Tristana Build Guide by joeishere
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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.
I haven't touched this guide in years, but as I still continue to have success with AP Tristana, I figure it's worthwhile to come revisit. She deserves the update. I have played AP Trist for thousands of games now. In ranked games, I had the opportunity to lane against challengers and pros. She has withstood the test of time, continuing to achieve victory no matter what new OP champ is released, or however the masteries are redone. Now, if you are ready, come explore with me the amazingly fun cheese that is AP Trist.
Welcome to my guide. This is my first one, so I apologize in advance if you find there is anything in you don't like. I'm writing this guide because I get a lot of **** from teammates in champ select when I choose AP Tristana, but more often than not they are apologizing to me by the end of the game. With this guide I hope to enable more people to play AP Tristana well so that I can get some slack during champ select.
Firstly, I must emphasize that AP Tristana is very volatile. Because her ratios are so high, it's easy to get a few easy kills in lane, but most people who play AP Tristana don't know how to follow up once laning phase is over and when the opponents start getting more magic resist. I've had a lot of success with Tristana, originally as an AD crit carry, but after exploring other builds, I've found that AP Tristana can be extremely successful as well in the right hands.
Now that you've seen my credentials, I must forewarn you that this build is very unique and many people will disagree with many aspects of it. But this is something that has been extremely successful for me and I hope you'll give it a try. I'll do my best to explain my reasoning behind the unorthodox runes, masteries, and items.
Why AP Trist?
First of all, AP Tristana is VERY fun to play. Without fail, there's always at least one teammate who laughs when they see a full health Annie die before she has time to react.
Secondly, her damage is INSANE! Sure, lots of people can burst down a squishy Annie, but I have caused many Singed and Mordekaiser players to rage as well as I burst them to death from full health. Her AP ratios are very high, and for good reason: If she doesn't kill her target, you're most likely to die. So in order to keep AP Tristana viable, Riot gave her the ratios she needs to successfully perform her role as an anti-carry.
However, it is imperative that you get items so you can continue to kill champions with your burst. The addition of Deathfire Grasp is what made AP Tristana viable as it alone can secure kills with a well executed kill combo.
Pros / Cons
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Mark of Mana Regeneration
Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
Greater Mark of Magic Penetration Great for increasing damage all throughout the game.
Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power The real threat from AP Trist comes with her 1.5 scaling ultimate. By the time you hit level 6, scaling runes give more AP than flat ones. If you're fortunate enough to have a stupid opponent that has 0 MR runes (it happens.. I don't run MR in mid after all.....) then this little bit of AP will give you just enough killing power for a level 2 first blood.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power Same as above
Greater Quintessence of Ability Power These are great to have early game so you can start harassing your opponent at level 1. These have given me first blood at level two many times as well!
Well.. I run several mastery pages with AP Trist, but I always take at minimum 25 in Offense. Taking every mastery in the right half of the offense tree is 18 points, then you must spend 3 more in Devastating Strikes (penetration), and 1 in Havoc to complete the tree which brings you up to 22 points. I then take Spell Weaving, Blade Weaving, and most importantly, Double-Edged Sword for 25. As an assassin/glass cannon type build, it matters not if you're taking a little extra damage. If you fail to kill your target, your usefulness to the team drops dramatically. Every bit of extra damage is helpful. The remaining 5 points are split into the following:
Brute Force/Martial Mastery (4 points offense) - The bonus AD helps with last hitting. Also, since you have good range, it'll be easier to build stacks for your blade/spell weaving combo. Since you're using your basic attack anyway, it doesn't hurt to have a little extra AD there.
Recovery (2 points defense) - I hate going back to base. In case I get camped or carelessly take too much harass, this mastery is quite nice. 2 points in this mastery equates to 100HP every 4 minutes. Not too shabby. It can make a difference.
Fleet of Foot (1-3 points Utility) - The movespeed helps you kite and plug auto attacks onto your opponent without getting counterattacked. Also helps run away from persistent junglers if they stick to you when your jump is on cooldown. Harassing with autos have never been more important thanks to the new masteries.
Draw a Bead This is Tristana's passive, which increases your autoattack range with every level. Don't underestimate this ability! Once you get to level 9 or so, you can just pop off auto-attacks without being hit back unless you're facing a champion like Caitlyn or Kayle. Once you have your Lich Bane, this becomes a lot more useful in teamfights where you can sit back and throw 600 damage nukes at the enemy from a safe distance.
Rapid Fire You can get a point in this early if you force your opponent back enough to get some good time on their tower. I wouldn't get more than one point in this though, or it will hurt your burst considerably. It comes more into play once you finish Lich Bane.
Rocket Jump This baby is AMAZING. The cooldown refreshes every time you score a kill or assist. If an enemy is sitting under their tower with 300 health, you can Rocket Jump in, fire Buster Shot to kill, and Rocket Jump out safely 300 gold richer. In team fights, you can jump in, score a kill, and use the AoE damage repeatedly to put TONS of damage on the enemy team. You can potentially use it 5 times in one team fight. If you are doing 750 damage each time, you're looking at 3850 AoE damage in a matter of mere seconds. Insane!
