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Tristana Champion Guide by CNLSanders

Version: 2.08 | Updated: 02/21/13


Author: CNLSanders

Date Created: 1/30/2013


Tristana was my first champion as she was free due to the Facebook promotion. I played her exclusively up to level 15, and she is my go to AD carry now that I have hit level 30. I truly enjoy playing Tristana, and I believe that her kit makes her the perfect AD carry. This guide is written for people that are familiar with the game, but not necessarily Tristana. Feel free to send me a personal message if you feel some of my information is incorrect, or needs additions/ revisions.

Base Stats at level 1 and 18

Attribute Value at 1 (Value at 18)

Health 415 (1891)

Health Regen 5.1 (16.8)

Attack Damage 46.5 (100.5)

Attack Speed 0.658 (.995)

Mana 193 (769)

Mana Regeneration 6.45 (16.55)

Armor 15 (69)

Magic Resistance 12 (42.06)

Range 550 (703)

Movement Speed 325

Nothing that truly stands out besides attack range at level 18. Otherwise Tristana's starting health is very mediocre making her a fairly squishy, average AD carry. In all honesty, her range before level 5-7 is awful. Against champions like Caitlyn and Ezreal you will be poked hard, and it is up to you to make sure you dodge their skill shots, and not push the lane so you can get help from your jungler.

Draw a Bead (Passive)

Increases Tristana's attack range by 9 every time she levels. At level 18 Tristana's range on her auto attacks and Explosive Shot are increased by 153.

As stated above, AD carries are expected to stay towards the back of team fights, and deal their damage from there. Tristana's passive allows her to do just that. In the early stages of a game, Tristana's ranged is fairly weak, and she is limited in her poking ability from auto attacks. Late game, Draw a Bead gives Tristana the ability to better distance herself from enemy champions. Not much to be weary of here. Just know that your early game range changes significantly once you hit level 10.

Rapid Fire (Q)

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

  • Cost: 80 mana
  • Cooldown: 20 seconds

Rapid Fire makes Tristana tier one among AD carries come late game. Early game, like Draw a Bead, it doesn't make a significant impact, but it is definitely noticeable. At full build, and after activating Rapid Fire, Tristana can hit the 2.5 attacks per second ceiling. This translates to about 1500 damage per second SUSTAINED damage.

Use Rapid Fire to take down objectives such as turrets, dragon and Baron. Generally it's not necessary to use it against blue and red buffs because they go down fairly quick as is, and Rapid Fire has a cooldown that is a little lengthy. The cooldown begins after the ability wears off, so keep that in mind. Otherwise it would have a 33% uptime without any CDR. Wait for a fight to definitely breakout before using this ability to avoid being left without it.

Rocket Jump (W)

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.

  • Cost: 80 mana
  • Cooldown: 22/20/18/16/14 seconds
  • Range: 800

Rocket Jump is not a damage dealing ability. It should never be used to deal damage to an enemy except in one circumstance. Rocket Jump's cooldown resets on a kill or assist so it often utilized to turret dive. You have the ability to jump in to range, deal damage, and jump out. Most tier one AD carries have abilities that allow them to move a large distance in short amount of time, and that is what Rocket Jump is to Tristana. Rocket Jump should be prioritized for escaping and repositioning.

Explosive Shot(E)

Passive: Enemies explode when slain by Tristana's basic attacks, 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.

  • Cost: 50/60/70/80/90 mana
  • Cooldown: 16 seconds
  • Range: 550 (increases with Draw a Bead)

To say the least, Explosive Shot is necessary for any Tristana that plans on trading hits with the enemy AD carry in the early parts of the game. You can use it for some extra damage late game, but at full build it becomes a dps loss. Use it to slow down health regen of tanks and other champions.

Buster Shot (R)

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 units.

  • Cost: 100 mana
  • Cooldown: 60 seconds
  • Range: 700

Buster Shot does good damage, but it's main utility is for pushing enemies that try to jump you away. I suggest that you don't use it to finish enemies as oftentimes people push the enemy away, and they escape with next to no health. It's a good finisher if you are sure you will get the kill, but generally avoid doing so.

