Tristana has never been a weak ADC in League of Legends. And frankly, there are tons of AD builds in season 13 that could prove that.

However, playing full AP Tristana is one of the most fun experiences you can have in LoL. And I totally recommend it!

If you’ve never tried AP Tristana, this post should serve you as a complete guide on how to do so. Here I’ll explain the runes you’ll need to take on AP Tristana, the items, and the things you need to be aware of too.

And even though AP Tristana is a powerful playstyle, you’ll still need to know about the potential dangers.

That said, let’s jump into the actual guide and see how you should play AP Tristana in season 13 of League of Legends!

Is Tristana AP or AD in LoL?

Tristana W Rocket Jump

Tristana is an ADC marksman that primarily deals physical damage. And her regular build includes AD items only. However, Tristana’s W and R are magic damage spells and have a high AP ratio.

This allows Tristana to also build full AP and deal tons of damage with abilities instead of auto-attacks.

Tristana is a similar champion to Varus and Ezreal because she too has hybrid scaling. And even though she was designed to be an ADC, Riot Games also gave her magic damage and AP scalings on her abilities.

And so, depending on the items you’re building on Tristana, her playstyle changes. As I mentioned, if you decide to play Tristana AD, your damage will mostly come from your auto-attacks.

But if you build Tristana full AP in season 13, your best source of damage is the W+E+R ability combo.

All in all, Tristana can be played either AP or AD. Both builds are viable and can be used to carry games in solo queue.

But if you’re interested more in how AP Tristana works, here’s the answer.

Read Also: Full AP Ashe Build Guide

How Does AP Tristana Work?

AP Tristana

Playing full AP Tristana in season 13 doesn’t differ from playing the champion with the regular ADC build. Of course, there are differences in power spikes throughout the game, but the general idea is the same.

With AP Tristana, your damage primarily comes from your W – Rocket Jump and your R – Buster Shot. 

Rocket Jump is Tristana’s only mobility spell. However, this ability also does damage in the area where Tristana lands and it even scales with 50% of her total AP.

Additionally, Rocket Jump slows all enemies it hits for 1-3 seconds, based on rank.

On the other hand, Tristana’s R is a regular point-click ability that does a lot of base magic damage and scales with 100% of her AP.

This is a huge ratio and it allows Tristana to do an insane amount of damage simply by pressing one button.

So, the best way to slay an enemy player with AP Tristana is to jump directly on top of them with W, apply your E, do a few auto-attacks, and finish them off with your R.

As you can see, the combo is the same regardless of your build. However, the stakes are a bit bigger when you play AP Tristana.

For example, you shouldn’t miss enemies with Tristana’s W. Even though the ability is a gap-closer, you still need to make sure you land on top of your enemies.

It’s a large portion of your damage and you wouldn’t want to waste it.

Aside from that, you won’t have the same attack speed as you would on AD Tristana. This simply means that you can’t linger for too long once you jump in.

Your mission is to one-shot your enemy by using W, apply E and R, then jump out.

Read Also: AP Miss Fortune Build Guide

AP Tristana S13 Runes – Explained

AP Tristana Runes
  • First Strike
  • Magical Footwear
  • Biscuit Delivery
  • Cosmic Insight
  • Sudden Impact
  • Ultimate Hunter

FIRST STRIKE is currently the best keystone you can run on AP Tristana because it fits very well into Tristnaa’s one-shot playstyle. When you begin your combo, First Strike will increase your damage done by 10% for 3 seconds.

This is often enough since Tristana’s combo is pretty quick.

After 3 seconds, First Strike will reward you with bonus gold based on how much damage you’ve dealt. This effect is perfect because AP Tristana doesn’t usually go for trades unless it’s all-in with her W.

MAGICAL FOOTWEAR is simply the best choice in the second row of Inspiration. It allows you to save 300 gold that you would normally spend on boots early on.

Combined with the bonus gold from First Strike, you’ll reach your first item sooner than your lane opponent. So, you’ll always have an advantage in the lane.

Normally, Magical Footwear gives you the free boots at minute 12. However, if you play aggressively and score champion takedowns, you can get your boots as early as minute 9 or 10.

BISCUIT DELIVERY is a nice rune to have in any matchup as Tristana. It will give you 3 biscuits that refill a bit of your HP and mana. Tristana is a squishy champion without any defensive abilities.

