Tristana Build Guide by Youngs

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Youngs

Jungle Tristana: Carrying Yo' Momma

Youngs Last updated on August 12, 2013
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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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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indentI'm Youngs, I play Jungle Tristana, and I'm currently in Gold Division II. I play all roles in ranked but I like to play AP Mid the most. I'm also the author of the MOBAFire guide, "Support Ashe: Carrying Your Team's ***".
indent Tristana has always been an insanely strong pick. With high base damage early game and massive range lategame, Tristana is a champion that dominates games. She's most commonly found as an AD Carry in bot lane, and some people like to play her as an AP Carry mid. However I believe her true potential is in the jungle. With two aoe waveclears, inescapable ganks, and the ability to kite the jungle camps, Jungle Tristana is a massive threat. In the Jungle she is capable of carrying even the heaviest teammates.

Including Yo' Momma.

If you don't own Tristana you can get her for free here.

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Why is Jungle Tristana Viable? Pros/Cons

These are the strengths and weaknesses of playing Tristana as a jungler.
  • +Two AoE abilities
  • +High base damage on abilities
  • +Strong ganks w/ Rocket Jump and Buster Shot
  • +Ranged
  • +Another carry in teamfights
  • -Squishy
  • -Can be bursted down while ganking
  • -Slow clear time before first recall
  • -No built-in sustain
  • -Teammates rage at you

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AP vs. AD

indent Tristana can be built either as a bursty AP Caster or an AD Carry. In this chapter I will go into detail about when you should build AP and when you should build AD. Here's some basic information about the strengths and weaknesses of both builds:

Building Tristana AP is often seen as a risky choice, but is considered viable by many. I see an AP Tristana as a champion very similar to LeBlanc. Early and Midgame this will dominate because of the high base damage, scaling, and burst on her abilities. However just like LeBlanc, she can only offer single target burst lategame, unless you Rocket Jump in which is almost always suicide. 2 single target abilities lategame means nothing. So essentially: AP Tristana is a good choice if you're going for high damage early and midgame and your team won't rely on you lategame.
AD Carry is the most popular build for Tristana. Her attack speed steroid and massive range make her very strong lategame. However, autoattacks don't mean much until lategame. The meta for early game and midgame are abilities. AD Carry Tristana's midgame usually falls off because she doesn't have any abilities that scale off of AD. Therefore, building Tristana as an AD Carry is weak midgame but strong lategame.
Now let's think about what this information means for a jungler. When you play jungle, two things happen.
  1. You don't get as much farm as a solo lane.
  2. Your team relies on you early and midgame the most because they need ganks.
Both of these things favor building Jungle Tristana AP. This is because the standard AD Carry build relies on a lot of gold. The effectiveness of a Phantom Dancer relies on having an Infinity Edge, and the effectiveness of an Infinity Edge relies on a Phantom Dancer. In short, autoattacks are indeed the meta lategame, but that's only because it takes a lot of items for autoattacks to be effective. As a jungler, you won't have enough money to buy many items. Therefore it makes more sense to itemize for your abilities rather than autattacks. Also because your team relies on you early and midgame, you want to itemize for early and midgame. Since an AD Carry build isn't that good until lategame, AP seems like the way to go.
Even so, I personally can't endorse building AP Tristana over AD Tristana, even if you're jungling. MOBAFire user embracing said on the forums, "You fit roles around champions not champions around roles." I think AP Tristana falls off too hard late game to be played in ranked, but considering that I'm writing a guide for Jungle Tristana, I'm not in the proper position to criticize.

So ultimately, it comes down to whether or not you believe AP Tristana is viable

...and you should also take your team comp into consideration when you make the decision of whether or not you choose to build AP. Optimally you want 2 AP Champions and 2 AD Champions on a team (Not counting support). This means that if you have an AP mid and an AD top, playing AP Tristana will make it harder for enemies to itemize against your team. It goes the other way around too. If you have an AP mid and an AP top, building Tristana AD would be for the best.

