Welcome to my guide. This is my first one, so I apologize in advance if you find there is anything in you don't like. I'm writing this guide because I get a lot of **** from teammates in champ select when I choose AP Tristana, but more often than not they are apologizing to me by the end of the game. With this guide I hope to enable more people to play AP Tristana well so that I can get some slack during champ select.
Firstly, I must emphasize that AP Tristana is very volatile. Because her ratios are so high, it's easy to get a few easy kills in lane, but most people who play AP Tristana don't know how to follow up once laning phase is over and when the opponents start getting more magic resist. I've had a lot of success with Tristana, originally as an AD crit carry, but after exploring other builds, I've found that AP Tristana can be extremely successful as well in the right hands.
Now that you've seen my credentials, I must forewarn you that this build is very unique and many people will disagree with many aspects of it. But this is something that has been extremely successful for me and I hope you'll give it a try. I'll do my best to explain my reasoning behind the unorthodox runes, masteries, and items.
(i intend to change this when i get updated pictures for my credentials)
Why AP Trist?
First of all, AP Tristana is VERY fun to play. Without fail, there's always at least one teammate who laughs when they see a full health Annie die before she has time to react.
Secondly, her damage is INSANE! Sure, lots of people can burst down a squishy Annie, but I have caused many Singed and Mordekaiser players to rage as well as I burst them to death from full health. Her AP ratios are very high, and for good reason: If she doesn't kill her target, you're most likely to die. So in order to keep AP Tristana viable, Riot gave her the ratios she needs to successfully perform her role as an anti-carry.
However, it is imperative that you get items so you can continue to kill champions with your burst. The addition of Deathfire Grasp is what made AP Tristana viable as it alone can secure kills with a well executed kill combo.
Pros / Cons
Crazy AP ratios
Incredibly burst damage
Good at whittling towers
Great harass/deny mechanisms
You will never need a gank
Rocket Jump cooldown freshes on kill or assist
Susceptible to cc
Primarily single target until late game
Your teammates may not be so understanding
New masteries.. Well, the new tree is certainly good, but I dislike it for a few reasons. The lack of health/mana regen in the lower utility is pretty noticeable at lower levels. You won't be able to spam your combo as soon as your ult is off cooldown anymore. Also, other mages are starting to spec down the offense tree so you need to be careful of their burst as well.
On the flip side, this mastery tree is much more beneficial to AP Trist. Just go down the right side of the offense tree to maximize AP and damage. Havoc is still a must. I take one point in Summoner's Wrath as opposed to a fourth point in Mental Force because I use Ignite in the beginning of my kill combo and the extra 5 AP is more helpful than just the 1 from Mental Force. The runes no longer mean you'll be sitting just above the x00 AP mark when you start getting items, so it should be okay to substitute some of the AP runes. I will update this after further experimentation.
The remaining 9 points are taken in defense. The first tier you can distribute it in magic resist or armor as you please, but make sure you take the extra health through Veteran's Scars. It'll help your durability quite a bit.
Draw a Bead This is Tristana's passive, which increases your autoattack range with every level. Don't underestimate this ability! Once you get to level 9 or so, you can just pop off auto-attacks without being hit back unless you're facing a champion like Caitlyn or Kayle. Once you have your Lich Bane, this becomes a lot more useful in teamfights where you can sit back and throw 600 damage nukes at the enemy from a safe distance.
Rapid Fire You can get a point in this early if you force your opponent back enough to get some good time on their tower. I wouldn't get more than one point in this though, or it will hurt your burst considerably. It comes more into play once you finish Lich Bane.
Rocket Jump This baby is AMAZING. The cooldown refreshes every time you score a kill or assist. If an enemy is sitting under their tower with 300 health, you can Rocket Jump in, fire Buster Shot to kill, and Rocket Jump out safely 300 gold richer. In team fights, you can jump in, score a kill, and use the AoE damage repeatedly to put TONS of damage on the enemy team. You can potentially use it 5 times in one team fight. If you are doing 750 damage each time, you're looking at 3850 AoE damage in a matter of mere seconds. Insane!
You can also use it to jump over walls and escape ganks. What more can you ask for? At level 9 with a DFG and runes, you can use this baby every 10 seconds. Amazing!
Use Rocket Jump on creeps when you want to push your lane or clear minions quickly, but be careful of using it when the enemy team is MIA. A good jungler will come in to gank you when you've used your Rocket Jump, meaning you have no escape for about 12 seconds.
Explosive Shot This is your primary harass tool. You can also use it in combination with Ignite. A lot of times, people will walk away with 600 thinking they're safe, only to drop dead 5 seconds later. Don't underestimate the power of this 1:1 AP Ratio.
