Tristana Build Guide by Katsuni
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.
WTH, are yeu insane!? (AKA: Introduction!)
Of course not! At least, that's whot the voices tell me, and they wouldn't lie about something like that, would they?
Anyway, hello! I'm Katsuni, and no, I don't mean the porn star. I had the name first, and have records dating back over a decade to prove it.
So why a tank Tristana build? I love playing screwed up joke builds that make people cringe when they see them, and yet somehow, still work in practice. There's just something about being so unorthodox, that it confuses an enemy so that they're not entirely sure how to defend against it, that really makes the game that much more fun.
There's a lot of joke builds that just fail outright, but MBT:Tristana has proven to be a surprisingly effective tanking tool. Potentially, more so even than my Sona Tank build. Curious stuff!
Strange, I know, yet it only makes sense, for truth to be stranger than fiction! After all, fiction has to stick to possibilities!
Regardless, the point behind this guide, is to provide yeu, the reader, the tools necessary to duplicate the bizarrely effective Main Battle Tank Tristana build, and my thoughts as to why I build her the way I do, in particular, are also given.
The Good, The Bad, The ADORABLE.
The runes are pretty straight forwards, but I'll cover them in more detail as to why, here.
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
Greater Seal of Scaling Health
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Health
MasteriesUnlike a normal Tristana, you need to take some real pounding, and you're not going to be getting many kills, likely only assists. Your mana won't be much of a problem, past about level 7 or so, but until then, it can be a little dicey, so these masteries will help keep you in lane longer, and survive a bit better, to mitigate these short comings, since we're pretty much ignoring her damage potential entirely.
Kersplodium-Class Summoner Spells
Yeu know, it's odd. I don't actually like . That being said, it has its uses on some champions, and Tristana's most certainly one of them. Considering we want her to be a tank? Doubly so. Rocket Jump is admittedly pretty sweet stuff, but sometimes it just isn't enough. Utilizing the impact's slow, and then flashing to the other side of an enemy so yeu can Buster Shot them into yeur allies can make or break yeur role as a tank! Take this, at all costs, above everything else.
As a really slow moving tank, yeu're flat out going to find yeurself halfway across the map from where yeu're needed, on occasion, and there's not much yeu can do to prevent that. Good map awareness, wards, and so on, can help out a great deal, but yeu're still going to be needed in two places at once sometimes. As such, someone almost always needs Teleport on yeur team, and it's often the tank. Yeu can clean out a huge wave of minions, solo, if need be, and are the one most likely to be dragged across the map all the time. With Tristy's stubby little legs, she needs all the help she can get.
Not bad, and I lurves me ghost to death! Unfortunately, Tank Tristana really just doesn't need it. There's simply better stuff to get, that she needs more.
Yeur job is to keep allies alive by taking the hits for them! Sometimes, that doesn't always work out, or yeu start taking a fwe too many hits. For that, we have mastercard! And with that credit, we'll charge a heal to it! Unfortunately, as a ranged tank, yeu're going to be almost never where yeu need to be to give yeur allies that heal, and all things considered, if a heal this weak is going to save yeur life, especially with how prevalent heal reduction is these days, well... it's more rare of a situation than sacrificing a summoner spell slot is worth, honestly.
Yeu can use it if yeu're playing Dominion to replace Teleport, I suppose, but honestly, I don't really think Tank Tristy's going to be at her prime here.
Technically, it's possible to jungle with Tristana. Sure, it's a bad idea, and this particular build makes it even worse, but yeu can do it. If yeu do, I'mma still have to smack yeu inna fayse. Yeu're already doing tank Trist as it is. Don't make yeur allies strangle yeu for verifying that yeu really are that bad. Right now, they only suspect it, don't give them undeniable proof.
Yeu're a tank. Yes, it's a semi nice ability, on some occasions, but yeu're a TANK. Yeu really don't need this.
While Tristana traditionally has some rather notable mana problems, due to being one of the first champions released, and not having really been touched up much, since then, yeu've got plenty of mana in this build, and won't run dry easily.
