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Tristana Build Guide by HowDoYouKite

ADC [13.19] How Do You Trist? Rank 1 Trist World Guide [Comprehensive]

ADC [13.19] How Do You Trist? Rank 1 Trist World Guide [Comprehensive]

Updated on October 24, 2023
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League of Legends Build Guide Author HowDoYouKite Build Guide By HowDoYouKite 172 13 703,164 Views 3 Comments
172 13 703,164 Views 3 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author HowDoYouKite Tristana Build Guide By HowDoYouKite Updated on October 24, 2023
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Hail of Blades
Taste of Blood
Eyeball Collection
Treasure Hunter

Cut Down
Legend: Bloodline

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


1 2
Summoners every game
LoL Summoner Spell: Cleanse


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


Ability Order Check matchup section for when to LVL 1 E or W start.

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

[13.19] How Do You Trist? Rank 1 Trist World Guide [Comprehensive]

By HowDoYouKite
Tristana, the solo queue stomper
There is a reason why smurfs and boosters tend to pick Tristana more than any other ADC. That reason is plain and simple. Tristana has unmatched snowball potential and incredible burst damage. Despite her low base attack range due to Draw a Bead, she has immense laning presence and kill pressure. She rewards aggression at all stages of the game thanks to her insane burst with Explosive Charge and reset potential of Rocket Jump.
Closing out long games is also not an issue for Tristana, with Explosive Charge and Rapid Fire towers will melt away even without hand of baron. In the right hands Tristana is just a solo queue stomper, don't believe me? Here is my Tristana résumé (IGNs cropped for privacy):



Explosive playstyle and kit
High snowball and takeover potential
Easy to do optimal damage
Can buffer/escape most lockdown CC with Rocket Jump
Strong against both squishies and tanks
Best siege/game closer ADC


Bad matchups though few, are extremely punishing
Some what reliant on support synergy
Squishy and easy to burst
Reliant on good positioning
Low DPS when behind
Does not scale as hard compared to hyper-carries like Vayne, Jinx, Twitch
Summoner spells

The Holy Trinity
FLASH: Perfect balance of offense and defence, nothing can beat the utility of Flash, take this every game.
CLEANSE: For the better part of the last 1 or 2 years Exhaust has been the dominant summoner spell for ADCs and supports alike. Currently in season 12 Exhaust is taken more than Smite (Meaning at least 1 Exhaust per game). Since Tristana is heavily reliant on Explosive Charge we will be using Cleanse to cancel Exhaust. Cleanse is also invaluable in outplaying 'catch' spells such as Enchanted Crystal Arrow, Sleepy Trouble Bubble, Cocoon thus saving us 1300g Quicksilver Sash. In a pinch, Cleanse can also remove the damage over time effects of Ignite for those butt cleanching low hp moments.
EXHAUST: As Tristana you should only ever consider Exhaust when playing against Draven or Samira and your support refused to take Exhaust (assuming you can't just dodge).

Hail of Blades synergizes perfectly with Tristana's quick/burst oriented playstyle. The fast 3 autos allows Explosive Charge to get to 3 charges near instantly which opens them up for either 1 more auto to detonate Explosive Charge then disengage, or Rocket Jump on top of them to detonate Explosive Charge then using the reset Rocket Jump to continue the all-in or to jump back to safety.
Some much needed early game sustain, Tristana's build path doesn't get any life steal until Bloodthirster which is usually 4th item (3rd if Infinity Edge damage isn't needed) and Legend: Bloodline may not be stacked yet.
Extra damage to make early leads more impactful
Extra gold to help snowball since we're not taking Triumph.
Can switch Shield to Tenacity and Slow Resist if heavy ap lane.
Skills (work in progress)
Tristana does not have a convoluted kit, therefore, skill explanation section has the lowest priority in this guide. Placeholder for now (wiki): Tristana Wiki
Skill order
Buster Shot

6 / 11 / 16
Explosive Charge

1 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 9
Rapid Fire

3 / 8 / 10 / 12 / 13
Rocket Jump

2 / 14 / 15 / 17 / 18
> > >
This is the typical leveling order. However, the matchup section will have more nuanced explanations on when it's advantageous to take Rocket Jump level 1 and when to level nothing at all until level 2.
Item choices

Kraken Slayer > Best in slot mythic
Best DPS, best synergy with Explosive Charge and Rapid Fire, best in slot.
Galeforce > Mobility/limit test
If we're playing 4fun and don't care about optimal damage then Galeforce is not bad. Will give 1 free reposition to dodge an important skill shot and will all but guarantee a trade kill when catching someone with Rocket Jump Explosive Charge.

