mundo thinks he has to buy 5 Wamorgs? Get Bloodrazors and watch yourself shreddering his 6k Life bar in just a few seconds. Dont forget to teabag him for his stupid build ...

    If you die too fast, buy one of these:

    Frozen Mallet HP? AD? Slow? All in one item? I want one! If the enemy team has a really good meele AD carry and you don´t feel like getting stomped a sixth time by Xin, get this for more survivability and that awesome slow passive which gives you the ability to kite better. You still want Lizard Buff though...

    Atma's Impaler This item is a No-Brainer after you got your Frozen Mallet. It gives Armor, Crit(!!) and a lot of extra AD thanks to your badass Healthpool. You shouldn´t have any problems against ad carrys anymore.

    Banshee's Veil Good for like every Champ and I get it almost every game with at least 2 enemy casters.

    Guardian Angel GA=Carrys Dream. Get revived after your death and stomp some more faces. The additional resistances are nice, but you mainly want to get this for the passive.

    Cloak and Dagger The brand new Teancy item for AD carries. I´d say that this little item outclasses Mercury's Treads and you shouldn´t need to buy these boots again. The item comes with 25% Tenacy (which is quite good for you) and even gives you a good boost on attack speed (doh!) and Crit (f*ck yeah!) for a relatively low price. You should consider buying this thingie if your enemy has some heavy CC and I would suggest that you get it right after your Infinity Edge instead of getting Phantom Dancer.
    To be honest, I havent´t tried this out since the patch released, but it sounds awesome on paper and I´d say that you should at least try it out for you.

    Other Item Choices

    [item=Stark's Fervor] In general, this is an all around item for any AD DPS. It gives Attack Speed, Lifesteal, a little bit lifereg and a nice aura. The reason I don´t like this is, that I feel stupid building Attackspeed on Tristana. I would recommend building only 1 AS item and then just get AD and defensive items. Rapid Fire will take care of all your Attackspeed problems. If you want lifesteal (which usually is a good idea for laning and has good synergy with your Guardian Angel), you should propably consider buying ...

    The Bloodthirster This item is just sweet if you´re doing well Mid-Late Game. With 40 stacks this item is just a bomb-as long as you can keep the stacks. I wouldn´t recommend buying this just for AD+Lifesteal, because it´s just not costefficient if you can´t keep the stacks on it.

    Sword of the Occult Oh, another stacking item! If you´re just farming kill early game and dominate your enemy in lane with ease you could get it BUT think of it first. This item costs about 1400 Gold, your
    B. F. Sword (9 stacks btw) costs about 250 Gold more. At 20 Stacks (which is so hard to achive, not to mention that you need to keep the stacks) you get 100 AD+ a little Movement Speed Bonus. Your B. F. Sword can be build into your Infinity Edge which offers you +25% Crit 80 AD and a really nice passive, and, most important, doesn´t become useless after you died a couple of times (It´s quite expensive, I´m not gonna lie). But if you just farm a bit more and get a few kills, you will have enough Gold to buy reliable items. LoL is an incredibly dynamic and unpredictable game and you never now what can happen in the next fight. Just predicting that it´s going well is just a cointflip. And for you, cointflips suck. Bottomline: You can get it if you want, but as a hater of these snowball items, i definately won´t get this on any AD champ.

    Executioner's Calling And yet another situational item. It has some nice Crit and Lifesteal stats and that´s pretty much about it. Oh wait, it has an active ability! Oh yeah. You shouldn´t buy this for the active-you already have Ignite and [spell_text=Explosive Shot].

  • How to use Rocket Jump

    Learning the right use of Rocket Jump is absolutely crucial if you want to master Tristana. The important thing to know is, that it´s role changes during the game. What doesn´t change though, is it´s importance. The wise and proper use of this tool needs to be learned and you can´t completely dominate without having the knowledge about your loved W.

    Early Game:
    In the early stages of the game, you need this spell for 2 things: Jump into safety when you get ganked, or use it to get close to your lane opponent to damage him and get into range for auto-attacks and your other spells. When you commit to a fight like this, take a look at the minimap and check how many enemies are in their lanes. It´s obvius, that you shouln´t use your only escape mechanism (at that point= to damage the enemy if the rest of his team is MIA.

    Mid Game: Your Health pool is large enough now that you don´t die instantly when you attempt to towerdive. Jump to your enemy and kill them with Buster Shot, [spell_text=Explosive Shot] and some auto attacks if you need to. Keep in mind, that the cooldown refreshes instantly if you score kills or assists. Anyways, there is nothing more akward than dying to the turret, because you don´t have any mana to jump away, so keep an eye on your blue bar if you dive.
    Use this skill for escaping when getting cought while pushing blabla you get the idea.

