Click to open network menu
Join or Log In
Mobafire logo

Join the leading League of Legends community. Create and share Champion Guides and Builds.

Create an MFN Account


MOBAFire's final Season 13 Mini Guide Contest is here! Create or update guides for the 30 featured champions and compete for up to $200 in prizes! 🏆
Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page

Tristana Build Guide by DarkPercy

AP Carry (AP) The Dark Side of Tristana ~

AP Carry (AP) The Dark Side of Tristana ~

Updated on March 29, 2014
Vote Vote
League of Legends Build Guide Author DarkPercy Build Guide By DarkPercy 325 24 2,983,011 Views 139 Comments
325 24 2,983,011 Views 139 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author DarkPercy Tristana Build Guide By DarkPercy Updated on March 29, 2014
Did this guide help you? If so please give them a vote or leave a comment. You can even win prizes by doing so!

You must be logged in to comment. Please login or register.

I liked this Guide
I didn't like this Guide
Commenting is required to vote!
Would you like to add a comment to your vote?

Your votes and comments encourage our guide authors to continue
creating helpful guides for the League of Legends community.

Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Tristana
    Tons of Burst
  • LoL Champion: Tristana
    Alternative build (Even more b


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 AP Tristana!

You can find my AD Tristana Guide Right here!
Back to Top

First Part: AP Tristana

This is the first part of the guide in which I will show you how to AP Tristana :P.

AP Tristana has very high base damages and higher AP ratios than most mages in League of Legends. She can very easily burst enemies from full HP to Death. She is very powerful but very fragile.


Back to Top


  • Has one of the best, if not the best, single-target nuking damage. She can destroy nearly anyone instantly
  • If fed, can snowball extremely fast it's not even funny
  • Pro ganker
  • Insane killing power in laning phase
  • Very very very fun to play :D

  • Super squishy with this build
  • Very low AoE (Area of Effect) damage
  • Long cooldowns
  • Extremely risky gameplay
Back to Top


Summoner's Wrath Because we are taking Ignite

Sorcery 3 points here to get access to the next row

Blast , Arcane Knowledge , Havoc , Mental Force , Archmage and executionner because we want as much damage as we can get to be able to do our job: burst enemies.

Some may wonder why I put two points in Brute Force instead of in Mental Force . It's because even AP Tristana will autoattack alot during the game and that +3 AD really helps to farm and simply to kill enemies. Yes 3 AD will give you more damage than 4 AP, especially early game.

Spellsword This is much better than a 4th point in Sorcery, especially on Tristana because she has high autoattack range and an attack speed steroid.

If you're one of those guys that has trouble last hitting with a champion with relatively low AD, it's ok to put 2 points in Butcher instead of in Sorcery :P.

Summoner's Insight for Flash

Meditation because Tristana really makes good use of that extra mana regen early game when she has nothing to help her mana issues.

Expanded Mind can be really really good on Tristana since she has a very poor mana pool late game but I feel like Mastermind has a bigger impact.

Wanderer I feel like this is not necessary but still good because it helps when roaming. If you didn't take one of the other masteries I recommended, you may take this one instead.

Runic Affinity For longer blue buffs :D

You can also fill this tree instead of the utility one (21/9/0). If you know how to manage your mana without any problems and you feel like you could make use of some extra tankiness, go for defense.

Durability and veteran's scar are obviously both must-haves in the defensive tree.

You can spend your 4 other points in any way you like.

If you're facing an AP caster mid you'll want at least 3 points in Resistance

If you're against an AD caster mid, you'll want Hardiness maxed.
Back to Top


Once again, nothing too special, typical AP carry stuff.

Magic Penetration Marks simply because they are the best damage marks for Mages.

For Seals, Armor Seals are almost a must-have right now since there are so many AD champions mid. These runes also help to counter minion aggro and autoattacks in general ( Tristana is fragile)

You could also get Mana Regen/level because it will allow you to spam your spells mindlessly. You shouldn't be but if you have trouble managing your mana, get these seals.. And with your masteries, it gives all the mana regen you need mid and late game.