An "advanced" tactic is to Rocket Jump past an enemy, and Buster Shot them back towards your team or turret. Obviously don't use this during team fights as you will have jumped straight into the enemy team. Also feel free to use Buster Shot to disrupt channeled ultimates such as Nunu's Absolute Zero, and Katarina's Death Lotus.


Teleports your champion a short distance toward your cursor's location.

  • Cooldown: 300 seconds
  • Range: 400
  • Summoner's Insight: Reduces cooldown by 15 seconds

Mandatory. It allows you to escape and chase, and is necessary without question.


Ignite deals 50 + (20 * level) true damage to target enemy over 5 seconds and reduces healing effects by 50% for the duration.

  • Cooldown: 210 seconds
  • Range: 600
  • Summoner's Wrath: Increases Ability Power and Attack Damage by 5 while on cooldown

Increases your ability to get early game kills, and is necessary when taking down tanks.

Other Summoner Spells

Don't worry about them. Cleanse can be used against CC heavy teams, but I don't think the pros of Cleanse outweigh the pros of Ignite.


  • 9 Greater Marks of Attack Damage
  • 9 Greater Seals of Armor
  • 9 Greater Glyphs of Scaling Magic Resist
  • 3 Greater Quintessences of Attack Damage

Generic AD carry runes. Attack Damage allows you to last hit better, and deal more damage. The Armor seals give you some protection against the enemy AD carry who will be dealing attack damage. The reason I go for scaling Magic Resist is because you really only need to worry about magic damage post laning phase so by then you will have more Magic Resist than you would with flat MR runes.


21 / 9 / 0


Every AD carry can you some extra attack speed, and Tristana is no exception.


A couple more point of damage against minions drops off quickly, but if you are having a hard time last hitting or if you feel your CS isn't where you'd like it to be, I suggest grabbing both points in Butcher.


Straight forward attack damage per level. Basically equal to all your attack damage runes combined at level 18.

Weapon Expertise(1/1)

Armor has kind of dropped off in Season 3, due to a few items having the ability to completely nullify it, but you still want to get this mastery because the lower an enemy's armor, the closer you get to doing true damage.


Havoc increases your damage by a percentage of the damage you deal. However, it's a measly 2 percent. Say your auto attacks do a meager 500 damage. That means you'll be getting an additional 10 points of damage from Havoc. I put Havoc as optional because it is extra damage, but I feel like the points are better spent in Butcher.


This mastery gives a lot of extra damage, because you should be at about 50% crit chance at 18 with Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer combined. So each critical hit that already does double damage will do an additional 5% damage.

Brute Force(2/2)

Flat attack damage. Good for last hitting in the early game. No reason not to get this.


As mentioned before, you will be at about 50% critical chance at 18. Also you'll probably be at around 1.5 attacks per second without your Q up. So hypothetically you should be getting a critical hit every 2 seconds, which is the exact up-time of Frenzy. This means that you will have a fairly constant 10% attack speed buff.


Same reasoning behind Weapon Expertise. This mastery is especially beneficial while laning so you are able to do a little bit more damage to your lane opponent.


I believe this mastery has been theorycrafted to be the most beneficial mastery out of all of them. The damage bonus is fairly noticeable, and if you combine it with Havoc, you will be receiving an extra 7% damage from masteries against an enemy below 50% health.

Defensive Tree

I put points in to the defensive tree to allow me to stay in lane longer ensuring that my CS total is greater than my opponents.


I personally prefer the extra health regen as it is somewhat viable at all stages of the game. Obviously the more health you have, the less it's worth, but as a fairly passive player, I feel this mastery complements my play style.


Alternatively, you can go for this mastery. An extra 100 health at 18 doesn't seem significant, but it provides a nice buffer zone when trading or teamfighting.


Extremely beneficial to an AD carry. Your opponent will be dealing damage mostly through auto attacks, and the extra armor will help you sustain the occasional poke.


Most supports do damage through AP so a point here is nice, but it's mostly a filler point to get to the next tier.

Veteran's Scars(1/1)

The extra 30 health from this mastery, again, adds to the buffer that you need when trading pokes.

Skill Order

*Rapid Shot (Q)xxxxx
*Rocket Jump (W)xxxxx
*Explosive Shot(E)xxxxx
*Buster Shot(R)xxx

If you want to play a little passive initially, I would start with Rocket Jump because Explosive Shot's passive pushes the lane.

