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Tristana Build Guide by xTheUnlimited

ADC [9.6] Tristana ADC - Blast 'em !

ADC [9.6] Tristana ADC - Blast 'em !

Updated on March 21, 2019
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League of Legends Build Guide Author xTheUnlimited Build Guide By xTheUnlimited 306 19 734,682 Views 13 Comments
306 19 734,682 Views 13 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author xTheUnlimited Tristana Build Guide By xTheUnlimited Updated on March 21, 2019
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Press the Attack
Legend: Alacrity
Coup de Grace

Absolute Focus
Gathering Storm

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


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Heal


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

- Table of Contents -

I'm xTheUnlimited (EUW) and I've been playing League of Legends since 2011. I've mained ADC since the end of season 7 and I've developed a special liking for Tristana. I'm living in Germany, so as you read you may notice that my English isn't perfect, but I'm working on it! This guide is my collected experience as a S7-S8 Plat ADC main playing against high Plat / low Diamond players.

Tristana has always been a solid ADC choice and that's why I want to present her to you!


+ Huge late game attack range
+ Good escape move
+ Powerful mid to late game
+ Good follow up on engages
+ Crit based ADC

Tristana is incredibly hard to reach for tanks and assassins due to her really high auto attack range at Lvl 18 - It's the highest in the game. Her Rocket Jump can be used defensive as an escape move to escape from ganks or it can be used in an offensive way to follow up on an engage. Also her mid to late game is pretty strong, if not the strongest out of all ADC's. Her damage is just super high. Also she is a Crit based ADC, what allows her to scale good into late game.

- Weak early game
- Can get pushed in early
- Low attack range early on
- Rocket Jump can get cancelled easy

So, Tristanas main weakness is her "not that strong" early game. Since she is a crit-based ADC she needs her 3 item powerspike to really be powerful. Even though I wouldn't consider her early as bad, because her damage isn't that low. Her auto attack range is pretty low in early game (525 at Lvl 1) so she can get bullied, zoned and poked pretty easy if she wants to farm. Her escape move Rocket Jump might be a great thing, but it can be cancelled really easy due to its slow animation.


Well, Precision is literally the best rune path for Tristana. You'll a great keystone and also solid other rune choices. I could not think of another option for a main tree for Tristana right now.

Press the Attack
Press the Attack is your keystone rune. It coordinates perfect with your Explosive Charge, because until you'll have the full stacks on your bomb, you will trigger Press the Attack, so your bomb will deal more damage. Also, Lethal Tempo isn't a great option for Tristana and since the nerfs for Fleet Footwork went down, it isn't a good option anymore too.

Triumph is always a good option, actually on everybody. The heal you get after you kill somebody can save your life and power you up if you have to continue the fight after killing somebody. 20 extra Gold per kill aren't that bad either. The other options are not really viable on Tristana in my opinion.

Legend: Alacrity
Out of the other 2 options, Legend: Alacrity is the best choice for you. You'll get attack speed per Legend Stack and you want a lot of attack speed. Also you cant use Tenacity or Lifesteal as good as you can use attack speed. You mostly build one lifesteal item and if you are struggling with a lot of CC you can just buy Mercury's Treads.

Coup de Grace
Again, in case of dealing damage this is the best option. Going for Cut Down will not benefit you until late game and you mostly buy Lord Dominik's Regards so this rune wont pay off. Last Stand is not really made for an ADC, because it'll give you more damage when you are low life, but you dont want to lose health at all.


Sorcery is your second tree. I choose this tree mainly because of the damage-focused rune choices you can make here.

Absolute focus
Absolute Focus buffs your AD and AP if you are above 70% Health. I know this seems pretty greedy, but since Celerity got changed (wont buff your AD and AP anymore) it isn't viable anymore. Absolute Focus is the best alternative right now.

Gathering Storm
Gathering Storm gives you bonus AD every 10 minutes. Since you are an ADC that scales pretty well into the game and benefits from a long game, this rune helps you to scale even better into late game.

