Build Guide by OmfgTheSky
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Not Updated For Current Season
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In this guide, I will go over basic gameplay mechanics and begin explaining the summoner spells, skill sequence, runes, item build, and [a simple early/mid/late game explanation LATER ON WHEN I'M NOT LAZY]. If you enjoy running up to enemies and beating their faces in with your fists/over-sized sword/lamppost, this guide is not for you. If you enjoy skill shots and global ults, this guide is not for you. If you enjoy massive AoE damage/team CC, this guide is not for you. However, if you enjoy tearing apart the opposing team's tank in a matter of seconds, dominating the squishies in a fraction of that time, and tearing through waves of minions all while staying relatively safe in the back lines, you've come to the right place. Tristana is considered one of the late game carries along with Twitch and Kog'maw, meaning that although her total build costs a little bit more than others, her maximum potential is seldom, if ever, reached.
Standard 21/0/9 build, shouldn't be rocket science there. The 9th point in utility is put into buff duration, as you need lizard buff throughout the entire game until you get your late, late frozen mallet.
I personally use Cleanse and Flash because these two abilities combined with rocket jump cause you to be extremely hard to kill. If I'm mid, I'll go with Ignite and Flash in order to get an early first blood. After the nerf, Exhaust no longer blinds the enemy and therefore no longer appeals to me. If you want early game kills, Ignite is a viable option, however, take into account that it becomes useless toward the late game, where Tristana truly shines. Teleport is useful if you find yourself blue pilling often, you'll lose less experience and farm faster with it. Personally, I'd choose Ignite over Heal anyday, just buy a Doran's blade for more burst power or a potion/vampiric scepter for more staying power. The rest of the summoner abilities may be good for other heroes, but not for Tristana.
Basically, you start off with E W Q E E and then the sequence is R->Q->E->W.
Some people may be wondering why E is taken first before the other two skills.
The reason is simple: Farming.
Tristana is a lane pusher, and without E, you might as well be Ashe or Caitlyn.
E is what gives you a farming advantage over other ranged carries, similar to Sivir's ricochet.
In addition, E in the early game gives you a huge DoT, which starts at 100 damage and increases by 25 every level.
Q is maxed before W because W should NEVER, I repeat, NEVER be used to engage. W is for one of three things:
1) Running away.
2) Chasing an enemy below 20% health.
3) Not engaging.
The extra attack speed from Q will upset the extra damage from W and surpass it in the mid to late game period.
Before I move on, let me quickly discuss Tristana's ultimate.
If you misuse her ultimate, your team will RAGEEEE at you.
If used correctly, your ultimate could mean the difference between a kill for you or a kill for the enemy.
The most basic thing you need to know is that R shoots the enemy away from wherever you are.
You want to either shoot them against a wall, or toward your teammates/turrets.
The only time you should be shooting them away is if
1) Someone's chasing you and you want to push them back.
2) A melee DPS is on you and you need some more time to smack him before he smacks you.
3) Someone's on top of your teammate and won't get off. AKA Malz ult and WW ult.
NOTE - After reading nand's Tristana Guide, I realize that it is better to put 2 or 3 points into Explosive Shot to help with minion farming and max out Rapid Fire before you finish Explosive Shot. The reasoning behind this is that even with level 5 Explosive Shot, you aren't going to 1 hit minion waves and in theory, your Rapid Fire skill combined with a lower level explosive shot would clear out waves faster than a low level Rapid Fire combined with a high level Explosive Shot combo. The DoT from Explosive Shot is only really valuable in the early game, unless you're trying to prevent healing. All in all though, two or three points, won't really affect the DoT, and I'll have to try skilling Rapid Fire before Explosive Shot sometimes.
Props to nand for a well-written guide. If you have an interest in reading specific laning techniques against certain characters, I suggest that you read his guide.
I go full on Crit Chance runes because it gives you around 15-20% crit without any items, which will give you a huge edge throughout the whole match. You don't need Armor Reduction because of Black Cleaver. Your Attack Speed will already almost be maxed at the end of the game, so you don't need that either. I find Crit Chance runes to be the most effective.
The two Mana Regen/Lvl runes are for that little extra that you may need. I noted that if those two runes are replaced with Malice ones, they would only give .5% Critical Chance, which doesn't even show up on the rune page. Since I was unsure whether that meant the runes wouldn't affect my Critical Chance or it was done for aesthetic purposes, I decided to be safe and just go for the extra Mana Regen. Those two runes along with your points in the utility tree should give you more than enough mana in the mid-late game period.
Nice build btw have you tried using crit damage runes instead of crit chance, it seems to result in higher dps.