Option 1
  • Long Sword
  • 2 Health Potions

I generally start out with this build if I can bully my lane opponent into recalling, or my support has a heal. Long Sword builds into a Vampiric Scepter, and increases your ability to last hit so if you feel comfortable with starting with less healing, go for it.

Option 2
  • Boots of Speed
  • 3 Health Potions

The generic and often used starting items. There isn't anything wrong with starting with Boots of Speed, but generally they aren't needed in the early game, and Option 1 is just stronger. If you feel like playing a little bit more passively and feel as if your last hitting is fine then I suggest going with this start. You'll be able to stay in lane longer with the extra potion, and also the extra movement speed help you dodge skillshots.

Some people like to start with a Doran's Blade, and if you find out that that start works for you, by all means use it. The options I have listed are the ones I feel are the best. Because Doran's Blades provide you with healing that you gain slowly, you make yourself susceptable to being played against in a very aggressive manner to force you to back before you want to. And likewise, if you see someone start with a Doran's Blade, know that they have a little bit more health than you, some good damage, but no reliable way to regen health quickly. Look to poke them down a bit, and then coordinate with your support to go all in to either get a kill or force your opponent to burn a flash and go back to base.

Early Game Purchases
  • Vampiric Scepter
  • Boots of Speed
  • B.F. Sword
  • Berserker's Greaves

I always build Long Sword into Vampiric Scepter on my first back. It provides you with the sustain you need to stay in lane. Boots of Speed and B.F. Sword are equally good for a second item. B.F. Sword costs significantly more so that will often be a deciding factor for which you buy. If you have the money for a B.F. Sword, buy it, but don't put off your Boots of Speed for too long, because you will need them to escape from and catch up to enemies.

Core Items
  • Infinity Edge
  • Bloodthirster

You will have the components to finish a Bloodthirster fairly quickly, but I recommend setting aside for an Infinity Edge. You get the sustain you need from the Vampiric Scepter, and an Infinity Edge gives you more damage than a Bloodthirster. If you have enough money to finish your Bloodthirster, and 730 extra gold, I suggest finishing the Bloodthirster and buying a Cloak of Agility. The crit will make you significantly more dangerous.

Late Game Items

Phantom Dancer Almost a necessity because it provides great stats. The extra attack speed and critical chance makes you even more powerful. You can build Zeal after finishing Infinity Edge and Bloodthirster, and save finishing Phantom Dancer till later.

Statikk Shiv The alternative to the Phantom Dancer. As I suggested for Phantom Dancer, buy the Zeal. Later on if you find yourself lacking the gold for a Phantom Dancer, buy a Statikk Shiv. It's a good item that is 300 gold cheaper than a Phantom Dancer, and the stats are comparable. Do not get both items! I am not sure why you would, but I have seen it happen.

Last Whisper This will be your last item unless the enemy team has 3 champions that have more than 100 armor. Last Whisper allows you to burn through armor with no problem, and will become very powerful as enemies become tankier.

Black Cleaver The alternative to Last Whisper. While 700 gold more, it is more efficient as an armor penetrator at when the enemy has less than 100 armor. If you have the gold and the enemy team isn't extremely tanky, I think Black Cleaver beats out Last Whisper, but 700 gold is a big difference so it's up to your discretion.

Guardian Angel Generally people suggest choosing a Guardian Angel or Quick Silver Sash depending on the situation, but to me a Guardian Angel just wins out. A QSS is used to break out of one crowd control spell, and unfortunately because AD carries are fairly squishy, and teams generally have more than one CC, a QSS just won't cut it. Guardian Angels do have their downside in that they have a 5 minute cooldown, and there is some downtime before you resurrect. Despite that, it is still the strongest defensive item for ADCs.

Boot Enchantments

Either Furor or Alacrity is fine. Furor is more beneficial once you are in the fight, while Alacrity is better for movement outside of teamfights. Standard Final Build

  • Berserker's Greaves: Furor Enchantment
  • Infinity Edge
  • Phantom Dancer
  • Last Whisper
  • The Bloodthirster
  • Guardian Angel

After you complete your build remember to buy Elixirs!