You can also use it to jump over walls and escape ganks. What more can you ask for? At level 9 with a DFG and runes, you can use this baby every 10 seconds. Amazing!
Use Rocket Jump on creeps when you want to push your lane or clear minions quickly, but be careful of using it when the enemy team is MIA. A good jungler will come in to gank you when you've used your Rocket Jump, meaning you have no escape for about 12 seconds.
Explosive Shot This is your primary harass tool. You can also use it in combination with Ignite. A lot of times, people will walk away with 600 thinking they're safe, only to drop dead 5 seconds later. Don't underestimate the power of this 1:1 AP Ratio.
Buster Shot Your kill shot. I usually use it regardless of whether it kills or not, because if you don't kill them, you want to be as far away from them as possible so they can't kill you. If you have the right items and you are paying attention to what items they have, you should almost always get the kill with this 1.5 AP ratio.
During lane phase, you can also use this to harass. The range for Buster Shot is slightly longer than the range for Explosive Shot, so just walk up to your enemy and do a E+R+auto-attack to harass them for a good portion of their health. Once it's off cooldown, execute your kill combo to pick up a kill.
The Kill Combo
This build heavily relies on getting lots of kills. Here's how you do it.
At level 1: Explosive Shot+AA
At level 2-5: Rocket Jump+ Ignite+ Explosive Shot+AA - Remember you CAN cast Ignite and Explosive Shot while you are in the air for Rocket Jump.
At level 6+: Rocket Jump+ Ignite+ Explosive Shot+AA. When they are just about the walk out of range (or if they happen to drop below 300hp), use Buster Shot for the finishing blow.
Once you have your Deathfire Grasp, you can incorporate this into your kill combo as well. Cast Deathfire Grasp while you're in the air Rocket Jumping to your opponent. The reason you cast it first is because it does damage equal to a percent of their CURRENT health. You want the active ability to hit your opponent before you land your Rocket Jump for maximum damage.
Once you have your Lich Bane, you're going to start using your Rapid Fire to get an extra proc. It takes practice to get the timing down, but this is how it should generally go:
Nothing survives this combo:
Rocket Jump towards your opponent, casting Deathfire Grasp and Ignite in the air. Attack your opponent once to get your Lich Bane to proc. Attack once more. Use Explosive Shot, then immediately cast Buster Shot, firing an auto-attack behind your ult for a second Lich Bane proc. Chase your opponent with autoattacks, and before your third autoattack hits, use Rapid Fire for a third Lich Bane proc.
No opponent has ever survived when hit by this combo, even when I had exhaust on me. How much damage does it do? Let's run some numbers.
Let's assume you have 500AP (you'll probably have more realistically in an endgame build). Your Deathfire Grasp will do 47.5% of his current health in damage (before resists). Ignite will do 410 in true damage. Rocket Jump deals 650 damage. Your Lich Bane will deal 500 damage. Explosive Shot will deal 730 damage, and Buster Shot will deal 1250. Your second Lich Bane should proc now for an additional 500.
Even without your Deathfire Grasp, you've done over 4000 damage to your enemy in under 4 seconds. Depending on the health of your opponent, the DFG can add anywhere from 1000 to 2000 extra damage. If they somehow manage to survive this combo, you can proc your Lich Bane a third time with Rapid Fire for an extra 500 damage.
These are the numbers for only 500 AP. With Baron buff and Taric or Sona on your team, you can have over 700 AP bringing your burst from 6000 damage to 8400. Not even a 6 Warmog's Armor build can withstand that burst!
Ignite is an imperative spell to your arsenal. In the endgame, in combination with Explosive Shot, you should be doing 1000+ damage over 5 seconds. The enemy will waddle away thinking they survived your burst, only to drop dead seconds later. This can also help secure early game kills. The additional 10AP is helpful, adding a total of 203 damage to your combo at level 6 including the burn damage.
Teleport is my spell of choice. With good map awareness and Rocket Jump, I'm not too keen on taking Flash, but it is a very good choice. But with Teleport you can gank lanes or buy items and get back before you lose too much CS or experience in lane. I try not to go back to buy items unless my Teleport is off cooldown for this reason. Every time you buy an item, your damage increases considerably so I try to go back to buy quite frequently in the early game. Also, in the late game, you can Teleport to a pushed minion wave and knock down towers very quickly with Lich Bane and Rapid Fire.
The only other spells I have ever taken have been Flash and Cleanse. Against a cc heavy team, Cleanse can help you secure your escape after assassinating a target. Flash is probably the best spell out there, but with Rocket Jump, it's not a necessity. Although, every time I have taken Flash, I have never been disappointed. It makes you nearly unkillable. Nobody can chase you if you Rocket Jump away, Buster Shot them away, and Flash through a wall or into a bush.
Barrier or Exhaust is decent if you're up against a champion that can put out tons of damage.
Why I don't take certain items/spells
A lot of people have been asking why I don't take such and such item, so I added this section to briefly talk about why I chose my items. I have tried pretty much every item on AP Trist over several hundred games and have formed opinions for just about any item.