Yeu already have , and, eventually, Morello's Evil Tome to take care of situations where yeu need to prevent healing. This... this is overkill. As a DPS, it works nicely to help guarantee a kill for her, but yeu're a tank, this time through, not a DPS.
I kind of like Promote, in theory, but in practice, I find yeu can do far better, most of the time. In Tristy's case, this is one of the times where yeu can do far better.
I play a lot of supports, so I just LURVES me a good Clairvoyance! On a support. Yeu don't really need two CV's in a game, though, and the second one's pretty much wasted. Since supports rarely have much need for the other spells, and will tend to pick up CV anyway, this is more or less a dead spell to get. Considering yeu're chained to Flash as it is, for this build, it's not a very good second spell to get.
Asplodificationesque Abilities List
This is useless early on in the game (seriously, at level 1, it provides +0 range). As yeu gain levels, however, the range increases up to 703 total range at level 18. This absurd auto-attack range is greater than anyone else in the game, and is part of why she's such a nasty tank, once yeu feed her a Frozen Mallet. Enemies get slowed from a ridiculous range, as they try to chase down yeur squishies, and when they try to run, they're stuck going in slow motion the whole way. A melee champion just doesn't do this remotely as well, and it's a huge part of why she's such a nasty tank.Whot's that? A tower yeu say? Not anymore it's not! These are words that all Tristana players are intimately familiar with, be they AP or AD builds. In this case, things are a little bit different. Our MBT:Tristana build is a bit less effective at dishing out the autoattack pain. Instead, we'll be using Rapid Fire to spray out as much of that Frozen Mallet as we can. Why not spread the joy to everyone, after all?This is a large part of why Tristy's even able to tank in the first place. Early on, it provides escape from ganks, as well as slowing enemies for kills, before she gets her Frozen Mallet. Afterwards, it greatly helps fix her issues with positioning, due to being a ranged tank, which can make it difficult to move exactly where yeu want, at times. Eventually, it becomes remarkably useful for chasing down enemies who are trying to run, ensuring that they're perma-slowed, and can make a horrendously potent initiation tool by leaping right into a group of enemies, then launching a Buster Shot to knock an enemy into yeur own team. In short, with 40% CDR, this drops to 8.4 seconds cool down, and becomes highly versatile. Note that it has far longer range than flash, and can bypass walls. Note, also, that her hit box is an absolute mess while jumping, and can lead to some really awkward situations of getting caught by skillshots that don't look like they make any sense.Once, long ago, this was an "either/or" spell. To help keep her on par with the minor power creep that's been going on, she's been given the capacity to farm even when she's harassing. Nice! The 110 damage at level 1 is pretty potent, so I advise grabbing it first thing. It's a great lane harassment tool, but it also, unfortunately, pushes yeur lane unintentionally, since yeu can't turn off the passive effect. As such, I don't suggest leveling this hard, early game. Yes, it's nice to get a big mess of kills out of it, but it can get yeu killed, or leave yeu pushing their tower the entire laning phase, which is *BAD*. As the active happens to cut healing effects in half for five seconds, regardless of rank, yeu don't really need to worry about pumping points into it hardcore for mid-game fights quite so much.
Interesting Fun Fact: Explosive shot's AoE scales with AP (0.25AP damage on the explosive effect!)The damage and AP ratio on Buster Shot are some of the highest in the game, capable of really laying in some immense burst power with even the slightest bit of AP. True, we've only got two AP items in the primary build, but it's enough to make yeur presence known. The real beauty of this, however, is the 60 second cool down, and the 600/800/1000 knockback range! Leap into the middle of a group fight to initiate, and knock their squishy DPS into yeur waiting allies first thing!
Needs about 20% more dakka! (Itemization)
Doran's ShieldTristy's traditionally a squishie, and as such, her starting stats aren't really cut out for taking a lot of hits. Dumping a Doran's Shield on her, to start, will help fix her low health regen, low maximum health, and overly notable susceptibility to getting poked by ranged attacks. This will probably allow her to actually win her laning phase, since her primary competition can't poke as well as she can, and if she can keep up with them on health regeneration, without being burst down by a well timed gank, she's golden.