Buster Shot Your kill shot. I usually use it regardless of whether it kills or not, because if you don't kill them, you want to be as far away from them as possible so they can't kill you. If you have the right items and you are paying attention to what items they have, you should almost always get the kill with this 1.5 AP ratio.
During lane phase, you can also use this to harass. The range for Buster Shot is slightly longer than the range for Explosive Shot, so just walk up to your enemy and do a E+R+auto-attack to harass them for a good portion of their health. Once it's off cooldown, execute your kill combo to pick up a kill.
The Kill Combo
This build heavily relies on getting lots of kills. Here's how you do it.
At level 1: Explosive Shot+AA
At level 2-5: Rocket Jump+ Ignite+ Explosive Shot+AA - Remember you CAN cast Ignite and Explosive Shot while you are in the air for Rocket Jump.
At level 6+: Rocket Jump+ Ignite+ Explosive Shot+AA. When they are just about the walk out of range (or if they happen to drop below 300hp), use Buster Shot for the finishing blow.
Once you have your Deathfire Grasp, you can incorporate this into your kill combo as well. Cast Deathfire Grasp while you're in the air Rocket Jumping to your opponent. The reason you cast it first is because it does damage equal to a percent of their CURRENT health. You want the active ability to hit your opponent before you land your Rocket Jump for maximum damage.
Once you have your Lich Bane, you're going to start using your Rapid Fire to get an extra proc. It takes practice to get the timing down, but this is how it should generally go:
Nothing survives this combo:
Rocket Jump towards your opponent, casting Deathfire Grasp and Ignite in the air. Attack your opponent once to get your Lich Bane to proc. Attack once more. Use Explosive Shot, then immediately cast Buster Shot, firing an auto-attack behind your ult for a second Lich Bane proc. Chase your opponent with autoattacks, and before your third autoattack hits, use Rapid Fire for a third Lich Bane proc.
No opponent has ever survived when hit by this combo, even when I had exhaust on me. How much damage does it do? Let's run some numbers.
Let's assume you have 500AP (you'll probably have more realistically in an endgame build). Your Deathfire Grasp will do 47.5% of his current health in damage (before resists). Ignite will do 410 in true damage. Rocket Jump deals 650 damage. Your Lich Bane will deal 500 damage. Explosive Shot will deal 730 damage, and Buster Shot will deal 1250. Your second Lich Bane should proc now for an additional 500.
Even without your Deathfire Grasp, you've done over 4000 damage to your enemy in under 4 seconds. Depending on the health of your opponent, the DFG can add anywhere from 1000 to 2000 extra damage. If they somehow manage to survive this combo, you can proc your Lich Bane a third time with Rapid Fire for an extra 500 damage.
These are the numbers for only 500 AP. With Baron buff and Taric or Sona on your team, you can have over 700 AP bringing your burst from 6000 damage to 8400. Not even a 6 Warmog's Armor build can withstand that burst!
Ignite is an imperative spell to your arsenal. In the endgame, in combination with Explosive Shot, you should be doing 1000+ damage over 5 seconds. The enemy will waddle away thinking they survived your burst, only to drop dead seconds later. This can also help secure early game kills. The additional 10AP is helpful, adding a total of 203 damage to your combo at level 6 including the burn damage.
Teleport is my spell of choice. With good map awareness and Rocket Jump, I'm not too keen on taking Flash, but it is a very good choice. But with Teleport you can gank lanes or buy items and get back before you lose too much CS or experience in lane. I try not to go back to buy items unless my Teleport is off cooldown for this reason. Every time you buy an item, your damage increases considerably so I try to go back to buy quite frequently in the early game. Also, in the late game, you can Teleport to a pushed minion wave and knock down towers very quickly with Lich Bane and Rapid Fire.
The only other spells I have ever taken have been Flash and Cleanse. Against a cc heavy team, Cleanse can help you secure your escape after assassinating a target. Flash is probably the best spell out there, but with Rocket Jump, it's not a necessity. Although, every time I have taken Flash, I have never been disappointed. It makes you nearly unkillable. Nobody can chase you if you Rocket Jump away, Buster Shot them away, and Flash through a wall or into a bush.
Exhaust is decent if you're up against a champion that can put out tons of damage. I like having Exhaust against LeBlanc as it will help you identify which is the real one after her passive procs. It also guarantees she can't counter-burst you and steal your First Blood.
The other spells are just not good for the type of champion you're playing so let your teammates pick up Clairvoyance, Fortify, Heal, Rally, or whatever else they decide to pick. They're not really terrible spells by any means, but it just doesn't benefit your champion personally as much as the above mentioned ones.