Tristana Build Guide

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A Detailed Guide on Tristana

written by ramp4rtz

Tristana Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Hello this is Ramp4rtz with my first champion guide. I have played countless games as Tristana, dominating most anyone I'm playing with, and I just thought I would share some of my secrets. I will also make sure to update this guide as much as possible. If you have any questions/ comments on any part of the guide, Go ahead and leave a comment and I will get to you as soon as possible. Also remember to rate a +1 if you like the guide so it can be known ;D

    With all that in mind, lets begin...

  • Pros / Cons


    -High attack damage
    -Nice escaping skills
    -Extremely powerful late game
    -One of the best turret- destroyers in the game
    -Great farmer


    -Usually focused in team fights
    -Requires expensive items to dominate

  • Abilities

    Draw a Bead
    A pretty nice passive. One that's especially effective late game in team fights. Being able to stand behind all your team mates and shoot the enemies down like dogs gives u a pretty awesome feeling. You can also use this nicely when shooting turrets. Gives you more time to escape from an incoming enemy if you are further away from the turret.

    Rapid Fire
    A great DPS- raising, turret- destroying skill. This is the skill that basically makes trist one of the best turret destroyers in the game while having immense damage. However, there are a couple misconceptions about this skill. No it is not used to get an extra shot or two if you are harassing. And no it is not used to auto attack minions because you want some life steal (especially when laning). This is best used when in a team fight when you can just stand and auto attack your enemies. It is also used when you need to dominate a turret or two.

    Rocket Jump
    Your escape, your initiator, your ganker, your chaser, your turret diver, your everything. I love this skill because it can be used in so many ways and for so many different purposes. If a ganker is nearing toward you, use rocket jump. If you have 50 hp left and have to escape from chasing enemies, use rocket jump. When you want to initiate a 1 one 1 battle, use rocket jump. If you are chasing an enemy who's probably crossing his fingers hoping the OP trist doesn't rocket jump him to death, well, I think you know what to do. ;D

    [spell=Explosive Shot]
    In addition to your regular attack, this will be your main harassing skill. Unless you are saving for a big combo to finish the enemy, this should be constantly used whenever the enemy at mid is in range of it (and it is off cool down). Besides the active, the passive part of this skill is great for farming minions, especially when you reach higher levels when you can one or two hit minions and take out waves in seconds.

    Buster Shot
    A nice ult that, frankly, I mainly use for the damage it deals. Most of the time I do find myself using this for a finally blow in my skill combo. However, this is also great a great technique for taking control of your enemies by sending them toward you allies/ turret. In addition to that, if you use this in the right place, you can send a whole team flying backward, potentially giving you and your team mates the time they need to escape from the enemies.

  • Masteries + Runes


    9x Greater Mark of Desolation-Red armor pen will be the best choice for trist as she is a ranged dps

    9x Greater Seal of Alacrity, 9x Greater Glyph of Alacrity
    9x Greater Seal of Malice, 9x Greater Glyph of Malice- Either crit chance or attack speed will
    do for both yellow and blue. Its basically up to you (just take what you have)

    3x Greater Quintessence of Fortitude- I personally take health quints because of Tristana’s squishiness, but you can take armor pen or attack speed/ crit chance as well.

    The best masteries for Tristana would be the standard 21/0/9. Make sure to get the masteries that correspond with the summoner spell you took (if you can).

  • Skilling Order

    I like taking my explosive shot first because it is a great early harassing tool. After that is rocket jump for an early first blood/ escaping, and rapid fire for turret-killing. Note that the skills you get at level 4- 13 can be changed from explosive shot to rapid fire and vice versa according to your needs. (If you are getting some kills and are forcing the enemy to recall, you could add some more points into rapid fire, where as if the enemy is killing you, or you're having a hard time killing him, put more points into explosive shot).

  • Summoner Abilities


    Ignite- This is a must. Ignite is used in your combo and to shut the enemy down as soon as possible.

    Teleport- A great summoner spell early and late game. With this, you can quickly teleport after getting your items to save as much gold as possible and to prevent your turret from being damaged. This is also a good skill to use if your allies need a little help, and if the enemy minions are nearing your tower later game.


