Introduction and Overall PlaystyleTristana is undeniably my favorite ranged AD carry in the game because she can play either hyper-aggressively or very safely, depending on the situation.
At level 5, discounting resistances and items, she can burst someone for 300 magic damage (assuming scaling at level 5) + auto attack damage. At level 6, she can do 600 magic damage + auto attack damage. Compare this to , who is one of the strongest level 6 champions in the game. Annie does 305 magic damage with minimal attack attack damage at level 5, and 640 damage at level 6 (2 ticks of Tibber's AOE + 1 Tibbers auto attack) plus minimal attack damage at level 6. One realizes that Tristana is terrifying in the early game. In fact, when Annie's stun is on cool down, Tristana can outburst Annie in a burst showdown.
Tristana also has one of the best attack animations in the game (better than Ashe with her Q on), which helps her in the late game. Few realize that in the end game, attack speed is not only dependent upon your items (max at 2.5 attacks/second), but also on the speed of the projectile; your next shot cannot be fired until the previous one lands on your target.
Tristana's scales extremely well and is her steroid in the game. Interestingly, it also lets her get away with getting an early life steal item or some extra survivability without sacrificing too much damage. The skill also helps her down towers if within 2 waves of creeps if uncontested in a lane in the midgame. Getting dragon and neutral buffs are also sped up by leveling up .
The anti-healing component Tristana's is what makes her shine in the current metagame compared to Corki. Her rocket jump , which also applies a slow and resets on every kill or assist, is also undeniably better than Corki's Valkyrie.
Tristana is rarely picked in games because her abilities are under-rated. She is a very strong and well rounded champion, that is an asset to any team that already has someone who can initiate a fight and poke at enemies when they camp under their towers.
Explanation of Item BuildStarting Items: OR .
Boots will almost always be the better choice for a solo lane, as they help you dodge skill shots, help you get away from melee heroes after they use their gap closer, and generally help reduce the damage taken. It also aids harass, and gives you essentially 600 extra health if you can survive the opponent's damage bursts. Doran's blade is will give you extra damage and prevent you from being bursted down in a showdown, but is only useful if your playstyle forces you to have an early return to base, or if you are duo laning with a support such as Taric, Soraka, Janna, or Sona. Having the increased movement speed from boots helps to avoid skill shots.
Core Items: AND choice boots OR .
With proper farming and last-hitting, this should be all the damage necessary for Tristana to significantly contribute to team fights. This should be rushed as quickly as possible. Ideally, it should be obtained under 20 minutes. Tristana's enables her to actually make use of the life steal to a significant extent earlier in the game compared to other carries such as Corki or Ashe, while keeping up with attack speed.
End Game Items (order is situational):
1) Life Steal: OR
Wriggle's Lantern is less expensive, helps with doing dragon and, to a lesser extent, baron (in addition free wards!). Stark's Fervor, however, will immediately help Tristana maximize attack speed and grant an aura life steal, allowing her to scale extremely well. Do not build a Stark's Fervor if one of your allies is better situated to buy one. Also, if a Stark's Fervor is purchased, do not build any more items that grant bonus attack speed. A Stark's Fervor should also not be prioritized if you have an ally that can cast an attack speed buff such as Nunu's Blood Boil.
2) Damage and Armour Penetration:
A standard AD carry item. There is simply no better option for Tristana. when armor penetration is needed. Although item's such as Ghostblade and Sword of the Divine also grant armor penetration, they are better used on champions focused on bursting down enemies rather than sustained damage. By the time armor penetration is needed, the mid-late game would have already been reached, and Tristana should be focused on position and sustained damage over the course of team fights. If for some reason the enemy team is not armor heavy, focus on building more survivability or another tier item.
3) Counter ability based anti-carries and AP carries, and survivability: OR
In general, Banshee's-Veil is preferable to a Quicksilver-Sash. However, if suppression from Warwick or Malzahar are becoming a major problem, a Quicksilver Sash will save your life. A Quicksilver Sash is also extremely useful for clearing away debuffing and damaging spells such as Vladamir's ultimate ability Hemoplague.
4) Problems with attack damage heavy enemy champions: --> OR OR
5) Additional attack speed and damage:
This item is extremely situational and and should only ever be bought if you lack attack speed, which would be a rarity.
RunesThe chosen quintessences and marks are standard for AD carries.
Armor seals are absolutely necessary. When Tristana jumps in during the laning phase to land a , it attracts a lot of fire from minions. Flat armour seals will help reduce that damage taken.
With efficient use of skills, mana regeneration blues are not necessary. Magic resistant blues help you to come up on top with a slight edge in exchanges with enemy champions in the early game.
MasteriesThe chosen masteries are fairly standard 21-0-9 for attack damage based ranged carries with some slight deviations. Instead of putting a full 4 points into Alacrity, 4 points are put into Sorcery so that a point can be placed into Archaic Knowledge, which yields 15% magic penetration. A vast majority of Tristana's early game burst damage comes from her and abilities, which do magic damage; maximizing this damage will help you get more kills, an edge in lane, or an easier laning phase.
