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Tristana Build Guide by DarkPercy

AD Carry (AD) Good old Tristana~

AD Carry (AD) Good old Tristana~

Updated on March 27, 2014
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League of Legends Build Guide Author DarkPercy Build Guide By DarkPercy 327 16 4,869,375 Views 107 Comments
327 16 4,869,375 Views 107 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author DarkPercy Tristana Build Guide By DarkPercy Updated on March 27, 2014
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Tristana
    Good old AD Carry Tristana
  • LoL Champion: Tristana
    Blade of the Ruined King Rush
  • LoL Champion: Tristana
    Blood Thirsty Tristana


Hello everyone, this guide, split up in two parts will show you the normal way to play this champion but also the Dark Side of that champion (AP). This part is is about AD Tristana :3!

You can find my AP Tristana Guide Right here!
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AD Tristana

Tristana is a very fun Ranged AD Carry who has been in League since the very beginning. She has very strong and deadly burst early game and she is ALSO one of the scariest (if not the scariest) champions late game.

recent Tristana changes
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  • Strong early game because of burst
  • Can counter healers
  • Arguably the best AD Carry late game because of very high range, high damage and high mobility
  • Easily snowballs out of control if fed
  • Can push a lane a lot by simply last hitting minions

  • Weak Mid game (if not fed)
  • Can save enemies if ultimate is used poorly
  • Can push a lane a lot by simply last hitting minions
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Flat AD marks give more damage than Armor Pen marks on enemy champions early game, Tristana wants that. Flat AD also make it easier to last hit. You shouldn't worry too much about lacking armor pen because the 40% from Last Whisper and the 10% from Weapon Expertise will be more than enough for late game.

Alternative Marks

These Armor Seals are just too good to pass up. They will significantly reduce the damage you take from the enemy carry, the minions and even the jungler. Armor will make you able to win fights. Staying alive for longer also means dealing damage for longer!

I suggest Magic Resist per level Glyphs since they become more effective than Flat MR Glyphs pretty early. These will become effective when you'll need them: mid/late game, when the enemy AP carry really starts doing heavy damage.

Alternative Glyphs

Lifesteal Quintessences are a great pickup for AD carries. Everytime you hit something you're gaining a little bit of HP back which helps you stay in lane and eventually win the lane in the long run. You will especially love having those Quints if you're getting heavily harassed and you're having trouble fighting the enemy. Stand back, last hit and get your HP back up again :P.

alternative quintessences
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Summoner Spells

Top Picks:

Flash: Just like on any other champion, Flash is always good. It's a good defensive AND offensive spell that is very useful through the whole game. Flash will save you if you are in a bad position even after using your Rocket Jump. It also allows you to extend your abilites range with the Flash + Rocket Jump ultimate chasing/escaping combo ;P.

You should get Flash almost every game on Tristana. You should choose your second summoner spell accordingly to what you need.

Barrier: A very powerful summoner spell on all AD carries and on slippery champions. Obviously you should use it to reduce the amount of damage you are taking. Since the shield only lasts 2 seconds, try to use it right before you think you will take a lot of damage. It's great to have defensive spells like Barrier on AD carries to ensure you can stay alive and you can keep doing damage. It's also amazing to bait enemies.

Cleanse: A very good pick when facing heavy CC teams (especially when laning against an heavy CC support like Leona or Taric). It DOES remove any enemy Exhaust or Ignite so make sure you remember that in the laning phase. I'll take this over Barrier if I see that the enemy team is just too heavy on CC.

Ignite: Ignite is a powerful spell to pick up cheesy kills in the laning phase. The extra damage it adds to your burst combo is very often unexpected and can get you some easy kills. Make sure you use Ignite BEFORE an enemy uses any form of healing. It can be okay to get one offensive summoner spell on Tristana instead of Barrier if you know it will be worth it. If you're in doubt, stick to Barrier.

On a side note: Yes, you CAN take Barrier AND Ignite together for ultimate laning domination. However, you should make sure that you able to play without Flash (you will have to be extremely careful about your position during the game). I do not recommend this to new players.