    Heal- Best used for early game, this spell has many uses when preforming neat little laning tricks (see "Techniques" section) However this spell has a major setback- it is almost useless later game, so have caution if you decide to take this.

    Exhaust- Yes the slow from this is pretty nice, but you already have Rocket jump, a huge range, and the possibility you took Frozen mallet.

    Cleanse- A nice spell against CC, but again, you have your rocket jump to escape after the CC is used, and a banshee's is already a good counter to CC.

    Not recommended:

    Flash- I know what your thinking and yes, rocket jump does have a bigger range than flash :)

    [spell=Fortify]- As a DPS carry, you don't really need this. Let some one else take it.

    Clairvoyance- Another support spell. Don't waste a summoner spell slot by taking this.

    [spell=Rally]- A pretty useless skill in general. The attack damage is OK but pairing it with trist is a no- go.

    Smite- Trist isn't a jungler. Approaching a big scary golem at level one frightens her :(

    Clarity- I wouldn't really take this unless I'm making an AP trist, which, I don't really plan on being

  • Items


    Doran's Blade- A great starting item because of the combination of health, life steal and damage.

    Berserker's Greaves- This is a great early game item for the attack speed. You will most likely be able to get this on your first trip back. It can be just what you need to take that first enemy turret down.

    B. F. Sword- Although we all know this as the prerequisite to the infamous Infinity Edge, a Bf sword is a great item by itself for the early game damage. You will definitely be able to see the damage difference with this.

    Infinity Edge- The damage, crit chance and crit damage work wonders for your build. You can't really make a DPS carry without it. Depending on how my game is going, I tend to sometimes switch this with my lifesteal item, if I feel I need more lifesteal early.

    The Bloodthirster/ Executioner's Calling/[Item=emblem of Valour] - with the extra damage and life steal from the stacks, I don't really see much of a reason not to get The Bloodthirster, besides the high cost. However, getting Executioner's Calling can be good against health- gaining champs and the low cost is nice. Also getting executioner's before Infinity edge might be a good idea if you're not doing too well. The extra crit chance is great early game. As for [item_text=emblem of valour], I really only see it as a cheap way to get the life steal you need and move on to the next item. What I also like to do when I finish my build late game, is replace my life steal item with The Bloodthirster (the high cost might have been an obstacle early game, but after finishing my item build it obviously would not be)

    Standard build:

    Phantom Dancer- The more and more I use this, the more and more i tend to like it. The attack speed and crit chance are great for the build. (especially after getting The Black Cleaver) this is also a great item to be used in some of the other builds if you run out of items to buy.

    The Black Cleaver- A great item for the attack damage and armor pen. This also works great with Phantom Dancer because of the attack speed and attack damage combination.

    Against high armor stacking, high health champs:

    Last Whisper- The 40% armor pen on this item is amazing against armor stacker's. This is basically all you really need for armor pen. It will shred the enemy's armor in no time.

    [Item=Madred's Bloodrazor]- Say goodbye to your stacks, Cho'Gath. Seriously, this is an amazing item on high health champs. Lets see, the 4% extra on hit damage against a buffed champ with 5k health is a whopping 200 extra damage! even on champs with let say 3000 health still gives a good 120 extra damage! No wonder the Humongous Cho'Gath runs away from the little Warwick holding a Madred's.

    Against melee DPS champs:

    Youmuu's Ghostblade- The attack damage and crit chance on this are a pretty good addition to your build, and the active is also great against melee DPS champs and might even grant you the ace you need to turn the game around.

    Frozen Mallet- The extra health from this is great if you need a little defence from the high- hitting DPS champs. Also the slow is good for preventing the enemy to escape; it will definitely grant you some kills that you couldn't get without the slow.

    Atma's Impaler- Another great item for the crit and armor. I really like getting this with Frozen Mallet. The combination is pretty awesome.

    Against magic- heavy champs:

    Banshee's Veil- A great defence item to incorporate in your build, especially against magic- heavy teams. The extra health, mana, and magic resist are pretty nice, and the passive is also pretty effective against CC.

