Tristana Build Guide by Templus
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.
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 Critstana?
Tristana is an excellent ranged dps due to:
- Highest innate attack range in the game at lvl 18 (by far). The next best is Caitlyn at 53 attack range less. Attack range only goes higher on other chars with temporary abils such as Kog-Maw's Bio-Arcane Barrage (only 8 more range) and Twitch's Ultimate (167 more range).
- Excellent escape or chase/initiate with her Rocket Jump and Ultimate: Buster Shot.
- Excellent farm with her E's passive.
- Massive attack speed boost on her Q.
- Innately counters regenerating characters with her E's active.
Starting the game with 18% Crit Chance from runes gives you a distinct advantage when laning. A few crits while harassing or trying to get kills will make all the difference in the world. Mid and Late game as well an addtional 18% Crit Chance from runes is extremely powerful compared to other rune choices, especially when combining them with additional crit items which work great on Tristana anyway. Once you have an Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer you will have a whopping 73% crit chance and be melting the enemy team with your damage. By late game you will have a massive 91% crit chance as well as tons of base damage, and you will basically critting every attack with your massive range, damage, and attack speed. This build is all about constant attack power from level 1 to level 18 while allowing for some tankiness and CC to slow so your enemies cannot escape once they get in your huge attack range.
- Excellent scaling of damage from lvl 1 - 18 through a high chance of crits.
- Allowing for some tankiness and very helpful CC with Frozen Mallet and Atma's Impaler.
- Huge attack range + frozen mallet = can attack from far away and they will have a hard time getting out of your attack radius.
- Squishies will melt.
- Somewhat countered by Thornmail as most ranged AD are, although the Bloodthirster and additional health helps.
- No Madred's Bloodrazor or Armor Penetration means you won't be able to melt high armor tanks easily, but your huge attack speed and crits will still prevent tanks from taking hits for very long. If the enemy team is very tanky you may want to consider swapping an item for a Bloodrazor.
- While frozen mallet gives you some health and Atmas some armor you don't have much magic resist or Tenacity / anti-cc. MR/Level runes help with this. Fortunately most mages will be very scared to get anywhere near you due to your ability to melt them in just a second or two, and your escapability between your Rocket Jump, Ultimate, and Frozen Mallet will let you keep your distance. Boots can also be swapped for Merc Treads.
Passive - Draw a Bead - This ability is the key to Tristana's destruction. This gives her massive attack range at level 18 letting you hang back and have a better choice of who you want to attack, melting any squishies that come anywhere near you. The attack range bonus scales as you level up, so keep in mind that your base attack range is 550, and at very low levels your attack range isn't nearly as high as high levels.
Rapid Fire - We max this out first due to its massive attack speed bonus. This ability really lets you dish out huge damage very quickly.
Rocket Jump - We take this ability first due to its obvious use in early on gap closing/cc and escape. Note that on kill / assist this abilities cooldown resets allowing you to use it again! Pro Tristana will always keep that in mind when using rocket jump aggressively.
Explosive Shot - The passive on this ability will let you push lanes and farm those big pushes up very easily. You don't necessarily want this to be too strong early on due to the fact that it will deal AE damage, pushing your lane whenever you last hit, but later on it will be excellent. Don't worry too much about trying to use the activated ability on this unless you are trying to prevent healing on your target. Your autoattacks should be stronger and longer range than this ability anyway.
Ultimate: Buster Shot - DO NOT USE THE ULTIMATE TO LAST HIT ENEMY CHAMPS - The difference between a pro tristana and a noob tristana is decided by the use of her ultimate. If you use the ult to try and grab the last hit, you may very well end up knocking the enemy champion to safety instead of picking up that last hit. You do a lot of attack damage anyway, don't use your ultimate, please. The only time you should use your ultimate is to either escape (knocking enemy champs who are focusing you away) or to knock a champion that your team can easily kill into your team. You will rarely be able to line up a good knock into your team, so mostly save your ultimate for escape unless that magic moment arises.
Flash - Obvious use as an escape mechanism as well as a gap closer. Potential to also use it to get behind a champion as to knock them towards your team (if you are safe enough in doing so and that magic moment arises).
