Hokay, as I write this the date is 12/31/09 and the current patch is version 126.96.36.199. This is a guide to Tristana, one of my more recently acquired tastes and a bundle of guntoting, flying laughs. Tristana is one of the better ranged physical heroes in this game, topping Ashe and Teemo easily on my list, her sheer damage output and brilliant escape mechanisms made up my mind rather quickly. So, if you like making ****ing donuts out of people's chests and turrets this is the hero for you. (Note: Yelling "BOOM HEADSHOT!" after Buster Shot kills is incredibly satisfying, especially when the Ashe playing next to you almost knocks his chair over because of it, LoL.)
If you're up for some more reading and have an interest in improving as a player overall I recommend reading this thread written by condon.
ITEMS UPDATED 1/4/10
ITEMS UPDATED AGAIN 03/12/10
Before You Start Plugging People... (The Pregame)
I recommend teleport on Tristana as almost a requirement, her ability to annihilate buildings is highly augmented by quick entrances to lanes the opponent was otherwise ignoring. It also increases your map control and ganking potential which is key for any hero. If you plan to solo, I can't stress getting teleport enough, leaving your lane alone with an enemy solo for any long amount of time can be disastrous as they will *****slap wave after wave of creep and possibly **** up your turret first, and we can't have that.
Second spell, I personally take Exhaust as it gives you more time to blast some dumbass Goomba you jumped on and also has carry control and escape uses, get creative. It won't do anything if you leave it on cooldown waiting for that perfect moment so use it often.
Other options include Ignite and Flash for personal play. Flash is amusing for the surprise of blowing people away from their turrets and team with Buster Shot and then jumping back on them and Ignite gives you a significant DoT component to any gank.
In a premade setting Rally, Clairvoyance etc can be used, but I wouldn't bother unless you're planning to play with a predetermined team.
B. Masteries 21/0/9
3/3 Malice 1/1 Cripple 1/1 Spatial Accuracy 3/3 Perseverance
4/4 Sorcery 4/4 Alacrity 4/4 Awareness
1/1 Archaic Knowledge 1/3 Sunder 1/1 Greed
3/3 Brute Force
This is my personal build, play to your strengths when doing Masteries, everyone likes different things and the 'standard' build doesn't always fit you. I like to pick up Archaic Knowledge instead of more Sunder or Offensive Mastery or Archmage's Savvy for the MagicPen, this will magnify the terror you unleash with Rocket Jump, Explosive Shot, and Skull**** (aka Buster Shot).
I'm not going to get too in-depth here, as I haven't number crunched efficiency of the different types of runes, but if you're using my item build crit chance and crit damage are preferable for Red and Yellow slots, though I hear ArPen runes are the best for Red slots. Mana Regen per Level or CDR are a decent choice for your blues. Quints are your call.
The Skills That Pay the Kills
A. Skill Progression
First off, I definitely recommend taking the solo lane. Your ult does as much as the MFing Cho'gath's at level 6 and you can use yours to bat people around like Babe Ruth or just to splatter their brains all over the ground from afar. Still, if some jackass insists on soloing or you just don't feel like it, you'll do fine in a lane.
You'll prefer a partner that doesn't need a lot of gold, aka not Yi, Pirate, etc. In my experience Blitz, Singed, Alastair are all fantastic lane-mates for getting easy kills, but pretty much anyone with a slow or stun will do the trick.
Rapid Fire (Q)
Tristana fires her weapon rapidly, increasing Tristana's attack speed by 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90% for 7 seconds.
Cooldown: 20 seconds
Cost: 100 Mana
Pretty self-explanatory skill, Rapid Fire is your bread and butter skill when killing powerful neutrals (rune monsters, dragon, Baron), in a hero battle, or when pushing turrets. Don't use it any other time as the mana cost can be prohibitive on a low mana character like Tristana and Rocket Jump is more effective at clearing a creep wave.
Rocket Jump (W)
Tristana fires at the ground to propel herself to target location, dealing 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+0.8 per ability power) magic damage and slowing surrounding units by 60% for 2.5 seconds when she lands. On kill or assist, Rocket Jump's cooldown resets.