Flash - I used to use this spell a lot more. However, once I got more experience and clearly understood my and my opponents' capabilities, I've used this spell less and less. I have learned who I can safely kill and who I cannot, which is something only experience can provide. You can take this spell if you're not confident, but I'm sure that like me, you will end up using it less once you master AP Tristana. Besides, I can pretty much get a kill every time Teleport is up by appearing next to a lone champion farming a lane. Remember, this build is designed to one-shot ANYBODY. Even if they Flash or Ghost away as you teleport in, you have Rocket Jump to close the gap. You most likely won't land on them, but usually DFG+Explosive shot+Buster shot is enough to kill a champion once you make progress on your core items.
Haunting Guise - While the extra spell pen and health is nice, it is a replaceable item nonetheless. Since you get a Void Staff relatively quickly with this build (around 22 minutes), I don't find a big need for this item.
Rod of Ages - This is an item I used for a long time with AP Trist before deciding it simply was not a good investment. It's true that it gives you sustain, but the build and playstyle that I use focuses on obtaining maximum burst as quickly as possible. Because of the nature of the item, it's mostly only worth it if you can purchase it quickly (under 15-20 minutes). However, doing this means you're setting back your core nuking item considerably. Sure, you can complete your Rod of Ages, but that won't help your burst in early-mid game and you won't get the kills you need to feed your build. With AP Trist, once you stop getting kills, your power considerably weakens because your opponents are getting more and more health/MR with every level. As I said throughout this guide, you have to choose your targets wisely. People who don't choose their targets carefully end up feeding, which is why AP Trist has a bad reputation to begin with. If you look at my ranked stats, you'll find that my KDR is anywhere from 3:1 to 10:1. This would be impossible if every time you bursted a champ, you got killed.
Items and Gameplay - The most important chapter!
The reason I combined these two chapters is because you need to understand Tristana's capabilities, and her role in order to understand why this build is the best way to build her as an AP champion.
In order to ensure you can 1-shot full health champions at all stages of the game, your build should look like this:
Deathfire Grasp --> Rabadon's Deathcap --> Void Staff --> Lich Bane
DFG gives you a fantastic nuke. The Deathcap should give you enough damage to kill most enemies, even if they have a Negatron Cloak. The Void Staff will cut through finished MR items such as Force of Nature or champions who build double Negatron Cloak. Lich Bane gives you another mini-nuke to top off your arsenal. If the enemy team doesn't have too much magic resist, I often skip Lich Bane as it offers minimal survivability. Good alternatives to increase your nuking power and add survivability are Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Will of the Ancients, and Zhonya's Hourglass. If you absolutely need pure survivability, consider Quicksilver Sash or Banshee's Veil.
The reason I don't like Rod of Ages is because your first three core items (DFG, Deathcap, Void Staff) are absolutely imperative. They are non-negotiable if you want to be sure you can burst a full health champ down to nothing. If you get a Rod of Ages after getting your first three core items, it will take too long for the item to reach it's full potential.
As I said before, Deathfire Grasp is imperative to secure kills in early-mid game. Once people start buying health and magic resist, you will need a Rabadon's Deathcap as quickly as possible. If they have a lot more magic resist, I will get a Void Staff after purchasing Needlessly Large Rod, then finish Rabadon's Deathcap afterwards. At this point, you want to expand to killing more than one target. Once you finish Lich Bane, the extra 500 damage every 3 seconds, along with the AoE damage and cooldown reset from Rocket Jump should allow you to 2v1 most enemy champs if you don't get CC to hell. Also, in team fights, you can sit at the back and use Rapid Fire to proc your Lich Bane to put in some small nukes until it is safe to jump in. I like to finish with Will of the Ancients if nobody on your team has it. The spell vamp goes a long ways when your ult hits for 1400 damage. If someone else has it, Zhonya's Hourglass, Banshee's Veil, or Quicksilver Sash can save your skin if you jump in and things don't go right. Let me go into a bit more detail in the application of this build.
No champion can out-harass Tristana in the early lane game. At level 1, most champions poke for around 100 damage. Tristana's level one is double that. You're in a good position to take control of your lane after every poke. As soon as my opponent comes out into lane, I like to open with an Explosive Shot+auto attack combo. You can auto-attack while casting Explosive Shot and Buster Shot With this rune/mastery setup, this poke can do a devastating 190 damage at level 1! If you can get one more auto-attack in there, you've done over 200 damage at about 2:05 into the game.
As much fun as poking is, don't forget to last hit. It takes some practice to get used to the splash damage on Explosive Shot and it may mess up your last hitting until you've gotten some good practice in. Another way to poke is to attack the caster minions until they're low, and once your opponent walks into range, kill it. The splash damage from killing a nearby unit actually does more damage to your opponent than a straight on auto-attack, even at level 1. Whenever your opponent comes up for a last hit, try to land an Explosive Shot+AA combo. When they're low enough, Rocket Jump onto them, casting Ignite in the air, and fire Explosive Shot and an autoattack as they run away. At lvl 3, Ignite does 110 damage, and Explosive Shot does 170 damage, so even if they flash and scamper off with a little bit of health, they'll most likely end up dying off screen. Continue to farm, harass, and deny until you're low on mana. My first recall is usually at 1200-1600 gold. This allows me to finish my Fiendish Codex and a second Doran's Ring or a Needlessly Large Rod.If I'm pretty healthy, I'll stay in lane until 2000+ gold so I can grab boots too. Remember not to recall unless you've pushed a minion wave out so your tower stays healthy. The best when you're getting ready to recall is to Rocket Jump onto enemy minions, Explosive Shot your opponent to make him back away, and clear the creeps with your normal attack. Whenever you recall, see if there are good opportunities to Teleport gank. If not, use it to get back to lane only if there is a large minion wave dying to your turret.