Well the thing is, there have been calculations done somewhere in the forums, and I'll go dig those up sometime, but the general consensus is that Armor Pen > Crit Damage without IE but Crit Damage > Armor Pen when they have more than 100-150 armor, like Rammus.
Armor Pen is stronger than Crit Chance when the opponent's armor is 20-60 AFTER REDUCTION. This doesn't take into account the extra 50% damage from IE. However, critical damage becomes stronger than critical chance once your crit rate passes 60-70%, which isn't until the end game anyways, and in addition, 15-20% crit chance with 200% damage in the beginning is better than 5-10% crit chance with, let's say, 215% damage in the beginning. An Armor Pen/Crit Chance combo rune page would work in theory, but the 45 Armor Reduction from Black Cleaver will make your Armor Pen runes look like nothing anyways, and since minions don't have much armor to begin with, your Armor Pen wouldn't help you farm minis in the early-mid game, which is a must.
On another note, Flat Damage runes are generally considered weaker than Armor Pen UNLESS you are jungling or farming; however, because this is a critical build, Crit Chance runes will do more damage than Armor Pen against minions anyways.
IE build vs Damage Build
The reason I go IE rush is because I run this Crit Chance build, as Tristana doesn't need as much AS as other champions, so obviously it would either be full on damage with Armor Pen runes or a full on critical build.
I go with critical because if you think about it, IE gives 75 damage for 4k, comparable to Bloodthirster's 60-100 damage for a little over 3k. 250% of 75 damage is around 160-170 damage. This is assuming you crit 100% of the time, so it's safe to assume that with 40% crit (runes and IE), the damage would be in reality be around a 160% multiplier, rather than 250%. If we take this information and say the damage of IE is 160% from crits, IE gets a damage of around 120 compared to Bloodthirster's 100 for 1k more gold (disregarding the 15-20% lifesteal). However, the additional 160% from all other items and your base attack damage benefiting from IE isn't taken into account.
Take into account that after Phantom dancer is completed, your critical rate rises from 40% to 70% and your damage multiplier becomes around 205% assuming you have IE.
Therefore, if you rush Phantom Dancer after IE, your IE's damage becomes 75x205% which is 153.75 damage. Tack on 95-100 damage at level 16-18 (since level 18 is 99 damage, let's say 95 for convenience) and it comes out to 153.75+95x205% = 348.5 damage.
Therefore your total becomes 7k gold, your IE is 4k and your Phantom Dancer is 3k.
In a pure damage build, this would translate to either:
1a) A Phantom Dancer + Bloodthirster + Pickaxe(Placeholder for 1k gold) AKA 20%+30% of 100% bonus damage for crit (assuming runes are still crit chance) of 100+25 damage is 125x150% = 175 damage. Assuming base damage is around 95-100 at level 16-18, this comes out to 175+95x150% vs 153.75+95x205% AKA 317.5 vs 348.5 damage for IE (Same AS).
2a) Bloodthirster + Bloodthirster + Pickaxe AKA 295x120% damage vs 348.5 for IE (assuming base damage is around 95-100 at level 16-18), 354 damage 1.2 attack per second vs 245 damage 1.55 attacks per second = 424.8 damage/second vs 540.175 damage/second for IE.
Vampiric Scepter/Doran's Blade
If you're in mid, grab either the Doran's Blade for extra hp for an early first blood or the Vampiric Scepter if you need staying power against someone like Vladimir, otherwise if you're laning with another person, you can skip the blade and go straight for a Vampiric Scepter, which will save you around 250 gold.
Vampiric's lifesteal lets you stay in the lane and farm a bit longer, but the Doran's Blade gives you enough HP to jump in with your W and finish off the opposing squishy without too much risk of dying. If you die once or twice in early game, I suggest buying more Doran's, but never exceed 3, as you'll be replacing them.
If you need an extra 200 gold for something, sell your Doran's and use the money to buy it, but don't forget to replace it with a Vampiric Scepter when you return to base.
Berserker's Greaves are preferred, however, if you see that your opposing team has a lot of CC, feel free to swap them out for Mercury Treads (note that this may change your build later on). Boots of Swiftness are an option as well, if you want to have that little extra speed to chase with, but Phantom Dancer should make up for it. If the other team's got a bunch of melee, feel free to use Ninja Tabi, which works with your Dodge Chance runes, giving you a total of around 19% dodge, or a 1/5 chance.
This is a staple in your build, your critical chance runes are for the 250% damage that IE provides. Once this is completed, you begin to become quite scary to the enemy.
This is for the extra attack speed/critical chance since Last Whisper is no longer valuable after the change.
This is your replacement to last whisper, 3 attacks will net you a decrease of around 45 armor, which is 45% of 100, more than what a Last Whisper would have gotten you.
