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Tristana Build Guide by Hoodstomp

AD Carry Watch Your Enemies Go Ka-Boom!

AD Carry Watch Your Enemies Go Ka-Boom!

Updated on January 3, 2014
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Hoodstomp Build Guide By Hoodstomp 13 2 254,989 Views 24 Comments
13 2 254,989 Views 24 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Hoodstomp Tristana Build Guide By Hoodstomp Updated on January 3, 2014
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table of contents

1. introduction
some information about the author and Tristana
2. pros and cons
what does Tristana excel at? what does she struggle with?
3. masteries
what masteries are ideal on Tristana?

4. runes
what runes are ideal for Tristana?
5. summoners
what summoner spells are best?
6. abilities
what do Tristana's abilities do and what's optimal?

7. items
what should you be building on Vayne?
8. matchups
how does Tristana fare other AD Carries?
9. supports
how does Tristana lane with this support?

10. laning phase
what does Tristana do in laning phase?
11. team fights
how does Tristana come into power during team fights?

For the last guide of September, I'm Hoodstomp. The named position of marksman/AD Carry is the role I enjoy playing. Because I enjoy playing as a marksman/AD Carry very much, I've thus gained a lot of knowledge about the role of a marksman/AD Carry. My main account currently sits in Diamond 1, while I have a few smurfs, all in diamond elo and/or close to diamond 1.

Tristana is another one of the old champions. She is underestimated by many, but she can be a scary yordle come late-game! Be sure to follow me on Twitter if you want to know whenever I have a new guide out or on the rare occasion that I might be streaming!


+ Good poke in lane with Explosive Shot.
+ Can escape with Rocket Jump.
+ Can knock back enemies with Buster Shot.
+ Great late-game scaling because of Draw a Bead and Rapid Fire.

Tristana is a great champion, both late-game and early-game. Her laning phase is quite strong, mostly because of her Explosive Shot. Explosive Shot deals good damage over time, and it also reduce the healing of her enemies. Rocket Jump is both an escape and a reset ability. If you're in a sticky situation as Tristana, you can Rocket Jump out. However, if you're winning a fight and you need to gap close, Rocket Jump will reset on kill or assist. Tristana also has a self-peel ability with her ultimate, Buster Shot. Early game, it's used as something to secure a kill. Late game, it's more useful to get that pesky bruiser off of you. Lastly, Tristana has great late-game scaling because of her passive, Draw a Bead, and Rapid Fire.


- Short range during laning and slumps mid-game.
- Innately pushes the lane with Explosive Shot.
- Rocket Jump takes 5 years to cast and is interruptible.
- Buster Shot can easily save your enemies.

Tristana, while strong in laning, still does have a few disadvantages. Because Draw a Bead scales by level, her early game range is pretty short. Tristana also has a mid-game slump unless you're very fed. You'll need your Infinity Edge and Rapid Fire to be at a reasonable level to start dealing a lot of damage. The passive of her Explosive Shot will push the lane by itself, making it hard to freeze the lane. Rocket Jump also has an insanely long cast time, so it's easily interrupted by many things, like a Flay by Thresh. Her ultimate, Buster Shot, can also save your the life of a fleeing enemy if you misjudge how much damage you do.

// Fury increases your attack speed by just a bit, while Butcher helps you last hit minions, which is helpful early on.
>> Deadliness gives you a little boost in AD, which can be useful.
// Havoc and Weapon Expertise both increase your damage, which is most noticed early on. The armor penetration from Weapon Expertise is more useful than Havoc .
>> Lethality hands you some increased critical hit damage. Brute Force is more of a point filler, rather than being incredibly useful.
// Frenzy goes well with Lethality because of the extra attack speed after a critical hit. Sunder gives you a bit of armor penetration.
>> Executioner helps you deal more damage to low-health opponents, which is nice, especially if you're chasing them down.

// Summoner's Resolve benefits your defensive summoner spell. It could be Barrier or Cleanse. You can never know if that extra tiny bit of cooldown reduction will save your life or not, so it's always better to be safe rather than sorry.

>> Summoner's Insight reduces the cooldown on your Flash, which is vitally important. Meditation helps your mana regeneration, mostly in lane. Explosive Shot spam can run you out of mana quickly.
// Mastermind is another helpful mastery to have your summoner spells on the lowest cooldown possible. Every bit helps!


>>AD marks are very standard to run on AD Carries. These AD marks help you do lots of things, such as: last hit, trade more effectively, push the lane faster, and destroy towers faster. Destroying towers faster is a lot more important in a 2v1 than it is in a standard laning though.


>>Armor seals are the most recommended on any AD Carry, as always. You take reduced damage from enemy minions, and also auto-attacks from the opponents. It's practically never a bad idea to run armor seals, with the exception of if you're playing AP mid.