It is indeed feasible to go 24-6-0 as suggested by Candy Panda (see below), however, I find the extra point in Meditation is absolutely necessary, as I usually end up with 5-10 mana before I return to base every time. Candy Panda's mastery builds also hinges upon always choosing Improved Ignite, and getting early game kills with the help of ignite; however, my playstyle is a bit safer; and I find that ignite would not have gotten me any extra kills. Having Ghost has yields huge advantages in team fights compared to ignite
Candy Panda's Tristana Masteries: http://solomid.net/guides.php?g=2091
Standard Summoner Spells for AD carries. For a ranged AD carry, flash is undeniably the best skill in the game.
Alternate Spells for Ghost
This is an excellent spell to take on Tristana for early game kills. However, you sacrifice a bit of survivability. Choosing ignite depends on your prediction for whom you will be laning against, and judging if it will secure you a kill. Only experience can dictate your choice for this summoner spell.
For when the enemy has insane amounts of stuns and silences. If you choose to use Cleans, will probably still be a good choice.
When the enemy team is heavy on Tanky-DPS type champions. However, is also suitable in this situation.
Passive: Draw a Bead
Increases Tristana's attack range as she levels.
Q: Rapid Fire
Increases Tristana's attack speed by 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90% for 7 seconds.
W: Rocket Jump
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.
Cooldown 22 / 20 / 18 / 16 / 14seconds
E: Explosive Shot
Passive: Enemies explode when slain by Tristana's attacks, dealing 50 / 75 / 100 / 125 / 150 magic damage to nearby enemies.
Active: Explosive Shot rends target enemy, reducing healing and health regeneration by 50% and dealing 110/140/170/200/230 (+10% of ability power) Magic Damage over 5 seconds. Lasts 55 seconds.
/ 60 / 70 / 80 / 90mana
R: Buster Shot
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.
Skill OrderTristana's is the best attack damage independent scaling skill in her arsenal and should always be leveled up first, while scales the best once an has been built. is only really useful for its 50% healing reduction and how it resets your autoattack animation after you cast it. Thus, at level 5, depending on your opponent, both and are viable skill choices. For example, if your opponent has an ability that allows them to flash away from sustained autoattacks, would be preferable to try an get a kill. However, if it is too risky to try to go for a kill that may end up unsuccessful, scaling would allow you setup for auto attack damage in the mid-late game.
Leveling also allows you to farm the wraith minions easily. to the wraiths, and then autoattack the SMALL minions. Once they die, they will splash and do additional damage to the other creeps, and help you to clear the camp more quickly.
Skillful use of separates the mediocre from the pro Tristanas. It resets upon every kills, and should be used either to land a killing blow on an enemy to allow you to then jump back out of the fight, or to position yourself in a team fight. Early game it 'can' be used to initiate a lane gank; however, the later the game goes on, the more likely the should be saved for positional purposes.
One point in Tristana's is what makes her very powerful in the current metagame. Lanewick (laning warwick), Irelia, Vladamir, and other champions that have a strong healing component to their gameplay become severely hindered when debuffed by Tristana.
Comparisons with other top tier AD carries
Ashe is undeniably one of the best, if not the best, ranged AD carries in the game on the competitive scene. Unlike Tristana, she can initiate a fight with her Enchanted Crystal Arrow, and has a constant area of effect slow and poke ability that is easy to use. However, there are several ways Tristana makes up for her deficiencies and can outshine Ashe. Firstly, Tristana can somewhat make up for the lack of an autoattack slow with Lizard Buff; this is aided by the fact that Tristana has an easier time taking neutral buffs in the jungle, with or without help from team mates. In addition, Tristana's late game auto attack range from her makes her the safest tower damage poker in the game next to Kog Maw. In team fights away from towers, Tristana can easily position herself with multiple times through a fight without having to burn her flash, and can blow away enemies that manage to slip through your team with your . Tristana is also undeniably much stronger during the laning phase than Ashe because of her early game burst potential. When picking Tristana in a team, make sure at least one member of your team can initiate a fight and poke well, because these are areas that Tristana lack.
The core advantages Corki holds above Tristana are his armor penetration skill, his poking potential, and his autoattack damage reducing semi-blind. Like Tristana, he has great early game damage, a flash type ability, and cannot initiate a fight; however he does not as much burst, cannot knock enemies back, and does not have autoattack steroids. Generally Tristana and Corki play somewhat similarly; Tristana has a somewhat better jump, survivability, and can counter healers in fights, while Corki has better poking abilities and helps tanky dps teams better.
Early GameTypically, when playing against other AP or AD caries in the early game, Tristana has a relatively easy time last hitting creeps and even landing an early kill. Against melee types champions, harassment with , autoattacks, and the occasional every time they come in to last hit a minion will get them low quite quickly. The playstyle is much more delicate against ranged champions. From levels 1-6, Tristana has a very low autoattack range compared to champions such as Ashe or Caitlyn. Thus, trading simple autoattack blows would usually be disadvantageous, and jumping in on every cooldown will cause you to rack up a lot of minion aggro damage. Before jumping in to land your combo, it is important to autoattack and thin out the ranks of the enemy creep wave first, and ideally land a that both scores creep kills and hits the enemy champion. It is quite possible to land a kill on any standard AD carry in a solo lane, as Tristana has the most amount of burst for any AD carry. Against to treat him like an enemy AD carry early game, and give him a hard time in the early levels, or he will farm up and wreck you at level 9. Against AP castors, Tristana should be played the same way, but it is preferable to go in after the opponent has burned his or her spells on creep.