Row 1 For the first Row I'd choose the extra attack speed to compensate the amount of attack speed you actually got from choosing Precision as your main rune tree.

Row 2 Here I'd choose the Bonus 6 AD to compensate the amount of AD you got from choosing Sorcery as your second tree.

Row 3 The last thing I choose is more armor. This also is a method to gain more sustain in lane and to stay healthier to keep my Absolute Focus buff. The other options in this row aren't really viable at all.

Second tree options

Domination is an offensive choice as your second tree. The choices here aren't bad either. In this tree I would go for Taste of Blood to get more sustain in Lane. The other rune I would go for is Zombie Ward to get vision for a longer time. What bothers me a bit is, that except for Taste of Blood I can't seem to use the choices of runes in this tree very well.

Inspiration isn't a solid choice these days anymore, in my opinion. I would decide for Magical Footwear. That will give you free-enhanced boots at minute 10. With that you are getting a little gold lead, but I feel pretty clunky without boots until minute 10. The other choice would be Biscuit Delivery, just to get more sustain in lane.

Resolve is a really defensive option as your second tree. I would only go for that, if you are seeking a really hard lane or if the enemy team is full with assassins. To prevent them from one-shotting you, I would defenitly choose Bone Plating due to the reduction of damage after you took damage. If you are just thinking about some extra reistance, Conditioning is also a good coice. Now there are 2 "OK" choices you can pick your second rune in this tree from : Demolish for more pushing power or Revitalize if you are having a support, that can heal you up a lot (e.g. Soraka).


Flash is a must have on every ADC. It gives you a good possibility to save yourself from ganks, assassins jumping on to you or just dangerous situations in general. Also you can re-position yourself in Teamfights with it. You can also use it in an offensive way to flash forward to get a kill. 300 seconds is a pretty high cooldown though, so you I would be really patient with the use of it and not try to waste it. But dont be too patient with the use of it.

Heal is also core for almost every ADC. Again, you can use it in a defensive way to heal you up to survive burst damage or other rough damage sources. Also you can save your support with it. If he gets low, you can prevent him from dying with the use of this summoner spell. Believe me, your teammates will be glad if you save them! I rarely use it in an aggressive way, but you can do that too. You simply just want the movement speed you get from it to chase an enemy.

Starting items

You start with Doran's Blade and one Health Potion. If the enemy has high poke you can also start defensively with a Doran's Shield.

First back

1.300 gold or more

The best thing to get at your first back is a B. F. Sword. It will give you the extra AD you need to deal a good amount of damage. If you have enough gold, you should also grab Boots since they will give you a bit more mobility.
Less than 1.000 gold

In case you wont have enough gold for B. F. Sword, you should buy a Pickaxe for at least some extra AD. You can also grab Boots and one / two Daggers, but I would prefer Pickaxe and Boots.
Really poor / early back

This can happen against lanes that have a lot of pressure towards your or if you get into a bad spot and get killed early. A wise choice here is probably Cull. It will allow you to farm up and to get back some gold over time.


This is the offensive decision out of these 3 Boots. You want to get Berserker's Greaves actually every game. Attack speed is a stat that you can benefit from really well and since you are not building that much attack speed, these boots wont be wasted gold. My favourite choice out of these 3

That is a defensive option. You want to buy Ninja Tabis when you are having a really hard lane and you need to block some damage from the other ADC or if they are having 2 or more AD assassins (like Zed and Rengar). Some Armor and the passive are really helpful against heavy AD damage.

Another defensive option. CC is a nightmare for almost every ADC. These boots might help you against a lot of CC (like Leona), because of the passive, which is reducing all CC effets towards you by 30%. These boots are a must-have against an enemy team that has a high amount of CC.

Core Items

Statikk Shiv
Statikk Shiv is your first item to complete. You want some bonus attack speed and crit, since these are the stats you really need to scale into late game. The passive helps you to clear waves faster and to deal more with your charged auto attack. If you need the range rather than the waveclear, you can swap this item for Rapid Firecannon

Infinity Edge
After you got your Statikk Shiv you want to build up for an Infinity Edge. This item will give you a huge amount of AD and a little more crit chance. Infinity Edge also buffs your critical strikes by 25%. This item is pretty expensive, but it still essential to get as your 3rd/4th item.

