I will keep this guide short and to the point. I am going to assume that you know what Tryndamere is, so I won't waste your time explaining his skillset. The purpose of this guide is not to provide a specific build order or set of runes and masteries; instead, this guide will explain the rationale behind the decision making process you should adopt in order to decide which items, runes, and masteries to use regardless of what gets patched or how.
In other words the information in this guide does not become obsolete when new content is released or old content is altered. The only way this guide can become obsolete is if Tryndamere is changed. Nevertheless the concepts in this guide are not specific to Tryndamere, and apply to any champion, so it may be of interest to you even if you don't ever intend to play Tryndamere.
Pros / Cons
There are a variety of ways to build Tryndamere, and this isn't an attempt to cover all of them comprehensively. Instead, I will cover one specific build which has served me well in the Diamond bracket. It may be that the strengths and weaknesses of this particular build are inappropriate for your particular skill bracket, and therefore you may have more success with a different build. Your mileage may vary.
- Practically impossible to run from or catch, even with multiple champions and hard cc.
- Exerts an enormous amount of map pressure because of point 1, which cannot be resolved unless the enemy team has a champion that can duel better than Tryndamere with this build.
- Increases Tryndameres standstill and chasing dueling power versus a large swathe of the roster, namely versus those that rely on attack speed and move speed slows, and mobility.
- Strictly lower dueling power in a standstill fight.
- This build is not an appropriate response if every last bit of standstill dueling power is required to stop a strong split pusher on the enemy team (for example, jax).
Theory of the Build
The theory of this build is based on a simple premise: the total amount of damage Tryndamere can do is equivalent to the amount of damage he does each second times the number of seconds he is alive and able to do that damage. T = D * S * A
The last qualifier is crucial. He must be able to do that damage, which implies being in melee range. Each auto attack Tryndamere makes causes him to root himself very briefly while he makes the attack animation, so if he is attacking a moving target he must move much faster than the target in order to continue doing the same amount of dps he would be able to do in a standstill fight.
Mocking shout and spinning slash are both useful to Tryndamere as a means of increasing his chasing DPS because they allow him to temporarily move faster than his target, or close the gap created by performing auto attacks. In fact, Tryndamere is largely gated by the use of these skills to access the power of his auto attacks in practice.
The typical way to build Tryndamere is to put as much power into his auto attacks as possible and simply play around the use of mocking shout and spinning slash. I believe this is the incorrect way to play Tryndamere generally, because his skills are quite clunky and telegraphed and relying exclusively on those skills to access Tryndamere's auto attacks causes him to be very gimmicky and predictable.
Therefore it is appropriate to trade some amount of damage for greater ability by which to do damage in the first place. In the equation T = D * S * A, we should reduce D and increase A. Minmaxing D at the expense of A is not wise if our intention is to increase the total T. For example, 5 * 5 * 5 = 125, but 7 * 5 * 3 = 105, so we should try to have the best balance of damage D, seconds S, and ability to do damage A.
The number of seconds S Tryndamere has in which to do damage is essentially no less than 5, but possibly more depending on how skilled you are. Tryndamere typically cannot afford to increase S at the expense of D or A because his kit does not provide high base damage or utility significant enough to invest in S.
So the only question that remains is when to prioritize D above A. The mistake most people make is to invest exclusively in D and ignore A. This build is designed to find a balance between D and A, but as a guide it is not always applicable to a specific game and you will have to apply the theory given above to determine if it is.
Balancing D and A
The conditions under which Tryndamere's ability to do damage versus a moving target is compromised are any of the following:
- Tryndamere is slowed
- Tryndamere is naturally slower than the enemy
- Tryndamere is being crowd controlled
- Tryndamere's attack speed is very high
The last bullet point deserves an explanation. Attack speed reduces the amount of time it takes to perform an auto attack animation. You may notice that after buying around 30% attack speed your ability to last hit quickly goes up markedly. However, in order to make it so that people do not have to buy 100% attack speed from items or levels just to have a more responsive auto attack for last hitting, the amount of time by which attack speed reduces the attack animation is nonlinear. Buying more attack speed beyond a certain point still reduces the time required to make an attack animation, but not as significantly-- most of the attack speed simply reduces the delay between making two successive auto attacks, otherwise known as the attack delay.
Attack speed is unlike attack damage or the other offensive stats because having more attack speed mandates making more attack animations, and those animations must be performed while stationary. This means your standing DPS goes up but your chasing DPS doesn't go up by as much, assuming the enemy is slow enough for you to chase and auto attack repeatedly. It also means that if you are able to slow the opponent significantly, you can afford to make more attacks and so your chasing DPS scales with how slow you can make your opponent (up to and not exceeding your standing DPS)
Auto attacks occur in 4 phases. First the windup, then the attack animation, then the wind down, and then the delay. Canceling the attack before the attack animation completes will cancel the attack completely. Canceling the attack just after the attack animation completes and before the wind down animation begins will prevent you from being rooted for longer than absolutely necessary and allow you to move, and the damage will still be dealt-- this is known as animation cancelling.
Note that you do not have to wait on the delay before being able to make the first auto attack-- this is to make last hitting more responsive. It also means that the first attack is not as strongly a function of attack speed as the attacks following it, because attack speed reduces delay by much more than attack animation time. If the sample size that matters is only 4 auto attacks (because they die after 4 auto attacks), attack damage would allow you to kill the target quicker than attack speed would, even if the attack speed mathematically provides more DPS (up to a point), because the first attack is basically free.
Tryndamere's free crit chance and attack damage allow him to kill squishy targets in 3 or 4 hits reliably from full health if he builds specifically for that, and kill more durable targets in the same number of hits from less health with the same build. As you might imagine, that build doesn't involve buying more attack speed than necessary, and involves utilizing the fact that the first attack is essentially free by building large amounts of single hit damage. It is still necessary to have some attack speed both for standing DPS and to reduce the attack animation duration, but because the amount by which attack speed reduces attack animation duration is nonlinear, it is not necessary to invest as heavily in attack speed after reaching a certain threshold.
Massive single hit damage is most easily acquired through infinity edge and static shiv, though typically I forego static shiv for more move speed if I can, since it will make subsequent single hits easier to perform against a moving target.
This is the build I typically use, though as I stated in the theory section you will have to interpret the match you are in and whether or not this particular build or its order should be modified to suit your needs.