>>For glyphs, I prefer to run 6 magic resist glyphs and 3 mana regeneration glyphs. This helps to defend against supports like Lulu and Sona while the mana regeneration helps you reduce the hefty cost of Explosive Shot spam. It will help immensely during laning, even if you don't seem to notice it.


>>I prefer to run two lifesteal quints and one AD quint. It's really up to preference. I'm just used to having some extra lifesteal, but also bringing a little bit of AD to help me last hit and trade better. The most common rune set ups are two lifesteal and one AD, or just all three lifesteal quints.


>> Flash is the summoner spell you should always take on any champion. It's really never a bad option. Flash provides you an escape in case Rocket Jump doesn't cut it, or if it's on cooldown. You can Flash over a wall to get away, or do some bush jukes with Flash. There are many ways you can use Flash. Remember that because Flash is a re-positioning tool most of the time, it's wise to not waste it. If you're 100% dead, don't use it!


>> Barrier is the other summoner spell that AD Carries will most often run. It's a great summoner spell to run because it's another defensive spell. Barrier provides you with a nice shield for 2 seconds. You certainly should not underestimate the power of Barrier. You can activate Barrier if you know you're going to take a lot of burst in one second. You can also Barrier bait your enemies by tricking them into thinking they'll win, but really you still have barrier!


>> Ignite is another option that you can see some people run on Tristana. It just adds the amount of burst you have, and Explosive Shot plus Ignite is actually a lot of damage over time. If your enemy doesn't have a self-heal and only pops a Health Potion, they certainly won't survive because of the reduced healing from Explosive Shot or Ignite. You can consider running this if you're looking to snowball early and your team can protect you.


>> Cleanse is another option. If you see that the enemy team has a lot of CC, you can pick up Cleanse. However, you're Tristana! Draw a Bead gives you a lot of range, so you should usually be pretty safe from harm in the back. Cleanse shouldn't be too likely of an option. Barrier is often a better option.

> > >

Draw A Bead (Passive)

\\ Draw a Bead is a great passive to have on an AD Carry. It gives you 9 more range each level, and at level 18, you'll have a massive range of 703. Tristana outranges every AD Carry, except Kog'Maw with Bio-Arcane Barrage and mirroring the range of the new champion, Jinx, with her Switcheroo! Range is the best stat for any AD Carry in my opinion. You'll be out of harm's way most of the time.

Rapid Fire (Q)

\\ Rapid Fire is really what makes Tristana shine come late-game. It gives you at 90% attack speed steroid at level 5, which is incredibly strong paired with your Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer. The increased attack speed lets you reach max attack speed fairly easily, so you'll be able to deal tons of damage. Rapid Fire is part of the reason why Tristana can carry so hard.

Rocket Jump (W)

\\ Rocket Jump is the escape that keeps Tristana safe most of the time. It resets on kill or assist, so that's handy in a team fight if you find yourself to be caught, or if you're dominating and killing everyone. The unfortunate downside to Rocket Jump is how long the cast time for it is. It's interruptible by a lot of things, such as Thresh's Flay, which also sucks.

Explosive Shot (E)

\\ Explosive Shot is, overall, a good ability to have. It does damage over time and it also cuts the enemy's healing in half. It does a lot of damage at level one, which makes it great for trading. Your passive, Draw a Bead, also scales with the range of your Explosive Shot, so you'll be able to match the range of your auto-attack a little bit better. Unfortunately, Explosive Shot innately pushes the lane, so you'll have a hard time freezing. Late-game farming will be a breeze though.

Buster Shot (R)

\\ Buster Shot is a nice ultimate to have. It can be used as a finishing move or as a self-peel ability. Don't underestimate the damage it does early game. It can help you secure a lot of kills, or eliminate the chances of you getting it. Use it with caution! Early game, the main use of Buster Shot is to get kills. Late game, Buster Shot is just to peel bruisers off of you.

The first thing you want to buy on Tristana or any AD Carry, really, is a Doran's Blade. It gives you nice, rounded off stats on all the aspects you'll need to do well in laning. 100 HP isn't to be underestimated because it can really save your life. The passive is incredibly useful though. If you combine that with your lifesteal quints, you can easily sustain up in lane after a bad trade, or if you're taking a lot of poke.

  • On your first back, you'll want to aim for a B. F. Sword. It'll build towards your Infinity Edge, and you'll be out-trading your laning opponent if you're already dominating the lane.
  • If you have to go back early, buy a Vampiric Scepter. It'll add to the sustain you have, helping you stay long enough for a B. F. Sword.
  • You can also get a Pickaxe, and that will build into an Infinity Edge too.
  • Lastly, you can also get another Doran's Blade if you have to go back really early.

