Community Guide: League of Legends' Tristana

For the past week, the PC Gamer community focused their attention on playing League of Legends' Tristana . We found camaraderie in the PC Gamer chatroom in LoL, with over fifty players at any given time meeting together and arranging teams for epic clashes. The only rule: someone on each team had to play Tristana. Readers and writers laid their best skills on the field of battle, and walked away with bitter shame or glorious honor. The conflicts ended in everything from narrow victories to complete crushings, but GG , they were fun!

Almost instantly, a tradition emerged. During the early game, opposing Tristanas would duel among creeps in the middle lane. The back and forth skirmishes between tiny cannon-wielders captured the attention of both teams—after all, it was the Tristana scores that would be accumulated at the end of the match. Regardless of the scuffles initiated on the side lanes, all eyes continually drifted toward the center of the map just to see whose Tristana would pull ahead in kills or pushes.

PCG staff were right alongside them fighting, with Josh, Lucas, or myself in almost every match. Josh (a first-time Tristana player) quickly found himself a painted target, as bragging rights were proudly claimed by anyone who scored a killing blow against him. And there were plenty to go around. RyePunk was one of the first braggarts: "Fresh off a face pounding of @jaugustine's first game as Tristana. He shall learn... or else," he boasted on Twitter after the first match. Them's good fighting words, RyePunk . But he backed 'em up—props to the community for showing no mercy!

In at least one game, the focus on Tristana allowed a different player to spend most of the game under the radar, quietly growing stronger than the rest. In one particular match I played in, the other team didn't realize that letting Amumu farm up had sealed their doom. Jetter summed it up: “Our Amumu had a pentakill in the jungle! Nice work, Attico .”

Whether penta-kills or penta-deaths, or somewhere in between, you sent in your scores—and Tristana's role as a ranged carry held firm this week. Players in the community averaged 10.6 kills, 5.7 deaths, and 9.2 assists—that's over three times as many kills and assists as deaths. Go team PC Gamer!

Community tips and tricks

Throughout the week, members of the PC Gamer community contributed their insights for playing Tristana. We've compiled this vast collection of knowledge for all of posterity—may these tips help any who wish to improve their Tristana game.

Mentioning one of my favorite play-styles, MuppetMower writes, “Trist is an amazing tower pusher. That's what she should be doing all game.” Who cares about kills/deaths ratios; toppling towers is what wins you games! And if your opponent arrives to stop your incessant pushing, Dr. Noobfragger has a plan for taking them down. With Rapid Shot, Tristana "practically doubles her attack speed... so on-hit effects like Bloodrazor or the Black Cleaver are very nice."

When selecting your first abilities, Fryulator suggests you take Explosive Shot “because it's a very decent ranged harass with both its active and passive.” Damage-over-time and exploding minions can be miserable for your opponent (and great for your bank account) during the early game. He adds that despite the great utility of rocket jumping, it should be used carefully as it can get you into trouble as easily as it can get you out—especially if you don't know who's waiting in the bushes to gank you. Illuria adds that "while Rocket Jump recharges with a champion kill," it only works if you get the kill or the assist, so "adding the Lizard Buff to your arsenal and keeping the enemy champion slowed with that buff is a massive boost." Besides, it may just score you the leap-resetting kill you need to hop to safety afterward.

Every Tristana player longs to master the Jump/Buster combination. Michael Scherling wrote, “There's nothing quite like hopping over, and blowing the enemy right back into your turret! I always get a kick out of that when I'm able to pull it off!”

Speaking of awesome uses for Tristana's ultimate, Mike “TheFailBus” Williams offers a warning: "Don't use your ulti to last hit enemy champions or to try to kill steal. You WILL mess it up and end up saving them instead. Also, don't be afraid of using your ulti to escape if you've already blown your Rocket Jump." Fryulator adds that you should use Buster Shot to "interrupt all channeled abilities, like Nunu's and Katarina's ults." Halting those massive AoE spells quickly can save your team and secure your MVP title.

Austin Lombard 's strategy is simple: "Build attack speed. Don't die. Shoot people." I don't think I could have said it any better myself.

