IntroductionHello! My name is EddieMac and this is my first guide on Solomid. I love playing Tristana as my ADC of choice and I do so in a somewhat different way. I get some flak sometimes from people who disagree with my build/skill choices and automatically label me as 'bad' initially, but I've found this to be a very effective way to play Tristana in bot lane if done correctly.
This is a continuous work-in-progress, and I'm looking at putting in a ADC match-up section next, with tips to use against other ADC's. I'm always open to other ideas though so if you would like to see anything that is not covered here just leave a comment below and I will respond and adjust the guide if needed.
If you end up not liking my guide, please leave a comment below as to why, so that I can analyze and potentially change things accordingly.
Longest consistent range in game (703 @ lvl 18)
Brings her own CC
Good disengage with W or R
Great attack speed steroid with Q
No decent poke ability early game
High mana costs/Low mana pool
Early/Mid game lackluster compared to other ADC's
Best skin is the free one from liking Riot on Facebook.
This build is not the conventional ::Early-Burst Mid-Suck Late-Carry:: build that is most commonly found on guide websites. Instead, it swaps the crappy mid game with the decent early game, focusing on keeping safe during early stages, starting to branch out in mid game when you actually start to become dangerous, and late game where you should be cutting through champions like a hot knife through butter.
Essentially, we are switching from
::Early-Burst Mid-Suck Late-Carry::
::Early-Farm Mid-Fight Late-Carry::
The reason we are doing this now is because the days of getting Infinity Edge first are over. There have been several changes to items and champions, and introductions of new ones. To gain an advantage as fast as possible we have to adapt to the new gameplay. By following this guide, you are opting to forgo the decent early game and instead play passive and farm. This will then lead to a mid game where you can actually compete and be of use to your team, and with the faster pace the current meta game has taken on, this is much more valuable than you getting a kill at level 2 (which is still possible btw) and then not being valuable to your team until 30 minutes in or longer.
Players are starting to take turrets earlier, everyone is stacking HP rather than resistances, mages/bruisers/assassins are being swapped in for supports, and new champions have come out since any relevant guides have been made for Tristana. Simply put, things have changed, and we have to change with them. Otherwise, you will simply be stuck trying to fit the proverbial square cube through the star-shaped socket.
Updates1/9/2013: Included a section for supports and rating scale for compatibility with Tristana.
1/15/2013: Created a Situational Item Build Flowchart Section.
2/16/2013: Fixed some spelling/grammar errors in various sections, modified skill order chart and explanation of skills and skill order. Also started adding pictures to illustrate what is being discussed/explained.
2/17/2013: Expanded Early/Mid/Late Game sections. Changed a few tips in Support Options section. Switched Summoner Spell from Ignite to Cleanse, and included explanations why. Added a Frame-by-Frame of the Kill Combo.
2/18/2013: Made small changes and updates in various sections. Expanded on CS estimate calculations. Expanded introduction to guide.
2/20/2013: APPROVED! I'm thankful to the Solomid.net staff for all the great critiques they have given, and am always looking for more in comments if anyone has any questions or ideas to play around with. Also added a little more info in the Situational Item Build Section.
2/25/2014: Updated a small bit on Tristana's passive in the Skills section.
3/2/2013: Adjusted Item Build and Early Game sections significantly with the changes coming in the next patch, specifically the change to Blade of the Ruined King. This change buffs Tristana A LOT due to it's on-hit effects and Tristana's already amazing attack speed buff. I will go ahead and call this overpowered, until Riot realizes their new problem and changes it somehow. But until then, Strongest ADC far and above is now :D
3/3/2013: Updated Mid Game section according to build changes with Blade of the Ruined King. Hoping to finished Late Game and Situational Item Build Sections within the next week. First dislike received, no comment left as to the reason though.
3/4/2013: Updated Late Game Section According to the build changes with Blade of the Ruined King. Cringing at the thought of Riot nerfing BotRK and having to change this guide all over again. XD Added a bit more to Mid Game section as well.
3/6/2013: Adjusted Intro slightly.
3/7/13: Updated Late game section and made small tweaks to various other sections to be better worded. Guide is now completely updated to the new BotRK patch, including the price increase. If I have missed anything, or if you have any theorycrafting ideas, please leave a comment below and if the guide requires changing, I will credit you accordingly.
3/11/13: Updated Mid Game section a bit more, fixing grammar errors/confusing wording.
3/20/13: Updated the Skill order and provided explanation to changes.
3/25/2013: Added Zyra to the support section with description, thanks to qazwaxman for the catch. Updated Runes section and explanation to changes.
Masteries21/9/0 setup that is used for almost every ADC.
Or if you took Ignite:
If you want Utility instead of Armor/HP (RISKY):
Fury 4/4: 4% attack speed is the best option here. This stacks with the activation of Tristana's Q.
Deadliness 4/4: AD per level, again the best option. You don't need AP or extra damage to turrets, you kill them fast enough as it is.
Weapon Expertise 1/1: Free 8% Armor Penetration for 1 point, very strong mastery.
Summoner's Wrath 1/1
If you want, you can put 2 points into Butcher to bring Tristana's Base damage up from 46.5, since that is a bit lower than the average ADC's damage and she has no spell to cast that clears waves of minions like Graves' Buckshot or Ashe's Volley. But if you are confident in your last-hitting abilities you can put the points from here into Havoc instead.
Brute Force 2/2: 3 Extra AD. With your Q rolling, this adds up fast.
Lethality 2/2: 5% bonus critical strike damage, very strong for Tristana
Frenzy 1/1: Very strong ability for Tristana. 10% bonus attacks speed after every crit.