Phantom Dancer > Dueling power and gold efficency
Another item that has great synergy with Explosive Charge and Rapid Fire, makes kiting and dodging much smoother.
Rapid Firecannon > High range fantasy
Trades the damage and dueling power for higher auto attacking range. Would not recommend unless enemy comp constantly spaces you ( Caitlyn, Twitch, Ezreal).

Infinity edge > One shot city
One of the biggest damage powerspikes for Tristana, 3rd item Infinity Edge is almost never a bad choice.
Bloodthirster > Huge sustain
Trades damage for added sustain, there are 2 situations where Bloodthirster 3rd overshadows the benefits of Infinity Edge. The 1st situation is when you are so far ahead that IE damage is not needed, you can already burst whoever is needed. The 2nd situation is when you have an AD jungler who can't/won't give up red buff against heavy poke enemies, carry junglers such as Graves, Kindred, Kha'Zix are good examples.
Example builds
You are the main source of damage
Fighting strong front to back comp
Replace with one of these situational items if needed
Match ups (work in progress)
Bot lane matches are a complex and diverse topic. Instead of the usual 'how do I play x champion' we'll need to consider how to play against a combination of 2 champions instead of just 1. Currently there are 27 viable ADCs and 35 viable supports, meaning there are a lot of combinations to consider! You'll be happy to know that regardless of matchup there are tricks to abuse.

Think about what the enemy 'I win' button is in loading screen and wait for them to use it. Consider the enemy lane Ezreal Karma. Without any need to consider what runes/summoner spells, their 'I win' button or win condition is landing Soulflare. This means that if Soulflare is used on our support/waveclear/missed we have a window of opportunity to win a trade no matter what by using Rocket Jump onto Ezreal + Hail of Blades + Explosive Charge etc.

In laning phase it's important to watch the enemy support closely for when they are looking to engage or get into position for a gank since they are usually the ones with the 'I win' button. Remember to dodge or space spells like Flay, Zenith Blade, Grand Entrance etc. Be sure to aim enemy ADC when they miss abilities or use them on our support, that's always a free trade.

Here is a video demonstrating exactly what I mean (taken from my Master promos to demonstrate this idea is the same regardless of elo bracket):
Role specific ideas (how play ADC and not grief)
1. How to position during laning. Positioning diagonally across from engage threats (heavy poke like Karma also counts) is a basic tactic that every carry player should keep in mind. As shown in the image, playing on the opposite side of the threat means a longer range. This means the following: enemy has to walk up to threaten anything, more time to react/outplay, minions will block/aggro if they fight in our minion wave, and makes ganks extremely obvious. In most situations, trading our support's hp for similar damage on enemy ADC's hp bar is very worth it, when enemy supports walk up for engage it's very easy to punish any over-commits or whiffed spells.

2. When is it winning? At the most fundamental level, it's always winning when it's 2v1. There's several ways to turn the 2v2 lane into a 2v1. The first way is to abuse cooldowns. In the previous image if Thresh walks up and misses Death Sentence and we glance the minimap to determine their jungler is not hovering bot side or ganking, then we have a free window of opportunity where Thresh is effectively useless (this applies to any med-long cd key spell such as Rocket Grab, Dark Binding, Soulflare, etc). Aside from cooldown advantage, we can also create a winning trade/all in threat from positioning. When an enemy laner breaks formation to clear a ward or cannon minion we have a 2v1 as shown in the next image. Due to the range difference, both Tristana and Lulu are hitting Jhin but Jhin and Thresh are forced to split targets. Thresh will need to answer with a summoner spell, or a low probability hook on Tristana or engage on Lulu making the trade very advantageous for us.

3. How to win via PVE. Wave management is an absolute necessity at higher levels of play but the topic itself is complex and requires the added context given by game knowledge. Thus, we will only cover how to play the most important phase for bot lane in the entire game.