Mid-late lane phase
So you've acquired your most powerful weapon now: your ult, Buster Shot. Tristana has a low mana pool so if you use your combo once, you're going to be out of mana for quite some time. That's why the early Philosopher's Stone is so essential. If your opponent is playing cautiously, this item enables you to use your ult to harass and not worry about mana cost. You may think it's a waste of an ult, but it's 350+ damage on a 50 second cooldown. You can definitely use it to put some damage on so that you can kill your opponent the next time it's off cooldown. You will find that with Tristana, your lane will just push itself, even if you are only last hitting. The reason is the splash damage from Explosive Shot will push your creeps much faster than your opponents. When you're pushed, I like to traverse down the river and gank another lane. This build is designed to get you kills, so make the most of it! If none of the side lanes are pushed and your jungler is in another lane, I'll just Rocket Jump onto the wraith camp and auto attack a few times to finish them off. It's a free 71 gold, and it respawns quickly enough that your jungler won't miss them if they're in another lane. I try not to recall until I can finish Deathfire Grasp which will give you a ton of nuking power. In a good game, you can get your Deathfire Grasp at about 10 minutes. There have only been a few times I've gotten the DFG after 15 minutes. Once you have it, come back to lane and execute The Kill Combo on your opponent to recoup some of the cost of that early item.
So you've gotten a few kills, you've farmed a lot of minions, and hopefully your team has knocked down a few towers. What now? Well, the answer is simply, go out and get kills. Remember, AP Trist doesn't work if you don't kill your opponent. That's why immediately after DFG, you rush Rabadon's Deathcap for maximum burst and then Void Staff for the people who think a Banshee's Veil will render them immune to your Kill Combo. Once you have a Needlessly Large Rod, you should be able to 1-on-1 any squishy champion with complete ease. It's best if you can land your Rocket Jump from over a wall or inside a bush so they don't see you coming. You want to kill them before they know what hit them. This is the most crucial part of the game for AP Tristana. If you can secure kills during this phase of the game, you are set up to carry your team through to the end. In midgame, I like to push the lanes and force them to clear them up. Nobody can resist a nice, big creep wave on their own half of the map. This is when I hide in the jungle near where the minions meet. As soon as someone is in range, jump over a wall and execute your kill combo and Rocket Jump to safety. Make sure to ward nearby in case the enemy team decides to stroll into their jungle and bump into you.
Once the game starts winding down, you shouldn't have any problems with damage, but it's going to be much harder to find single targets to pick off. If you have a minion push, use Teleport to get a quick tower. With as much AP as you've got, you should be doing close to 200 damage per hit on the tower with your attack, and Rapid Fire will help knock it down too. If you have Lich Bane, use your abilities on enemy minions to get as many procs in as possible. If one or two people show up to defend the tower, you can use your kill combo to kill someone and Rocket Jump to safety. During team fights, do NOT jump into the fight unless you're 100% sure you can kill someone and get out safely. Poke with your Lich Bane procs, and try to use your ranged abilities on champions that are under cc. Lich Bane, Explosive Shot, Deathfire Grasp, and Buster Shot should be enough to kill someone who's caught by your team's cc. No need to kamikaze jump for a kill. I've picked up many triple kills and quadra kills this way, and once got a penta kill at a baron fight. The key here is to be aware of the opponents cc and only go in when you know you won't die. The longer you stay alive, the more damage you can put out.
Now, let's say the game is pretty neck and neck. They have a really fed Caitlyn or Master Yi that's just rolling over your team in every fight. In these cases, it might sometimes be better to take them out of the fight at the expense of your own life. If your team has enough damage to kill the enemy team 4v4, it's going to be worth it. Remember your role: You are an anti-carry. You're not a dps caster like Ryze, Cassiopeia, or Vladimir. You're more akin to LeBlanc type of role. If you know that they can't win a fight without their main carry, by all means, kill him. But be careful: There's nothing worse than doing a kamikaze and not killing your target. When you're jumping into a group of enemy champions, you most likely won't have time for your full kill combo. Just think about how you can do the most damage the most quickly. You should go in this order: Rocket Jump towards him, casting Deathfire Grasp in the air. Begin casting Ignite at the same time and Buster Shot to kill. Always remember to send an auto-attack behind your Buster Shot. This will throw in an additional mini-nuke from Lich Bane. In total, this combo should do around 4000 damage, which is enough to kill any hypercarry, even if they have heals on their team. This entire combo should take place in under one full second. It takes practice to get the timing down on the casting, but once you perfect it, you'll be a killing machine.