Sunder 3/3: 5 Armor Pen. Between this and Weapon Expertise you have all the armor pen you'll need early game.
Executioner 1/1: 5% more damage on targets below 50% hp. Can be the difference between you killing or being killed.
Durability 4/4: Health per level
Hardiness 3/3: +5 Armor, since you are likely facing another ADC and will not want to get 1 combo'd.
Resistance 1/3: +2 magic resist. A lot of supports and even some ADC's do magic damage, and this will help deflect a small part of that.
Veteran's Scars 1/1: +30 HP at level 1, very good to have on Tristana, since she is very squishy early on.
I do not put points into Perseverance because it is rather lackluster in terms of sustain. Rely on health potions for your sustain, and hold onto resists/armor to take less damage in the first place.
If you are feeling confident in your ability to not get caught, you can put 9 into the support tree instead.
Summoner's Insight 1/1: 15 Seconds less on the CD of Flash, a very valuable spell.
Meditation 3/3: +3 Mana Regen per 5 seconds, to help with Tristana's pitiful mana pool and regen
Wanderer 3/3: To get back to lane faster, since you will not be buying boots early on.
Improved Recall 1/1: to get back to base faster, and therefore back to lane faster.
Mastermind 3/3: 10% reduction on the CD of your summoner's, stacks with Summoner's Insight.
Runic Affinity 1/1: For longer lasting jungle buffs when you get to late game.
RunesI prefer flat AD runes over the Armor Penetration now, since all of the armor penetration that I will need should come from Last Whisper and masteries. Not to mention lately it has become the trend to stack HP rather than resistances, so Armor Pen is not as effective as flat AD is now. Flat AD makes last hitting easier as well, and will help you farm more in early game, where Tristana is somewhat weaker with this build.
8xFlat AD + 1x Crit Chance runes.
For better last hits. If you know you are going to face a bot duo that has a Taric support, switching to armor penetration reds might be feasible, but you shouldn't be trying to trade hits against any comp that has a Taric support to begin with. I have been trying the critical strike chance rune in one of the flat AD slots, and I like the changes enough to make the changes on this guide. I don't really notice much of a difference losing almost 1 AD, but have 1% crit has provided a great opportunity every few games and makes things more exciting overall in my opinion. So I am now running 8x Flat AD and 1x Crit Chance Reds.
You are the ADC in bot lane, and the odds of you facing another ADC in bot lane are very, very good. Having no armor at all means they will be able to destroy you thru poke, so get Armor yellows. They are simply the best option.
You might take a bit of magic damage early game, but this is to help keep you alive in the mid game against roaming AP Carries or AP Junglers. A lot of supports also do magic damage (albeit not a lot) so having these is essential to success as an AD Carry.
For better last hits, same as the description for Reds.
These are the summoners that I most commonly use:
Good for bot duos with high/dangerous cc's. I take this because with this build, Tristana is relying on her Q-speed auto attacks to do the damage, which just isn't possible with exhaust or cc's on her. It is also much more useful late game, since you will rarely be close enough to ignite, and if you are, either you or them is already dead anyway.
Is great because I don't believe in having too much mobility. Great for escape or Flash + W for a surprise burst on a solo ADC or support who pushed out too far.
Other Viable Summoners:
Is typically the summoners of choice, with heal reduction and a good true damage dot to secure those kills that try to run back to their turret. Still good on Trist for early game secured kills, but generally not as useful as cleanse for her.
Is ok, but with the rework to its effect this is generally better on supports.
Is also good in place of Ignite, but again is more commonly seen on supports. It can be viable to take this since your E also reduces healing on them (but does significantly less damage) and this can be used defensively as well.
Some ADC's have been taking Barrier lately because it always provides the same amount of damage reduction no matter what (unlike heal) but reduces less damage. This is compensated by having a shorter cooldown however.
Passive: Draw a Bead
Tristana, like almost every ADC, has 550 range at the start of the game. Unlike every other ADC, however, she gets 9 more RANGE per level. There are only 2 other champions that can have more than this amount of range () but only because of the activation of an ability for a temporary amount of time. This is what makes Tristana so dangerous late game, because her range is permanent and makes it easier to poke/zone mid-late game. The downside to this amazing passive is that you have no ability to effectively wave clear/poke like you do with many other champions () This is the trade-off you are making by playing Tristana. That being said, when you start leveling her E in later levels she clears creep waves exceptionally fast, but even then it is because of a passive, not active or controllable ability.
Level 1 Range:
Level 18 Range:
Q: Rapid Fire
This is the spell that gives Tristana one of the best Attack Speed steroids in the game, and with the recent changes to items and builds, makes this skill incredibly valuable. You want to max this first, but will not start it until level 4. Put a point in W at level 1 for mobility, and the next 2 into E to help with wave clear/harass. An important thing to remember with this ability is that you cannot spam it like you would Ezreal's or Graves' Q. It costs quite a bit and Tristana has one of the worst mana pools and mp5 ratios in the game. Only use this ability when you are going for a kill.
W: Rocket Jump
Mobility = Survival. The reason you don't have to get boots early on is because of this ability. With the fix to her jump animations a few patches ago, jumping over walls or onto enemies has become much easier. That being said, early game this is used only for survival or guaranteed kills. The slow is always going to be 60% at any level, so it is great for jumping quickly onto enemy ADC's when their support goes to ward dragon or if you and your support ever catch someone alone. Take a point in this at level 1 for mobility and cc, but max it last. With the changes to the costs and damage to Explosive Shot, maxing this second just isn't worth it, since Explosive Shot does just as much damage and is much easier to use, especially mid-late game when your range is much farther than any other champion.