    Hexdrinker- A nice combination of both damage and magic resist, this is ideal against magic- heavy teams. The passive is also a nice defensive tool if you are in danger of being killed by a magic- heavy champ.

    Miscellaneous Items:

    Sight Ward, Vision Ward- Wards! These are crucial for your game. Place them near Dragon, Baron, and anywhere you feel you need them.

    [Item=Oracle's Elixir]- Yes, although you are a carry, an oracle can be pretty effective especially if the stealthed champion is getting fed.

    [Item=Elixir of Agility]- A great item if you sense a team fight coming. This is also pretty good if you need to get some turrets down. Pop an elixir and start shooting away!

  • How to dominanate early game

    Step 1: Allways keep moving when in lane. Practice right clicking the ground in circular patterns while still being in range of your minions.
    reasoning: If you are standing still and not moving, Your champion will automatically shoot the nearest minion. This is the complete opposite of what we want to do (see step 2). Also, moving around lets you harrass easier and lets you dodge enemy skill shots easier.

    Step 2:: Allways last hit! Last hitting is to attack a certain minion only when your one shot will kill the minion. (meaning don't repetedly attack the minions. Instead, attack it only when it has low enough Hp to die)
    reasoning: Last hitting is definatly something you need to practice. With all the benefits it gives, I cannot stress enough how crucial last hitting is for your game.

    Step 3: Harrass the enemy. Your main harrassing skill is your explosive shot. Try to use it as often as possible against the enemy. Along with your explosive shot, your regular shot can be used to harrass as well. With trist's great range, harrassing with your regular shot should be fairly simple and should be used often.

    Step 4: Learning when and how to strike. First, make sure your enemy has low enough Hp for you to land in for the kill. After that, use your rocket jump to land on top or behind your enemy. This is where you will use your skill combo: explosive shot, ignite, auto attack, buster shot. Tristana's unrivaled early game power is very usefull for getting first blood as early as level 2. However, this cannot allways be done, so just harrass and wait for a good time to attack.

    **Pro tip: Memorizing the approximate amount of damage tristana's combo will deal is a great way to accuratly tell when you can strike. Memorizing the amount of mana it takes also helps. If you know you have enough mana, and you know the enemy has low enough health, you know you should attack.

    Step 5: Look at your minimap! Taking a peek at your minimap every now and then is the single most effective way to prevent ganks of any kind, besides placing wards. If there is an MIA, make sure you back away near your turret.

    Step 6: Turret destroying. Tristana is one of the best turret destroyers in the game, so bring it to good use. Having your enemy mid laner away or dead makes for a great opportunity to attack the turret, even if you only get a couple shots in. But before attacking, make sure there are no mias, because anyone that sees a tristana attacking their turret is bound to leave their lane to gank. [this is where wards come handy (see step 7)]

    Step 7: Place wards. I know most of you low/ mid elo players feel a little skeptical about wards, but trust me when i say, place wards!
    reasoning: Wards are extremely important in a game. Buy them as often as you can and place them around the two rivers. The extra cost will definatly pay off.

    Step 8: Ganking. Due to her rocket jump combined with her suprising damage, tristana is an excellent ganker. While it is reccomended to gank fairly often, you must also have the right timing. Waiting in a bush for 2 minutes while the enemy players are tower hugging is not ideal for a gank.

    Step 9: Buffs. Make sure you get red buff as often as you can. (I usually start getting it around lvl 9)
    Also make sure you ping for dragon when it spawns. (you will be able to solo dragon later on in the game, though)

    **Pro tip: Because having golem, lizard, etc buffs can be so crucial in the game, it helps to memorize the spawn time of these buffs. Here i have wrriten a list of nuetral monster spawn times:

    Spawn time: 1:55
    Respawn time: 5 minutes after you or an enemy has killed it.

    Spawn time: 1:55
    Respawn time: 5 minutes

    Spawn time: 2:30
    Respawn time: 6 minutes

    Spawn time: 15 minutes
    Respawn time: 7 minutes

  • Strategy- early game (A more in- depth look)

    Note- this next section is basicly a more detailed version of the previous section

    Pre game:
    -Before the start of the game, make sure you take the appropriate items.
    -Make sure you have talked with your team mates about taking mid. Tristana’s damage greatly increases with items, so getting the extra gold/exp from mid is a must.
    -Don’t venture out pass your turret before minions spawn. Tristana’s range is fairly small early levels, and her explosive shot has also a small range.
    -Take note of your enemy’s masteries. If the enemy has heal, for instance, don’t start a 1 on 1 battle with him when you both have 1/6 health left.


