Build Guide by TomTheSaint
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I'm relatively new to the game but do a lot of research on how to play well. Trist is my main and was the first character I bought, and I use her a lot.
At first, I used an attack speed/crit build, but I never felt like a carry in the game. I usually evened out my KD ratio and helped push, but I felt like I actually got weaker as the game went on, and midgame was my only strong point. After giving it some time, I realized that this was because I wasn't very good at farming, and by the end of the game I would fall behind in gold and never got the items I needed to make my build truly shine.
Below are notes I wrote to myself on the build. It is a lot, but I tend to be pretty meticulous in thinking things through. That much said, I am new and I don't know half of what I need to about this game, so I am definitely open and welcome feedback.
Notes to myself:
Trist Current Build:
Skills: 1st get Rocket Jump then level Ultimate > Explosive Shot > Rapid Fire.
Logic: Rocket Jump is a viable attack only with lots of AP, which my build doesn't focus on. It can be useful to gank with because of the slow, but I don't need to level it up for that. Rather, it makes a great escape mechanism, particularly when ghost is down. Explosive shot helps my farming and is an early focus, plus it can assist in harassment via splash damage and the DoT. My ultimate provides another escape, plus respectable burst damage. Rapid fire will help with farming, lifesteal and burst dps.
Boots of Speed(350) + 2 Health Pots & 1 Mana pot - Berserker's Greaves (570) - Madred's Razors (1000) - Emblem of Valor (800) - Stark's Ferver (1750) - BF Sword (1850) - Phage (1315) - Black Cleaver (1210) - Frozen Mallet (1925) - Madred's Bloodrazor (2800)
Notes: All item selections after the BF Sword are flexible depending on the situation.
Phage - Frozen Mallet can be taken out for Infinity Edge (4050) if survivability/slowdown isn't a problem (IE can be pushed back to after Black Cleaver).
If lots of high HP chars with good physical defense, upgrade Madred's Razor to a Bloodrazor (do this for extra attack speed and magic damage when money is available later anyway). Malady (1405) is another option to add magic damage - and its fairly cheap.
If I'm getting ganked and/or want more lifesteal, I could upgrade Razor to Wriggle's Lantern (525). I keep the minion damage boost and gain lifesteal + a sentry to help spot inc. champions. I could add another Razor after that (with the + damage and +armor not being insignificant at this point, and the minion effects should double so farming will speed up even more) and eventually turn that one into a Bloodrazor.
Sidenote: If the passive on Executioner's Calling (1350), 4 damage/sec for 8sec on hit, stacks, then this could be another alternative. It comes with 18% lifesteal and 15% crit, which is nice. It also comes with a debuff to reduce healing for 8 sec which I can use every 30 sec. Combined with Explosive Shot this would almost eliminate target healing.
If there are a lot of enemy casters, Banshee's veil (2715) adds health, mana, magic resist and absorbs one neg spell every 30 seconds.
Though it can seem tempting, the Bloodthirster (3200) is pricey and doesn't offer as much benefit as I'd like compared to alternatives. It ends up being about the same cost as a Black Cleaver but doesn't help as much to kill champions, is 3x as expensive as a Razor and doesn't help farming, and twice as expensive as a lantern for pretty much the same lifesteal. The growth from kills is nice, adding +40 damage and +10% lifesteal, but it is lost upon death. If I am going for extra lifesteal it is because I am dying or close to it, meaning that I may well lose those bonuses and my money would probably be better spent toward a Frozen Mallet for $700 more, which will boost my HP, give me a slow (which can help me escape or chase) and does add a little damage too.
Logic/Gameplan: Early boots + Potions helps me lane for a while and kite my opponents. Lifesteal that early is too small to be helpful (I used to buy a Vamp Scepter to start). Berserker's Greaves add to attack speed and help me kite more, as my opponents probably won't get boots at first. Combined with range, this makes my early game harassment strong and keeps survivability up as I level.
Getting Razors as soon as possible really boosts my farming. Until I tried them out myself I completely underestimated how helpful they could be - with my Explosive shot adding AoE damage on kill, that occasional extra burst really speeds things up and helps rake in much more money. They pay for themselves in just a few moments and allow me more flexibility in how to spend my time, rather than just farming. After the Razors, I like to get some lifesteal, as my Rapid Fire is leveling up by now and I can regenerate pretty quickly. This allows me to lane for much longer and recoup after fighting enemy champions.
In my prior builds, I used to keep stacking attack speed (I also leveled Rocket Jump.. *sigh*) but now I realize it is far more effective to let Rapid Fire handle attack speed on top of the items I get for other reasons and instead add more raw damage. Thus at this point I go for a BF sword, which I can then turn into a Black Cleaver to help take down enemy champions, as by now the opposing team is either trying to gank me or the game has progressed to team fights. If I'm being ganked, I also go for Phage and then the Frozen Mallet. If it is team fights where I'm not being targeted much, I will go for an Infinity edge to improve my damage. If I am having trouble breaking through an opponent's armor, I'll switch the Bloodrazor to earlier and consider some other options, like Malady, as well.
The advantages of this build vs. my previous ones are that the items and ability choice really work to Trist's unique strengths - the built in attack speed boost, harassment, range, and farming, and eventually a strong auto-attack which can break through any champion quickly. The build also keeps itself flexible; I can adapt to a farming/pushing role easily, or if enemy champions are trying to gank me, or if the team is going for team battles (though as I look at my strengths and gear needs, I think keeping me separate as a pusher while the team runs about might actually work better. I can push a lane by myself and have a lot of escape options, which will help pressure the opponents).
Comparison to other builds:
At endgame with all 6 slots filled with their top items, the stats on my build don't quite stack up to some of the most popular Trist builds, notably in crit chance. However, those builds require significantly more $, particularly in the midgame, and take much longer to build. They also don't provide for as much farming ability. The idea behind my build is not to obtain the best stats in the last 5 minutes of play, but to adopt an itemization which fits the way I actually play the majority of the game. I have carefully examined my item placement and timing to maintain a fairly steady pricing and increase my ability to earn more money as the game goes on.
Of course, this is mostly theory, but my hope is that by adopting the build as I have, I will be able to buy my items before a Trist who is aiming to, for example, stack Phantom dancers (which I like, but they don't add much utility until you stack them with several + crit items). What I have found with this build is that, in general, I am able to level quickly, buy my items up to the Frozen Mallet by ~midgame and take on enemy champions who are under-equipped and not ready to deal with me while also being an excellent pusher and distraction for my team. This is not a pure champion-killer build with 90% crit rate and
+150% attack speed - its goal is less having a 20/2 KD ratio and more being able to take on any champion 1v1 and contribute to team fights, but most of all push, distract, harass and win the actual game.