Tristana Build Guide by CriticalMcS

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League of Legends Build Guide Author CriticalMcS

Tristana - The Little Cute DMG Dealer

CriticalMcS Last updated on February 11, 2012
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Team 1

Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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Hello, and welcome to my first guide on Tristana, the Megling Gunner.

I'm CriticalMcS by the way, and I have played Tristana since always. She is the "bomb" when you control her in the battlegrounds, so you'd better love her. When you need an easy and free champion like Tristana, you are in good hands. This guide is set up to give you my way of playing her, and showing the path to give some dominance, aswell as I tell you some tricks i have learned. I hope you like this, and I hope you enjoy. During the seasons, i will update this and keep it organized and easy to read. When you are done, please leave a comment and a vote on the guide, questions will be answered as quickly as possible.

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Top Builds/Content

I currently have 3 builds for Tristana, without Dominion and AP, I will add them later on. For now, you have to stick to these 3, but what are their overview? Pick one you like.

Build 1 - Default

This is straight rushing lifesteal, attack speed, and damage afterwards. This WAS my main build before i started with Doran's Blade. Zeke's Harbinger is a great starting item with great supporting passives.

Build 2 - Alternate Sustain
Starting with 3 Doran's Blade can, and I repeat, CAN save you. This is not the best build for Tristana, but you can try it out in Co-op vs. AI before judging. This build was by Pornofisk and i thought you would like it. All copyright belongs to him.

Build 3 - Rushing Damage
This was a experiment in a ranked game. After I tried it out for the first time, it ended with a 18/1 score. Rushing damage first is a big risk, and you may not be able to get your items first before the enemy team get's fed, so be sure you get most of the kills on your team.

Build 4 - Dominion
Likewise, I am not sure if this could be Tristana's current Dominion build, but this is the items I used. For more details: go to the Dominion chapter.

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Pros / Cons


-Has great attack speed
-Mid- and earlygame DPS dominance
-Built in + nice farming passive
-Awesome killing blow ultimate
-Cool escape abilities
-Huge basic attacks range


-Extremely squishy early and mid game(plus focused mid- and late game if fed)
-Mana hungry
-Has some DPS duelants, like Xin Zhao, Vayne etc.
-Item dependant

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Let's start with the runes shall we?

Build 1:

I usually go pure AS tier 3 runes. You'll get both AS up to 0.925 in champion level 1, but you are also really squishy then. So stick with the devensive style 'till around level 3-6.

Build 2:

Marks: Basically you should get Greater Mark of Scaling Attack Damage runes, to get some AD in the upcoming levels instead of getting items. You could get some Greater Mark of Desolation runes aswell, but it's up to you. The Armor Pen. runes gives you great damage to tanks early on.

Seals: Every champion loves armor, who doesn't? Tristana hates armor in the start, so give her some! She usually starts with around 16/18 armor in the beginning of a battle, so this really helps.

Marks: Like the armor, AP is also a problem when going both mid and the other lanes. The pros in this is that you get 13 more Magic Pen with Greater Glyph of Magic Resist. and that is not bad for one like Tristana.

Quintessences: Like the marks: you need AD, but per level? You don't get anything out of that, only during the xp farming. Flat AD, Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage, is key to great lvl 1-6 farming.

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Note this: All of Tristana's abilities are pure magic damage. And the ratioes is amazingly high. I'll conclude them in the text below. This is a con to Tristana when playing AD because there is no way you'll damage somebody with per level damage. However, they can be your lifeline in the game, even if you are the best carry in the world, and got ganked by the whole enemy team.

Draw a Bead = Increases attack range when leveling - Useful at = Mid lane/Duo lane melee encounters
This is key to start nuking late early- and mid game. Whenever you are being able to auto-attack the enemy, don't be so scared to pull off the trigger.

Rapid Fire = Increases attack speed on active - Useful at = Farming, chasing, pushing turrets and bursting enemy.
Very extreme mid- and late game fights. This will increase your DPS counter and will become a pain in the ***. Range is also better than some popular skill shots, that's why I love fighting against Ezreal sometimes.