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Kiting The Jungle- How to take little damage while clearing

indentThere are very few ranged champions that are commonly played in the jungle, and because of this, not many players are aware of tricks you can use to kite the jungle camps. By splitting up the camps and kiting them, you can compensate for your lack of sustain and keep jungling without worrying about being executed.

indentHere are some short guides on how to outplay each jungle camp. This is probably the most important thing to take away from this guide. Tristana's jungling in the first few levels is fairly weak and this will prevent you from being executed in the jungle, as well as give you a bit of extra health for ganking later on.

Important: If you don't know what kiting is, click here.


I usually start my route at Red Buff and ask for a smiteless leash. This is very straightforward. I made a mistake here and I forgot to use my Rocket Jump, which would have saved me a few seconds autoattacking the small minions in the camp.


Regular leash? No problem- I still don't even have to waste my smite on red buff. In the case that my team decides to give me a regular leash I use kiting methods to kill the Lizard Elder without burning smite. Here's how to kite red buff:Purple X: This is where you start.
Blue Line: Walk along this imaginary line while kiting Lizard Elder .
Green Lines: If you pass these green lines you'll lose aggro from the Lizard Elder and it will start healing. Don't walk past the green lines.
Red X: This marks the point where you want to hop over the Lizard Elder 's back with Rocket Jump. You want to hop over it but at the same time have the edge of Rocket Jump's explosion radius hit it. This way more damage is done to it and the 60% slow will make it very easy to kite it. Also at this point the small lizards should be standing right behind the Lizard Elder . This means that when you hop behind it's back and it tries to chase you, it will have to walk around the small ones, making it even more vulnerable to kiting.

This probably makes no sense at all so here's a GIF of me kiting it

You may not be able to do this perfectly on your first try but if you just 1v1 Red Buff in some custom games you'll get the hang of it.

This is useful knowledge because:
  • If you don't get a smiteless leash you still don't have to use smite.
  • You can kite Lizard Elder the next time it spawns.
  • Knowing how to kite will also affect your AD Carry games.
  • If your jungle is invaded you won't need a leash.
  • If you start at Blue Buff you can save yourself some health by kiting.

Here's a GIF of me killing the Wraith s.
As you can see I hit them with my Rocket Jump first. What I do next is I hit the smaller wraiths first because the AoE effect from Explosive Shot does more damage to the blue wraith than your actual autoattack. This is because the Wraith has 0 magic resist but 15 armor, so killing the small wraiths for Explosive Shot's magic damage AoE is more effective than right clicking on the big Wraith . Also it's hard to see but I cast Explosive Shot's active effect on the big wraith.
Blue Buff has the slowest movement speed and slowest autoattack animation. Because of this, it is insanely easy to kite. The only problem is that if you kite it too hard and it doesn't hit you for ~5 seconds, it will start to walk away from you and heal. What I do is I autoattack it twice and then let it hit me once so this doesn't happen.Purple X: At this point I hop over the wall to Blue Buff to save myself some time since I skip wolves on my first clear.
Blue Line: I walk along this line while kiting it.
Green Line: If I walk outside of this green area the Ancient Golem will start to heal and walk back. Don't walk outside of the green line.

Here is a GIF demonstrating me kiting it

Wolves have the highest movement speed and attack speed so they can't be kited. However, you can still split the camp up to reduce the damage they do to you. Doing this takes a lot of effort for something not very rewarding and I usually skip this camp on my first clear. This information isn't very important but just incase you find yourself fighting wolves with low health:Blue Line: This is the line I move across towards the Red X. I autoattack them a few times along the way.
Green Line: I'm careful not to move past this line or else the camp will reset.
Red X: Click on this point, the small gap between the trees, and only two wolves will be able to attack you from here.

And a GIF of me killing them below

Mini-Golems, just like the Ancient Golem , have slow Movement Speed and attack speed so kiting them is very straight forward.Blue Line: I walk along this line while kiting them.
Green Lines: I'm careful not to cross these lines or else the camp will reset.