An Infinity Edge will really get the ball rolling for you. Rapid Fire is what makes an Infinity Edge so good on her. Tristana gets a steroid that grants her up to 90% attack speed at level 5. What AD Carry would pass up that steroid? If you manage any critical hits on your foes, they'll be hurting. You can easily hit them three or so times before they leave your range because of Draw a Bead. Combine this with a Phantom Dancer and you'll be good to go.

A Phantom Dancer will be your ticket to late-game. If you have your Phantom Dancer and Infinity Edge, then you will be a huge threat to the enemy team. Phantom Dancer gives you the attack speed to reach the near-2.5 attack speed bonus once you have Rapid Fire. This means that most of the time, you should be out-damaging the enemy carry. A Phantom Dancer goes very well with that Infinity Edge because of the increased critical hit damage and critical strike chance.

There really isn't any other choice for boots for AD Carries. Berserker's Greaves gives you attack speed, and that's the only useful boot type that you can get. The others may seem to be good situational boots, but you can get near 2.5 attack speed if you have a Phantom Dancer, level 5 Rapid Fire, and Berserker's Greaves.

Bloodthirster is a staple offensive choice for any AD Carry. Once you get your core items, if you're snowballing well or not getting focused, you can feel free to get more damage and lifesteal. With your Rapid Fire, previous items, and now Bloodthirster, you really will be a force to be reckoned with.

A Blade of the Ruined King isn't as needed on Tristana because of Draw a Bead and the range it gives you. If you are somehow having trouble kiting, a Blade of the Ruined King can be bought, but you're better off with a defensive item.

A Last Whisper eventually is a must have, no matter what. It gives you 40% armor penetration, so if your enemies are building/stacking a lot of armor, be sure to pick this up as soon as possible. It'll increase your damage by a lot, and you'll be able to tell. 40% is nothing to laugh at.

A Banshee's Veil is the first of three defensive choices. It's great if you're going against a double AP composition. Banshee's Veil will block an incoming spell, and once you take damage, it will grant you some health regeneration for a few seconds.

A Guardian Angel is going to be the most popular item you'll see others buying. It gives you a second life, and who wouldn't want that? It's great if you know your team will protect you when you respawn or after you revive. It's also good if you know your team can take advantage of the time it takes for you to revive.

Lastly, a Mercurial Scimitar can be a replacement for the summoner spell of Cleanse. The active of Mercurial Scimitar is Cleanse. The stats give you a nice amount of AD to go with that Cleanse active. Be sure to pick it up if you find yourself somehow getting hit by a lot of CC.

Enchantment: Distortions are the best kind of enchantments that an AD Carry could want. It reduces the cooldown on your Flash, which is certainly a very important cooldown. It can make or break a teamfight! Enchantment: Distortion is less situational than the others because of how self-explanatory it is.

Enchantment: Furor is another option you can opt for if you're shopping for enchantments. It's helpful if you're having a hard time kiting the enemy bruisers. That's probably unlikely though because of Tristana's range and kit. You have 703 range at your disposal, a self-peeling knockback, and a jump to get out of the way. Enchantment: Distortion will usually be more handy.

Enchantment: Homeguard are rarely bought by AD Carries. You should only get Enchantment: Homeguard if your team is losing hard and your base is getting pushed heavily. These provide no actual stats during a trade or during a fight, so they're not as useful.

AD Carries
Difficulty Scale: 5/5

Ashe Difficulty: 2/5

This is an easy lane for Tristana to deal with. You out trade Ashe very early, and you outscale her. It's pratically a free lane for you. When she walks up to CS, or even to harass, just Explosive Shot her and auto-attack for a trade. She will lose the trade 100%. If she tries to fight and loses a lot of HP, don't be afraid to jump on her head with Rocket Jump. The only thing you have to worry about is when she is 6 and uses her Enchanted Crystal Arrow to organize a gank on you

Caitlyn Difficulty: 4/5

Caitlyn is a difficult matchup for every champion. As Tristana you can trade with her early though--just don't take many free autos. Shoot an Explosive Shot at her and back up. You want to try and keep the lane even so don't let her push you in! The passive from Explosive Shot helps you push the lane. It's very hard to last hit under turret as Tristana, so you want to avoid this at all costs. If Caitlyn ever steps out of her boundaries and loses some HP, don't be afraid to Rocket Jump on her. She has massive poke but is very vulnerable to all ins.

Corki Difficulty: 4/5

Corki is another hard lane for Tristana. Corki's direct trades are better than yours, even in the early phases when Explosive Shot is OP. You get more range than him though as the lane progresses, so try to just farm safely. You definitely outscale him. As long as you are getting a lot of farm, you are doing fine. His Missile Barrage poke can wear you down easily as well. Remember you can interrupt his Valkyrie with your Buster Shot in a clutch situation!