Catalyst the Protector Tristana has some real issues with her sustain early game, without any life steal, and limited regeneration, so having health and mana regen on level, as well as maximum values on each, gives her a good leg up. It also puts her considerably closer to her Rod of Ages she'll be wanting soon, to max out it's benefits ASAP.
Phage Frozen MalletThis is pretty much the single most important core item that lets Tristana tank at all on par with any other tank. As such, she will actually want this before finishing off the Rod of Ages. Yeu can't skip this, no matter whot. Any variations in the build, must eventually get a Frozen Mallet, or yeu're pretty much doing it worng.
Mercury's TreadsAt this point, yeu're probably noticing the enemy team's CC becoming a real nuisance. Grab the Merc Treads to give yeurself a fighting chance of being able to do yeur job, without being stunlocked all day. Note that the 24 Magic Resist on them is a godsend, as well, since yeu're really only getting the Force of Nature to save yeur butt from magic damage otherwise.
Rod of AgesIf it's looking like a long game, yeu really want to grab this now. Possibly even sooner, depending on how the game's going. Note that it takes 20 minutes to reach full power, so don't leave it too long! Anyway, Tristy needs her health badly, but this is also kind enough to remove her mana problems entirely, as well as letting her pack a bit more punch, now that enemy players probably have their own merc treads up, and aren't feeling the effects as harshly as they once did. She doesn't need much AP as a tank, but a little certainly doesn't hurt. If yeu're going to swap out items, however, the Rod of Ages is probably the first one to go.
Glacial ShroudUntil this point in the game, yeu've been relying on just having ridiculously high bulk health to chew through. That was probably fine, up until about now. If yeu have the items yeu're carrying, then yeur enemies have started to feed their AD carry, almost guaranteed, so yeu're going to need a little added protection. Yeu're probably also noticing that cool downs on escape spells are dropping, right about now, as well, so the added CDR to even the score help out a ton.
Force of NatureAll that health, and **** for regen. Around now, yeu're likely sick of how, if yeu get smacked around a little bit, yeu're far less useful than yeu should be to yeur team. Normally, this is dealt with via AtMogs, but Tristy's tank build just doesn't fare so well with an AtMog's, so she's going to have to rely on a Force of Nature to compensate for her otherwise complete lack of sustain, since a The Bloodthirster just isn't a particularly adequate replacement. The bruisers and non-mages are probably starting to level their nukes a bit higher now, as well, so yeu're going to want that added MR.
Fiendish CodexTechnically, yeu could skip this and finish off the frozen heart immediately, but honestly, I like the added CDR and AP at this point a little bit more. The mana regen's almost negligible, but it doesn't hurt to have more, since yeur health regen is now high enough to stay out in the field for a very long time, and eventually yeu do start to run dry. This'll help fix that, without stealing blue buff from someone who needs it more than yeu do.
Frozen HeartFinishing up the frozen heart should help counter the next bit of damage output the physical DPS have grabbed. Yeu're obviously not going to be nearly as potent as a "real" tank, in taking the hits, but with yeur capacity to permanently slow from excessively long range, and ability to run, if need be, and the fact that yeu're probably going to Buster Shot delivery their primary DPS into yeur allies for a free kill at the start of each team fight, yeu'll probably be alright with this.
Morello's Evil TomeHonestly, this is mostly in here for the even 40% CDR. Yeu can probably switch this out just fine with any of a number of options, I've just found it works best for my particular play style, is all. The second heal nerf on it really pisses off good enemy support players who try to wait for the first one to wear off, too ^.~
EVEN MORE DAKKA! (Situational itemization)
While I've described my favoured build, there's always situations which dictate that yeu need to change things up a bit. Yeu can't just blindly build the same thing every single game and hope it works. Different team compositions will require different methods to deal with them.