Phantom Dancer
Your 3rd and last core item is Phantom Dancer. The stats of it aren't that good yeah, a little bit attack speed and crit. You want that because of it's passive. That right here is the Sterak's Gage for Marksman. Whenever you get below 30% it'll shield you for 240-600 damage for 2 seconds. In my opinion this item is essential as it provides you some stats you can use with a really good passive.

Good offensive options

Stormrazor was used to be a core item. It is not as strong as it was before but it is still ok. The stats, some AD and attack speed, are really useful for you. The passive is also pretty strong and works pretty well together with Statikk Shiv. It'll give you the opportunity to gain stacks through walking around. At 100 stacks your next attack will deal 50 bonus magic damage. Also, your energized attacks (like the passive of Statikk Shiv and Rapid Firecannon]]) will slow the enemy/enemies by 40% for 1 second and are increased by 30%.

Rapid Firecannon
Rapid Firecannon is another good option on Tristana. You could buy it instead of Statikk Shiv as your first item if you are kinda behind or of you just prefer the passive of this one. Also, it provides you with the same stats as Statikk Shiv does. The synergy with Stormrazor is also pretty sweet.

The Bloodthirster
If you are pretty ahead, Bloodthirster is a great option for you. It will help you to stay alive for a long time due to his high percentage of lifesteal it'll give you. The passive will convert overhealed health into a shield, that is really helpful to stay alive form burst damage. You'll also get even more AD from it and as we all know, AD is always welcome for an ADC.

Blade of the ruined king
Blade of the Ruined King is a great option if you are looking to fight against a lot of tanks. It is pretty exspensive though and just gives you 40 AD, 25% attack speed and 12% lifesteal. The passive will make your autos deal 8% of the targets current health as bonus physical damage, and that's the fact that'll let you take tanks down more easy. The active can be used to chase somebody or to escape from somebody.

Mortal Reminder
Mortal Reminder is one of the 2 standard armor penetration items for an ADC. Besides the fact that it gives you a really good amount of armor penetration and some AD, the passive is also really useful. Through the grievous wounds you can counter Heals for the enemy through champions like Soraka. It gives you 10% less armor penetration than Lord Dominik's Regards.

Lord Dominik's Regards
Lord Dominik's Regards is the second standard armor penetration item for an ADC. It gives you a really good amount of armor penetration and some AD. This is basically the item to destroy tanks since it gives you more armor penetration than Mortal Reminder. I buy this item pretty often.

Good defensive options

Mercurial Scimitar
Mercurial Scimitar is one of my favorite items, general for all ADC's. You can use all stats of it, the AD, the lifesteal and the little amount of magic resist. But what makes this item really good compared to other items is, the active: Removes all debuffs from you and grants you some movement speed. That is really great since you have your Flash just every 5 minutes ready to flash away from hard CC like Glacial Prison. With this item and some good reactions you can just clear the CC and run away. Always a pretty nice choice even though the mecanic with the active needs a bit of practice. If you are really struggling with a lot of CC you can just build Quicksilver Sash early on and upgrade it later.

Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel is one another popular defensive choice as an item for an ADC. It will prevent you from getting one-shotted by assassins like Rengar and gives you a ''second life''. It also gives you some AD and a bit of armor you can use. You should also buy a Stopwatch and use the one-time-effect of it before you upgrade it into a Guardian Angel. Good choice against heavy burst damage.

Maw of Malmortius
Maw of Malmortius is a good choice if you are struggling against a lot of incoming magic damage you cant handle. Since the stats, some AD, magic resistance and even CDR, you get a really nice passive, which gives you a shield if you take a lot of magic damage in a short period of time. This passive you can already get by Hexdrinker so if you have early magic damage problem you can go for a Hexdrinker and upgrade it later on. Good choice against heavy AP damage.