A tip to keep in mind when using this ability: If you jump on someone, you have just all-in'd them, and do not have an active escape (besides flash). Be very, very careful in deciding when to W onto enemies.
Examples of walls you can jump:
E: Explosive Shot
A great utility, like a mini-ignite. If you can safely do so, try to get this on enemies that are healing with potions, to reduce the healing they receive from it.
The passive from this will automatically push your lane, since every time you last hit a creep it will explode and cause damage to the other creeps around it. Get 2 points in at levels 2-3, but max it second. The reason for this is to help with wave clear (passive explosions on creeps) and poke/harass (explosions can hurt opponents and activated on a target can as well.) As stated above, the cost and damage of this ability has changed, and now it does just as much damage as Rocket Jump does. Technically, it does more at max level, but I consider it to be the same amount of damage due to resistances and players being able to heal through damage that the damage-over-time does.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if this spell is applied before a reflect shield goes up, like with , it will still do damage-over-time on the target, because they did not stop the application. Morgana's shield will still absorb the damage, but your E will still reduce the healing on the target.
Keep in mind, that this will automatically start pushing your lane, and without boots early on, makes you a very easy target for the enemy jungler. If your opponents are not automatically pushing the lane, then you do not need to put 2 points into this, and can start maxing Q a level earlier than shown above.
R: Buster Shot
Great damage and utility ultimate. Mid game, if you are closer to your turret, this ability is great for Rocket Jumping onto the enemy ADC and then using R to put them under your turret. Similar to Alistar, or a more complex version of Blitzcrank or Urgot, you can somewhat determine positioning during mid game laning phase if the enemy gets too greedy. Just make sure your support is always following your moves, otherwise this maneuver is a very easy one to suicide with.
This ability is has a 60 second cooldown, so do not hesitate to use it. If you are about to B, throw your E and R onto either the enemy ADC or support just for the damage. It will be up again by the time you need it when you get back to lane. Also don't be afraid to use it to knock people away if you have to escape or protect a teammate.
Something to keep in mind when using this Ability: It can knock players through some walls. This can be incredibly helpful for when you are having to escape and Rocket Jump over a wall. The enemy might Flash to follow you. You can knock them right back through and get away safe. And now they've wasted flash.
Skill OrderWith the recent changes to attack speed/attack damage items, and with Blade of the Ruined King as the new first item go-to, you will be able to do more damage with 3 auto attacks than you will from a max level Rocket Jump, and you will be able to land more than 3 auto shots in 4 seconds with a max level Rapid Fire. If all goes right, then you should have Q around level 3 by the time you complete your Blade of the Ruined King, making trading a lot more favorable for you. The downside to this, is that Tristana is highly reliant on her auto attacks to do damage, which means that cc's such as Exhaust, Nunu Snowball, or Stuns all really hurt her performance.
You are not AP Tristana, and the 250 burst from W is simply not worth it anymore when you can now do more damage faster by auto-attacking. This is amplified even more with supports like Taric or Janna, who amplify your auto-attacks with their abilities to either increase your AD or reduce the enemy armor.
As for the argument of shorter cooldown on W for escapes; if you are having to escape more often than once every 22 seconds, there is something very, very wrong going on in your lane. Position better and play smart, escape should never be an issue. And if you use it to engage, you should be killing your target, in which case the CD is automatically reset on kill or assist. So no worries there.
I put two points in E to be used as an extra utility (reduce healing on target) but max it second because I don't want my lane constantly being pushed. This build is meant to expedite the points where Tristana is weak, and rush her into the scary phase faster, and the best way to do that is FARM safely and intelligently.
The Kill Combo:
I will be referring to what some call the "Kill Combo" later in this guide, and I'll take the time here to explain what it is;
Tristana's abilities can all be used in rapid succession, even while she is in the middle of her Rocket Jump. The combo is using W to land on an enemy, hitting them with E while in mid-air, and upon landing hitting Q and applying Ignite. If you are positioned to put your enemy farther from their safer destination, you can also use R right away to knock them back.
Common uses for this would be jumping behind an Ashe that is pushed to your tower, and then knocking them back within range of the tower while blasting away with Q. Another example is if you and your opponents are both in the middle of bottom lane, and they try to run away, you can jump just ahead of them, applying your slow, and then blast them back away from their tower, isolating the ADC or support.
If you are not in a position to move the enemy to a spot they wouldn't want to be, then save your R for a quick burst at the end instead. Using it right away can actually knock the opponent to safety, and you will have just defeated yourself.
Simply put, the Kill Combo is:
+++ (if you choose ignite) with as a situationally timed use.
Frame by frame, here is how it should look:
Item Buildsand to start.
Your level 1 W should give you all the mobility you need. Most games I play I don't even get Boots until after I have Bilgewater Cutlass (and sometimes not even until I finish Blade of the Ruined King), because between W, Flash, and Q, I have enough mobility and attack speed to farm effectively and trade when needed.
If it comes to trading, you should do your best to play passively, focusing on getting last-hits on minions and taking as little damage as possible. You will slowly gain an advantage over time with your passive increase to range each level. This makes it easier to poke at them with auto-attacks when they go for last hits on your minions and get out before they can do anything.
Now start working on Late-Game goals.
How Do We build After We Have Our Boots and 2?
You will be doing a significant amount of damage on all targets that stay in range for more than a few seconds with just these two items, so if you are having trouble staying alive, it would not be a bad idea to build your survival item now. Again, this is ONLY if you feel you are doing a good amount of damage for your team. If you feel you need more, like you cannot kill a squishy in 4 seconds, then get your next damage item.