GIF of me killing Mini-Golems

Alright, those are all the camps in the jungle. Kiting these might seem complex at first but kiting wolves and mini-golems aren't too important and you can practice this in bot/custom games. In the following chapter we will put the knowledge of how to clear all these camps to use and see some potential jungle routes.

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Jungle Routes

indentMy Jungle Routes are very simple. I get a leash on a buff, do wraiths, and then clear the next buff. If the enemy mid lane pushes a lot then I will gank them on the way for first blood.

This is what I usually do. I start red buff and then check to see if Mid Lane is easy to gank. If not, I just do Wraith s, Ancient Golem , and then gank bot/top.

In the LCS we see the junglers tend to start their route on the bottom side of the map, work their way up the jungle, and then gank top because top is usually the easiest lane to gank. Because of this, you may want to start blue if you're on the purple team. In this case you just get a smiteless leash on blue, follow the above jungle route, and kite the red buff like I do in the previous chapter.

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A very important tip

This is something that you absolutely have to know when jungling with a ranged champion. Here's a way to have infinite sustain once you buy a Vampiric Scepter. If you every find yourself low in the jungle, here is an epic trick.What I'm doing here is I'm constantly positioning myself so that the Wraith camp resets. This means that I can keep it alive for as long as I choose, while autoattacking it. Since I'm able to autoattack it constantly without being hit by it's attacks or killing it, I can lifesteal off of it forever. Here my health bar doesn't go up that fast, but once you get Bilgewater Cutlass your health goes up much faster from this.

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Another important tip

I was watching some YouTube videos and I discovered something that is insanely broken and almost a glitch or flaw in League of Legends. This is something that can turn losing games into easy victories. It will guarantee the worship of your teammates if you pull it off, and you'll be able to brag to your friends that you stole baron or dragon. This trick is thought to be exclusive to only a few junglers, however when Tristana is played in the jungle you are also capable of doing this.

Prepare yourself, this GIF will blow your mind:
...^I made the gif slow motion incase you couldn't see my pro mechanics

As Tristana, you can smite Dragon or Baron Nashor without having to go in the baron/dragon pit. This allows you to contest Dragon or Baron Nashor even if your team is behind because you don't have to risk diving into the pit just to be CC'ed and die. By doing this, you're giving your team a 50% chance at every single Dragon or Baron Nashor , regardless of whether you're behind or ahead. Stealing baron is enough to change the entire game.

"Wow Youngs, you're a legend! How'd you do that?"
-Your Mom

What I'm doing here is I'm Rocket Jumping so that mid-air I'm barely in range for smite. At the same time, I don't Rocket Jump inside the pit so that I don't die. Essentially, this is a Drive-By.

Here's a step-by-step process to stealing baron like this.
  1. Ward baron/dragon from the outside if it isn't already warded.
  2. Position yourself like I do in the GIF.
  3. Left-click on baron/dragon to see it's HP.
  4. Hover your cursor over the smite icon and see how much damage it does.
  5. Wait for baron/dragon to get to an HP where it's 50-200 health above the damage Smite does.***
  6. JUMP (like I do in the GIF).
  7. Smite it and then spam laugh.

*** Rocket Jump takes like half a second for you to get in the air, this means that you have to go in for the Smite-steal when baron/dragon is just barely above the health you can Smite it at. For dragons early-midgame you should assume they enemy team will do around 50 damage in this time. During lategame barons you will want to assume this number to be much higher, depending on their team comp.

IMPORTANT: Buster Shot has a range that's even larger than smite and can also be cast mid-air. This means that like Cho'Gath, you can cast your ult and Smite at the same time to secure baron/dragon. Unless Nunu is the enemy jungler, casting Smite and Buster Shot mid-air will guarantee you the objective.

If you do everything above correctly, you will end up making a drive-by mid-air Buster Shot- Smite Baron steal. This is the League of Legends equivalent to a 360-NoScope Ladder-stall in Call of Duty.