    -Always last hit minions to keep the minions close to the middle of the lane while still getting the gold.
    -Your main harassing moves will be your regular attack and explosive shot. Explosive shot is obviously a priority over your regular attack, and should be used whenever the enemy is in range.
    -If you are an experienced harasser or you think the enemy is not much a threat,
    try standing in front of your minions and harassing whenever possible to keep the enemy away from your minions. This is a great way to make sure the enemy gets as little gold/ exp as possible.
    -Also, make sure you are looking at the mini map at ALL TIMES. Always remember to back away near your turret if there is a mia.
    -Note that if you have a low amount of life and are forced to tower hug, try not to approach the enemy, rather stay near your turret and auto attack minions.


    You should start attacking your enemy when he has low enough health for you to land in and kill. (They should have around 1/4 or 1/5 health left during laning phase, depending on the champion).

    Here is your attacking combo:

    Rocket Jump> (buster shot)> explosive shot> ignite> auto attack> (buster shot)

    -The reason buster shot is shown twice is because, especially during later game, buster shot can be used to shoot the enemy back towards your turret or allies. In this case, you would use it after rocket jump.
    -Unless you can find yourself completely behind the enemy after using rocket jump, however, I suggest using buster shot as the finally blow.
    -Remember that when you want to finish someone off, it isn't necessary anymore to spam explosive shot because you are trying to save enough mana to use your skill combo.
    -If your minions are near the enemy turret, let the enemy push if you know you can kill him.
    -A great time to start attacking is if the enemy has pushed his minions to your tower. This gives you a bunch of space to chase the enemy.


    You can start pushing when your enemy is dead or at base. This is where you push the enemy minions and/or start attacking the tower.

    -When pushing, make SURE you are constantly looking at your mini map. If there is a mia, make sure to back away, even if you have a chance of getting a good chunk of the turret health down.
    -If there are no mias, you can start pushing. When attacking the turret, put rapid fire on and auto attack until the enemy comes back to lane. (or there is a mia)
    -When people see a champ like Tristana destroying a turret with rapid fire, chances are someone from another lane is going to come to fend you away. Just keep peeking at that mini map.
    -After destroying the enemy turret, it is recommended you start ganking, but you donɢt have to have killed the turret before you can gank. (see ٢Ganking").


    -Even though ganking mostly takes place during mid/ late game, it is recommended you gank even earlier- when your allies need the help, or after you have destroyed the first enemy turret.
    -Just the sheer fact that you decided to go to another lane to gank means that the enemies have low enough life to kill with your combo.
    -Therefore, when ganking, you will use your regular attacking combo.
    - Because you will be ganking from behind, buster shot can and should be used to knock the enemy back into your allies/ turret.
    -Inform your teammates if you plan to gank. If your ally is in grave danger or the enemy is extremely close to running away with his low health, you don't have to consult with your teammates because the time you spend
    typing might cost a life. (This is why we use vent).
    -When you reach the respective bush to gank, tell your allies to let the enemies push if they haven't pushed
    enough. This esures ganking success because the farther the enemy has to run to his turret, the more time you
    have to kill them.
    -ALLWAYS ping before attacking. Sometimes pinging itself is a good enough way to inform your teammates you are coming to gank. Also when you are in the bush waiting for the gank, make sure to ping again as you spring out from the bush.
    -Also note your rocket jump will end its cool down after you get a kill. This is great especially when ganking 2 or more champs because you can easily kill 1 champ and rocket jump to the next (or rocket jump away).