THE RULE OF INFINITY EDGE:
Infinity Edge takes 3 prerequisite items to build; , , and . The value of items does not go in the order of price however. Pickaxe, despite being more expensive, is not as valuable to your damage as Cloak of Agility is. The reason being is first of all, critical hits are awesome. With the 3 items you already have you should be hitting very, very hard as it is. Now double that. And also throw in an attack speed buff from your Frenzy mastery.
Taking this into account, you should always try to maxmize your gold efficiency while buying up to Infinity Edge. If you have just over 1550g, buy the BF Sword, and if you have less, buy Cloak of Agility. If you have enough to buy Cloak of Agility AND Pickaxe (1605g-2280g), that is fine, but never should you ever just buy Pickaxe alone unless it is the last item left and you don't have enough gold for Infinity Edge strait-out yet. If you have over 2280g, then buy BF Sword and Cloak together.
If their team has a champion or two that can lock on to you and destroy you no matter what, such as Zed, Nocturne, Kha'Zix, Vi, or Fiora, then Guardian Angel is going to be your smart option.
For most other cases, Mercurial Scimitar will be the better option, simply because of the damage increase and active escape. Mercurial Scimitar is a borderline must-build if their team has Warwick, Skarner, or Fiddlesticks and you do not have Cleanse.
Final Damage Item:
If there is just really one or maybe two targets on their team that need to die ASAP, or if their front line is very tanky and you cannot melt through them before they get to you, then build a Phantom Dancer. If their team is not extremely tanky, then going with Statikk Shiv can be acceptable just for poke and AoE crits. This item is very strong on Tristana particularly since she gains stacks incredibly fast when her Q is activated and she's on a target.
Early Game Mission:Stay alive, get as much farm as possible. Do not engage unless it is GUARANTEED kill or assist AND you can get out ALIVE.
Early game is going to consist mostly of doing your best to last hit and farm. Stay safe, get gold. You are likely the slowest person on the map at this point so make sure you use your abilities sparingly. The worst thing that can happen is you don't have enough mana to use your W to either get a kill or get away. Always keep this in mind: You are trading the decent early game most Tristana players recommend for a much stronger mid game, which leads to an even stronger late game. Survival and farming is what you should be doing until you get Blade of the Ruined King and Berserker's Greaves.
That being said: If you see a health pot active on an enemy, landing an E on them is great since it reduces they healing they get from it by 50%, and with the change to its range being the same as your auto attack range, landing this will be much easier than it has been in previous seasons. Just be careful, if they have an enemy that can displace you, like Blitzcrank, Thresh, or Nautilus, you may have just walked into your death.
CS (Creep Score, aka minions killed by last-hits) is very, very important. With 2 points in your E, CS is slightly different for Tristana than it is for other champions, but with time you will find that it is easier. Whenever you kill a minion, it causes 75 damage (at lvl 2) to all enemies around it, meaning other minions and enemy champions. Keep this in mind when looking at minion health bars, and also where the enemy champions are standing. If you kill a creep next to them, it's free poke damage and gold for you.
A good way to measure how you are doing at CS is to average it out. Try to aim for 8-10 CS per minute of gameplay. This is not as easy as it sounds, since only 6 minions spawn every 30 seconds, meaning 12 minions/minute total. If you are dead, it's going to hurt your cs, so do your best to not put yourself in situations where you will be killed. Every 3rd wave of minions also spawns a siege minion, so every other minute there will be 13 minions rather than 12(until 35 minutes in, when this changes to every other wave.) The siege minion is worth twice as much as a normal one, so make sure you last hit it.
80 cs @ 10 mins = good
100 cs @ 10 mins = awesome (and almost impossible)
160 cs @ 20 mins = good
200 cs @ 20 mins = awesome (and very difficult)
and so on and so forth.
What I tend to do is look at the timer, use the minutes and first half of the seconds as what my CS should be around. For example, if going by 10/min (Challenger Class):
12:36 = 123 CS (1236, just drop the 6)
15:43 = 154 CS (1544, drop the 3)
22:25 = 222 CS (2225, drop the 5)
A more realistic expectation of CS/min for a majority of players reading this isn't calculated quite as simple, but won't make you feel like you are way behind in CS either. Just subtract 3 mins off the timer and then calculate your cs accordingly. Examples:
11:23: 11 - 3 = 8. So it becomes 8:23 = 82 CS
14:11: 14 - 3 = 11. = 111 CS
8:54: 8 - 3 = 5. = 55 CS
This will take a lot of practice if you are not good at CS, but then again getting CS is a core skill all players need to have in this game. Especially ADCs. Also keep in mind this isn't 100% accurate, as minions do not spawn until 1:30, and it's impossible to have 13 cs when 6 haven't even made it to lane yet. This is just a guideline/measuring tool. Just bear in mind that this method applies only so long as the laning phase is still going on. After laning phase, its just grab as much as you can wherever possible.
Your early game with this build is not very strong, so do not try to go and fight strait-up with the enemy, because more than likely you will not win. Early skirmish wins can happen when your jungler ganks, or one of the enemies is out of position and your support can capitalize on the situation. But for the most part, be wary, going 0-0-0 isn't great, but it's better than giving free gold to your laning opponent.
That being said, here's the game plan if all goes well with your CS:
You are going to want to back at around 1350 gold or more, and buy Bilgewater Cutlass and Boots of Speed. If you don't feel you need the boots, then you can buy other things to help lane phase like Health Pots, Red Pot, and Wards. This is more likely to occur if you have a support that gives you some kind of mobility boost, like Janna, Thresh, Karma and etc.