The AP/lvl blues are pretty much the best offensive Glyphs for casters. They give more AP than Flat AP Glyphs after level 6 only! With them you will definitely feel the neat increase in damage.

The other interesting choice is Scaling Magic Resist Glyphs. Unless you build Abyssal Mask, you will have 30 magic resist ALL game long. This is one of the things that can AP Tristana so risky, especially late game. Scaling MR glyphs can help.

The Flat AP Quintessences are pretty much a must-have. They will really help you to start the game well and will give you that deadly damage you want early game.

However, Movement Speed quints are also a very viable choice as some people have showed me. Tristana is a great roamer/ganker and she has very low base movement speed so Movespeed Quints are really viable on AP Trist. They will help you to get in position to help your teammates out, to chase an enemy, to escape danger, etc.
Back to Top

Summoner Spells

Good Choices:

  • One of the best if not the best ***-saver summoner spell
  • Just like on any other mage, it is a great extension to your spells' range. That is awesome to gank, towerdive, position yourself in teamfight, catch an enemy off guard and much more. You must get it.

Ignite: Must-Have on all burst mages. It helps you kill people. Simple isn't it?

''Meh'' Choices:

Exhaust: Pretty good for first bloods and making sure you land your Rocket Jump correctly. Ignite is still a better offensive pick though... That pretty much sums it. Exhaust isn't a bad spell but Ignite just does the job better for AP Trist.

Teleport: You have to sacrifice Ignite but with this summoner spell you can make plays if your laners know how to put wards far in their lane (so you can teleport to the ward and kill any enemy there). Worth taking if you know what you're doing... but even then Ignite is so good that you might wanna take it instead.

Bad Choices:

Ghost: Not very useful on Tristana... She doesn't need sustained mobility at all. The only way this is could be better than Flash is if you need to chase someone for a long period of time which you will not do with AP Tristana.

Clairvoyance: Not especially good on Tristana... Let your support get this.

Revive: Not a very useful summoner spell on most champions. Does not fit Tristana particularly well. The cooldown is just really too huge.

Clarity: Not necessary at all. You shouldn't get this on any champion unless you are new to the game and have trouble using your mana correctly. Getting Flash or Ignite is much more important.

Back to Top

Abilities Sequence and Explanation

Draw A Bead:

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

This is still amazing on AP Tristana. It helps her use Explosive Shot and Nashor's Tooth or even Lich Bane from a safer distance. Helps to last hit from a safer distance.

Autoattacking is very important

Rapid Fire (Q):

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

Great on AP Tristana late game but try not to get it earlier since the damage increase it will give you will be pitiful and the mana used will be wasted. Once you get level 18 and you get your Nashor's Tooth, this spell will make you feel like a DPS champiom :P. The spell is also really good to destroy towers during the game.

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.

AP Tristana's main skill. It deals tons of damage and also slows. Use it to: farm, kill enemies, gank, jump over walls, jump away from enemies...EVERYTHING.

Even though this spell really does a freaking lot of damage, you shouldn't use it on your enemy everytime it's up because Rocket Jump is your most reliable escape mechanism. If you jump on your enemy in lane just to harass, and then the enemy jungler comes at the same time to gank you, you're dead. Try to only use it when you know the enemy jungler isn't too close. (You need to watch your minimap a lot, this will come with experience)

Why max Rocket Jump first instead of explosive shot?

Side note: This skill has its cooldown instantly refreshed if you get an assist or a kill. This is very fun because, if you can make sure your target will die, you can jump back to safety right after killing your enemy. Keep that in mind. Oh and it will also make you feel extremely cool jumping around non-stop :D.

Remember that this ability is not only for damage purposes. You can use it to escape (seriously, people tend to forget that when playing AP Trist).

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.

This skill has insane damage at level one (110 + 100% of AP) so you it makes Tristana really strong at level 1-2. You should use this on the enemy in lane every time he gets in range. This is especially good to counter Health Potions because this ability reduces all kind of heals by 50%.