Thank you for getting through this guide. I hope you will try it at least one time. I plan on adding a few chapters and updating it regularly. Any and all feedback is welcome. AP Tristana is so much fun to play and I hope more people will begin to figure out how to use her effectively in ranked play.
The chapters I plan to add are as follows:
- Champion-specific play
- Team Play
- Laning with an ally
Q: What do you do about targets that have a Banshee's Veil?
A: I'm glad this was brought up. For a long time, I simply avoided champions with a Banshee's Veil and went for someone else. But sometimes, you are the only one on your team capable of killing their fed carry with a BV. Sometimes every single champion on the enemy team will have a Banshee's Veil. I usually try to ask teammates to help pop the veil so I can pull of the kill combo. Gangplank's ultimate is great for this, plus he can get an assist from the other side of the map. If you are unable to get help, you just need to modify your combo a little bit. Rather than casting Deathfire Grasp while you're in the air, wait until you land on top of them. Rocket Jump does the least amount of damage so you should let that pop the veil. Once the veil is popped, quickly cast Deathfire Grasp, Explosive Shot, and Buster Shot in rapid succession. If you've finished your Void Staff, you shouldn't need the damage from Rocket Jump to kill your target.
Q: Why do you take Perseverance over Good Hands ?
A: It is true that 6 seconds off your death timer in the end game can be the difference between a win and a lose for you, but those situations are pretty rare. I personally don't spend a lot of time dead anyway, so I would rather have Perseverance. With your early Philosopher's Stone, you're getting an extra 1.05 mana per 5 and 1.2 health per 5. It's like having two extra rune slots with this mastery. Either one works, but as a personal preference, I like having the little extra regen.
Q: I thought you only need Void Staff if most of the enemy team is stacking magic resist. If they don't, what item should I replace it with?
A: Even if the enemy team is not stacking magic resist, I love having the Void Staff on hand because you never know when they will start getting magic resist. Even if they never do, your abilities will be hitting for almost true damage against anyone who gets no magic resist. If you do wish to replace Void Staff, I would go with any of the other recommended items, but bear in mind that these are much more costly than the Void Staff and it may not be much more beneficial. Haunting Guise is okay for the flat magic penetration, but I always end up selling it for a higher tier item anyway so I usually never get it.
Q: AP Trist is not as strong as AD Trist.
A: I can not and will not deny this. As a long time Trist player, I know this is true. With the same amount of gold, AD Trist can do about 2000-3000 damage per second depending on whether Rapid Fire is off cooldown or not. But making this comparison is like saying Caitlyn does more damage than Kassadin. AP and AD Trist are two completely different champions and should be played totally differently with seperate mindsets. In the back of my mind, I know when I'm playing that if the enemy team's Corki is as fed as I am, but their Annie is doing as poorly as our Vayne, their team is actually in much better shape to win teamfights. In some rare cases when our AD carry is doing extremely poorly, I just buy an Infinity Edge and gradually replace my items with a standard AD Tristana build. I have only had to do this a total of two times, and managed to pull a comeback win in one of them. If the game is looking to be over 50 minutes long and the enemy team has a lot of magic resist, always consider that you have abilities built for an AD carry and that you can switch any time.
Champion Specific Play in Solo Lane
In this section, I'll be giving some tips on how to play against specific champions and their opening purchases. There are few champions that I have had difficulty laning against. Knowing your opponents capabilities is a core part of playing AP Trist. Always be aware before you attempt a kill.
Boots+3 - As long as it's not a long range champion who can kite you, there's nothing to worry about. Each explosive shot will use up one pot. You can potentially have them down to 0 pots before they reach lvl 3. Against champions like Caitlyn, try to stay just out of their harassment range. When they pause or move up to harass/last hit, this is your chance to get your Explosive Shot off. It takes some anticipation on your part, but you shouldn't have much trouble with this.
Cloth+5 - If you open up against a champion with cloth+5 AND natural regen ( Udyr, Warwick, Yorick, etc.) you'll be hard pressed to do any damage. Your best shot is to burst them down once you have your ult. Since this build is mostly used by tankier champs, your burst might not be able to kill them at full health. It helps if he's fighting in your creeps. Ask for a gank if necessary.
Doran's item - Not surprisingly, any champion that opens with a Doran's item is going to be in for a world of trouble. Just poke, whittle, and kill. They won't survive long. Once they start playing conservatively, they'll be begging for a gank as they cannot farm so be aware of your surroundings.
Philosopher's Stone - This is without a doubt, the toughest item for AP Trist to lane against. The main part of your harassment is that when you exchange blows, you heal up in seconds while they lick their wounds. Get off as many Explosive Shot as possible to keep them low. Remember that the healing debuff also applies to health regeneration. Try to use the passive on your Explosive Shot to get additional damage off. If you are able to do that in combination with landing a few of the actives, you should be able to keep them low enough to burst once you have Buster Shot.
