How To Play Tristana In League Of Legends

Explosive is the best word used to describe Tristana’s playstyle as an ADC. Her incredibly long range combined with her DPS and strong burst damage makes her a prevalent pick in any meta. In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know to get you started playing the Yordle Gunner.


Tristana is a late game hyper carry that can go toe to toe with the game’s finest marksmen. She’s been a staple at high levels of play as a very contested pick for ADCs. What makes her so good is the fact that she can be a self-sustaining champion that has a little bit of everything in her kit. She has an attack speed buff, an escape, an aoe wave clear, and a bit of crowd control. She’s strong at all stages of the game and rewards players who love to dive in fights while playing aggressively. Combine all these with the fact that she has a relatively low skill floor and you have a great champion that anyone can easily pick up and dominate with.

Champion Abilities

As we’ve mentioned before, Tristana has a little bit of everything. She’s well equipped to survive any sort of shift or changes in the meta. Her playstyle revolves around dealing as much damage as possible while maintaining a safe distance between her and her targets.

Passive – Draw a Bead

The range of Tristana’s basic attacks, Explosive Charge and Buster Shot is increased.

On the surface, Draw a Bead seems like a very basic ability. While that is true, you have to take into consideration what it does for Tristana as a whole. Being a marksman, this champion deals damage from a distance. Having an ability that increases her range works heavily in her favor. This allows you to kite efficiently and reposition better when in a fight.

Q – Rapid Fire

Increases Tristana’s Attack Speed for 7 seconds.

Rapid Fire does what it says it does: it makes Tristana Rapid Fire. It increases her attack speed which in turn reduces the amount of time before she can proc the explosion of her E ability. This is one of the best active attack speed buffs in the game.

W – Rocket Jump

Tristana launches herself to target location, dealing magic damage and slowing surrounding enemies by 60%. Kills, Assists, and max Stack Explosive Charge detonations on Champions reset Rocket Jump’s cooldown.

Rocket Jump is Tristana’s escape and engage ability. Rocket Jump allows her to jump through certain terrain and barriers which can be good for a quick escape. She can also use this offensively to chase down targets or to catch opponents off guard by diving into them and firing off. This ability deals pretty good damage too and its cooldown resets whenever you score a kill, assist, or detonate an Explosive Charge on a Champion.

E – Explosive Charge

Passive: Enemies explode when slain by Tristana’s basic attacks, dealing magic damage to nearby enemies.

Active: Places a bomb on an enemy or turret that explodes after 4 seconds, dealing physical damage. Each attack and ability charges the bomb’s damage by 30%.

At 4 charges, the bomb explodes immediately. The detonation radius is larger if used on a turret. Explosive Shot’s damage is increased by (+1% per 3% Crit Chance).

Explosive Charge is Tristana’s main ability. You could say that this is where her kit revolves around. You’ll be relying on this ability a lot to deal damage both to enemy units and turrets. This makes Tristana a monster during team fights and a very good split pusher. 

R – Buster Shot

Tristana fires a massive cannonball at an enemy unit. This deals magic damage and knocks surrounding units back.

Tristana’s ultimate is one of the reasons why she is a safe, self-sustaining ADC. Buster Shot allows her to knock back enemy targets and the units surrounding it. Assassins and Tanks will usually try to dive her in the backline. Having this ability keeps her protected and gives her a chance to outplay her opponents. To top it all off, Buster Shot deals pretty good burst damage.

Runes and Item Builds

For your items, your primary focus should be to increase Tristana’s DPS through attack speed and attack damage. 

Starting Items

Tristana starts the game like any old ADC, with a Doran’s Blade and a Health Potion. This set gives you enough damage and sustain to get you through the early stages of the game. Cull is also a viable alternative but Doran’s Blade is the superior choice.

Mythic Items

All ADC Mythic Items are actually viable on Tristana. What you should buy depends on your preference and situation you are currently in. The best option for her would be Kraken Slayer. This item increases her overall damage output while also giving her the ability to absolutely shred her targets regardless of their armor. Galeforce is a safe option as well as it gives Tristana another layer of mobility in her kit. If you’re up against a lot of bursty assassins, don’t hesitate to go for Immortal Shieldbow. But as a general rule of thumb, you’d be better off sticking with the two items pictured above.

Full Build

After purchasing your Mythic, first upgrade your boots. In Tristana’s case, you should always go for Berserker’s Greaves for the attack speed. Next, go for a Phantom Dancer for crit and attack speed, then Infinity Edge for even more crit and to get that mid game power spike. Top off your build with a Lord Dominik’s Regard to shred the enemy’s armor and Guardian Angel to give you a bit more survivability while also gaining more damage.

Other Viable Items

Most items meant for ADCs are actually compatible with Tristana. You need to understand the situation you are in so that you could pick the correct items to help you counter the enemy. Mercurial Scimitar is good for when you’re against champions with a lot of crowd control, Mortal Reminder is for enemies with a lot of heal, Blade of the Ruined King lets you deal more damage to tanks, and Bloodthirster gives you a ton of lifesteal plus a shield that increases your durability.


For runes, you should go for the Domination tree and take Hail of Blades as your keystone. This gives you a short burst of attack speed that lets you easily detonate your Explosive Charges. Next, take Taste of Blood for the heal, Eyeball Collection to increase your damage, and Ravenous Hunter for even more Omnivamp. For your secondaries, take Legend: Alacrity and Coup De Grace from the Precision tree. This will increase Tristana’s attack speed and overall DPS. For rune shards, take Attack Speed, Adaptive Force, and Armor.

Useful Tips

  1. Tristana will almost always outrange her opponent. Be sure to take advantage of this especially in the laning phase where you can often get a few hits on the enemy ADC even if they try to hide behind minions. 
  2. Zeri, Kai’Sa, and Twitch are Tristana’s biggest counters. Try to rethink your strategy and coordinate with your team when you are against these champions.
  3. For summoner spells, always take Flash and Heal. If the enemy team has a lot of crowd control, you can swap Heal for Cleanse

So there you have it! That’s all you need to know about playing Tristana in League of Legends. Be sure to check back with us again for more awesome guides on your favorite games. Have fun and we’ll see you on the Rift!