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Tristana Build Guide by Novaking182

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Novaking182

Critana: A Force to be Reckoned With

Novaking182 Last updated on November 30, 2011
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ADC Role
Ranked #34 in
ADC Role
Win 49%
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 0

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 9

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Guide Updates

-Guide was made
-Added Patch changes section

-added section covering why I choose trinity force over the bloodthirster

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Hello Everybody and welcome to my guide on Tristana. I've seen many guides that simply tell you what to get without any explanation as to why they build her the way they do. I hope to make a guide that explains why I pass up things for others and if anything is unclear then comment and I'll try to improve my guide in any way I can. Tristana is an amazing champ late game if she gets fed early game and I'm here to help you improve her gameplay so without further ado, lets begin.

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About Tristana

Tristana's Passive: Tristana gains more range with her auto-attacks with every level outranging most if not all of the other champions.

Tristana's "Q": Tristana gains increased attack speed when activated.

Tristana's "W": Tristana can jump either into or out of combat with this. If you land close to an enemy champion it slows them and deals magic damage. If you kill an enemy champion or get an assist, it will refresh the cooldown on this ability allowing you to jump in a team fight, cast your spell combo on one champion and then rocket out before you die.

Tristana's "E": (Passive)-When Tristana kills an enemy minion, monster, or champion, they explode dealing magic damage to all nearby enemy units. (Active)-Tristana fires a shot at an enemy that reduces healing and health regen by 50% and applies a DoT that deals magic damage for 5 seconds (basically a mini Ignite)

Tristana's "R": Tristana fires a shot that deals a large amount of magic damage and knocks the enemy champion back interrupting any spell they are channeling. This ability can be used to knock enemies through terrain if the distance they would be knocked back lies behind the terrain or it can be used to stun champions against the terrian for the duration of the knockback if the location they would land lies within the terrain they were knocked towards. Also note that this can be used to knock back more than one enemy champion if they are close to the targeted champion.

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The way I play Tristana is a very High-risk, High-reward play-style. I have played her enough to know what kind of damage she can output against which champions and to know when I am safe to initiate or if I should stay back.

-Excellent 1v1 capabilities
-can melt opponents hp
-can get into/out-of most situations safely

-any disabling CC can spell disaster
-will get focused once enemy team figures out how powerful you are
-expensive build
-can be difficult to recover from bad early game

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Summoner Spells

With Tristana, I like to get two specific summoner spells, ghost and exhaust.

I like to take ghost because when Trist rocket jumps away early game, enemy champions can easily catch up to her so I get this to get those final hits on a running enemy champion and to get away.

I like to take exhaust because I want a skill for late game. Exhaust is perfect because even though it lasts only two and a half seconds that is all late game Tristana needs to kill a champion that could otherwise kill her 1v1 or if you just don't want them getting away.

Although the following spells are great, I choose not to get them for some reason Which I will mention along with every spell.

This guide is for Classic, not dominion and this is not an available spell for classic mode.

Heal with Tristana just seems like an ineffective use of a summoner spell. I can't say this would not have saved me a few times but if you need to heal to face an enemy champion you might as well have take exhaust and made their next 2.5 seconds of damage output close to none while you either ran or continued to pound on them.

I can't say that this is a bad spell, but I personally dislike it (pre-season 2). I have not tried it in the second season but it now sounds like it is more viable by increasing your max health for 2 minutes after you use the spell which can help if you are rushing their base after being pushed yourselves.

You should be last hitting minions, not relying on smite to do so. If anyone on your team is going to have smite, leave it to your jungler.

I can't say anything about this spell as I have not tried it yet. I am not interested too much as it would increase our AD champs attack speed by 35% which can be acomplished by ghostblade or rapid fire. It just doesn't seem worth it although I would appreciate some feedback if you try this build with surge.

Teleport is not a bad spell at all, It can often save your tower from being destroyed or can help you get closer to a weak enemy or even backdoor if you have a ward or something near their base.

Cleanse can often save you from being killed if you get CC'd. The only problem I have with it is that its usefulness depends on the champions your opponents chose and how much CC they have.

You shouldn't be needing clarity at all, the only time you should be spamming your spells is if you are engaging in a fight in which case you would either die or be low health from your opponents attacks which should make you "b" back to your base afterwards, you should not be spamming rapid fire on minions constantly.

Ignite I feel is more of an early game spell. If you try to use it on someone you are attacking once it's late game, you will most likely kill them before the entire duration of the spell has been used which means it is being wasted.

I feel as though this is more of a support character's spell. The minion can tank a turret but I don't know how strong it will be against an enemy champion, if anyone has insight, let me know.

