Tristana Build Guide by GuideToSuccess
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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.
This is a condensed rewrite of a long and detailed guide I posted yesterday. That guide was buried by downvotes and inane comments such as: "There are too many words in this guide," or "Runaan's Hurricane is a bad item," or "Dude, she's not Ezrael." Most of these comments made me doubt that anyone actually read the guide. And almost nobody seemed to appreciate the effect of attack speed in relation to DPS.
Anyway... this time I'll try to keep it brief. Just don't let the seemingly low AD total confuse you. Maximized attack speed is great for on-hit items like BotRK and the Black Cleaver.
Pros / Cons
Long-range DPS -- (703 attack range at level 18.)
Seven on-Hit effects (w/ Red Buff) x 3 (Runaan's Hurricane)
Maxed-out AS with this build -- (Able to apply more on-hit effects per second than any other champion.)*
She absolutely SHREDS tanks with this build -- (BotRK + BC = GG.)
She pushes incomparably with this build -- (Items + Explosive Shot.)
Her Rocket Jump makes her highly mobile -- (CDR provided by SotEL & BC.)
She's strong throughout the game with this build.
After Runaan's Hurricane she can apply up to 6 on-hit effects to 3 targets with one AA.
She's beefier than the typical ADC (Frozen Mallet and Black Cleaver provide 900 HP.)
She can self-peel with Buster Shot or BotRK's active.
She's cute as a button and as fierce as an AK-47.
Vulnerable to hard CC.
She seems to have a thing for Teemo.
Her attack range at level 18 is only 703.
This build was conceived by a no-name scrub.
This build isn't like all the others.
There are a limited number of pretty pictures in this guide.
Draw a Bead This passive is nothing fancy, but it's pretty good nevertheless. It increases her attack range by 9 every level and maxes out at 703 when she reaches level 18. This will allow her to lay down the smack down from a relatively safe distance throughout the game.
Rapid Fire Q --> This is what makes Tristana so beastly. It's the strongest AS steroid in the game. THIS is where her strength lies. THIS is what an ADC build for her should be built around. THIS is what allows her to proc so many on-hit effects -- BotRK, SotEL, Black Cleaver, and Phage/Frozen Mallet. If she had AD steroid it would make more sense to build crit on her. Or if any of her abilities scaled and did more harm with high AD items... it would make sense to build AD & crit on her. But she doesn't have AD steroids and she has no AD ratios on her abilities. Sure, she still needs some AD (and she's getting a good amount with this build) but it's her AS buff which allows her to proc powerful on-hit effects like no other champion. You also want to activate this when you need to clear waves quickly (perhaps to lifesteal) and when you are melting towers. (At level 5 this ability provides a 90% AS buff and, with this build, it is on a 15.2 second cooldown).
Rocket Jump W --> This is a great ability. It provides offensive and defensive mobility. When it lands near an enemy it not only damages them (250 HP at level 5), but it also slows them by 60% for 2.5 seconds (at all levels). Over the course of that time she can AA her opponents 5 times (when using this build with her Q activated). It's a fantastic ability for initiating a one on one fight, but you typically won't want to initiate team fights with it. Whenever Tristana kills an opponent the cooldown resets and she can immediately jump onto another target or jump away to safety. And, in general, if she needs to get out of a hair situation it provides her with a great escape -- the range of this jump is 900 and she can leap over walls with it. (At level 5 this ability, with this build, has a 10.64 second cooldown [unless reset as mentioned previously]).
Explosive Shot E --> This ability has both a passive and active element to it. Both are useful. The passive aspect makes "Enemies explode when slain by Tristana's basic attacks, dealing magic damage to enemies within 75 range." Even without proper itemization this ability, particularly in conjunction with her Q, allows her to clear waves and push very effectively. The active is on a long cooldown (12.6 seconds with this build) and does mediocre damage. But it's primary usefulness is because it "Rends the target enemy with shrapnel, reducing healing and health regeneration by 50% and dealing magic damage over 5 seconds." This is great against champions like Dr. Mundo who have a strong healing component or champions like Aatrox who depend greatly upon their ability to lifesteal.
Buster Shot R --> Her ultimate does a decent amount of damage (500 at level 5) and has a relatively low cooldown (45.6 seconds at level 5 with this build). While it can be used to add burst damage and finish off a low health opponent, you have to be careful with it. This is because it knocks the targeted opponent (and their nearby allies) back 1000 units. So if you don't knock your opponents into a wall or you team... you might actually help them escape. It's a bit tricky that way -- potentially useful, but also potentially capable of robbing you and your team of kills. Since she does a ton of damage with her high-speed auto attacks, the best use of Buster Shot may be as a self peel. If a bruiser is focusing you and is closer than you'd like... knock his a** back 1000 units and see if he feels like coming back at you again. If you can't finish him off at that point your Rocket Jump should be off cooldown by then and you can simply leap away to safety. As the great MC Hammer once said... "You can't touch this." (At level 5, with this build, Buster Shot has a 45.6 second cooldown).