At 1800 you can back again to buy BotRK. Again, if it looks like Laning phase is going to keep going and you have extra gold, you can buy the wards/pots etc. again instead of Greaves, but at this point usually laning phase is coming to a close and you need to finish your first big item and get your second item soon, so I wouldn't recommend the utility supplies unless you know you are going to still be there a while.
Mid Game Mission:Participate in team fights, never dive deep unless they are all WAY low on HP and you are close to full. Knock over turrets, continue to farm waves, and start taking jungle monsters for extra gold. You need to start working on Infinity Edge ASAP.
This is what most players consider to be Tristana's weakest point in the game, but with this build she is actually dangerously strong. The reason for this is because once you get Blade of the Ruined King, as most other ADC's will be doing now, your Q will be at least level 2, and more commonly level 3. This means that even if the enemy is slightly ahead, you still have an advantage in both range and dps on target.
You will be able to trade and zone better at this point, and with your BotRK and Q activated can usually survive most 2v2 skirmishes as long as you don't get exhaust/Nunu snowball/perma-stun thrown on you. Make sure you use the on-use ability from BotRK too if you do get into a serious fight, and if you bought a Red Pot use that too. Still be cautious and smart about your positioning and when you engage. You are not Caitlyn, Graves, or Ezreal, you don't have a decent quick escape, and you don't have tankiness either. Cockiness leads to you getting killed, and the enemy ADC snowballing over you because of it. Remember, there is a reason I recommended cleanse for this setup.
With both BotRK and Berserker's Greaves, you can actually start looking for easy kills, since you will be able to deal more damage with your kill combo than most other ADC's at this point in the game. The most important thing to remember with the kill combo is that landing your Jump can (and usually will) be the difference between a kill and someone escaping. If you are already fairly close to someone that you can kill, then don't use your Jump until they try to escape, either with flash or some other escape ability.
If there is ever a moment where either the ADC or Support is alone (like when the support goes to ward dragon, or when the ADC backs to buy) both you and your support should not hesitate to jump (literally) onto the remaining player to try and combo them to death. Tristana's W is a very strong engage 2v1 and immediately follow with Q to blow them up.
This combo is particularly easy and deadly with supports like Janna, Leona, Lulu, Nami, Sona, and especially Taric, since they all boost your auto attacks in some way and/or can lock down opponents for longer to maximize your uptime with your Q.
At this point in the game you should have both Berserker's Greaves and Blade of the Ruind King. Your next item is going to be Last Whisper, shortly followed by Infinity Edge.
Getting Last Whisper is more beneficial than going to Infinity Edge first because of a few reasons that mesh well with how I (and subsequently this guide instructs you to) play Tristana.
First off, Last Whisper costs 2300g total, and Infinity Edge costs 3800. That's 40% less. Which means you get another 40 flat AD, and the even more beneficial 35% armor ignore. Why is this more beneficial than 70 AD, 25% crit and crits doing 50% more damage? Because the on-hit effects from BotRK are physical damage, just like your auto-attacks, and are also reduced by armor. By getting the 35% armor ignore early, you are not only boosting your auto-attacks on targets, but also boosting the on-hit effects of BotRK that your auto-attacks cause. This damage adds up to be very substantial, and though it will not do more damage to an unarmored target, it will do significantly more to tanks with HP and/or Armor, because the more HP they have, the more damage you do to them.
Secondly, If you do try to go Infinity Edge first, you run the risks of not being able to be as helpful in teamfights, because IE costs a lot to farm up and you are not farming exclusively anymore. You also may be putting yourself behind the other ADC, who may be going for a mid-game dominance build with some Dorans Swords and/or a Bloodthirster.
Taking all of these thoughts into account, what it really boils down to is:
Do you want to do more damage to tanks/bruisers and still have good damage on non-tanks?
Do you want to do more damage on non-tanks but still have trouble killing tanks/bruisers?
I personally prefer to be able to put out consistent damage no matter what I'm shooting. I always build Last Whisper second because with both BotRK and LW, I am doing significant damage. If the enemy stacked armor, it doesn't matter. If they stacked health, it doesn't matter. If they did both, it doesn't matter. I'm going to melt them. I've also found that I am getting Q to max level around the same time that I finish Last Whisper, so that means more on-hit effects coupled with more auto-attacks on any target. Which is obviously a very beneficial to us. Overall this leads to a much stronger mid-game to late-game which in turn means a faster everything else from this point.
So with just these items, let's analyze the stats:
40% AtkSpd total
15% Lifesteal total
Auto-attacks do 5% of target current hp as physical damage (remember that this build is auto-attack reliant already)
60 Second CD on-use that is INCREDIBLY strong.
Total Cost: 3200g
Infinity Edge :
Crits do 250% damage insead of 200%
Total Cost: 3800g
70 (100) AD
12% (18%) Lifesteal
Total Cost: 3200g
So for 600g less than IE, or the same amount as BT, you gain substantially more stats than you would from either item. The only stat that is lacking is flat AD, but as stated before, this is compensated by the on-hit effects, which can vary depending on your target, but generally will be more helpful that more flat-AD. And as I've mentioned before and will again in this guide, you will be have a level 3 Q to go with all those stats as well, making you very, very dangerous on a champion who is supposedly very weak in the mid game. Prepare to surprise your opponents.
Moving on to the next item:
REMEMBER THE RULE OF INFINITY EDGE
See above if you missed it. Generally, you want to keep these numbers in mind:
1550: BF Sword
1605: Cloak + Pickaxe
2280: BF Sword + Cloak
3155: All 3 Pre-reqs
3800: Infinity Edge
Purchase your items according to the Rule.
Transitioning into Late Game:
Once you have your Infinity Edge, you can either start working towards your next Damage Item, or if you are being targeted and/or killed, get a survival item.