And you’ll need all the advantages you can get, especially against aggressive champions such as Yasuo or Zed.

COSMIC INSIGHT is not a must-have rune for AP Tristana but it’s definitely a helpful one. It lowers the cooldown of your Summoner’s Spells. And thanks to it, you’ll have Flash and Ignite more frequently.

Each time you have Ignite available is a potential takedown for Tristana, so it’s good to pick this rune up.

SUDDEN IMPACT, on the other hand, is absolutely necessary for playing AP Tristana. It gives you bonus magic penetration when you use your W and this effect only has 4 seconds cooldown.

In other words, Sudden Impact will always help you one-shot your target.

ULTIMATE HUNTER is the last rune you need to have on AP Tristana. Since Buster Shot is your primary source of damage, you want to have it as often as possible.

Ultimate Hunter lowers the cooldown of your ulti based on the number of Bounty Stacks you have.

So, collect kills or assists early on to have Tristana’s R available all the time!

Read Also: Top 15 Best Off-Meta Mid Laners

AP Tristana S13 Items- Explained

AP Tristana Items
  • Nashor’s Tooth
  • Sorcerer’s Shoes
  • Night Harvester
  • Lich Bane
  • Rabadon’s Deathcap
  • Zhonya’s Hourglass

NASHOR’S TOOTH is the first item you need to get on AP Tristana. Despite not being a mythic item, Nashor’s Tooth gives you the most value for your gold early on. And it fits Tristana’s AP playstyle perfectly!

Nashor’s Tooth grants a bunch of AP and attack speed. Additionally, it makes your auto-attacks deal bonus on-hit magic damage. So, Nashor’s Tooth will help you burst Tristana’s E within the First Strike’s duration.

And this means that the ability will do more damage.

SORCERER’S SHOES should be your upgrade as soon as you receive your magical boots. They provide additional magic penetration which will be enough at least until the late game.

Having magic penetration early on is a huge damage booster in League of Legends, so don’t forget to get your Sorcerer’s Shoes.

NIGHT HARVESTER is the mythic item I can recommend for AP Tristana in all games. Night Harvester has the highest initial bonus damage effect and will double the power of Tristana’s burst.

This item will also give you 300 bonus health. And this is pretty helpful for a marksman champion such as Tristana.

Additionally, Night Harvester will give you a movement speed boost when you engage a combat and 5 ability haste for each legendary item you have.

LICH BANE is another on-hit effect that you definitely want on AP Tristana. Basically, after you use an ability, Lich Bane makes your auto-attack deal bonus magic damage.

This effect has 1.5 seconds cooldown and it’s totally possible to use it twice whenever you jump in with Tristana.

RABADON’S DEATHCAP is a simple but powerful AP item. It increases your overall ability power by 35% after adding 120 raw AP to your stats.

You should always have Rabadon’s Deathcap in your inventory in the late game, especially on a one-shotting champion such as AP Tristana.

ZHONYA’S HOURGLASS is the last item I’d recommend you to get. It grants a bunch of armor and AP but you really want it for its passive. Zhonya’s Hourglass allows you to enter Stasis and become untargetable for 2.5 seconds.

I’d say that Zhonya’s Hourglass is a must on Tristana since you’ll constantly jump in and out of trouble and amidst enemy champions.

Read Also: Full AP Kog’Maw Build Guide

Optional and Situational Items for AP Tristana

Depending on the situation, you can swap one or two items from my recommended build path above.

For example, Banshee’s Veil is really a must if you’re facing multiple AP enemies (Elise, Syndra, Brand). On the other hand, Void Staff and Shadowflame are must-have items against tanks in League of legends.

Some players like to have more mana, so Luden’s Tempest could work well as a mythic item.

Overall, all AP items could work on AP Tristana but the ones above give you the most value for your gold.


As far as Summoner’s Spells are concerned, I’d advise you always go for Flash and Ignite. Having Ignite in lane applies a huge pressure and it increases your one-shot potential too.

For the ability order, you’ll need to max out your W first and your E second. This is because your W scales with AP and it will do more damage once you start building your first item.

And that’s about it! I hope you enjoyed this AP Tristana guide and found it helpful. And if you want more guides such as this one, I’d suggest you check my lethality Caitlyn guide too!

Read Also: AP Jhin Build Guide

Last Update: March 2, 2024