Overall her abilities provide a lot of great utility. But the centerpiece of her skill set is the attack speed buff from Rapid Fire which really allows her to put the hurt on the opposing team. It should also be pointed out that this build provides only 24% CDR -- so her cooldown can still be lowered by the blue buff.
The items I'm about to discuss all work very well with each other and with Tristana's Q Rapid Fire. As I've mentioned before... this is primarily an on-hit AS build but I think you'll find that it provides a decent amount of raw AD as well. I have not seen any other guide which recommend more than half of these items as part of Tristana's basic ideal build. But I truly believe I'm on to something here and I hope you'll consider my reasoning while also considering the way these items work so perfectly together. I was going to list as a "con" the relative lack of flexibility in regard to what items should be purchased on Tristana, but I really don't think that's a weakness. I believe these items are strong against almost any team comp. And if enough of you are kind enough to upvote this guide I have little doubt that this could end up being the standard Tristana build -- viable in even the highest levels of play. The main potential divergence from this build consists in the final defensive item. And I will address that in due order.
Boots of Speed 3x Health Potion and a Mana Potion
The boots are a good idea to start with because Tristana has fairly low MS. The potions are plainly just to keep her sustained in lane for as long as possible so that she can keep last hitting. If you're laning with a support who has powerful heals, like Sona or Soraka, the you can start with a Doran's Blade if you so desire. But I generally recommend starting with the boots.
Vampiric Scepter and consumables as needed. Sustain is the name of the game in the early part of most matches. While it's nice to get a bunch of kills early on... that just not always possible for any number of reasons. So, at the very least, you should try to stay in lane as long as you can -- and as close to top health as possible. Grab a Health Potion if you are getting zoned (as unlikely as that might be) and get a Mana Potion if you have trouble managing your mana. And, if you can, get a sight ward every now and then. If you didn't start with boots of speed you should probably get them on your first back if you can afford it.
Early Core Items
After you get your Vampiric Scepter on your first trip back to the base you'll want to get your upgraded boots. As with most ADCs, Berserker's Greaves are the standard -- Tristana is no different in this regard. They will help her overall DPS (working toward maxed AS when the build is complete) and will help compensate for here relatively slow movement speed.
Next you'll want to get your Spirit of the Elder Lizard. This is a cost efficient item even without the passives and it provides some great stats for Tristana. (+35 Attack Damage +14 Health Regen per 5 seconds +7 Mana Regen per 5 seconds +10% cooldown reduction. UNIQUE Passive - Butcher: Damage dealt to monsters increased by 30%. UNIQUE Passive - Basic attacks and spells that do not inflict damage-over-time deal 6-40 (Based on Level) bonus true damage over 3 seconds on hit.) As with blue Ezrael, "Butcher" is largely wasted on her but I believe she wields this item even more effectively. The "Incinerate" passive, while seemingly inconsequential, will be applied constantly and to three different targets after you've build Runaan's Hurricane. Even before that though... SotEL will allow you to start pushing hard as soon as you purchase it.
Next I like to get a Phage. The extra health ir provides is more meaningful earlier in the game before your opponents are capable of doing "tons of damage." The 20 AD is ok for the price and the passive Icy will proc evermore frequently as you level up Rapid Fire and add AS items. In most instances I recommend upgrading this to a Frozen Mallet as your final item.
The Brutalizer adds +25 AD, +10 Armor Pen, and provides 10% cooldown. It's a nice item for the early/mid stages of a game and you will eventually make your Black Cleaver with this item.
Blade of the Ruined King is a very powerful item which works best on champions with high attack speed. Tristana will have maximum AS before this build is completed. Although this item works great on health stacking tanks, it does a pretty good job of ripping through squishy champions too -- especially with your other items. This builds out of your Vampiric Scepter and provides Tristana with all the sustain she'll need. BotRK's active is a mini-nuke which not only deals 15% of the targets maximum health as damage, but it also steals 30% of their movement speed and gives it to Tristana for 4 seconds. The passive on-hit effect of this item deals 5% of the targets current health. It also provides: +25 Attack Damage +40% Attack Speed +15% Life Steal. It's nice. And it''ll be nicer when it's hitting 3 targets at once after you get Runaan's Hurricane.
