Build Guide by Oberron
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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.
Welcome to yet another Tristana guide. This guide will, I'm sure, be called a farmer's guide. What this build is prioritizing is raking in cash quickly in early game so that you can overpower other dpser's in mid and late game. With this build I consistantly have dpser's try to take me face to face, only to leave me walking away laughing. I typically have my razors by lvl 3-4, and go back to my lane until I get lvl 7 and then go back for a BF sword and Vamp. Secpter. You will, by lvl 9, walk into a lane and obliterate waves of creeps singlehandedly. You won't even need to wait for your creeps.
For Simplicity's sake, I'll first dicuss the Spells, Runes, and Masteries and flow forward into ability progression and how to's.
First off, Ignite is a MUST. I consider Ignite to be one of my 'Bleeds' and by this i mean that the enemy will be losing hp for a period of time just like if you cast Explosive shot on them. It also reduces healing by 50% while it's bleeding them. Prognosis, use it early and often, especially if the enemies are not returning to base when under 1/2 HP. If you see the health pot aura start, hit them with ignite and they just wasted the pot.
After that, you have a couple choices. A lot of people use ghost for chasing, but in my experience, chasing is BAD. Chasing leads to ganks, and that means you die a lot more than needed. I've heard people say cleanse is good so that you don't have to worry about slow's and silences and the like. I say Shannannigans. Cleanse is something you use if you're not good with the character you're playing, or you plan to be in melee range; Something Tristana should never be since she outranges ALL other ranged attackers.
The single best option for the second Spell is Exhaust. The slowing is only part of why it's the best option. I do conceed that slowing them equals more potshots, meaning more dmg, but it's the armor pen that makes Exhaust shine. During early game, with all the runes and masteries, you will negate all armor and do pure equivalent damage even if the opponent bought armor. This is an astounding amount of damage since you will take every CD of Explosive shot you can.
For Runes, Armor pen increases Dmg done ALL the time, whereas people who use Crit dmg only boost dmg done during crits. Those runes are useless the rest of the time, therefore your Quints and Marks are taken. Focus Glyphs allow you to use your skills more often, and since bleeding is how we will be killing, they are a must. Seals, however, are negotiable. I feel like i fight against physical more often, so I am takind dodge. Feel free to do crit chance or atk speed, or whatever you want.
Everyone who plays tristana should ALWAYS put thier first point into Explosive Shot. PERIOD. This skill is how you harass, it's how you make money, it's how you kill players. It IS your best skill hands-down. You will pick up this skill EVERY chance you get.
Second point goes into Rocket Jump, and it is the only point to go into Rocket Jump until end game. Everyone talks about how Rocket Jump gets you kills. Yea... about that. I have only ever gotten 3 kills with Rocket Jump. I consistantly use Rocket Jump to escape or chase. Nobody will knowingly stand within jumping distance and be at low health. They all know better. If they don't you might get a few cheap kills, but it won't last. Feel free in late game to hide off to the side of the lane when an enemy is pushing your tower and use rocket jump to suprise them and ult them closer to the tower, giving you more time to potshot them as they run away.
The third point and every point not spent on you Ult and Explosive Shot after, should go into Rapid Fire. Rapid fire will allow you to make towers explode quickly and safely, mow down groups of thirty or more creeps in mere moments (thanks to explosive shot and razor's passive), and harass quickly in group fights. Odds are, in a group fight it will be the difference between the assist and the kill shot.
Every time your Ult is available, drop a point. This is really a no-brainer by now. Every Champ (with few exceptions) should always get their ult when they can. Your Ult as Tristana is good for two things. Field placement, and final hits. Very rarely does jumping behind an enemy and ulting them into your team work without you ending up dead anymore. Time to find a new use. You can use this on WW when he ults a group member, and it stops the dmg and the stun. You can effectively separate enemies from their tank by pushing a tank out of the lane and into the woods with this, which usually ends with you taking a fair bit of damage, but nets the team kills. You can also hit MULTIPLE people with the push effect if they group up too closely. Keep that in mind against meleers. IT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE. My favorite use of my ult though, is to steal baron kills. Nothing will make you hated more. The worst part is that if you plan properly, you can get baron AND get away safely. Rocket Jump can take you over the back wall if you walk in, or it can get you in and you can ult baron clear. Your choice.
Before leaving base you should buy a longsword and a health pot. Put your first point in Explosive shot and try to take mid. VERY FEW HEROES ARE BETTER THAN TRISTANA IN MID! Ashe has no right to take mid over you, don't let it happen. Ryze is negotiable. Focus on last hitting, and if you can focus on creeps that are near where your opponent is standing so that they take passive dmg from your Explosive Shot. They will quickly learn that they cannot stand next to thier own creeps without taking dmg. You will actually deny them getting last hits on your creeps this way and get a significant gear advantage. Second point in rocket jump, and you're ready for your first kill.