Ezreal Difficulty: 2/5

Ezreal is one of the best lane matchups for Tristana. Ezreal has a lot of problems when it comes to trading with you. You absolutely destroy him early levels with Explosive Shot plus auto-attacks. He has no answer for it if you just stand behind creeps to avoid his Mystic Shot. You'll want to be spamming your Explosive Shot on Ezreal as much as possible to keep him at a low amount of HP. Be careful when he's 6. He gains a massive amount of burst from Trueshot Barrage and if everything lands he can still one-shot you.

Graves Difficulty: 3/5

Graves is an okay match-up for Trist. Graves is considered a lane bully. He will try to push you into tower. You have the counter to this with Explosive Shot. Try to keep the lane even by last hitting, and using Explosive Shot on Graves whenever he walks up to CS or trade with Buckshot. You outscale Graves greatly so if you are winning in farm you are destroying him. Be careful at 6. He gains a huge power spike and his all in greatly surpasses yours with Collateral Damage.

Miss Fortune Difficulty: 4/5

Miss Fortune is pretty difficult to lane against as Tristana. She has extremely strong trades and high mobility with Strut. Your best bet is to try and farm. Just tag her with an Explosive Shot whenever she gets too close. Remember once you are 6, you can interrupt her Bullet Time with your Buster Shot and cut down a lot of her damage.

Twitch Difficulty: 3/5

Twitch gives Tristana an even lane matchup for the most part. You definitely have the advantage in the very early levels. Twitch doesn't have much of an answer for your Explosive Shot and auto-attack trades. You have to be careful as the lane progresses though. Once he is around level 4 or 5, he can easily out trade you if he gets 4 or more stacks of Deadly Venom up and lands expunge.

Varus Difficulty: 3/5

Tristana does surprisingly well against Varus. You can abuse him early on with Explosive Shot because Varus doesn't do much until level 3 or higher. If you can take an advantage in the early game, you can usually set the pace for the lane. Be careful of getting combo'd when he has all of his skills. A good Varus can do an impressive amount of damage by using Blighted Quiver stacks correctly.

Vayne Difficulty: 2/5

Vayne is very easy to abuse as Tristana. Vayne is so weak in the early stages. She can't do much to take control of the lane. You want to take advantage of this by beating down on her. Tristana can zone her out, spam Explosive Shot, and if she gets too close, you can even Rocket Jump on her. You can gain control of this lane the entire time for the most part. You don't have to be that afraid once she hits level 6. If you keep your distance and don't get Condemned into a wall, you should be able to win a duel if you play it correctly.

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  • Tristana has a decent time in the laning phase. She does well very early level, then starts to fall back down before turning into a late-game monster.
  • You want to abuse the levels 1-3 on Tristana in laning phase. Explosive Shot does a huge amount of damage at those levels, and it's very easy to harass them with it. Walking up and Explosive Shotting plus an auto-attacking is usually how your trades should go. Do this every time your Explosive Shot is up.
  • As Tristana, your goal in lane is to whittle them down with Explosive Shot and push them into the tower. You cannot freeze as Tristana, and CSing under turret with her is a pain, so you generally want to push, push, push!
  • If you've gotten someone low enough after a few trades, do not be afraid to use your Rocket Jump to go in. It does a decent amount of damage, slows them, and puts you directly on top of them. You have to gauge your damage correctly though. You don't want to Rocket Jump to end up in melee range of two champions and die!
  • At level 6, you gain a lot more kill potential. In the laning phase, the main purpose of Buster Shot is to finish someone off. You want to start a trade with someone, Rocket Jump in when you feel like you can kill them, then execute them with Buster Shot. This is actually a huge amount of damage for an ability to do at rank one.
  • Remember that as Tristana, if you're farming well in lane, you're usually be winning the lane. It's always good to pressure/kill enemies, but with how well you scale you don't need to do anything risky! As long as you farm and stay alive you'll be a huge threat later.

When a team fight starts as Tristana, you want to be patient and assess the situation. Don't immediately use your Rapid Fire because you'll want to make sure people are committed first.

Once you are completely positive the fight has broken out, use your Rapid Fire and start to hit the closest person to you. If you see one of their squishies out of position you might be able to hit them because of your gigantic range. If you can safely attack them, be sure to! If it jeopardizes your positioning, don't bother.

You are one of the best AD Carries at dealing with being dove on. If someone like Akali jumps on you, use your Rocket Jump to get away. If she jumps on you again, use your Buster Shot. If she somehow is still alive and gets to you a third time, you always have your Flash/ Barrier to deal with it. Tristana is extremely safe in fights, and this is why I say they are very easy for her. In my opinion, it is always best to use Rocket Jump as an escape, and never to go in or initiate a fight. The only time this is different is when the fight is dying down and you are starting to win. Once people die and you get an advantage, you can start using the resets on your Rocket Jump to get around the fight and be the cleanup crew for your team. This makes Tristana one of the best, if not the best, champion at securing penta-kills.
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