Cooldown: 12 seconds
Cost: 100 Mana
Jump is Tristana's best skill early game by far, nothing makes half-health heroes shat their pants more than an angry Smurf with a huge gun dropping on their face, learn to love it. It also serves the dual purpose of allowing a scared ******bag (that's you, yes I'm looking at you Timmy) to fly to safety over a wall or just generally away from the direction of the oncoming death.
The uses of jump are limited only by your creativity and mana, remember it comes off cooldown every time an enemy champion you participated in killing dies. This allows for some interesting tricks if you have the mana to spare and the creativity to think of them on the fly. If you killed someone on a turret dive don't forget that you can jump right back out after.
Explosive Shot (E)
Passive: While Explosive Shot is ready to cast, enemies explode when slain by Tristana's attacks, dealing 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 / 110 magic damage to nearby enemies.
Active: Explosive Shot rends target enemy, reducing healing and health regeneration by 50% and dealing 25 (+0.1 per ability power) Magic Damage per second.
Lasts 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 seconds.
Cooldown: 16 seconds
Cost: 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 Mana
Explosive Shot allows you to clear your lane at a decent clip, you may miss out on some last hits because of it but the free pushing power is worth the trade off.
It also has a nasty active that will apply a healing reducing DoT effect to the enemy, this is your best friend against Mundo, Singed, etc that have high healing moves. As soon as you see their ult go up slap them with an Explosive Shot to deny them much needed regeneration, you can also deny half a heal spell if you can anticipate your opponents accurately.
The debuff is the most useful portion, but don't discount the DoT if you think a low-health opponent will get away, especially if you're packing Ignite as well. I like two ranks of this early for decent explosions and 5 seconds of healing prevention for ganking.
Buster Shot (R)
Tristana fires a massive cannonball at an enemy unit. This deals 300 / 400 / 500 (+1.5 per ability power) magic damage and knocks surrounding units back 600 / 800 / 1,000 distance.
Cooldown: 60 seconds
Cost: 150 Mana
Tristana's ultimate does exactly what you would think. It shoots a god-**** HUGE bullet straight at some MFer's forehead. The shot is so strong it sends them and surrounding units heads over heels in the other direction. Buster Shot is fantastic, it's one of the strongest level 6 nukes and the knockback component has many different uses. The AP ratio is obnoxiously high (see Ambi's guide on AP Tristana for more on that) and it just ****s people up, no questions asked. I find the best use of the spell to be a finisher, given a non-lethal shot blasts them directly away from you and in all likelihood to safety, but don't be too conservative with it as it can serve many functions.
With practice, the knockback is an easy way to split people from their teammates, push them into turrets, knock away a chaser, push them into your team, and on and on. Like jump Buster Shot has a fantastic number of uses that with practice you can master. I've used Buster Shot to push entire TEAMS away from a fleeing teammate, for example. Bunches of people make for great targets and you could find a worse initiator than Buster shot, provided you know what you're doing. It also functions as an interrupt effect, Nunu isn't so scary if every Absolute Zero is immediately countered by a Buster Shot. Same thing with Fiddle, blast his happy ass and his Crowstorm far away from you and your team.
Which Cannon Should I Pack?
Like any physical carry, Tristana focuses on Damage, Crit %, Critical Damage, Attack Speed, Life Steal, and ArPen. Obviously each is good, but how do you decide which is best? By looking at those fools on the other side of course.
After further testing with different builds I've stumbled upon a new one which I find I like more and more as my games go on. Looks like this...
Starting Items: Brawler's Gloves + HP Potionx2
First Trip: Pick up your Boots of Speed and work towards finishing your Zeal, if necessary buy another health pot or two if you're really taking a pounding in your lane.
Second Trip: Finish your Zeal and upgrade your boots. If you see really clear threats pick up either the Merc Treads or Ninja Tabi, if it's spread around enough or you're feeling crazy feel free to get Zerker's Greaves.
Third-Fourth Trip: Vampiric Scepter and a BF Sword, you're looking to finish a Bloodthirster sometime in the near future.
Xth Trip: Finish up your Phantom Dancer now, as fast as you can. I recommend saving for the Crit Cloak as your next item as you should have plenty of IAS.
After this head for an Infinity Edge at your best judgment, I usually buy the damage items before the crit cloak and mix in a Green Elixir after a purchase if I can. Trust me this Elixir pays for itself every time. By the time you finish your Infinity Edge, you will be able to bust a cap in even the toughest characters' asses.
