I have seen Tristana using an AP build before but with new emerging heroes and all these old champions sometimes get blindsided by their newer peers.

The points I will like to know are

  • Is she viable as an AP carry?
  • What are the recommended runes for Tristana?
  • How do I effectively use her kit to kill enemies?
  • It sounds like what you're really asking is "How do I make AP Tris work in Season 3?" and not so much asking if she is viable. Is this correct? Also, could you clarify what you mean by "is she able to carry off an AP carry or just a normal AP."
    – Klokworkk
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 2:22
  • 2
    The reason AP Tristana isn't played as much anymore is because of the nerf to her E, Explosive Shot. In the past, this could be proc'ed by her W, Rocket Jump, dealing a massive amount of damage to champions in a minion wave. As of the Zyra patch, however, Tristana's E can only be proc'ed by Physical Damage (i.e. her auto-attack), severely crippling her assassination capability.
    – Schism
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 2:23
  • @Klokworkk as in will she be able to mid solo or does she need to lane with another champion.
    – jonleech
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 2:29
  • 2
    Why the downvote? at least have the courtesy to give a reason so I won't make the same mistake again.
    – jonleech
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 2:45

2 Answers 2


This question can be a little difficult to answer because of varying skill levels in this game.

From personal experience, she seems to be somewhat viable until gold ELO. At that point, teamfights are better coordinated and the problem with AP Tristana is that if she uses all her skills and doesn't get a kill, then she will just be on cooldowns for most of the teamfight, which is extremely detrimental to your team.

  • Is she able to carry off an AP carry or just a normal AP?

    • She can, but it's unlikely that she can carry at higher levels. If you're going to play her, play her as the AP carry. AP Tristana should only be going mid, unless she is countered and can make use of a lane switch with top lane.
  • Runes

    • Magic Penetration Marks (Your mid opponent will likely have starting MR Masts/Runes)
    • Seal of Scaling/Flat Mana Regen (Tristana is very mana hungry early)
    • Scaling AP Glyphs (Makes your nuking stronger as the game progresses)
    • Flat Ability Power Quints (Great early game damage and useful late game)
  • Masteries

    • (1) Summoner's Wrath
    • (3) Sorcery
    • 17 Points skilled into standard AP Offensive Masteries
    • 9 Points skilled into utility, taking advantage of Mana and Mana Regen
  • Summoner Spells

    • AP Tristana should always have Ignite and Flash. Ignite helps your burst and Flash lets you land rocket jump, position to Buster Shot your enemy into your team, and to close gaps/make them bigger.
  • Using her AP Build

    • Starting Boots, get one or two Doran's Rings depending on the situation. If you're snowballing early already, you can skip the rings. For boots, you should get Sorcerer's Shoes. Rush Rabadon's Deathcap, and then get Deathfire Grasp for the extra burst. Next, I usually get Zhonya's Hourglass in case I make a mistake during teamfights or if the enemy focuses me. (Which will definitely happen at higher levels; you have one of the highest damaging nuke combos in the game). Then, Lich Bane and Void Staff to finish your build.

In teamfights, don't stupidly jump into the enemy and try to get a kill. Wait for an opening when your team is already fighting - Go in an try to kill whoever needs to be prioritized. Usually I go for the ADC, but sometimes you will not be presented with that opportunity. Kill whoever needs to die first.

Rocket Jump towards target >>> Before Landing, Use Deathfire Grasp for the % Damage (Set it to Smartcast in Options >>> Ignite >>> Fire Explosive Shot to counter Lifesteal/Healing >>> Use Buster Shot if necessary.

Proc your Lich Bane passive whenever you can. Also, remember that if you get a kill, your Rocket Jump refreshes.

  • Please explain what I said that makes me clueless about this game.
    – troll
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 6:58
  • Read your post. It is all there.
    – user28015
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 20:51
  • well if you got a better answer, can you post it so that we can compare? can help me decide which answer to accept as well
    – jonleech
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 23:39

Disclaimer, this is based solely on my experience as Tristana, i main her both ADC and APC and have varying success with her in low elo games (Silver III and below).

Depends on what you understand as "viable".

Can you win games with AP tristana? Certainly. Can she carry on her own? Only early game and if fed through mid game. Late game she falls of due to her long cooldowns and lack of sustained damage.


She is pretty easy to counter (silence or any hard CC devastates her, kassadin, annie, talon, pantheon, ...) so you'll have to pick smart in champion select, make the enemy team think you are going ADC so you won't get countered or play safe and know the cooldown of you enemy champion.

The thing is in low ELO games most people either don't know how to counter or don't know how to play the champion that counters her so in low ELO this is less of a problem than in higher ELO.


Early game it's pretty easy to get 1 to 2 kills. At lvl2 just AA, W, E + ignite (in air), AA, ... and you have a kill, and when your jungler ganks a kill is almost guaranteed. In most games I get first blood as AP tristana.

I teamfights it's little harder, problem is you'll have to jump right into the enemy team to assasinate your target since your burst probably isn't high enough to blow up the tank front line and the squisies are positioned in the back. Going around and then jumping on the backline from the fog of war or brushes is a good idea but not always an option when they are covering their flanks.

Roam, when you kill your lane opponent push the wave up to their tower (always a good idea) and roam top or bot and gank (with your jungler if possible). If you execute it good it's going to at least be one or two assists, perhaps a kill. Recall and by then you'll be lvl3 and item and lvl wise ahead of your lane opponent. From there on it's just rinse and repeat.

Go all in at lvl6 again when you have enough mana and your ult up, same combo but finish it with an ulti.

Mana is a problem, Tristana needs a lot of mana to execute her full combo (W, E, R) so not knowing how much mana you need is going to get you killed or at least makes you fail killing your opponent when you jump in and don't have enough mana for your ult to finish them off.


I always start Dorans Blade. It gives sustain, makes you win AA trades, makes last hitting easier and gives you a little extra health.

If I get first blood or more I always rush DFG, this item is simply OP on her, it makes your burst so much stronger, gives you decent CDR . Next is MPen boots and after that either Zhonya's or Void staff depending on the enemy team and playstyle.

I seldomly go Rabadons unless extremely fed, there are way beter options for Tristana that give her beter utility and damage than pure AP. Same thing for lichbane, her cooldowns are too high to make the most use of the spellbade passive and since I don't build rabadons the passive doesn't add that much.

Attackspeed/proc items are also a thing you can consider although i've had varying degrees of success with it. Malady's removal made Nashor's tooth interesting for tristana. Same thing goes for Wit's End. Both make her AA's do more damage which is a good thing but you'll probably want to build these only after your main build (DFG, MPen boots, Zhonya's and Voidstaff) so by then it'll make little difference. It looked good on paper when the Aatrox patch came out but it seems like it's pretty hard to pull off.

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