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Tristana Build Guide by I Am Not u

ADC A Bronzie's In-Depth Guide to Tristana in Patch 14.10

ADC A Bronzie's In-Depth Guide to Tristana in Patch 14.10

Updated on May 20, 2024
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League of Legends Build Guide Author I Am Not u Build Guide By I Am Not u 73 8 284,666 Views 2 Comments
73 8 284,666 Views 2 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author I Am Not u Tristana Build Guide By I Am Not u Updated on May 20, 2024
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Runes: Press the Attack + Domination

1 2 3 4 5
Press the Attack
Legend: Alacrity
Coup de Grace

Taste of Blood
Eyeball Collection

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+65 Base Health


1 2 3 4
Standard Bread and Butter
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

Champion Build Guide

A Bronzie's In-Depth Guide to Tristana in Patch 14.10

By I Am Not u

Greetings League of Legends players. I'm I Am Not U. I've been one-tricking Tristana for a few years now, and I figured I may as well help some people out with playing Tristana. Tristana is extremely fun and rewarding to play so long as you know how she works. Without further stalling, let us commence the rocket-hopping.
Why Tristana?
Why Tristana? Can she carry me out of ELO hell? What makes her different than other ADCs?


    Tristana is reasonably easy to pick up.
    Tristana has high burst damage
    Tristana has some insane mobility for an ADC
    Tristana technically counts as an Assassin, so you can easily pick off the enemy squishes.
    Tristana plays very aggressively so you can get those dopamine rushes.
    Tristana can fairly easily get in and out of situations.
    Tristana is a massive early-game menace.
    Tristana is absolutely adorable.


    Tristana relies on her ability to snowball heavily.
    Tristana plays very in. Playing safe is very difficult.
    Tristana's E's passive makes it hard to control the wave, so you'll be mainly pushing all game.
    She's got some long cooldowns and can chew up mana if you don't conserve it.
    It's easy to die.
    It's easy to screw up.
    There are a lot of minor tricks and finnicks to her.
    NO Y AXIS.
    Very kite reliant in the late game. Not a problem if you know how to, though.
Knowing your Champion
You can't play a champ if you don't know their abilities. So, let's go over them. One by one.


    You get free attack range as you level up. At a certain level, you can attack Baron Nashor from behind the pit. Not very useful as I don't believe it does that much, but I could be wrong. It helps kite pretty well. It also increases the range of Explosive Charge and Buster Shot, making kiting and getting away EXTREMELY easy at later levels. Your attack range increases up to 136 extra units of attack range at level 18 which brings her attack range to 661, that's 11 units longer than Caitlyn's range!


    Tristana's Q is great because it's free attack speed for absolutely NO mana. It's got a lengthy cooldown, but chances are you'll have it back up before you need to use it again. This thing is always nice because usually in the mid-game you'll hit the cap with this thing. My only recommendation is not to clear wave with it. You don't really need it. This can also help you secure kills when you do an all-in and have nothing left. That extra attack speed can be incredibly game-changing. Just don't waste it!


    The fabled rocket jump. The engage. The gap closer. The escape. Tristana's W does so much for Tristana I can't crash-course it. It's what her combos surround. In short, it makes you jump a good distance. You can cast abilities during this time because Yordle power. Your W does have a very lengthy cooldown, though, so only use it when you absolutely need to. It can also proc your E, leveling up even more, making engages all that much more deadly. On top of that, it also slows them, making it harder for them to get away.


    This is going to be your workhorse throughout the entire game. You throw it on to a bad guy, you wait, and it asplodes. Hit it once? It powers it up and deals more damage. Hit it four times before it explodes, and it deals even more damage. His your W down? If you blow it up early, you get your W back! You wanna wreck towers? Go right on ahead! Works the same except your W doesn't reset. Your W can also proc the bomb so it levels up and/or explodes early, though I wouldn't use it to do that.