  • Elixir of Fortitude
  • Elixir of Brilliance


Matchups as an AD carry basically require you to think about two things. First is hard and soft CC. To me, hard CC is any spell that stops your movement or silences you, while soft CC is any slow or knockback. The more CC the enemy bot lane duo has, the more maneuverability you need to have. Tristana is a great AD carry if the other team has a lot of CC. She has two escapes in flash and Rocket Jump, and a knockback for disengaging in Buster Shot. Another thing I take into account when choosing my AD carry is playstyle. Either the enemy will sit back and farm minions for 20+ minutes, or they will attempt to harass you to get you low enough for a kill. AD carries generally fit in to one of those two categories. When you don't have time to auto attack for harass, use your E to do a comparable amount of damage.


Ashe has soft CC in her Q that allows her to slow you with every basic attack, but it costs her a significant amount of mana, and she also has hard CC in her R that stuns for up to 3 seconds. Neither of those spells should worry you. The closer Ashe is when she fires her R, the lower the duration of the stun. So if she is close, you are back in business pretty quick, and if she is far away, you can dodge it with Rocket Jump. Ashe can't kite you with her slow because at a pretty low level you will outrange her. Ashe likes to sit back and farm, so if that's your thing feel free to do that. However, I recommend harassing her down, and then jumping in on her. She has very little health, and you should be able to burst her down quickly.


Ezreal has a blink, and a global ult. His range is pretty good on his Q, so you'll want to stay behind minions because he can do some decent damage at low levels. Ezreal is a good early and mid game champ so he will try to force the issue. Stay back and farm. Seriously. You can out play him, but if you have the same skill as Ezreal, he will be able to outtrade you. Your goal is to get more farm than him, and make it to late game where you win out.


I hate Draven. His level 1 damage is ridiculous and he only gets stronger. You need use your range to your advantage, and harass him out of lane. Against Draven I highly suggest farming and avoiding any full out fights.

Miss Fortune

She has soft CC in her Make it Rain, but the area is so small you can usually walk out without taking much damage. Miss Fortune will generally look to slow you, and then unleash her ult, which will shred you. The thing about Tristana is that her Rocket Jump's range is long enough that she can escape the ult with ease, and begin wailing on Miss Fortune. Other than her ult, I find that MF doesn't really have much damage, so she generally uses her speed to run in, harass, and run out. If you aren't aggressive in return, you will be pushed out of lane. Feel free to throw a couple auto attacks her way when you get a chance.


Caitlyn doesn't scare me on any AD carry that I play. Sure she has range, and sure she has snares, but you can avoid her Q(Piltover Peacemaker) without much trouble, and without using your W. Her snare is visible even in bushes as long as you are in the bush. Her range is annoying, but you'll catch up come late game. Her R don't even worry about. It can be blocked by your support, and if you are in range of her, you can burst her down while she casts it.


Graves' range is pretty abysmal, so abuse that as best you can. The advantage that Graves will have over you at every part of the game is the amount of burst he can do. Due to the high AD ratios on Buckshot and Collateral Damage, and his ability to close the gap between you and him with Quickdraw, you need to play defensively against Graves. Graves' passive gives him bonus armor and magic resist, and the passive will stay up almost indefinitely if he strictly last hits. Do your best to push him out of his comfort zone so that the passive wears off.

Supports for Tristana

This section is for introducing you to the various supports in the game, and their abilities. This way you will understand how your support, and the enemy's support functions. Everyones' playstyles are different so the best thing you can do as the AD carry is to explain what your plan is to your support, so he or she can anticipate your actions, while being cognizant of the enemy's abilities. When choosing your course of action it is important to take into account of the enemy composition. A lot of CC means you should probably be passive and put a couple points into Rocket Jump early. If the enemy doesn't have any escapes(Kog Maw and Twitch), look to be a bit more aggressive. I don't play every single support, but I do know most of their abilities, and I have done some research where needed.


Let's be honest, Blitzcrank is a good support for any AD carry. He synergizes better with champions that have good burst to take advantage of his pull, but his pull is just such a major game changer that it functions well with, and against, any champion. The psychological effect that a Blitzcrank has is enough to disrupt the CSing of the enemy champ, and then the combination of his pull, knock-up, and silence(from his ult) gives you enough time to take a huge chunk out of an enemy's health, if not outright kill them.


