I'm playing Tristana and in addition to my W (jump) and E (DoT), I want AD runes to rule like hell on start.

I've tried:

  1. Armor Penetration Marks and Quints, scaling HP/lvl Seals (yellow), and scaling ManaRegen/lvl Glyphs (blue)
  2. Crit Marks and Quints, scaling HP/lvl Seals (yellow), and scaling ManaRegen/lvl Glyphs (blue)
  • 2
    This question is full of opinions masquerading as answers. Can we gen an answer to: "What runes can I use to maximize Tristana's early game?"
    – tzenes
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 14:15
  • 1
    I don't understand why it's an issue to have a variety of high level answers sourced to professional play. Pretty much of question from a strategy or tactical game besides "what does X do" is going to have opinionated answers, are you going to close all of those? Of course, these answers aren't sourced as well as they could be.
    – Decency
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 19:49
  • 1
    @Decency I'm not trying to close anything, I'm just trying to get a better answer. I think the answers so far are of the type: "Do this because I think it's good." I feel like we can get a better answer than that.
    – tzenes
    Commented Mar 24, 2012 at 6:39
  • 1
    @tzenes - I think you are right, though Decency has a good point. This is essentially a strategy rec question. Commented Mar 24, 2012 at 20:00
  • 4
    It's particularly difficult to get a canonical answer to this question because "rule like hell" isn't a very strict or clear objective. Are we talking about zoning and getting a farm advantage? Getting lots of early kills? Being able to farm perfectly under the turret? Pushing them to turret so they miss farm? These are all valid strategies, but they depend on the style of the player and the match-up of the lane. Commented Mar 25, 2012 at 14:25

12 Answers 12


For early Game your best bet would be:

Red: Armor Pen

Yellow: Flat Armor

Blue: (Your choice, I normally base this one depending on who I am against, Magic Resist, Attack Speed, Attack Damage, Cooldown Reduction or Mana Regen are all good choices.)

Quints: Attack Damage or Armor Pen (I prefer damage, I find you get enough armor pen with your masteries and reds to be able to use quints as extra damage source, if you are having trouble with armor or they are stacking armor just buy an armor pen item in late game.)

That will give you a good rounded opening with the ability to be very aggressive (because of your armor) if you find your opponent leaving themselves open or if they over extend.


I can't really recommend Critical Chance runes as they make your games very inconsistent.

It depends largely on how you want to play, but given that it sounds like you want to be aggressive early and get kills (which is a very strong choice with Tristana) then you would probably want to maximize your burst potential at around level 3 or 4.

Looking at the skills you will have at level 4, there is a mix of burst damage and sustained DPS from auto attacks. The basic combo is jumping on a target (lvl 2 jump: 110 dmg) hitting them with explosive shot (110 dmg) and auto attacking them approx 5 times with rapid fire active before they escape the slow.

So, looking only at the Marks and Quintessences (the offensive runes) and considering using runes for Attack Damage, Armor Penetration or Magic Penetration, we get the following values for 4 autoattacks and 2 spells:

  1. Armor Penetration - 471 damage dealt
  2. Magic Penetration - 335 damage dealt
  3. Flat Attack Damage - 465 damage dealt

The values are all calculated against a target with 37.4 armor and 35 magic resist, which would be standard for a ranged champion with Armor Seals at level 4.

If you calculate it again using average stats from a champion without Armor Seals and an armor value of 25, you get 421, 394, and 423 damage (respective to the list above).

The only conclusion that you can draw from this is that among Armor Penetration, Attack Damage, and Magic Penetration, Armor Penetration is better against enemies with less armor while flat Attack Damage is better when their armor is higher and both runes are better then Magic Penetration.

If you want to focus on last hitting then grab the flat AD runes, otherwise take the Armor Penetration for better late game and couple this with Armor Seals and Magic Resist per level Glyphs.

  • You might want to check your math again... your math is indicating that the champion with less armor will take less damage?
    – Jay
    Commented May 12, 2013 at 14:34

For any AD ranged carry, having additional flat AD runes always enhance early game. However, later in the game, armour penetration runes are definitely better.

In addition, one thing you want to definitely take in the mastery tree to enhance Tristana is magic penetration. She does a lot more magic damage than you expect and when (or if) she builds Madred's Bloodrazor, it'll make her scary as heck.


Armor pen marks, mana regen seals, attack speed glyphs and probably attack speed quints would be the best bet. Her mana consumption is bad early game hence the mana regen seals. It will help her early game, but the armor pen will really help late game.


If you're looking to boost your early game, use flat armor seals.

AD Tristana could be boosted by adding attack damage marks, attack speed glyphs, and for quints it's up to you: armor pen, flat HP or attack damage.

