Build Guide by True Ethos
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Introduction (or The curious case of the Cog queen)
Hello everyone and welcome to my second build (now with chapters!). Before I get into the actual build I would just like to take some time to say thank you. Yes, thank you everyone who has stumbled into my build for picking this one out of the many around! I know pretty much everyone has an opinion on the new champion (I hate to edit so when she is no longer new...well meh) and I for one am no different. I am sure the lot of you have seen so many similar builds for her. But each has their own view points, and unique perspectives. So if you don't find the answers in my build then maybe another is for you. I know I certainly don't have all the answers, but this is what I have come up with so far.
**Disclaimer** I do not have the all time awesome build of the century; and even if I did it still depends on the players abilities to do the work. So remember, this is just something that has worked for me and it may not be as good for you.
Runes (or The shiny things of Atlas...yeah Atlas)
Okay so let us get ourselves started here. The first thing I am going to be discussing is the runes (duh). Now I know these may not be the best runes for Cait, hell I am almost positive the health glyphs are just not needed. But this is what I work with at the moment so yeah, replace whatever you want with well...whatever you want.
Anyway first let's talk about the marks. Now there are, from my own observations, two schools of thought for Caitlyn's marks. Some people like armor penetration, which I concede would work well. But (and with no offense to the arm pen folks) those marks can go bugger off because this build doesn't need them. I personally am in the other camp which would be attack speed marks. The reason I go for the attack speed is because of a core item in this build, the Black Cleaver (BC). Since BC actually reduces the target's armor I find it unneeded to grab armor pen.
Next comes the seals, which as you can see are settled in the area of crit chance. Now this one was a bit more of a toss up for me. I love crit damage, especially with this champion, but personally I don't like sitting around waiting for that one awesome shot that wrecks health (I'm impatient it seems). Especially when you can just increase your chance of scoring a crit more often (which, believe me, happens a lot late game with this build). Sure it may not do as much damage, but popping off three crits back to back more than makes up for the initial lack of punch.
Health glyphs...not honestly my first choice, but it is what I have to work with. Once again I am sure you all can think of plenty of other things to use. Heck when I am done working on my current rune page (go Jax!) I will more than likely revisit Cait's rune page and switch them out. But for now the little bonus health at the beginning of the game is nice, but a little more cool down would be soooooooo much better.
Finally my Quints...well just look at marks. It is the same logic behind it, and with the full set up you start the game rocking a bonus +26% attack speed. Which, as I said, gets those hits off faster. Working well with the BC and the crit chance.
Masteries (or Now the apprectice has become the Masteries)
Mastery time! Okay, truth be told I don't have much to talk about here. As you can see I go with a fairly standard 21-0-9 set up for Cait. It should be noticed that I did spec into rally, but I will be explaining this later in the spell section (so keep reading!). Otherwise the only other real thing I can mention is that when I pop into utility I like grabbing greed. Not only is it one of the seven deadly sins (go Pride!) but it is also just nice to get the extra gold.
So yeah...that is about it for masteries. Fairly standard, and if you don't like it well...just change it I guess.
Skill Sequence (or Boom...was that dynamite!?)
Now in the recommended section of the build creator it wants me to talk about items. But screw that I am talking about skills (I know I am such a rebel). So for the skills I have seen a rather quaint universal agreement on skill order. Generally speaking people like to max out the Peacemaker first, then the Snap trap, followed by the Ace in the hole, and then lastly that wonderful 90 cal. Net. Honestly you wont see any divergence from this school of thought from me. So instead in this section you will see me mainly discussing the first few levels and what skills to pick. After all if you really wanted to look up what the skills did you can just go to the league of legends site and look up Caitlyn.