If you are somehow forced to lane with a partner, pick a meleer. They will provide yet another reason for your enemies to stand near the squishy creeps in the back. Also, let your parnter in on when you are getting ready to go for a first kill/support them when they go for a kill. Garen is my favorite laning partner.
To get this first kill, you need to have enough mana to do both skills, have damaged your enemy down to somewhere between 2/3 or 1/2 hp. Next, make sure you have enough hp to survive 1 tower hit. All good? Time to draw them in then. Feign being afraid of getting too close and let them closer to your tower if you're not confident that you can get the kill, as in, you're fighting vlad and are pretty sure he's gunna escape. If you're confident, Rocket Jump close to them, if not on them. If you can't land on, then they need to already be below half. While you're in mid-air, you should have readied your exhaust, which you casted upon landing, follwed up immediately by Explosive Shot and Ignite. If you do this right, and it WILL take you a few tries to get the timing right, then in less than a second they will have taken over 125 dmg from a single auto-attack and your jump/ignite and be bleeding for 25-35 points of dmg every .5 seconds for 3 seconds. That is more than most heroes have hp. Vlad would not yet have had time to react and cast Sanguine Pool. Follow them as needed doing regular attacks and ignoring creeps. If you get close to the tower, only chase if you can Rocket Jump away taking a MAXIMUM of 1 shot. 2 shots from a tower WILL kill you at level 2. Odds are, if you do this to Vlad, he dies in puddle form since he gave up 20% of his hp and will only heal at 25% of the normal rate since he has both bleeds on him. If you don't get the kill before they make it to their tower, give it a few more seconds, because Explosive Shot takes a while to finish it's bleed. Odds are, you will be rewarded with a first blood, or at least a kill.
Rinse and repeat as needed until you have 850 gold. If you can, go back and buy your razors and boots. Come back to lane and focus on last hitting creeps for a while, getting more kills if the opportunity arises. You can basically leave whenever you want, but I advise you to stay until lvl 8 or 2300 gold. If you return with 2300 gold, buy a vamp scepter and a BF sword. Now you're godlike since getting low on hp just translates into kill creep waves to restore hp, which is also how you make money. Vamp Scepter give you hp back for all dmg done. This includes when minions take dmg from Explosive Shot's passive. Last hitting is now how you heal yourself and make money. What could be better? Here's to you miss Multi-tasking, Cannon-wielding goddess of death!
Side note: If you were forced to partner up, let them know before you jump what your plan is. This can lead to a partner who will suck enemies in and scare one off while you take the other, or lead to the both of you focusing down enemies one at a time. With a partner like Viegar, this can be an amazing combo as he will stun them after you set on the bleeds.
I consider mid-game to be lvl's 8-13. Hopefully you've already gotten your boots of swiftness. I prefer boots of swiftness because, honestly, 25% attack speed is not that significant of an increase, and merc treads won't be useful unless you're running away. Why not get boots that will ALWAYS be helping you. Swiftness will get you where you need to be in enough time to be helpful regardless of distance. It will help you get out of an ambush if you see an enemy walk past through the woods, or feel like you've been in a lane too long. In mid game, push down the tower in your lane and then disappear from your enemies maps. You want to help the top and bottom lanes as much as you can. Meaning, try to kill their opponents and/or mow down the creeps. At this point you are saving for your first Phantom Dancer so that you can proc your insta-creep-kill skill more often. Enemy players will run from you because you've started to outrange the turrets, you do 75-125 dmg per hit, you attack fairly quickly, bust most importantly, because you make them bleed. As you lvl, hide in bushes more when creep kiling, because if you do, you don't show up on their map while killing. Feel free to wait until an enemy walks by and ult them to the front of the pack so allies can eat them. Don't get too reckless or drunk off your power, or you may find yourself walking into a 4v1 and taking a dirt nap.
At this point, you should be thinking about who you're fighting against and who is on your team. You, like everyone else, want someone with a stun as your best friend. Follow them, eat enemies, rinse & repeat.
Be aware of who has what items. If you have to, recall back and take a moment to look. For a good player, you should change what your item build path is right now. If you are getting pushed back to your base as a team, you may need phage for the slow, and starks for the aura. If the other team is tank heavy, focus on upgrading your Razors to Bloodrazors and getting that other Phantom Dancers now. The quicker you attack, the more often you take 4% of a tanks health. It's the same reason Bloodrazors is so effective on Warwick. If the enemy is caster heavy, or if they have a single person that is just shutting you down with a stun spell or w/e it might be, Banshee's Viel might be a good replacement for Phage. I suggest letting other people pickup beneficial auras for team fights, but sometimes you just have to be the bigger person and sacrifice your awesome power for the team. On a side note, if you are just downright owning people in early game, don't be afraid to scrap the entire item build after you get your first BF sword. If you are Godlike already, make it worse for them by getting Last Whisper and another BF sword, followed by making 2 Bloodthirsters. You WILL dominate even more then with the +200 dmg 50% lifesteal, which will build up extremely fast during a good game.