Other Good ideas:

Heal: This bad boy is a very good spell for duo bot lane. Why is it good you say?:
  • Gives you sustain to stay longer in your lane to farm or defend your tower
  • Allows you to be very dominant early game
  • Allows you to bait enemies

By baiting I mean letting your enemies think they can kill you. Then do they dumb stuff just in order to catch you and kill you... and when they're in the most awkward situation possible, you use heal, turn around and kill them xP. However, this spells is usually better on your support OR if you really want a defensive summoner spells, Barrier or even Cleanse is usually better.

Exhaust: One of the best summoner spells for bot lane. It's great to win 1v1 against the enemy ranged AD carry and to slow down the enemy jungler so he can't hit you with his red buff. It also scales very well into late game. You can get Exhaust instead of Ignite if you see that the enemy team has many big AD threats but ususlly your support will take Exhaust already so it won't be necessary that you take it.

Bad ideas:

-Other summoner spells.

Don't ever get this summoner spell unless you are playing ARAM or you are new to the game and have no clue how to manage your mana.

Not very good summoner spell. Somewhat useful on Karthus, Pantheon and Twisted Fate but still not a very viable pick.

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Ability Sequence and Explanation

Draw A Bead (Passive):

Increases Tristana's attack range by 9 every time she levels. At level 18, Tristana has 153 bonus range on her autoattacks and her Explosive Shot (703 maximum range)

This is what makes Tristana, Tristana. Late game it will make her have the highest permanent autoattack range in the whole game. It is one of the reasons why Tristana is so good late game, she can kill enemies from very far and stay safe.

Rapid Fire (Q):

Increases Tristana's attack speed by 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90% for 7 seconds.

This is one the best if not the best physical DPS steroid in the whole game. Use this right before autoattacking a lot because it takes about 0.5 second before it actually starts.

Don't spam this ability too much. Really, just use it when you need it. Tristana has kind of low mana pool so yeah, save your mana.

I don't get this ability until level 8 because attack speed is nearly pointless early game. Your Attack damage, Crit chance and Armor Penetration are all very low and Rapid fire will not increase your damage per second so much. Also, 30% attack speed is not worth 50 mana early game.

Since the most recent patch, Rapid Fire has no mana cost! This wouldn't justify maxing it FIRST but it certainly justifies putting a point in it at level 4 :D!

As soon as you will start getting big damage items, this ability becomes incredibly good. Max it second.

Rocket Jump (W):

Tristana fires at the ground to propel herself to target location, dealing 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+80% of ability power) magic damage and slowing surrounding units by 60% for 2.5 seconds when she lands. On a champion kill or assist, Rocket Jump's cooldown resets.

Tristana's escape ability. That is your built-in Flash.

Even though it is truly amazing to escape bad situations, this spell SHOULD also be used offensively. You can use it as a gap-closer. Unless you max this ability first (which can make your burst rather impressive), the damage this ability will do won't be very powerful during most of the game so you should really be saving it for the jump and slow effect.

The extra damage you get from every rank is really good and every rank also lowers the cooldown of this ability so maxing it first isn't a terrible idea. However, to make use of the damage, you need to jump on enemies and you won't be doing that everytime the spell is up so maxing E first gives more consistent damage.

*Important Note*: Especially on AD Tristana, make sure you don't put yourself in trouble when you use this. If you see 5 people, please contain your urge to jump in them. Try to initiate fights the least you can. Only jump on 1 or MAYBE 2 enemies at a time, only if you know that you are going to kill them. Alright? Let your tank/support initiate and be careful, it's very easy to get yourself in trouble with this ability... When in doubt, don't jump.

Explosive Shot (E):

Passive: Enemies explode when slain by Tristana's basic attacks, dealing 50 / 75 / 100 / 125 / 150 (+25% of ability power) magic damage to nearby enemies.

Active: Explosive Shot rends the target enemy, reducing healing and health regeneration by 50% and dealing 110 / 150 / 190 / 230 / 270 (+100% of ability power) magic damage over 5 seconds.

We max this first because the active ability gets a solid +40 damage for each rank and you can use it from a relatively safe distance to harass and simply to do damage. Maxing Rocket Jump first is also really good but requires you to jump on enemies which can put in dangerous positions.