The incredible AP ratio makes this ability hurt more than Rocket Jump late game. Make use of the huge range it has late game to harass/kill enemies from a safe distance.

You can max this ability first to have a stronger harass tool if you want. It's totally fine to do so. I just prefer the extra burst from an early maxed Rocket Jump and I think you will too.

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

Tristana's ultimate deals outstanding damage, especially for its low cooldown (60 seconds). Don't be afraid to use this ultimate very often (yes, even to harass your enemy in lane if you want to). Use it after all your other abilities to kill an enemy insanely quickly.

Make sure you don't push enemies to safety with this. If you still do, at least make sure your Explosive Shot + Ignite will kill them.

...but really, the damage it deals is just insane...
Back to Top


Starting Item:

Doran's Ring: Since the recent change to Doran's Ring, you can get it and buy 2 Health Potions. This makes it a better starting item than Boots in general now. Doran's items are very efficient for their cost. They are cheap and make you powerful early game.

+ Boots of Speed + 3 Health potions: Boots are still nice to start with. The movement speed helps you: Chase, harass, escape, position yourself to use spells, dodge skillshots (most mid champions have skillshots), move around the map more quickly to gank. Boots also let you have 4 health potion whichs so you can have an easier time staying in lane.

Now, your first and second trips back to base are the most tricky ones...getting a bunch of Ability Power early on is ESSENTIAL if you want to get fed.

Early game items:

I recommend getting at least one Doran's Ring for your laning phase because the item is so cost efficient and the stats it gives are all extremely useful early game. Without any Doran's Ring, Tristana will run out of mana much much faster. Getting two Doran's Rings is usually the best choice. They give you a solid and powerful early game.

If you already have one of two Doran's Rings and you recalled with around 1000 gold, Blasting Wand is always a good choice.

If possible, get Needlessly Large Rod before your Blasting Wand because it's much more cost efficient (it gives more AP for the cost). After you get this, you should really try ganking a lane.

Health Potions are very important. Since Tristana has no built-in sustain, and that spell vamp is not an efficient stat on her at all, she has no other ways to heal up than recalling and health potions. Potions help you win your laning phase and let stay longer in fights in general. I usually get at least 1 Health Potion each time I go back to base. Or if you are left with 350 gold and you don't know what to do with it, you should really get a Crystalline Flask, it's really worth it.

Mid/Late Game Items:

Rabadon's Deathcap: Already?! Yes. Very often I get this before my Tier 2 boots. If you can get this early, you will do amazing damage because Tristana's AP ratio are SO crazy high.

Sorcerer's Shoes: Magic penetration = More burst = More awesome!

Additionally, Ionian Boots of Lucidity are just bad on AP Tristana for many reasons.
  • Tristana has very bad base mana and mana regen, her mana costs are also high. She simply cannot spam abilities.
  • Tristana can reset her cooldowns by getting a kill. You need killing power, not CDR.
  • Tristana is all about single-target burst and not AoE damage with utility like, let's say, Orianna (even Orianna gets sorcerer shoes though lol)

Zhonya's Hourglass: using the active will make you safe after jumping in the middle of danger. This item is pretty much necessary and is almost part of AP Tristana's kit. Use it after your combo (explained in gameplay section) to save yourself. This item increases your survivability and damage output drastically.

Deathfire Grasp:This item is very good on AP Tristana because it works so well with her kit. It's a great single-target burst item and that's what AP Tristana's main role is. Tristana can make sure her Deathfire Grasp active will always be the first thing to hit her target because she can use it while she is in the air (while using Rocket Jump) and it will always hit her enemy before any of her other spells.

This item helps you to burst down a single target. Being able to jump again after bursting someone down is really powerful.

Deathfire really helps Tristana's weakness: late game. Deathfire is essentially an extra ability. With only Deathfire Grasp, Explosive Shot and Buster Shot, Tristana can very often kill most enemies squishies without even having to jump on them. Deathfire, Explosive shot and buster shot all have amazing range so it makes Tristana's late game a lot less risky.

