Tristana Build Guide by Ceromus
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.
I am changing this guide to a middle lane only guide. If you want a more complete guide and more focused on bot lane please visit http://www.mobafire.com/league-of-legends/build/tristana-the-little-package-of-destruction-137728
I added a second build which is my Max DPS build. I don't sell my boots until im ready to replace them with my trinity force.
The Hope Slayer
The reason I have decided to name this guide The Hope Slayer is because I feel that it's an appropriate description of what I do in mid. My opponents come in all full of joy and hope that I will be like every other Trist they have faced in mid. Then as the fight begins first comes denial, followed by fear, and finally hopelessness as I crush their hopes that turret hugging would keep me at bay. This follows by their own team usually bashing the player because they also believe that Trist is weak early. On occasion they will make my day and actually swap mid out with someone else and I can repeat the cycle.
Disclaimer: I win 96% of my mid battles. Of the 4% matches I have lost approximately 75% are due to me not paying attention to mana or me falling victim to a gank. Yes I play on US server.
I am writing this guide because I have played well over 1000 games as Tristana in MID and I wish someone had pointed me in the right direction a long time ago. I had reviewed pretty much every guide on both mobafire and leaguecraft for almost a year. Some of the guides helped a little but they also hurt by pointing me in what my opinion is the wrong direction. I'm here today not to give you exact details of my play style but to point aspiring Tristana players in the right direction. If you want to down vote me for that then thats fine. The type of player im writing this for is the type of player that will look through all the guides even the down voted ones.
Update 11/27/2011: Most Tristana guides are now pointing people in the right direction. I recommend http://www.mobafire.com/league-of-legends/build/tristana-the-little-package-of-destruction-137728 for a guide that is not middle lane specific.
(Below info added 4/7/2011 1:15pm)
I added a picture with some scores and statements from other players. I just added it to catch players attention and a little reassurance that at the very least i'm not a terrible Trist.
(Below info added 9/15/2011 8:55am)
I have noticed some of the fans of my guide are constantly trying other builds. This is a mistake. If you are using this build and your Trist is still weak then you are doing something wrong and its up to you to figure out what.
Special thanks to Locodoco
A little over a month ago I was a cleanse user. I strongly believed that the summoner spell cleanse was the way to go because it maximized my survivability when combined with rocket jump & flash/ghost. I knew that ignite would improve my early game by quite a bit but I also knew that it would hurt my survivability dramatically. It wasn't until about a month ago when a friend informed me that Locodoco just posted a new trist guide that I changed my mind. At first I almost dismissed it completely but I noticed he had the same skill order as me and he also mentioned the possibility of starting with cloth+5hp potions something that I was also considering. After studying the guide I tried it out to the letter and ended up not really liking it im sure its an excellent guide against high elo opponents but I don't run into those often. What I did take from the guide was that it was ok to make a tankier trist with that in mind I tried various runes and builds and I feel the one I have posted here is the one I am most comfortable with. I now have the survivability to drop cleanse and increase my early game power with ignite. This may seem like a minor change but trust me the power difference between my older Trist and this Trist is massive.
Flash and Ignite period.
Flash has several important uses for Trist. Surprising, Positioning, Escaping, Dodging, etc.
Why NOT Exhaust+Ignite:
Its a crutch you do not want to get use to resorting to Exhaust+Ignite because flash is far more important for you to have. Consider this a really bad habit.
Why NOT cleanse:
Ignite allows for a stronger early game, stronger early game almost always makes for a stronger late game. Cleanse is no longer as important due to defensive masteries and hp/l runes.
Some may wonder why my skill order is the way it is. Why not Q earlier or why not more E earlier. Well allow me to explain.
Why no early Rapid Fire (Q):
Mana plain and simple. Yes it will give you a slightly bigger damage increase than another point in explosion. Yes it is only slightly because no one is going to stand there and let you hit them over and over for its full duration. 80 Mana is a big deal early and it's just not worth wasting on Q until later on.
Why not more Explosive Shot (E):
This is the most common mistake I have seen on Trist players. You only want to last hit thats it. That is why you are starting with a Doran's shield. You do not want to do more damage to the minions than you need to because you don't want to push your lane! So why 2 points? Just for that the dot against the player thats it. It has absolutely nothing to do with the minions
(Below info added 3/31/2011 4:14PM)
If you are not smart casting with Tristana you must immediately start getting in the habit. Every ability should be smart casted (obviously not Q since that wouldnt do anything). You may need to practice smart casting rocket jump for a while what I would recommend is you push W like you normally would but instead of left clicking to actually cast it you use shift+W.