So level 1 is obviously where we start. This skill should always be the Peacemaker and that is that. If you pick something else you have just wasted a pick and are wrong. All kidding aside though this skill is your basic threat. Sadly Cait just doesn't have the mana to use it often, As a matter of fact without help from mana runes she has exactly 5 shots at level one with which to use this skill. As you play Cait you will come to realize that, just like a sniper, you need to make every shot count. So be sure to use this skill wisely and otherwise take pot shots with your basic attack. You also will be leveling this skill at levels 3 and 5.
Level 2, which scientists all agree comes after level 1, is interestingly enough debating amongst Cait builds. Once again there seems to be two separate camps between the Snap trap and the 90 cal. Net. For this build though I almost always go with the net. Sure it may cost more mana than your average Snap trap but the benefits greatly outweigh the cost. The 90 cal. Net not only slows but you can use it to escape from enemy champs or recoil towards them to get a kill. Once you get this skill you don't need to touch it again until everything has leveled up (well save Ace in the hole which will be lvl 2)
Level 4 is finally the point in which you grab the Yordle Snap trap. Yes it has taken us a bit to get here but I believe you really don't need this skill as early as levels two or three. If you are playing Cait right then you aren't engaging much. Maybe a harass here or there but otherwise you should be just farming creeps. By the time you hit level four though people tend to get a little gutsy. They want to start testing you out and seeing if they can find the proverbial ***** in the armor with which to exploit. But you should be ready at this point to at least put up a show of force. Hence this little bugger of a trap, which works great in combat by stopping your opponents for a bit and dealing a little damage on the side. *note* if you are pushed back to your tower than this is also an effective way of traping enemies near the tower for a bit, or placing it near your bush to catch them off guard.
Level 6 and the last of the early levels with which I am discussing. Honestly this is a no brainer, I am just mentioning it to sort of round off everything. So I am only going to say this once, and I wont give any drawn out explanations as to why to pick this skill. Just simply GET ACE IN THE HOLE...IT IS YOUR ULT AND IF YOU DON'T GET IT HERE THEN YOUR TEAM MATES WILL SAY UNINSTALL!!!!1 Or maybe they wont, but seriously get the damn skill and move on.
Summoner Spells (or The little things that go Ni in the night)
You are a summoner congratulations! As a summoner you affect the game with spells which some have dubbed Summoner spells (I know trippy right?). Well apparently certain spells are better for certain champions than others. In this section I will discuss the spells I picked as well as some good alternatives and spells you just should avoid.
The Spells of Glory
Rally: Rally is a rather underrated spell, and I will be honest in saying I often forget it is around. But I must say this spell is great for Cait and here is why. As Caitlyn you are going to be in the back with most team fights. It is the best place for her, and with her range...well let's just say back is nice. Now since you are nice and cozy with your tanks and melee dps up front you are in the perfect spot to plant the flag. As most know (I know some of you may have forgotten, it's okay I did to) rally is a spell that gives you and your team a bonus to your attack damage. Then you spec into it there is a nice bonus to ap as well as causing it to last longer. These two bonuses are things everyone uses and with the increased duration it will more often than not give you the edge needed in those big fights.
Ghost:Ghost is the second of the spells namely because Cait can run. Honestly she is a very mobile champion and with ghost you can often get her to where she needs to be when she needs to be there. I also find the fact that ghost and her speed help to position her in key places during ganks. Which as a sniper character is a key skill to master and something you will pick up sooner or later. The final aspect for this spell is escaping. It may come as a surprise to you, but Cait has very low health. Some people solve this by tanking her a bit, but others handle this with the classic GTFO. Popping ghost is just nice when you need to run for your life, especially against other fast characters (ie. Warwick, Pantheon, Teemo, ect...)
Other good spells to go with
Ignite:Ignite is just a nice multi purpose spell. It causes true damage, and can be used to get yourself a kill early on (or mid to late...you know...whenever). Also this spell can be used to harass your opponent to keep them away from you (which you shouldn't rely on any time other than early game).