Nashor's Tooth: An item that has alot of synergy with AP Tristana's kit as well. It makes you able to do something while waiting for your huge *** cooldowns to come back. It's a good idea to have an item that makes your autoattacks stronger because of Tristana's extremely high autoattack range and her naturally high Attack Speed because of her high base attack speed and her steroid from Rapid Fire

Warmog's Armor: It doesn't have to be Warmog's Armor. It could be Banshee's Veil or Guardian Angel. You just want at least one defensive item in a complete build or else you will just die too easily and you will be useless.

Other Items:

This item may seem tempting on AP Tristana but I really don't recommend it unless you are playing on a smurf account against people you can easily beat. It CAN make you deal even more damage than usual but it's really unreliable and it's easy to lose stacks because AP Tristana's gameplay is so risky.

Void Staff: To counter any enemy high magic resistance. If you want to be able to burst down enemies that have a lot of magic resist. Only get it instead of your defensive item if you really think you won't need it.

can be bought instead of Void Staff is you feel that you don't need the % Magic Penetration and you need some magic resist because of that Veigar on the enemy team.

You could get this item first but it WILL lower your burst by a LOT. This build is mainly focused on being a 100% burst carry so I don't recommend it but if you want to feel more safe you could get this item.

This is a terrible item on AP Tristana and you should never ever even think about getting it. The passive of the item is incredibly weak on single target burst champions such as LeBlanc or Tristana. There are other damage items that are 10 times better.

This item isn't as good as it may seem. I feel that Zhonya's Hourglass pretty much does the same thing but better. The added slow on Rocket Jump is not very noticeable but the slow on Explosive Shot lasts 5 seconds so it's pretty good. Unfortunately, with this build you will burst people down so fast that the slow will nearly be useless.

The Extra HP it provides is pretty good but there are other Survivability items (Like Zhonya's Hourglass) that are better IMO.

Tristana doesn't need that much mana regen. This item isn't made for Burst AP carries at all. It costs way too much money for the amount of damage it will give you. (This item can be very good on some other AP champions though!)

Since someone asked about it in comment section...
You should almost never get Hextech Gunblade on AP Tristana because:
  • It doesn't give as much damage as other items
  • It's freaking expensive
  • It doesn't fit well into your combo. It screws the surprise effect and people can actually react
  • The sustain isn't very good because Tristana has high mana costs and high cooldowns..
  • The AD and lifesteal are almost useless

If there are other items that you would like me to talk about, tell me in the comments below :P.
Back to Top


Hehehe... now the fun part! AP Trist Gameplay is very similar to Leblanc but Tristana is much much easier to play and they have almost the same damage output. (Depending on circumstances, Tristana can deal more or less damage than Leblanc.)

Early Game:

Even though AP Tristana can be played as a niche support like LeBlanc, she belongs in the mid lane.

As soon as you get in lane, start hitting the creeps to make sure you will hit level 2 before your enemy does. Use Explosive Shot to harass the enemy at least once at level 1. It is common to for AP Trist to get first blood early game. Pretty much everygame, you should try to get first blood on your enemy as soon as you get level 2. Jump on the enemy with Rocket Jump, use Explosive Shot and Ignite then throw in some autoattacks, don't forget, it's not because you are playing AP Tristana that you can't right click enemies anymore!

After level 2~, keep harassing with Explosive Shot (and with Rocket Jump if you can do it safely!) and bully your enemy as much as you can.

After level 6, things get hot. With Buster Shot your burst is ridiculously high; you can easily kill your opponents with the very basic combo:

The Basic Burst combo:

Try to farm as much as you can before going back to base.
A basic way to farm with Rocket Jump is to jump on as many minions as you can. If they did not die instantly, simply autoattack the minion with the lowest HP, it will die and explode, killing all other minions around it.

Mid Game:

This is usually the most fun part :P.