Here's an example of a Zac successfully doing this.

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Tristana is very good at ganking because of her Rocket Jump and Buster Shot. Ganking with Tristana will primarily come with experience, but in this chapter I will include a few tips to get you started. When ganking, your goal is to keep the enemy away from their turret for as long as possible. To do this effectively, you will have to take your targets position, summoner spells, and escape abilities into account.

Before level 6 your best ability for ganking is Rocket Jump. You want to Rocket Jump behind your target so that the edge of the explosion hits them. This way you'll be ahead of them in lane allowing you to autoattack them for longer if they burn an escape. The Red X in the image represents where I aim Rocket Jump.

When my enemies are very extended in lane, I prefer to save my Rocket Jump for when they flash. Instead I'll just walk up to them, use Explosive Shot and Rapid Fire, and just start autoattacking. To catch up to them after they burn their escapes, I'll then use Rocket Jump.
indentPast Level 6 Tristana's ganks are very similar to Lee Sin's. Your goal is to push them towards an allied turret with your ult so it's harder for them to escape. Where they are knocked back by your ult is dependant on your own position. The most optimal position for Buster Shot is where you can draw a straight line between you, your target, and your tower in the lane. Keep in mind that your target should be between you and your tower. Of course this cannot always be achieved, but when positioning yourself this is what you should strive for. Tristana's Rocket Jump is the perfect ability for getting yourself in this position.
indentHere I'm ganking the enemy Aatrox. I have drawn a line between Aatrox and the ally turret. The purple part of the line is where you want to cast Rocket Jump. This is because you will land in the correct spot for Buster Shot, and you will hit them with your AoE. Keep in mind that getting into a spot that is on the line is only something to strive for. You may not always be able to land on the line. Just make sure that you are somewhat behind your target and you are hitting them with Rocket Jump's AoE. Mid-Air I like to start slamming my R key so that they are hit with the AoE and are shot away at the same time.

Don't get juked: Sometimes they will try to flash right before you use Buster Shot, causing you to push them to safety. If you are high enough on the ladder to expect this to happen. There are two ways to counter this:
  1. Slamming your R key very soon so that they can't react fast enough
  2. Not slamming your R key and manually walking past them after your target receives a slow from Rocket Jump.

You should also make use of the slow on Bilgewater Cutlass. If your enemy is far away from his turret, you should chain the slows of Rocket Jump and Bilgewater Cutlass so that it takes him longer to get back. But if he's close to his turret, use Bilgewater Cutlass immediately after Rocket Jump.

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indentOnce laning phase has ended, I play Jungle Tristana just as I normally would if I were an AD Carry or an AP Mid. The only differences are that you will have less gold and that you have smite. Playing AP or AD Tristana lategame has been beaten to death by many other guides, so I'll only go over some basics incase you're new to Tristana.

AP Tristana is a bursty assasin lategame. If you build her AP, she's pretty much a squishy Diana. Optimally you want to focus carries, but if they have decent peel that can be suicide. This leaves you with the option of peeling for your own carry by bursting down whoever is attacking them. The combo for AP Tristana's burst is:

Basically you jump on who you want to kill and then activate Deathfire Grasp immediately before you land, and then use your E and R. If everything has gone well your Rocket Jump's cooldown will be reset and you can hop away to safety. If something went wrong, activate Zhonya's Hourglass or Flash away.
If I'm going AD I play as a normal AD Carry. This is opposite to AP Tristana, because I play very defensively. Instead of using Rocket Jump and Buster Shot for damage, I save them to keep assassins away from me. Instead of trying to focus squishy targets, I stay back and autoattack anyone in range. Tristana's range makes it very easy to survive and kite in teamfights. Because of this killing bruisers and anti-carry's should be fairly simple, especially because you're not the only AD Carry on your team.

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Items: AD

indentMy AD for Tristana is very similar to an AD Carry's. Here I will go over the differences between my jungle Tristana build and the standard AD Carry build, and why I chose to build this way.