Doran's shield first. I use to be a strong advocate of Doran's blade but now I know better. Doran's blade means that you have to hit minions to recover HP which means that if you happen to lose the advantage I can easily shut you out. Not starting with a Doran's item means you will probably get raped.
After that the order of what you purchase things is really about what you are facing. Do NOT I repeat do NOT buy boots before Doran's Blade. I absolutely love it when opponents go back and get boots as their second item because it just means my advantage is even higher than it was before.
My Core Items are:
Doran's Shield, Doran's Blade, Berserker Greaves, Infinity Edge, Phantom Dancer, The Black Cleaver.
The other 2 items you can change out, you can also get items earlier if you need to. If WW or Malz are constantly going for me I will definitely get a Quick Silver Sash early.
(Below info added 3/31/2011 4:05pm)
Never EVER sell your doran's items until you need that slot. For example I sell Doran's Shield when I can afford my banshee (or quick silver sash) or phage until then I keep it. Then I sell my doran's blade to fit my final item. I always keep the blade until last.
There was a time when I said buying a frozen mallet is silly because technically speaking you could have just picked Ashe and spent that money on something other than the frozen mallet and catch up DPS wise. However this was a stupid thought because contrary to what I believed at the time the Frozen Mallet is not about the slow. It's about the HP the slow and attack damage is just a really nice perk that helps your team catch & escape players.
Quicksilver sash is something to grab if you are constantly being targetted by CC. In particular suppression ults.
(Below info added 9/8/2011 12:57pm)
Pay attention to whats going on before you get pickaxe before zerker boots. If I feel I got a gank opportunity in the side lanes I am going to get zerker boots. If I feel I need extra speed vs a mid opponent that i am having problems with I will also get zerker boots first (though this is pretty rare). If I just want additional power for mid ill go with the pickaxe.
(Below info added 9/15/2011 9:00am)
There have been requests for additional advice on shopping. It's all situational people but here are some pointers to give you a general idea.
Start with Doran's Shield
(First trip back)
If MoneyOnReturn is less than 475 then buy 2xhp and 2xmana potions, priority to hp potions.
If MoneyOnReturn is greater than 475 buy doran's blade, if you have 920g after buying doran's blade then buy berserker greaves. If you still have over 830g then buy a part of the IE. If you have extra money 2xhp and 2xmana pots.
(Future Trip back when you have IE, Berserker Boots, Doran's Shield, Doran's Blade)
If MoneyOnReturn is greater than 1650 then buy B.F. Sword (You're going TBC before PD now, unless you feel you need PD first for some reason).
If MoneyOnReturn is greater than 1195 then buy Zeal.
If MoneyOnReturn is greater than 830 then buy Cloak of Agility.
If MoneyOnReturn is greater than 400 and you don't have zeal then buy brawler gloves.
ELSE just make sure you have potions, no more than 3hp pots and 2 mana pots.
Know what you are capable of
I have spent countless hours running numbers for Trist. I know exactly how much damage im going to do depending on my level, items, abilities. I also know the amount of mana im going to spend. I strongly recommend if you're serious about Trist you take the time to at least get approximate values for the first 7 levels with and without ignite.
Certain match ups are going to give you problems. Sometimes you won't be able to dominate mid but that doesn't mean you should die either. If you start losing the advantage try to get someone to cover you till you can recall and come back. Even if you do amazing and the screen is covered with "Yournamehere is Legendary!" you can still lose.
Engaging in team fights
(Below info added 10/14/2011 12:30pm)
I know I said I wasn't really going to go give detailed pointers on game play but I need to mention 2 things that I see Tristana players struggling with.
1. When to engage: In general (a typical normal match) you want to engage right after the enemy engages one of your allies. In many cases the entire team won't switch to you if they are already on a team mate. Common mistakes are engaging too early and dying immediately or waiting too long to engage to sweep up the killing blows. Engaging late doesn't make you a good player...sure it can give you awesome multikills and great scores but you are not playing to your full potential.
2. When do use Rapid Fire (Q): You do NOT use Q when your poking. Q is your bread and butter and you should only use it when you feel you can make use of a decent portion of its duration and not be caught in a team fight with it down. Consider your teams CC when you are making the decision as to when to pop your Q.
I hope this brief and undetailed guide helps point Trist fans in the right direction. If you are still having trouble and you are a devoted Trist fan with hundreds of Trist games played you can send me a message. If I can determine you are a devoted Tristee (probably checking on lolbase) I may take some time and play some games with you and give you pointers. Do not even think about messaging me if you haven't practiced alot or can't/won't devote the IP for the runes.