But playing as Tristana is only half of the equation here. Wherever there's a squat cannon-carrier, there are 5 players facing off against her. Here again, "TheFailBus" offers some sage wisdom: "Trist is super squishy. Wait till she tries to jump in and then focus her down instantly. You can bait Trist into wasting her Rocket Jump early by either making yourself look like a target while your team waits in the brush, or by ganking her while having people waiting further down the lane."

Items, Runes and Masteries

We held a poll on our Facebook page asking what you thought the best items for Tristana are, and a lot of players sent in their more fleshed-out build guides. Here's the consensus.




In a shocking first precedent for the internet, everyone unanimously agreed on something: that you should go with a full-out offense Mastery build as Tristana. More specifically, you should put 21 in Attack, 0 in Defense and 9 in Utility . This will help beef up her late game damage significantly.

Rants and Raves

Whether you view her as one of the greatest unsung champions or noob-only fodder, you shared your opinions on just how useful Tristana is. It was a love-hate extravaganza!

  • “Woo! Love Tristana! She's been my main for most of my LoL career, and I must say, she is VERY under-appreciated” - Dr. Noobfragger
  • “This call to arms made me stop checking my tweets and go play some LoL” - SlyderEST
  • “'Tristana is for noobs' answer [on the Facebook poll] is right. It's just one of those "click and watch" champs.” - Dimitar D. Dimitrov
  • “Tristana is horribly underpowered. It's sad cause I think she's really fun and one of my favorite characters.” - BorisYeltsin
  • "Tristana is a great AD carry, able to last-hit with ease." - Illuria
  • "Her ultimate is an awesome game-changing mechanism." - Knut André W. Jøsok
  • “I played AP Trist once. Using my ulti made me smile as I landed on them and blasted them away.” - Tiago
  • “AP Tristana is a gimmicky build but she does scale well with AP on Rocket Jump and Buster Shot.” - @menthol_penguin
  • "Tristana is squishier then jello, ALWAYS stay back and fire from afar unless in pursuit of an enemy who has low hp." - Samsta
  • “I don't like Tristana. She is great at harassing and farming, but I feel she is lacking the 'oomph' I'm looking for.” - Jesse Moore
  • "Late game is usually where Tristana's best at if you see a team-fight mid, go top and take out a turret." - Mak3itSn0w
  • “I rock with Tristana” - Michael Scherling

If you have a compulsive urge to get in the last word, tell of these jerks in the comments below.

This week's MVP: Fryulator

Epic plays don't happen every game, but when they do, you remember 'em for a long time. Here's one of Fryulator 's best:

His team was losing pretty badly, so they decided to have him wait in the jungle while the enemy team pushed past him, and then he would run in to backdoor the enemy base for the win. It may not be ethical, but a win's a win, right? While waiting, he decided to grab the dragon. Unfortunately, the other team had the same idea. When they arrived, they found the dragon's corpse on the ground and a quaking Tristana in the corner.

I'll let Fryulator explain how the rest went down:

"I figure "Oh crap, I'm dead", so with 3 of them initiating, and the other 2 closing in, I Rocket Jump into the middle, press Q, and ult to knock their carry away. I still don't know how, but I managed to drop their nuke and 1 of 2 tanks, along with their carry when Shen on my team ults in, saving my life. I pick up the second tank for a Quadra Kill and go for the Penta, but as I land from Rocket Jump, Shen's sunfire picks up the killsteal. I aced the team, in what was almost a 1v5 situation. I was too stunned to move in for the winning push after that. Anyways, moral of the story: a late game Tristana will murderize you if cornered."

That's the kind of moment we play for. That's the kind of story you'll brag to your friends about for weeks, until they can recite it word-for-word on their own. That's the kind of experience we shared in LoL in this week's Call to Arms. If we missed your story, be sure to add it in the comments or in the forums . If you missed out on the action this week, don't worry, we'll be hosting similar events soon. Let us know in the comments who you'd love to see the community focus on playing in the next Call to Arms event.

By the way, if you loved playing Tristana this week and are sad to see her drop out of the free-champion rotation, have no fear! Several members of the community wrote in to share how you can unlock Tristana and her pink-haired skin for free by going to Facebook and "liking" League of Legends. After that, just follow the directions on their Tristana Riot Skin page, and Bam! You can play as Tristana any time you like!

Big props and thanks to everyone who participated in this edition of PC Gamer's Call to Arms, especially those who left comments and submitted suggestions for this community guide. We can't wait to do it again!