Hunter's Machete and 5 Health Potions. This is a very necessary start because Tristana has a relatively slow clear time and no sustain.

And after you recall...

SIGHT WARD On my first back I upgrade the Hunter's Machete to Madred's Razors and buy a SIGHT WARD. Madred's Razors gives me a very fast clear time and it's very helpful to place SIGHT WARD's for your teammates. You should sell Madred's Razors whenever you need more money to buy a core item.
My core items for AD are very standard on Tristana. I buy Blade of the Ruined King and Berserker's Greaves, then Phantom Dancer, then Infinity Edge, and then Last Whisper.
You might be wondering why I build this first, when most Tristanas rush an Infinity Edge. Since it's built from Bilgewater Cutlass, Blade of the Ruined King has more early game presence. Infinity Edge is a poor choice for a jungler because of how expensive it is. If you rush Infinity Edge, you will go through more ganks without a finished item because of how expensive it is.
These boots are very cheap and it gives you a nice attack speed boost. There's no alternative to these boots as an AD Carry.
You can replace this with Statikk Shiv, it's up to your opinion which is better.
This is essential for any AD Carry. It synergizes with Phantom Dancer and makes your autoattacks very powerful.
You need this to deal damage to tanks lategame. If the enemy team already has a lot of armor in midgame, you can build this before Infinity Edge.
By the end of the game you should have atleast one defensive item. You're left with a choice between Guardian Angel, Randuin's Omen, Warmog's Armor, Banshee's Veil, and Mercurial Scimitar. This comes down to the enemy team comp, and in particular who is focusing you in teamfights. Here's a flowchart I made that you can follow.


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Items: AP

I build AP Tristana as a squishy nuker, similar to LeBlanc and Annie. I buy items to have insane burst, while maintaining necessary items for a jungler.

These starting items are still very important even if you're going AP. On AP I upgrade Hunter's Machete to my first core item.
SIGHT WARD The stats and passives on this item combine everything that AP nukers and junglers need. This is the perfect item for an AP Jungle Tristana. You need the spell vamp, mana regen, and passives to keep to give you a fast clear and keep you in the jungle. The AP and CDR are great stats for bursty AP's.
These boots boost your damage by a lot and you need mobility to give frequent ganks to your teammates. These are more important than Ionian Boots of Lucidity because I don't recommend taking Greater Mark of Magic Penetrations as a jungler.
Deathfire Grasp is an amazing item for any AP Champion that relies on a combo for burst. The active will make your combo insanely stronger. You absolutely have to buy this item.
This is a very simple item. It gives you AP, and a lot of it. Rabadon's Deathcap is pretty much the meta for squishy AP Carries. Once you get it your abilities will do tons of damage.
For your 5th item you have a choice. Here are some items that are viable choices for your 5th item. It could come down to your personal preference, or the situation.
Tristana has the highest autoattack range lategame and high base AS so if you want to do damage without going too close to the fight, Lich Bane is a good idea. Also if the enemy team doesn't have too much MR and you don't need the survivability of Zhonya's Hourglass, Lich Bane is a good idea for more damage in your combo.
When you should buy this: You want more damage from a distance or enemy team doesn't have much MR and not very threatening.
The active on this item is good because if you're going very balls deep if you use Rocket Jump to go inside the fight. The armor on it makes you a lot less squishy as well.
When you should buy this: The enemy team comp is AD Heavy.
Your abilities exceed the range of this passive, but if you're going balls deep with Rocket Jump, the MR reduction is very useful. You're the jungler, so that means there's probably another AP Carry on your team. If this AP Carry is an assassin like you are, this item will help both of you burst down the enemy carry.
When you should buy this: You have another AP assassin or the enemy team has under 100 MR.
If the enemy team has over 100 MR, you will need this to compensate for your lack of Greater Mark of Magic Penetrations.
When you should buy this: The enemy team has more than 100 Magic Resist.
Banshee's Veil is my favorite defensive item on AP Tristana. Because of Rocket Jump, AP Tristana goes balls deep. If Tristana, a very squishy champion, ever goes this close to the fight one stun will kill Tristana for sure. The CC can stop you from getting your combo off which means you won't get the reset on Rocket Jump, or it can stop you from Rocket Jump'ing out of the fight in mid-air. Because of this, the passive on Banshee's Veil is invaluable. This is better than Guardian Angel because Tristana has high cooldowns, so if you jump in and die, after you're revived you will just die again without being able to do much more damage.

