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Champion Update (Visual & Gameplay): Tristana

By Conor 'fizzNchips' Sheehy [2]

Let’s talk Trist! Originally released a megling champion before uh... they all went away... we’re solidifying Tristana as a yordle while giving her a new model, textures, voicework, ability effects and some targeted kit changes. Yep. Kit changes. Along with number tweaks, Tristana’s Explosive Shot E active has gone to join the Heart of Gold item Heart of Gold and Philosopher's Stone item Philo Stone in ye warehouse of olde eqyppmente, and she now has a completely new way to shoot, explode, etc her opponents. Here’s how it works.

E - Explosive Charge Explosive Charge

Passive: Whenever Tristana kills a unit, her shot explodes, dealing damage to all nearby enemies.

Active: Tristana attaches a charge to a nearby enemy unit or turret. After a few seconds, the charge detonates, dealing damage to the target and all nearby enemies. Attacking the target with basic attacks amps the charge up, making it deal extra damage as it explodes. Tristana can also Rocket Jump Rocket Jump onto a target with Explosive Charge Explosive Charge for extra damage.

We grabbed a couple of the champion update guys to go through the update and talk about some of the specific changes we’re implementing.

Gameplay notes by Miles 'RiotVesh' Miller
Tristana VU Screenshots

TristanaSquare old Old Trist was a late game powerhouse who didn’t really have clearly defined weaknesses. Her power dipped in the mid game, yeah, but when you look at other super powerful late game carries (think VayneSquare Vayne or Kog'MawSquare Kog'Maw), she just didn’t have the same Achilles heel-type glowing red spots for her enemy team to pew pew at. She had insane range and speed with her basic attacks, and even when she did get caught, she had a decent knock back AND a lengthy jump that let her GTFO. Changes were needed, and after deliberating with the rest of the champion update designers, we decided to cement Tristana as a daredevil reset carry who gets bonuses from Rocket Jump (rocket) jumping into fights while removing some of the safe strength she had in her kit.

Now, instead of operating as an uber safe right-clicker, new Tristana’s power is windowed, with huge power spikes when she’s played to meet specific goals. Her basic attack speed still increases per level, but the boost is lower than before. This makes Rapid Fire Rapid Fire actually important, as she’s not just switching from stupid fast attack speed to soul-crushingly fast attack speed. Her Rocket Jump Rocket Jump now deals lower base damage, but can deal way more if she stacks up Explosive Charge Explosive Charge on her target before landing on their face. 'Implementing Explosive Charge Explosive Charge brought about a few interesting new combos, too: now you can plant your explosive charge onto the enemy frontline tank, pump up the charge with a few basic attacks, then knock them into their allies with Buster Shot Buster Shot. A bit like a ZileanSquare Zilean Time Bomb time bomb and Lee SinSquare Lee Sin Dragon's Rage kick in one combo. Explosive Charge Explosive Charge is pretty central to her playstyle: by landing the ability on the right targets and making smart use of Rapid Fire Rapid Fire, good Trist players will maximize her new Explosive Charge E’s detonation before Rocket Jump Rocket Jumping in to start off her trademark reset rampage.

Art notes by Michael 'IronStylus' Maurino

TristanaSquare old Tristana was one of those older champions who was – as Vesh has put it – a bit of a blob. Like TwitchSquare Twitch, she had a limited rig, meaning our animators couldn’t add much in the way of personality to her movement, and she was generally starting to look a bit dated next to the more recent champs. We started looking at Tristana through the champion update lens and knew we wanted to bring in a wholesale change, updating her model, textures, rig, and animations until she felt like a unique part of the yordle family.

Tristana Render VU

That's right – she's now officially a yordle, too! Working from the standards we set with HeimerdingerSquare Heimerdinger's update, we knew we wanted to push her proportions so that she physically represented her character and theme. HeimerdingerSquare Heimer’s a genius, so has a bit of a bobblehead and wobbles around as he walks. Tristana, on the other hand, represents the yordle take on a super cannon commando. Her appearance is slightly more feral and nature-themed than before, with wilder eyes and animalistic ears that steer her away from little girl territory and towards yordle status. Tristana’s cannon is now a full expression of her, too, thanks to exaggerated animations that we’ve added to the cannon itself whenever she uses Rocket Jump Rocket Jump or Buster Shot Buster Shot.

Tristana VU Renders

Buster Shot Buster Shot us with your comments and feedback below!

Player Choice: Little Demon Tristana

Choose the Next Tristana Skin

Tristana’s getting a new skin, and you can help decide what it’ll be![3]

Tristana LittleDemon Concept 01

It’s been over a year since you helped us choose Illaoi’s next skin, and we’d like your help again. This time, it’s for Bandle City’s spunkiest gunner: Tristana.