Contesting level 2. Both carry and support will hit level 2 after soaking the exp of the first minion wave + 3 melee minions on the 2nd wave. This does not mean use every ability and hard push the wave! Instead, we're looking to zone the enemy ADC level 1 without getting engaged on or poked by the enemy support. Weak level 1 champs like Zeri, Jinx, Twitch, etc are very easy to bully so you should push your early advantage a much as possible. The easiest way to zone is via bush/vision control, or abusing range like Caitlyn vs Lucian, or threatening via support poke/engage like Soulflare/ Death Sentence. Just remember to not step past their minion wave as that will cause minion aggro. If the enemy laners have a strong level 1 and it's not safe to zone (role reversal of the above) then we will layer our damage on the wave. This means we do enough damage to ranged/caster minions to get them low but not die as we kill the 3 melee minions in the front. We will match the enemies' push by hitting minions only when they hit or last hit the 3 ranged minions that remain. When done properly, the second minion wave will arrive to meet around the middle of the lane and we should have more caster minions than the enemy. In higher elo brackets the enemies should start to concede level 2 and back off, but it's very easy to catch people who are playing autopilot/autofilled/low elo off guard with this minion advantage. Last hitting or matching enemies' autos from that point on will give us lvl 2 before them regardless of what they do. Level 2 is huge powerspike in stats and regardless of the matchup, 2 champions with level 2 stats + 2 spells each will easily run down or stomp 2 champions with level 1 stats + 1 spell each. This is the recommended all-in timing for most duo bot laners, guaranteed to kill or force summoner spells unless enemies have conceded lvl 2 and backed off to tower.

Cheater recall. Assuming level 2 advantage did not give an opportunity for all in we should now have a stacked minion wave that is just outside of the enemy turret range. While we hard shove the wave into the enemy turret we will need to make a decision based on the game info at the time. Is it likely that their jungler is hovering botside/ganking (did they start blue or red)? Is our jungler hovering botside/contesting rift scuttler? If there is a risk of dying to early ganking champions like Talon, Shaco, Jarvan IV then we simply back off and perform what's called a "cheater recall" where we base+buy items and come back to lane with 0 exp or gold loss due to the enemy not being able to clear the previously stacked wave fast enough to punish. If you do decide to cheater recall, do it immediately. Do not waste any time trading and don't recall in an obvious position that can be interrupted by spells like Deadly Flourish, Void Seeker, Volley, etc.

Pushing the advangage. If there is low chance of being ganked or high chance that our jungler can counter then we can perform a classic bot lane punish. When we have successfully hard shoved the stacked minion wave into the enemy turret, look to damage the turret plating while our cannon and melee minions are still alive. When our cannon and melee minions die however, we will shift our focus to damage the enemy ADC. The reasoning is simply due to range.

As seen from the image above due to cannons and melee minions being, well, melee the enemies can safely farm these without walking up because they're so close to the turret. Caster minions however, are further away from the enemy turret thereby forcing them to have to walk up. This is a lose lose situation since they're force to either trade HP for gold or gold for HP. Obviously when they trade enough of their HP away we are able to threaten a tower dive either 2v2 or 3v2 when coordinated with our jungler. If you are Diamond+ then a high level tactic/habit you can abuse is syncing your auto timing with turret shot timing. You can consistently auto enemies under turret without aggro if you issue an attack command while a turret shot is in the air then issue a movement commmand out of turret range. If you are in a lower elo bracket, there is no need to worry about this. Learn the fundamentals first as they are 1000x more useful than tricks like this.

Turret aggro demo: Just keep in mind that decent players will be looking to punish if you consistently go for this, especially enemy supports.

4. Every solo queue game as ADC is scripted:

Losing scenario
Wave 1: we took favorable trade, have hp advantage
Wave 2: farming, enemies are passive, not willing to take more losing trades
Wave 3: farming, enemies are passive, not willing to take more losing trades
Wave 4 or 5: enemies’ hp even, willing to trade again. We are now losing and at risk of getting ganked depending on the setup.

Winning scenario via PVE (cheater recall)
Wave 1: we took favorable trade, have hp advantage
Wave 2: enemies are passive, not willing to take more losing trades, we hit lvl 2
Wave 3: we crash wave into enemy turret and recall
Wave 4 or 5: enemies hp recovered. We are fresh from base, full hp/mana with item or hp potion.
Wave 6: any trade enemies take = losing by default since we just came from base and they have not (if they did base then they lost gold and exp for it)
Wave 7+: enemies are “locked” into the lane but we are not and have priority. We have kept our advantage and are winning.

Winning scenario via PVP (aggressive but not inting)
Wave 1: we took favorable trade, have hp advantage
Wave 2: we all-in at level 2
Wave 3: forcing trades
Wave 4 or 5: we have traded some of our hp for most of theirs or we have summoner/exp/gold/level advantage. We have kept our lead and are winning.