Keep playing the way you have all game, bust start doing hit and run tactics in lanes if it's evenly matched. Stay in one lane only long enough for 1-2 creep waves before switching lanes. The last thing you want is the lane to collapse behind you. Also, don't wait for your creeps if you want to hit a lane. By this point in the game, you can walk into a wave without something to take creep hits, or even a triple wave of creeps and wipe them out and still walk away with full hp because of lifesteal.
If there are team battles and your team doesn't mind, backdoor a lane and watch the towers drop and your eneimes freak out when they realize that you're in their base while they are team fighting in the opposite lane or the other side of the river. With Tristana, and at least 4/6 of the final items listed, it should not take more than 6-12 seconds to push down a tower. As soon as your creep wave gets close enough to draw aggro, pop Rapid Fire and focus down the tower. When you drop a tower, pull back. Enemies are inevitibly drawn to that location at all skill levels.
Follow the guidlines listed in the final items section for item choices. In a team battle you have one of two roles: Support Gunner or Divide and Conquer. If you are going to support gunner, you should stand either behind a tank so that they take the hits meant for you (i.e. Ashe's ult or Blitz's Hand) while blasting away their frontline, or stand in bushes/on the other side of walls since you can shoot through/over/whatever the hell it is your cannon does to them with your range.
For Divide and Conquer, you and another team member hide in the bushes and wait for enemies to walk by, stepping out when thier support chars/squishies walk by and step out to obliterate said squishies. Hopefull you have a partner that can initiate (Xin) and you can literally Jump in to slow them. Use your ult to protect your and your partner's ***es, running back into the woods if something goes wrong or to draw enemies into an ambush.
First Commandment of the Tristana bible: Thou shalt always be aware of remaining mana. Doing back-to-back skills is what laning is all about with Tristana.
Second Commandment of the Tristana bible: Thou shalt be wary of bushes. You are Tristana. You have very little health. Get used to it, do not compensate for it by getting hp boost items. Odds are, if you are going down a lane and you have that feeling that things are going remarkably well, you're about to die to the ambush that's already formed in the woods.
Third Commandment of the Tristana bible: Thou shalt have map awareness. If you just killed an enemy halfway through the enemies top lane and only see 3 other enemies, it's time to book it out. If it's late game with you backdooring, and you only see one or two enemies on the map, GTFO! Otherwise, Congradulations! You've been ambushed and will be taking a dirtnap for the next 65....64.....63.....
Fourth Commandment of the Tristana bible: THOU SHALT NOT CHASE! OMG, They only have a sliver of hp left! I gotta get them!! I'll chase you through the woods! You can't escape me mother fuc.... HOLY ****!! RUN!!! Dirtnap, 65.....64......63.... This will be you if you chase alone, or even with another person as they WILL focus on you and your lower hp total. If you did not hit them with one of your bleeds or jump on their heads before they start running, let them go. It's not worth dying for, even if they have a 1k bounty on thier heads. Odds are, this is how they got those kills.
Enemies to watch out for:
Yi is reckless endangerment personified. He will eat you 1v1 anytime after lvl 8 consistantly. His speed and power are typically an overwhealming obstacle. Add with that his ability to use his ult back-to-back in team fights and he can make it lights out for you since you will likely be the first target because of your low HP.
Zilean is oddly one of the harder ones to kill if they are a good player. Odds are that he won't get close enough for you to target, and will get a few timebombs off on minions near you while you are focused on last hitting and trying to close distance with him.
Janna is overly annoying just due to how much range she has. Be alert and aware and she's not that bad.
Tanks will suck if they get even a few hp increasing items. Once they pass 2.5k hp you have to either get bloodrazors or let another teammate take them. If they pass 4k hp, you have to get bloodrazors AND a teammate to help take them.
Anyone with a reliable Stun will doom you as you will likely take massive dmg after they stun you and surround you or stun-lock you. Btw, Annie's Stun is not reliable and can be foreseen.
Heroes you want to lane against:
ASHE! Every chance you get! Ashe's typically will not get it that you gain range as you level and will think they always outrange you since they do to start with. Ashe can't compete with firing speed, relies on crits too much, and tend to be reckless or unaware of your positioning. Stand behind your creeps so that they block her volley and ult, and get in your bleeds when you can. 1v1, slow does nothing to you.
Annie: Actually not that hard to shut down if you are paying attention. Bleed when available and she will have to lane out or die. When she starts casting Tibbers, you can blast him in the face because he is a minion and subject to razors/Lantern passive.
Karthus: This guy is actually a breeze once you gain the awareness necessary to understand 3 things about him. 1) his casting animations, especially for the land mines. 2) he casts landmines where you WILL be because their blast radius is rather small. Running and changing directions constantly will net you kills without taking damage. 3) after he dies, GTFO! Jump away or something. His personal skill is full of undead douchebaggery, as he continues to cast for a few more seconds after death.
Anything squishy: if it's squishy, bleeds will kill it.