Exhaust:Exhaust is another one of those good spells that a lot of people love to use. Since the patch though it has gone through a unique change that makes it both more effective and also less. For me personally I always used exhaust to either slow someone down for a kill (which hasn't really changed). But I also used it for the auto attack melee champions so it would completely nullify their effectiveness for a bit. This was awesome on champions like Warwick or Jax since they couldn't hurt you and you could escape. But now there is still damage that happens from them, although their abilities got nerfed. So like I said, it is both good and bad in my opinion.
Teleport:Teleport is another of those good spells that can get you from point A to point B (in this case literally and within seconds). It is a solid spell to have and it's strategies are simple, but effective. The reason I don't use it is simply because I have ghost and Cait is fast enough as is in this build.
Clairvoyance:Clairvoyance isn't my cup of tea. I will just come out and say that right now. But that doesn't mean it isn't a good spell, and for a sniper rather helpful. You can use this ability to continue to follow run away champions when they are escaping from the fight. Your ult had the range to kill them, so long as you can see them. Hence this is good for the sniper chance. You can also see where people are going to go early game, as well as check Baron/dragon, and more importantly the bushes (which you can use Snap traps to do as well).
Cleanse:Cleanse is one of those spells that are like a coin flip. You never quite know if you will need it when the game comes. But when you have that cc team it is nice to be able to escape. With that said, although useful, if the coin lands the other way and there is no cc...well you just wasted a spell slot.
Flash:Flashheads love this spell (yeah that's right, you all are flashheads...deal with it) and I can see why. It is a quick escape or a quick attack, and for some people it is the end all be all of awesome. With that said I never quite liked flash so I am a little bias against it. But that is honestly my only down side to this spell for Cait.
Spells you shouldn't touch
Clarity:Okay this is one of those spells that I am iffy about with Cait. I only put it down here because she has low mana and can mana starve quickly. So the extra boost is nice...but with that said you can use this as often as she will need it. It is best to just learn when to use your abilities and suck it up.
Smite:Smite is a solid spell if you are a jungler, and Cait with her passive can technically jungle. With that said this isn't a jungling build for her, and if you take this spell with this build you are wrong. I'm not joking this time, you are just wrong because there are so many better spells for her than smite.
Heal:Heal is nice...when you don't have any other spells and you need to throw something into the mix. But honestly people you can use any of the other level 1 spells and they will be more useful than heal will be (save revive).
Revive:If you use this spell with Cait you have just wasted a spell slot and are wrong. So keep a pie recipe handy because your team will be raging so hard at you that they will need it (to understand the reference find the Anti-rage guide in the forums (it made summoner spotlight awhile back))
Fortify:Fortify is a nice spell, I honestly enjoy it more than say...heal/revive. But it just isn't the spell for Caitlyn since there are so many other (and better choices) to go with. Good spell, but waste of a spell slot.
Items (or Items...what I can't be clever all the time)
So now that we have gone through just about all the nice not spur of the moment details it is time to discuss items. Now I know that looking at it seems weird, and I can't be sure if having all these items on the page skews the stats on the build page. But with that said I wanted to show my exact progression of the items when I end up buying them. In this section I will discuss why I picked what I picked, why I go with this order, and my thoughts on why this order is important.
*side note* I will abbreviate most of the items when I am talking about them. So here is the list of what these will be written as.
Avarice Blade = AB
B.F. Sword = B.F.S
The Black Cleaver = BC
The Bloodthirster = Bt
Boots of Mobility = BoM
Boots of Speed = BoS
Doran's Blade = DB
Health potions = HP
Phage = Ph
(hold me close) Phantom Dancer = PD
Sheen = Sh
Trinity Force = 3F (since TF is Twisted Fate and all that jazz)
Youmuu's Ghost Blade = YGB
Zeal = Ze
Alright so as with most Cait builds I am in agreement in your two starting items. DB and the HP are both solid choices to go with. 1 because DB gives you some health, attack damage, and a little life steal. Add onto that a cautious assault and the HP and you will be golden for the beginning of the game. Just stay in lane, harass the opponents, and most importantly farm them creeps. Because you honestly shouldn't be going back until you have enough gold with you to by the BoS and AB.
