Tristana Build Guide by tripc0de

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

League of Legends Build Guide Author tripc0de


tripc0de Last updated on September 30, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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This is my first guide on Mobafire, introducing the very fun AP Tristana. Why this works: amazing ap ratios on Explosive Shot and Buster Shot. Cleans up teamfights with the repeating Rocket Jump(decent ratios too!). Can still solidly push towers and creeps-without lichbane procs.

Anyways, Ap Tristana is great at controlling teamfights, Single and AOE nuking, and has great escapes. It is viable in ranked, just not top tier compared to Brand or other hard-control mages, due to mana costs.

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Why AP Tristana?

So why do we play her AP Tristana?

-Long ranged easy farmer for that cs early and midgame due to Draw a Bead.

-Can push towers easily even though a mage due to the 90% attackspeed steroid Rapid Fire.

-Low CD team controlling nuke Buster Shot: 36 seconds at 40% CDR, does 1.5x ratio, at level 6 this ability wins you the lane hands down.

-All of her abilities save q scale very well with AP.

-W, Rocket Jump refreshes on assist, or kill, does great aoe damage and makes farming super easy when combined with E Explosive Shot passive.

-With Ignite, masteries, a full combo and IF needed, Sheen/LichbaneLichbane , almost any enemy can be bursted down from full hp/

-The active on Explosive Shot is 1:1 ratio and does a ton of DOT.

-Can easily become a hybrid AD carry by taking a Madred's Bloodrazor at anytime due to her passive and Rapid Fire.

-Amazing escape ability. Rocket Jump is like a personal flash. With flash combined, you cover a ton of distance.(1125 total if I'm not mistaken.)

-Works great in duo, solo, or mid lanes because of escapability and great early game.

- Explosive Shot has a decent range and a very low mana cost for a 1:1 single target nuke active.

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Summoner Spells

There are 4 main spells you want ever.

Ignite- This is the bread to your butter. Against those pesky healers, running enemies, that extra burst. Good in general for everything.

Exhaust- Survivability, severely hinders DPS champs. Pick vs a heavy ad team.

Ghost-You might choose this over Flash. Dont. You may replace Ignite or Exhaustfor even easier escapes.

Flash- If Ignite is bread, then Flash is your butter. Amazing escapes, and you can even initiate using Rocket Jump, Buster Shot, then Flash out.

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I go the standard caster 9/0/21.



The important thing here is to take the 15% spell penetration from Archaic Knowledge in Offense masteries.

If you opt to take Exhaust over Ignite, you can take Cripple over Deadliness .


Row 1:
Perseverance is a must for the early lane sustain.
Haste over Good Hands if you plan on taking Ghost AND Flash.

Row 2:
Awareness for the exp.

Row 3:
Meditation as Tristana has a pretty ****py mana regen/pool stats.
1 in Greed and 1 in Utility Mastery or Alternatively, 2 in Utility Mastery .
I do the former because I like the money, it adds up to 3 free ward in a normal length game.(MAP AWARENESS!)

Row 4
Quickness , Movespeed is essential, gives you a little more escapability and chasing.
Improved Flash, You. Want. This. Rocket Jump in, Buster Shot a target, Flash out.

Row 5
Intelligence -6% CDR goes a long way, especially since Tristana has decently long cdr's earlygame.

Row 6
Presence of the Master -Faster Flash, faster Ignite, faster Exhaust and Ghost.

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Standard Caster Runes.


Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration

Greater Quintessence of Health
Greater Mark of Magic Penetrationx9-High CD on skills, so make them count! Magic pen hurts.
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regenerationx9- Your mana pool is tiny and gets used up fast. This counteracts that.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Powerx9- More AP. With great ratios, you can't go wrong!

Greater Quintessence of Health- If you feel safer with more starting hp for that buffer and survivability.
Greater Quintessence of Magic Penetration- If you want to hit harder earlier on.

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Draw a Bead

Increases Tristana's attack range as she level's up. With this passive your range generally outstrips all mages, save for and ults. Feel free to sit back safely and farm your cs away.

Rapid Fire

As AP Tristana, this skill isn't in use very much except for taking down towers, or farming a creep wave easily. If you do finish off AP Tristana with a Madred's Bloodrazor however, you can act as a pseudo carry with this Q skill.

-Make sure you don't get caught if you do decide to go that route! Remember, you're a mage, not a dps carry!

Explosive Shot

This skill is amazing. The DoT single target nuke with a 1:1 ratio and low mana costs.
At around 35-40 minutes you should have close to 500 AP. What does that mean?
Well, 230 base +500=730 DoT. Now with your voidstaff and Mpen runes, this results in a slow but sure kill over 5 seconds.

The passive allows for easy lane harass in early levels without using mana. In early levels, following the rune masteries, if the passive hits the opposing champ, you'll be hitting for near 100 hp before MR is factored in.

-The downside is that this skill only has an active range of 550.

Rocket Jump

I love this skill. AOE nuke, gap closer, escape move, finisher, and your CC rolled all into one.
With a range of 650, and an effective radius of 150, Rocket Jump is great for finishing off enemies, or just to put that ignite on them. Rocket Jump has a higher range than Flash! Oh heck, it even slows them down by 60% for 2.5 seconds to let your teammates/jungler to catch up to them!

It also has amazing AP ratios. 80% for an AOE. Again, using 500 AP, this translates to a total of 250 base +400=650 Per jump, before MR/MPEN is factored in.
Effectively, expect instant kills at 400 HP.

On top of all that, it instantly refreshes on Kill or Assist.

Rocket Jump makes for easy and great lane harass. Can't get into range for your Explosive Shot? W-E. Simple as that.

