League of Legends FAQ v1.0 - randomsome1
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League of Legends FAQ

by randomsome1   Updated to v1.0 on
  This is a guide to Tristana for beginners.  It assumes that you are not a
very high level summoner and thus have limited runes and masteries.  Trist
happens to be available for unlocking completely and totally FREE (see my
beginner's guide for details), and she is pretty easy to play.  This makes her
a great choice for a beginning guide.

  Note that I also provide quite a bit of what could be considered to be basic
gameplay advice.  Once again, my target audience is new players.

I.    Why Trist?
II.   Abilities and Stats
III.  Skills
IV.   DPS Theory
V.    Stats we Want Most
VI.   What About AP?
VII.  Runes
VIII. Masteries
IX.   Summoner Spells
X.    Items (long)
       -- Itemization TL;DR
       -- Rationale: Starting Items
       -- Choice of Boots
       -- First Midgame Damage Item
       -- Big Damage Item
       -- Post Big-Damage Item
       -- Getting some Attack Speed
       -- Endgame Items
       -- Optional/Situational Items
       -- Items to Avoid
XI.   Gameplay Strategy
       -- Beginning the Game
       -- Loading Phase
       -- Game Start
       -- Early Game Strategy
       -- Specific Opponent Strategy
       -- What if I am Not Mid?
       -- Midgame Strategy
       -- Endgame Strategy
XII.  Final Words

I. Why Trist?

* As mentioned, she is FREE and thus can always be available for usage.

* She is easy to play and has several ways of 'escaping' and thus is harder to
kill than one might expect.  She is pretty well balanced and has a nice set of
powers that work well together.

* She is considered a Ranged DPS Carry and can make a large contribution to 
a battle.

* She has a decent early game, decent middle game and a great endgame.  She
doesn't really stink at any part of the game, nor is she easily shutdown by

* She does well playing as the mid-lane, but also works well on the side lanes
unlike some characters who really NEED the solo lane to function well.

* Even if your team is doing poorly, if you can do well you can influence the
game and win!  With most heroes such as spellcasters and tanks (non-carries)
there just isn't much you can do.  But as long as your team hasnt fed their
carry too much, and aren't too cowardly to fight, then you can make a comeback.
So I'd say she is one of the more hopeful champions. ;-)

II. Trist's Abilities and Stats

Starting values, gains per level and level 18 max scores.

Health 	       415   (+82)     1809
Mana 	       193   (+32)      737
Damage          42   (+3) 	 93
Attack Speed  0.65   (3.1%)   .9925
Range          550   (+9)       703
Armor           15   (+3)        66
Magic Res.      30   (+0)        30
Health Regen  1.02   (+0.13)   3.23
Mana Regen.   0.79   (+0.05)   1.64
Mov. Speed     310   (none)     310

Lets compare these values to a big Tank like Alistar,
Health 	 468 (+114)  Mana 192 (+33) Damage 59.53 (+3.4)  
Attack Speed 0.625 (+0.010)  Range 125  Armor 14.5 (+3.5)
Magic Res. 30  Health Regen. 7.1 (+0.9) Mana Regen. 3.7 (+0.3)  Speed 300 

  We see that her health starts out about the same as most other heroes.
However, her gains per level aren't nearly as good as a tank.

  Surprisingly her damage is actually pretty lousy!  Not what you would expect
from a ranged DPS who supposedly has a FULL BAR for 'Damage' in the Champion
summary!  This underscores the need for items that boost her damage.

  Notice she is the ONLY champion in the game who's range gets better as she
levels up.  703 is significantly better than any other champion.

  Her armor values are similar to most other champions and no champion that
I know of ever gets any Magic Resistance as they level up. So pretty standard
stuff there.

  The big thing we notice is that her health and mana regeneration are AWFUL!
Really bad.  This basically says that we NEED some form of mana regeneration
to be able to consistently do stuff.  Otherwise we will be running back to
base all the time.

III.  Skills

Passive:  Boosts her range by +9 per level.

(Q)  Rapid Fire (Active): Increases Tristana's attack speed for 7 seconds.
    * Cooldown: 20 seconds
    * Cost: 80 Mana 
    Attack Speed: 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 %

(W)  Rocket Jump (Active): Tristana fires at the ground to propel herself to
target location, dealing magic damage and slowing surrounding units by 
60% for 2.5 seconds when she lands. On kill or assist, Rocket Jump's 
cooldown resets.
    * Cooldown: 22 / 20 / 18 / 16 / 14 seconds
    * Cost: 80 Mana
    * Range: 800
    Area effect Magic Damage: 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+0.8 per AP)

(E) Explosive Shot (Passive): Enemies explode when slain by Tristana's 
attacks, dealing magic damage to nearby enemies.

(Active): Explosive Shot rends the target enemy, reducing healing and health
regeneration by 50% and dealing 25 (+0.1 per ability power) Magic Damage per
    * Cooldown: 16 seconds
    * Cost: 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 Mana
    * Range: 600
    * Passive Magic Damage Dealt to adjacent: 50 / 75 / 100 / 125 / 150
    * Duration of active component  : 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 seconds

(R) Buster Shot (Active): Tristana fires a massive cannonball at an enemy
unit. This deals magic damage and knocks surrounding units back.
    * Cooldown: 60 seconds
    * Cost: 140 Mana
    * Range: 700
    * Magic Damage: 300 / 400 / 500 (+1.5 per ability power)
    * Knockback: 600 / 800 / 1,000 


**RAPID FIRE is why Tristana does not need much attack speed.  This ability is
cheap enough and low cooldown enough to be used in every major team fight.
However, this skill should NOT be used early game!  The reason is because you
just don't hit very hard and a 30 or 45% speed boost will only equate to maybe
one extra shot.  During early game it is all about hit and run, not sustained
firing.  It is only useful if you happen to be able to push their tower, but
that is kind of entering midgame territory.
  Hence we level this one so that it gets maxed around level 12ish and ignore 
it early.

**ROCKET JUMP is a multi-purpose tool.  It has a good range and is great for
escaping from the bad guys.  This should be its primary use and stay reserved
for such a use.
It can also be used offensively but this leaves you very vulnerable.  Ideally
you would jump onto the bad guy, do some damage, slow them, and shoot at them
while they try to get away.

  Note a few things about this skill:
1) It always fires IMMEDIATELY on use.  If you click say 1000 range away, it 
will immediately jump in that direction 600 range instead of walking in that
direction first and then jumping to exactly where you said to go.  The latter
is what almost all spellcasters do with aiming their AoE effects so this is
unusual.  It means that you can always quickly rocketjump to safety and just
click ANYWHERE behind you and she will go.  It also means that most players
have a case of wishful thinking when they are attacking and miss their targets.

Say you are level 11 with a 650 range.  You are shooting at someone and they
are getting away.  You will jump and target them. But they are at range 700+
by now and you only jump 600.  So you MISS them entirely and are only able to
get a few more autoshots in.  Fail.  You have to be very careful and learn
to not fall for 'wishful thinking' on offense! Just cuz you put the circle on
them doesn't necessarily mean she will hit them at the end of its range.

2) Its cooldown is refreshed whenever you get a kill or assist.  Some advanced
players like to jump in and finish off a fleeing bad guy and then immediately
re-jump back to safety.  This is a good way to get killed usually as if they
use a Heal or shield or whatever then you won't get the kill and can't jump
back out! Ditto if you get stunned by another champion, etc.

  You will note that leveling up this skill really doesn't do much for you.
It gets a nice increase in damage and decreases the cooldown.  The damage is
a bit of a trap in that it makes you want to jump on enemies even moreso.
However, even in the middle lane this can lead to a quick death since early on
the enemy creeps hit really hard really fast.  The enemy champion can easily
drop a Exhaust on you and all the sudden you do ZERO damage while the enemy
creeps beat you up.  Generally when you have enough damage output to be able
to make a kill, then you don't actually need the extra damage from Rocket Jump.
The decreased cooldown is pretty useless.  16 seconds is way too long to use
it multiple times in one battle, so there is little difference between 16 and
22, especially when it resets when you get a kill/assist anyways.
  Hence, I recommend taking ONE point only in this skill until it is the only
one left to max out.

**EXPLODING SHOT is mostly used for its passive benefit.  However it does give
you a pretty impressive 'nuke' at level 1.  It deals 100 damage over 4 seconds
which is better than almost all other level 1 damage skills.
The down side is that it gains a measly +25 damage per skill level which stinks.
Even worse, it costs +10 extra mana per level up!  So its damage per mana 
stays about the same!  It does have the benefit of messing up the enemy's
healing which can be nice if they decide to stand and fight and rely on their
Heal summoner spell to swing the battle in their favor.