Tristana has no real reason to need this spell, yea its nice to check a bush with it but if you don't have this, then its just smart to not face-check a bush, and if you do decide to face-check, make sure you have your rocket jump ready to cast.

I prefer ghost over this spell as Tristana already has something that can move her over terrain and behind/around other obstacles and if you are using this to run away in a straight, followable path, ghost does a better job of creating distance.

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Ok, so for my runes I have gone with some unusual runes for any character but they seem to work really well with Tristana the way I have her built. I have gone with Greater Mark of Desolation because this will net you about 15 armor pen which is coupled with Sunder to grant you 21 armor penetration, enough to nearly eliminate about half to a third of any enemy team's squishy's or anyone not building armor which will really help you become that cannon that Tristana is known for. I am still at a standstill for which of these three is best but two other great choices for this build would be Greater Mark of Scaling Attack Damage or Greater Mark of Critical Damage. I choose the mark of might over Greater Mark of Attack Damage because at lvl 7, the mark of might becomes more powerful than the mark of strength and at this point in the game I am just starting to do my real harass against the enemy champions in the lane because Trist now has her ult and it is an excellent way to finish off those champions or to position them where you want them when used in conjunction with flash or Rocket Jump.

For My Seals, I have gone with Greater Seal of Vitality because our glass cannon here needs a little more sturdiness and these seals will help her last longer in fights. I went with the per lvl seals over the flat Greater Seal of Health because the only real advantage that the flat seals have is before lvl 5. After that, the per lvl seals will become stronger and grant more health in the long run. You shouldn't be overextending and letting yourself die to those pre-lvl 5 ganks and if you ever get into a situation like that, you can typically rocket jump away and use a summoner spell if need be to get away and not die.

Next up are Glyphs. Nothing really stood out to me in this category because our Trist is an AD carry, she doesn't rely on spells for the majority of her damage. I know when people go for runes they like to get nine of one rune and just fortify that one attribute. With this build I saw that late game, when we get into team fights, I always get through one full CD of Rapid Fire and I get right next to the enemy champion only to have them flash away and be one or two hits away from being dead. I decided it would be beneficial to go for 9 Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction to get us as close as possible to getting that final hit without our poor defenseless enemies getting away from us. This glyph choice I have is debatable, some people will say that cooldown reduction would help and i'm not gonna argue with those people but the most cooldown you will get would be 8.1% Trist's ultimate has about a 60 second cooldown. The most it would do is shave 4.86 seconds off her longest spell cooldown. I won't argue that those 5 seconds won't save your life but you shouldn't initiate if your ult is on cd especially with someone as fragile as Tristana. If you do happen to get ganked by more than 2 champions, chances are that your ult wouldn't save you and if you run into a 1v1 encounter then you can always try to rocket jump over some terrain and attempt an escape that way. Anything is really acceptable in this category though, no AD runes stand out and if anything else you could just go with the Greater Glyph of Vitality if you think the seals won't cut it or with the Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist because Trist has a low base MR.

Finally we get to Quintessences. We can rule out anything dealing with mana or ability power or magic penetration since our character is AD, we want the strongest 3 runes to dictate that. I like to go with Greater Quintessence of Critical Damage since with the current setup, Tristana's AS is something we augment with only two items in-game, or three if you count the active on Youmuu's Ghostblade. If you want to go for more damage though, I did some light number crunching and if you want to squeeze the most out of her max damage we shouldn't go for damage but instead crit damage with the Greater Quintessence of Critical Damage. This however will still leave some champions with armor as we only have 21 or so armor pen (or 41 with the ghostblade). Most if not all champions have a base armor of around 30-50. If you want to eliminate their armor entirely and deal 10% more damage, you could go with the Greater Quintessence of Desolation. Another good choice would be to grab the Greater Quintessence of Vitality as this will add some survivability to our fragile champion.

So in summary here is what I have as a good rune combination for Tristana:

9x Greater Mark of Desolation
9x Greater Seal of Vitality

Any questions or comments ask me about them and I will try to explain either why I don't do it that way or I will think about it and maybe change this build up and incorporate what you think should be here.

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My masteries are fairly straightforward for anyone that Knows how to play an AD champ. I do a 21/0/9 to get the most from our damage tree.

