Caitlyn Build Guide by HoLyHiraKo
This build has been archived and is for historical display only.
PLEASE NOTE: This build has been archived by the author. They are no longer supporting nor updating this build and it may have become outdated. As such, voting and commenting have been disabled and it no longer appears in regular search results.
Mastery Tree Is Outdated
WARNING: These masteries are still using the old tree and have not been updated to the new tree by the guide author. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Hello there everybody. My name is HoLyHiraKo, i play on EU Nordic & East and welcome to my Caitlyn in depth guide. Caitlyn is my favorite champion since she came out that's why i decided to get down and write a guide about her. She is fun to play but difficult to master. This guide is both for rookies and experts. Everything about Caitlyn and general information about her gameplay will be covered here and if there is anything missing just let me know. The guide is upgraded constantly so nothing will be outdated. Have fun reading and vote for me if you like it.
Pros & Cons
-Excellent farming skills
-Great damage dealer
-Using your passive correctly leading to line control
-Can kill low-hp enemies in a great distance
-Smart chaser with the 90 Caliber Net skill
-Can change the outcome of a team fight if positioned correctly
-Can take on both mid and top/bottom line cause of the bushes
-Great range (650) for tactic 'hit and run' / kite
-Can't do much in teamfights
-Target in team fights
-No reliable escape tactics
-Skills are partly useless late game
-Very low mana pool
-Her traps are visible
-Easy to counter, by stacking armor
-Ulti can't be reliable because enemies can interrupt it if they step in front of target
Greater Mark Of Desolation- I don't need to point out much in for these runes. Just simple DPS marks which scale through late game. The armor penetration they provide is enough to penetrate most of the champs armor exept heavy armor tanks.
Greater Seal of Attack Damage- I prefer pure attack damage seals because the damage they provide enables you to deal more damage early / mid game and improves your total damage late game.
Greater Glyph of Attack Speed- I like these runes because they make harassing and last hitting easier. Based on the fact that you can last hit low health minions a lot faster before turret or your minions grab their kills.
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage- Just another boost on your attack damage.
Greater Mark of Critical Chance- You can pick up those critical chance runes if you're going to focus your gaming more on 'chances' early game. The amount of the critical chance given is small stand alone but combined with an early critical chance boost makes your critical about 1 in 3-4 hits let's say 30%. They are suited for Caitlyn indeed but i don't recommend them in high level play.
Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration- These runes help with your mana issues early game. They regenerate your mana really fast even if you don't notice it. Scales with all your skills and you will always have mana for your 90 Caliber Net if you need to escape.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction- If you feel like spamming as soon as you get your spell up and ready go for these glyphs. They scale nicely with mana regen seals(mentioned above) and enable spamming in short times which may cause frustration to your enemy.
Greater Quintessence of Critical Chance- Picking up these quintessences may be suited for this build because some extra critical chance can provide you with an easy kill especially early on the game and maybe even in a level 1 fight.
Flash-Teleports your champion to target nearby location.
Both survival and chasing spell. You can avoid getting killed in a team fight if you positioning is poor or you can close up the distance between you and your enemies and caught them by surprise and maybe kill them or just harass them. Actually because the distance you move ain't that long i personally use it to pass through thick walls.
Exhaust-Exhausts target enemy champion, reducing movement speel by 40%, attack damage dealt by 70% and ability and item damage dealt b 35% for 3 seconds.
Pick this only if you love 1v1 or you go for offensive play style. Use it to save youself by casting in on the most dangerous enemy or you can save your allies by using it in a team fight on a hard melee carry or AP caster.
Teleport-After 4 seconds, teleports your champion to target friendly minion or turret.
This summoner spell has several uses. Mobility, ganging and lane control. You can cast it on Sight Ward / Vision Ward, on Noxious Trap and on Jack In The Box if you have Teemo or Shaco in the team. When laning just recall to your base and immediatly teleport back. That way you'll give your enemy a hard time pushing. Remember when teleporting to a minion it makes it invulnerable but when teleporting in a turret it doesn't.
Ghost-Your champion ignores unit collision and moves 27% faster for 14 seconds.
I pick this spell for utility reasons. Your chasing ability is poor so by using it you can run faster, through minions and aid your team in a fight, chase down enemy champions, defend turrets or even avoid dying.
Cleanse-Removes all stuns, slows, taunts, fears, snares, sleeps, silences, blinds and immobilizers and reduces the duration of newer applied ones by 65% for 3 seconds.
Yes you can choose this spell if you have a hard time escaping gangs. It's the most reliable escape mechanism because it removes all CC from your champion and reduces CC on your champions for a few seconds afterwards. It's usually used by squishy champions like Caitlyn which have a hard time getting a hit because it may lead to their death.
Note:Keep in mind that it doesn't remove Warwicks Infinite Duress and Malzahars Nether Grasp
Clairvoyance-Reveals an area of the map for 6 seconds (castable anywhere).
It may seem strange but you might choose it. With this spell you can check for incoming ganks and escape even before you engage. You can reveal jungling spots in case of enemy jungler or even you may cast it in brushes in every line to save you allies from an ambush. Use it often since it has low cooldown. Finally it can provide you with the sight you need to finish off someone with your Ace in the Hole.
Ignite-Ignite is damage over time spell that targets a single champion, dealing 50 damage plus 25 damage per level over 5 seconds. Ignite ignores enemy Magic Resist, and reduces healing and regeneration by 50%.
Well the description says it. It's a DoT on enemy champion which can help you to successfully score a kill when used with a skill combo. Also its effect of reducing healing and regeneration by 50% is helpful when chasing or fighting team fights. Common example is the use of it on Dr. Mundo to minimize his Sadism healing effectiveness.
Note:If you run both Exhaust and Ignite you go for aggressive gaming only and no escape tactics. Keep that in mind before choosing your spells.
Headshot-Every 8 attacks (attacks while in brush count as 2), Caitlyn will fire a headshot, dealing either 150% damage to a champion or 250% damage to a minion.
This is Caitlyn's passive skill. It's really awesome for harassment and farming. Due to her range (650) and this passive Caitlyn can take top / bottom line too because of the brushes which cause her passive to proc more often. Her passive can lead to an early red lizard kill too to give her the buff for ganging. Another small tip when pushing and hitting the turrets land the 7th hit on the enemy hero go back, to avoid turret hit and then start over.
Piltover Peacemaker-Caitlyn revs up her rifle for 1 second to unleash a penetrating shot which deals physical damage (deals less damage to subsequent targets).
Spamming this skill is the key to successful push and farm. Using this can clear entire creep waves giving you decent amount of gold each time. This skill has a long range so you can cast it without danger. Be careful though because it has 1 sec charge time which may cause you to miss your shoot.
Yordle Snap Trap-Caitlyn sets a trap to reveal sneaky yordles. When sprung, the trap immobilizes the champion and deals magic damage over 1.5 seconds.
First of all these traps are visible, which makes them useless in open fights. On the other hand when you use them in team fights were opponents may not pay attention you can grab an enemy really easy. This skill has a fairly long range and a low cool down letting you to spam it. When an enemy steps into one of them he gets stunned for a short amount of time and you can see his location, same as Nidalee's traps. Moreover you can set up these traps, before initiating a fight, in escape routes in case you might catch an enemy. A small detail you might find interesting about this skill is when you set the trap you have a small vision around it for about 0.5 seconds. Use it to your advantage.
90 Caliber Net-Caitlyn fires a heavy net to slow her target, the recoil knocks Caitlyn back.
90 caliber net is mostly an escape tool. You can knock yourself back into your turret, jump a small cliff, or even use it to increase the distance between you and your opponent. If you're experienced with Caitlyn you can even use it for chase. Obviously when you use it with your back on a big cliff you won't get knock backed. Which means you can still chase down your enemy if you are positioned correctly.
Ace in the Hole-Caitlyn takes time to line up the perfect shot, dealing massive damage to a single target at a huge range. Enemy champions can intercept the bullet for their ally.
Since Caitlyn is a sniper, her ultimate is a long range rifle. She sits back, locking and aiming an enemy champion. It's a pretty awesome skill for fleeing enemies or even getting a level 6 first blood in middle line. Just keep in mind the following pointers:
1)Your shot has a 2-sec charge time
2)Your shot can be intercepted by another enemy who will take the hit if he steps in front of the target
3)You are unable to move your hero while you charge your shot
4)If the enemy goes into the fog of war during the first second of casting your Ace in the Hole the shoot is terminated.