    Late Game: You´re chilling with your team all the time. And if not, you should concider doing it. It´s safer. Trust me. Teamfights could break out every minute and your job as a carry is to kill them all, or at least try to do so. Now you should use Rocket Jump only in teamfights and only for escaping. Do not even bother chasing somebody with this who is out of range. You need to have this baby ready at any time to escape, so only use it to chase when you´re absolutely sure that you score a kill or an assist. The cooldown is freaking long end game and you don´t want to waste it.

  • Pregame

    It´s you´re turn to pick. And you´re about to play Tristana. Pick her, don´t lock her in, and say, what is absolutely super dooper important: Me mid or solo. Do ONLY play Tristana if you can reserve a solo lane for you. You never EVER want to share a lane with somebody else. If you can´t have a solo lane, do yourself and your team a favour and play something else. This has the following reasons:
    - You´re a carry, you don´t want half of all the last hits, you want ALL of them
    - Last Hitting with an allied Tristana is incredibly hard and you don´t want to deny you own teammates
    - You want to level faster as anybody else to benefit from your fassive

    If you get mid or solo, lock in, set up runes, masteries and summoners and wait until every other player has finished picking.

    In the loadscreen, you want to check the summoners of the opponent you´re facing most likely. Does your enemy has Teleport or can you push his tower after he went back (or better: you have killed him)?
    Does your enemy Exhaust and Ignite or will it be easy to score first blood against him?
    After that you should decide what starting item is best against that Champ (I will give you some advice in the "Enemies" section).

  • Early Game

    Once you´ve picked up the start item of your choice, it´s time to get into your lane (or def your jungler or get into lane after that). You have 1 goal: Farm as there is no tomorrow. Basicly, you should farm the first 10 Minutes non-stop and don´t focus on harassing the enemy too much. Most likely he won´t focus on cs, but on harassing you back to your tower. If you see this sort of playstile, let yourself fall back, let you help by your jungler and kill that dude who just overextendet like a boss.
    If you´re the boss in lane and have zone control over your enemy (which is obviously the best case), just farm as you normally would, zone him as it is described in Shurelias video (which i´m too lazy to post; and even if,you´ve propably seen it like a hundret times now), and farm gold. If there is nothing to lasthit, shoot at him, show him how cool you are and send him there, where he doesn´t get XP or gold. As soon as he gets cocky and tries to get into your zone or just asks to get kicked into his face: You give it to him! Do so by simply performing the following things:
    1. Rocket Jump torwards him
    2. Use like all your other skills
    3. Auto attack
    4. Use Buster Shot to finish him (don´t use this to early or you send him to safety)
    5. Profit

    Another trick that you can pull of in the early stages of the game is to jump over him, and shoot him torwards your turret. Use this technique to prepare ganks or just get a more firepower with the help of your turret.

  • Mid Game

    Keep an eye on pushed lanes and always farm them if you see a huge amount of creeps. The more you farm, the deadlier you will be your end game. Don´t overextend though and if you´re not clearing a creep wave, you should stay at your team (or near to them. Teamfights will occure more often in mid game and you always want to be envolved in one. If there´s nothing to kill, thats not your business there.

  • Late Game

    Staying not with your team will get you killed. It´s a fact. Teamfights brake out like every 2 seconds and when it happens, you´re supposed to kill them all. I´ll show you how you do that in the following section.
    A nice little trick is, that you can shoot baron and dragon over the wall at a little very specific spot (if you´re lvl18 ofc). Use this technique to stay in safety if the enemy trying to distract you or to simply make sure, that nobody is there to steal your Buff/Gold.
    You should however junp over the wall once the enemy has comitted a fight in these "Bays". Make sure that you don´t jump into the entire enemy team and that you have a save distance to the team.

  • In Teamfights

    Ah, this is where it´s at. Now you see if the whole farming early-mid game was worth it.
    You best friend in terms of survivability is your positioning, and thanks to your long range you have a lot of options to get into a right spot. For example, you can shoot the entire enemy team over a wall.
    Before the teamfight starts, you should prepare by not using skills and moving behind your own team and get into position. If the enemy team engages, kite back (which will be a lot easier with Frozen Mallet and Lizard buff), and find your position. Your perfect position should look something like this:
    - You can easily reach everybody of the enemy team without getting focussed
    - You have some sort of obstacle or a wall near you which you can use to junp into safety and still shoot stuff
    - You are in range of your allies so they can actually support you (for example Chrono Shift and Imbue)

    Once you´ve found that position and think that you´re sfe, turn on Rapid Fire and shsoot your target. Always focus the carries and start shooting the squishiest first, then the 2nd squishiest and so on, you know the deal. Don´t get teased into the enemy team by someone you almost killed, or you will most likely get beaten up for not keeping distance. Just start blasting away the next target on your agenda.
    Remember that you almost die instantly when you get focussed, but also that alsmost everything dies if you rightclick them. You´re a late game carry and shouln´t spend the whole teamfight with running around. As long as you don´t get focussed, you should be fine most of the time.