After this you can do whatever needs to be done. High armor heroes? Last Whisper or Black Cleaver. Need more lifesteal? Another Bloodthirster or Stark's if your team doesn't have one already. Getting dodged too much by that ****rat Jax or Nidalee? Try Sword of the Divine (extreme cases only). Want some more HP or tired of *****es running away? Frozen Mallet works well, though normally all you would need is Phage with the IAS you get. A Banshee's Veil can help you against being stunned and focused or being grabbed by a Blitzcrank. I've had success building all of these items, you really need to examine the enemy composition, figure out where the problem is or will be and build to counter it. If your dominating and can't think of anything specific, more elixirs can wrap a game up before they can catch up to you. If you have an early game advantage in kills and towers, DON'T WASTE IT! If you can cap the *****es in mid-game do it, don't give them the chance to don their Kevlar for end-game.
As a side note to that, if you have a big creep wave and you just pushed an inhibitor, you don't have to back right away if the enemy isn't a threat right away. Don't forgot you're Tristana, the tower killing Smurf and those base turrets are just as delicious as the ones outside their other inhibitors and you can hop the base wall for a quick getaway. This is more of a common play-tip then something Tristana specific, but I've known I've come back to win games that an opponent could've ended if he'd gone for the base instead of lanes, don't make this mistake.
Ready, Aim, FIRE!
This focuses more on the solo lane in early game than the dual-lane, I can't give you one or two strategies that will work for every two-hero combination you face with lanemate X. Just remember coordination is the key to a two-person lanes and good use of Rocket Jump will net kills or at least force them to hug their turret for dear life.
Get to your lane, preferably middle. If you're in top or bot you can set-up the gank in the bushes if you want, if you have exhaust you can get a kill between it and jump if they just walk into you.
In middle just be prepared to get some good last hits, you don't need an early kill, I prefer to gauge my opponents reactions to different things during this phase. If they don't mind being shot try to get them to half or two-thirds HP, that's gankable at level 3. If you find yourself against an aggressive opponent stay near the back, make sure if they come to hit you you have a few ranged creep around to punish them for it, give them a couple shots in the ass yourself as well. You're looking for a lull in a creep-wave where you can jump in, chain slow with exhaust or dot with ignite, and pick up a quick kill.
If they play it conservatively push them up against their tower, focus on clearing the creep rather than attacking them. Rack up some damage on their turret, they'll have a hard time last hitting already if the tower is shooting your minions. If they attack you they get even less gold and if they don't you're going to get their turret down very quickly, win-win for you.
The most important part of not being killed in middle is map awareness, keep an eye on the map. Stress MIA calls from your teammates, but if something goes wrong you may find an enemy at your back if you aren't paying attention. Plan your escapes ahead, you can exhaust the person behind you and just run past if their DPS or you can head either way in the river to make a quick wall-jump to evade pursuit. (Baron or Dragon work especially well for this.)
This phase of the game will end for you when you kill their first turret generally, if you're having trouble call for an assist, two heroes and a creep wave can down a turret easily once you kill the solo or if they were the conservative type you should already have enough damage on it to finish it off on your own.
The first middle turret should be dead and that leaves you free to go to other lanes and have a ball. You should be able to pick up some Golem and/or Lizard buffs without much effort to remain in the field longer. Your goal here will be to gank lanes or push turrets. Good jumping with a Buster Shot will easily net you a kill with the two lanemates already in bot or top. One hero won't be able to generally stop you 3 from pushing a turret so take the first turret in all the lanes down as quickly as possible.
I'd also recommend killing dragon when you have a chance, he's soloable once you have a damage item, but he can be two-manned easily at any point past level 6. All of these things will be leading to an early gold advantage for your team that you can turn into a potent battering ram for pushing to inhibitors.
If your team ties up 3-5 of the opponents in a battle over one of your first turrets feel free to push another lane to the second turret with a quick teleport, this is an effective strategy because without multiple disables or 3+ heroes to burst you down you can escape most gank attempts.
Endgame focuses around team pushes, team battles, inhibitor kills and Baron Nashor. At this point your opponents are rarely, if ever, alone and you shouldn't be either. Keep the lanes pushed, but be wary of missing heroes as they are likely group-hunting for kills.