    Other early game strategies:

    -Don't get too close to the enemy turret on purpose, unless pushing when the enemy is gone.
    -Always look at the mini map. I know I've repeated this a bunch of times, but it still holds true. Know where the enemy is at all times.
    -The only time you won't be last hitting minions is if you are pushing, turret hugging, or minions are attacking your turret. (Which, again, is a great time to start attacking during laning phase).
    -Never stay in one place. If you are always moving, you won't get hit.
    -Know your enemy. By knowing your enemy's skills and strategy, you can prevent him from getting the better of you.
    -If you can, try memorizing the amount of damage a skill combo does at any given level and the amount of mana it takes. (You don't really have to do this if you're just trying out trist for the first time, but if you're serious about getting good with trist, this is something you must do).

  • Strategy- Mid/ late game

    Since mid game is so similar to late game, I have decided to combine both sections.


    -During mid game, you will be using the same attacking combo as in early game. However, you will ONLY be using it in a 1 on 1 battle, and when the enemy's allies aren't near.
    -Don't leave your allies alone! If you see an ally getting ganked or attacked, do what you can to help him. Harass the enemy so he leaves you and your ally alone. Also, 1 buster shot is allways worth an ally's life.
    -When fighting in a team fight mid game, keep auto attacking the enemy without using rocket jump. You should save your rocket jump when you need to escape and if there are fleeing enemies with severly low life.
    -Use your rapid fire when you know you can stand and keep shooting, and if the enemy is attacking you or an ally.
    -Never iniciate a team fight. Wait for your tank before you start attacking.
    -Make sure you are as far from the enemy team as possible. You have a passive. Use it.
    -The order of who you attack in a team fight will be squishiest to tankiest, most fed to least fed. (squishiest to tankiest is the priority, so even if the tank is the most fed, attack the carry).


    -As far as farming, This is where you should be getting lizard as much as possible. Make sure you are gtting the other nuetrals as well.
    -With right ward placement, you should have your eye on dragon throughout mid game. Either way, make sure you get dragon (with the help of teammates) as much as possible.
    -For help in gaining gold for your items, farming on creep waves and jungling nuetrals is a must.
    -Never give up a creep wave to jungle a wraith/wolf/golem camp. Creep waves are far more important (and gives more gold) than jungling those monsters.
    -Get Baron as soon as you can. One of the reasons many teams keep ignoring baron is because they think they cannot take him down. However, a normal team can take baron down as low as level 14. (an average team level).
    -Keep warding. You must ward late game as much as middle game. Keep wards next to dragon, baron, in river, etc.


    Since the "Ganking" section applies for both early and mid/late game, I have copied most of what I wrote in the early game section.

    -Ganking. This is the game phase where ganking will start to increase greatly (In fact, one of the signs of the early to mid game transition is when people start to gank. However, ganking still does take place in the early game phase).
    -Just the sheer fact that you decided to go to another lane to gank means that the enemies have low enough life for you to be able to kill them with your combo.
    -Therefore, when ganking, you will use your regular attacking combo.
    - Because you will be ganking from behind, buster shot can and should be used to knock the enemy back into your allies/ turret.
    -Inform your teammates if you plan to gank. If your ally is in grave danger or the enemy is extemely close to running away with his low health, you don't have to consult with your teammates because the time you spend typing might cost a life. (This is why we use vent).
    -When you reach the respective bush to gank, tell your allies to let the enemies push if they havent pushed
    enough. This esures ganking success because the farther the enemy has to run to his turret, the more time you
    have to kill them.
    -ALLWAYS ping before attacking. Sometimes pinging itself is a good enough way to inform your teammates you are coming to gank. Also when you are in the bush waiting for the gank, make sure to ping again as you spring out from the bush.
    -Note your rocket jump will end its cool down after you get a kill. This is great especially when ganking 2 or more champs because you can easily kill 1 champ and rocket jump to the next (or rocket jump away).