    If you loose the teamfight: Use Rocket Jump and gtfo
    If you win the teamfight: You could use Rocket Jump to chase an enemy down. However, depending of the location where the teamfight took place, it´s much more valuable to do something for the team (for example: Kill Baron/Dragon, destroy a turret).

  • Enemies

    Disclaimer: I will not write down a list of champions and rate them how easy they are to hande and what not. I LOL it´s really not all about matchups but about playstyle and skill. Each game is a new experience and you shouln´t go to your lane with something like: I will own Vlad solo because I did that last time too! The one time I just beat the crap out of that Vlad in mid, and the next game I just got owned by one. If you see your opponents champ, remember that the matchup is always you vs. him and not Tristana vs. whateverhepicked and that you should always be a little bit caucious at the beginning of the game to see how aggressive or defensive he plays. If he plays defensively: Harass him. If he plays offensively: Attack him, look who is the boss, and set up ganks if youre not the boss.

    After the introduction, I just had to take Vlad first in this section. One thing that you always have to keep in mind is: If he hits level 9, youre screwed. Harass him as good as you can and kill him (with ganks) as often as humanly possible.Transfusion´s cooldown on level 1 is like a year and a half long, so the worst thing you can do after he spellvamped you is retreating. Without his Q he is harmless like a kitten so as soon as he walks near to you to drain you, hit him as often as possible to make him pay for that harassing attempt! The good thing about that is, that the range of Transfusion is kind of short, so you should get enough hits on him so that he loses at least the same amount of HP as you.

    My Nemesis... IMO he´s like your worst nightmare. He will harass you like crazy, silence you and burn you down as soon as he got his Nether Grasp. Order a gank every like 2 freaking seconds or, if possible, swap lanes with the other solo lane :)
    To be honest, I haven´t found an effective way to get rid of him early game yet...
    In the late game however this szenario changes. Malzahar is a really good 1v1 champ, so don´t try to fight him alone. The most interesting part about fighting Malz is his ult. Try to not ever get into range for that thing. If he uses it on you, you´re most likely dead, if not, your teammate will take the damage and you have two options:
    You see that your teammate is close to dying- Break Nether Grasp with the use of your lovely ultimate.
    You see that he is surviving the Combo with ease- Abuse the fact that ha can´t move and just kill him. It´s that easy.

    How I hate this guy. Like really. You can´t escape him (thanks to Mocking Shout and Spinning Slash) if your escapespells failed for some reason, you can´t fight him 1v1 thanks to his ultimate and Bloodlust makes it really hard to kill him in lane.
    If you see his stacks growing however, give him an [spell_text=Explosive Shot] to screw up his heal. Don´t get too agressive against him if he is level 6 and farm for late game. Not too much you can do about this guy early game.
    The late game against Trynda isn´t getting funnier by any means. If you face him in a 1v1 situation, you´re most likeky dead. If he gets strong at that point in the game, you should use the Frozen Mallet Atma's Impaler combination, for plenty of armor, HP and a slow to make escaping easier. In teamfights you should focus him, change targets when he pops Undying Rage, and use [spell_text=Explosive Shot] and Ignite on him after three seconds of that cheatlike spell have passed to dot him to death

    If he get´s near you, it´s almost garanteed that you die. Puncturing Taunt last like a decade and Tremors, Defensive Ball Curl and Thornmail will hurt you like crazy. Even if Rammus always says something about having fun, you know: He´s lying. He just wants to freaking kill you. Therefore, it´s better to be safe than sorry. Use Buster Shot if he uses Powerball to roll towards you or your allies and never ever shoot at him if you know that anything besides this guy is near. But if you think that you absolutely need to attack him, get a Last Whisper.

    This section is still growing

  • Conclusion

    Tristana is IMO one of the best ranged AD carries and without question the most fun to play. If you haven´t played Tristana yet, do that Facebook-connection-thingie and try her out and see if you like it. Don´t get yourself demoralized by trolls who don´t know what they´re talking about. Played that ranked match the other day, told my pick, got flamed by that other guy who predicted that I would feed and ended the game with 16-6-12.

    I hope you enjoyed my guide. I´d appreciate if you would rate it and tell me in the coments what you would wish to see and what I could improve (pls also tell me about typos etc.).

  • Changelog

    May 08 2011 Guide published
    May 15 2011 Added Cloak and Dagger to the item section

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