Akali - First of all, you can pretty much tell if Akali is decent right off the bat if she has both of her passives at lvl 1. She has no gap closers until lvl 6, so abuse your range. Remember, it's not her abilities that do most of the damage, it's the melee attack that follows Mark of the Assassin. Don't let her trigger the mark and you should stay healthy enough to survive her burst at lvl 6. Like all champs, whittle her down with Explosive Shot. A good Akali can deny you from farming with her shroud, as getting into farm range puts you in melee range of her. To really shut her down, investing in a Sight Ward is not a bad idea at all. It can also secure a kill in case she goes into stealth mid-combo.
Anivia - NEVER dive her while she has her egg. Your jump WILL NOT refresh unless you kill her egg. This is one of the few champions that occasionally give me trouble. But as long as you are able to dodge her Flash Frost, it should be no trouble at all. If you are laning against her at long range, prepare to dodge it laterally. If you are laning at medium-close range, it's often easier to dodge it by moving forward. Most Anivia's won't react in time to hit you at close range if you move directly under it. Also, this puts you in range to harass her with Explosive Shot. Try to kill/harass/deny her early on. She'll be picking up 100% cs after level 6.
Annie - Annie is no real threat until she has Summon: Tibbers. Disintegrate can hurt, but your Explosive Shot does about the same damage. The difference, of course, being you have Regrowth Pendant to heal that up and she doesn't. Also, Disintegrate has a high mana cost that does not get refunded if she harasses you with it. Even if she has her stun up, don't even worry about until she reaches at least level 5. Even if she stuns you with Disintegrate and follows up with a Incinerate+autoattack combo, your Explosive Shot should still outharass her with the help of your health regen. After she reaches lvl 6, use health potions liberally to stay at around 700+ hp. Abuse her when her abilities are on CD.
Ashe is sort of a joke in 1v1 lane nowadays. No less, I have encountered a few good ones. Try to stay behind minions to dodge her Volley. Her strength is in kiting, so don't fall into her trap by being greedy with Explosive Shot. She has incredibly long cooldowns at early levels so try to deny her as much as possible before she can get too spammy withher Volley. Once she has ECA, stay closer to your tower to avoid becoming food for their jungler.
Brand - I haven't had trouble with the burning vengeance in quite some time. Harass him early and often. He shouldn't be able to do big damage to you before lvl 3, and only then if he is able to land his skill shots. If he is greedy and uses his abilities to farm, harass him while his abilities are on cooldown. Try to predict his Pillar of Flame and dodge appropriately. If you are laning at mid-close range, he'll often use it just behind you and try to make you walk backwards into it. To avoid this trap, just walk up and Explosive Shot him. The brief delay while he casts should be enough to close the gap and harass him while dodging his pillar. Be careful about using your kill combo at lvl 6 if you have minions around. His Pyroclasm can potentially hit you three times. The best time to execute your combo is just after he has used Pillar of Flame. A well timed Rocket Jump can get you out of his pillar and do a fair bit of damage at the same time.
Caitlyn - She can be tough to lane against. Stay behind minions to minimize the damage from Piltover Peacemaker. It should be easy to dodge, but it's just safer to stay behind minions. When she pauses to cast it, that's usually your best opportunity to get your harass off. Remember, you CAN NOT Rocket Jump over her Yordle Snap Trap. Once you land, you will be frozen in place for the duration of the snare. When she has her Headshot, try to hang back until she uses it on a minion. DO NOT jump into her unless you are 100% sure you can kill her. She has incredible DPS with her autoattack at low levels and an insanely high natural attack speed. Getting close to her means she can kite you to death before you run away.
Cassiopeia - A good Cass is one of the hardest champions for AP Trist to lane against. Fortunately, they are quite squishy. Even if you are unable to get any harass off, you should be able to kill her once you have Buster Shot. Farm diligently and try to put some damage on her with the passive from Explosive Shot. Also, don't worry about walking through her Noxious Blast at level one to harass her. The damage is pretty negligible with your regrowth pendant. You only really need to start worrying about her damage after she has Twin Fang. Laning against a good Cass is like laning against Karthus, except her abilities hit faster and harder. She moves fast too so hitting her can be a pain. Focus on farming, ask for a gank if you want an early kill. If she has Exhaust, it is imperative that you not get stunned by Petrifying Gaze mid-combo. Turn around once you jump onto her and try to force her to use it on your back, then finish her with Buster Shot.
Cho'Gath - Pretty beefy champ, you'll most likely encounter him in top lane. You may not be able to kill him without a gank, especially once he passes level 6. Just farm hard against him until you get your DFG. Once you have your DFG, whittle him down with your harass and kill him once he's in range. Beware of getting silenced when u jump in. I like to walk to the side a bit to dodge his silence. Once he misses, unleash your abilities if he's low enough for a kill.
Corki - He used to be a pretty tough opponent, but he's been nerfed like crazy. When you jump in, he'll probably use Valkyrie to get away from you. If you cast your Explosive Shot and Buster Shot while he's moving away, it'll still hit him if he's within casting range. Once he has his ult, watch out for the Big Ones and stay well behind minions until he blows it. If he dashes in with Gatling Gun, use your Rocket Jump to get away.