Rocket Jump = Shoots you in the air, dealing splash damage when landing and slowing hitten enemies - Useful at = Escapes/Chasing, nuking, bursting and farming

Explosive Shot = Passive: On a killing blow, Tristana deals splash damage to enemies around the killed unit
Active: Poisons the target enemy for 7 seconds and grants 50% reduced healing
- Useful when = Farming, comboing and harassing
Passive = Your main goal to get gold is to farm, that's why you have this lovely passive. Whenever you kill a minion, you deal some damage to everyone around it. Then you can focus on last-hitting some other minions.
Active = This is your main early harassing ability, using this on any carry or mage at level 1, it deals 1 "box of health" which is pretty much at the beginning. Combinding this with auto-attacks will grant you perfect harassment. Combinding this with Ignite will give you 100% healing to target enemy. And combinding this with Exhaust makes it harder for the enemy champion to escape you.

Buster Shot = Knocking back target enemies - Useful when = Last hitting, ganking, escaping and supporting.
This is your main skill to secure a kill. Whenever you solo mid and your target has less than 200 hp(depending on armor) use this. The push is enough to gank the other lanes, just jump in and shoot them towards your teammates.
I mentioned "supporting" in the text above which may sound either obvious or wierd. Here's a question: Have you ever watched a teammate fleeing from enemy melees? Here's your answer: Shoot them. Just supported your teammate(s).

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Build 2 might not have any mastery tree, but follow the one on build 1. I was too lazy.

Offense tree

Tier 1: I take Summoner's Wrath and full points in Brute Force . The extra buffs in Summoner's Wrath is the dot over the i.
Tier 2: Take full points in Alacrity for the nice attack speed early on.
Tier 3: Take 2 points in Deadliness , one in Weapon Expertise and full in Havoc . This set's the pure damage with armor pen. and critical strike chance. The extra 1.5% is just for some damage that it'll help you when getting crushing blow.
Tier 4: Take full points in Vampirism . The 3% extra lifesteal helps you to NOT buy another Doran's Blade.
Tier 5: This is selfexplainatory. You get 16% armor pen. when taking full points in Sunder
And now, last but finally: Tier 6: Get the last point in Executioner for the extra dps when you auto attack your "below 50%" targets.

Utility tree

Tier 1: I take one point in Summoner's Insight and full in Good Hands . You can take Expanded Mind instead of Good Hands to fix Tristana's low mana pool during your farming. It's all up to you.
Tier 2: There are 2 options here:
1. If you got Good Hands , then take full points in Swiftness . This will ALMOST give you Tristana's old movement speed back before it was patched (It was 310, now it's 300). Plus it gives you good chasing and or escaping abilities.
2. If you got Expanded Mind , then take full points in Meditation and one point in Swiftness . I don't recommend you to get Scout , because Tristana is not a warding megling. Else 0.5% movement speed is somewhat helping you when you got shoes and Phantom Dancer. When you have Expanded Mind and Meditation , you might not want to recall every 3 minuttes for mana and items.
Tier 3: When you have jungled, you have a buff, why not extend the duration time then? Get the last point in Runic Affinity , 20% is more than you think it is.

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You might have cut down to this chapter for my boring speech during the guide, that's okay.
Now, the number 2 build item order looks a bit unorganized, so I tell in depth why these items is needed.

-Build 1-

To start off i go with a Vampiric Scepter to survive some small nukes or AoE attacks. This is helpful when you have killed an enemy champion, then you can stay in the lane and gain hp again. WARNING: If below 150 hp: recall.

-Early core items-

When you are around level 8-10, you can afford the Zeke's Harbinger and Berserker's Greaves. From there you should gain both hp per 5 seconds, lifesteal, great mass of attack speed and 20 reduced armor to nearby champions. When ganking, you'll get them easily with a teammate or two.

-Mid core items-

This is where the damage begins. Get a B. F. Sword as quickly as possible to get some AD. As the game goes on you'll have three choices of items to buy.
1. Buy Infinity Edge and then head for Phantom Dancer
2. When B. F. Sword is bought, get a Zeal for some movement speed and critical chance. Then go for Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer
3. B. F. Sword > Phantom Dancer > Infinity Edge.

It only depends on how the game is going. Else you should take number 1 as default.