If you understand the above pointers you should must have already noticed that you shouldn't use this skill in team fights because it will be difficult to score a kill and you may even die. Use it mainly when you see someone fleeing with low hp from the battle.
Note:If you want to protect your jungler from possible gangs pick Yordle Snap Trap skill in level 1 and place your traps in possible routes leading to your junglers first location. Sometimes this can prevent his death which usually leads to not be able to continue jungling effectively.
Since the champion is squishy the best item choices with the starting 475 gold is a Doran's Blade, which costs all your starting gold and you can't support your starting build with a Health Potion like you used too. The few stats make a big difference in the beginning. I suggest buying another Doran's Blade in your first recall in the base. The health and the damage will provide easier farming and it's basically the best item you can buy for a few gold. The starting items are the same either going solo mid or bottom/top. Grab your Boots of Speed whenever you have the chance for better mobility.
Note:If you're going for Manamune you should skip the second Doran's Blade and buy Tear of the Goddess to upgrade its passive as soon as possible while having increased mana regeneration which is good for spamming.
Note:In case the enemy team has many AP caster champions you should skip second Doran's Blade and buy Catalyst the Protector. Laning against a caster becomes easier because you gain come health and mana each time you level up so be sure to buy it with your first recall. Upgrade it later for Banshee's Veil.
Note:Buying a couple of Health Potion early game is pretty much essential in case enemy is aggressive and you want to engage more fights. Plus with those renerating your health you can stay in lane and farm a bit more.
Doran's Blade- You shouldn't sell this items until you reach mid/late game. They can actually be very usefull when you starting killing neutrals, specially Lizard Elder. The health provides is just awesome. Don't be hasty on selling them unless you have a major item ready.
Boots of Speed- You must upgrade your boots usually according to the enemy team. I will explain it in detail in the next chapter.
B. F. Sword- Rush this item. It's the must for your core and your late build. It's the root for the 3 major items in your build. If you can rush this fast you'll have a bit of an advantage since physical DPS champions shine in late game.
Sight Ward- It may seem odd without an explenation but yea you should be buying wards by this moment. They are cheaper than they used to be which makes them more attempting to buy. They can prevent incoming gangs which is pretty much what you want to avoid.
Boots of Swiftness- First boot choice is Boots of Swiftness. If you're having a hard time getting away from your enemies or your enemy team has many flexible heroes like Ezreal or Corki you can buy them. Moreover the constanst level 3 movement speed gives you the luxury for roaming.
Berserker's Greaves- Most common boots for Caitlyn are Berserker's Greaves. When you just want to farm and harrass effectively with attack speed and not tend to leave your line too much this is what you wanna buy. Cause even with your lvl 2 movement speed boots you're slow and you're usually the target.
Mercury's Treads- Third and final choice is to upgrade your boots into Mercury's Treads when the enemy team has much CC in their team along with AP casters. MR and that passive of reducing CC by 35% is really helpful.
Madred's Bloodrazor- Expensive but it's worth the gold because it's the most effective item when fighting enemies with much hp like Vladimir or Mordekaiser because of its passive. Attack speed, damage and armor are great for engaging too. Just position yourself correctly and you're out of trouble. Even if you're losing a game, because of enemies with much hp which you can't counter when you finish this item the tides may change. With the right positioning you can win the game in one battle.
Infinity Edge- Another expensive item but worth a lot if you rush it really quick. It can help you take enemy carries down in a couple of shots. Provides much AD, critical chance and a unique passive that your criticals blows will deal 250% damage instead of 200%. Imagine this passive along with your Headshot. Can deliver devastating blows on any champion.
Phantom Dancer-If you buy Infinity Edge then you should probably continue with this item, Phantom Dancer. Bestows attack speed as well as much critical chance and movement speed, which you absolutely need because you will become more flexible and you can outrun most of the enemies that way. If you're going for an AD / AS build you should follow that sequence indeed.
The Black Cleaver- This item now probides damage and attack speed istead of pure damage. It's passive reduces your targets armor by 15 for 5 seconds and stacks up to 3 times so killing of enemy squishy champions becomes really easy especially if they aren't that well farmed. Combines well along Madred's Bloodrazor when fighting against health stackers.
The Bloodthirster- When you maximize the ability of this item it's never gonna let you down. Provides a total of 100 damage and 35% life steal after killing 40 minions. This might not seem a must item but let me give you a small explenation. Caitlyn has the disadvantage when she is in range of a melee champion like Master Yi or Nocturne. If you run against him you will die but with this item and some AS you can stay and fight him. Your hp won't go down believe me. Moreover bloodthirster's passive isn't unique which means you can buy as many as you want. Remember if you die all its stacks are lost so if you feel like dying a lot don't bother buying it.
Frozen Mallet- This is the best item for kiting. You can hunt down enemies, land some hits without danger, plus the health provided is enough for a glass cannon like Caitlyn. If your team doesn't have CC you should definately buy this item. Hitting an enemy champion once when having this item may cost him his death.
Manamune- If you chosen Tear of the Goddess for starting item then your option is to upgrade it to Manamune. Provides medium attack damage but great mana regeneration which boosts your spamming skills. It's actually a cheap item so it's a solid choice for mid game but the damage output isn't that great for a late game.
Hexdrinker- If enemy team has AP champions like Veigar and Malzahar, which can usually 1 shot you, a pretty nice items is Hexdrinker. Provides your hero with both AD and MR and has a unique passive. If you would take Magic Damage which would leave you at less than 30% of your Maximum Health, you first gain a shield which absorbs 300 Magic Damage for 4 seconds. 45 second cooldown. It's life saving especially when you're being ganged early/mid game.
Banshee's Veil- Another way to counter enemy AP champions is Banshee's Veil. Providing health and mana as well as a shield which blocks a negative speel every 30 seconds. This shield can be very effective for spells like Requiem which can be annoying when you have nothing to counter them with. Moreover the health and MR boost make your champion less squishy and make her withstand more blows even in a teamfight in which you are usually the main target.
Last Whisper- Cheap item, solid stats. This item bestows both AD and armor penetration which both boost your Piltover Peacemaker and your Ace in the Hole skills. Perfect for Caitlyn. The stats increase your farming and harassing skills which is irritating for your enemies.
Zeke's Herald- I usually buy Zeke's Herald when my team has a couple of more carries because of the lifesteal aura or when enemy team has many tanks because of the armor reduction aura. If you rush it you can stay in your line more because of the renegeration and lifesteal. Even though it's an underestimated item it can change the tide of a teamfight when you're close both on your allies and the enemy team.
Wit's End- This item got reworked and now it's a really good bit-tanky item. With each hit it increases your magic resist by a small amount maxing at 4 stacks. Really good when the enemy AP carries try to wipe you out in the teambattle.
Sword of the Divine- This is a high situational item. Bestows attack speed and a passive that deals 100 magic damage every 4th attack. But the real potential of this item is the active spell. Your attacks cannot be dodged and you gain 30 Armor Penetration for 5 seconds. This means no more dodge for tanks or champions with dodge abilities such as Jax, Udyra, Sivir and Nidalee as well as tanks with dodge chance.
Guardian Angel- I don't recommend buying this item when you play solo. You don't know your allies and even if you die they might not be around to save you and you wasted the passive for nothing. Buying this item provides armor, MR and the ability to ressurect with medium health and mana. Only buy it when you play with your team so you have backup ready.
Quicksilver Sash- Provides much magic resist for better survivability and a must item when facing Warwick, Mordekaiser, Malzahar or enemy team with many Ignite spells. This items active removes the above champions ultimate plus it can remove ignite too. Really comes in handy when you're the prior target for the enemy team.
Note:Kiting with ranged champions goes like this. Enemy starts chasing you. You run away from the enemy. When enemy is far enough away, attack, then run again without being hit. Repeat.
Note:Don't hesitate about buying another The Bloodthirster. The extra damage and lifesteal is always worth the gold.
Ashe- She will give you some hard time when spamming Volley but if you stay behind a creep it won't hit you, it will hit the creep. Your range is greater than hers so you can harass her easily. Remember to inform your allies when she hits level 6 in case she throws an Enchanted Crystal Arrow for a gang bottom or top lane.
Corki- He won't be much of a problem since his movements are predictable. He will spam Phosphorus Bomb and Gatling Gun in order to farm or harass you. When he reaches level 6 he will spam Missle Barrage at you but it's a long range rifle which can be easily dodged.
Ezreal- He fires skillshots. Move your champion all the time in order not to get hit my them and stand behind your creeps. Harass him all you can and you will have the advantage. Remember he is fragile so don't be afraid. Inform your allies when he reaches level 6 in case he fires Trueshot Barrage in any direction looking for a kill.
Miss Fortune- She is a hell of a carry, one of the best. She has some weaknesses though. Her speed boost from Strut is cancelled if she gets hit so always land a hit once she gets her passive up and running. In her case standing behind creeps won't work since she can harras you with Double Up. So stand next or away from your creeps and hit her all the time. You have greater range so don't hesitate. Finally she has no escape mechanisms so calling for a gang from your jungler will be an effective way to get some kills.
Sivir- She is boring to lane against. She just spams Boomerang Blade and wipes out your whole creep wave and prevents you from pushing and she sits back in her turret. Her Spell Shield can block your skills and due to her Fleet of Foot she can dodge your hits most of the time. Your choice here is to push before she fires her Boomergang Rifle and block her experience by constantly scarying her to her turret. Master this and you will rule the lane.
Teemo- His Blinding Dart can disable you pretty easy so don't fight him when he casts that on you. Tease him with your skills and basic attacks all you can and maybe because he is fragile he will turret hug soon. Inform your allies when he reaches level 6 because he might start spreading Noxious Trap around his area and in other routes leading there. Buy an Oracle's Elixir if you can afford it to destroy his Noxious Trap before they cause trouble to you.
Tristana- She is hard to counter. SHe will have greater range than you by level 12-14. Her Rapid Fire makes it hard to engage her 1vs1 so keep your distance when you she her activating it. You must stay away from your creeps due to her Explosive Shot. Be careful when pushing her into her turret because she can throw you in her territory with Rocket Junp to get into position for Buster Shot.
Twisted Fate- It's pretty easy to counter him. Most TF players are slow so you won't have a problem. Avoid his Wild Cards whenever he casts them and avoid getting his by his Pick A Card skill. Inform your allies when he reaches level 6 because with his global ultimate he can score kill or help in gangs. Harras and push all you want.
Twitch- This rat is annoying. He becomes stealthed with Ambush and his attack speed is increased for some seconds. His other skills are related to Deadly Venom and his stacks. He is extremely squishy but deadly so don't let him come near you and you will be out of trouble.
Urgot- He has some annoying skills. If you get his by Noxian Corrosive he can land 3 hits with Acid Hunter. With his Terror Capacitor activated his Acid Hunter can slow you. Make sure you avoid his bombs and avoid getting too close to a turret in case he tries to swap you in. He has short range so you won't have many problems.
The game begins, you pick up your items and let's say heading mid (If you have a jungler make sure you secure his area and lure the golem with the blue buff). Your job early game is pretty normal. Focus on last hitting and farming because that is all the you want to do at that moment. Don't bother doing anything else than harrasing and farming. Be careful for early enemy gangs from jungler or invisible champions. Keep pushing, keep an eye on your enemies creep kills and inform your team is your enemy is missing.
You've reached mid game. You must have your core items by now, ward your lane and now it's time for more spicy actions. Try grab a kill on your enemy, if you can't ask your jungler to come or another member of your team. If you're doing a great job in your lane start roaming to grab some kills or assists on other lanes. Your ultimate is really useful when doing roaming. If you think you should stick in your lane do it but i suggest fighting in this point of the game. You might wanna take dragon with your team so prepare for a teamfight if your enemy finds out you're doing dragon.
Late game is here and you should have some luxury items by now. This is the point where you have to stick with your team and never go alone doing crazy rambo stuff. Fight for dragon, fight for buffs and always have baron nashor warded. Remember to always stay back from your team because you are the prior target of the enemies. When you engage the enemy team always focus their carry or their support champion. If you take out those fast other enemies are not a big deal. In this stage of the game one teamfight can cost you the game. Be cautious and always use wards in order to know whats going on in the map. That's the crucial thing in late game, knowledge.
This section is about ensuring successful lane control when you have to team up with another member of your team on a lane, top or bottom. Controlling every lane is the key ingredient for winning the game. Your team setup shouldnt be unbalanced in order to succeed, meaning there shouldnt be two tanks or two support heroes in the same lane. Carry heroes must always last hit minions in order to speed up their farming because each one of them is item depended and a high percentage of winning is hold in their skills. Caitlyn is a carry and she can team up with either tank or support champions.
Teaming up with tank heroes is most certainly the safer line. The tank must always focus on buying items which boost up their defensive stats (Health, Health Regeneration, Armor, Magic Resist, and Dodge). The role of the tanks is keeping their allies safe because he can endure much damage and they usually start the team fights. When you are being protected by a tank champion your role on the lane is pretty simple. Farm minions, harass enemy champions when you have a chance and push as much as you can. Successfully fulfilling your role will lead your enemies to hug their turret sooner or later. All tank champions have Crowd Control abilities (Stun, Slow, Taunt, Silence and Toss). Taking these CC abilities into consideration you might come up with some strategies to counter your enemies and why not scoring kills. Remember that the carry should score the early kills in order to rush their item core.
When teaming up with support heroes its like their babysitting your hero, that is their duty. Usually support heroes focus on items with auras for their allies or active items for their allies. About their stats they focus on utility (Mana, Mana Regeneration, Cooldown, Ability Power). Support heroes dont have much defensive stats so they cant sustain many hits with pure defence, they have to use skills to avoid harassment. Most supportive champions use abilities which are beneficial for their allies (Heal, Shield, Boosts). When you are in the same lane with a support hero he can save you when getting ganged or when taking damage. You dont have to worry about your health much and you can stay in your lane longer. Support champions dont have mana issues so your support will be constant.
Warding Your Map
Sight Ward-Click: Places an invisible ward with 1100 range sight. Lasts 4.5 minutes, Max: 5 Stacks.
Oracle's Elixir-Click: Gives your Champion stealth detection until they die.
Vision Ward-Click: Places an invisible ward with 1000 range Magical Sight (see invisible units). Lasts 3 1/2 minutes, Max: 5 Stacks.
Basically this section is a bit off topic. It's actually some hints about ward positioning in the 5v5 map. In other words some areas that must be controlled and checked during the game to ensure a better game, especially early. Blue team is down left and Purple team is up right. Buying Sight Ward is now cheaper than it used to be(they cost 75 gold each) and you can buy up to 5 in each space in your inventory. On the other hand Vision Ward cost 125 gold each and same goes for the slots. Here is the map with the areas marked followed by the pointers.
1)This area prevents incoming gangs from enemy junglers or top lane heroes.
2)This spot works like the first one. Prevents enemy gangs from jungler or bottom lane.
3)This may be one of the critical wards in the game. It keeps dragon safe.
4)This brush is usually warded early on by the support champion or later on by the jungler. It prevents your blue buff from getting killed by the enemy.
5)This location, like the 4th, is warded in order to protect and check on the red buff lizard.
6)This area spots incoming gangs from top or mid and keeps an eye on baron nashor.
7)This ward is a must for the bottom lane. If you don't have dragon ward it can keep you safe as long as you see the enemies coming.
8)Like the 7th ward this one is a must for top lane. Keeps you safe from incoming gangs.
So this guide came to an end finally. I will always check for updates and daily changes about stuff to add. It's quite detailed at the moment with many options. The main reason i wrote this guide is because Caitlyn is my favourite champion and i have fun playing her and i hope you will have fun too. Took me about a month to finalize it and about 30 minutes for you to read it all. So don't be harsh on the votes and comments ^^
I want to thank Dotter for the information he gave me, SixSonatas for his helpful posts, DEWO for his post on writing guides and Scrax for his feedback on stamps. Remember Caitlyn is a sniper so...
'Go ahead, run. I'll give you a five minute head start.'
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One Shot. One Kill.