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Tristana Build Guide by CookiesNCream

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League of Legends Build Guide Author CookiesNCream

Let's Get in Range : A Guide to Tristana

CookiesNCream Last updated on September 22, 2012
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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: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Meet Tristana, my favorite and, consequently, most-played AD Carry champion. Tristana is a champion whose abilities don't scale at all with attack damage. Instead, she uses Draw a Bead along with Rapid Fire to DPS enemy champions from afar, destroy turrets, and conquer other objectives for her team. Tristana has a massive rocket that she uses for mobility, positioning, tower diving, escaping, pushing enemies away, and raw damage. With the best dance and range in League of Legends, Tristana is sure to be an awesome champion to have a lot of fun with.

<-- Why can't we have skins like this in NA? Haha

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Pros and Cons


+ HUGE range
+ Strong early game
+ CRAZY late game
+ Rocket Jump!
+ Too cute!
+ Costs 0 IP! Also free skin~ Link here!


- Hard to master
- Weak mid game
- Squishhhhy
- Low mana pool
- Very heavily targeted
- Only one awesome skin

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Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

Attack damage! omnomnom. Get it for helping you stay on top in CS; the bad thing about getting this on Tristana is that she has no skills that scale with Attack Damage (because then she'd be severely over-powered). Well, it's not like you'll be using any skills to farm anyways. Harassing is easy because 9 times out of 10, you'll be out-ranging them at level 2.

Armor to help you survive those mean attacks from the enemy carry. People can usually use their abilities ( Buckshot, Volley, Piltover Peacemaker) without really pushing, as you yourself automatically push due to Explosive Shot, o these are a must!

Well, you probably won't get hit much with magic damage early on (unless there's an enemy Sona or Lulu), so get these for the defence later on in team fights. Your survivability is extremely important as the carry, so this is a must!

What's better than attack damage? More attack damage! With this, you should have ~68 attack damage at level 1. So, that's pretty good. If you get Doran's Blade, that's 78 attack damage! Use it, love it, farm away.

Optional Runes

greater mark of desolation : If you are pro at farming (can get about 250~300 cs by 30:00), then get these instead.

greater quintessence of desolation : Instead of getting 9 flat armor pen marks, you can get three of these instead. However, don't get both greater quintessence of desolation and greater mark of desolation.

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist : For extra early survivability. These are flat MR glyphs, as apposed to MR per level glyphs. Take whichever ones you desire~

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Because you're the carry, you're going to want as much damage as possible to win the game for your team, while also having some defence, ensuring you don't get zoned in your lane or die constantly. Thus, for masteries, I take the standard 21-9-0, emphasizing on damage output, and the last 9 mastery points for defensive purposes.

If you really want maximum damage, you can try :

  • Butcher : 4 extra damage to minions to help you in CS
  • Demolitionist : 10 extra damage to turrets, allowing to you get in, take the turret, then Rocket Jump away before you get 4-man ganked.
  • Havoc : 1.5% extra damage! trolololol
* This mastery page gives you no health boost; however, using Summoner's Insight , Flash will come off cool down faster.

* Feel free to remove a point from Summoner's Insight or Demolitionist to put into Summoner's Wrath , allowing for a 5 attack damage boost when Ignite goes on cool down.

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This is what makes Tristana, Tristana. It gives her more and more autoattack range as she levels up, and this makes Tristana a really strong late game champion. With this, Tristana has the largest natural range at level 18 in League of Legends ( Kog'Maw and Twitch can outrange Tristana by activating Bio-Arcane Barrage and Spray and Pray respectively). Level 18 gives you 703 range; abusing this is the key to success.