  Remember that this is a spell and thus is not on your autoshot timer. This
means that you always want to Shot-DOT them.  Right click them to move in to
shoot once with your 550-ish range auto-attack. IMMEDIATELY while still moving
click E and click the enemy as soon as your auto-attack fires, then move back.
This ensures they take about 150 raw damage and makes them respect you. The
reason this is important is because their 'nuke' only does about 60 to 80 and
their autoattack is probably shorter range or they aren't used to doing a 
shot-Nuke.  So in a nuke-exchange you come out ahead.  At level 3 and 5
their nuke becomes a lot better, but with shot-DOT you can still keep even
and prevent them from chasing you away by threat of their nuke.

  The passive benefit starts at 50 and increases by 25 per level up which is
pretty decent.  This skill helps you get extra minion kills that you wouldn't
otherwise get and also helps you clear out large quantities of minions that
bunch up.  Try to shoot the weakest one and when it blows up, target the next
weakest and so forth which is the easiest way to take down a large mob. This
ability does help you Push towards the enemy tower which can be BAD early game
and good midgame and beyond.
  It is bad because the closer you get to their tower, the harder it is to 
harass the enemy and you are more vulnerable to another foe coming out of the
bushes to attack you.  It is a long way back to your own tower...

  Note that against many foes you can attack the ranged minion that they are
behind. When it blows up they will take a damage equal to 1 or 2 auto attacks.
This is a good way to 'extend your range' a bit and more importantly, shooting
a minion to blow up on the champion does a lot more damage and won't cause the
enemy creeps to attack you!

  I recommend maxing Explosive shot as quickly as possible.  Even though the 
damage gain of the active is weak, it is better than nothing and the passive
gain is really pretty strong.

**BUSTER SHOT is your big damage attack that also knocks foes back.  Keep in
mind that its damage is not THAT huge and is reduced about 17% from their
starting 30 magic resistance.  Hence one of the most common mistakes is to
rocket jump in, shoot at a foe and then use Buster to finish them.  Instead,
they get em down to 50HPs and are pushed to safety!  This is extremely
irritating.  So only use buster as a finisher if you are either totally sure
that they will die, or if you are solo and want to add enough extra damage to
ensure they have to run back to base.  DO NOT push the baddie to safety when
in a team fight!  Everyone will hate you!!

  The best use of the Buster Shot is to push foes towards your team or tower.
Lets say it is level 6 and the enemy in your lane gets too close and is at
half health.  You rocket jump BEHIND them and immediately buster shot them.
This will knock them towards your tower and they will have to run all the way
past you or off to the side to escape.  Meanwhile you've dropped Exploding
shot on them to prevent heal and deal more damage and are shooting at them
like crazy.

  This is a good strategy in small-scale fights too or when the enemy is
outnumbered.  Using this in team fights will get you killed though, so this is
more of a laning strategy.  Be careful using this early on as you can take 
just as much damage from the enemy creeps that you jumped into as you deal.
This works fantastic in ganks since you typically are approaching from behind
them anyways.  Open with the buster shot to push em into your allies and 
turrent.  As they Flash/Ghost/run away, rocket jump on them to slow them if
needed.  If you rocket jump first, there is more of a chance of them Flashing
and avoiding the attack, but with a 700 range, they won't be able to flash
past your buster shot.  Also, your allies will likely have their own stun/slow
which would make your rocket jump slow a moot point.  You want to save that 
for if they are able to break free and your buddies snares are on cooldown.

  Buster shot is also a defensive tool. Sometimes the bad guy will come to 
gank you.  You rocket jump behind them or off to the side but they use some
ability to slow you or stun you.  You can then use Cleanse or Ghost or whatever
and Buster shot them to push them away from you.  You then run to safety.
Note that buster shot only damages one foe but pushes ALL nearby foes away. 
Hence it works great even with multiple baddies chasing you.

  Buster shot can also be used during the laning phase.  Ideally you want
to get a kill but sometimes you can be up against a tough opponent, usually
a spellcaster type. In this case, buster shot can be a good parting volley,
what I call the Punishment Combo.  Make sure you have 300 mana!!
You would rocket jump close to them, hit em with Exploding shot and buster shot
before they can respond.  Then you run off and either return to base or 
continue like normal. The knockback effect keeps them AND any nearby creeps 
from pursuing or counter attacking whereas normally jumping on them would go 
poorly for you.

  Buster shot is strong for countering channeled or ongoing effects in a team
fight. The best example is against Fiddlesticks.  He teleports into your team
and deals MASSIVE damage in an area around him for 5 seconds or so. A quick
buster shot to push him away from your allies WILL make a huge difference in
that fight.  If you are against champions that have abilities like this, hold
onto your buster shot in team fights so you can negate it.  Nunu's ultimate
is another good example with the frost ring thing.

  Finally, you can use Buster shot to steal a kill.  It has a short enough 
cooldown to do this.  In a team fight, right before the enemy dies, use buster
shot to get the finishing blow.  This is especially valuable if your Quick Shot
has just stopped and thus your DPS drops. Hence you are unlikely to get the
kill without 'cheating'.  If the enemy is on a killing spree especially, you
want to get the big payout for the kill.  Remember that YOU are the carry, and
thus you really do need the gold.  I don't usually do this but if I am having
a streak where I am getting assists but not many kills, I remember that I
have this trick up my sleeve.   Once again, make sure you actually KILL. If you
fail and push them to safety, your team will be very upset with you!  If done
correctly your team will be none the wiser since it doesn't push on a kill and
the cooldown is low enough to be usable on the next team fight.  You want to
use this during ganks or against the last surviving enemy. Don't steal-kill the
very first baddie in the team fight.

Skill Order:

Based on the above analysis, I always go:

1: Exploding Shot for 100 damage dot and farm.
2: Rocket Jump for an escape or offensive opportunity.
3: Exploding Shot
4: Rapid Shot - Not really used for a while but need to start leveling it.
5: Explosive shot
6: Buster Shot
7: Explosive Shot
8: Rapid Shot
9: Explosive
10: Rapid
11: Ultimate
12: Rapid
13: Rapid
14+: 1 more ultimate and max out rocket jump.

tl;dr: Max explosive ASAP, take 1 rocket jump then max out Rapid shot next.

IV. DPS Theory

  Your total Damage Per Second(DPS) is based on two things mostly.  These are
your attack damage and attack speed.  Think of them as length and width of a
rectangle.  Length times width = area, or dmg times speed = DPS. And we ALL
remember from our calculus that a square is the way to maximize the area of
a rectangle. Right?  Yeah ok, moving on.....

  What you want to do is to BALANCE these two variables to maximize your DPS.
If you have a godly attack speed but do lousy damage then you are doing it 
wrong.  In the same way, awesome damage at slow speed is weak too.

  Think of it like the rectangle.  Say you have a starting 1 attack speed and
a '1' attack damage.  The area or DPS would be 1.  (1x1).  Say you have gold
and can add 10 'boost points'.   What if you now had 11 attack damage but kept
the same 1 attack speed?   Your DPS would be 11.   A long skinny rectangle.
Ditto with boosting speed but not damage.  The best approach would be to add
FIVE to each attribute for a 6 speed, 6 damage = 36 area/DPS.

  This is what I mean by maintaining a balance.  You want your higher attack
speed and your higher attack damage to multiply together to get the highest
possible DPS.

  This is the basis for how we pick your items and masteries and runes.

V. Stats We Want Most

  Looking at Trist, we see she already has a 90% speed booster that can be used
pretty reliably in team fights.  In order to 'balance' things out, we want to
focus solely on attack damage until we have a good +100 or so.  Then we will
focus more on attack speed again.
  One thing to note:  Her base attack speed is 0.65 attacks per second.
EVERYTHING is based on this!  Every time she levels up she gets a bit more
attack speed but her BASE speed stays the same.
Therefore at level 18, her attack speed is 0.9925.
With Rapid shot it jumps to.. .9925 + .65 times 0.9 = 1.58 shots per second.
To get the maximing attack speed cap, you need a grand total of 384% attack
 speed boost in total.
You already get 52% for free at level 18.
You get 90% for 'free' with Rapid Shot.
This leaves 242% more you can get with +attack speed runes/masteries/items.

  However, Trist's base damage is pretty bad.  Therefore our primary thing we
want to boost is Attack Damage.  We want to get it up there fast! A final 
example to reiterate this is that to go from 1.58 attack speed to 2.5 capped
would boost your DPS by 60%.  It would take 240% attack speed worth from items
to do this, which would cost a fortune! (240 x 25 = 6000 G estimated!)

On the other hand, a +50 damage BFSword would ALSO increase your DPS by 60%
by boosting damage from 70ish to 120ish for only 1850 gold.
  Once you are dealing 200ish damage per shot though, an extra +50 damage is
only a 25% DPS boost.  It then becomes more efficient to start looking at
attack speed boosts.

  Survivability is also important. A dead Trist deals 0 DPS.  Hence we want to
be able to take some hits.  Improved HPs is the best way of doing so for
several reasons.  Mostly, her existing HPs are low enough that it is not
efficient to buy armor and magic resist.  Also items that are good for Trist
typically boost HPs, not armor/MR.  You don't want to spend too much on
defense, but you need enough to NOT be a glass cannon.  If you are that easy
to kill, the enemies will tend to focus you even MORE than normal.

  Critical Hits are a multiplier.  It costs a fixed amount to buy critical hit
chance, but the results vary.  If you have weak damage, then 20% crit is a 20%
boost to that weak damage.   With strong damage, you get a 20% boost of that.
Hence critical is a nice stat to have but we want to save it for LAST where it
will have the most effect for the resources we put into it.

  HP and MP recovery are nice to have.  However, trist generally doesn't stick
around after taking damage or running Out of Mana (OOM).  She runs back to base
to restock.  While MP recovery is always somewhat useful to keep her running,
you do NOT want a half-dead Trist running around fighting in a team fight! She
is first to get focus fired and she needs to always be at close to full health. 
Hence, HP recovery is ONLY really useful during the laning phase.

  Shorter cooldowns are beneficial but not to a big degree.  Your ultimate is
fast enough to be available every big fight.  Your other abilities are slow
enough to only really be usable once per big fight.  Even a 40% off won't help
this much.  Therefore cooldown reduction isn't the best use of resources.

  Move speed is good.  You don't need tons of it, but you want to be able to
keep up with the team and the bad guys.  After you rocket jump to safety you
need to be able to not get caught by the baddies before reaching your tower or
safe spot if the fight goes poorly.

Armor penetration is pretty good.  Everyone gets about 80 armor at level 18 
which means your attacks do a bit more than 1/2 damage.  Clearly mitigating
this is a good idea. This is kind of a 'critical hit' like item in that it
provides a percentage boost to your damage by negating their percentage 
reduction.  It is most effective when the enemy has little armor.


Enemy has 20 armor.  You shoot for 100 damage.  They eat 83 damage.
You pierce 20 armor.  They now eat 100 damage, or +17 damage.  Win!

Enemy has 200 armor. You shoot for 100 damage. They eat 33 damage.
You pierce 20 armor.  They now eat 36 damage, or +2 damage. Woopie.

Attack damage is highest priority, as well as armor pierce when available.

HPs are very good. Moreso than armor or magic resist.

Attack speed is valuable but not until you hit for 200 per shot.

Critical hit is good lategame only.

HP recovery is ok early, but weak mid to lategame.

MP recovery is decent and better than getting a bigger mana pool.

Cooldown Reduction is weak.

Armor Penetration is strong, but works best vs low-armor targets.

VI. What About Ability Power?

Maybe you were wondering about boosting AP instead of attack damage and attack
speed?  There are actually guides about AP-Trist.

  The theory is that Trist actually can acquire a great deal of burst damage 
which is very hard to counter during the mid-game.  Some boosts to AP can
increase this damage to lethal levels thus making you a dominating force 
midgame instead of endgame like a typical Trist.

  With 100AP for example, a level 12 Trist can deal:
* 250 + 80 = 320 from rank 5 Rocket Jump
* 200 + 80 = 280 from rank 5 Explosive Shot
* 400 +150 = 550 from rank 2 Buster Shot
* 270 TRUE damage from Ignite.
1420 damage!  (though some of it occurs over several seconds, but their healing
 is reduced to like 1/4th anyways between Ignite and Explosive shot).

She can do this attack in under 1 second which can WTFPWN most foes very fast.
With DeathFire Grasp, she can add its percentage nuke on top of that!

Sounds tempting huh?   The main issue with this approach is that it is hard to
cough up the AP fast enough without compromising the rest of the build. AP
Trist won't get any extra mana regen or HPs or anything.  They will need to 
rush a NLR(+80AP) for 1600 gold ASAP and a Soulstealer(1200) which builds up.
It is then extremely important that she can find people to gank.  If she can't
rocketjump onto them, then she won't get the kill.   If they are a bit too 
tough, she can't kill them and dies.  This reliance on ganking means little 
farming creeps.

If she can't get kills, she won't get any gold and no stacks on Soulstealer.
This means she will suck very badly.

Even if all goes well, during the endgame in team fights she can slaughter 1
baddie in range, but then has no use at all beyond that since she hits for
90 damage at 1.5 speed best-case.
Plus she has to go recover mana and HPs often since The Combo takes a lot of
mana.  It can work very well, but it is situational.

Because of the negatives, I am focusing on the standard AD Trist which is a lot
easier to play and isn't so dependent on certain variables coming into play.

VII. Runes

I realize you won't have lots of slots and are using level 1 runes. But heres
what I'd do with what you got:

  Your Marks should be armor penetration.  These are the most efficient marks
you can get and are immediately useful.  They effectively increase damage by
a percentage. They are just more efficient than attack damage boosts.

UPDATE: So they got nerfed and other choices became more viable.  Still, math
seems to indicate that Armor Penetration is a top tier choice.  It also works
for ALL physical damage champions which saves IPs and minimizes rune rework.

  Seals have more choices.  I go with MP Regen per level as it more than breaks
even with the flat-MP regen choice by level 5.  This allows you to keep using
your skills without running OOM and is valuable throughout the game since you
would not have to buy a dedicated MP regen item.
Attack speed and armor are also fairly efficient but the attack speed isn't
 super helpful early to midgame.
You don't have enough HPs for armor to be a big assistance.

  Glyphs are normally used for cooldown reduction.  You might want to keep them
at that since you likely have these glyphs already for most characters. 
Alternatively you could take yet more scaling Mana Regen.  It is slightly less
efficient than a seal but still works decently, especially when you are under
10 and don't have a lot of seal-slots for MP regen.

VIII. Masteries

Most guides say 21/0/9 or 9/0/21 which doesn't mean much to noobs like me.

As a general rule, here are the masteries which I find to be the most valuable:


* Deadliness - Critial hit.

* Alacrity - Attack speed.   Both are more late-game, but its your best option

* Take 1 Archaic Knowledge as several of your abilities are Magical.  A 15%
pierce of their typical 30 MR means your 300 damage buster shot does an extra
9 damage.  Similar with rocket jump and explosive shot.  It is not huge, but
is significant since you will not be getting any magic resistance penetration
items of course.  Many casters will already be reducing MR severely so they
wind up getting 15% off of 10MR or less, which is pretty weak.

** Sunder - Armor penetration of 2 per point is very efficient and useful at
 all phases of the game.

*** Brute Force - Adds base damage. Much better than the lousy 'add damage to
 minions' options you had earlier.

Tier 5 sucks. Lethality is pretty weak since you CAN'T EVEN CRIT until way late
game.  Take the earlier cooldown reduction instead if you can hit tier 6 to 
take Havoc for the 5% more damage.


Defense is pretty lousy. Armor and MR at tier 1 are great but more for higher
HP champs.  The other choices are marginal with Evasion being the best.
Tier 4 with extra flat HPs and improved Cleanse are good but not worth the
other lousy masteries in this tree.


* Perseverance SUCKS bad.  Your base HP/MP regen is truly awful (see your stats)
 and a 2% increase per point is awful.
Unfortunately the other choices are bad as well at tier 1.
Tier 2 sucks too with a minimal XP gain which blows since you are mid most of
the time anyways. Expanded mind is no good as your Mana pool is small so +5%
isn't helpful.
Tier 3 gives you the big MEDITATION which is 5MP/5 for 3 points and equal to a
390gold Meki Pendant!
Tier 4 adds movespeed bonus which is very nice. Tier 6 for lower summoner
cooldown is great but tier 5 isn't the best for you.

  I would say to max out Offense over all else.  Utility gives you huge MP 
Regen, but its really the only strong thing in the tree.

XI. Summoner Spells

* Cleanse - One of my favorites.  You tend to get disabled a lot.  Being able
to cleanse and rocket jump away has saved me from countless ganks.  Especially
during early game when I am playing in the middle lane and someone comes after
me.  Cleanse/Rocket means they lost out on XP and gold during the trip to me
and going back in shame after their failed gank.
Without rocketjump cleanse wouldn't be as good, since you'd likely get killed
anyways.  But since you have the escape, cleanse is gold.

* Clarivoyance - This is a spell that every DPS guide says that the Support
champions should take.  But they don't...ever.  I think I've seen a whopping
TWO people ever take it besides me.

I'd strongly consider it.  With a fast cooldown it really helps with map
awareness that you won't see during solo queue play.  Nobody wards or even
calls missing half the time so this is very valuable and worth the slot. I use
it like so:

 a) At 5-10 seconds into the game after I buy, use it on their platform.  You 
    can often see which champs are going to which lane, AND whether they have
    left or not.  If their champs are still sitting there while yours are going
    then this means the bushes for that lane will be clear.  If they are moving
    or gone before yours are moving then you can warn them to be careful.

 b) After the first Clair, you buy then go mid usually.  Clair will be ready
    to go by the time your guys arrive in the top or bottom lane.  If you think
    they might not have been first to the bush, tell em "Bot, lighting up ur
    bushes in 10 sec. wait for it", and then when they have arrived, light it
    up.  Allies can now use spells/ranged attacks against those hiding in the
    bushes and turn a potential disaster where 1 ally gets cripped into a
    totally different situation.   Your teammates will love you.   You also have
    nothing better to do when you are mid anyways, right?

 c) When laning mid and you have the opportunity to push their tower, or if 
    someone calls 'missing' top or bottom, use Clair on the bushes on the
    side of the river where you suspect baddies.  You can easily see baddies 
    that are waiting to gank you and pull back.

 d) Midgame and beyond, you can sometimes find missing enemies.  Ping the Baron
    late game to ensure he isn't being hit.  Or hit their jungle or a lane 
    with no visibility to get a hint where they are heading.  This is also good
    for when there is 1 or 2 champs that appear to be alone.  View behind em
    or in bushes to see if there are 3 more champs waiting to ambush you when
    you take the bait!


* Flash - Youve got rocket jump with 2x the range.  You shouldn't need flash.

* Ghost - With jump you should be able to get away.  If not then you were
   likely overextended.  You shouldn't need this.

* Heal - A solid spell and a good choice for a low level summoner.

* Ignite - This is a nice way to get an early game advantage.  You run in to
  get in a Shot (550 range) and then hit em with Explosive and Ignite for a
  pretty mean combo.  That can force their healing potion or spell within the
  first few seconds of the laning phase which is a big advantage.  However,
  it just doesn't get used past level 7 or so. By then my auto-attack has more
  range than Ignite or Explosive shot so I use it for harassing and keep my
  distance.  After two uses it sits worthless for the rest of the game in my
  experience whereas most other choices are handy throughout the game.

* Clarity - An ok choice for low level summoners.  However, you usually
  dont burn through that much mana.   I go through it fast at level 1-3 with
  explosive shot, but soon my auto-attack outranges it which lets me dink 
  the baddies and run back without getting into Explosive shot (or their nuke!)
  range.  If laning against melee guys or shorter range folks, then yeah you
  might go OOM spamming explosive shot.  But this is situational, so I kinda
  hate to go clarity.  Heal is more general purpose utility. After level 10
  or so, your Seals and Glyphs should provide enough MP regen.

* Teleport - A good choice maybe for higher level games.  Since you are playing
  mid, you have a shorter run back to your lane.  Teleport is nice, but saves
  maybe 15 seconds.  You wont lose THAT much gold/XP by not having it. Mostly
  teleport has a LONG cooldown (FIVE freaking minutes!) and typically only gets
  used a few times every game.  Many people swear by it so give it a shot when
  you get access to it.
  If the cooldown wasn't so friggin long and/or had a better mastery I would be
  more excited.  The current mastery takes a whopping FIVE SECONDS off of the
  5 minute cooldown. wow.

* Exhaust - A bit too situational for me.  On offense you already can slow
  with Rocket Jump.  If that plus Explosive shot plus Buster isn't enough to
  kill then you are already overextended.  Defensively exhaust is ok but does
  not stop their spells.  Cleanse,Rocketjump gets you clear most of the time
  and is a better choice than exhaust.

* Avoid revive and fortify as they aren't all that great and not really your

X. Items

  Itemization is almost always the most controversial aspect of a build.  Our
objective is NOT to just identify a bunch of good items.   There are lots of
them that will work.   We want to figure out how which items are the best for
making Tristana operate at the highest efficiency possible.  This includes
not just the items but the order in which they are gotten.

  Another important factor is the ability to be able to buy them in chunks. 
You don't want to be forced to save up 1850 gold for a BFSword and buy nothing
if you happen to be forced home with only 1700.  Hence, there needs to be some
ability to make smart decisions on how to spend the gold you DO have to help
you perform better until the next shopping trip.

   A final factor is the number of item slots you have available.  Ideally we
want to have expensive items because if you have a bunch of 1500ish items then
you wind up running out of space endgame and have to sell weaker items for a
loss.  Typically this isn't a big deal but it is why we don't load up with
Doran's blades and Brutalizers for example even though they are very efficient.

Itemization TL;DR:
Doran's Blade + 1 Health Potion
level 1 boots
 -> Upgrade to Phage
 -> Upgrade to Berserkers Boots
BF Sword or Longsword -> Black Cleaver
 -> Upgrade to Frozen Mallet
Zeal -> Phantom Dancer
BFSword -> Infinities Edge
(sell Doran's)
Zeal -> Phantom Dancer # 2.


Doran's Blade +1 Health Potion
level 1 boots
Longsword -> Phage
BF Sword or Pickaxe
  -> Upgrade to Infinities Edge
  -> Upgrade to Berserkers Boots
Last Whisper
  -> Frozen Mallet
Zeal -> Phantom Dancer
Zeal -> Phantom Dancer

Rationale: Starting Items

  There are quite a few good choices, but Doran's Blade seems to work best.
For 430 gold you get 120HPs, +6 damage and +4% lifesteal.  This basically
winds up being about 300 gold worth of HPs, 240 worth of Attack Damage, and
140 gold worth of lifesteal.  This item gives you a lot of great value for
the money, with the disadvantage being that it 'slows down' your big items.
Note that my 'item value' comes from taking basic items and scaling them down.
For example, Ruby crystal is 475 for 180HPs, so its about 2.5 gold per 1 HP.

  I believe Dorans is worth it though.  Extra damage helps you last hit easier
as well as harass a bit better.
Life steal gives you 3HPs per attack which provides a bit of HP regen
effectively.  The 120 HPs can really help prevent you from dying due to a 
focused burst by the enemy.  Plus, there is nothing that you are really dying
to 'rush', unlike some who rush a Chalice so they can spam spells, or a
Catalyst to get a Rod of Ages ASAP or get great value from a Sheen. So we will
happily take the efficiency of the Doran's.

  One viable alternative for very low level summoners is to take a Rejuv Bead 
and a Fairy Charm with a health potion.  This provides the mana regen that you
would normally get through several Runes.  These two items can be upgraded
into a single item, Tiamat.  However, while tiamat is easy to assemble and
gives you timely HP/MP regen, the HP regen isn't very valuable mid to lategame
and Tiamat's splash ability is pretty weak.  Hence it just isn't super cost
effective for any summoner past level 8 or so.  But it sure beats being
out of mana all the time for a very low level summoner or buying a MP regen
item that you can't do anything with.

It might be tempting to go with a bunch of potions only and save your gold.
However this means you are starting with a handicap basically.  The slight
speedup to your item build is more than offset by the lack of extra HPs and
damage which can get you killed or make you miss last-hits.

Other approaches are to take just a longsword to build into your real items 
faster.  A longsword is tempting but the lack of HPs and
especially regen is very hurtful since you could only buy 1 HP potion with
no lifesteal and no 120HP buffer.

A regrowth pendant is tempting too as it regens 180 HP per minute.  Remember
that HP regen isn't very useful mid to late game.  You are usually better off
with the Doran's except in certain circumstances. If you fire off 20 shots per
minute you are hitting about 60 HP per minute regen from the lifesteal. As your
damage increases, so does the 'regen'.
It can be an advantage to take the Regrowth pendant if you are up against an
enemy that can harass you and there is not much you can do about it. For
example, Mordenkeiser has an AoE attack that he spams to keep his shield up.
It is difficult to avoid while continuing to last hit and harass. Clairivoyance
can help you determine who you will be up against though in many cases the
enemy lineup will tell you all you need to know.

Choice of Boots:

  Level 1 boots are pretty important as they add +50 speed, on top of your base
of 310.  That is a pretty big difference and necessary at level 7ish to run
away from ganks and catch baddies to take potshots at them. At 350 gold, they
are pretty cheap.

  Level 2 boots however only add +20 additional speed.  This is not NEARLY as
significant which is why I put off level 2 boots for a while.  Plus they cost
a lot!  Berserker boots give you a good 625 gold worth of attack speed so they
are pretty efficient.  However, attack speed isn't as important early on so
we aren't in a huge hurry to upgrade.

  Other boot choices are Swiftness which costs an extra 650 gold for +40 speed,
not nearly as efficient as level 1 boots.   You don't really need the speed
all that much. Its not worth bypassing the 25% attack speed of Berserker.

  Many people love Mercury boots but they are very expensive and lowering 
the duration of bad effects isn't that helpful.  Seriously.. dropping a 3 sec
slow to 1.8 seconds will still likely result in your death since the other
enemy champions will catch you and then apply THEIR nasty stuff as well. 
 A cleanse and rocketjump should allow you to clear all debuffs and get you 
out of range so you don't get chain CC-ed and beat up.  A lot of champions 
can get great use out of Mercury Treads but they just haven't helped me that
The magic resistance is nice, but attack speed is more valuable for Trist.

 Ninji Tabi are very cheap level 2 boots with armor and dodge.  These are great
for many champs but your HPs aren't really high enough to take advantage.  Also
 you tend to get attacked by magic damage moreso than physical.

First Midgame Damage Item:

  I like Phage quite a bit.  Unlike a big damage item, you can finish it very
quickly and get a nice bonus benefit.

  For 1290 gold you get 225 health (worth 560gold) and +18 damage (worth 720).
These are exactly the stats we want early and in about the right ratio.
In addition, you have a chance to slow down a baddie when you hit them for
several seconds.  This is VERY nice to have midgame since fights are usually
2v2 or ganks.  When you rocket jump onto a baddie in a small scale fight, 
use Rapid Shot and shoot, you have a great  chance of getting the additional 
snare.  This easily makes the difference between them getting away and you 
getting the kill.  You are also getting this snare for 'free' basically 
looking at the item cost. Phage also has a good upgrade later in the game.

Major Big Damage Item:

  Out of the various damage items, I SLIGHTLY prefer the Black Cleaver.  For 
3065 you get +75 damage (worth about 3000) and the armor pierce as a bonus.  
Due to your high attack speed the armor debuff stacks up quickly and stacks 
with whatever you have from masteries and runes!  Against a typical foe, you
will be able to drop them from 50 armor (at level 12ish) to 0 in three shots
including your existing armor penetration.  The armor drop also helps your
physical damage allies significantly. 

  Other good choices are:

a) Bloodthirster - Potentially more damage but starts over when you get killed.
   The lifesteal is very tempting though and can regenerate quite a bit of HPs.
   This is a viable alternative but I prefer the armor piercing capability and
   that it is a constant benefit vs a snowballing one.

b) Infinities - Early in the game the critical and effect make Infinities
   deal better damage per gold than the Cleaver but without the armor pierce.
   I feel the armor penetration is very beneficial to Trist and also helps
   her allies.  By this point constant firing is more prevalent than sniping
   single shots (where the Cleaver isn't very good).  IE is still a solid
   option though as the crit effect does more and more damage as she gains
   more damage.  Consider it if there aren't any other physical damage allies
   OR if you suspect that most enemies will be high armor.  In which case, a
   percent-based Last Whisper with the higher DPS of Infinities  might be
   superior to the flat cleaver bonus.

Mathcraft:  Assume 90 damage Trist. (base plus 6 Blade +18 phage) 
For 3075, +75 damage = 41 gold per damage (plus armor pierce)

For 4050, +80 damage, and a 20% chance of dealing +150% damage.
   == +80 damage plus 20% of 255 bonus damage.
   == +80 damage plus effectively 51 bonus damage.
   == +131 damage = 31 gold per damage but without armor pierce.

c) Sword of Occult - Cheap heavy damage but lose 1/3rd when dying. Discussed
   later, but snowball items are not really ideal with Trist.

d) Brutalizer - Efficient but doesn't build into anything and you don't need
   the cooldown reduction bonus.

e) Bloodrazor - Great vs big tanks but less efficient vs normal champs. Deals
   magical damage which you have no penetration for, but typical resistance
   will be less too. Worth considering if you are against multiple high-HP 


Assume a 90 damage Trist that has a 1.4 attack speed with Rapid Shot.
Base damage 65 + 6 Dorans  +18 phage = 90.
0.8 attack speed plus 0.65*.9 = 1.385 (close to 1.4)

DPS base = 126
DPS with Cleaver = 231 (for 3000 gold)  plus armor pierce.
DPS with IEdge = 310 (for 4000 gold)
DPS with Bloodrazor = 265 (for 3800 gold vs 1k foes) (332 vs 2k foes)

Attack Speed = 1.4 normal speed + 40%*.65 = 1.66.
90 dmg +30 bonus = 120 damage per hit.
Physical DPS = 199.2
Magical DPS vs 1000HP foe = 40 dmg x 1.66 = 66.4

Post Big-Damage Item:

  Upgrading to Frozen Mallet gives you two awesome boosts.  It costs almost
2000 gold for no extra damage. Hence we get Cleaver first!  The +2 damage boost
is laughable but an extra 475 HPs (worth almost 1200 gold) isn't!  You get a
big survivability boost with +820 more HPs than normally expected. The main 
thing you are paying for though is the permanent snare.  This guarantees that
a baddie that you can hit will NEVER get away.  When you win the team fight and
they scurry like rats, if you can Rocket Jump in their direction and get in
ONE 700range autoattack then you've won!  Hit Q if up and they are permanently
snared by -30% move which you continuously reapply for an easy kill.
The snare also means that you can escape from even a Ghosted bad guy.  You
cleanse their stun/debuff, rocket jump back then shoot em once.  You can then
leisurely stroll back to base.
It also means you can gank and the baddies should never be able to get away.

  Seriously, this single item has turned around games for me.  Previously their
team could hit and run. With this 1 item, a rocket-jump after fleeing opponents
with a single auto-shot would basically guarantee their death since it keeps
re-applying the slow (unlike Phage) till my team catches them (if I haven't
finished them).

Note: It is a 30% move snare for ranged attackers. The 40% is melee-only. It 
is still sufficient though.

  You may wish to skip this upgrade and opt for more DPS if you are not feeling
very threatened by the bad guys or if your allies have a lot of slows/stuns.
Or maybe just get a Giant's Belt and move on.

Getting some Attack Speed

  With 80ish base damage and +101 from items we hit pretty hard.  With Rapid 
Shot we hit fast.  Now it is time to boost attack speed even more and get some
crit to amplify our total high damage.

We have the following choices:

a) Last Whisper - 40% attack speed boost and +10 damage boost and you penetrate
   40% of the bad guy's armor. Unfortunately, you apply your Runes/Mastery
   flat armor penetration BEFORE the 40%!  So if foes have 60 armor, by the 
   time youve stripped 10-20 from rune/mastery and your Black Cleaver gets in
   a few shots and strips 24 more, then you are only taking off 40% of maybe
   20armor.  Which is extremely weak. 
   If you did NOT take Black Cleaver then this becomes a very efficient choice
   since it provides 1000 gold worth of attack speed, 400 worth of damage and
   the 40% penetration will typically be worth at LEAST 30 armor penetration
   which I would estimate at around 700+ gold.  More if you didn't take
   armor penetration runes and masteries.

b) Malady - EDIT: Malady got remade, so its not an option anymore.

c) Stinger - 40% attack speed for 1140 is fairly cost effective with its
   'free' cooldown reduction, but it doesn't build into anything.  Mine as
   well just buy a plain recurve bow.

d) Wit's End - 2150 gold for 40% attack speed.  Basically adds +42 damage too.
   Pretty decent and discussed later.

e) Zeal - 1200 gold for 20% attack speed and 10% crit with movespeed. Builds to
  Phantom Dancer for 45% attack speed, 30% crit, dodge and move.

f) Starks - 45% attack, 20% lifesteal, Armor reduction, HP regen.  Shares 
  about half of these buffs with your entire party at around 1200ish range out.

I took Zeal->Phantom Dancer mostly for the crit.  Our DPS WAS about...
200 damage per hit at 1.5 attacks per second = 300 DPS.
With Phantom it is 200dmg at 1.8 attacks = 360 x 1.3 (crit) = 468
That is a pretty big boost!  We also get 20% dodge and 15% movespeed which is
a fantastic bonus.

Starks is worthwhile too and provides a similar attack bonus boost for less
cost. The lifesteal is solid as well and flat armor reduction is good. Phantom
Dancer got the nod because of the large DPS increase from critical hits. If
you have several physical teammates though you might consider Starks. Be sure
to ask and make sure nobody else is getting it!

Endgame Items

  I chose Infinities Edge if the game drags on because its crit-related bonuses
provide a very large DPS increase.  For 4100 gold you add +80 damage and
+20% crit.
Before IE we calculated 468 DPS with a Phantom Dancer.
After IE, we now how a 50% crit rate that does 150% extra damage.
So 1.8 attacks per second at 280 damage = 504 base DPS.
add on 50% chance of adding 150% = +75% total damage.
DPS is now 882!

You can see that IE is a lot better now than it was as a first major item.

  If by some miracle the game is not completed yet, you can sell your Doran's
and buy another Phantom Dancer (they stack) to boost crit to 80% and just about
max out your attack speed.

Optional/Situational Items:

Not every game plays the same.  You must occasionally make adjustments.
Here are some that periodically crop up:

a) Banshee's Veil - This is a great item that boosts your HPs which we like,
 boosts mana pool which isn't as useful, Magic Resistance which is good, and
 gives you a shield to negate enemy spells.  You typically have enough range
 to avoid most spells and ideally you have a tank to hide behind.  There are
 some cases where the enemy has long range disablers or the enemy is composed
 of mostly spellcasters.  In these cases, a Veil can be very advantageous. The
 thing to remember though is that your DPS really starts accelerating quickly
 towards the endgame and this item does NOTHING for it.  It effectively slows
 your DPS progression for quite a while.  Therefore make sure you really really
 need the Veil and that it is worth the tradeoff in your damage.

b) Wit's End - Wit's End is a pretty viable choice. It costs 2150 and gives us
  1000 gold worth of attack speed and 1680 worth of damage.  30 magic resist is
  technically worth 450 gold.  Therefore the item is very efficient, though
  it doesn't build and is only a 2k gold item.  The ideal case is that the
  enemy takes damage from the manaburn and it limits their ability to do much.
  A more typical case is that they either have tons of mana and it doesn't
  matter (in which case you just do +42 damage which is fine). OR, they run OOM
  and you don't deal the extra damage.  I am actually OK with that too since
  an OOM opponent is almost always a worthless opponent unless they are a 
  physical carry like you.  Your worst case is against ENERGY or HP using
  champions such as VLAD, Mordenkeiser, Kennen, Shen, and the like.  In these
  cases you wind up with an expensive Recurve Bow. DO NOT EVER GET WIT'S END
  if you are up against those champions.

  If you are up against certain champions that are very reliant on Mana but 
  have relatively low mana pools, you may wish to give this item a shot. For
  example, Sion and Cho Gath are very tough but rely heavily on their stuns
  to participate in combat.  If you can strip their mana by potshotting them
  before the big fight, then you can really tip the scales.
  I'd recommend a build order then of Dorans, boots, Wit's End.  Then get
  Phage and Last Whisper to emphasize attack speed then get a damage item.

  Note: I am not sure whether they always take 42 damage, or if it is
  considered 'Magical Damage'.

c) Tiamat - Tiamat is a viable alternative to Black Cleaver for very low level
  summoners where you just don't have the MP regen to fight effectively. You
  wont have armor penetration runes/masteries either, so take Last Whisper as
  your attack speed item.  You will get the full benefit of the 40% pierce and
  it won't conflict with your flat armor penetration since you won't have any.
  Tiamat is somewhat maligned, but it is pretty much the only physical attack
  item that has built-in mana regeneration..especially regen that lasts the
  entire game.

d) Multiple Dorans - Sometimes things just don't go well. You get killed and
  return to base with little luck farming or harassing.  You have 500ish gold.
  You havent given up yet because maybe they have a weak carry.  You might
  consider multiple Doran's Blades.  They are the most cost effective way to
  quickly increase your survivability and add a bit of damage.
  Another blade gives you more HPs, lifesteal and damage and makes you a lot
  more effective than just getting a longsword.  Next trip to base you might
  get 2 more Dorans.

  Realize that Doran's are boosting your survivability way over DPS. But,
  saving your gold and going back to get owned some more isn't a good solution
  as THEY are buying items too!  With doran's you are getting more efficiency
  than them and this gives you at least a chance to make a comeback.
  Id suggest you get boots and then skip straight to a BF Sword -> Infinities
  Edge when you have the gold.  Then you can start selling Dorans and replace
  them with expensive items one by one.

  If you are being severely harassed and can't farm, consider this approach as
  a last ditch effort. With 4 blades at level 7 you are hitting for about 85
  and lifestealing 14 life per attack which gives you massive regen. The 
  480 extra HPs does a lot to make you much more resistant to stun-nuke chains.
  For 1300 extra gold this gives you a lot of efficient gains.

  Remember, this is NOT some pro-strategy to get an early advantage because
  you would normally want more pure damage over the mostly survivability this
  provides. I'd rather have the +18 damage phage with a snare and 220HPs vs
  the 18 damage triple sword with lifesteal and 360HPs that I'll have to sell
  later.  This is an ANTI-FEEDING strategy only.

Items to Avoid:

  Pretty much all your items should focus on increasing DPS or HPs. Anything
else should be avoided.

  You might think that 5 Gold/10 second items would be nice.  Wrong!  Trist has
a fairly so-so early and mid game.  Gold/5 items pay off later in the game
at the cost of early/midgame.  This is exactly what you do NOT want to do!

  Avoid cooldown reduction items. They are typically very expensive and you 
simply don't need cooldown reduction all that much. It is nice to have, but 
not a priority.

  Avoid pure defensive items.  It might seem like a great idea to take an Aegis
which boosts your HPs, and everyone's armor/magic resist.  However your role
is to deal damage!  You need enough survivability to not get killed in one 
focused burst, but otherwise it is wasted gold.  Most of your gold needs to
go towards DPS.  Also, you want to take HPs over armor and Magic resistance 
since those are much more effective on high HP champions which you are not.

  Snowball items are usually a bad idea.  As the physical carry, you are target
number ONE.  Even playing defensively you tend to get killed since you have to
get into the fray to really do any damage.  Snowball items are lots of fun
when you are winning anyways, but are very poor when losing or tied.  If you
are already winning then you don't need a win-more item. Your items should help
you make a comeback or pull ahead.  Hence avoid Sword of the Occult and be
wary of Bloodthirster.  Bloodthirster at least can be refilled quickly off of
minion/creep kills and is decently efficient on its own already.  Sword of the
Occult is crap until you have a good 6 stacks or so.

  Hybrid items should be avoided too. Anything that gives Ability Power is
garbage. Dont be fooled by Sheen and Lichbane or Trinity Force which increase
your attack after using an ability.  You don't have spammable abilities and you
want to shoot LOTS of solid shots, not a single boosted one.

XI. Gameplay Strategy

Beginning the Game

  During the champion selection phase, it will usually be clear that you will
take the middle lane. If there is any doubt, say "I guess Trist will mid.".
You will almost always go mid except for the following scenarios:

a) There are multiple ranged carries, such as you and Ashe.  In which case
 make it clear who will mid.  You don't HAVE to mid, so if someone really wants
 it, no problem.

b) There is a spellcaster that really needs to level up more quickly. For
 example, Kog Maw really really needs to level up fast because a large part
 of his game is his Ultimate. Hence hitting 6 fast is very important, as is
 getting to 11 and 16 for significant range and damage boosts.

c) There is a nub.  Sometimes you will have people that want to mid with
 suboptimal champions.  If they declare they want to mid, respond with,
 "Should X take mid instead of Trist?".  Most of the time, the other teammates
 will chime in and the nub will realize that they probably shouldn't mid over
 you.  Sometimes this doesn't work, so you can either suck it up and let them
 try, or dodge the queue if you are really uptight about it.

Loading Phase

  Check out who you are facing during the loading phase.  Most of the time this
will tell you who you are going to face in the mid lane.  At the very least it
ought to narrow it down to 2 champs.   Take a look at their summoner spells
they picked.  Make a mental note so you don't get caught by surprise by their
Flash or Exhaust or Heal.
The champ you face will also determine your strategy and occasionally you will
take an alternative item.

Game Start:

  Buy your stuff and head out to mid, and stay behind your second tower.  Many 
people like to wander around which is a bad idea.  You can't actually do 
anything if you did encounter someone so no sense taking a risk or even letting
them know who they are facing mid.
If you took Clarivoyance, you will view their platform and tell who is going
where and if they will beat your guys to the bushes.  Then Clari again when
it comes up and your guys have arrived and are about to go into the bushes if
you suspect they might have a trap waiting.
Since you have nothing else to do for 1:30 this is a nice thing to do to help.

Early Game Strategy:

 Generally you want to focus on last hitting creeps. Your early game is not 
THAT great and against a decent opponent you won't get any kills or be able to
send them home.  The idea is to harass the opponent if you can, but 70% of your
effort should be on concentrating on last hitting.  You NEED gold really bad
to make a difference.

  The first thing you should do is click on the enemy and see what item(s) they
have.  This plus the champ itself gives you an idea of how vulnerable they are
to harassment.  You want to see 1 health potion and a Dorans Ring. That means
they regen only 200 HPs until they run back.  Worst case is a Regrowth Pendant
and a potion which gives em 180HP/minute and some burst-healing.  Or a champ
with some built-in healing capabilities of some kind.

This right here will let you know whether to not even bother harassing, or to
be more aggressive about it.  When you harass, you WILL be hit by the enemy
creeps and your HP regen stinks bad. You don't want to force yourself to
retreat and lose gold/XP because you 'harassed' your enemy!

  You don't want to hide way back from their creeps.  Get a bit closer so you
can harass the enemy without being so obvious as to start moving in from way
back.  The shot-DOT is what you want.  Shot has a 550 range and once you shoot
they will start running.  Since Explosive Shot has a 600 range, you ought to
be able to get in the shot and DOT.  You right click them to move in to attack
and hit E and as soon as the shot goes off, click em again to quickly drop
Exploding shot on them.  This hits for a good 140 damage.  You then quickly
retreat and throw off enemy creep aggro.

  Resist the temptation to rocket jump onto them UNLESS their creeps are almost
dead and yours are somewhat alive.  Otherwise you will open yourself to attack
and their creeps will damage you as much as you damage them.  Plus the enemy
will likely have some 'trick' like Summoner Heal spell, Enfeeble, or some spell
that will ensure your death.

  Be sure to take advantage of your exploding shot passive.  Go ahead and shoot
the minions that the enemy is behind.  When they blow up, the enemy will take
damage.  This is a way to extend your range sort of.  More importantly, enemy
creeps will NOT attack you for only shooting at creeps.  So you get to damage
the enemy champion without risk of counterattack by enemy creeps!

  Once you hit level 6, make sure you have 140 mana for buster plus enough for
a rocket jump.  If they are low you might try for a rocket jump behind them
and blast them towards your tower.  Ideally do this when their creeps are dead
and you have some on the way.  Then you blast away while your creeps beat on
them too which should give you a kill.

  Many times though they will be more wary.  The melee champs will not move
into melee until they have your creeps to beat on and will run off when most
of their creeps are dead.  So you have to time it carefully to finish off their
creeps with your jump, get behind them and shoot them into your creeps.
Ranged opponents will usually not get close enough to let you do this.

  Most of the time you will have to settle for the Punishment Combo where you
Rocket into them, Explosive shot and then Buster shot them away from you. This
does lots of damage and is very low risk.  It won't kill them usually but will
make them retreat and you can then deny them XP/gold and hopefully push their
tower a bit.  If you expect to get off several shots, use Rapid Shot for the
30% boost. (45% at level 8).
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE 300 MANA!!!   Nothing is more scrubby than rocket-jump,
explosive shot, and then being 50 mana short of your ultimate.  The bad guy
and his creeps will then jump on you for a quick death.

  Right after the tower push, you will want to back off, auto-attack their 
creeps to death and run back to base to replentish mana and buy stuff.  With
any luck you can pick up level 1 boots and the components to Phage and don't
forget a few more Health potions.

  When you get back everyone else will be getting close to level 6 and the
laning phase will be coming to a close.  If the bad guy is not back or is not
threating your tower, you might want to go top or bottom and gank someone.
Be sure to announce your intention to your team. "Coming bot to gank" so they
will not push their lane and allow the baddies to get closer to your tower and
thus be vulnerable.  You should be able to come in from behind and Buster Shot
them right into your tower.  Or you rocket jump behind them, buster shot them
towards your tower and they will be slowed while you shoot them up.

  You want to make it quick though since you don't want your middle tower to
get beaten up just so you can gank someone.

  You can also go shoot up the neutral creeps close to your lane.  The wraiths
are pretty easy and this is a good use of your rocket jump as you return from
base.  The wolves are also good targets to get a bit of extra gold and XP while
you would otherwise just be waiting around for their creeps to get closer to
your tower.  Explosive shot makes these much easier than you might expect. 
Always start with the weakest baddie and chain the explosions.

Specific Opponent Strategy:

*Ashe - A common matchup. Her auto attack outranges yours and so does her
volley. She will often start with a Regrowth Pendant which makes her very hard
to harass. Finally, her frost shot lets her kill you quickly if she ever gets
an upper hand and at the least force you to use 80 mana to rocket jump away.

  Your best bet is to farm like crazy and stay way back.  Her volley hits your
creeps so you will want to stay inside your creeps to avoid getting dinked.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to harass her with explosive shot without
eating a few auto-shots and a volley as you run off. So don't try. As long as
you don't feed her, you will be a better carry than she will.

  At level 6 your range now matches hers and I would go for the Punishment
Combo. You should have all your mana and she won't expect your offensive. You
won't kill but it will likely force her back.  She is almost guaranteed to use
her ultimate after you push her back, so when retreating, expect it and be
ready to dodge to the side.

* Trist - Many trist players will level up Rocket Jump and pounce on you. This
makes for an easy victory since you will snipe away with Explosive shot which
is a better use of the mana. Your creeps tend to beat up the enemy Trist when
they aggressively jump on you.  When they are almost dead and are running away
you can then Jump on them for the win.

* Sivir - Her auto attack range is 425 which is much shorter than you. The 
major problem with her is that she throws this giant glaive which can hit you
TWICE.  Do not stand in your creeps, but stand outside them.  This means her
riccochet shot is unlikely to hit you, and she has to choose between getting
some free farming vs your minions, or attacking you.  Also you can see it
coming better whereas her auto attacks are normally attacking your creeps so
you get more used to her small glaive heading towards you.

  Basically you need to harass her with Shot-Dot and approach from the sides.
Make sure to be close enough that she doesn't easily see you coming. Otherwise
she will use her Spell Shield and absorb your Explosive shot and get mana for 
it.  Or, you will eat her big Glaive twice over.  So only use your explosive
shot occasionally and mostly auto attack and dodge her Glaive.  She will likely
start with a Meki for MP regen and 2 HP pots so you can definitely force her
back by harassment.  She has no answer for the Punishment Combo either if you
are fast enough to do it before she can get the spell shield, or you have 
baited it out.

* Corki - You have him outranged with your explosive shot so snipe away. Your
auto-attack range is the same as his but you will pull ahead as you level.  
Stay to the side of your creeps.  His major ability is to toss grenades. 
They are pretty easy to dodge but you want to make him choose between you and
the low-HP creeps.  He has his own version of rocket jump so
if he moves in, be sure to be ready to rocket jump yourself back.  Dont duke
it out because his grenade will be ready at point blank and will BLIND YOU.

At level 6 he will be able to shoot long range rockets at you.  Just be ready
to dodge them and you will be fine.   Wait for a chance to do the Punishment
Combo then zig zag back to avoid his rockets.  He only gets 1 rocket every
10 seconds so they aren't a huge threat but they DO store up so when he gets
back from base, expect an onslaught!

He will likely start with a Meki MP regen so he ought to be more vulnerable
to harassment.

* Zilean - He is dependent on leveling so he will often go mid.  He is a BIG
problem because his time bomb hits really hard at a 700 range!  He also has
the ability to Bomb/Rewind/Bomb for a double-nuke that can kill you around
level 5 easily. 2 Bombs = 420 damage!  He also has a 600 range auto attack so
you can't push him around after getting bombed.  Finally, he can speed himself
up for a short duration to catch you and double-bomb you.

If you suspect playing against him, consider a Regrowth Pendant instead of
Dorans.  Stay back and last hit exclusively.  He will bomb you periodicially.
When he does, get away from your creeps. Dont give him free gold!  You actually 
WANT him to bomb the crud out of you early on and burn through his mana.  
They only deal 100 damage (minus 16 Magic resist) which you can regen in 30 
seconds.  If they are smart they will save mana (or have clarity) for when they
are level 3 and 5 when their bombs hurt a lot more.  So you will need to stay
further back and retreat when he moves towards you.
Remember, he wants to AoE farm by bombing your creeps.  This means he isn't
bombing you, so do NOT blow up on your creeps and let him do both!

The only good news is that at 6 you can use the Punishment Combo next time he
move in to bomb you.  He will likely be shocked and you can almost hear the
"OMG, I am bleeding my own blood! WTF?!" thoughts.  It will make em back off
some at least.

* Heimerdinger - His big thing is turrets that push the lane.  He also can toss
grenades that blind but they are pretty easy to dodge.  The main thing to avoid
is his auto-targeting triple hit thing.  It has a 1000 range and attacks the 3
closest targets.  Once your creeps are severely wounded, move back since you 
wont have them to absorb the auto-hitting projectiles.  His 550 range matches
yours so you will need to use Exploding shot to dink away.  He will likely have
MP regen items so use your slight range advantage to whittle him down.

Against Heim, you actually DO want to auto attack creeps to counteract his
pushing ability.  Focus on the ones in the back and hopefully they will blow up
on him. They blow up on the other ranged guys and you then focus on them.
This gives you a good 3 guaranteed kills per wave and helps keep his ranged
creeps from building up.  Otherwise he WILL wind up pushing your tower down
bit by bit.

* Miss Fortune - Her range matches yours.  She will either spam her long range
 Make it Rain or use Double Up to ricochet off your ranged creeps onto you.
If she Rains a lot, stay away from your creeps to prevent her from damaging you
and farming at the same time.  If Double Up, you have to stay close to your
creeps so she can't always hit the one closest to you and guarantee the bounce
onto you.  But you will take damage from it.  She can do both, but it will 
drain her mana fast and one will be underpowered.
She will also hit harder than you due to her cursed shots or something and she
will definitely be in the mindset to get in autoshots, especially when you are
slowed from the Rain. Make sure to shoot at her and put your DOT on her when 
she does to punish her.  She will be using a MP regen pendant or Dorans Ring
and is vulnerable to counter-harassment.