    Ah yes, Tristana's R, one of the reasons people are annoyed by her so much in low ELO. It deals a bunch of damage and knocks people over walls at level 2. It also can save your little yordle booty when you're being chased down. Tristana's really good at escaping. It can also secure you kills, if you wanna be flashy. Usually, I ult when my E is about to go off, and your E won't explode until the knockback has ended. Typically, Tristana will also try to auto-attack right after her ult for a bit more extra damage. It may not seem like much, but as an ADC, your autos are notorious for being deadly.


    Health: 670 - 2404
    Health Regen: 4 - 15 (per 5 seconds)
    Armor: 26 - 97
    MR: 30 - 54
    Movespeed: 325
    Mana: 250 - 794
    Mana Regen: 7.2 - 15 (per 5 seconds
    Damage: 59 to 122
    Crit Damage: 175%
    Attack Range: 525


Patch 14.10 gave two of Tristana's best runes the boot, so Press the Attack is by far the absolute best rune you should be going. If you're not going this, I must ask you why? Just kidding, Fleet Footwork is generally okay to go also if laning phase is a pain in the rear, but generally you're going to be going Press the Attack. PtA provides Tristana AMAZING snowball into the late game, something most of her other runes wont give her.


Hail of Blades is perfect for an early game lead since you don't need to wait for an item to get the extra attack speed you need to proc your bomb off. If you can land your W when you slap an E on a bad guy, it should be a piece of cake to get a reset. However, be cautious. Hail of Blades has a very lengthy cooldown and is significantly reduced for ranged champions which is what Tristana is if you were wondering. Hail of Blades is also easily overshadowed by PtA in terms of damage output, so you really shouldn't bother with Hail of Blades anymore. Electrocute is decent if you like having heavy burst, but still, PtA does that better too.

RESOLVE (Secondary)

Resolve is a really good option for solo lanes. These are the ones I found the most helpful in my games, but feel free to toy around with them however you wish. Demolish is just generally good on Tristana since you already have some insane tower-busting, and bone plating is great for solo trades. You can also take second wind instead if you are up against a poke-heavy champ in lane. Overgrowth is a good alternative to demolish if you want a bit of extra health in the late game.

PRECISION (Secondary)

These are typically what you wanna go in bot lane if you're running domination runes for your primary. Presence of Mind is good if you like abusing your abilities and abusing the bad guys, and triumph is generally good if you like taking risky fights. Bloodline isn't as good as it used to be, but it still can give you just enough lifesteal to keep you in the fight, and alacrity is just generally good on ADCs.

DOMINATION (Secondary)

If you're going Precision primary, these are the runes you typically want. Sudden impact isn't as good as Taste of Blood in my opinion, but if you're up against squishier champs, it's fairly descent. You also want to take eyeball collection OR treasure hunter. The reason I say one or the other is because the top row of the domination tree is the most important in my opinion.
Runes Continued
Let's talk about some key runes in depth in case you're still indecisive.


Press the Attack is useful in just about any stage of the game. While early on your engages might be a little lacking, once you get your berserker's greaves or your Q, you should be good to go. That extra exposed damage once you get three shots in makes your E absolutely DECIMATE anyone unlucky enough to be your victim. Press the Attack gives so much for Tristana that it's quite frankly Tristana's BEST key rune. You should be going this the majority of your games, but there are some cases where you should reconsider.


What Tristana lacks in the early game the most is attack speed. Having more attack speed early on can almost guarantee you some early kills. It makes leveling up your bomb all that much easier, and it can guarantee you either an enemy flash, first blood, and a reset. It also assists really well in leveling up your Phantom Dancer later on.

However, nothing is perfect Hail of Blades has its flaws. Hail of Blades makes longer trades a bit more painful for you to deal with, as once you use that initial burst of damage that Hail of Blades provides, you have nothing left other than your Q to give you more attack speed. If your opponent is running something like Lethal Tempo, Press the Attack, or Conquerer, you should consider using that burst of damage to level your bomb so you have a better escape.

