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Tristana Build Guide by TheDarkKnight

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League of Legends Build Guide Author TheDarkKnight

WHAT THE F---BOOM!! AP Tristana Like a Boss

TheDarkKnight Last updated on January 17, 2013
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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


Utility: 0

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As of the Secret Ninja Patch of 10/14/12, AP Tristana has not seen any significant buffs!

Tristana really got some nice buffs in the last patch (10/24/12):

Explosive Shot Cast Range now matches her Attack Range (including per level increases from her passive Draw a Bead)
This is actually really great for AP tristana, it means that explosive shot will be an extremely reliable poke late game with its large range.
Fixed: Rocket Jump now is more reliable when used around terrain
Just a nice QOL type fix.

Buster Shot mana cost reduced to 100 from 140
Less mana cost? More profit!

Season 3! Masteries reset, changes to many items, all of it is not going to be listed here

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Hi guys! This is my first guide on Mobafire, but that really doesn't affect how the guide is. When I first started LoL, I loved AD Tristana. But then I took a look at her AP ratios and I realized I had to try her AP. The guide I've put up is more or less what I still use as AP Tristana (it slightly varies game to game).

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Insane nuking ability once Buster Shot is up.
Incredibly fun to play.
Does not require a great amount of skill, but good timing with the Rocket Jump is necessary.
In my opinion, she is the 3rd best nuker in the game after viegar and leblanc.
Good ganker with her Rocket Jump to catch opponents by surprise.
Always great for instantly taking down that pesky AD carry.

Squishy early, later on slightly tankier.
Long cooldowns.
Other than a well placed Rocket Jump, she doesnt bring too much to a team fight.

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Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Mana

Greater Quintessence of Health
Mark of Magic Penetration: Its just flat out great for any AP carry, just as Armor Penetration Marks fit for any AD carry.

Seal of Mana: Mana Problems are often seen early game although this never lasts mid to late game, so getting 62 extra mana instantly helps a lot with this.

Glyph of Scaling Ability Power: Probably the best Glyph out there for AP carries, as they do give a decent amount of AP/lvl.

Quintessence of Fortutude: Now although most people get flat AP quints, this really, really helps in solving early game squishiness issues, giving 78 health, which is A LOT early game.

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21/0/9 is quite typical for AP carries, I have nothing more to say about it. You need to focus the damage tree more than the utility tree since u are a nuking carry.

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Summoner Spells

This is the best spell in the game and useful for so many situations.
IF Tristana was AD, you may consider using rocket jump as a flash and taking something else, but she isn't, and you need Rocket Jump to help ROFLstomp opponents.
Typical AP carry item, if your nuke for some reason does not kill them, just pop this to do so.
Especially useful due to Tristana's high cooldowns.

Possible Other Spells:

Its good when you engage an enemy to prevent them from escaping and also reduces damage recieved from the opponent. I think that since you basically initiate to kill the enemy in like 2 seconds as Tristana, this isn't really necessary. It can help you get off another spell though!

If your uncomfortable with Tristana, give this a try. It will give you more map mobility and help you recover.

/ :
You won't have mana or health problems as Tristana. If you play her right, you will barely get hit while attempting to kill the enemy. As for clarity, she won't have significant mana problems.

I guess the increased damage is somewhat useful, but this isn't as good as ignite.


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

Great for AD Tristana, not so useful for AP Tristana. Moving on...


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

Once again, much better on AD Tristana than AP Tristana. I do put one point in this as it does make attacking turrets much easier.


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.

This is an amazing skill. It has a great AP ratio and does a ****load of damage. Although its the most damaging non-ult skill of hers, I take it second because you cant really harass with it as much as you can with Explosive Shot. In team fights, use it on enemies who will die soon, not because you want to ks (its easy to though!) but because its cooldown resets on a champion kill or assist.


Passive: Enemies explode when slain by Tristana, 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 / 140 / 170 / 200 / 230 (+100% of ability power) magic damage over 5 seconds.

Her best skill in my opinion. Look at that 100% ap ratio on there! Its also very OP early game, and it does a ****load of damage early with that 110 level 1 damage. Use this well and often to harass your enemies. If they pop a health potion, you may even want to Rocket Jump to get in range of them and use this to reduce their healing.


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

When I first used this skill on an enemy, I was like WTF is this! It is a godly spell! It has insane base damage and an even more insane AP scaling (1.5)! Use this to finish off low health enemies but remember, it knocks enemies back so don't use it unless you know they will die. The spell's 60 second cooldown is actually very short for an ult, especially one this overpowered.

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Ability Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
As you can see here, I choose to upgrade my Explosive Shot first in favor of the Rocket Jump. That 1 point in Rapid Fire is definitely not necessary in this build, I just use it to help out the team in pushing and also to proc Lich Bane.