In the Offensive tree I first max out Brute Force and take a point in Mental Force just to get the 4th point in the lowest tier. brute force should should be maxed because we are building an AD champion focused on attacking other champions instead of minions although Butcher would also be an acceptable lowest tier point if you prefer it over mental force. in the second tier, I decide to max Alacrity we grab this because we want our Tristana to do as much damage as fast as possible and this will grant a higher DPS over a 4% cooldown reduction with Sorcery and we shouldn't be focusing on taking down turrets over taking down an enemy champion which is one reason why I skip over Demolitionist . The other reason I grab 4 points in alacrity is to get the 10% armor penetration granted by Weapon Expertise . Nothing says more damage like doing true damage and ignoring armor. Havoc would also be an acceptable skill to max as it increases the damage we do by a percent which will cyclically make our damage do more, the more damage we have. I personally skip over this just because I want to get 9 points into the utility tree. I also max out Deadliness to help us hit more crits which will effectively double our damage output. After that I take a point in Lethality to cause all of our crits to gain a 10% damage increase. 3 points in Vampirism will cause us to give a tad more survivability in the form of lifesteal to the glass cannon Tristana. Again, we want to penetrate as much armor as we can to do as much damage as possible so we take all 3 points in Sunder to put our base armor pen at 21 when our runes are added into the mix. We didn't get this far to stop there so we also take the final point in the offensive tree with Executioner to help us really hit those low healthed champions where it hurts.

I don't put any points into the defensive tree because nothing in the top tiers is really that useful except maybe for Resistance and Hardiness but if Trist is getting focused, she is as good as dead unless you can rocket away in time, or get a lucky ult off that knocks all of the enemy champs back so I don't see these as necessary.

In the Utility Tree, I max Good Hands because when you get to lvl 18, your respawn timer can get up to around 60 or so seconds, with the 10% respawn reduction that will shave off 6 seconds of dead time, I've had so many close games where we are at the enemy teams nexus turrets and they kill us and charge us only to be a few seconds from respawning by the time they have taken our nexus turrets, I view this as a really good mastery for this reason. I also take one point into Improved Recall because there has been many a time when I have been less than a second from recalling and gotten interrupted and died because I couldn't get to safety fast enough. In the second tier, I put all four points into Swiftness to max it because our Tristana is slow and If you ever get the full item build and the game manages to drag on long enough past that to give you a lot of stored gold, I will typically sell the boots for a Madred's Bloodrazor, a Hextech Gunblade or a second " The Bloodthirster" if they aren't building armor. (since its nerf in a recent patch, I've been wondering if a second bloodthirster or madred's would just be the way to go and forget about the gunblade.) I put the final point into Greed to try and squeeze out that extra bit of gold so you don't have to wait at your fountain late game or go out farming for a few seconds waiting for 100 or so gold to finish your build. I am a bit sad to see that if we go full offense that we are unable to put any points into Awareness like we used to in the old tree but skipping out on sunder and executioner are not worth the extra exp in my opinion. I don't grab Expanded Mind because we are not building an AP build and we have enough mana and mana regen at end game to pull off about 3 combos and a few rocket jumps between every combo. Also, in the third tier of the utility tree, a good place to put your final point would be into Runic Affinity to increase the duration of buffs. Red Buff's passive will help Tristana because not only does it do bonus damage, it grants Trist a slow, something that the majority of people reading this guide will choose not to take ( Frozen Mallet) as their final item if they choose to replace their Berserker's Greaves. We have now placed all of our 30 masteries.

Again, any questions or comments as to why I do things this way, let me know and we could discuss it or if your point is just immediately noticeable to be better, I'll adjust this guide.

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With our items, we are going for a critical damage build so we will want to be sure that we aren't just stacking crit chance but also some damage to make those crits do damage. The full item build is above but this is my explanation of what items can be substituted and so forth and why I get some items over others and such.

I want to make a special note of this item. I like to get this as soon as possible to increase my passive gold gain. We later turn this into Youmuu's ghostblade but we will leave this in this form for the majority of the game to get the most out of it's passive.

This should be our first "High priority" item as it will be the basis for increasing our damage and increasing the amount of damage our crits deal as well as increasing our chances of a critical hit by an impressive 25%.

This is an item that we should take inbetwen getting items for our I.E. whenever you purchase an item for your I.E. if you have money leftover, spend some of it on buying a part of this item.

The phantom dancer, increases the chance of a critical hit by an amazing 30% as well as increasing our attack speed by 55% and giving our slow tristana a speed boost.

The trinity force adds a little bit of everything to tristana. No part of it goes unused as her ultimate and rocket jump scale with AP. The unique passives are also great since the first attack after casting a spell will deal 150% damage, with our crit build it will deal roughly 390% more damage than a standard attack since we will have our 260% crit damage. And with our base crit rate at roughly 90%, its near guaranteed to hit with a painful critical hit.

The bloodthirster not only can give us more flat damage than our I.E. when fully stacked, but it allows us to survive longer in fights with its 15-25% lifesteal.