Tl;Dr, take Hail of Blades if you want a stronger early game and don't want to take long trades.


I know what you're thinking, "Electrocute? What?" I know, it's a little weird, but as weird as it is, it still has a place. Electrocute makes your burst even deadlier, and unlike Hail of Blades, this rune makes your burst even deadlier in all stages of the game because of the adaptive damage. It's hilariously easy to proc with how Tristana is and all her bursty nonsense, and it's generally not uncommon to see assassins build this anyway. Electrocute is good for any burst champion.

However, Hail of Blades has what Electrocute doesn't, that burst of attack speed you need early on. If you take electrocute, sure your early all ins will be pretty deadly, but you won't have as easy of a time getting out as getting in. If you run Electrocute, you'd be better off waiting until level 3 for all ins so you at least have your Q to give you the attack speed you need.

Also, Press the Attack simply provides better burst in general. This is really just if you don't plan on going attack speed items. If you're going lethality and don't plan on having a lot of attack speed, go this.


Let's face it, you're gonna be in some poke lanes every now and then. Varus, Ashe, Jhin, Cait, you know the deal. Fleet Footwork is gonna be your best bet if you know you're not going to get fed early on. Fleet can provide you the sustain you need to keep farming so your enemy laner doesn't get fed off of plates and minions while you're off seething in base about how much you hate poke lanes.

However, choosing Fleet Footwork means you lose out on a LOT of damage. LOTS and LOTS of damage. Then again, if you chose this, that means you know you aren't gonna get the chance to all-in anyway, so I guess there's no harm to it. But expect to hit like a marshmallow cannon in teamfights.
Choosing your Runes
Rune choice depends on two things, that being your personal play style and who you're up against. I'm going to give you a few scenarios to help you choose what runes to go.

Scenario 1 (Unfavorable)

Nilah is an engage heavy lane bully that absolutely wrecks you in lane because of that stupid dodge ability she has. She'll normally try to take that dodge ability second just to counter you because she knows how strong your level 2 is. So, with that in mind, let's go over your options.

This is NOT a good option here. Hail of Blades is good for early engagements, but why bring a rune that's good for that when you're not going to win early engagements anyway? Nilah beats you in every stage of the game, so this is essentially worthless if you want to get fed.

Same deal with Electrocute. Good for early burst, but like I said, you're not winning those anyway. So there's no point in it.

Here's why this is a 'maybe'. Press the attack is good for burst AND longer engagements. This is a solid choice against an unfavorable matchup like this because you get the best of both worlds. You can harass her with your superior range and when you see her engage, you have a good escape, AKA your W. Don't expect to get many kills, though. This turns a lane that would normally be your death into a farming/poke lane. I mean, it's better, but it's still BORING.

The best way to deal with an engage-heavy ADC that can kill you better than you can kill them is to understand how to run away from them. Engage-heavy ADCs nowadays don't have super long range, Nilah being no exception. Fleet Footwork makes kiting away from her super easy. Even if she uses her dodge, you still have a W to get away from her. Keeping your distance is the perfect way to handle this matchup.

Scenario 2 (Even)

Jhin is an immobile ADC with strong burst damage, but he's very slow with his attacks early on. His fourth shot is the deadliest part of his kit and should NEVER be taken for granted when you're laning against him. He has reliable CC and is a heavy snowballer. Take that in mind when you're choosing your runes.

Hail of Blades is okay here. You can jump on him, get your bomb off, get a reset, and probably get a kill level 2 while all Jhin can do is run away and shoot you. You close the distance super easily when you fight him. Your burst is much faster and much more hard-hitting.