Yeur own play style is likely a bit different than mine, as well, so some of these alternative options may be preferable to yeu. LeviathanIf yeu're really confident in yeur ability to pull this off, and have been playing MBT:Tristana for awhile now, yeu might consider a leviathan. It's cheap, and effective, and the additional 15% damage reduction at max stacks can really help out. Personally, I find that I don't die very often, but it's just a little bit more than I'm comfortable with in getting a Leviathan. On the other hand, a snowball item works great for taunting enemies. People just LURVE to break that 20 stack bonus, don't they? Yep, they sure do! And as Tristana simply doesn't have any real way to force the issue that an enemy should hit her, if they really don't want to, it doesn't hurt to "encourage" them in other ways. Atma's Impaler+ Warmog's Armor While this combo's pretty common on bruisers, Tristana's being played as more of a full on tank here, than a bruiser. Her damage output is miserable, but her capacity to get into the middle of a team fight and make a mess of the enemy's organization, is a real plus. Personally, I've found it just doesn't work so hot on her, and would advise avoiding it.
Shurelya's Reverie+ Randuin's Omen I really do love putting these two together! I only found out, after the fact, that the people the items are named after, are actually married XD Go figure! Anyway, they start off as really nice gold/5 items, which can help get yeur build moving along nicely, and the active abilities are great! Personally, I use a Logitech G500 mouse, since my MX518 broke down last year. As such, I have the thumb buttons set to 1 and 2 on the keyboard, so that I can activate my first two item slots with ease. I'd highly recommend doing something similar, if using two items like this. That being said, they also provide 15+5% CDR, a ton of health and armour, and just, in general, are great items that go great together =3 Guardian AngelPersonally, I don't like it so much, but if yeu find they're really focusing yeu down hard, perhaps it'll help out. On the other hand, it may make them stop targeting yeu altogether, which ruins the whole point of being a tank. I'd avoid this, for about the same reason that I'd avoid a Thornmail. It's a good item, but it does risk doing the exact opposite of whot yeu want it to do, and yeu don't have an active taunt as Tristana.
Banshee's VeilIf yeu find yeurself being rocked hard by CC, and unable to do yeur job of tanking, perhaps a Veil will help yeu out. Extra health, mana, and MR, plus a handy little shield, is a great combo. I'd vastly recommend it over Quicksilver Sash, for most situations, with this build. QSS has it's merits, but it's not that useful for tanking Tristy. The Veil is especially more useful in eating that first skillshot that might hit yeu while using Rocket Jump, and can make up for the really messy hit box.
Fire the pocket rocket! (Game Play)
In short, Tank Tristana relies on her slowing capacity, her excessively long range, and her knock back potential on a short cool down.
For a bit longer list of things, see below.
With this build, Tristana is pretty good at soaking up a few hits, and quite capable of returning the favour, in kind. Yeu'll probably want top lane, so will be facing off, likely, against other tanks, or a bruiser of some sort. Most top laners will be melee, so Tristy's got a pretty big advantage here.
Make full use of Explosive Shot, and yeu'll do fine.
Careful about ganks! Yeu're still a bit squishy, early on, though yeu're probably going to have abnormally high health, even among tanks. Yeu don't really have much for defensive abilities, however, just yet, so be careful not to waste yeur Rocket Jump early, and watch out for obvious bait, since yeur cool down is probably still pretty high.
Once laning breaks down, which generally happens as soon as the first tower dies, yeu're going to be switching over to roaming. Hopefully, by now, yeu have at least grabbed a Phage, and ideally, yeu got a kill or three in, with a nice bit of CS, and are the proud owner of yeur very own FLAME THROWER. I mean... Frozen Mallet! Close enough.
Anyway, take this opportunity to focus on yeur damage capacity. Yeu've leveled yeur W and E first, so do a lot more damage than many other tanks and DPS do right now, though assassins and burst casters will still trounce yeu for damage.
Note that yeu're probably going to have the most health on the battlefield, with this kind of a build, and yeur bulk is yeur power. Yeu can eat through a remarkable amount of spell damage, due to runes, and, hopefully, a pair of Mercury's Treads.
Watch out for the fact that the game can switch to end game off a single ace, and that yeu might need to get some armour early here, just in case their AD carry suddenly starts chewing through the kills.