-Early core items-

From here, you should be the favorite AD carry on your team, but you got a problem. They escape from you easily with eather CC or movement speed.
Buy a Phage for the basic slow. Even though it has a 25% chance for slow, you have the best attack speed around. Rapid Fire + Zeke's Harbinger buff and passive + Phantom Dancer = Good chase.
When you have enough gold, buy a Frozen Mallet to the ultimate slow and hp.
Last but finally I have three items in mind.
1. If you have Off-Tanks in game, go Madred's Bloodrazor.
2. If you have tanks in game, go Last Whisper
3. If you have squishy champions or need the extra critical chance, go another Phantom Dancer.

This was build 1. Have a great match.

-Build 2-

Note: This guide was designed for going mid only, you can go top or bot with this guide aswell, but it's your risk.
Like all carries: go Doran's Blade for the hp, damage and the small amount of lifesteal. This gives you the aggresivity to let the others become afraid of you, but don't abuse it.

-Late early items-

When you have over 950 gold, recall and buy two more Doran's Blades. I go this because of the extra lifesteal, hp and flat DMG. Don't worry, we'll sell 'em later. Buy Berserker's Greaves whenever you can.

-Mid core items-

From here you should be focusing attack speed and some crit. This is the perfect time for a Phantom Dancer to enter. Afterwards go Last Whisper as some tanks go armor from here. This helps on your DPS counter, and you scare the hell out of the squishy AD/AP carries. :)

-Late core items-

Time to sell these overflooding swords. When you have 1.315 gold, return and sell a Doran's Blade, then buy a Phage and start focusing a Frozen Mallet. This is useful for the slow to your teammates and yourself.
when reaching 1.500 gold, sell an other one and buy a B. F. Sword and start heading towards an Infinity Edge, to help you giving that extra DMG. From here you should need some lifesteal. Then sell the last one, buy a Vampiric Scepter and head towards The Bloodthirster


-Build 3-

I have been experimenting a bit to get some new burst builds to Tristana. When playing with her in a normal 5v5 game, I've got an 18-1-11 score. Not bad actually. So here's the build:

I start off with a Doran's Blade. With the new masteries you have 6% lifesteal, so you are more sustainable top and bot lane. Maybe mid, but it depends on who you'll face.

-Late early game-

When reaching 920 gold, buy a pair of Berserker's Greaves to get some more attack speed and some movement speed aswell. From here you should be able to her*** most melee targets with your auto attacks.

-Mid game-

Start focusing Last Whisper. With 56% armor pen.(+ the runes) you can easily her*** the opponents now. If you have some AP which is nuking you: replace it with a Hexdrinker. But, no her***ment without the speed. After Last Whisper start focusing Zeal. When having around 110-120 AD, you need a bit more, so do yourself a favor and buy a B. F. Sword to start building late core items. Whenever possible go for a Phantom Dancer and an Infinity Edge afterwards for some serious action.
When you have 56% armor pen. 180/200 AD, 1.6 AS and some critical chances, you are the main event when entering team fights with at least 2 other teammates by your side. Do never ever feel OP when you think you are. Watch the kills first, then enemy teams items and focus the squishy first and their burst damager afterwards.

-Late game-

From here you should have enough items to be a carry. But if you have some high HP opponents like Vladimir, Mordekaiser and tanks, this is when Madred's Bloodrazor enters. The 4% of enemy HP in bonus DMG is key to killing tanks and tanky DPS'ers. Do when you have 450 gold or more: sell your Doran's Blade and buy a Vampiric Scepter to start focusing The Bloodthirster. From here you might be the most OP champion in the game if you have more then 6 kills over your deaths. If you feel desperate enough, sell your Last Whisper and buy The Black Cleaver for overstacked tanks. The damage and attack speed increases your DPS counter. And that's it!

From here you should have pure damage. Have fun :)

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Considerable Items

I have some items in mind that Tristana could use, but they are somewhat unuseful. You can try them in an Co-op vs. AI match and tell me how it went. Enough of me talking, let's check them out.


Boots of Mobility: I have tried this before. It's outstanding when returning to your lane and when starting a gank. But when you get auto attacked by a ranged dude, you are back to 370 movement speed.

Boots of Swiftness: These are perfect in dominion, and somewhat in a 3v3. The speed is amazing, but I still prefer the AS boots.

Mercury's Treads: Tristana is CC proned, these will help if you are against a team with CC nukes.

Ninja Tabi: Since a patch removed the dodge from the Phantom Dancer, this is the only dodge item that Tristana can buy, for now. I have never tried it out on her but you can do so.