Another reason why this skill is great is because it reduces enemy healing by 50%. That's really powerful against champions such as Soraka that are based on healing, this ability will counter them really well. It even cuts the effectiveness of an Health Potion by half so make sure you use it on enemies that are healing!

In lane, you should try to use this ability as much as you can on the enemies to put some pressure on them. Try to always at least autoattack once after everytime you cast Explosive Shot. It's easy and the damage quickly adds up :P.

When you're going all-in, use Explosive Shot when you are in mid-air while jumping with Rocket Jump. That way you won't lose any time to autoattack.

Also, the passive on this ability should not be forgotten at all. Every time you kill a minion, the whole minion wave is also damaged. This means:
  • You will push your lane a lot during lane phase (which can be good or bad. Be careful not to get ganked too much by the enemy jungler)
  • You will push lanes a lot late game (which is a good thing)
  • You will farm like a boss

Buster Shot (R):

Tristana fires a massive cannonball at an enemy unit. This deals 300 / 400 / 500 (+150% of ability power) magic damage and knocks surrounding units back 600 / 800 / 1000 distance

Another spell that will make your burst very high. Look at the base damage. 300-500. Don't forget it! It's very deadly in lane.

You can use this to:

  • Push away an enemy that is chasing you or your ally
  • Push an enemy into your team (hard to do)
  • Burst people down
  • Kite an enemy (simply to create a gap between you and your enemy)
  • Stop an enemy's channeled spell (such as Fiddlesticks' Crowstorm or Nunu & Willump's Absolute Zero.
*Be careful* Don't use this spell to finish off an enemy unless you are really sure that it will kill him. Unlike AP Tristana, you can't rely on Explosive Shot and Ignite to finish off your enemy. Your teammates will hate you if you save an enemy with this.
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Early Game Items

Starting Item:

Doran's Blade:

Doran's Blade is a strong starting item. It gives you a lot of early game killing power because of the AD and HP. Also, every 30 autoattacks, your Doran's Blade will have healed you more than a Health Potion. 30 is a lot, but still, it's pretty good. It can be picked when you plan on playing super aggressive on early levels.

Long Sword + 3 HP pots:

Basically almost the same as Doran's Blade. It gives no flat HP but gives 2 Health Potions instead. Both are good and ''which one is the best?'' depends on your personal preferences. It's good for early game aggression as well.

Boots of Speed+ 4 HP pots:

Considered a safer and more reliable choice than Doran's Blade or Long Sword. You will have less damage but more sustain and more chasing/escaping capacity (mobility is important at every stage of the game). It's great against junglers that gank very early. Without boots, Tristana has 325 movespeed and that is RIDICULOUSLY slow (lowest base movement speed possible) so Boots will make sure the enemy team can't abuse that. The other good part is the three Health Potions. They are very valuable early game to be able to stay in lane and to beat your opponents.

Crystalline Flask + 3 HP pots:

This is for ultimate sustain. You CAN take this if you feel like going ''afk farm'' mode. It kinda is a counter to heavy harass lanes such as Ezreal + Sona. I'd only take this if I felt really insecure about my laning phase. (New players)

Laning phase items

Doran's Blade(s):

Doran's Blade is an amazing item early game because of it's incredibly high cost effectiveness (gives a lot of stats for what it costs) and because it gives everything you could ever want in laning phase (AD for damage and last hits, HP to win fights, lifesteal to sustain). Doran's Blade stack up VERY nicely, and pretty much like boots, since everyone gets them, it is almost necessary that you get them.

How many Doran's Blades should I get?:

Doran's Blades

Two Doran's Blades is what you see the most often. Getting a third Doran's is usually unnecessary and delays your main build a little bit too much. On the other hand, you can skip one Doran's if you are dominating and don't need it at all.

B. F. Sword

If you can recall with enough gold for a B. F. Sword without putting yourself behind, get it. If you feel like you will need more Doran's Blades and/or your Berserker's Greaves to keep up with your enemies in lane, wait a little more before you get it.