In addition, it gives 55 extra attack and bonus attack speed on top of that, which is like a cherry on top of a cherry on top of a sundae you're eating in the new limo in the garage of your new free mansion in Beverly Hills.
That extra 30% attack speed combined with the 55% from Phantom Dancer, 25% from Berserker Greaves, and the 90% from your Rapid Fire skill gives you maximum attack speed at level 18.
But if you're content with being a little bit under, you could always go straight for a Frozen Mallet/Bloodthirster or if you still want the Armor Pen, go for the cheaper Last Whisper.
However, if you did not get Berserker Greaves then I recommend buying a Sotd instead to max out your attack speed.
More HP + Slow = Scarier Midgets.
Please Note: This item can be gotten after The Bloodthirster if you aren't dying a lot to focus fire and want to get a little more damage in.
Your Vampiric Scepter after 'roids.
Stark's Fervor is for its aura, which is good for supporting teammates if you're not the only DPS on your team.
The extra Attack Speed is also good if you decided to skip a Black Cleaver and go straight for a Frozen Mallet/Bloodthirster earlier in the game.
If you're the only physical carry, getting a Stark's is usually pointless. At this point, you should be obliterating minion waves with ease, causing Bloodthirster stacks to multiply like rabbits.
Yeah, your Bloodthirster's hot for anything that's not on your team.
Second Phantom Dancer
Swap out your boots with this and you'll have 100% crit chance.
Getting annoyed of Teemo's blind?
Are you hating Karthus' ult?
Is Lux's Kamehameha hitting you once too often?
Buy a Banshee's Veil and solve all of your troubles!
Sword of the Divine/Madred's Bloodrazer
If you want to be a magic+physical DPS, these two items are the best.
They both provide extra attack speed, as well as lovely bonus magic damage, which has perfect synergy with Trist's insane attack speed.
Madred's is for eating through tanks that stack HP, such as Cho, making them cry "Wtf OP."
Does that freaking Rammus have over 150 armor? Buy a last whisper today!
After the nerf, % armor reduction is applied AFTER physical, rendering this item much weaker than it was previously.
Therefore I suggest getting The Black Cleaver before, or instead, of this item.
I eat the mages.
Deals 42 magic damage per hit in addition to draining mana in comparison to Sotd's 25 per hit.
NOTE - In regards to the new Black Cleaver vs new Last Whisper vs Sword of the Divine, remember that Last Whisper is no longer a viable option unless you're facing an armor ***** like Rammus with upwards of 150 armor.
40% of 100 armor is 40, which is less than Black Cleaver's 45 Armor Reduction.
I know that Black Cleaver costs 1k more than Last Whisper, but it gives an additional 15 attack and 30% attack speed as well as 45 armor reduction against anyone in their entire team, squishies included.
It's a viable replacement for a Sotd which, not including the 25 bonus magic damage per hit, pales in comparison in almost every way (disregarding the rare case that you would need the anti-dodge against Jax).
30 Armor Reduct from Sotd is 15 less than Black Cleaver, which will probably make up for that 25 damage lost in passive magic damage.
However, you may be wondering "what about the 60% AS that it gives against 30% for Black Cleaver?"
The answer is simple: Tristana has a little over 1.2 attacks per second at level 18.
With rapid fire adding 90% to that, Berserker's Greaves adding 25%, and Phantom Dancer adding another 55% to that, you're met with an attack speed of around 2-2.3 attacks per second.
Adding 30% from Black Cleaver maxes this attack speed at 2.5 attacks per second (if rapid fire is on).
Therefore the extra 30% attack speed is wasted from Sotd (if you have berserker greaves) and for 1000 more gold, you get 55 bonus damage from Black Cleaver, a little over half the price of a 50 attack B.F. Sword.
With this information, I conclude that The Black Cleaver is a better item than Sotd if you utilize Rapid Fire effectively is about on par with Last Whisper because of differing costs. What buy would probably be situational.
Early Game: TBA
IF YOU ARE THE MID:
IF YOU ARE NOT MID:
NOTE: Remember that your E+Ignite combo deals over 200 damage during the early game, not including damage from W and auto-attacking. If your enemy is around 300 hp and you can pull them out a little bit from their turret, you can jump in for a quick kill. Once you get your ultimate up, you can Rocket Jump in, DoT, Ignite, then ult them away for a nice amount of damage without taking too much yourself.
Mid Game: TBA
Late Game: Rape enemies, get money.
Basically, what you want to do is STAY BEHIND YOUR TANK and DON'T USE W TO ENGAGE. Good luck and have fun, any comments are welcome (: