Caitlyn Build Guide by ArcticBunni
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.
As an excellent early game champion, Caitlyn excels in pushing, turret destroying, and poking. She adds great utility to the team and has a built-in escape mechanism. So why is she so underplayed? Because there are other carries that can do her job better late game. This does not restrict her from facerolling early and mid game. From there, if you get fed, you are just as good as any other carry. This will be a BUILD on what items, runes, summoner spells, and masteries to get as Caitlyn. I list the good, the bad, and the ugly, with explanations too! Please note that I will not be going over some aspects such as team fights, jungling, and the skills. (Which I presume that you already know.) So please enjoy this guide, and remember, don't leave things up in the air! :)
Pros / Cons
-Extremely long base range, rivaled by late game Tristana and Kog'maw with W activated.
-Strong early and mid game.
-Great finishing ultimate.
-Has a snare. (though situational)
-Decent built-in escape mechanism.
-Good pusher and turret destroyer!
-Quite fragile and squishy.
-Starts to pale in comparison to many carries late game. (Unless getting fed)
-All spells have a delay time, which may put you in dangerous situations.
-Looks like Willy Wonka.
I get flat Attack damage Marks because they severely boost my early game, and my damage is heavily increased in conjunction with Doran's Blade.
I get Attack speed Seals because I do not get that much attack speed on my items as Caitlyn. This will help me get some more attack speed so I am not too slow. Also, Caitlyn has a need for early game attack speed.
I get Mana regen per level Glyphs to help my mana issues early game. I don't have too many mana issues, but if I am spamming a lot, these will help me regenerate faster.
I get flat Attack damage Quints to further boost my AD and early game dominance. With Doran's and AD Marks and masteries, you will have 75 AD at Level 1. Holy shmokes!
For my summoner spells, I ALWAYS take
and USUALLY take
- Extremely essential in Caitlyn's game play. This combined with 90 Caliber Net ensures that you will NOT be ganked by any pesky junglers. Flash is also great for catching up for that finishing Ace in the Hole. It's also good for getting a few more shots onto an opponent, or escaping a Jarvan ult. The possibilities are endless. In other words...ALWAYS GET FLASH!
- While experimenting with Caitlyn, I tried out Teleport. It is actually quite good, especially if you want to push turrets a lot. (Which Caitlyn excels at) Also, you won't lose much EXP getting back into lane, and this will push your laning presence into god-mode!
- This skill is getting less popular FAST. It has been buffed, then nerfed, and now most AD carries no longer take it. It is pure personal preference. I would take this over Cleanse, tbh, but do NOT take this against a Varus, Miss Fortune, or Tristana.
- If I do NOT take Teleport, Ghost would be a good replacement.. Adding even more survivability and chasing capability, Ghost is great on nearly all champions. Flash + Ghost are standard carry summoner spells, anyways.
- I sometimes take this, but if there is a support on your team (Janna, Morgana, Taric, etc.) that can take it, I obviously switch. One Clairvoyance is great, but two is overdoing it. I take Clairvoyance because it is just GREAT for the team, and you can view the opponent that has escaped into the jungle and finish him off with an Ace in the Hole. Also...map awareness wins games!
- Exhaust is OK. It is great early game for those small skirmishes where Exhaust will give you the upper-hand, but Exhaust's range puts Caitlyn into a dangerous position, and early game is better spent farming (hence Teleport).
- This is for burst casters. However, I have sometimes seen other Caitlyns get kills with this. Honestly, there's nothing Ignite can do that Flash can't in battle, IMO. However, when playing Ranked, this might be a good pick against Mundo or something. Also, you shouldn't be too close to be able to Ignite, anyway.
- This skill is decent, but I feel like the cooldown is too long, and that other summoner spells could be of more use. You are able to stay safer with your long range, too.
Everything else is simply not viable.
I take as much AD offensive masteries, while taking one point in Summoner's Insight for the Flash/Teleport bonuses. I take the armor and magic resist bonuses because 6 armor/mres early game can go a long way. If you instead decide to take another summoner spell besides Teleport, then add a point accordingly to boost that spell too.
Farming is very important on Caitlyn. Getting last hits is quite vital, and you'd be surprised by the amount of gold you can net up with each creep kill. Your passive makes farming and jungling a little bit easier, though you should also harass often with your passive, too. If you see two low health minions, a cannon minion and a caster minion, KILL THE CANNON MINION INSTEAD OF THE CASTER MINION! Cannon minions > Melee minions > Caster minions in terms of gold. However, if you can get both of them, that's fine. :)
At the beginning of each creep wave, before they clash with your own creep wave, send a Piltover Peacemaker down the line so that all the creeps get hit. This way, farming will be easier and you can push.
I know what you think. Pushing is bad, especially with the constant fear of a gank from a jungler! Well, let me tell you this...
Caitlyn has the HIGHEST BASE ATTACK RANGE IN THE GAME! Only rivaled by a late-game Tristana or a Kog'maw with his W activated, Caitlyn can attack the tower at quite a far distance! This way, if you need to run back quickly, you can 90 Caliber Net, and run. Flash if necessary, but it usually isn't unless you are low on health. (In which case you shouldn't be overextending anyways)
Just a tip: Make sure your support wards properly. One ward with vision on dragon and one in the "tri-bush" is sufficient. If you're playing against a Blitzcrank, Leona, or another aggressive support, then you might want to ward the bot lane brush too. (Their side)
GETS YOU FAST GOLD = FASTER ITEMS = FASTER ROFLSTOMPING = WIN.
Finally, the part you have all been waiting for!
I have decided to completely take out Trinity Force. Why? Well, with some serious testing, Caitlyn can do a whole lot more damage than if she spent a 1 second delay actually casting Piltover Peacemaker, and I don't think the extra proc. damage is worth it. (And it's very expensive) The Infinity Edge buffs were enough to change my mind. Frozen Mallet will give you TONS of health in exchange for a perma-slow. With your long range, it is likely that you will be inescapable. This also increases your kiting powers. (which are quite good to begin with) Last Whisper will help with armor-stacking teams/tanks, or people who just naturally get armor like Ryze. I would switch this out for another Phantom Dancer if the other team is not AS armor heavy.
Please do NOT forget to purchase one or two Elixirs of Fortitudes throught the match. They give a good deal of attack damage AND health. I cannot stress how important this is! CAITLYN. IS. SQUISHY! I usually get my Fortitude Elixirs after I finish off my Berserker's, or my first Bloodthirster. Of course, when you have all your items, purchase an Elixir because there will be nothing else to spend your surplus gold on.
These are very healthy and should be drank very often! Side effects may be facerolling too hard, extra survivability, and WTFBBQHAX AA damage!
In the end, your stats are...
Attack Damage : 265
Attack Speed : 1.616
Critical Chance : 57%
Lifesteal : 0%
Health : 2905
Mana : 1260
Movement Speed : 428
Cooldown Reduction : .75%
Armor : 80
Magic Resistance : 86
Gold Cost : 15850 (Slightly expensive)
Note : These stats DO take into account masteries and runes.
Alternate Items Discussion
There are a variety of alternate items that I see a lot of different Caitlyns get. Let us discuss! I'll also post my ratings of the items at the end for a quick overview.
-HAS NOT BEEN UPDATED! DISREGARD THIS SECTION FOR THE TIME BEING!-
- Since Caitlyn's Q and Ultimate abilities both deal Physical damage, Armor penetration would be a good idea, right? And the attack damage to boot? This is THE CAITLYN ITEM! This is true...in a sense. I never truly have issues with champions with high armor. Black Cleaver burns through most of it for squishies, and tanks should not be focused at first anyways. However, if you are fighting a squishy who has stacking a lot of armor, this may be a choice to consider. (Esp. vs tanky teams) 8/10
- Good item, good attack speed, move speed, and critical chance. If you're not going to get IE, you should skip this. If you ARE getting IE, this item is a must! 8/10
- This item provides extra mres, attack speed, and manaburn + damage to boot! I often relate this item for Madred's because of it's "special extra damage" output. However, UNLIKE Madred's this item is quite cheap and provides magic resistance. Also, it has a unique feature in which it burns the enemy's mana. This is great for dealing with caster-heavy teams. 7/10
- This item is good, but it doesn't work well with Caitlyn. Since I play her like a burst champion, I don't need any extra movespeed. However, if you like this item, go ahead and get it. 6/10
- This item is mostly used for its slow affect. However, I feel that Lizard buff gives enough slow as it is. Besides, if you cannot get a couple more hits in, you can 90 Caliber Net OR AitH them. As I have said before, Caitlyn is designed to do short bursts of damage, not long sustained damage! Though this item gives a lot of health, which = more survivability, it is way too expensive and takes up one valuable item slot. Also, if you keep your distance, you shouldn't have much problems dying anyways. (With Flash, 90 Caliber Net, and BV/Thornmail) 5/10
- A good item... However, the magic damage from this item is heavily mitigated, so mpen is quite important unless you have the attack speed to back this item up. IMO, too much attack speed is not good for Caitlyn. Addtionally, this damage does NOT stack with Caitlyn's passive, or any of her abilities. (The extra damage is counted separately) If the enemy has a lot of tanky champions, than this item MAY be up for consideration. Otherwise, skip this item. 5/10
- This item gives lifesteal that you can already obtain from Bloodthirsters. You don't stay with your team enough during team fights to have it's aura effect to actually be useful. Your gold is better used else where. 3/10
- Not a very good item for Caitlyn. This is designed for tanky DPS champions. Even when obtained in conjunction with Frozen Mallet, it is not good for you. (And that's two whole item slots!) As I have said before, Caitlyn doesn't need critical chance as much as other carries do. 2/10
- Ever since Jax had his change, this item has been forgotten. You shouldn't ever need this as it is a pure attack speed item, and it doesn't stack with your passive anyways. 2/10
- I can sort of understand where some people are going with this. The fact that it is a stacking attack damage item = more attack damage = more Ult and Q damage for Caitlyn, right? Well there is a reason that Mejai's is more popular than Sword of the Occult. Because AP is the only thing casters have that can enhance their damage. Carries have AD, AS, and Crit. Chance. Caitlyn is way too squishy and fragile to be getting an item like this. I do not like the idea of becoming weaker from death, anyways. 2/10
- Never...EVER...get this item. This item is a noobtrap. If you are a Level 1 Summoner and learning the game, I STILL would not advise you to get this. The attack damage it gives is negligible and the mana it gives is even more negligible. It takes up one item slot and costs over 2k. DO NOT GET THIS. Even if I were playing Corki I would not get this item. (Thought some may disagree with me on that) 0/10
-HAS NOT BEEN UPDATED! DISREGARD THIS SECTION FOR THE TIME BEING!-
Tips and Tricks!
Just for the fun of it, I am going to be writing down a variety of tips and tricks that I have found on Caitlyn. I will update this if I find more neat tricks so everyone can try it. (Unless they are too good to give away >:))
-Caitlyn has the longest base range in the game, so make sure to abuse this while harassing, attacking, etc.
-Note that Piltover Peacemaker loses a lot of damage as it goes through more enemies. Try to get at an angle in which you can get a clear shot, or only have one or two minions block it.
-If you see your opponent walk towards you to harass, punish him/her with a Piltover Peacemaker to the face! It is almost guaranteed to do more damage, and you can follow up with a few auto attacks if necessary.
-Ace in the Hole CAN BE BLOCKED by another opponent standing in line of fire. Try to use AitH when no other enemies are nearby.
-Caitlyn's Q does not proc any on-hit effects. However, Caitlyn's R procs Rylai's Crystal Scepter. (Which is really pointless unless you're trolling :P)
-Caitlyn's R makes her the perfect choice for mid lane because no one else is there to block the shot!
-When jungling, abuse the brush to gain as many Headshot procs as possible, so that jungling is much faster and more effective.
-Try to always have Lizard buff after laning phase! (If your jungler is OK with it)
-90 Caliber Net can be used to jump through walls. Please note that if the wall is too think, you will remain in the same location. You can tell by practicing and memorizing 90 Caliber Net's recoil distance, and judge from there. "Is this recoil big enough to accommodate this wall?" Don't be afraid to try it out!
-Firing a Q, then an E shortly after will result in two damaging shots, likely to give the opponent a really hard time staying in lane!
-Though 90 Caliber Net DOES slow, it is better to us it the other way that the enemy is running because the recoil will give you more of a chance of catching up.
-Use Yordle Snap Trap when an enemy has died, but is in the process of being revived by Zilean's Chronoshift, or Guardian Angel effect. This way, right when the target revives, he/she is snared, probably resulting in kill if your teammates are there to help you.
-Placing traps in your own lane such as the edge of the brush, near their tower, near your own tower, or on the path of their minions can result in some very lucky snares, which may result in extra kills! (Minions are not affected by the Yordle Snap Trap). I.E. A Katarina Shunpos me and unexpectedly gets snared. I fire off a Q, get a few hits in, and finish her off with an AitH.
-RAISE YORDLE SNAP TRAP FIRST, and plant all 3 traps in mid lane. (Spaced out and near the middle) This will give your AP mid a huge advantage over the enemy AP mid, as your teammate will have more lane control and if the enemy steps on a trap...well, let's just say the announcer will not say first blood anymore that match!
Blessing of the Lizard Elder
Also commonly referred to as the red buff. Or lizard. This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT WHEN PLAYING CAITLYN. Not only does it allow you to slow targets, but it also gives you extra TRUE damage! If your jungler is OK with you taking it(say a Fiddlesticks. DO NOT force a Dr. Mundo to give you Red buff...he needs it just as much, if not more!), then you should have it at all times. Also, you can kill it fairly fast if you stand in the brush next to it. This way, you can obtain Headshot counts twice as fast.
Well, that pretty much sums up my guide. If you do not agree or have any errors to inform me of, please post! *Constructive criticism is highly encouraged! It is also great if you can tell me if you tried my build out, and how it worked out for you. Thank you all for taking your own time to read my Build on Caitlyn. Maybe if this is good, I can write another! :)
*Many of you do not know what Constructive criticism is. Well, constructive criticism is advice or remarks that tell the poster how to improve on his/her guide! Constructive criticism is NOT trolling, or bashing my guide without any particular reason. I do not care if you absolutely hate my guide...at least tell me why. If not, just don't post and go away. Thank you.
My future plan(s) is to do the following :
I just made a quick change because A LOT of the game has changed. I changed summoner spells, masteries, and other things. The META has changed too. Caitlyn no longer goes mid, but instead BOT to be supported with another player!
Note : I have not updated the Alternate Items in conjunction with my new item build. Will do it soon, though! I also want to add "ideal" supports to lane with.
Last updated 6/14/12. I'm going to be making a lot more changed and touching up on this guide to adjust to the changes the game has gone through.