Frozen mallet
I dont buy that item that often, because it is just not needed most of the time. It is pretty expensive, but the main thing you wanna have this for is the good amount of health it'll give you. The rare spot, where you want to buy this, is if they have a lot of burst damage that you can't handle with just a Guardian Angel.

Example Full build

Well as for most ADC's, Tristana's MVP are her Auto Attacks sine they deal the most damage, but there are still some useful rotations you can do with her spells.

Early / In Lane
The common combo to go in in Lane is, that you follow your support with your Rocket Jump and while youre coming down from it you smash Explosive Charge on the enemy you want to land on. Then you activate your Rapid Fire to get the attack speed to trigger both your Press the Attack and after that your Explosive Charge. If that wasn't enough Damage you can finish him with an Auto Attack and a quick Buster Shot after it, because the base Damage of Buster Shot is pretty high. Note that Buster Shot is a good posibility to keep somebody away from you, but also a burst for a weak target.

There is a way to use your Buster Shot in a very uncommon way. You can do that combo, when the enemy pushes your lane too hard: If you get to close you can Rocket Jump behind him and kick him into your tower with Buster Shot. This move is very risky, so you should just do it if you need that kill or a kill through that move is very safe.

In Lane, Tristana wants a lot of farm, like every ADC. There are a couple of things you should know about Tristana's laning phase. First of all her playstyle is decided by the support you get and you gotta be adaptive to his playtsyle, so:

Defensive Support

If you get a really defensive Support (example Janna) you dont want action in your lane. You just farm up, until you reach your powerspikes in late game. Try to disengage if the enemy Bot lane wants to fight with you. Only go for kills if they are really safe to get, because if you'll fall behind with a defensive Support it is pretty hard to not get snowballed out of lane.
Aggressive Support

If you get a really aggressive Support (example Leona) you will fight alot. Here your chances of snowballing are really high. Remember to go all in at Lvl 2 and try to get a kill early on to keep a lead over the enemy. If you are not going all in Lvl 2 you are in danger to fall apart really quick. An aggressive lane is my favorite one to play with Tristana.
Poke Support

If you get a poke Support (like Zyra) you will just let the support do the work with their Damage to poke the enemy down. When they are low, you can go in with your Rocket Jump to kill them. Keep in mind that poke supporters are pretty viable for hard engages so you might stay away from that. Take care of your position, because you dont have any backup through shields / heals.

Laning Phase

At Lvl 1 there is nothing special to say exceot for: Stay defensive. Your auto attack range at Lvl 1 is pretty low (525). Try to farm safely until Lvl 2/3. If you are having an offensive support like Leona, you want to push the lane a bit to hit Lvl 2 before the enemy bot lane. At With a support like Leona you wanna engage at Lvl 2 to get a kill or some sommuners. With poke ( Brand) or defensive ( Janna) supporters you dont want to engage that early. You should take care at early levels of the enemy bot lane. They might punish you when you step up to last hit. If you played safely through the first levels, you still have one point in lane where you want to fight the enemy: When you hit Lvl 6. This is a point, where Tristana has one of her powerspikes. Compared to other ADC's, Lvl 6 is something powerful for Tristana. Her Buster Shot has a solid base damage. Situations, in which you dont want to open up a fight at lvl 6, are either given against really defesinve enemy laners, where you want have any chance to get a kill, against an enemy Bot lane that is really ahead of you, or if you are below 75% HP at the point where you hit Lvl 6. It would be too dangerous to jump into the enemy while you are at low HP.
Generally you should make use of your highered range per each lvl by Draw a Bead. Try to auto the enemy ADC or Support if they overextend in lane. You can start with that at Lvl 6/7 (auto attack range at Lvl 6: 560). For that, take a look at the mathup section. ADC's that are rated low you can bully earlier and ADC's that are rated as a big threat you should avoid trading with at all.

More important facts for laning

While last hitting notice that your Explosive Charge Passive deals Damage to nearby minions when you last hit a minion. Sometimes it makes last hitting harder, but sometimes you can last hit 2 minions at once with it.

