Build Guide by TheLostShepherd
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.
Abilities and Tactics
Draw a Bead
Great for keeping your distance in team fights and laning. Trist can be squishy, so keeping enemies at a distance is important.
Bread and butter for trist. So many uses: Tower killing, destroying creep waves, team fighting, ganking. Pure dps. I don't take it til level 7 because her attack speed before then isn't very impressive until getting malady usually.
Also a very useful skill. Can be a great escape/juke. "Oh shi-! Three of them are gonna gank me." *Rocket Jump over a wall* Ta-da! Now you're safe. Also perfectly sets up a Buster Shot to shoot enemies into your teammates or your tower. The slow is great for chasing down enemies or preventing them from starting to run at all.
The super farming ability. Last hitting is rather important for Tristana to effectively farm a lane. The passive even allows you to harass enemy lane opponents without even trying. Just last hit a creep standing next to them. The active can really make a healer's life a pain, and also gives a big middle finger to all the players who bank on heal to get them out of a sticky situation. Plus the DoT can finish off an enemy if you can't run them down. Can even tower dive with it, without taking any damage. When your opponent just barely escaped death from a gank attempt and are hugging their nuts to the turret, run in, shoot off and Explosive Shot and quickly Rocket Jump out of turret range. Then watch them sit there and cry as they die from the DoT.
The ultimate. Very useful to team situations and does a good amount of damage. Before I say anything else, DO NOT BUSTER SHOT AN ENEMY AWAY FROM YOU AND YOUR TEAM IN AN OFFENSIVE SITUATION. All you did was help the enemy escape, and your team will be pissed and call you a noob. So don't do it. What makes Buster Shot awesome though, is that you sneak around, Rocket Jump behind the desired target, and blow them into your teammates. Can be a great surprise initiation to a fight, but be careful, because Trist is squish. So always make sure your teammates are ready to back you up if you initiate that way. Another use of Buster Shot is escaping/saving a running teammate. Buster shot them in the opposite direction, and then book it out of there.
Go mid or lane?
Tristana can do both very well. Mid just takes more map awareness. If you feel uneasy, by some wards and put them in the river to see if someone is trying to help gank you. The passive on Explosive Shot helps keep your mid opponent dancing and harassed. Playing mid just takes a tad more common sense. If you're called down for a gank, then don't let mid see you run off in that direction. Circle around, position yourself for a good Rocket Jump, and go for the gank. Make sure your teammates are on board with the idea too. If you lane instead, I find that she is a very helpful partner(I've often helped a Yi get fed just because they get that last hit with an Alpha Strike). Explosive shot can get your lane opponents down to around 75% rather easily, so use your extended range and give them an auto attack every once in awhile. Once you and your partner are ready and have harassed enough, Rocket Jump and go for the kill. Use Exhaust to ensure a chain slow. Just always be careful though. Check for mia's beforehand.
Ghost and Exhaust
I like this combination because they can both be used both offensively and defensively. For offense, use Ghost to run down an a target or use it to get behind them and Buster Shot them backwards. Use Exhaust in combination with Rapid Fire to slow them and get a lot of auto-attacks on the enemy champ.
Defensively, use Ghost to run away from baddies. Rocket Jump + Ghost is a very effective escape maneuver. Exhaust can be used to blind and slow chasers, and if that isn't enough, Buster Shot them away and book it.
There are plenty of other good choices for summoner spells, but I like these because they can adapt to any situation.
Masteries and Runes
As you can see, I dont go for full blown offensive, defensive, or utility. I find that the 15/0/15 build synergizes with the runes and keeps trist from constantly being oom but yet still allows room to buff her damage output. I get the movement speed increase in utility because trist has to be a very mobile champion in order to be effective, because her 1 slow isn't going to be enough to allow her time to kill an enemy champ, some chasing is gonna be necessary. I also grab the mana regen because she doesn't need a deep mana pool, but with the cd reduction, her skills are a bit more spammable and she needs a decent amount of regen.
For the runes, the armor penetration should give pretty much what you need for most champs. For the tankier and armor stacking sort, you usually have to add a Last Whisper to the mix to get your damage through. The mana regen seals are also to keep the mana hungry tristana from being oom after using just one combo of Rocket Jump-Buster Shot-Rapid Fire. CD reduction glyphs are to bring all of her abilities, especially Rapid Fire, up as fast as possible.
Doran's Blade - I really like using this and a Health Potion as starting items. I've tried starting with the Vampiric Scepter, but I find myself rather susceptible to being the victim of first blood. There's a lot of disagreement on using the Doran's items, so if you don't like them, just go for the Vampiric Scepter and start working on Malady right away. But I really enjoy the blade because of the +120 health mostly, and the +Attack Damage and the Life Steal are added bonuses to sweeten the pot.
Berserker's Greaves - Pretty self explanatory. Attack Speed and Movement Speed, both important stats. It's the second item because as mentioned before, Tristana needs to have mobility in order to be effective.
Malady- Gives good attack speed increase and some much needed lifesteal that helps keep trist's health up. The passive works great for her because its rather easy to put six stacks on an enemy champ in a short amount of time. Once the stacks are on them, thats 30 extra damage per shot(for all of your teammates too). Greatly ups your dps.
Phantom Dancer - In my opinion, one of the best items for Trist. Attack Speed, Crit Chance, Dodge, and Movement Speed all tied into one item slot. It greatly increases her damage output, while at the same time giving her more mobility and survivability through the dodge chance. While working on building this item, go for Zeal first, its kinda like a mini Phantom Dancer.
Frozen Mallet - This is too buff her attack damage and stop those pesky runners when trying to ace their team after a successful team fight. The health gives her more survivability too.
Infinity Edge - Truth is, most games end (in my experience) before I even get a chance to start building this. But, if you are having a looooooong match, or being super fed, I'd suggest this to cap off the build. Huge Attack Damage increase, more crit chance, and makes those crits hit 50% harder. Should be able to tear anyone to shreds if you get to this point.
Also, if infinity edge isn't your style, I'd suggest a Black Cleaver to get more of your attack damage through those armor stacking champs. But if you are really having trouble getting through armor, get a Last Whisper before the Phantom Dancer. Another good item is Sword of the Divine, makes those pesky Jax go down.
Another note, her item set can be rather flexible at times. If you feel that cc is a big problem, go Mercury's Treads instead. Perhaps grab Stark's Fervor instead of Malady if you go that route. Don't think Frozen Mallet is necessary (although I would disagree)? Then go ahead and buy another attack speed item, such as Madred's Bloodrazors. The build I use seems to be an all around good item set for any situation. Feel free to tweak it and play around with it for different play-styles/situations.
Hope this was helpful, and that it will help players of all levels play Tristana effectively. Constructive criticism is accepted, please comment and rate!