Berserker's Greaves

You can get these boots or Doran's Blades before your B. F. Sword if you didn't recall with enough gold for B. F. Sword. Berserker's are awesome because they are cheap, they give you a lot of bonus damage, they make last hitting easier and they also make you more mobile.
More info

Vampiric Scepter

This is not always necessary early game but it usually helps a lot if you are against champions that can harass a lot in bot lane (Like Sona or Ezreal or Miss Fortune, etc.) This will help you stay healthy at all times. As the game goes on, this stat becomes very powerful and becomes you main defensive stat (by giving high amounts of Health back every second). You can get this item after your Infinity Edge if you didn't need it in lane (sometimes you have a healer with you OR the lifesteal from the Doran's Blades is enough to sustain yourself early game).
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Core builds

Ahh, the Ranged AD carry items... Ranged AD carries are Glass Cannons. That means they deal a lot of damage, but they are also extremely vulnerable and easy to kill. Since Tristana has insane range and two ways to escape an enemy, she can make sure no one ever lays an hand over her. It is a good idea to build straight damage on Ranged AD carries but some defense is always welcomed.

There are 3 ''main'' ways to build Tristana that I have listed. Which one you want to use is a matter of preference really.

The Good old Ranged AD Carry build:

Explanation of the build

The Blade of the Ruined King Rush:

explanation of the build
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Other Items

Warmog's Armor:
You can get Warmog's Armor as your defensive item. It's great to counter burst. Usually not the first choice for defensive item.

Quicksilver Sash and Mercurial Scimitar:
Another great defensive item. It is amazing against heavy CC champions or simply against an heavy magic damage dealing enemy team.

Guardian Angel:
You can sometimes get it earlier than I told you. If you are fed and your enemies are squishy but deadly, you should stop building damage and build defense instead. The passive from this is amazing on AD carries.

Black Cleaver:
Don't get this on Tristana. She isn't cooldown reliant and other items will just give you much more damage. She also has no spells that deal physical damage so it's kinda hard for her to get max stacks on a target. And even if you somehow manage to get full stacks on a target, other items will still give you more damage.

Statikk Shiv:

It can be a really good replacement of Phantom Dancer. The advantages of getting Statikk Shiv instead of Phantom Dancer are: 1% more movement speed, 300 less gold required, more frontloaded damage (better poking), more AoE damage (good for teamfights and to push lanes). The disadvantages are: Kinda significantly less damage per second, you can't go through units either. Feel free to play around with it, both Phantom Dancer and Statikk Shiv are viable and fun items.
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Early Game:

AD Tristana can be played as a mid or even top laner but this guide is about bottom lane. Your lanemate should normally be a support champion. It is important to know how these support champions work and how you should play when with them.

Supports and Tristana:

(Coming soon)

Keypoints to remember for early game:
  • Last hit as much as you can
  • Play aggressively against the enemy to win your lane. Poke them with Explosive Shot + autoattacks then try to kill them with the help of your support.

You will take every single last hit possible. You must kill all the minions that you can. It really is important! You have to get as much as possible. It is the key to success!

If you don't know what last hitting is already, it's autoattacking minions only to kill them. That way you will not push your lane too much (pushing your lane means you will get ganked) and you will get the most gold possible.

Your lanemate will not steal any of your CS (Creep Score, also known as minions) if he has any clue on how to play this game. If he tries to kill the minions OR (even worse) if he keeps autoattacking minions mindlessly, tell him to stop. As a Ranged AD carry you NEED the farm to be effective.

Early game is also the part where people will underestimate Tristana. You must not! Her damage output early is scary. Harass with Explosive Shot + autoattack everytime you can, autoattack the enemies whenever they get in your range.

If they get below 50% HP. Do not hesitate. Ping your target, jump on him with Rocket Jump, use Explosive Shot on him while you are in the air. That way you will prevent the enemy support from healing himself/his ally. Then autoattack your enemy to death.

The main point of early game is to farm though. If you have to choose between farming and harassing, choose farming.

