League of Legends Tristana Guide

Tristana, the Yordle Gunner, is raring to go on a mission. Time to take to the rift and use one of the increasingly popular choice of marksmen in today’s meta by using this champion in the bottom lane. As a champion who is extremely mobile and has excellent sieging capabilities, there’s nothing that can go wrong when using her on your next ranked match. Take a look at this Tristana guide to learn everything there is to know about becoming an excellent AD Carry.

Tristana wearing a post-apocalypse costume - Tristana guide
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The Yordle Gunner

Tristana adores the epics and legends about Runeterra’s history where the Great Races of Runeterra have fought over the fate of the world countless times and heroes rising to the occasion to save them from impending doom. She knows that even a yordle like her can achieve great things too. Great ambitions stored in a tiny body will someday pave the path for her destiny. Equipped with her cannon – Boomer – she inspires all yordles alike to take arms against the threats that loom over Runeterra.

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Tristana has always been a favorite in the professional League of Legends scene. She is everything a team needs put into one tiny vessel. This champion is capable of wreaking havoc by destroying the enemy base, dealing a ton of damage from a safe distance, or displacing the enemy formation. She can act as both an assassin and a marksman as well as be placed outside of her main role as an AD Carry in the bot lane. Let’s discover those capabilities in this Tristana guide.

Tristana General Playstyle

Tristana is an AD Carry that does anything she wants. Because of her long range, she prefers to fight from a safe distance but will occasionally jump into the fray to make sure that she gets the kill. She likes to confuse the enemy team by moving around or displacing their formation using her abilities. She deals a lot of AoE and uses her abilities to deal a lot of damage. She is one of the most mobile AD Carries in the game. This Tristana guide will expand on that later on.

Tristana Guide – Skills and Rotations

Despite mentioning that this champion can play in any lane she wants, her playstyle tends to remain the same wherever she ends up. For the sake of the majority, we’ll focus on her capabilities as a bottom lane capabilities as an AD Carry in this Tristana guide. Her abilities are fairly easy to use but need a bit of follow-up knowledge to execute correctly. Our guide will also include the best ways you can use these abilities and some useful combos as well.

Passive: Draw a Bead

Tristana's passive ability - Draw a Bead icon Innate – Tristana’s basic attacks, Explosive Charge, and Buster Shot are increased depending on Tristana’s level.

Tristana’s passive allows her to play safer during the later games by giving her more distance to punish enemies. Make sure to mind the changes in your max range so that you can adjust how you approach a fight. Most players tend to set themselves on the default range and underplay how much safety they have during important fights. Even the smallest distance can mean life or death when you’re playing as a very squishy marksman that has very little defenses.

Q: Rapid Fire

Tristana's Q ability - Rapid Fire icon Active – Tristana empowers Boomer, gaining bonus attack speed for 7 seconds.

Attack Speed is one of the most important stats for marksmen. Use this ability when you’re in position to start hitting an enemy unit. Precasting this ability wastes a few milliseconds of attack speed which may cost you 1 or 2 shots. That can be the difference between killing a unit or letting them get away with a sliver of health. Make sure to always have this ability on cooldown before you decide to go all-in on an enemy unit. This ensures that you’re always dealing maximum damage in fights.

W: Rocket Jump

Tristana's W ability - Rocket Jump icon Active – Tristana jumps to a traget location, dealing magic damage to all enemies in the area and slowing them by 60%.

Whenever Tristana gets a takedown on an enemy champion or is able to detonate Explosive Charge at full stacks, Rocket Jump instantly resets its cooldown.

Despite Rocket Jump being a damaging ability, you don’t use this ability to jump on top of the enemy team. Most of the time, this ability is merely used for positioning. Never jump in a place where enemy CC can lock you down. Never jump on top of an assassin who hasn’t used their abilities. The only time you want to use this ability as an extra source of damage is when you’re pursuing an enemy or when you want to assassinate a squishy target that won’t counterburst you.

E: Explosive Charge

Tristana's E ability - Explosive Charge icon Passive – Whenever an enemy unit dies from Tristana’s basic attacks, that unit explodes and deals magic damage to all nearby enemies.

Active – Tristana places an explosive charge on an enemy unit or turret. After 4 seconds, the charge explodes, dealing physical damage to all nearby enemy units and turrets. If the charge explodes on a turret, the radius of the blast is doubled.

Tristana’s basic attacks and abilities against the target with an Explosive Charge increases the abilities charge by 30%, stacking up to 4 times up to a maximum of 120%. Once the charge reaches 4 stacks, it detonates instantly.

Explosive Charge’s damage increases depending on the critical strike chance on Tristana up to a maximum of 33.3%.

Explosive Charge is Tristana’s a big damage source for Tristana. During teamfights, it allows her to spread her damage across the enemy team. The Explosive Charge itself is used with Rapid Fire to ensure that she gets off the explosion with maximum stats. This combo maximizes the damage she deals to the target and nearby enemies. Before engaging in a fight, make sure that you always place a charge on an enemy. Rocket Jump also benefits from you detonating this ability at full stacks.

R: Buster Shot

Tristana's ultimate ability - Buster Shot icon Active – Tristana fires a massive cannonball at the target enemy unit, dealing magic damage to them, and knocking them back by huge distance, and stunning all enemies in the radius by up to 0.75 seconds.

