Tristana Build Guide by Benadryl Jackson
Not Updated For Current Season
AP Tristana Mid/Bot/Top
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.
Introduction: Why AP Tristana?
Most summoners seem to think AP Tristana is the stuff of trolls, and with good reason! If I had a shot of Southern Comfort for every time I've seen a summoner feed with her, I'd be moderately drunk (an impressive feat indeed given my level of alcoholism).
But I digress -- my aim is to show you skeptical summoners that AP Tristana is a force to be reckoned with, and a viable threat even on the ranked fields of justice. Consider the following:
Just take a gander at those AP ratios, and notice that Rocket Jump resets on kills and assists. Now those are some fine ingredients for a potent glass cannon! Numbers aside, y'all should give her a try for one reason above all: she's some of the most fun Benadryl Jackson has ever had in the League.
For the most part you want to go mid lane, but top and bot are both surprisingly effective locations for AP Trist as well. The build remains the same for all lanes.
Not convinced? Watch this:
I could go on all day proselytizing Tristana's insane burst damage and exhilarating high-risk high-reward gameplay, but youtube videos speak louder than words. My video and written guide are intended to complement each other, and I recommend both to those who wish to master the ways of AP Tristana.
Normally I'm inclined to encourage personal flair in rune choice, but when it comes to AP Trist I must insist on what I've laid out. Given her impressive AP ratios, it makes plain good sense to go with AP runes. As for flat versus scaling seals/glyphs, consider the following:
The flat runes seem tempting for that early-game oomph, but the scaling runes become just as good once you hit level 6...and level 6 happens to be when you go ham. Furthermore, they will continue to grow and provide even more AP throughout the game, so the choice is clear: for seals and glyphs, scaling is where it's at.
I doubt anyone would complain about 21 points in the Offense tree, but the disagreements come on where to put the other 9 points. Some folks go for the Defense tree, which is alright, but I recommend Utility. AP Trist doesn't need that much mana, but when you go hoppin' around on a killing spree you will be glad you had that extra chunk from Masteries. A little goes a long way!
The famous Demacian philosopher Euripides once said: "'tis best for a summoner to approach the fields of justice sober and austere".
That's nice Euripides, but Benny Jack don't roll that way. Y'all know that BJ's first choice of drink is and always will be Southern Comfort, but when I play with AP Trist the occasion calls for something special. I recommend a jug of fine yordle spirits, preferably Megling moonshine if you can get it, otherwise Heimerweizen.
Abilities, and how to use them
In my video guide linked above I have several examples of these abilities in action. See below for more in-depth explanations.
First up we have Rapid Fire. You'll want to avoid this ability like the plague, and only level it when you have no other choice. It does have its place late game though: it's a way to get another activation out of Lich Bane, and is helpful for pushing down towers.
Second, we have Rocket Jump, Tristana's most iconic ability. This skill takes a lot of finesse and good judgment, as it is your only means of escape. The dream scenario is a cluster of enemies at low health, allowing you jump around like a mad bunny, resetting the cooldown with each kill/assist and decimating their ranks. Most of the time, you'll be jumping in, getting a kill, and jumping the hell out of there before the rest of your victim's team can kill you in retaliation. Look before you leap!
Next, we have Explosive Shot. This skill is deceptively strong, as it takes 5 whole seconds to run its course AND reduces healing by 50% during this time. Furthermore, its range is the same as your autoattack range, which (thanks to your passive Draw a Bead) only gets longer with each level. In lane, you'll want to use this skill every time the cooldown is up, constantly tagging your opponent. As an added bonus, enemies killed by your basic attacks explode, doing AOE damage. If you see an opponent standing near some low-health minions, exploit it!
Finally, we have your ultimate Buster Shot. Jesus Mary and Joseph, get a load of that 150% AP ratio! Besides being one of the strongest nukes in the game, it also has the added utility of pushing back the target and (very) nearby enemies. In a tight spot, this can be used to save yourself or an ally by knocking back your pursuers. If done correctly, Buster Shot can even knock opponents THROUGH walls.
Final Note: Don't be hasty when learning your first ability. If a level 1 teamfight breaks out, or you get caught, then learn Rocket Jump. Otherwise, get Explosive Shot so you can start dishing out the pain in lane ASAP.
As the icons suggest, you Rocket Jump in, use Deathfire Grasp on your target before landing, use Explosive Shot, then finally unleash the full force of your Buster Shot. Many opponents will be dead by now, but if need be, use your Ignite, then, upon securing the kill or assist, Rocket Jump to safety (or on top of another near-death enemy).