    -Mid game might just be the time where pushing is most important. Make SURE you are pushing as many lanes as you can. The more the enemy is stalled because there are minions attacking their turrets, the more you and your teammates can destroy the other turrets.
    -Whenever you have a chance, gather 1 or 2 teammates and start pushing a lane where the enemy first turret has not been destroyed. Even if there are a couple missing enemies, you have your teammates as back- up.
    -When pushing a second turret in mid game, it is better not to go with 1 or 2 allies but with 3 or 4. Also, make sure you know where your enemies are when you are pushing a second turret.
    -If you see the enemies grouped up or distracted in another lane, you can easily solo a side lane first turret. One creep wave is really all you need.
    -Protect your turrets! One of the main reasons teleport was a recommened mastery, was that you can easily teleport to one of your turrets being attacked. If there are minions attacking the turret, farm them. If there are enemies attacking the turret, try to harrass them if you can, and make sure you back away from a turret the enemies are close to destroying. Expecially if there are more than one enemy attacking the turret, the first thing they are going to do after they destroy the turret is attack the poor trist all alone next to the destroyed turret.

  • Techniques

    For the experienced Tristana. Note that these should be practiced on bots before done in a normal game (some can't be practiced on bots, so hope you can do it well).

    The Early Fb

    This is one of my favorite techniques because if u pull it off, you will have a huge head start on your enemy. Also note this will be easier to do the lower ELO you are.

    What you need: to perform this technique, there must be a squishy champion at mid (this will not work against a mord or a vlad). Also, the enemy must not have taken an armor or health giving item.

    How to do it: as soon as the minions start attacking each other, right click your enemy (instead of attacking minions) and if he doesn't back away, start shooting him. You can probably lower more than half your enemy's life by just a few shots. Also try to get an explosive shot in there. Now start last hitting minions until you reach level 2. At level 2 you will get rocket jump. If you know the amounts of damage/ mana costs your skills have, you can easily get an early first blood by surprising the enemy with your powerful skills at level 2.

    How it works: Tristana's damage early levels are surprisingly better than most any other champ, if you use her skill combo correctly. Therefore Tristana's attacks can easily bring down a squishy enemy easily, and her skill combo would be so sudden and uncalled for, the enemy would have no idea what hit them.

    Techniques to use if you took heal:

    The counter stun/ counter melee

    What you need: ignite and heal(heal is recommended, not mandatory), and an enemy champion at mid that stuns. Ex: ashe's arrow, tf's gold card, kennen's stun, etc. Also make sure your enemy has enough health for you to kill when he stuns. Note that this will also work against a melee ganker that is attacking you.

    How to do it: This can be a rather risky technique so have caution. This technique must be preformed after you are stunned. What you have to do when you're stunned is make sure the enemy is attacking or approaching you (if they stun you and just back away you will have to wait another time). Now when they stun you and start attacking, use you heal when you are about to die or when you think the stun will finish. After using the heal immediately jump on your enemy (with rocket jump) and start to use your skill combo. At early levels heal will heal you for a lot of health, and the great damage from your combo can easily wipe out a squishy champion.(not to mention the fact they had no idea what was coming)

    How it works: When you're stunned, the enemy basically feel "safe" aproaching and attack you, whether otherwise they would stay away from you. Now, the enemy does not know exactly when the stun is going to wear off, so using your rocket jump and laning a combo as soon as the stun wears off will leave your enemy in shock of how easily you countered their stun.

    The amazing tower diver

    What you need: ignite and heal, heal is not necessary but is greatly recomended. You also need to have pushed your minions so that they are attacking the enemy tower (don't intencially push your minions that far to preform the trick, but if you find yourself in a situation where your enemy isn't pushing or is very bad at pushing, you can use this trick)

    How to do it: This is a great technique to use but only if you are fairly experienced. Before using it in pvp, test it on bots and see how it works for you. What you need to do to make this succesfull is make sure your enemy has low enough health to be killed with maybe an ignite and buster shot, for example. After that, use your rocket jump to land next to your enemy (over the tower). quickly use your heal and use the skills you need to kill your enemy and quickly rocket jump back to safety (not the way you came, but through the other way)

    How it works: With the great range and quick, high damage burst trist has, you can tower jump and back with ease (as long as you practice it) with the help of rocket jump's cooldown reset.

  • Summary

    All in all, Tristana is a great carry that I think everyone should at least try. Even if you are losing horribly in the beginning, Tristana's massive damage and turret destroying skills can turn a game from an obvious loss to an unexpected win.

    Well, thank you for reading my guide and I hope you enjoyed it. I will make sure to update this guide frequently and answer your questions as soon as I can.

    Cheers, Ramp4rtz

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