Exhaust - Exhaust will give you some much needed aggressive CC (especially early game) as well as help against AD champions allowing you to melt them before they can melt you.
Crit Runes are KEY to this build.
Marks, Seals, and Quints should all be + crit chance giving you 18% crit chance at game start. Glyphs should be +MR/lvl as to give you some helpful MR.
Dorans Blade - Especially if you are being supported this is the way to go. Gives you +10 damage to assist in last hitting, as well as enough health that you won't insta-melt if attacked in lane. Oh the 3% lifesteal is nice too.
Boots of Swiftness - Why Swiftness boots? Mobility around the map as well as for chasing, escaping, and maintaining distance during fights is very important. Combining the movement speed from these boots and Phantom Dancer makes you very speedy. If a team has very high CC that you might be afraid of you can always swap these for Merc Treads.
Infinity Edge - Massive damage increase right off the bat from item #1. Build BF Sword first, Cloak of Agility second. Once you have an IE you will have lots of damage, stronger crits, and already have a 43% chance to crit.
Phantom Dancer - Great boost to your attack speed, crit chance, and movement speed giving you greatly increased damage through crit and attack speed as well as some more ability to chase / run away as well as keep your distance in fights. This is only your second big item, but when you are done building this you will have a huge 73% crit chance and be seeing those red crit messages dealing 350ish damage most of the time with your cracked out attack speed from the combination of this item and your Q.
Frozen Mallet - Why Frozen Mallet? At this point in the game you will notice that you deal a ton of damage, and are able to attack strays that wander into your huge attack range, but people will be able to just pop in and out of your attack range moving freely away from you once they see their health drop ridiculously from 1 hit. With Frozen Mallet you will hit them with your crazy damage and they will not be able to run away while your attack speed kicks in to drop them. The mallet will also give you some additional health and damage, and the health will give you some more attack damage when you finally build Atmas.
Bloodthirster - More attack damage? Lots of lifesteal? Great! If they built Thornmail this will help to combat against it, as well as give you some decent ability to regain health from your attacks.
Atma's Impaler - 73% crit chance still means about 1/4 of your hits don't crit. 91% crit chance means only about 1/10 of your hits don't crit. This item also synergizes with Frozen Mallet's additional health to give you some more damage (the damage from this item isn't calculated by mobafire so you actually have about 52 more AD than is listed at the top of this guide). You also have some added armor to keep you from getting shredded by ranged AD or gap closing melee DPS / assassins.
Note: If the enemy team is extremely armor/health-tanky you might want to consider swapping either Atma's or Bloodthirster for a Madred's Bloodrazor.
Early Game & Laning
You should be bottom lane, hopefully with some sort of support. You started with Rocket Jump so you can get away from any sticky situations at level 1, as well as push a possible level 1 first blood if you get some crits in. That said don't try to be aggressive. Focus on last hitting. If you can poke enemy champions to harass, do so as to keep control over the lane. If you notice that your poking is causing their health to progressively go down, do it more. A few "lucky" (18% chance) crits can really hurt them in lane and keep them at lower health so your jungler (that you hopefully have) can come in and finish them off with your help. Rocket Jump will also help a lot for gap closing and CC when the jungler arrives.
Mid Game & Team Fighting
Mid game you should have an Infinity Edge, Boots of Swiftness, and a Phantom Dancer. You have excellent movement speed and damage/crit. Absolutely keep farming, but also try to stick with the team. Your damage is very scary at this point, but you need someone tanky or able to CC to protect you. Stay behind your tanks, and keep an eye on who people are focusing their attacks on. You do not want to be focused. Save Rocket Jump and your ultimate as escape mechanisms unless victory is guaranteed or you are chasing.
You are extremely effective against squishies. Focus them if you can with your huge attack range and frozen mallet CC. You are not as effective against high armor tanks, only hit tanks if other characters are not in reach, or to slow them with frozen mallet. Your massive crits and attack speed fortunately will be able to hurt these tanks, but not as much as if you had built a Bloodrazor. Keep your distance and stay behind your tankier teammates. Fortunately you are not a glass cannon, and you have excellent escapability, so people will have a hard time focusing you while you melt the enemy team.