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[Guide] Tristana, the faceraper.

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Senior Member



Hello, I'm Leirkov and I've gotten myself comfy with Tristana now, and I feel like sharing my way of playing Tristana with the forums (plus I hate all of the guides in the directory). I'll try and be humorous but detailed enough so that people get my points.


This guide is currently up to date with the current LoL version and Tristana will be updated right away with any buffs/nerfs in forecoming patches.

6.02.10 - Initial post of guide.
6.04.10 - Switched item order and changed starting item from Doran's Blade to Shield.
6.09.10 - Notes on the item and more tips.
6.10.10 - Added more tips, cleaned the guide up, and made it a bit more beginner friendly / low level player friendly.
6.11.10 - Added in mastery setup.
6.24.10 - More masteries, comments, and added in "Solo mid guide"

[About Tristana]

Tristana is a Ranged DPS (Damage Per Second) character. She specializes in long range combat due to her passive, Draw a Bead, and is also a carry. Carries can singlehandedly take their team on their back and "carry" them with the right build and setup endgame. However, early game they're typically weak and therefore their team needs to "carry" them at that point.

Like any other champion, Tristana has four spells: (Q) Rapid Fire, (W) Rocket Jump, (E) Explosive Shot, and (R - Ultimate) Buster Shot.

Her passive, Draw a Bead, increases her range every level.


(Q) Rapid Fire: Tristana fires her weapon rapidly, increasing her attack speed for a short time. Increases Tristana's attack speed by 30/45/60/75/90% for 7 seconds.
Cooldown: 20 seconds every level.
Cost 80 Mana at every level.Opinion: Amazing skill late game. 90% boost in attack speed will push you up to around 1.7 attacks/second. This is amazing.

(W) Rocket Jump: Tristana fires at the ground to propel herself to a distant location, dealing damage and slowing surrounding units for 3 seconds where she lands. Tristana fires at the ground to propel herself to target location, dealing 70/115/160/205/250 (+0.8) 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: 22/20/18/16/14 secondsCost: 80 Mana each level.Opinion: Not really that useful unless you're building the unorthodox AP Tristana (which is actually very viable). It's got minimal use especially at early levels: Getting out of danger, escaping a possible gank, or slowing the champion / getting in change for a kill. Don't be afraid to use this though.

TIP: Rocket Jump can go over just about every barrier in the game provided you're attempting to jump past the structure (say, a bunch of trees in the jungle) and it's within the "Range Circle."

(E) Explosive Shot: When Tristana kills a unit, her cannonballs burst into shrapnel, dealing damage to surrounding enemies. Can be activated to deal damage to target unit over time, and reduce healing received.
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 25 (+0.1) Magic Damage per second.
Lasts 4/5/6/7/8 seconds.

Cooldown: 16 seconds each level.
Cost: 50/60/70/80/90 ManaRange: 600.

Opinion: Your main harasser early game and still viable late game. This gives a health regen debuff, which cuts it in half. This is great to use coupled with auto attacks. Unless the champion has a hardcore regen item (Regrowth Pendant, for example), then it's tough to defend against this aside from tower hugging.

(R - Ultimate) Buster Shot: Tristana loads a massive cannonball into her weapon and fires it at an enemy unit. This deals magic damage and knocks the target back.

Tristana fires a massive cannonball at an enemy unit. This deals 300/400/500 (+1.5) magic damage and knocks surrounding units back 600/800/1000 distance.
Cooldown: 60 seconds each level.
Cost: 140 Mana each level.
Range: 700
Opinion: Amazing ultimate. Use this is a finisher but you MUST be sure it will get a kill. Seriously, look at magic resistance. I tend to get carried away and just fire this in a team fight on someone that's going to die but they limp off with 100 HP. It pisses me off. A lot. But you know who rages harder? My team. Be cautious. Other than that it's a good escape tool for you and your friends, so don't be shy to buster them away.

TIP: If enemies are bunched up, Buster Shot will knock them ALL back!

[The Setup]

I run a 9/21/0 build (http://i45.tinypic.com/124hflx.jpg). Why? Because Tristana is a carry. You know what most carries are? Squishy. Squishy as ****. Many masteries in the defensive tree help you survive. You don't need 6% CDR from 21 utility and with this build, you should be raping enough faces that my mother's uncle will be **** proud of you, so the extra boost in damage from 21 Offensive isn't necessary.