Hard to argue against Taric, and that's why he is the most popular champ in the game. Whether or not you like his kit, it's undeniable that it's perfect for a support. His armor aura gives you an advantage when trading with your lane opponent, his heal does the same, and gives you additional sustain. I prefer to go with the Long sword + 2 potions start when I have a Taric support because of the sustain I get directly from him. Try to coordinate with your Taric to know on which stuns he wants you to engage, because when I am Taric, more than half of my stuns are just to harass the enemy. A quick ping is usually enough, and easy enough for both of you to see.


I like Janna when I am playing passively, although she does provide some good support if you decide to try to burn down your opponent. She has a knock-up in her Q(tornado), a slow in her W, a shield and attack damage buff in her E, and a heal/disengage in her R. The reason she is considered a weaker support in my eyes is that she doesn't have a heal, and isn't tanky. Also because I am assuming you aren't duo queued with your support, you can't rely on a Janna to not screw up a team fight with her R. While the heal is useful at anytime during a fight, the knock back can unintentionally move the enemy damage dealers further from your team, allowing them to either escape or deal damage from a safe distance.


Leona and Blitzcrank are similar in their style of supporting an AD carry, but there is one fundamental difference. Leona's E causes her *to dash to the enemy champion that she hit, while Blitzcrank pulls the champion towards himself. This requires better coordination between you and your support Leona. If Leona goes in, and there hasn't been any coordination, you need to evaluate the situation. Are you in a good position to engage? Do you have enough health to go all in? Weigh the chances of a positive outcome and a negative one, and react accordingly. After dashing to the enemy, Leona will stun him for 1.25 seconds with her Q, and probably for an additional 1.5 seconds from her R if it is available.


The default support when I started playing. She was what Taric is now, in terms of popularity. A nerf to base health, and a change in the meta to an overall tankier team has caused her to lose her status as the most used support. Sona is extremely squishy, and she will play very passively. If you want to farm, this is the champion for you. She'll peel for you with her speed boost, and ult if necessary, she'll heal you up, and use her ranged damage to discourage the enemy laners from coming near you. There isn't great synergy in this pairing if you want to play aggressive, but it does work. Sona does have an ult that will allow you to get off a few auto attacks, an explosive shot, and if that doesn't kill the enemy, you can Rocket Jump+ Buster Shot combo. I suggest you play defensively, and look for an opportunity when the lane is pushed towards your turret to have your jungler come down, Sona to ult, and then go all in.

Early Game

Tristana has a fairly passive early game because she doesn't have any sustainable damage. Her Explosive Shot does decent damage, but it is mana expensive, and the cooldown is long. Stay with your support, and last hit minions. If you find yourself nearing a gold milestone that will allow you to purchase your next core item, push your lane, and attempt to damage your opposing AD carry so that he has to recall. Essentially, the goal of an AD carry is to remain on par with the enemy's AD carry in terms of gold. So if he gets an extra kill, you need to get more minions.

Mid Game

The reason Tristana isn't a tier one AD carry. Her Rapid Shot hasn't reached its peak capabilities, and same with Draw a Bead. She does decent damage, but she is definitely at her weakest point once people start roaming. Be careful, and continue farming while making sure to respond to any gathering of teams to prepare for a team fight.

Late Game

As Tristana, you are arguably one of the most feared champions at full build. You deal a tremendous amount of damage in a short amount of time, and you can sustain that damage. In between teamfights, look to get red buff for yourself, and help your AP carry get blue buff. During team fights STAY IN THE BACK. I cannot emphasize that enough. You do no damage when you are dead. Your auto attack range is longer than any other AD carry's, and you need to abuse that. Let the fight actually begin before activating Rapid Fire, but when you do make sure to focus the enemy AD carry or AP carry. Your next priority should be the enemy's other damage dealer, and then move on to the tanks and support. DO NOT FOCUS THE TANK to begin the fight. Tanks are CC heavy, but they do no damage, and do not need to be dealt with until after the damage dealers are killed.

My Final Thoughts

Feel free to send me a PM on GameFaqs(dot)com if you have any comments about this guide.

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