As far as ability sequences go in terms of using them, it does not really matter with Tristana. Just make sure not to ult until they are killable, never Rocket Jump into a situation u cant win, especially with Flash not up.

When Turret Diving --> --> --> -->

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Item Sequence

Sorcerer's Shoes

Lich Bane

Rabadon's Deathcap

Rylai's Crystal Scepter

Deathfire Grasp

Zhonya's Hourglass
Start with a Doran's Ring, boots just don't cut it for early game damage and survivability.
When you go back to base, buy Boots or if u can, Sorcerer's Shoes, and if you are getting harassed, a few health potions as well.

By the time you go back to base a second time, you should be able to afford a Sheen and maybe a Blasting Wand too! Then get a lich bane. Why lich bane so early? Lich bane has everything you need, from a solid amount of ap and magic resist, to even movement speed somewhat needed on Tristana, who moves extremely slowly.

Once you've upgraded to your Lich Bane, purchase either another Blasting Wand or a Needlessly Large Rod, to upgrade to your Rabadon's Deathcap. By this time, you should be dealing a truckload of damage.

Now get either a Rylai's Crystal Scepter or a Deathfire Grasp depending on how your doing in your lane. If your dominating and want to continue doing as such, get Deathfire. But if you are like me and prefer to play cautiously and actually live after killing an enemy, get Rylai's first.

Finish off the build with Zhonya's Hourglass, to provide armor, protection (passive) and more AP!

Situational Items:

If you are fed very early and want to snowball, get this after Doran's or boots and don't wait for Sorcerer's shoes

A very good item to increase burst, and I often substitute this for Zhonya's

If you want to play a more tanky defensive role, go for it, get it first. I would not recommend this at all though for those who want to play the true AP trist.

Too much for too little. That is all.
(If you want to go hybrid, then this is a great item)

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Early Game:

Go mid lane! If a teammate wants it too, either switch champions or tell them to f**k off! Laning AP Tristana isn't very viable.
Harass the enemy with Explosive Shot, and also last hit with this ability. If they come close, also Rocket Jump them to add to the burst. Without your ult, don't go for a kill till they are at approximately 40% health. Once you have your ult, you may go for the kill at approximately 60% health.
DONT BE AFRAID TO TURRET DIVE FOR A KILL!! Rocket Jump, Explosive Shot, Ult, Ignite, Rocket Jump out!
Mix all of this with auto-attacks to proc your lich bane and deal even more damage.

Mid Game:
Not much changes here, but teamfights start happening commonly. You now have your excessively high burst to destroy enemies with. Use it to your advantage to take down enemies who have as much as 75% of their health remaining. Remember, as AP Tristana, taking down the squishy ad and ap carries is vital. Don't go for the low health Singed just to steal a kill from your teammates. Instead attack the trailing teemo who has no idea what's coming.
If you had a bad early game as AP Tristana, things will start to get tough. Usually just stay back and harass enemies in team fights using your Explosive Shot, then when they get low, go for the kill and get the much needed gold you were missing from early game. Also, if this happens, it might be time to start thinking about getting mr or armor instead of building pure AP damage dealer ( Abyssal Mask, Zhonya's Hourglass, etc.).
Late Early/Mid Game is when you should start to look for ganks, especially at bot lane to kill that AD carry and possibly squishy Sona/Soraka support.

Late Game:
Why haven't they surrendered by now? Oh well, just go rapeface and then proceed to say "GG no re!"

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Some champs who may give you some trouble:

Her burst is extremely high and although she requires more skill to play, she can also be mroe rewarding, because she has more CC than you.
Lich Bane will definitely help control her, but if it doesn't, try building an early Abyssal Mask. To beat her, you just have to assert your dominance by (cautiously) attacking her with your Explosive Shot.

Probably has the highest burst in the game with his ult, and is also pretty easy to play. Avoid his stuns and maybe get a Banshee's Veil or something along those lines to dodge his ult. To succeed against him, you should lead him to believe you are initiating, have him blow his stun, then unleash your harass combo on him or go for the kill.

She isn't that difficult to beat. Just make sure not to engage her when she has her stun up. The best time to attack Annie is right after she has used her stun (You can tell because she has a foglike thing circling her body when her stun is up).

Swain is more sustained than the aforementioned champs, and his tankiness may give you problems. To counter this, harass with the E whenever you can, fake him out to make him use his stun (NEVER GET HIT BY IT), and go for the kill when he's low.

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AP Tristana is a really fun champion to use, but as far as ranked play goes, she isn't as good as AD Tristana and does not bring too much to the team other than getting fed and picking off champs here and there.

I started writing this guide at 2 AM and I'm pretty tired, so I'm going to go to sleep now. I hope you all enjoy this guide and that this helps you get interested in this amazingly fun champion!

Thank you for taking the time to read this mediocre-ly written guide!