I've fiddled (haha, Fiddlesticks pun, get it?) around with a 21/7/2 build (http://leaguecraft.com/masteries/3001440110330103013000000000002000000000000), focusing on getting the damage boost from offensive masteries, the HP Regen (which helps immensely during the laning phase) and a bit more of overall regen% boost from utility.

Runes: I run Armor Penetration on Red, Health scaling (HP/level with a cap at 18) on Yellow, and CDR scaling (CDR/level with the cap at 18) on blue. Flat HP on Quints.

[Summoner Spells]

Cleanse: Tristana is a carry. You know what smart teams do? Stun you, silence you, and put CCs on your ****ing ass until you ****ing die and you qq for 63 seconds while your team tries to rape the other team. Cleanse = helpful.
Ignite: You know what's fun? DoT (damage over time) Because it scales with Explosive Shot. You know what's funnier? Watching your opponent limp off with 83 HP and then you see that you've gotten a kill out of it. It really feels good. People criticize Ignite because it's useless late game, but you can still get kills out of it. If you still get kills out of something, I say it's good.

Other doable spells:

You know what pisses people off? Backdooring. You know what's even more annoying? Taking a tower with creeps to cover you so the tower dies in 5 seconds. Teleport also gives you a bit of map presence as well.
Flash: Rocket Jump, IMO is a built in Flash with slow if you **** on someone. But you know what's nice? Flashing out of range and then rocket jumping over a wall. You could also flash into range, use Rocket Jump + Buster Shot and slap them silly with your fat gun.
Exhaust: Shutting down a DPS while you rapidly fire into his face is very nice. I like it.

Spells I would avoid:

Heal is nice, but that's what support characters such as Soraka, Janna and others can do for you. Some even take it themselves.
Clarity: MP Problems should be covered by the blue golem buff. Note that using your combo (Rocket Jump, Explosive Shot and Buster Shot) will drain your mana faster than the garbage disposal. So be cautious.
Revive: Again, no point.
Fortify: Not going to help people really, stick this to a support character or don't bother at all.
Ghost: Rocket Jump is your Ghost/Flash. Not necessary.
Clairvoyance: Map awareness is great, but again, I see this as a support character spell.

However, if you're low level and using this as a guide (which I strongly recommend as opposed to the guides that ask you to get Berserker Greaves and Malady as your first items...) and don't have the proper spells, I would recommend Heal and Ghost as the top spells to take.

[The Champion Select Setup]

Set your runes, masteries, and spells. Ask your team if you can solo mid. Why? Because Tristana rapes your face when she's 4 levels ahead of you and the other team's soloer you will be facing will be 1-2 levels behind as well.

If not, just sidelane with someone who compliments you well. Soraka, Blitzcrank, Alistar, Katarina, most ranged characters and casters fit here. You can do just fine without soloing mid lane.

Oh yeah, when the game starts and you see the enemy... NOTE THE ENEMIES AND THEIR SPELLS. This is crucial. See a Teemo with Heal and Cleanse? (Example and I'm exaggerating to make a point, but still), well guess what. You better not be focusing your CC on him or spamming Ignite + Explosive Shot because he'll cleanse it off, you just wasted mana and a summoner spell, congrats. On yeah, and if he's right next to a tower about to die? Don't tower dive. He'll use heal and then you'll be shot down by him and the tower. GG.

Enemy spells to take note of:

- Heal: Obvious, random healing when you're about to get a heal sucks. Knowing about this heal is crucial to conserving mana.
- Flash: "HOLY **** I GOT THE KILL YESSSSS- ****. He just flashed through that wall and now I have no kill. " This happens a lot. I honestly don't bother if they have flash unless my team is focusing him.
- Teleport: Aids in the backdooring process (faster map traveling) OR at the end of the game, they can teleport to creeps and knock out your Nexus when you think it's safe to push.
- Ghost: Kind of like Flash, but not an insta-teleport away. Lasts for a long time and hurts when you don't get that kill.