Level 1 : 550 -- Equal to, or greater than most champions in League of Legends
Level 2 : 559
Level 3 : 568
Level 4 : 577 -- Outranges Varus, Ziggs, and Zyra (575)
Level 5 : 586
Level 6 : 595
Level 7 : 604 -- Outranges Anivia, Ashe, and Zilean (600)
Level 8 : 613
Level 9 : 622
Level 10 : 631 -- Outranges Annie (625) and Kog'Maw's Level 1 Bio-Arcane Barrage (630)
Level 11 : 640
Level 12 : 649
Level 13 : 658 -- Outranges Caitlyn and Kog'Maw's Level 2 Bio-Arcane Barrage (650)
Level 14 : 667
Level 15 : 676 -- Outranges Kog'Maw's Level 3 Bio-Arcane Barrage (670)
Level 16 : 685
Level 17 : 694 -- Outranges Kog'Maw's Level 4 Bio-Arcane Barrage (690)
Level 18 : 703

The only champions whose auto-attack range is larger than Tristana's is:

Heh. This skill is insanneee: at level 5, this skill gives 90% increased attack speed; for SEVEN seconds. That's like 15~18 basic attacks; with already crazy attack damage and 20% life steal, this is basically god mode. Use this to complete the major objectives such as getting Dragon, Baron Nashor, Blue / Red Buffs, turrets, inhibitors, and fed carries. Combining this with a Phantom Dancer and possibly an active shurelya's reverie adds a lot of trololol when you proceed to kill everyone on the other team.

Fun math! :

Tristana's base attack speed : 0.625/0.95 = 0.65789473684211... Total bonus attack speed : 7.6827
Attack speed : (0.625/0.95) * (1.0 + 7.6827) = 5.712!!!

Could you imagine auto-attacking 5.7 TIMES PER SECOND???
Too bad Attack Speed caps at 2.5000 :C

This is, in my opinion, one of the best non-ultimate skills in League of Legends. Not only does it have a tremendous AoE slow, but the cooldown refreshes after getting a kill or assist. Imagine a flash that does damage. Now imagine killing a champion with that flash underneath their tower. Now imagine flashing back out, barely taking any tower hits. Now imagine that you still had the actual Flash summoner spell still up. The potential of this ability is endless.
  • Jump over walls!
  • Tower dive!
  • Use for repositioning!
  • Chase and escape!
  • Get an easy pentakill!

Splash damage when minions are killed? Holy moly! So if there are ten minions with ~50 health DPSing your tower, you can just walk up and end that entire wave with just one autoattack! The active is great as well; it's like a mini-version of Ignite (unless you play AP Tristana; then it's a severely buffed OP Ignite). Is that enemy Janna channelling Monsoon? Are Soraka's Astral Blessings making your harass futile? Pop this baby on your target to reduce that healing and win!

OK, we're onto a controversial topic here, so please be careful. Well, really anything that has any kind of displacement becomes a real controversy in League of Legends. Using this ultimate effectively is what separates the good Tristana players from the bad ones. In early game, you'll be using this offensively as the damage is quite large; however, by mid and late game, the knock back is hard to use effectively as 5v5 team fights start occurring. During these times, focus on using it defensively to help in you and your teammates' escape.

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Items -- Early Game

  • Boots of Speed + Health Potion x 3 : Eh. Most people start off with a Doran's Blade if they have a healer in lane, such as Alistar, Taric, or Sona. However, I don't really trust my support with that kind of thing (I always solo queue), so I start off with the traditional Boots of Speed plus three Health Potions, even if my support is Soraka.

  • Doran's Blade : One or two Doran's Blades adds a lot of sustain in lane, allowing you to farm up easier. Seriously, filling up your inventory slots early on is key in winning late game. Only skip these if your lane becomes passive and you generate a lot of farm (2000+ gold on your first trip back).

  • Berserker's Greaves : Obviously as the AD Carry, these are your boots. Get to know them, because you'll always be getting these; no exceptions.

  • B. F. Sword : The first major source of damage. Obviously, a B. F. Sword is the most preferable item that builds into Infinity Edge. However, obviously if you have 1000 or so gold when you recall, get a Pickaxe instead. Getting the B. F. Sword as early as possible is the way to victory.

  • Infinity Edge : Yeah, you should probably get this during early game to really wreak havoc to the enemies. If you get this before the first tower is destroyed, chances are the enemy will surrender by the 20 minute mark.