  • RED(Marks) Arm pen / AD (Will make your damage huge in early/mid game)

  • YELLOW(Seals) Armor flat (Will give you resistance, you will be able to take some minion/turret damage to finish an opponent)

  • BLUE(Glyphs) You can see how is your player stile. I usually go for AS or mana regeneration to make you consistent in your lane. I usually don't take MR glyphs on Tristana.

  • Quints Opposite of marks. If you take Arm pen marks, go for AD quint. if you take AD marks go for Arm pen quint.

Those are my runes for Tristana.

Here good guides for Tristana:

  1. Solomid
  2. Mobafire

Tristana is a unique, versatile carry that can be built either AD or AP (with AD probably being the most popular). Because of this, playstyle is very important when picking her runes.

If you choose to go AD and max her Rapid Fire (which gives attack speed) first, then I would recommend a traditional ranged AD carry mix:

  • Mark: Flat AD
  • Seal: Armor
  • Glyph: {anything, I prefer MR/lvl for late game but mana regen is also good)
  • Quint: Flat HP OR AD/Armor Pen/Armor/Life Steal/Move Speed

The goal is to use her abilities to position yourself and win exchanges with Rapid Fire. You could switch AD for armor pen, but I prefer AD for early game strength and easier last-hitting on minions.

If you choose to build her AP, you'll probably max her Exposive Shot first. I would then recommend something like:

  • Mark: Magic Penetration
  • Seal: Armor/Mana Regen
  • Glyph: Cooldown Reduction/AP
  • Quint: AP/Magic Pen/CDR/Armor

With this build, you want to focus on poking with Explosive Shot. Use her Rocket Jump to escape or position yourself for an Explosive Shot. Once you've poked low enough, Jump onto them with everything you've got.

My personal preference is to front-load Tristana: AD, Flat HP, and Armor. Her burst damage at lvl 2 is pretty extreme, and combining a doran's blade with flat early damage and hp is a recipe for first blood.


There is no question, that all competitive tristana's run Flat AD Quints/Marks, Armor Seals and MR glyphs.

Despite the above comments that suggest armor pen, the flat AD is there primarily to ensure consistent last hitting. Your goal as a carry is to farm as much as humanly possible. If you're worried about doing damage in skirmishes bottom lane, be aware that a good portion of tristana's early game damage is MAGIC. The armor pen will not help you there.

Trust me, don't run armor pen marks or quints, you should be running flat AD


Pfff, I say forget straight AD or ArPen. With Tristana's huge range, you want attack speed, my friend.

Yes, even though she has her own AS steroid.

Here's my suggested build:

Reds: 6 flat Aspd, 3 flat AD. Yellows: 4 flat AD, 4 flat armor, 1 flat CDR. Blues: 9 flat CDR.

Quints: 3 flat AD.

The lack of ArPen is mitigated by the extra damage you're doing over all these extra attacks, and the bit of armor is a godsend against other AD carries. Finally, CDR just lets you spam more, and who doesn't want that?


I use:

Red: x3 Arm Pen x6 atk dmg Yellow: x9 armor Blues: Flat MR Quints: ATK damage

I feel this set up will help you throughout the whole game IMO. For early game you want damage but you want a little armor pen for mid game. Once you have full build you don't really even notice the runes you are using lol.


You get an absurd amount of armor pen from offensive masteries, so go attack damage reds, flat attack damage quints, flat armor yellows and magic resist blue runes. it maximizes the most early game damage, plus the armor pen from masteries is enough to bypass almost any early armor that they have from runes etc. but this setup is just base for any AD for early damage and such.

Marks / Reds: Flat AD Runes. 9x Greater Mark of Strength, or 6x Greater 
Mark of Strength and 3x Greater Mark of Alacrity (Aspd). 

Tristana doesn't really need much ASPD items or runes thanks to her Q, especially Mid-to-Late game. Its all up to personal Preference, really. having Flat damage runes is great for early game though.

Seals / Yellows: Flat Armor or Armor/Lvl

Armor is a MUST HAVE for a Bot lane Carry. 'Nuff said.

Glyphs / Blues: Flat MR or MR/Lvl or Flat Mana Regen.

These are really up to personal preference. I take the MR/Lvl ones to mitigate Support spell harass, but if you don't care too much then go for the Mana Regen, as Tristana gets a bit mana hungry if she plays Miss-spam-a-lot.

Quints / Purples: Flat AD Runes ( 3x Greater Quintessence of Strength) or 
3x Armor Pen.

Again, personal Preference here.

My runeset for AD Carries:

9x Flat AD Reds
9x Flat Armor Yellows
9x MR/Lvl Blues
3x Flat AD Purples

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