Be careful when using Buster Shot so that you don’t knock back the enemy to safety. Usually, this ability is used a the final nail the coffin or to remove an enemy from the fight (usually the frontline tonk). Buster Shot is also a great ability to disengage when an enemy tries to jump on you to create distance between you and that enemy. If you find yourself in the backline, you can also push an enemy towards the team but this is not recommended since there’s a likelihood that they’ll get a return kill on you.

Tristana Guide – Items and Builds

Next up on our Tristana guide, we’ll be looking at some items and builds that would benefit Tristana’s kit. As a marksman, she prioritizes Attack Damage and Attack Speed as well as some crit modifiers. Defensives aren’t much of a problem since she’s able to fire from a safe distance and jump around to kite the enemy unit.

Starting Items

Doran's Blade icon Season 11 Art Doran’s Blade – Good starting item for Tristana who likes to be a lane bully by abusing her range advantage. It’ll also help her gain some early omnivamp.

Core Items

Kraken Slayer mythic item icon Kraken Slayer (Mythic) – Tristana likes to abuse her attack speed by detonating Explosive Charges and jumping around with her Rocket Jump. Kraken Slayer allows her to deal true damage every 3rd shot which makes her very dangerous when she stacks enough Attack Speed. The Mythic Passive also gives her a ton of Attack Speed from her items which makes her scale very well.

Phantom Dancer icon, twin crescent blades emitting spiritual energy Phantom Dancer – This item is the complete package for Tristana. It gives her a ridiculous amount of attack speed thanks to the passive ability of the item and also a good amount of movement speed to help her kite out enemies. This will allow her to become more slippery and help her free hit the target a lot more efficiently.

infinity edge item icon Infinity Edge – Infinity Edge is an item that greatly boosts your crit modifiers. Aside from the fact that it gives 70 AD, it also increases your crit damage by 30%, making your attacks hurt a lot especially on squishy targets. This should only be built after you complete the previous two items since it requires that you have a 60% Crit Strike Chance.

Recommended Items

Rapid Fire Cannon LoL Item Icon Rapidfire Cannon – This item increases Tristana’s first basic attacks range when this item is fully energized. It also provides bonus magic damage which will make her an excellent harass champion.

Lord Dominik's Regard item icon Lord Dominik’s Regard – An item that is really helpful when fighting against teams that have a lot of tanks. However, this item is generally good since most champions will have a higher health pool than you.

Bloodthirster Item icon Bloodthirster – Tristana’s main sustain tool. This allows her to stay in fights a lot longer and gives her a chance to turn the fight around by abusing her attack speed and superior range. This item also caps your crit strike chance to 100% if you built this as your 6th item following the previous 5 other items.

Mortal Reminder Mortal Reminder – Replaces Lord Dominik’s Regard when the enemy team has excessive healing. Usually, your teammates will have all the Grievous Wounds sources so you should be fine. However, in case they are selfish and don’t do so, build this item.

Guardian Angel icon Season 11 Art Guardian Angel – Not a requirement but you should buy this if the enemy team always tries to assassinate you from the backline.

Tristana Guide – Runes

Primary: Runestone Domination Logo icon Domination

Keystone: Hail of Blades LoL Rune Icon Hail of Blades – As mentioned a lot of times in this Tristana guide, attack speed is Tristana’s greatest stat because it allows her to deal more damage via Autos and Explosive Charge. This rune allows her to instantly pop a squishy champion if they don’t have any defensives or skills that allow them to get away.

Taste of Blood Rune icon Taste of Blood – A rune that helps Tristana survive the laning phase. This rune allows her to gain a bit of HP from trades. This will fall off a lot during the mid to late game but you should have Bloodthirster by then.

Domination rune eyeball collection box full of eyeballs Eyeball Collection – An extra source of AD to give your abilities a bit more damage against enemies.

Domination rune ravenous hunter red sharp fangs Ravenous Hunter – More sources of omnivamp to help Tristana win more trades by outsustaining the enemy. This requires takedowns so make sure to participate in skirmishes to stack it.

Secondary: the precision rune icon Precision

the flag of victory Triumph – More sources of healing to help Tristana stay in fights a lot longer. Easily procs since most her attacks deal AoE damage so she’ll be gaining a lot of health.

Legend Alacrity LoL Rune Icon Legend: Alacrity – Attack speed again. This is a very reliable source of AS when she’s in the lead.

Tristana General Overview

Tristana requires the player to mind a lot of things such as positioning, ability-timings, and range. This is extremely common for all marksmen since the biggest source of their damage is from their basic attacks anyway. Despite that, Tristana is a good champion for players of all skill levels to use in competitive or casual. Being a Tristana main will help you develop a lot of necessary skills that you’ll need even outside being an AD carry. This Tristana guide has given you everything you need to know about this champ.

Tristana wearing a snow outfit with snowmen besidee her
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How to counter Tristana?

Tristana is a very tricky champion to counter because of her heavy mobility. Fortunately, Tristana players tend to get greedy and may use their rocket jump over-aggressively. Try to bait them into a trap and instantly counter them by trying to burst them down. Tristana doesn’t have a lot of personal defensives to help her survive an immediate surge of damage. Without Rocket Jump, you can take down Tristana as long as you can close the distance between you and her.

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