- Start of the game: I grab an HP Pot and a Doran's Shield. Some people take Doran's Blade for the Lifesteal and +damage, but when you focus on last hitting, you aren't going to get the benefit of lifesteal. With Shield's built in HP Regen, you will survive in the laning phase more often.
- From there, I grab boots depending on the situation. Full of CC? (Most teams do this) Mercury Treads. Full of DPS? Ninja Tabi. etc etc
- Infinity Edge. It's crit heaven and now you hit like a truck.
- Build a Bloodthirster. If you like, you can sell your Doran's Blade/Shield for cash. This is also a nice scaling item if you're getting a decent amount of kills.
- The Black Cleaver. I don't care if you think it sucks, +75 damage and armor reduction isn't funny when you're spamming 2 attacks a second.
- Madred's Bloodrazor. This is great against tanks. Especially if the team has some fairly bulky characters that are pissing you off. (Jax, Nunu, etc)
- Situational item, such as Guardian Angel, Frozen Mallet, etc.

Optional items:
Stark's Fervor: You'd be surprised at how amazing this item is. However, the lifesteal and overall AS aren't going to be as much of a benefit to you as the armor pen% + damage from a Last Whisper would be. [No, you shut up, Malady is terrible.]
Last Whisper: A lot of people criticize me for not taking it, but let's be honest, unless that Shen has 400 armor, do I really care? No. Get it unless they're not stacking armor at all.
MORE BLOODTHIRSTERS: Because everyone likes more damage.
Atma's Impaler: This was brought to my attention in another thread. It's a very cost-efficient item (I think +600 gold in efficiency) and if you get the Mallet in + HP Scaling runes + Flat HP quints (optional) + doran's shield/blade, you'd be rolling in HP and you'd get a nice extra damage boost

Final Build can range from a lot of things, MOST games if I ever get a final build up, will look like this:

[stack Agility and Fortitude Elixirs together end game]

Feel free to switch up the order as you like. I swapped Cleaver/Thirster once and it still worked pretty well. You could also make a second Infinity Edge.

My justification for this build is simple: Tristana is a damage *****. She doesn't need attack speed (Yes, I'm looking at you, Berserker Greaves and Malady humping ****ers) when her Q can already cover that. Hitting for ~400 and then armor pen + crit damage = your presence is known.

Tristana's main criticism is her lack of bulkiness. Like most carries, Tristana is squishy. My rune setup covers the HP problem. Without HP Quint runes, just the yellow HP/18 scaling runes give you approximately 678 HP (+Doran's Blade/Shield HP bonus). Yellow Seals with the HP scaling, again, adds up to 175 Health at level 18. Quints (Flat) are 32.4, so x3, and you get ~97 HP. So as a bonus, 97 + 175 = 272, and if you have a Doran's, +120 = 392 bonus HP! This is a great investment. This saves you item slots if you feel the need to build a Frozen Mallet. However, if at the end of a game you think you need to bulk up a bit, get a Banshee's if the team is caster heavy (or just has a pain-in-the-ass nuker like Ryze or Annie), or if you want damage AND HP, get Frozen Mallet. Slow = chasing = more debuffs with Cleaver = killing spree for you.

[Skill Build]

Basically, I go R>E>Q>W. Build goes as follows:

1. Explosive Shot (E)
2. Rocket Jump (W)
3. Explosive Shot
4. Rapid Fire (Q)
5. Explosive Shot
6. Buster Shot (R)
7. Explosive Shot
8. Explosive Shot (MAX)
9. Rapid Fire
10. Rapid Fire
11. Buster Shot
12. Rapid Fire
13. Rapid Fire (MAX)
14. Rocket Jump
15. Rocket Jump
16. Buster Shot (MAX)
17. Rocket Jump
18. Rocket Jump (MAX)

Justification: Laning phase, you'll basically be using Explosive Shot as a harasser, and the more damage you get done to surrounding minions on last hits = a bonus. Rocket Jump = escape tool and skill used to get to a champion for a kill. Rapid Shot will aid in attacking champions (NOT for harassment, only during a mini fight or trying to knock down damage quick + tower pushing). Buster Shot as an ultimate is always prioritized.

[Game time!]