Don't be afraid to get into the thick of things, but if their AD carry is barreling down at yeu, yeu might want to actually hold back and just keep them slowed with a steady stream of long range Frozen Mallet shots to the face. Note that yeu lack for hard CC, so yeu may need to put extra emphasis on making sure that yeu're the one to initiate fights.
If they're bunched up together, leap into the middle of them, using Rocket Jump, and, if necessary, Flash, then toss one of them into yeur team with a Buster Shot. This should get the ball rolling quite nicely.
If yeu find yeurself stuck at a tower, take pot shots at it as often as possible, and don't be afraid to take a few hits from it. Yeu're a bit squishier than most tanks, but yeu can still eat a pretty good amount of tower fire with relative ease. If there aren't any minions near by a tower, and yeu've cleared the lane, it may be simply better to just eat the tower hits and let yeur allies kill it, rather than mulling around, waiting on the minions to catch up finally.
Anyway, yeur key power, is that yeu can keep enemies slowed perpetually, and they simply can't outrun yeu, no matter how hard they try, with yeur Rocket Jump and insanely long auto-attack range to keep them from escaping.
While yeu're not the strongest tank in the world, yeu simply will, flat out, surpass Sejuani and Leona as a tank, in pretty much every way imaginable.
Use the novelty of yeur "ZOMG WTF IS TRIST DOING TANKING!?" to yeur advantage, because the enemy team probably has absolutely no clue whot the heck they're supposed to be doing to counter yeu. At lower ELO rankings, they may even try to focus fire yeu, if yeu land in the middle of them with a Rocket Jump, and may never quite catch on that yeu're not a glass cannon, and take entirely too long to burn down.
Note that, at higher ELO's, this build probably won't work quite so well. Higher ELO's tend to adapt quicker, and will take advantage of the fact that yeu have no hard CC to work with. Fortunately, yeu can break most channeled abilities, but a good team will exploit yeur weak points hard, so don't try playing Tank Tristana unless yeu're sure that yeur team will be capable of building around her flaws.
She doesn't have many, but the lack of hard CC and below average armour/MR does show it's face from time to time, and a good team will call yeu on that. Until probably 1400 to 1600 elo, though, yeu're probably fine, and the shock value should cover any potential issues yeu may face. The people in that range tend to be quite good at playing, but not so great at adapting to new situations, or estimating whot something they've never seen before can do.
Tank Tristana is not for oral or rectal use, nor ELO's above 1600. Using Tank Tristana may cause headaches and severe feelings of "wrongness" in players, and should not be attempted without adult supervision.
Special Thanks to:
Thanks to EVERYONE.
Yeu know who yeu are.
Yes, yeu, the one reading this right now. Yeu know I'm talking about yeu. Yeu know whot yeu did. That thing with the goat? That was disgusting. GET OUT OF HERE!
For everyone else who contributed to more than my nightmares, thanks!
A great deal of thanks to jhoijhoi for the guide on how to format, as I've had only limited work with BBCode, and it was a great help! The dividers were pretty snazzy, too, and saved me from photo shopping my own set up. Why spend extra time and effort when it's not needed? Anyway, the help with the BBCode was a MASSIVE improvement on the organization here, so thanks! ^.^
Additional thanks go out to all the artists who have made artwork for Tristana, that I've used in this guide. I'd probably make a bunch myself, but my scanner's out of order and my tablet's a five our drive from where I'm at >.<
Thanks to Riot Games, obviously, for making a guide like this possible. Obviously, without a game to play, we couldn't make guides for it, now could we?
Special thanks, in particular, go out to Ezreal, who designed Tristana! Whot can I say, I adore her cute, innocence and bloodthirsty nature. >.>;
Additional thanks goes out to the entirety of the Champion Creation Forum. Without this creative outlet, I'm not sure I'd even still be playing LoL any longer! There's some really interesting ideas floating around in there. Admittedly, most of it's absolute junk, but there are some real gems, as well, and it's fun to read through! I'm currently in a project to try to increase the quality of other people's work, there, so stop by to take a look, if yeu have any interest in champion design, or game balance, at all! The link is provided below, due to some minor formatting issues. :O