This is also a strong burst pick, but I still prefer Press the Attack over it. It's not a bad pick, but why go this when Press the Attack can get you kills better? Electrocute doesn't give you attack speed. Against an even matchup like Jhin, this isn't the best rune, but I'm sure you'd still find some success with it.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ITEMS. An early engage on Jhin can work provided your support has half a brain, but BE CAREFUL. Your attack speed is low in the early stages of the game and if you can't outdamage Jhin by the time you already slammed your middle finger on your W key you might as well kiss your early lead goodbye. But if you at least have boots or Infinity Edge, Jhin wont know what hit him by the time you stomp him into the dirt.

This gives you the sustain to win in early engagements, though it's not going to be as effective as other key runes. If you run literally anything else this rune becomes obsolete because HoB and PtA just bursts him down faster than he can burst you. If you can right click your mouse then you don't need this rune. But... I guess this is also pretty good if you like giving Jhin is fourth shot poke on you. And if you do that, I must ask. Why?

Scenario 3 (Favorable)

Ashe is a lot like Jhin. Her auto attacks slow which can be annoying, and her ult is a real game-changer. But here is where it's different, her only hard CC is level 6 whereas Jhin gets his hard CC at level 2. Jhin has strong burst in long engagements while Ashe has consistent damage throughout. How would you go about this matchup rune-wise?

Hail of Blades is also perfect here. Jump in, E, get the bomb off, jump out before she even knows what happened OR engage again and kill her. What's she gonna do? Slow you? You're already on top of her OR you're already out of her range? The heck is she gonna do about it?

Remember, attack speed is VERY important in the early game. Don't have that? Don't win trades. Ashes typically also run Hail of Blades or Press the Attack nowadays, so this rune isn't going to do much for you. Sure, the burst is funny, but you need items in order to make it work. Why run this when you can snowball earlier with anything else?

This is just electrocute but better. Although trades are longer, the extra exposed damage can make the trade favorable for you. By the time the exposed damage kicks in, your bomb will go off and deal some massive damage. However, I still think Hail of Blades is better here because it makes harassing her even easier. She has better range than you early on, so you will get harassed if you run this because you don't have as good a follow up. This will also make Ashe completely irrelevant in late game because you can just delete her instantly! (run cleanse)

Ashe is still a poke champion, so if you find yourself against a smelly no-good Ashe, this might help you out. The healing is nice, same with the move speed. It also gives you a bit of sustain in fights, though I find it easier to burst down an Ashe than try and get into an extended fight with her. (Run cleanse)
Tristana's build can be fairly flexible. Some are better than others, but if you're like me and don't like building the same thing every single game, here's a few options for you.


You'd think the new ADC changes might screw Tristana up, right? WRONG! Infinity Edge and Flickblade is an amazing combo on her. Infinity Edge gives you insane damage, and Flickerblade gives you the output. This two item spike is quite literally all you need to start snowballing. Once you have this, you have the damage to keep yourself alive.


Believe it or not, Kraken Slayer first item is still good. Kraken Slayer's missing health on hit damage is absolutely insane. Even though you might be missing out on some crit, you're not missing out on much. You can make up for that with your later items. Just make sure you still fit Flickerblade in there somewhere. Flickerblade is still SO good.


Boy, this is a strange one, ain't it? You're giving up a lot of E damage because it scales with crit since you're building mostly hybrid damage, but in it's place, you'll be dealing a lot of hybrid damage so it's hard for enemies to build against you. Also makes you a menace towards tanks. Not one of my favorites, but it's got it's uses.


These are generally strong items to finish off your build with. LDR is great for taking down tanks. I almost build it every game. BotRK is a good item for that, too, but with extra life steal which I love on Tristana, arguably better than LDR. The collector is a sold 'maybe' because you have enough burst damage already. The lethality is good for extra squishy demolishing. GA is a solid option on any carry with its armor and its ability to bring you back to life. I usually run GA when I'm carrying hard. Bloodthirster is a favorite of mine because of the shielding and life steal.