First point in explosive shot. Last hitting = AoE (area of effect) damage explosion. If champions are in range (usually with melee champions only but sometimes I get the explosion to hit casters hiding behind the caster minions), this is a bonus as well. Get an HP Pot and a Doran's Shield.

Early game: Harassment and last hitting can sum up this is in a second. You know what ****ing sucks? Healing. HP Pots. My mother on a Sunday evening. Your cousin Annie on a Tuesday with her Bare Tibbers. HP Pots are pretty common for most champions that solo mid, and you can completely screw up their pot / make it worthless.

Strategy here is to have YOUR tower pushed. Not the tower specifically, but back up your creeps by standing in front of them so your opponent can push closer to your tower. Why? Because I love killing people, and when I like killing people, it usually involves tower range. That equals tower kills. SO, I harass the enemy with Explosive Shot and auto attacking WHENEVER they hit my range. The 25 + (AP ratios added in) damage/sec = amazing. Squishy champions like Twitch and Ashe will **** themselves at this. Especially if you crit, which should be near 120. When the opposing champion is near low HP, use Rocket Jump, Explosive Shot (again), and if necessary, buster shot and auto attacks for the kill. This nets me first blood. First blood is good. More gold on Tristana = happy you.

Doing this strategy has netted me many kills. It should be your bread and butter strategy for Tristana in terms of harassment. REMEMBER THAT THE KEY TO FARMING ON ANY CHAMPION IS TO LAST HIT SO DON'T FOCUS ALL OUT ON TRYING TO KILL THE OPPOSING CHAMPION! You want to farm. That's how you win games. Just imagine at 25 minutes you have 130 creeps farmed up. Just imagine. 23x130= +2990 gold. That's not factoring in less gold from creeps or higher from the cannon minion. Yum.
So, you got the kill, right? Good for you. You are now safe to push the opposing team's middle lane to your hearts content until they return. Remember to watch your minimap in case a champion goes MIA, because getting ganked isn't fun. Even if Rocket Jump and Cleanse can save you. It loses time. Lost time = lost farming time = less gold = MAD ME. Seriously. I'll beat you with a taco.

Solo Mid Guide:

So you're soloing middle lane. That's nice. What exactly do you need to know about soloing?

A couple of things you NEED to know when soloing:
- Your goal is to farm and get a tower down. However, farming yourself up is the more important aspect here.
- You farm by last hitting. No, you don't slap away at their creeps and hope you get gold. That's how you have 16 creeps after 10 minutes you schmuck. You wait until the minions do their own work and get them to low HP and THEN kill them with an auto attack. You push faster and more naturally than anyone because of Explosive Shot's passive AoE effect.
- Most of the time if you DO push to their tower you will not be doing the pushing of the tower, it's the creeps doing the most damage until you have a comfortable spot to slap away at it.
- If you push them to their tower you run the risk of being ganked. Oh **** Timmy, that Shaco is MIA and you're killing the tower, AND that Ashe that's soloing mid against you has been respawned for 10 seconds? What do you do? Keep killing the tower? No you nitwit. When Shaco goes MIA and Ashe respawns (Which you should be taking note of so you know not to be an idiot), you're clearly going to be ganked. Maybe Ashe will happily shoot her arrow down mid, hope to hit you, while Shaco hits you with a Two-Shiv and the tower kills you. Seriously, think about the risks involved.

Now you also want to deny the enemy champion gold and EXP. How do you deny them gold? You **** up their day of course. I once faced a Kat that abused Shunpo to no end. You know what that means? I put an Explosive Shot and a few auto attacks in her face. I made Kat afraid of me. When she got close to try and get a last hit in when her blades were on cooldown, I went right up to her, poked her, and walked away. Creeps paid attention to me and she was denied that kill. She also became a tower hugger because she didn't have any form of recovery. So she gets less EXP. If she walked into creep EXP range I walked up to her and told her to **** off. She was then underfarmed and we won the game. These little things help you to win the game.