We explored a wide range of possibilities for Trist’s next skin, and we’re down to the three concepts we’re most excited about. Now, the decision is in your hands. Vote on which skin you’d like to see us create. If the results are super close, we’ll look at the preference of Tristana mains to help us make the final call, so make sure your voice is heard.

After the winner is announced, we’ll update you regularly on the skin’s development via Nexus. Every two weeks we’ll post pictures, videos, and words about our progress—and get your reactions and input along the way.

You have until 11:59 p.m. PT on March 6 to vote. Everyone who weighs in will receive an icon when the skin goes live.

Here are the concepts! (These names aren’t final… none of this is final.)

“Sugar Rush Tristana”

Armed to the sweet teeth with a mighty gumball gun, Sugar Rush Tristana protects the Candy Kingdom from unsavory forces.

“Galactic Gunner Tristana”

Two extremely dangerous Exosuits have gone missing, and the bounty on them is only getting higher. Galactic Gunner Tristana has a solution for that: shoot first, ask questions never, and cash in.

“Little Demon Tristana”

Sometimes being mighty requires a little bite. Little Demon Tristana is a master of mischief, ready to jump into any heated situation… or cause one of her own.

The Next Tristana Skin is...

By Riot Stellari[4]

We asked you which Tristana skin you wanted most, and after over 4 million votes around the globe, the winner is…

Tristana LittleDemon Concept 02

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Sugar Rush: 30%
  • Galactic Gunner: 27%
  • Little Demon: 43%

We had to know: Did the hardcore Tristana mains who’ve mastered the art of Rock Jumping into battle choose the same skin? The results were unanimous.

Tristana LittleDemon Concept 03
Behind the Concepts

Hi there, I’m Janelle “Riot Stellari” Jimenez, the product lead for the Player Choice Tristana skin. Let’s talk a little more about Little Demon Tristana!

When we were initially coming up with the concepts for the Player Choice Tristana skin, we worked with our concept artist Jesse Li to design three options based around beloved themes. We wanted a “fun” skin, a “sci-fi” skin, and then asked him to create the third choice based on what he felt Tristana needed.

We usually kick off all new skins with a product brief. This super glamorous document has a logline (like a slogan), pillars, and creative goals. We make this so everyone on the team knows where we’re headed and so the artists can feel empowered to flex their creativity within that sandbox. We like to have this document before we enter pre-production—the concept and exploration phase—but for this skin, we had the art first and needed to wait for the results of the vote before we could start production.

Once we knew the winner, we got started on production right away.

Kicking off Skin Production!

Our pillars for Little Demon Tristana (her code name) are the following:

  • Adorable and demonic, not “edgy”
  • Right-hand yordle of Little Devil Teemo
  • Fiery and mischievous

Our next step is to have a “blue sky” meeting where we talk about all the good, bad, and insane ideas for a skin. We can’t possibly do all of them, but we like to let people go a little crazy since it might unlock a great idea. I personally call these meetings “grey sky meetings” because I’m the kind of producer that likes to be realistic, so I’m that rain cloud on your parade. ;)

Tristana LittleDemon Concept 04

About half of the Little Demon Tristana team, getting ready to start our first meeting.

As you can see, there are some crazy ideas on the board. Some are awesome, some are questionable, and some conflict with each other. And that’s okay!

Tristana LittleDemon Concept 05

White board from the blue sky meeting. It’s possible none of these things make it into the game—it’s just an early brainstorm!

Next we’ll test out some of the ideas that we love but aren’t sure how they’ll look in game. Sometimes there are amazing ideas that look great as 2D concepts but unfortunately don’t translate into the game very well. As a product manager, I’m accountable for the final skin, so that means part of my job is finalizing what features make it (and which don’t). I make this decision collaboratively with direct input from the team, art and craft leads, delivery leads, engineering teams, marketing, and any partner teams (such as the winning team in the case of World Championship Winner skins).

From the blue sky, we usually start exploring ideas. Here’s a sneak peak from next week’s update: some exploration from Riot Sirhaian on possible VFX routes!

Little Demon Tristana VFX Exploration

Little Demon Tristana VFX Exploration

We know that Dragon Trainer Tristana has red fiery effects, and we want to make sure Little Devil Tristana is unique but also cohesive with Demon Vi, an older skin in this thematic. This is why we’re exploring magenta “demon fire” effects as well as blue “spirit fire” effects (and a few others)—let us know what you think of these explorations in the comments below!

Join Us Next Time
We’ll be back on Nexus every two weeks with updates on our progress, which will continue until the skin is scheduled to launch in patch 9.11. In our next update, Riot Sirhaian will go deeper into what we think about for skins VFX, and we’ll also take a look into the splash creation process. Thanks again to everyone who voted! We’re really excited to work on this together with you.


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