Generally, with the first 3 damage Items of BotRK, LW, and IE, I find myself doing a very good amount of damage and melting tanks fairly fast in team fights. Because of this I like to go the safer route and buy a Guardian Angel so I don't get destroyed by lock-on champions or big bruisers who laugh at CC like Xin Zhao, Olaf, and Jarvan IV.
Late Game Mission:Attain Victory. Be with your team. Still hang back behind your melees and keep your support nearby. Shoot what you can, do not try to go for what you cannot reach or go for bait. Secure objectives, and as always, FARM. Infinity Edge is necessary, and you need it ASAP once you have Phantom Dancer.
A.K.A. The scary stage where the Megling Gunner becomes the Sniper that melts faces. You should be completed with your Infinity Edge or at least close to it, and your Q has been maxed for a little while now. Time to be scary with the burst. Knock down your tower if you have not already, and start working with your team to take map objectives. CS where you can, but you need to be with your team to do damage in the event that somebody gets caught on either your team or the enemy's. Things like Dragon, Baron, Blues/Reds, and Towers are the focus of the match-up at this point, and team fights are going to happen. You need to be there for team fights, otherwise your team is going to get wiped out.
With this being the focus now (and for the rest of the game), you need to assess what you are going to build. Meaning, what will be the most beneficial to you at this point and help you with fights against your opponents. Do you need more damage? Or do you need survivability? Does your support/jungler need help warding? It is a very situational time and you need to build according to what you are facing.
From my experience, a survival item like Guardian Angel is going to be the most beneficial. Tristana is still very squishy, and teams like to focus her as often as possible, especially after seeing how fast she melts HP bars with this build from mid game onward.
Once you complete your survival item, or if you choose to skip it, then your last damage item is going to be either Phantom Dancer or Statikk Shiv.
As you can see from the stats, both of these items are fairly similar in nature. They both give Crit, Attack Speed, and Movement Speed in large quantities. Statikk Shiv has a little bit less of the 2 damage dealing stats, but compensates for this with its passive proc ability. The lightning does 100 damage, and is capable of being a critical strike. So really it can do 250 damage (because you already have Infinity Edge) to multiple targets, and is really good for poking. Depending on what you are facing, and who you have on your team, one of these items may be slightly better than the other, but in the end the difference is very small. The simplest advice I can give is that if there are 1 or 2 really beefy and dangerous champs that are going to hunt you down, get Phantom Dancer for more single-target DPS. If you are in a poke war and/or have people who can peel bruisers/assassins off you easily, then go with Statikk Shiv for more DPS in a team fight. Tristana gains stacks very, very quickly with her Q activated so you will be doing lighting damage about every 2-3 seconds just standing there and shooting someone.
When buying either of these items, what you need to keep in mind is that:
Crit Items > Attack Speed items ALWAYS
What I mean by that is you should never buy a Dagger. You should be getting Brawler's Gloves, Zeal, Cloak of Agility or Avarice Blade to get the crit stat. More attack speed is not as beneficial to you at this point as critical strikes are. Especially since you have Infinity Edge. And also since your critical strikes GIVE YOU ATTACK SPEED. Similar to the rule of Infinity Edge, spend gold wisely and maximize yourself.
Once you are full built, get a red pot, and if you still have gold, Alicrity or Furor on your boots.
With the current build setup, if you get Alicrity your move speed will be 403 constantly, and if you get Furor it will be 388 until you attack something, where it spikes to 429 and quickly fades down to 418, 403, and 397, and 388 again. So if you are chasing a lot, I suppose Furor would be better, but Alicrity is probably better overall since it helps move away and get into positions no matter what.
If they have stealthies on their team (Wukong/Teemo/Shaco/Twitch/Rengar/Kha'Zix/Akali/Evelynn), I would recommend getting an Oracle's Elixir before the boots enhancement.
Another option you can do is replace your boots completely with Zephyr. Chaox has done this a couple times, and I have not really had many opportunities to try this. But in a nutshell you are sacrificing a small amount of movement speed to gain a lot of other beneficial stats.
I am still not sure how I feel about this on Tristana, because at the point in the game where you would consider this option, your attack speed is already through the roof, even more so with Q active, and Tenacity on you will not stop much since you are going to be dead no matter what if you get caught out of position. The CDR is nice but not really necessary for Tristana's playstyle, and 20 AD is good but will hardly be noticeable on top of your already substantial damage output.
This is all purely speculation however, and should the opportunity present itself to me I will try this as when I can and post more solid results rather than just analysis and theory.
Situational Item Build FlowchartAs Thresholden pointed out in the comments, one of the most important parts to being and ADC is knowing when to buy what Items, so I'll take the time here to go into more in-depth explanations of when to buy what items.
Do you have any of these supports for extra mobility:
Yes: -> build before even getting boots.
No: -> Build after you have
Moving on from there
Are you winning or losing lane?
Losing: -> Farm as much as you can as safely as you can. If you need to, start taking some of the jungle on your side (Golems for Blue Side, Wolves for Purple). Do not get yourself into any positions that would lead to you feeding the enemy even more, even if it means giving up your turret. Farm Farm Farm is your only chance at catching back up. If you are coordinated well with your support or jungler (or both) try to setup a good gank, but if they are too far ahead there probably isn't much your jungler can do for you. Buying + can be a great way for you to swing the advantage back in your favor for the next 2v2 fight, just don't forget to use red pot as soon as they commit to a fight, along with the on-use from either your Bilgewater Cutlass or BotRK.