Dr. Mundo - You may encounter him in top lane. Pretty easy lane. He needs to melee attack you to do any significant damage. With your health regen, a cleaver or two won't be anything worrisome. Use your range to harass and deny, and kill him once you have your ultimate. If you fail the first time, remember your ultimate is on about a 20 second shorter cooldown than his Masochism. Rather than going back, Mundos usually try to stall and use their ultimate to stay in lane. If you catch him while it's off cooldown, it's an easy kill. Also, he has no cc besides the slow from his cleaver.
Ezreal - If he's building AP, you want to make sure to keep your distance. Essence Flux still does a ton of damage whether you're hiding behind creeps or not. His poke combo uses a lot of mana, so abuse him when he's low. Also, if you run from his poke, he'll end up having won the battle. If he Arcane Shifts into and unleashes his abilities, Rocket Jump on top of him and use your Explosive Shot to deal damage right back to him. He'll definitely think twice about poking you again.
If he's AD, you should be safe as long as you're behind creeps. Mystic Shot is his main damage and it, unlike Essence Flux, does not go through minions.
If you have to retreat from him after a battle and you're low on health, make sure to change directions when you're out of sight as to not get sniped by his ultimate. Always be aware that he can cast his ultimate in a 1v1 fight against you. Try to use your kill combo when he has just used Arcane Shift so he can't use it to get away from you.
Fiddlesticks - When he tries to Drain you, just Explosive Shot him. It takes up twice as much mana as your ability so he'll start to run dry after a while. If you're taking a lot of damage from Drain, just jump away. It's better to stay healthy and wait until you're sure you can kill him. Besides, you're not just saving yourself from damage- you're preventing him from healing if you get away. Never chase him into a bush as he'll just channel his ult and fear/drain you in it. You want to be quick with your kill combo- if you auto attack between targets, he'll just fear or silence you and get away. This is one of the occasions you want to jump in and kill him in under a second.
Fizz - He's still relatively new, but I have had a few games laning against him. I will tell you, it is so FRUSTRATING when he uses Playful/Trickster to negate the killing blow. Buster Shot has about a .3 second casting animation, and if he uses it at the right time, your ultimate will fire and be absorbed. When I jump in for the kill, I wait for him to jump on his stick before casting the killing blow. He has long cooldowns so another option is to intiate your combo if he ever uses Playful/Trickster offensively or to clean creeps. In the early game, Fizz's Seastone Trident has better DoT than Explosive Shot, but eventually you'll be doing more damage when you have some AP. If he charges in with Urchin Strike, just use Explosive Shot. If he jumps on his trident immediately after Urchin Strike, just wait a half second before casting it to ensure the DoT lands on him.
Remember, Playful/Trickster makes him UNTARGETABLE, not INVULNERABLE. Any AoE spells, such as Rocket Jump will still do full damage.
Galio - He starts building magic resist pretty early, so it can be a pretty bum lane. Also, Bulwark negates a lot of damage from Explosive Shot since it heals him for every tick of damage he takes. Dodge his skill shots and use your ultimate to keep his health low once you have it. If anyone on the enemy team is MIA and he starts being aggressive, just run away. A flash+ Idol of Durand is pretty much death if you get caught 2v1. He uses up a ton of mana and you should be able to dodge/heal his harass with your health regen. If you have boots before him, use Explosive Shot as soon as he uses Resolute Smite. The damage from Righteous Gust is pretty negligible so it's definitely worth it to eat one of those to get your DoT on him. Also, the more you force him to use Bulwark, the less mana he will have to harass/counterattack you. If he is playing defensively, just farm up until you have your Deathfire Grasp before you try to kill him.
Gangplank - Your Explosive Shot does about as much damage as his Parrrley when it crits. He'll have low crit chance early game so harass him early and often. Before you go in to kill him, account for the health he will regain by using Remove Scurvy. Do not stand in his ultimate if you're below 350 health. The damage from Cannon Barrage and one shot from Parrrley is pretty much death. If he isn't poking you at all, play more aggressively to keep his health down and deny him farm. A Gangplank who is a master of farming is a nightmare in late game. If you absolutely cannot stop him from farming, insist heavily on a gank. You shouldn't have much trouble 1v1 against him, but he is one of the best team fighters in the game when fed.
Garen - Try to poke him with the range from Draw a Bead when he starts to regain health from Perseverance. Keep track of how much bonus magic resist he has from Courage before you try to kill him. The standard Garen combo goes like this: Run up with Decisive Strike, Judgment while you're silenced, and Demacian Justice if you're low enough. If you fall low to this combo, use your Buster Shot as soon as your silence is off so he can't use his ultimate on you. If he is denying you with superior bush position, just keep a ward in the bush so you can poke him with Explosive Shot. Not too difficult overall. Just watch out for a gank.
Gragas - One of the more annoying champs because of his ridiculous health regen. You probably won't kill him before level 6. Don't underestimate his burst damage. If he manages to land all three of his offensive abilities on you, you're looking at about 600 damage. More if he has Ignite. Like Tristana, his ultimate has a very short cooldown. Despite having a lot of health, AP Gragas is quite squishy and should fall very very easily once you have your Deathfire Grasp. Focus on farming until you have DFG because his harass+regen is probably the only champ that can rival a Phil Stone AP Trist.