Who do I like to solo against? Well, Tristana is a very very competent soloer in the mid lane, here's a few champions I like and hate facing:

I like:

Ashe: After she shoots a Volley you get a free batting practice with her. Shoot E and auto attack her. /end If she tries using ECA [ulti] at you then use Cleanse and kill her.
Twisted Fate: Avoid attacking him when he as Pick a Card up and/or Stacked Deck. Otherwise he's very weak and you can harass him efficiently.
Teemo/Twitch: Yeah, those guys who sit in mid lane, stealth up, and then when you come in they start stacking poison all over your face. Too bad you're strong and you also have ~100 damage DoT and 52 damage auto attacks that hurt. You can recover the damage over time with a Doran's Shield anyway.
Ryze: Trick here is to be careful, because GOOD Ryze's will not waste their mana and go WEQ on you randomly, because that wastes mana and then they can't use Spell Flux to last hit creeps. If they're simply using Spell Flux on a wave, chances are you'll be hit once or twice but you can safely snipe him. He might be tempted to use WEQ on you though. Once he hits 6 he's very tricky to face though, so be extremely careful.
Other Tristanas: Maybe I say this because 90% of the Tristana's I oppose in mid think buying boots and some potions are helpful, but if you know what you're doing and think one step ahead of the enemy, you win.
Katarina: If she doesn't have a Fortitude Elixir, you make her pay for every Shunpo she does. You give her a DoT on her head and some auto attacks. Try your best to avoid her bouncing blades by standing away from creeps.

I "Meh" at:

Ezreal: The buff to his "Q" skill is rather annoying and when he gets a Sheen it makes me want to rage. I've probably died the most to this guy.
Karthus: Sometimes we have hardfaught battles 1-5, and I'm ready to kill him, but suddenly.. he levels up, and presses R... scores a pentakill. Isn't that a bad feeling? But for the most part if you learn how to avoid his Lay Waste you should be okay.
Cho'Gath: Tanks are always annoying to face in mid. He's a great farmer and you have to play EXTREMELY passive at level 6+ if you're below 300 HP because Feast can one shot you.


:Seriously, **** THIS GUY. If you allow him to set up turrets, you're going to get your tower pushed and your HP will drop faster than your pants when you buy a cheap hooker. The key to beating Heimer is to waste his mana by making his turrets that he sets up useless. Otherwise be cautious of his GOD ****ED ****ING GRENADE THAT HE LOBS AT THE TOWER FOR MASSIVE DAMAGE. Or those GOD ****ED ****ING MISSLES THAT HE RANDOMLY SHOOTS THAT HURT.
Sivir: Yes I can dodge her boomerang. No the constant ricochets piss me off. Yes I get too cocky with her because I CAN kill her, but then she uses her GOD ****ED ****ING SPELL SHIELD WHEN USE BUSTER SHOT AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH. /rage

Mid-Game: Usually once a tower goes down is when mid-game begins. People start branching away from their lanes and start ganking. Team fights often begin to occur here.

Now, when a team fight breaks out, I want you to note the following things:

  • Don't be the first one in a teamfight. You will be focused right away and die. Dying is bad.
  • BE THE FIRST ONE OUT. Seriously. If the fight is getting out of hand just back out. It's better to be safe than sorry.
  • Try your best to avoid CCs (Crowd Control). Especially blind, because that will drastically reduce your damage ouput.
  • If you're going to start a fight with the enemy make sure you use rapid fire. The DPS increase will be amazing.
  • The opposing team is out for blood. Your blood. Don't be stupid and walk in there with 25% HP unless everyone else is going to die.
Now generally, in team fights, Tristana is a right click hero. Auto attacks are galore. Why? Because if you Rocket Jump in for ****s and giggles, you will now be focused and die. However, if you have one or two champions left, feel free to Rocket Jump over them and use Buster Shot to shoot them into your team. That's always hilarious and should cause rage. In which case, you should type /t and then dance because you're awesome.

One vastly important thing I see many people not understand is the importance of pressure. If the creeps are pushing YOUR side of the lane then they will eventually push your tower. This leads to a champion such as Pantheon being able to jump in take it down quickly. You must keep the pressure on all 3 lanes. So go push bottom if you KNOW THE LIMITS. Because if you push bot too far just to extend the creeps and die because of it I will seriously kill you. God I ****ing hate when I see my buddy there, Singed, poisoning the creeps like it's nobody's business and then he gets ganked by his friend Annie and Twitch.

Continue to stick with your team at this point and push towers with Rapid Fire.