The Combo™ requires some fast fingerwork and a bit of practice to get down perfectly, especially in the chaotic heat of a teamfight. It's not easy, but damn is it satisfying, and the reward of doing some of the most insane burst damage in the game is worth it!
Final Note: Using Deathfire Grasp can be tricky, so I recommend putting it in the same item slot each game, and making sure that item slot is bound to a key you are comfortable with. In my case, a fully executed combo would look like: W-1-E-R-D, which is fitting, since Benadryl Jackson is as weird as they come.
Deathfire Grasp may look like some cheap voodoo tchotchke, but it's by far your best item. It gives you 120 AP, 10% CDR (which is significant given your long cooldowns), and the activated ability is insane. In addition to doing a sizable chunk of damage itself, it increases the damage done by the rest of your combo by 20%. Say your combo does about 1000 damage on its own (a reasonable amount to reach by level 7 or so). Deathfire Grasp will squeeze an extra 200 out of that, on top of the damage it already dealt!
Sorcerer's Shoes are the best kind of footwear for AP Trist. No other shoe contributes more to her burst damage, not even Nike Jordans.
Rabadon's Deathcap. Don't get me wrong, I dig the goggles look, but Tristana looks mighty fine wearing this badass Phrygian cap. In terms of providing raw, delicious AP, nothing beats this bad boy, and it should be high on your shopping list.
Lich Bane, more like Blood Stain. Because that's all that will be left of your enemies once you unleash the fury of this item upon them. The AP, mana, and movement speed are all well and good, but the Spellblade Passive is what you're really buying this item for. Think of it as yet another welcome addition to The Combo™. It also provides some help with taking down towers.
Void Staff. Just look at this jewel encrusted beauty and its magic penetrating goodness. You may be tempted to buy this sooner, especially if your enemies are packing on the magic resist. Still, you will get more bang for your buck by investing in the previously mentioned items first. Even if your opponent in mid lane tries to counter you early with magic resist, you can better outpace them by simply getting more AP instead of trying to counter their pitiful attempts at defense. Save this for late game.
Zhonya's Hourglass. If you're having trouble against some kind of AD champion in mid lane, it would be wise to invest in an early Seeker's Armguard. Even so, save the completion of this item for late game. The active ability, 120 AP, and 50 armor of the finished hourglass is great, but simply not as useful as other options early on. Another late game choice.
Liandry's Torment is the evolution of some creepy clown mask, and actually quite useful in certain cases. AP Trist's biggest counter isn't magic resist -- it's tons of health to survive her burst. If your enemies are going Team Warmogs and stacking health items, then grab this and poke them from afar, melting their health and preheating the oven for your eventual teamfight.
Your Evolving Role
At the start of the game, your primary goal is this: win your lane. Farm from a distance and tag your opponent with [explosive shot] every chance you get. With [rocket jump] you are practically ungankable, so it is best to save it for escaping and only use it offensively when you are confident you can kill. There are only a handful of champions that can stand up to your punishment. If you're good, many opponents will die once you hit level 6 (or sooner), and the rest will be forced back to base constantly, putting you at a strong experience and gold advantage.
Once you've established your dominance in lane, you need to start helping your team where applicable. You are an excellent ganker. Don't be afraid to roam around and help the other lanes -- you can even sneak through their jungle and jump from behind their own tower for a nasty surprise. Be wary of the knockback on Buster Shot when ganking, as you can push them to safety if you're not careful. Conversely, you can also push them into your allies for the kill!
Once you enter the mid/late game and teamfights start happening, you need to be very careful. Jumping into the middle of an enemy team is a great way to get killed before you can even cast all your spells. Generally, you want to poke with your Explosive Shot and wait for someone else to initiate. Once a fight breaks out, pick out your priority target, unleash your full combo on them, and jump the hell out. In the majority of cases, your priority target will be their AD or AP carry. Take them out at all costs!
Your Best Friend is Lulu
While AP Tristana is best mid lane, in the event that you go bot, Lulu is your best friend. Why? Whimsy That's why. Speeding you up so you can get into a good position to jump from is already nice, but the extra AP is what puts you over the top. Even at lower levels, Whimsy adds a significant chunk of damage to your combo, making Tristana and Lulu a killer duo. Plus she's a fellow yordle, and that's cool.
The path to mastering AP Tristana is no easy road, but those with the gumption to learn her secrets will find that it's a worthwhile and highly enjoyable approach to a classic champion. I hope y'all enjoyed my guide and were able to glean something from it. If I can introduce even a single summoner to the joys of AP Tristana then it will be worth it!