This is another good Regrowth Pendant choice because it is very hard to avoid
taking damage, but she can't really do much burst DPS. At mid levels you can
try to snipe at her with your better range while avoiding her AoE harassment.

Be ready to rocket jump to the side if she uses her Ultimate.  Use your
Punishment Combo at 6, but expect to take some damage back while running away
while she uses her Ultimate.

Remember, you own her lategame with your massive range and attack speed boosts.

* Mage types - Several casters will want to take mid to get their nukes high
level as fast as possible.  Hence you will likely be up against Ryze, Annie,
Veigar and other spellcasters.  The basic idea to remember is that at level 1,
your nuke is better than theirs!  They will run in to nuke you which is just
fine because you will shot-DOT them right back.  Their nuke does about 80, and
yours does 40 shot +100 DOT.  Many of the mages will either not use their
auto attack in combo with their nuke because they are used to spellcasting 
or their range isn't as good.

This means you want them to burn through their mana at level 1 and 2 nuking the
crud out of you.  You can give as good as you get and the more mana they burn
early, the less they can use later.  Remember, your DOT really doesn't get
much better nor more mana efficient, so use it early.  You will probably want
to auto-attack their ranged creeps after the spell exchange to give you some
lifesteal regen and to hopefully blow up some creeps onto them.
If they are dumb they will use their SECOND nuke against you they got at level
2, which guarantees them a very quick out of mana. Remember that they will
be boosting one nuke primarily such that even at level 7, their second skill
will only be at rank 1 or maybe 2.

By getting off to an early lead, this will dissuade them from harassing you
as much later at level 5 when their nukes now do a LOT of damage! At 5, you 
can NOT trade spells with them anymore unless you've beaten them up early. 
You will have to shift to a farming mode even moreso and avoid them when they
move towards you.  Since they started with Doran's Ring most likely, they will
only have a single health pot, so you can definitely drive them back early on
with DOT-shot combos.

Remember to make an intelligent decision early.  If they have Area Effect nukes
then stay to the side of your creeps so they can't farm and hurt you in the 
same blast.  If they use targeted nukes, stick with your creeps and hope they
misclick a creep occasionally and your creeps have a closer distance to counter
attack them when they nuke you.

* Melee types - These guys are a pain to deal with surprisingly.  The main 
thing to be aware of is that they will almost always take a HP regeneration
item.  This makes them very difficult to harass because they heal so fast.
Also, they typically have some kind of nuke or stun or ability to jump on you
or whatever.  Therefore your main concern is that you will not be farming and
instead focus too much on harassing them.  The fact is that harassment will be
difficult, so only do so when their creeps are at high health (so you don't
miss last-hits). Otherwise focus on last-hitting.  Or blow up the ranged 
creeps where they hang out a lot.  Many melee guys will simply let their creeps
punish you for harassing them and just out-heal and out-lasthit you.

Stay in your creep zone so that if they do jump on you or nuke you, then they
will not be able to follow up and beat on you without taking lots of damage
from your creeps.  They don't have an auto-attack basically and have to move
in to get last-hits.  When they do, shoot them and DOT them.
Make sure to not fall under 100 mana, as you will be tempted to use your DOT
a bunch and run OOM.  At 6, you should have 140 for a buster shot and enough
for a rocket jump and hopefully explosive shot.

If they are pushing you into your tower, look for an opportunity when they move
in to last hit one of your creeps when most of theirs are dead.  Move in like
you are going to harass, and then rocket jump BEHIND them, buster them into 
your creeps and tower and start shooting.
They will be slowed, maybe eat turret fire and your creeps will hopefully
start attacking them.  You should be able to deal significant damage which
will send them home or make them tower-hug and not last hit for a while. If
they counterattack you, your creeps and tower will definitely blow them away.

If this doesn't look like a possibility, at 6 you can at least be more
aggresive because if they stun you and walk up to you, you can Buster shot them
right back.  You can also rocket jump away from them and shoot em up some more.
Their charge/stuns usually have a long cooldown, so by countering them you can
really rritate them and plink away.  This works much better after you have 
Phage and boots after level 6 or so.  If you proc a slow from Phage, it can
definitely have an effect.

What if I am NOT MID?!?

 It is not the end of the world.  Mid is valuable because it lets you have 100%
of the gold from enemy minions in theory.  The extra XP is nice since you get
buster shot faster but most of your skills really don't need extra ranks in
them all that much. Try to pick a team mate that is a tank or does NOT have an
area effect farming skill.  YOU want to get most of the creeps in your lane and
nothing is worse than a partner that spams some AoE that kills all the enemy 
ranged creeps in one shot/combo!

  Keep in mind that you are the most fragile and will likely have TWO enemy
champs trying to nuke you and beat you down. You just need to stay back, don't
rocket jump in and get beat up and farm like crazy.  Obviously harass the enemy
and use your Jump to slow the baddies if your ally is engaging successfully
by using a stun or slow.  You might consider the Regrowth Pendant instead of
the Doran's.  However, the lack of the Doran's does make you more vulnerable
to 'burst damage', so it is a tradeoff.

  Try to stay close to the bushes so you can control them.  You dont want the
enemy in and out of the bushes forcing you to retreat or worry about them
instead of farming.

Other than that, the rest of the game strategy is about the same.

  One more thing... unless you bought your items super fast and immediately 
started moving, do NOT run into the edge bushes without your partner. The last
thing you need is to get beat up by two waiting melee guys and killed or gimped
within the first minute of the game.  Obviously clarivoyance will eliminate
this problem.

  If you can safely get in the bushes this is a big advantage.  With your
starting explosive shot you have one of the most damaging abilities in the game
and theres a good chance they will try to Heal or potion as soon as you and
your ally attack them at close range.  Explosive shot will HALF the
effectiveness of their healing which can make a big difference.

Mid Game Strategy:

  In the mid game, people are starting to roam and gank and trying to push 
towers.  At this point you want to NOT be running around too much.  Make sure
when you are moving it is to keep leveling up and killing creeps where they
pile up or when a lane is neglected.  You should now be able to take out 
all ranged creeps by shooting the one on the middle which should blow up on 
the other 2, and then you kill them.
  Definitely help out when possible and your Phage should come in handy to 
slow down retreating enemies.  Rapid Shot is extremely nice for tower pushing
now that you have some decent damage output.

  When running from place to place, be more cautious about your route.  You 
dont want to run into a group of baddies.  Definitely travel with others or
be careful.  If you DO get jumped and Crowd Controlled when traveling the
river, Cleanse and run towards the riverbank and you can Rocket Jump OVER into
the bushes.  This is a good way to escape, but expect that one of the bad guys
may use Ghost and follow you, so keep moving!  If caught, you can always 
Buster Shot them backwards which should let you reach your tower safely.

  You are not really all that Uber yet, so your goal is to support your allies
in small scale fights and blast enemy creeps and hit the easy neutral creep
camps too.

End Game Strategy:

  Now you have a maxed out Rapid Shot and some decent attack damage, you are a
big threat to the enemy.  You have great auto attack range.   Your job is to
participate in team fights.  DO NOT ROCKET JUMP IN!  It is someone elses job
to initiate and you should never be the first one in.  Let the others eat the
enemy spells and then you MOVE in and hit Rapid Shot and start blasting away.
You will wind up shooting up their tank, but that is better than jumping in and
getting owned by all of them.   Try to switch targets when they are available
as you will see more squishy champions enter battle a bit later like you.

  Be ready to rocket jump back when you are targeted and stunned by their tank.
Above all, choose your targets carefully.  Shoot at the most vulnerable high
value target you can SAFELY.  Remember that your Mallet/Phage will be slowing
down whoever you hit.
  If you see allies attacking 1 target, you should follow suit and help burn
them down quickly if you can.
  Even though it deals little damage, be ready with Explosive shot to negate
enemy healing.  SOMEONE will have Heal spell on their team, especially at low
summoner levels.  They will be using it.
  Be prepared to buster shot a baddie back who is about to kill your ally. If
their Ashe is shooting away, Buster her to remove her from combat temporarily
while you team up on another of their team.  Only do this if you don't have a
designated Channel-interruptee that you are saving buster shot for.
If they have a Galio or Fiddlesticks or Ammnu or Morgana or other big AoE
channeler, you definitely want to be able to ruin their ultimate.  Very few
champions have a 700 range channeling-hozer like you do. 

  Basically, DON'T RUN OFF solo!  You can't beat multiple champions solo. Don't
be an idiot and be farming while everyone else is fighting.  You should stick
with the team lategame and never leave them except to push back a big creep
wave or something when there is no chance of a fight breaking out in the near

Final Words:

  I guess that is the end.  Remember, play cautiously and focus on farming and 
you should be able to bring some serious damage to the fight late game.
Good luck!