Graves - His passive is pretty annoying since your Explosive Shot gives him 6 stacks. But you should still be able to harass him pretty easily. If he uses Smoke Screen and starts to attack you, cast Explosive Shot and jump away. Use Buster Shot liberally to keep his health low. You can force him back and farm freely, or kill him if he doesn't go back. If you are right next to him, he'll have a tough time hitting you with Collateral Damage, especially if you are moving in between attacks (which you always should be anyway!).
Heimerdinger - Yes, his turrets do a lot of damage. Going in for the kill usually means placing yourself in between two of his turrets. Your attacks outrange his turrets so try to get them to low health so that you can destroy the turrets with your splash damage when you jump in. Remember, his turrets die as soon as Heimer dies. If you fail to kill him when you jump in, the turrets will most certainly kill you. Remember that they regain full health when he casts his ultimate. Also, if you get stunned by his grenade when you jump in, there is a fair chance that you will die. If that ever happens, unleash your combo anyway and hope that he dies so that his turrets don't finish you off. The safest time to kill him is after he has just used his grenade. If I have a good chunk of health, sometimes I'll let his grenade hit me. If he stuns you, he'll most likely walk up and use his missiles to hit you. Having done this, all his abilities will be on cooldown long enough for you to jump in and kill him. If he misses his grenade, use your Rocket Jump and Explosive Shot to harass. Remember every turret you destroy means less mana for him.
Irelia - Her regen is a little annoying, but you should have no trouble whittling her down. Stand close to your low health minions because she will almost certainly use Bladesurge to farm that creep. Once she goes in, use your Explosive Shot and auto attack her. You can't use Buster Shot to get her health low because she will use her own ultimate to effectively heal all the damage it deals. Your best shot is to deny her farm and kill her once you complete your DFG. If she uses her ultimate to heal, try to get an Explosive Shot on her to minimize healing. Don't try to kill her if you're at half health or lower. If she gets her stun off when you're below 500 health, you have a pretty good chance of dying.
Jarvan IV - Nothing to unmanageable here. If he uses Demacian Standard, don't stand near it. If he ults you in a gank, simply Rocket Jump away. He has no way of regaining health so harass him liberally with all your abilities and kill him once he's low enough. Like most top lane champs, he may try to deny you by sitting in the bushes and coming out with his knock-up+autoattack combo (which hurts a lot!). Just get a ward to negate this and harass him in the bush.
Jax - He has a TON of poke ability. But fortunately for you, it's melee. If he ever jumps on you, use your Explosive Shot on him. If you're confident you can hit him, Rocket Jump onto him as he walks away and and then cast Explosive Shot. He'll definitely think twice about harassing you. He falls ridiculously fast to burst champs like AP Trist. This should be a walk in the park once you reach lvl 6. Avoid auto-attacking him at close range as he can stun you.
Karma - She can heal, she has a big shield that negates a lot of damage from Explosive Shot. She's quite tough to kill, but remember that she's very mana intensive. Once you have your Philosopher's Stone, harass very liberally. She can only heal when she has Mantra which comes up only every 30 seconds in the early game. If she uses Spirit Bond, then you can be sure a gank is underway so Rocket Jump away immediately. If you have your ultimate when she Spirit Bonds you, save it for the ganking champion. If it's Nocturne, make sure his spell shield is off before you use your ultimate.
Karthus - He's really very easy to lane against. Remind your teammates to stay healthy once he reaches level 6 because he can still get fed if you're doing very well against him. Ridiculously squishy. If he uses Wall of Pain, there's a high chance that he's going for a gank or kill. You can either use Rocket Jump to get distance and run away, or if he's low enough, to go in and kill him before his ganker can come and help him. Never fight on his body after you kill him. He can cast Lay Waste on your six more times after dying. That's a lot of damage!
Kassadin - If you cast Explosive Shot at the same time he uses Null Sphere, you will still hit him despite his long range since he casts it so slowly. If he has a Force Pulse charged up, be careful when you jump in. He excels in killing casters while they're silenced. He's pretty squishy so you can harass him liberally. He's pretty rubbish at farming so it should be easy to deny him. He's quite easy to kill before lvl 6. Just watch your mana before you go in for the kill.
Katarina - She's sort of a joke to lane against as AP Trist, but she will still be able to kill you if you get careless. Remember that Bouncing Blades targets are determined at casting, so you can't dodge it even if you Flash or Rocket Jump away. With your health regen, it shouldn't be doing any severe harass to you. Keep an eye on her summoner spells. Even if she's at 1/4 health, she might still try to Shunpo+ Death Lotus you with Exhaust or Ignite. Once you hear the sound of her Death Lotus, immediately use your Buster Shot on her. It'll stop the attack completely. Following the ultimate, Rocket Jump+ Explosive Shot on her. Even if it doesn't kill her, all her abilities will be on cooldown after she initiates so you can harass her without being attacked. Try not to use your combo until she wastes Shunpo as oftentimes you might end up jumping to each other, the difference being she dealt damage and you didn't.