The Black Cleaver is another tank shredding item which also does excellent damage to squishy targets. The stats it provides to Tristana are fantastic: +200 Health +50 Attack Damage +10% Cooldown Reduction UNIQUE: +10 Armor Penetration Passive: Dealing physical damage to an enemy champion reduces their Armor by 6.25% for 4 seconds. This effect stacks up to 4 times. When her AS is maxed out she can apply all four stacks of the passive in about 1.5 seconds! And since she'll have Runaan's Hurricane, she'll can apply those debuffs to 3 opponents at a time. Ouch.
Runaan's Hurricane provides +70% attack speed and pushes Tristana's attack speed to the limit when her Q is activated. But it's the passive which makes this item so incredibly powerful in this build: UNIQUE Passive: Your basic attacks fire minor bolts at 2 nearby targets, each dealing 10 + 50% of your Attack Damage. These apply on-hit effects. OMG, there is "rocket in my pocket." That's right... this item makes it so that all your procs, from all your items (and the passive from Explosive Shot) can proc on 3 targets simultaneously! 3x the passive from BotRK, 3x the debuff from Black Cleaver, 3x the "Icy" effect from Phage/Frozen Mallet, 3x the Red Buff effect (whenever she has it), and 3 times the chance to proc Explosive Shot. This is on top of doing 50% of your total AD to two extra targets! And every other item besides your boots are providing a decent amount of AD! When you get this item... waves of enemy minions simply disappear in front of you. And in team fights your DPS and utility is inevitably effecting the whole of the enemy team. AND AND AND... because your cooldown on Rocket Jumps resets for every assist you earn... any stray bolt from Runaan's that hits an enemy which gets killed will reset your ability. And this, subsequently, is a PentaKill in the making.
Frozen Mallet is the final item in the standard build I'm presenting here. But, really, most games will be over by the time you complete this item. Did I tell you what Runaan's Hrricane does for Tristana? Anyway... Frozen Mallet builds out of Phage and makes the "Icy" proc 100% of the time. It also adds a total of 700 HP. This item makes Tristana beefier, adds to AD, and with the help of Runaan's potentially perma-slows 3 enemy champions at a time. This is my preferred final item.
Alternatively, if you are being focused hard and have plenty of other slows on your team... you might choose instead to sell your phage and equip Tristana with a Guardian Angel. This item can dramatically improve your survivability. After she revives from its passive she can then decide whether to keep applying more DPS or to instead Rocket Jump to safety. I should add that when the GA's passive is on its 5 minute cooldown you might consider selling it to buy the Frozen Mallet after all. That's most likely a good idea if you can afford it at the time. Then, when the 5 minutes have passed, you can buy another Guardian Angel.
At some point Tristana should also upgrade her Berserker's Greaves with the Encantment: Furor. It's also reasonable after the complete build to sell Berserker's Greaves and instead get more defensive boots. She won't really miss the +25% AS at that time and defensive stats might be more useful at this point.
Regarding Tristana's On-Hit Capabilities*
In the "Pros" section I made the claim that Tristana is "Able to apply more on-hit effects than any other champion." I stand by this claim and believe it to be true. Even if another champion built exactly the same way as this, Tristana would still have the proc from Explosive Shot. And even if another champion also had an on-hit ability she'd still be able to achieve a higher attack speed because of her q. So let me be specific... it is my contention that Tristana at level 18, with the full build presented here (including Runaan's Hurricane) is able to apply more on-hit effects over a 3 second period than any other champion in the game. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong on this point. The on-hit effects granted by this build come for BotRK, Black Cleaver, Frozen Mallet, SotEL, Furor Enchantment, Explosive Shot, and the Red Buff she has it. x3 with Runaan's Hurricane.
I hope this edited down version will be more acceptable to people now. And I hope people actually read the guide before commenting this time.
I want to reiterate that Tristana (if you count Furor & Explosive Shot) can cause 7 on-hit effects to proc at once. And with Runaan's Hurricane all those procs can be applied to 3 targets at a time. And with the maximized attack speed from the build (within a few percent of the limit) those procs will be applied multiple times very quickly. Runaan's is not a "bad item" it's just not something which should usually be built along side critical strike damage. But it's perfect for on-hit champions like Tristana.
I'd be more than happy to respond to any criticism or questions about this build/guide. But I do request that you give me a chance to respond to your comments before you cast a down vote. I'm open to criticism and corrections, but I think a lot of people just don't realize the true power of an on-hit AS build.