Late Game: By now, both teams should be relatively close with tower pushing or one team has a huge advantage. If you and your team want to push an inhibitor tower / inner tower, please please PLEASE pay attention to the death timer on the opposing team. So many times have I seen people rush in to push when suddenly, Twitch, Mundo, Sion, and Janna respawn and they're now screwed because they didn't watch the tower. Teamfights WILL break out often so please be prepared with your team. If people wander off alone they're probably going to be ganked, so point them in the right direction.

Do not be afraid to ping for "traps," "wanna baron?" "wanna dragon?" etc etc. Ask your team for help. Communication is key. Press on and remember to play smart, not stupid.

[Playing Tips]
  • Harassment early game = kills. Explosive Shot + Auto Attacks = lots of damage.
  • Don't be afraid to use Ignite and Explosive Shot together. It makes for a fun combo IF you get a kill.
  • Rapid Fire = built in attack speed. No need to buy items that give attack speed.
  • Change the build to the situation occurring. If you're doing insane damage to the other team and you have one slot left but you keep getting beat with magic attacks, get something with magic resist. Build a Guardian Angel. Hell, get a Banshee's Veil, it saves you from deadly spells!
  • If for some reason you're getting beat the **** knocked out of you, don't be afraid to switch. Feeding the opposing team's carry (typical in solo mid) = bad for you and your team. Ask your team for a gank. I was getting beat around by Katarina with a fortitude pot once, I asked Sion to come over and stun her, he used Ignite and I jumped on her and shot her to death. I had a huge edge right there.
  • Communicate! Please, please, pleaseeeeee communicate with your team! I've lost so many games because people barely spoke and I was trying to get help from my team.
  • GET THE BUFFS. Lizard Buff (Red) and Golem Buff (Blue) = majorly helpful! Lizard buff gives you a slow on your auto attacks and damage to boot. Blue = MP Regen and CDR.
  • Elixirs are your friend! Fortitude Elixirs = HP and Damage. This is sexy.
  • Tristana can actually backdoor. I hear Twisted Fate's afraid from backdooring because they "don't have enough HP." You're supposed to attack fast and hit like a **** truck. If you hit 126 damage on towers, guess what? You can probably down the towers with 1.3K HP safely. Don't overdo it though, you'll be ganked and your team loses its DPS machine.
  • Don't jump into a teamfight (with rocket jump) unless everyone has 25% HP or something. You WILL die. Stay back, fire away (with rapid fire if you want) and watch their HP drop.
  • Squishies are your friend. They make meat. Meat makes kills. Kills make fed Tristana happy.

That concludes my guide. Hope this was helpful to people! I am open to all criticism, so please don't be afraid. I always enjoy making improvements. Thank you for reading.

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Junior Member


I LIKE IT +1 for you

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Junior Member


oh wait. dorans blade >.,< mehhh. dorans shield is better to start off in my opinion just so i can highlight the way of being in lane longer.

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Senior Member


Lifesteal and damage is nice. I suppose you could get a Doran's Shield, I haven't tested this out yet but it would make sense. I'll try this out later, thanks for the suggestion.

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Junior Member


np np! i just think being able to take in damage while trading off blows well win me the round. ecspecially because tristana has great dps from the start anyways :]

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b tubbs

Junior Member


most likely the regen from the shield will give you more health than a 4% lifesteal anyways. lol.

i'd also switch the order of IE/BT but other than that it's a solid guide

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Senior Member


b tubbs:
most likely the regen from the shield will give you more health than a 4% lifesteal anyways. lol.

i'd also switch the order of IE/BT but other than that it's a solid guide

Yea, the regen should keep you in longer considering you're not really going to touch minions for the lifesteal anyway. Thanks for reinforcing that.

I was thinking IE first too because it's 800 gold for +20 damage and 250% Crit damge with crit chances.

Also, should probably throw in the point to not get -% Armor pen items (Last Whisper, Yomuu's, etc.) with Cleaver because that reduces their effect.

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Senior Member


I too would switch IE first. IE is THE best thing on Tristana by FAR.

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Senior Member


Thanks for the input, I'll switch that and add in Doran's Shield as a starter item as well.

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Senior Member


Bump, few more things added in.