The downside? Rocket Jump is bloody difficult to use in a teamfight. You really have to know when/how to go in.

Buster Shot

Your ultimate. 60 second cooldown, amazing damage, controls lanes and teamfights like a boss.
-At full 40% CDR, this gives it an effect CD of 36 seconds, second to Lux's Finales Funkeln.
-Again using 500 Ap, 500 base + 750=1250. Effective instant kill of 800-900 HP after MR/Mpen.

In early game lane, a full combo of Rocket Jump+ Explosive Shot+ Buster Shot+ Ignite
will finish off almost any mid champ, level 6 vs level 6. Remember to W-E-R instead of W-R-E!

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Pretty basic. Max out and alternately. Put points in whenever possible. is the last skill you want to max.

First,1 point in Explosive Shot for the passive and active nuke/harass.

Then 1 point in Rocket Jump for the escape, cc, gap closer, etc.

Alternate between the two until level 5, where 1 point in Rapid Fire helps to take down towers.

At level 6, 1 in Buster Shot!

From there, you want to max out your Explosive Shot, followed by Rocket Jump and points in Buster Shot whenever possible.

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Core Build

Item Sequence

Boots of Speed

Hextech Revolver

Ionian Boots of Lucidity

Needlessly Large Rod

Blasting Wand

Rabadon's Deathcap


Lich Bane

Void Staff

Hextech Gunblade
Total Core Item Cost: 14175

Phase 1

VS Mages
Start with Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion. (unless you're confident enough to start with Doran's Ring
General Build
Start with Doran's Ring.

Phase 2

From there, you can either rush Hextech Revolver, Dorans Ring, Frostfang or Needlessly Large Rod.

Phase 3

You want to rush your Rabadon's Deathcap ASAP.

Phase 4/5

Nearing the end! Hextech Gunblade,or Sheen + Void Staff.

Phase 6

Your final core item is Lich Bane.

Optional Slot

Item Sequence

Guinsoo's Rageblade

Zhonya's Hourglass

Madred's Bloodrazor

With your free slot, you can grab Banshee's Veil, Madred's Bloodrazor (My pick IMO, tank destroyer with your Rapid Shot, Deathfire Grasp (My second fav choice) Guinsoo's Rageblade. or Zhonya's Hourglass.

-If you decide to get Deathfire Grasp, rush a Frostfang, skip Hextech Revolver, grab your ionian boots, then go directly to Rabadon's Deathcap. Do not Pass go, do not collect $200.
Pick up as many sight ward as possible on the way, and cap your build off with Elixir of Brilliance.

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So, since you're AP, early laning gets a little harder to calculate for the last hits as you're lacking the offensive masteries and a Doran's Blade.

Mid lane is best, your range generally lets you farm safely vs many other casters. Play passive as possible and just focus on farming.

At level 1,
Harass with Explosive Shot whenever they get in range, but don't go out of your way to do so.

At level 2,
You pick up Rocket Jump. This lets you harass harder, but make sure you have Flash up no matter what.

At levels 3-5,
Focus on farming. Harass whenever possible, but make sure you save enough mana at level 5 for your full combo at level 6. Ignite for a kill only when you're sure you can kill.

At level 6,
Now it gets fun. Your arsenal is complete. Here's some basic math-crafting. You should have close, if not, 50+ ap.

With a full combo of Rocket Jump + Explosive Shot + Buster Shot + Ignite,
This gives you 207 + 230(DOT/5) + 375 + 170(True)= 982
This means effectively at 750 hp, a full combo blast is guaranteed kill (following proper runes and items).

Remember, you can also Flash then Rocket Jump towards them for your combo-wombo.

Remember your Buster Shot is on low cd. This should be your main harass now. Always save enough for a Rocket Jump to get away.

Of course harassing is fun, but your farm had better be more than your opponents.
At level 6, your auto-attack range is longer than most mages, and should be able to control creep lanes effectively.

At level 9
Effectively, teamfights are starting, sporadically or otherwise. If your opponent initates a teamfight, blast their tank away. See a lone carry to your team? Rocket Jump and Buster Shot them. Cleaning up? Rocket Jump. You'll hop like the energizer bunny.

If for some reason its still full on laning phase, clear your creeps then go gank. You should be in and out of your lane, your Buster Shot is great for ganks. Make sure to communicate.

Mid Game(10-14)
Poke whenever possible in teamfights, Buster Shot them if they're trying to defend a tower. Keep farming, decide if you need Madred's Bloodrazor to fill a gap in AD.
Coordinate ganks, communicate.

Late game(15-18)
You should be able to faceroll any squishy, except for maybe Kassadin. Same thing as others in teamfights, Buster Shot their formation when you get a chance, use Explosive Shot and stay out of range, auto-attacking whenever possible. With Madred's Bloodrazor You can destroy tanks and still have the burst for squishies.

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Things you don't want to do (or do to troll)

-Blow enemies out of ults like Galio, Amumu, Nunu, Morgana ETC.

-Jump into a team full of CC that isn't down.

-Never ward, ever.

-Don't type in chat about your upcoming ganks, ever.

-Don't ping for help or to communicate.

-Don't overextend and bait your team.
There's more, but I think I get the point across.

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I did this guide because Ap Tristana is amazingly fun and good to play. People say she's bad but she's not.

Late game she can instant-gib a squishy with her Buster Shot, due to amazing scaling.

She's already got a great early game, which most mages lack, and her late game is amazing due to ap scaling and team control. Heck, she can even wreck tanks when she has Lichbane and or Madred's Bloodrazor if you're farmed to Kablooey.

I hope you've enjoyed my guide! Post questions to get them answered!