Winning: -> Then start looking to setup kills between you and your Support/Jungler, if you have not gotten some already. Your kill Combo is very strong if you have Blade of the Ruined King, so take advantage where you can. Keep in mind that winning lane does not mean winning game. You still need to farm, and if you can help other lanes, do so. Your support should always be with you if you go roaming.
4th DPS Item or Survival Item?
First thing you need to consider is:
Are you being focused or having trouble staying alive (not due to your positioning)?
Yes: -> Survival Item
No: -> 4th DPS Item
If you answered 'Yes' to the last question, are you being killed by lock-ons like:
are you being killed by lots of Suppression or CC on their team from champions like:
Killed by Lock-Ons: -> build
Killed by Suppression/CC's: -> build
If you answered 'No' to having trouble staying alive, the next thing to consider is:
Which DPS Item do I build?
Single Target Focus (generally always build this if you are behind) -> build
Poke/AOE Focus (generally only if you are ahead already) -> build
Team FightsFor team fights, your job is to stay just behind your front line bruisers, and blow up whatever is in your range to shoot. Luckily, you have more range than any other ADC, so this should be a slightly easier. If you get caught however, you probably just lost the fight for your team unless one of your allies is very, very fed. Your FIRST AND FOREMOST job as any ADC is to NOT DIE/GET CAUGHT while maintaining maximum damage on enemies.
Knowing when to use your W is what will make or break you here. You essentially taunt the whole team when you jump in front of everybody else, because you are a very squishy and desirable target to them. Only use W when chasing someone down in a 1v1 or 2v1 situation. Jumping ahead of your front liners is a really easy way to get killed in less than 4 seconds. Put simply, when you W, you just went all-in. Be very, very careful when using W.
Sit back, auto attack what you can, and if someone is going to be there for more than a few seconds, activate your Q and try to burst them down or force them to use an escape. When your Q is active, you are 90% stronger than the other ADC if you are even in items. You also have at least 100 range on them. If your team is engaging properly, it shouldn't take you more than a few seconds to burst down a carry that gets caught/locked down, and you can melt tanks over a few more seconds if they stay too long.
The most important part, as it is with any ADC, is to never get caught. Late game team fights are the crucial point where the ADC needs to be positioned correctly and doing maximum damage. Not only that, but you should have either the support, top-lane tank, or jungler peeling enemies off of you, because they will be aiming for you. The worst thing that you can do when playing Tristana is leap away from all your friends thinking you'll save yourself. You won't. If somebody gets close, use your ult to knock them back. Keep shooting at whatever you can, and don't try to run through 2 or more enemies just to get to that one guy in the back with low HP. Stay with friends, shoot anything close to you, and only jump in when you know you will survive. You should be doing the most damage out of everyone on your team. Play smart, play safe, and you will win.
Support OptionsThe thing to remember with with supports with Tristana is that they need to be able to do at least one of two things: Either able to poke fairly well (since Tristana does not), or able to help Tristana's kill combo either by increasing the effectiveness of her auto-attacks or locking down an opponent so they cannot escape. The role of the support is also known as the Carry-Carry, since they are a major deciding factor as to how the ADC turns out late-game.
I will be ranking Supports on a scale of 1-5 in terms of how well they work with Tristana.
2- Not that good
I will also be ranking supports in how difficult they are to play in combination with Tristana.
Alistar: 4 - Difficulty: 2
Great with almost any ADC, you have double the positioning between his pound and headbutt + your W into R. Let Alistar do the zoning for you, he's a strong support that can keep the enemy back while you farm freely. Just make sure to always be within jumping range of him, in case he needs backup or sets up a kill for you.
Blitzcrank: 4 - Difficulty: 2
Similar to Alistar, with less of the risk and tankiness. Doesn't have any sustain for you like Alistar though, which means more gold on Health Potions if you find yourself being poked a lot. Blitz's pull, punch, and silence combo is great for setting up your Rocket Jump, and likely will be a free kill unless they flash or other strong disengage ability ready.
Fiddlesticks: 1 - Difficulty: 3
Good for poking and annoying the enemy, and his R + your W means they will take almost full damage from it the ult unless they flash. If you are against a team with more sustain or poke, however, prepare to play passively. Fiddle's only job at that point will be sight wards so you don't get ganked/dove.
Janna: 5 - Difficulty: 3
A good overall support, with strengths that tie well with Tristana. Her shield will amplify the damage you do with your Q going significantly, and it will also protect you somewhat if you dive deep with your W. This of course means that you both will need to coordinate the use of her shield and your Q. She also gives you a passive movement speed bonus, which is nice since you won't be starting with boots. Her ult and your ult can be used in a variety of fun and interesting ways, either for engaging, disengaging, or moving someone way out of place.
Karma: 3 - Difficulty: 3
Shields, Heals, and speeds, but rarely do you see a good one. Her Shield + Slow + AOE dps/heal can make for a great combo with your W+Q+E onto an enemy. If you have good communication with your Karma, both of your combos will be devastating every time they are up, but will not be very effective on any teams that have a hard CC.
Leona: 5 - Difficulty: 2
The Double-Dunk. Very aggressive lane that can be very scary for your opponents to try and trade with. Just hope that she knows when to engage and when not to. You will be the one having to zone/poke if needed. Make sure to activate your Q as soon as you catch an opponent with a stun, but don't use your W until Leona has used all of her lockdowns.
Lulu: 4 - Difficulty: 2
Annoying for anyone to play against, and sometimes to play with. Lulu has great poke and tide-turning abilities for duo fights, but her poking can really f*ck up your cs sometimes. You can get a surprising amount of burst on someone though if you can time all her Pix, Shield, and ult with your W+E+Q combo.