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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
indentMost bot lane Tristanas max Explosive Shot instead of Rocket Jump even though it does less damage. This is because you can harass with Explosive Shot without going all-in. Since you're a jungler, there is noone to harass, so you want to max Rocket Jump first because it gives you the most damage. I max Explosive Shot second because it also has very good base damage.

Rapid Fire is one of the best steroids in the game but it's not worth leveling up until you have significant AD and Crit Chance. As a jungler you're behind the AD Carry in gold, so usually you'll have the items that make Rapid Fire strong towards level 18. This is why I max it last (as opposed to bot lane Tristana's who max it second).

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Greater Mark of Attack Speed

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Greater Mark of Attack Speed is the best way to go in my opinion. Also the faster autoattack is very valuable for kiting, which you will be doing early game to the jungle camps. It's great for boosting your clear times in jungle. You could go Greater Mark of Attack Damage as an alternative, but attack speed should be your first choice.
Greater Seal of Armor is absolutely necessary in the jungle, because the camps primarily do physical damage. These seals work on every champion and every role in the game, so you should definitely have these anyway.
I like Greater Glyph of Magic Resist for my glyphs the most. Just like armor seals, Magic Resist glyphs work on just about any champion and any role, so you should definitely get these. Alternatively you can get Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist, but I prefer to have flat MR so that I don't get bursted down by the enemy mid lane when I gank.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed is my favorite quint for Jungle Tristana. I recommend this over everything else. These quints are essential to this guide, and jungling in general. Moving faster around the jungler and during ganking means more frequent and more effective ganks. What makes these particularly important is that these give you a higher movement speed than Lizard Elder , allowing you to kite it at level 1.

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These are very standard masteries for an AP Carry. I replace 2 points in Havoc with Butcher because Butcher speeds up my clear time and Havoc doesn't do much damage at all. For the defense tree I go for Veteran's Scars is very useful and can save your life. With the remaining points Tough Skin and Bladed Armor are important for staying alive in the jungle. With the remaining one point Summoner's Resolve is a pretty good choice because 10 gold every 60 seconds is 1.67 GP 10.
These masteries are the same as AP, except for the offense tree I take the masteries that are for AD Carries.

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Summoner Spells

Smite is absolutely necessary. Tristana can clear without smite by kiting, however Tristana's clear isn't spectacular and will be fairly slow without Smite.

Flash is a great spell that will allow you to set up strong ganks and get you out of bad situations. Rocket Jump has a very long cooldown and can be interrupted, and another gap closer will make it easy to get in perfect positioning for Buster Shot. For a squishy champion, this is very important.

If you're feeling confident you can take Ignite or Exhaust instead of Flash. This will make your ganks stronger at the cost of your own safety.

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Summary & Screenshots

Tristana is a very strong champion to put in the jungle. Even if you don't think this is viable, this should still be fun to try out in a normal game. Here's what you should remember the most from this guide:

  • How to kite the jungle camps
  • How to lifesteal off of the camps without them dying
  • How to gank
All three of these concepts come with practice, so if you just play some normal games or bot games you can be great at jungle Tristana in no time. I hope you found this guide useful. If you have any questions you can send me a message or leave a comment. Also please give me any feedback you have to offer, even if it's a downvote. But if you are downvoting, it would be nice if you could comment what I can do to make this guide better. Thanks for reading <333333

Here are some screenshots of games I played using this build.