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Items -- Mid Game

  • Zeal : Great, so you have some nice damage from Infinity Edge, and you'll probably have about 1.003 attack speed (60~90% extra from Rapid Fire); but is it enough? There are times when you might prioritize getting more attack damage, but ideally, now is the time to start thinking about having maintained attack speed. Buy yourself a Zeal and start destroying those towers!

  • Vampiric Scepter : By now you may have sold one or two Doran's Blades; if so, get this. Depending on the number of Doran's Blades you still have, get this after Infinity Edge to about the same time you finish Phantom Dancer.

  • Phantom Dancer : Attack speed, critical chance, movement speed. Everything you need as an AD Carry. Rapid Fire is really going to start hurting.

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Items -- Late Game

  • The Bloodthirster : Now that you have really good attack speed from Phantom Dancer and Rapid Fire, it's time to start thinking about serious attack damage. The obvious choice: The Bloodthirster. Always try to stack this to max before engaging in large team fights as the difference between 60 damage and 100 damage is tremendous. Combine this with 20% lifesteal, and even the worst people at farming will have no problem.

    No doubt, everyone is going to get Last Whisper. Why? It's late game, people have built a lot of armor, you want to penetrate 40% of that armor to deal incredible amounts of damage. So why on earth would you want The Black Cleaver instead? At three stacks, this baby will penetrate more armor than Last Whisper if the target has 112.5 armor or less. If the target has more, Last Whisper will penetrate more armor. Of course, The Black Cleaver has more attack damage, and even 30% attack speed. Also, it reduces enemy armor as apposed to giving you armor penetration. This means other teammates will benefit from the debuff as well if they are attacking the same target. However, the debuff doesn't work against structures, Baron Nashor, or Dragon. I'm not sure if Last Whisper does or not. So, usually, I find that The Black Cleaver is almost always better than Last Whisper. Of course, if at least 3 enemies have ~130 armor or higher, then Last Whisper becomes better.

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Situational Items

* One of these will basically be your fifth item
  • The Bloodthirster : If you suddenly feel like you don't need to survive anymore (let's say you have Alistar, Kayle, Malphite, and Shen in your team), then a second bloodthirster will really, really hurt.

  • Banshee's Veil : Great increase in health and mana, not to mention a ton of MR :D I've seen miracles happen with this item (shields popping up at the last second before Requiem strikes and all that fun stuff) so it's definitely a great choice!

  • Guardian Angel : The ultimate defensive item. Armor, MR, extra life. What more could you want? (Well, 1 second invincibility upon being revived would be nice, haha)

  • Quicksilver Sash : The cheap, reusable, affordable, remove-every-debuff item! Seriously though, read this for details on this wonderful item.

More to come!

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Summoner Spells

An ideal summoner skill for any AD carry. The synergy with this and Explosive Shot is wonderful as well.

The usual defensive skill on any champion. It's also the perfect gap closer to land that one last autoattack. The synergy with this and Rocket Jump is wonderful as well.

You should only get this if you want to split push. I don't really advise it though, as the cool down time is tremendously long.

If your support has no heals and doesn't get this summoner skill, then this can be ideal.

Same with Heal, you can get it if your support lacks CC and doesn't get this summoner skill.

A really good defensive item. Combining this with Flash or Rocket Jump can easily save you your life. If you get this, Quicksilver Sash isn't needed (well, I guess you can have two move-debuff abilities).

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I'm not really good at writing these kinds of things, so this section might seem a little mediocre.

OK, so, after having been sitting in your chair staring blankly at the enemy Renekton's loading bar trickle ever so slowly towards that 100% for 5 minutes, you finally get into the game. Dance a bit, and wait for Clairvoyance to go out, before buying either a Doran's Blade or Boots of Speed + Health Potions. Take a point in Rocket Jump and head towards your bottom lane. Help clear wolves or wraiths at the 1:40 mark, and leash blue / red. When the coast is clear, head down into your lane.

OK, so, let's get this straight. You are an AD Carry. Your job is to farm. Don't sit there auto-attacking minions all day; just move back and forth, dodging those Rocket Grabs, last-hitting creeps all game long. Let your support worry about wards, harassing, and zoning. Obviously it's much better for your support to harass the enemy carry. Holy moly, I can't stress this enough. If you focus the support, the enemy carry is just gonna dps you down for a nice-and-easy double kill. So, make sure that your support focuses the carry.