I wonder what to pick... that's a question I've asked myself a few times. Typically you'll go B-Greaves, but if you're against a full-ad comp, go steelcaps. Simple as that.
Choosing your Build
Remember that scenario example in the Choosing your Runes section? We'll do the same here with different matchups to tell you what you should be building. Itemization is super important, you know!

Scenario 1 (Engage/Kill Lanes)

These lanes are super annoying. But remember this, just because it's annoying doesn't mean this is impossible. Tristana against kill lanes is normally about positioning and understanding when is a good and bad time to engage. So, what do you build?


Navoris is generally what you wanna go in a matchup like this. They're gonna want to jump on you as fast as they can, so you need to be on your toes. This will help you keep those cooldowns low so you might have a chance.


Steelcaps is a must have against kill lanes. Armor and percent damage resist? This makes all ins survivable! Make sure you grab a noonquiver or something beforehand so you can actually win with them, though


Grievous Wounds in an early fight against a Samira is invaluable, as her ult makes it so she can heal off damage she does to you. Rapid Firecannon's extra range is also perfect for this. Poking down the enemy ADC is the play against kill lanes. If you poke them down enough, it'll make it too dangerous for their support to make a play, allowing you and your support to engage and slaughter them.


Bloodthirster makes engages much more survivable and Merc scimitar makes (some) hard CC survivable. I'd take one or the other, but no shame in taking both. Do what works best for you.

Scenario 2 (Poke Lanes)

Poke lanes are really REALLY annoying as Tristana. When you're playing Tristana, you're almost always going to be in a kill lane. Poking isn't impossible, your E passive makes it possible, but you slightly shorter range in the early levels makes it annoying. What do you build?


Now now I know what you're thinking. "Bloodthirster first? What? Who am I, Draven?" I know it's not as valuable of a strategy as it used to be, but it works. BotRK also works if you're up against tankier opponents. Why? Because Sustain beats Poke. If you can sustain that poke and keep yourself healthy, poke lanes become winning lanes!


Infinity Edge is good against opponents with bad disengage because you can just right-click them to death. As for Opportunity, let's face it, most poke lanes are going to be really squishy, so that extra lethality will help you out a ton. Though be warned, you need to have an engage support to utilize Opportunity.


Steelcaps is good because it allows you to tank poke with less pain. Though greaves is also a good option if you know how to position yourself and NOT get poked. Depends how confident you feel.

Scenario 3 (Sustain Lanes)

Sustain lanes die to kill lanes because how can you sustain enough health when the enemy is so good at instantly taking massive chunks away? Here's how you itemize against sustain lanes.


This is simple. ADC heal too much? Buy item so not heal so much. Greivous wounds is so slept on in low elo that this is a crucial buy against sustain lanes! It just makes killing them so much easier!


Infinity Edge is good for all-round damage, Navoris is good for keeping the pressure on them, and Opportunity if their lane is squishy. However, note that most poke lanes don't have a lot of ways to stop you if you jump on their face. The ADC is meant to deal with you if you jump on them, and if they're healthy, they'll most likely kill you without even thinking about it. So, Opportunity shines if you have a proper engage AND if the sustain support in question is not a tank, so don't go Opportunity if it's a Taric or some other tank that can heal.


There's really no better boot option than greaves. Greaves just gives you more attack speed, combine that with the damage output of Kraken Slayer, and you're hurting them faster than the can heal.


Bloodthirster helps you outsustain the enemy laner, phantom dancer is just always good if you need extra attack speed, and mortal reminder if you wanna put that executioner's calling to better use.
Combos (The Fun Stuff)


The bad guy gets CC'd by the support, HoB procs, get the bomb off, there goes half their health. Get a reset, jump on them again as they try to escape, FIRST BLOOD. Tristana's easiest combo.


Tristana's basic Combo before level 6. Throw the bomb, hit your Q, and jump in. Auto attack the bomb until it explodes, and use the reset to keep going. Pretty much the same as the level 2 except you have more attack speed.