I like to get this item for last to utilize as much of the avarice blade's passive as possible, This item practically screams to be with these other items. It rounds off our crit with 3% more than the avarice blade, adds 30 damage, adds 20 armor penetration, and has a passive that can help slow tristana get away from a bad situation or can giver her that extra attack speed when her rapid fire is on cooldown.

Any questions, post them below please. I feel this may be the most controversial part of my guide.

As asked for by mastervzla69, I will explain why I use trinity force instead of a lifesteal stacking item (mainly the bloodthirster). The first reason I like trinity force is that it adds movement speed to trist. This is a pretty golden stat in league of legends. It can help you escape or catch up to an opponent in almost any circumstance. Tristana starts with the lowest possible movement speed of 300 which flat out sucks. With beserker's greaves and phantom dancer, any ad carry can typically catch up to her since they will also be stacking the same two items. With the movement speed buff of trinity force, this allows us to still maintain the normal speed of other champions even if we sell our boots for another item like the black cleaver or something (black cleaver is just an example to get damage and maintain our attack speed, anything could be substituted if you wanted although some items are better than others). I will note that if you are facing a vayne, you typically will not be getting away no matter how you build though, her tumble is on a much lower cd than your rocket jump and her passive lets her excel at chasing.

Trinity force gives Tristana a 15% critical hit chance. when we get the full build here plus the Elixir of Agility we get 97% crit chance. We don't want to pay for any more than 18% crit on any item if we remove trinity force in exchange for another item so if we don't get trinity, atma's impaler or executioner's calling would be the only two crit items we would want to consider if we wanted to keep our crit rate at or above 90%.

Trinity force adds 250 health and mana, I don't feel I need to explain these items because if we wanted to go any more with health and mana, we would need to cut down on our damage and just build a tanky item like frozen mallet. Although it is a great item, I prefer it more on olaf or someone that needs to tank a ranged carry's damage to get close to them and prevent them from using their range to their advantage with its passive slowing.

Tristana's abilities benefit a decent amount from the 30 ap provided by trinity force. Her ultimate gains 45 damage, her "e" gains 30 damage, and her "w" gains 24 damage. while none of this will net you a guaranteed kill, it does help that you get some damage output to help negate the reduction caused by every champions natural magic resist.

Alright, now the main part of your argument that excels over the trinity force is the damage and lifesteal of the bloodthirster. When I look at tristana's abilities, I see two offensive skills and two defensive skills for a 1v1 confrontation. If the enemy does not have exhaust, you have the upper hand in the fight against an ad carry of the opposing team. You should cast your "e" right away to reduce the amount of healing they get from benefiting from the second bloodthirster causing their two to act only as one for the lifesteal portion, and also imediately cast your "q" to gain the upper hand on attack speed. When they get you low on health, and similarly you get them on low health, use your exhaust to drastically reduce their damage output and similarly their healing abilities. This should be a simple victory for you, however; if you are losing even after this combination as in you are facing a tryndamere for example, you always have the option to rocket jump away. If they continue to chase you, you can use your ultimate defensively to push them away from you. If they still think they can catch up to you after you have buster shot them, don't forget you can ghost away and/or use your youmuu's ghostblade if that is finished. Yes it is true that getting a second bloodthirster over trinity can provide you survivability, it only works if you keep pounding on an enemy champion and does not benefit you in any way if you need to run away where as the movement speed on trinity in combination with your other skills should get you away.

Another part of trinity force I would like to mention is that if you do in fact have to 1v1 an enemy champion, you can use the scare tactic to try and get them to run. as mentioned before, if you use your "e" on your first or second attack, you will activate your trinity force sheen proc which will cause your next auto attack to deal roughly 390% damage with our 260% crit damage trinity's passive of 150% damage on your next auto attack after spell cast. No enemy champion will take it too lightly if you nail them with near 900-1000 damage on your first attack (provided they aren't building armor). So now, not only are they receiving your massive dps, reduced healing, and possibly, an exhaust, but if they decide to run, you can easily chase them.

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Alright everybody, This has been my first guide. Any thoughts on how to improve it or change it to make it easier to understand or anything of that nature, let me know. The more feedback you provide, the more I'll adjust this guide if needed and the better it will be for everyone. I appreciate the time you all took to read through this and I hope to keep coming back to it to see what you all have to say. Thanks!

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Patch Changes

Just some final thoughts, I figured I might as well add in what happened during each patch so we can see the trend on what happens with this champion.

League of Legends v1.0.0.129
-Base attack damage increased to 46.5 from 44.5
-Tristana will now automatically attack the target she casts Explosive Shot on
-Buster Shot
-Knockback radius increased to 200 from 175
-Now has an indicator around the target to show knockback radius (similar to Brand's Conflagration)