Your now probably putting out huge amounts of damage, but with a small health bar. You want to stay back from the action now. Keep near the back or middle of your team, save Buster Shot for kills or saving teammates, and make sure to focus their carries first. Jump becomes an effective AOE slow for fleeing enemies and make sure to Explosive Shot characters that plan to use regeneration or healing to outmatch your DPS.
Worst-case scenario you have amazing backdoor power, enough to take down Inhibitors and perhaps turrets with ease. Never discount backdooring an enemy Inhibitor, it's a risky play but sometimes worth it in a bad situation.
Play smart and you'll come out of end-game on top. Terrible choices lose people games at this stage and going to get that Golem all by yourself when they're missing can cost you a lot. The respawn times are anywhere from 50-70 something seconds and dying for something minor is NOT worth the risk.
Once they're on the defensive you can get Nashor or just go win, but don't be the guy with Baron buff that runs in and gets his ******* torn open. It's a buff, you're not the Almighty and you'll explode just as quickly with it as you do without it from good focus. Let your tanks and disablers do their job and then demolish the threats with your range.
In short, you do what you've been doing. The only difference is they've decided to group up and just give you all the kills at once to save you time and bullets.
Thanks to condon for writing good guides to Gangplank and Cho'gath, they sort of inspired me to do this. Thanks to Ambi for writing the AP Tristana guide, that got me interested in playing this character, even though I prefer an attack build now, the AP build is fantastically fun as well. Also credit to Ambi for the skill tooltips I used in Skills part B.
Hope you enjoyed reading this guide, if you have read this far you owe me 100 bad solo Ashe scalps, they're a dime a dozen right now with Ashe on free-play.
I'm always looking for feedback, I look forward to hearing yours and hope you have success and fun with Tristana.
P.S.: Happy New Years!
I think there's too much emphasis on attack speed. Rapid Fire gives enough attack speed that you don't need to focus so much on it.
I also prefer getting E up as my main priority constantly, since the farming benefits are huge.
My preferred build is;
Starks or Malady.
After Zeal the order is really fluid, though, I just play for whatever I can get.
Possibly get infinity edge at some point but games rarely last that long.
I main tristana and agree with most of the play style recommendations, but take issue with your skill and item builds.
I HIGHLY recommend prioritizing E (explosive shot) then Q, leaving your rocket jump for last (minus the 1 point at lvl 1 for jump-ins/escaping). You get the same jump distance and slow from rocket jump, regardless of level, and the damage increase is negligible unless you are going for an AP build (which I feel is weaker than pure DPS). I'd much rather have a high level explosive shot to aid in farming, and keeping my opponent back a little ways, plus it pairs nicely with ignite.
Runes: There are a bunch of relatively low cost crit chance items, so I decided to go pure crit dmg which helps me carry late game.
I modify my builds depending on their lineups but here is my general build:
Starting: Doran Shield or Blade + Pot - If I expect to lane vs a good harasser or heroes with a lot of poison (twitch/teemo), I'll get the shield, otherwise I'll get the blade. I don't care if people think doran blade sucks, I like the +hp and the +6 dmg it give early on for some reason makes it significantly easier for me to last hit early game.
Vamp Scepter is weak (near useless) without + dmg, and if you go straight to malady or bloodthirster you will be weak in dmg output early-mid game.
Trip 1: Usually 2x Long swords, + boots
Trip 2: Finish up Brutalizer, Beserkers Greaves (sometimes merc treads), buy Vamp Scepter (sometimes I can do some of this in trip 1 depending how well the game is going)
Next: BF Sword
Next: Bloodthirster or Infinity depending on much money I have. Ideally I want to get Infinity for the crit chance, but if my team is struggling mid game I'll get bloodthirster for the cheap dmg output.
Next: zeal --> phantom or Phange. If I got Infinity I'll generally get phange for the slow and health. If I got bloodthirster I'll get zeal for the crit chance
In general my builds end up looking like one of these two depending on if I get bloodthirster or Infinity as my first high tier item.
Phange (finish into mallet later)
Bloodthirster (getting vamp scepter mid game)
-replace doran with black cleaver or madreds bloodrazer last
-replace doran with black cleaver or mallet last
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