Her best combo. First, throw the bomb on the bad guys and activate your Q. Hit the bomb 3 times, just before it's about to explode early. Then, you want to jump on them to explode the bomb. Usually, you're going to want to jump behind them because when you do, you can ult them and it'll send them backward. You want this because they'll have less room to fight you. After that, just auto attack them until they die. Then, W away to go find another target.


Slap a bomb on them, jump on them, auto-attack until it almost explodes, and then use your R to blow it up. Your W and your R both act towards the E's early explosion, so utilize it. This one is more about ulting the bad guys into your team instead of getting some funny kills. Tristana can be supportive! Also, don't run Tristana support, please.


Bomb, kite, R, and jump away. You'll score some easy damage and a getaway.
Jump Placement
I know what you're thinking. Jump placement? That matters? Yes, my friend. It does! Depending on where you jump can change how an all in goes drastically. Let's go over some common ones.


Jumping BEHIND the enemy is risky but very rewarding. This makes it much harder for them to escape and gives you much more time to get damage in. It's especially a good idea to jump on them as it slows them for a little while, letting you get a few more hits in. This very unsafe, because more often than not, you'll be closer to a tower or their team. Be careful here!


A much safer alternative. This one achieves the same goal but lets them get away faster. This can be used on enemies with much lower health or if you need to play a little bit safer. Typically, you'll want to jump closer to them so they're slowed, but if you want to be extra safe, you can jump close enough to them to keep them in your auto attack range.


This is a good combination of the two. This is good for making the bad guys run in another direction opposite of you. This can be used to bait them into your team or into a more ideal position for you to finish them off. They usually won't run forward or backward because you can hit them easily still. This is also good for laning phase to set up for ganks because the enemy ADC will want to walk towards the river to get away from you if you land beneath them. It pays off to jump near them, but not too close. Jumping to close can just let hem kite you easier. Giving some breathing room pays off in the right scenarios.
Common Mistakes
As for everything, there is always going to be a couple mistakes I see newer Tristana players make. They're easily remedied, however. Just pay attention!


This is by far the biggest mistake newer Tristanas make. YOU ARE NOT A BRUISER! YOU ARE STILL AN ADC! You're incredibly squishy! Don't use your Rocket Jump to engage right in the middle of the action because you WILL die! Your job as an ADC is to stay behind your allies and hit anything that gets into your range.


Out of all the ADCs, you have some of the most incredible burst damage out of all of them (king of burst damage adcs being ezreal, but screw ezreal.) You do some insane damage with your E and your auto attacks are ALWAYS reliable. Your ult does a **** ton of damage to boot. It's important to know which fights you can and can't win. You can win 1v1s reliably if you don't play like an idiot.


Your E is by far the most crucial spell in your kit. DO NOT WASTE IT. It has a lengthy cooldown and insanely high damage if you build it up all the way with your attacks. It can completely demolish anyone that isn't respecting your damage. USING IT ON THE HYPERFED TANK THAT ISN'T TAKING DAMAGE IS NOT WHO YOU USE IT ON. Use it on a bruiser, the enemy ADC, their support, the mid laner, use your E on the person who NEEDS to die first!


One thing I see commonly in low ELO is that people just don't buy things that are "the META." ADCs have the ability to build different things, too! AP champs don't have to burst you down as easy, you don't have to die the second you get CC'd, you don't have to build the same **** every single game! BUILD SMART, DON'T BANDWAGON!


I say this to every new Tristana player and I'll say it again here. YOU. DO. NOT. NEED. MANA ITEMS. Tristana has more than enough to work with her kit and rarely will you be without enough mana to get by except MAYBE in the laning phase. Randuin's Omen is a funny meme to build if you can't help yourself from going in like an idiot, but it's really a waste. If you're not playing stupid, you don't need it. Also, runaan's hurricane is really just redundant because you have enough AOE damage as is. Don't bother!
Closing thoughts
Thank you for reading this Tristana guide. I hope it serves you well in your ranked games!
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