Sorcerer's Shoes: Ideally, Tristana's Rocket Jump, Explosive Shot and Buster Shot is PURE magic damage. So is a desperate selection from me if you are going AD DPS.


Executioner's Calling: Ignite in an item. This reminds me of patched lifesteal Malady, but without attack speed and with critical chance.


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Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells

I'll sort these spells in these categories:
-Authors Choice
-Not Recommended
Lets do it!

Authors Choice

: This is the primary first blood skill for Tristana. Ignite + Explosive Shot = 100% reduced healing and a big poison blow for 7 seconds. Get this.

: This is the number 1 secondary escape spell for Tristana. Rocket Jump and Ghost rocks in escaping and chasing. If the enemy champions get's too close, use Buster Shot when it's an emergency.

: This is the number 2 secondary escape spell for Tristana. If you missed Flash through the wall, you got Rocket Jump to back you up.


: This is perfect for chasing if you have Ghost picked, so you could change Ignite with this. The decreased damage, armor and magic resist should help you alot.


: If you hate Tristana's squishy hp, get Heal.

: I have never tried it before, but it could be useful when comboing with Rapid Fire.

: Tristana has low movement speed without shoes, get Teleport to farm minions and quick buy at your summoner platform.

: CC is Tristana's nightmare. Without Banshee's Veil this will help you.

: This is useful early game in cause of her insane mana cost. I recommend getting this if you go AP Tristana.

Not Recommended

: Pretty much useless when playing Dominion. Why does Tristana need it? Let supporting tanks or supporters pick it.

: You'll end up feeding the other team, + it has the longest CD i've ever seen. Never get this in game.

: Even though it will help you getting Baron, the dragon, golem and lizard, Tristana is not a jungler.

: This might be useful, but please. Supports or tanks should get this.

: This gives so small AD that it makes it useless. And the enemy team will destroy it anytime

: Even though it would grant Tristana gold for siege minion kills, the opponents will focus it. Supporters' choice when not last hitting minions.

: Ashe's Hawkshot is as good as supporters' skills. Leave it again to the supporters.

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Dominion (Beta)

I decited to make a chapter about Dominion. The reason for this is, I would make a giant mess in the guide so pardon me. Dominion is so big and funny that you can't resist it. And combined with Tristana, it gives a new expirience. For me, Dominion is challenging. You have got some new items to learn, and you will start with more gold and 2 more levels, which is somewhat good for Tristana. I'll talk about items first...

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Tristana has quite a few tricks in hand to pull off. I don't know all of them but this is what I've used so far...

Nuke: For nuking, you should W to your enemy duelant. If hit, use Q when possible. Shoot her with your R if he is escaping from your tower, else shoot a E to poison him, then Ignite.

Last hitting champions: When going mid, you have half-killed your enemy champion. When he is at "3 boxes of health" or below 300 hp, Rocket Jump at him and use your ult. If you can, use Ignite or Exhaust while jumping. Land 1-2 basic attacks and then R him.

Her***ment play/ Aggresive: When laning top or bot, you should be competing a melee fighter, while his buddy is home and buying stuff. To play her***ing, you should shoot Explosive Shot when in range. If he retreats, then go pass enemy minions and stay there so that he can't get any xp. For more detail about agressive playstyle; check this video by Shurelia: Covered play/ Defensive: If you face some tough boys, play defensively. Stay in range to get xp, but as close to your turret as possible. With Tristana's passive in Explosive Shot, you'll get their minions easily.

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This concludes my Tristana guide. I won't accept trolls or hating comments before you have tried it. In the future, I will try to upload .lrf games, depends on the view rate, pictures and maybe updated stuff aswell. Rate, comment, ask and enjoy. I'll love to answer and give you feedback. Feel free to add me on EU Nordic & East. Maybe we can play together. I'm out. Peace! :)

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Guide Changelog

[1.1]29-12-2011 =
+ Added Abilities chapter
+ Added Dominion chapter (NOTE: Beta)
* Fixed color and item links typing mistakes
* Moved changelog
[1.02]18-11-2011 = Added new dps build. Rewritten and added new masteries chapter
[1.01]6-11-2011 = Added: Coloured text and Masteries.
[1.0]31-10-2011 = Initial release

- Add a farming chapter
- Add a laning teamwork chapter
- Add a useful items (sub)chapter

If you have things this guide needs some more of, please comment it. :)