Mid Game:

Depending on what is going on in the game you will be either:

-Winning your lane and killing enemy champions.
-Controlling Dragon with the help of your jungler.
-Farming Non-Stop

I really insist on farming and controlling dragon though. Dragon is a very important quest. Each time your team kills it, each member of your team gets 200 gold. 200 gold X 5 =1000 Global Gold. That is a little more than 3 champion kills!

Other than that, get your CS (creep score) up to the roof!

Or if you are getting fed because your enemies are not as good as you, then keep on killing them/denying them XP and Gold. Or gank a lane to help other lanes if you are THAT fed.

Late Game:

This is where you shine. Teamfights is the keyword.

All you have to do now is stay with your team and either:

-Control Baron
-Push a Lane
-Roam as a team (catch enemies in 1 v5 situations)


Your behavior in a teamfight is very often what shows if you are either a bad, good or amazing player.

The most common misconception is that you should always focus the enemy carries on the enemy team no matter what because they are the most dangerous ones. This is wrong, especially when you are playing ADC. It can get you killed many times. Charging into an entire enemy team just to get one or two hits on the enemy carry before dying is NOT a good idea.

Unless the enemy AD or AP carry is reaaally out of position, as an AD carry you need to hit whoever is closest to you.

In most cases, the closest champions will be enemy anti-carries bruisers or tanks like Irelia or Amumu. Despite what noobs/ragers on your team might say, if the tank is all that's in your range, then there's no harm in focusing on the tank.

Remember, your goals are to :
  • stay alive
  • Deal as much damage as possible over a long period of time.

90% of the time you should save Buster Shot and Rocket Jump to escape an enemy late game, not to deal damage. I really insist. Do not be greedy late game, always stay safe first. Just never Rocket Jump into the enemy team in a teamfight.. always hit them from far away. You have an incredible attack range so make use of it.

The wording used for this section of the guide was heavily influenced by Astrolia's Miss Fortune guide :).

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Some Tips/Tricks

I will be adding more as I think of them! :D

-Using a clutch Barrier when a ranged enemy is chasing you and is trying to finish you off :
If you save your Barrier, you can use it just right before (and by that I mean like, 0.5 seconds before it hits you) the last enemy autoattack or enemy spell was going to kill you. Why would you do this you say? Because most players will immediately back off after they send out the fatal autoattack/spell that they think will kill you. If they start backing off and you pop Barrier and save yourself, there is a good chance that the enemy will not turn around again to chase you any further. They will give up and you will get away safe. There's also a good chance they'll express their anger in the all chat afterwards :P.

-Move between autoattacks. Really, this will separate a noob AD carry from a good AD carry.

Here is a short video that explains the basics of moving and attacking very well:

Basically, you don't want to right click an enemy and wait. You want to move in between each attack. Moving between autoattacks will make your life much better. This applies to every single champ, even AP carries and Melee champions.

-Bait enemies. If your jungler is nearby and he wants to gank, don't wait for him to initiate. Fight the enemy, lure them towards you, they will blow their spells and summoner spells to fight you and THEN your jungler comes in and the rapefest begins.

-Do not go too far in your lane unless your lane is really warded like a pro. Putting a ward at dragon only is not enough, junglers can still go through the tribush or can even lane gank. Always watch your map to see if the jungler is MIA. Map awareness is key to gold and platinum.

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League Replays

Since I got asked to....
If you have LoLReplay, you can click on the links and download the replays to see me playing AD Tristana! Get some popcorn! Seriously though, watching replays will make you learn quickly and efficiently.

If you don't have LoLReplay yet, you can download it here!(click)

Tristana + Leona
Draven + Taric

First and only game I have for you guys yet :P. Me and Leona do some aggressive plays and rape our lane pretty hard :D. Then we proceed to carry the game with the help of our team.
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End Gamescores

You can send me your endgame scores if you want to :D

BuildANavy's ranked journey with Tristana

Ainaryu's First Tristana game using the Blade of the Ruined King rush :P

Trekke's first two Tristana games :D

Another Trekke game :D

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I hope you liked my guide! Feel free to ask any question or leave a comment down below!

You can find my AP Tristana Guide Right here!

Thanks for reading :D!
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