Lux: 4 - Difficulty: 3
If they can land all their skill shots, awesome. If not, NO. Lux is a higher skill cap support than most of the others, because all of her abilities are skill shots. That being said, she can make for a great support if they can land most of them. Her Q can act as a temporary ward and be a CC, and has a very long range. Her E is a root that locks down up to 2 players, and in bot lane generally you will be facing 2 champions. Her W is a shield that can absorb damage on the way out and then refresh if you catch it on the way back. Lux herself is not very tanky though, so you will have to play from a distance most of the time and engage on things yourself.
Nami: 5 - Difficulty: 3
See "Lux" description. Also needs to know when to use their spells on you and when to use them on the enemy, but overall not bad if they can land their skill shot. Her E is great combined with your Q for some very fast and hard burst on an opponent. Her ult is great, easy to land, and works well with your kill combo.
Nidalee: 3 - Difficulty: 2
Poke lane, which you won't be able to effectively do until later on. However, has a heal to sustain you, and her traps can really make your W + Q combo melt enemies fast early on. If she is good with her spears and traps, she can poke someone down and you can finish them off quick. A more difficult support though, since it's very reliant on skills shots and position of not only the champion, but also the traps.
Nunu: 3 - Difficulty: 1
Not as good as one might think to be paired with Tristana. Nunu is one of the few supports currently that brings not a whole lot to the table in terms of what Tristana combos well with. He can give you an additional attack speed/movement buff which will be helpful with no boots early on, and can disable the enemy ADC with his snowball, but he needs to auto-attack minions in order to get his free spell passive snowball, and with your lane already automatically pushes because of your own passive (E), this can be annoying and dangerous. His ult is good if you can get a surprise explosion from a bush (which then makes your kill combo that much easier to land), but more often than not currently supports are warding almost all the bushes in bot lane just so they have vision of what is lying in wait.
Orianna: 3 - Difficulty: 2
Shields and speed boosts make for safer plays early game, and her ult can line up your W rather nicely for a kill combo in duo fights. Outside of that, her ball can be used as a temporary ward and cc similar to Lux's Q. The difference being Orianna has a little more control over it. Her shield will make your Jumps a little more safe, and the speed boost it can turn into is great if you need to disengage fast.
Sona: 5 - Difficulty: 2
Good poke and sustain, but can be very squishy early on. Her aura management will be crucial to the Damage of your Q, and her R + your Jump into kill combo can be really dangerous for your enemies. Has a mediocre disengage aura to speed you away, and since you won't have boots early this can be helpful.
Soraka: 4 - Difficulty: 1
Awesome with almost any champ. A sustain bot. Heal, free mana, and bonus armor/resists. Also has great poke/zone ability. Her ability to give you free mana means that you will be able to use your abilities much more often, and with one of the smallest mana pools and mp5 ratios in the game, that is very convenient for Tristana. Her bonus magic resist helps against opponenets with AP damage, like Ezreal, and a majority of the common supports.
Taric: 5 - Difficulty: 1
Great with almost every ADC. Increases your armor, can heal you, able to stun the enemy and then reduce their armor to shreds, while you blast them away with your Q going. His kill combo paired with your own makes you incredibly dangerous for a short period of time. You will have increased AD, they will have reduced armor, and you will have a lot more attack speed while they are stunned. This is almost a guarantee first blood at level 2, or at the very least a guaranteed draw on summoner's spells from your lane opponents.
Thresh: 4 - Difficulty: 2
Something of a hybrid between Blitzcrank and Nautilus, Thresh becomes very tanky, provides a ridiculous amount of CC, and a provides a Shield/Quick Escape for you. Great option for when you want to dive fast and get out faster. Has no sustain for you however, so more gold spent on health potions for sustainability. If he gets someone gripped, let Thresh CC them for as long as he can before you jump in with your W. If he activates his ult, you can jump ahead and blast them backwards into one of his other walls for more slowed time on them. Likewise, if he uses his ult to disengage and someone slips by, you can knock them backwards and into one of his walls, securing an escape if it were not already secured.
Zyra: 3 - Difficulty: 3
Zyra is similar to Lux in regards to the job as a support for the ADC. She has an advantage over most with 575 range, allowing her to poke much easier on ADC's with less risk, and has a skillshot-based CC that can help save you or secure kills on opponents. The difference between Lux and Zyra however is that Zyra has no way to prevent damage done to you like Lux's shield. She also has no sustain for either herself or you. Essentially if somebody picks Zyra, they need to be absolutely sure of themselves, because it's a kill lane combo. And if you are a kill lane combo that doesn't kill, that's bad news for you.
Special thanks to qazwaxman for the catch on missing this champion, hat's off to you :)
JunglingTristana does not jungle. This section is mostly for your support actually.
With the introduction of Sightstone and Ruby Sightstone, there is no real reason why bushes in the bottom lane should not be warded almost all of the time during laning phase. Supports should be rushing Sightstone as one of their first items, and buying a couple more wards on top of that to put into lane bushes. This setup is why you can start and continue for so long without boots. You can see almost everything coming and have plenty of time to get out if you need to.
If your support is not doing this for one reason or another, then buying wards will be a good idea. If you don't see a jungler coming, there is a good chance you, your support, or both of you, are going to be killed. spending 75g for vision of an area for 3 mins is a great deal almost anytime. Don't be afraid to help out your support, especially if you are ahead.
Final CommentsIt is a somewhat different type of play style to Tristana than what most players are used to seeing, but I know for a fact it works very effectively.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments of any kind, just leave them in the comments below and I will do my best to keep things updated and answer as much as possible as best I can.
Hope you enjoyed the guide, and Good Luck with the Megling Gunner!