Now I know what you are thinking, why go for those two items specifically. Well random reader I will tell you. By getting the BoS instead of a full set of boots you get your speed boost. But you also have the AB which not only gives you a slightly higher crit chance through out the game. But that extra gold AB gives + greed will either help you get your items faster if you are doing well. Or make up for the lack of creep kills if you are getting gold starved by other team mates.
Next in the build progression is to finish your boots with the BoM. Now I know many a player will say Berserker's greaves are a much better choice to go with...and although it is a very valid point this build says suck it to them. With the BoM you will be getting in and out of lanes faster, you can start collecting buffs mid game and getting into team fights quickly, and you end up with like a 487 movement speed (when not in combat and not factoring in ghost) at an early level. Plus as I stated earlier it is my opinion that Cait can be used effectively to set up ganks. This means being able to move is essential and these boots will get you where you need to go. So nay sayers be damned, enjoy the BoM because it will help with your game. *side note* Berserker's greaves are the best substitute if you don't want to use the BoM.
So now that you have your boots it is time to start really getting into the item build. For me this means getting 3F. I go with this item as my third option because of a multitude of reasons. 1) You get yourself a nice bonus to Mana and Health. 2) You get attack speed, damage, ability power, crit chance, and movement speed. All of which are things Cait benefits from (especially the attack speed/damage, crit chance, and movement (the later two for the reasons I discussed prior.)) 3) The passive of the item is to both slow opponents (with a 25% chance) and dealing +150% of your base attack after using an ability on the next attack.
But as most know when it comes to getting 3F it often comes in parts, so which parts does one grab? Well for me I almost always start with Sh and that is because it gives the extra punch from it's passive. But more importantly it also gives Cait some much needed mana at this point in the game. Next in the 3F build I get Ph for its bonus to health and the chance to slow your opponents down a bit with your punishing attacks. Oh it also gives a bonus to attack damage...but nothing of serious note. Now some might take the time to come back to get the Ze needed to finish the 3F. But I say screw that and more often than not you will be so busy in lane that when you return to base you will have the 1400 some odd gold needed to finish 3F and begin building BC by purchasing the dagger.
So next as you may have guess comes the BC. This is the second key item in this build because whom ever you pick to start shooting will really be feeling it. BC shreds armor away with it's passive ability and gives you a bonus to both attack speed and actual damage. The patch honestly made BC perfect for champions like Cait and I honestly have yet to see a build for Cait without the BC somehwere in it.
After you score yourself a BC it is time to move on to the Bt. This is another just great item for Cait in that it does attack damage (which she needs for her ult and Peacemaker skills) but the life steal you get will help keep you in lane a lot longer. It's passive ability is also well suited to this builds play style and well most builds for Cait as well.
Now comes the last two items, these round out this Cait build and make her the true threat she really is. The first of these items is PD which grants Cait a bonus to her attack speed, her movement, and finally crit strike. The attack speed is great because you will be shooting at around 1.5 or so...not crazy fast but enough to do some good damage. Your movement will now be (if I remember correctly) over 500 as a base speed with the BoM so long as you aren't in combat and still pretty fast while in combat (*side note* when you use Ghost your speed is pushing 600). Then finally the crit strike boost which makes those now very frequent crits suddenly do more damage.
Then we get to the last item of the build. Now sadly we have to say good bye to the AB. It has been a good item, and helped us get all our items. But the moment you get the gold needed you should drop the AB like it's hot and upgrade to YGB. YGB not only makes it so you once again crit more often, but it also grants you some attack damage as well. Still the key comes with this item's passive, granting a bonus to armor pen which penetrates whatever is left of your victims armor. But also it carries the cool down reduction which is always handy. YGB's active ability is also nice, but it isn't really needed late game so I wont really talk about it anymore than this.