Important take away concepts so far:
1. When one side goes from having an advantage to being even. It means they are losing.
2. If there is no kill potential, chip damage is worthless! Being 20% HP is the same as 100% hp if there's no lethal. It's worth it to trade away HP to crash a wave if you're looking to reset, similarly, it's not worth it to waste spells/autos/time hitting an enemy if you need to crash a wave for reset.
3. If you take a rift scuttler you're not only +126 gold and +207 exp you're also inflicting -126 gold and -207 exp for the enemy by denying them the opporunity.
4. Every single advantage counts and should be exploited whenever possible.

How to win mid game. Winning lane does not directly transfer to winning the game. If we have gained a lead (level advantage/item advantage/roam priority) it's on us to exert pressure on the map so our solo laners and jungler can have a better time as well. To hit the highlights:

Sieging. When sufficiently ahead or enemies refuse to walk up for cs, instead of playing for pvp we can play for turret plating and siege. Getting the enemy jungler to show botlane with attempted ganks is very advantageous as long as we don't int the gank. Forcing enemy jungle pressure means: other side of the map has man advantage with our jungler, we have an opporunity to outplay 2v3, wasting enemy jungler's time is very valuable especially if they accidentally soak enemy bot laner's exp.

Deep warding+contesting enemy jg. After shoving minion wave to turret and it's not safe to siege then we can use this timer to deep ward or go contest enemy jungle camps.

Roam for rift herald or pick/skirmish. We're only going to do this if these conditions are met: 1. There's low risk of missing exp and gold. 2. We have upgraded boots or enough movement speed to get there in time. 3. We actually have something to offer once we get there. For example, if we're Vayne with low mana then there's next to no chance roaming will be worth it. On the other hand, if we're Tristana, Kai'Sa, Samira, or anyone with a pivotal spell like Bullet Time and our team is contesting rift herald, dragon, or mid then it's go time.

Swapping lanes. There are people out there playing under the misconception that ADC is weak or botlane doesn't matter. Unfortunatley the fact of the matter is bot has the highest influence on how the map is played mid game. No other role (top/mid/jungle) can win their own lane+get tower then immediately follow that up with lane swapping to pressure another area of the map or objective. When pressuring properly, ADCs have enough agency to dictate how the rest of the game is played out (doesn't apply when behind obviously, most other champions will win with no counterplay 1v1). How to know which lane it's best to take over:
1. Is it close to the next objective?
2. Does the enemy laner have an effective way to wave clear without dying? For example, don't swap into an Anivia or Ryze with enough mana for Glacial Storm and Spell Flux respectively.
3. Will we be forced to split exp? Taking over an ally's lane when they're playing a champion with bad split push potential may cause an ARAM situation where they don't want to rotate, forcing us to split exp 3 ways (one of the best ways to lose a lead). Displacing an ally Tryndamere or Sion is more favorable compared to displacing an ally Annie or Xerath.
Tristana specific ideas (how to play Tristana and not grief)
How play Tristana effectively (work in progress)
1. knowing the match up and support synergies
2. positioning in pvp
3. Tristana trading patterns and combos
4. combos that one tricks use that you probably don't
5. how to not positioning like a griefer
6. Trist is a fairly straight forward champion, most of our pick potential or advantages will come from early leads + positioningpositioningpositioningpositioningpositioningpositioningpositioningpositioning
Q. B-b-b-but my /support/jg/mid/top are feeding every game! How am I supposed to win when it's team diff every game?
A. Consistently being 'unlucky' every game is not a thing. The inability to carry games unless other lanes are even/winning means you belong in that ELO bracket for now. There's no way to control who your teammates are or how they play, so focus on how to imrpove yourself to outclimb the losers.

Q. My support won't walk up/won't stop walking up/jungler not doing xyz
A. Use pings or communicate using chat (not insults or flame ideally...), no back seating, only simple language. 'Hey pls play parallel with me,' 'next cannon look Zenith Blade Kog'Maw ty'

Q. Do I need coaching to improve?
A. Most people do not need coaching, iron-diamond can be achieve from purely watching streams+consuming league of legends content+playing the game with the intent to improve and win (yes it will take an extremely long time because League of Legends is a complex and difficult game). If you're 'serious' about improving to D4+ then coaching could be a good investment.
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