If you win the lane really hard keep in mind there is one rotation you can do to snowball a game: If you get your Bot lane tower you swap with Top. There you take the Top tower. Then you get together with your Jungler to kill the Herald. You use the Herald to destroy the Tier 1 Mid Tower.

You also should keep the poke-kill-sustain triangle in mind. If you dont know what it is, here is a quick explanation to it. It literally describes the 3 types of a Botlane and tells you, which one counters which one. So remember: Poke beats Kill, Kill beats Sustain and Sustain beats Poke. That's just a little reminder for you for the Champ select.

Here it is really important for you to be able to rely on your support and on your kiting skills. In Teamfights you will position yourself behind your support and the other tanks in your team. So, youre basically in the backline of your team. Since youre the ADC, in Teamfight there will always be someone of the enemy team, who will try to kill you (could be some assassin like Zed) or who will try to zone you (could be some tank like Maokai). As ADC, your damage against tanks isn't that low at all. You will try to kite the one who is trying to kill you. Your support should help you with that. After you got one guy out of your face, you should reposition if the fight is still going on. Keep in mind, that your Rocket Jumps cooldown Resets on a kill. Remember that you should never get too close to any enemy, because you are one of the main damage sources of your team. If you die quickly in a fight, your team might end up losing the fight. If you realise, that your team is winning the fight, you can start to use your Rocket Jump offensively to chase some enemies down, to get some more kills.
You should also keep your Rocket Jump up to jump away if the situation gets too dangerous for you. Your Buster Shot will help you to keep Tanks and other Threats out of your face.

Farming out of lane
As ADC I think it is pretty important to never stop farming. At the point you will stop to farm the game will slight out of your hands. And you dont really want that. So, you should get the feeling for when your team needs you or not. In late game there is a lot of grouping and just shoving lanes in and out while 5 people are mid. You can use these spots to go to a side lane and keep your farm up and generate some gold you would not get, if you stood mid. For that it is important to know when to go back to your team since the enemy can see you on the minimap, take advantage and fight your team in a 4v5 spot. In such cases, you should permanently take a look at your minimap. If your team is getting pressured by the enemy team, you should return to help out your team. Also, you shouldnt take more than 2 waves at a side lane in such a spot.

More important facts for Late game

Late game is where Tristana reaches her poewrspike. Your are most powerful if you comepleted your 5 Core items. Then you have a good amount of AD, a lot of attack speed and 100% crit chance. I use to think that Tristana is one of the most effective ADC's in later states of the game, so make use of your strong damage output!

I might give you a little information of what this section is about. Since Riot is planning to make a big patch and a small one by turns, there will be a lot of changes in the game coming up. This section is here to explain changes on Tristana or changes, which directly effect Tristana in his playstyle. I will also explain, how they effect Tristana and how to react to these specific changes. Some Patches probably wont be mentioned in this section. That means, that this Patch didn't influence Tristanas playstyle in any (direct) way. This section will also just mention the last 3 important patches for Tristana, simply because it would be a too long section if I would mention every patch.

Patch 9.3

Finally we can say that Tristana is meta again. They changed literally all crit items (e.g. reverting Infinity Edge etc.). I think there will be more crit focused ADC-choices right now, what is pretty good for Tristana.

To sum up, I have to say that Tristana isn't as strong as she was back in the days, but she came back and is still a really solid ADC choice. Her weak early game is her main weakness where she can get bullied and pushed in, but her huge late game damage, the potential to solo-carry a game and her fun playstyle are just some of the reasons, why she's still worth playing.

All in all I would like to thank you first for reading till this point of the guide. I hope you like it ! If you have any questions and / or feedback just let me know in the comment section. I would really like to discuss or share my thoughts on Tristana there :). I also wish you the best luck on mastering Tristana and I hope I could help you with my guide.

Also I would like to specially thank Jovy for designing the Banners, the dividers and the Table of Contens. Go check her out!

,,A positive score is good, a positive mindset even better" - xTheUnlimited
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