Summary (or National Lampoon presents Another quirky comedy)
Well if you have stuck with me up until this point I will commend you and thank you for both your patience and the time it took to read all of this. I had originally planned on ending this build by showing everyone clips of puppies...but Kog Maw got hungry and well you just can't stop the hungry bastard.
So instead I figured I would leave with a few little tricks and tips I have come to discover with Cait in my games with her.
1) Cait is a great ranged character, but when it comes to the melee champions they will destroy her if they get close (duh). Never, and I mean never push by yourself in lane when there are people missing. I know this should go without saying, but seriously guys she is squishy. If you looked squishy up in the dictionary...well you would get the definition of squishy. But honestly that is what she is...so don't be stupid.
2) Yordle Snap Traps are good to place in team fights. But if you really want to be clever (especially early game) place the little buggers right where the creeps are fighting. This is a great tactic to use against melee champions early game. Since the creeps make it hard to see the traps; and if they don't notice it then they are more than likely going to run into it when they are trying to farm. Also don't forget the bushes and narrow pathways along the river and in the forests.
3) The 90. Cal net is great for escapes due to it's slow and the recoil. It's really like Corki's Valkyrie in the boost to run away. Sadly it doesn't do much damage but the slow gives you time to set up a yordle trap and run. With that said due to this build the 90. cal has another good use. This tricky use is in initiating combat around mid and up to late game. I know it sounds ridiculous shooting yourself towards the enemy. But think about it, with Sheen (and later Trinity force) by using this ability to jump into combat you are already firing your first shot with bonus damage. Then imagine it with the very likely chance of landing a crit, and a head shot on top of that? Well I don't know about you but I think that is a great way to show the enemy you mean business. You just need to be careful since you have to wait for it to cool down to use it's escape option.
4) Play practice games to get the hang of how her abilities work. Okay yeah this is another no brainer, but I am rather serious about this. Two of Caitlyn's abilities are skill shots, and they do to very different things. Working a practice game or two in so you can get your timing down on when to use the 90 cal. Net is only helpful to you for when you are playing real games.
5) Early game do your best to conserve your abilities. Caitlyn is a very precise character since she doesn't have a lot of mana. More often than not you will find yourself hungry for mana. So just go into games knowing this and be ready to make your abilities count.
6) Caitlyn is probably at her best during the mid game phase. Early game she is simply too weak, and late game other champions are just stronger than her. Don't get me wrong, you will still be doing a lot of damage with her late game. But really make sure to capitalize on the moment when she is at her strongest.
7) Try to avoid laning with casters. Don't get me worng, I love caster champions. Hell most of my champions are casters. But the best lane partner for Caitlyn is someone who can get up close and either distract from her or be a big enough threat that your opponents will think twice before targeting you first. Because let's face it although she is the sniper, she has a great big target on her due to how weak she is health wise.
8) Be careful when using her ultimate. While she is lining up the shot she is a sitting duck and will easily get taken out by any melee champion. Also the timing on the ult is very important. Use it too soon and it wont deal the damage needed, use it too late and suddenly the target is dead before you have lined up the shot. The timing is something you will eventually come to discover the more games you play with her.
9) Sight wards in the forest are your friends. Hell sight wards everywhere are your friends. The range on Cait's ult is huge, and more often than not your only issue with landing it is the enemy champion disappearing in the fog of war. So if you have space be sure to lay some of these down to really show your opponent's what's what.
If I think of anything else I will be sure to add it. But otherwise most play strategies seem to apply well with her, and after a few games you will really get a good idea of how she plays. From then on it is all about perfecting your timing against specific champions and coming up with strategies to counter them.
Anyway all thanks for reading and I hope you have enjoyed this build. I would personally love to hear any feed back that you may have, and hopefully get a few rates. But when it comes to that...well the power is yours.