Tristana is one of the oldest marksmen in League of Legends, and she can still be a highly prioritized pick even after 11 seasons of play.
The Yordle Gunner is a classic example of a marksman in League of Legends, as she relies heavily on auto attacks, increasing range, and attack speed. Tristana has her main strength in scaling, as she is still one of the strongest hyper carries for the late game. She’s also able to jump to safety through Rocket Jump (W) and disengage from enemies with Buster Shot (R) on her own. On paper, Tristana has most of what it takes to be a solid marksman both for new and experienced players.
To take a more detailed look at Tristana, here’s a guide on how to play her.
Tristana’s main lane will usually always be the bot lane, but she is viable as a solo laner as well. As a marksman, Tristana will always fit in the bot lane alongside a good support.
Tristana is also capable of playing from the mid lane, which has been commonly seen over several patches in season 11. Tristana is a good option for the mid lane if the team needs attack damage, as she does have the mobility and disengages to survive without a support peeling for her.
On patch 11.6, Tristana has been played by far the most in the bot lane, but also still a fair bit in the mid lane at Platinum rank and higher. Her win rates are also equally as good in both lanes, making Tristana a strong flex pick.
Playing Tristana is fairly simple, but does have a few traps that are dangerous to fall into. On paper, Tristana is a solid marksman for inexperienced players who wants to learn the ways of an ADC. Tristana doesn’t rely on skill shots but mainly on her auto attacks, combined with Explosive Charge that can burst squishy champions and towers in mere seconds.
The game plan for Tristana will usually be to take it slow at early levels and get to at least one item before going aggressive. There will be times where Tristana can safely jump in and secure kills early on, but be careful with that since Tristana can easily end up in a pickle if using Rocket Jump too aggressively.
As the game goes on, Tristana will only become stronger. Her range will rapidly increase through her Draw a Bead passive and make her able to fire safely from the backline when hitting level 18. If getting caught or targeted by a flank, use Rocket Jump combined with her Buster Shot to safely reposition and continue the damage output.
For combos, Tristana wants to throw Explosive Charge onto her target and then start firing away with Rapid Fire (Q) buffing up the attack speed. After just four attacks, Tristana will trigger the Explosive Charge and deal a nice chunk of burst damage.
As is the case with any other champion in season 11, Tristana has gotten her build shaken up a bit. As a marksman, the build path isn’t very different from the previous item system but there are some major changes and items that must be purchased.
The most important item for Tristana will be the Mythic item, which will in most cases be Kraken Slayer to get the best damage output possible. There will also be games where Galeforce is the right option to have as an extra escape tool. If playing against a lot of mobile champions, Galeforce can be a good choice to move away from danger.
After getting the Mythic item, Tristana wants some attack speed to get those auto attacks going. In the season 11 meta, Phantom Dancer is the best option since it provides all the necessary stats and movement speed through its Spectral Waltz passive.
With two items in her pocket, Tristana will be looking to increase the damage even more with an Infinity Edge followed up by Rapid Firecannon. These two items paired up will give an insane amount of damage, range, and attack speed for the late game, and make Tristana a damage monster. The build can be finished off with some survivability through Bloodthirster, Guardian Angel, or Lord Dominik’s Regard to deal with tanks.
For the rune keystone, there is only really one option and that is Hail of Blades. The Hail of Blades rune gives Tristana an early-game power that she has never had before. When the rune is off cooldown, Tristana can fire three attacks in a split second and make her Explosive Charge combo easier to pull off.
Because of Tristana’s versatility and ability to protect herself, there are quite a few options for supports that work by her side. The strongest support to pair up with Tristana will usually be decided by the current meta. During season 11, engage supports have been very strong, and this remains true alongside Tristana. Champions such as Rell, Thresh, and Leona have been picked alongside Tristana a lot in both professional play and in solo queue.
Besides supports with a lot of crowd control, Tristana can also be good together with utility supports. Since Tristana is a true hyper carry, supports with shields, healing, or movement speed buffs are all benefiting the carry potential of the Yordle Gunner. When champions such as Lulu, Sona, and Janna are in meta, they will all go well with Tristana. In the current state of season 11, Seraphine is giving all other enchanter supports a run for their money and is probably the best to buff up Tristana.
Even though Tristana has a lot of tools in her kit to stay safe while dishing out damage in fights, there are solid ways to counter her as well. For players who run into a Tristana in solo queue, a few picks will be worth considering in the bot lane. The most obvious picks into Tristana are Swain, Draven, Jinx as bot laners, and Thresh as a support pick. Here’s why.
Swain has been a top-tier pick for the bot lane in solo queue throughout season 11 and it’s because he performs very well against pretty much any marksman. The same goes for Tristana, as Swain is able to bully her in lane and get to a point later on where he is too tanky to die. In a late-game fight, Swain will usually have enough tankiness and healing to deal with Tristana’s damage.
Draven isn’t a marksman that can follow Tristana in scaling but is instead able to punish her in the laning phase. Draven is the number one snowballer in the game and is also very strong in lane. A good Draven player will be able to beat Tristana in lane and shut her down completely.
Sometimes, fighting fire with fire does work. Tristana and Jinx are two of the best late-game marksmen in the game, but Jinx should have an edge. Jinx won’t beat Tristana hard in the laning phase, but will instead outrange her in the long run. Jinx also has more AOE damage to a late-game team fight, which usually gives her an edge over Tristana. With that said, Jinx is much more vulnerable in fights, so she requires top-notch positioning.
The reason why picking Thresh as the support against Tristana is a good idea is because of his Death Sentence (Q) and Flay (E). Both of these abilities can interrupt Tristana’s Rocket Jump, which makes Thresh a solid pick to shut down her aggressive plays.