You should normally be able to destroy your enemy in lane at this point so keep killing him, zoning him and forcing him to recall. Make him fall behind the others. When your opponent is out of lane OR if you're having trouble forcing him out of lane, push the minion wave to his tower and go gank other lanes to make help out your allies. AP Tristana is an incredible lane bully and ganker, her early and mid game power must not be wasted!

Here's a more detailed version of the combo that you should use when trying to kill your enemy in lane or when you are ganking a lane:

Full Combo Explained:

  • If required, use Flash to be in range
  • Rocket Jump towards an enemy
  • Use Explosive Shot while you are in the air
  • Land on the enemy with Rocket Jump
  • If possible, walk behind your enemy and use Buster Shot to push him back into your minions/allies
  • Ignite your target if you think it will be necessary to finish him off
  • Autoattack the enemy as much as you can
  • Use Zhonya's Hourglass if you're in trouble (If you have the item already, obviously)

This will require fast fingers and if timed well, it will destroy an enemy from 100% HP to 0% really really fast xD.

IMPORTANT!: Before using your combo on someone, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH MANA! It saddens me so much when I jump on the enemy, then use Explosive Shot, the enemy has X amount of hp left AND...oh wait no mana, can't use Buster Shot :'(

A combo should not cost more than 230-270 mana. So keep that in mind. 270 and you're good.

If you aren't killing anyone for some reason, don't turn in circles. FARM FARM FARM. Tristana is a farming beast! Don't stop farming with Rocket Jump and Explosive Shot's passive. Kill every minion wave you see!

Late Game:

When you get Deathfire Grasp, your combo changes a little:

Deathfire Grasp combo

How to kill enemies late game:


In teamfights you'll want to try killing an enemy carry since it's your role to do so. AP Tristana is an anti-carry burst assassin.

If the enemy carry is too well protected, just focus on someone who is getting too far from his teammates. Why is that? Because your Burst Combo (W , 1, E , R) makes you jump on the enemy and leaves you in a bad position (in the middle of 5 guys) and you have almost no survivability items.

If you are Rambo-ish and feel like being a super hero: You can jump and do your combo on the enemy carry anyways, use 's active right after, wait for your and to kill the carry, then jump away with since its cooldown has refreshed and you can now use it to escape an inevitable death. This strategy is very risky because if the enemy doesn't die or if you get stunned, you will most likely die.

If the strategy above is way too risky for you late game, you can try killing squishies with your Deathfire Grasp active, Explosive Shot, Buster Shot and autoattacks ( Lich Bane procs and Nashor's Tooth on-hit damage effects) only. These spells/autoattacks all have amazing range and damage. Sometimes, these 3 spells + some autoattacks are all that's needed to kill the enemy carry. Your Rocket Jump can be saved as an escape mechanism.

An example of a teamfight with AP Tristana:
Back to Top

Some End game scores (You can send me yours!)

Slayer122678 using my AP Tristana guide :P

Will add more with time.
Back to Top

What AP Tristana used to be (old chapter)


In the last patch, Tristana's E Passive was changed. Before, the only way to make things explode was to kill them with an autoattack. Now, anything that dies from any source of damage coming from Tristana will explode. Including the explosions themselves. This is very easy to abuse. For example, if an enemy champion is in the middle of minions, using your Rocket Jump on the enemy and the minions will make ALL the minions explode and deal A LOT of extra damage to the enemy.

Watch this video and see for yourself:

In this video, there are 6 minions around Ahri. When Tristana uses her Rocket Jump, all the 6 minions die and explode because of Explosive Shot's passive, dealing 6 times 125 (+25% of AP) magic damage. That means 986 magic damage lol. The Rocket Jump dealt 375 damage so together that's an instant 1361 damage. That is way too much damage for Ahri to handle lol.

So whenever you see your enemy standing in the middle of his minions, JUMP ON HIM QUICKLY. Update: This is no longer possible.
Back to Top


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

You can find my AD Tristana Guide Right here!

Thanks for reading :D!
Download the Porofessor App for Windows

League of Legends Champions:

Teamfight Tactics Guide