At the four-minute mark, immediately retreat to your tower because you're gonna get 4-man ganked. When it's safe, continue farming. Perhaps the best time you can secure a kill is at level 2 with Rocket Jump, Explosive Shot, Flash, and Ignite at your disposal. The next best time is at level 6, with the addition of Buster Shot. But don't get too carried away with trying to go for a kill, because junglers can shut you down. Zone the other team in a subtle way, using a Health Potion whenever your health goes low.

Starting from level 8, you're going to want to start taking points into Rapid Fire in order to help you secure Dragon and turrets. However, mid game is when you're weakest, so you should focus on getting farm, supplying yourself with a steady income until late game commences. In team fights during mid game, never Rocket Jump into the team. Chances are, your team won't be able to back you up fast enough, and you'll get CC'd down.

Now it's late game and you have Infinity Edge, Phantom Dancer, The Bloodthirster, and The Black Cleaver; not to mention 676 ~ 703 range. In team fights, stay far back, let your tank initiate, soak up all those auras, and, of course, proceed to Rapid Fire your way through their health bars and Rocket Jump towards that pentakill and victory.

  • Get First Blood
  • Farm
  • Let support harass
  • Secure early kills
  • Farm through mid game
  • Get pentakill late game
  • ???

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Who are the best supports for Tristana? (This is kind of my own personal preference)

A no-brainer. Grab, knock-up, exhaust, rocket jump, first blood, zone, farm.

Similar to Blitzcrank, except tankier. Stun, rocket jump, stun, exhaust, stun stun stun. :D

Sona is also pretty aggressive in lane, as her Hymn of Valor along with Power Chord can do some hefty amount of damage over-time. She also has heals, movement speed, auras (omnomnom), and a great AoE stun.

Another wonderful choice. Honestly, stuns and heals are all you need in lane, and Taric has it all.

OK Supports

People really like the Alistar + Tristana combo; however, a support Alistar can only knock people around. Let's say he Headbutts the enemy carry towards you then Pulverizes. Now what? You'll just get Exhausted and DPS'ed while Alistar stands there helplessly, typing "oom"

Slow, heal, INVULNERABILITY, and some damage potential. Not bad, but there are better supports.

Wards, heals, attack speed boosts, and good harassing ability. Again, she is nice, but there are better supports.

Nunu can harass easily with Ice Blast, while keeping Blood Boil up and absorbing the counter harass. The fact that your ultimate has a displacement can either mean greatness or failure. Knocking your enemies into Absolute Zero can easily win you your lane.

Zilean has a good harassing ability and a great speed buff, which can get you easy kills when used with Rapid Fire. Also, you can go for those risky Rocket Jumps, knowing you'll be covered from Chronoshift.

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Q. & A.

Can I ask you a question?

  • Yes! :D

How well can you play Tristana?
  • I feed every game :c

Can you show me your match history as Tristana?
  • This is out of the question.

AP Tristana?
  • Never tried

When should I get Sword of the Occult?
  • Never.

Two Phantom Dancers viable?
  • Not really... I'm pretty sure you'll exceed 2.5 attack speed if you use Rapid Fire

Do you play ranked with this build?
  • Sometimes...but my support always starts with Boots of Speed + 3 Health Potions for some reason...then rages at me when s/he gets ganked and I don't help. Elo hell FTW

Why Rocket Jump first and not Explosive Shot?
  • Jungle invasion
  • Five-man level 1 surprise gank

Why Rapid Fire at level 8 and not sooner?
  • Early game, you can't use Rapid Fire to its full potential to get kills. It's not reliable until your autoattack range increases, which is why you get it later. Level 8 is a good time to start spending points in it because you'll be attacking stationary targets such as turrets, dragon and afk champions.

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Change Log

03/08/12 -- Published the guide!
05/08/12 -- Added stuff :D I love stuff ~
12/08/12 -- Added Q/A Section. Minor formatting adjustments and other stuff
22/09/12 -- Changes to item build order