Caitlyn Build Guide by ZanDamascus
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.
Hello, I'm Zan Damascus and welcome to my guide to Caitlyn, the Long Distance Serial Killer. I'd like to start off by thanking HoLyHiraKo for his/her in depth guide to Caitlyn. I used the build when I first learned Caitlyn, and mine is heavily influenced by it. This is my first guide, so any advice and comments are greatly appreciated. I hope you find this guide helpful, and if you feel there's anything it's missing, please leave a comment.
With the new masteries comes a new item selection. This is still a work in progress but with early testing, this build let me solo baron. I'll edit, add, and finish the sections below once I've settled on a final build choice.
Greater Mark of Desolation Greater Mark of Desolation
I use armor pen marks because people have a tendency to stack armor against Caitlyn and then pretty much ignore her. If you prefer, you can replace these with Greater Mark of Scaling Attack Damage, to increase your AD, but then I would recommend buying an item with armor pen. I'll cover this more in the item chapter.
Greater Seal of Strength
These provide my build's only extra AD at early levels so they're fairly important. CDR, mana or mana regen are other options i've considered, but AD has been by far the best so far.
Greater Glyph of Alacrity
These glyphs push up your attack speed early to make up for the early low AD. Again, CDR or mana regen could be useful, but anything else that could be helpful isn't good with glyph (for example, AD glyphs are terrible.)
Greater Quintessence of Might
There are several options for Quintessences, but my personal choice is the AD per level. This build is a little lacking in AD throughout the game, and the boost provided by the guints is very helpful. You could of course replace any of the above with quints and use something else there (ex: desolation quints and might marks).
I've been experimenting with a heavy Offense Tree build that's been working fairly well. It puts 24 into Offense and 6 into Utility.
The 6 in Utility are somewhat variable. I use 3 Good Hands /1 Improved Recall /2 Meditation
I've always liked Good Hands and most of my builds grab it. Improved Recall is something new that could be helpful, but it could be easily switched for Summoner's Insight if you use one of the revelent Summoner Spells. Meditation is mostly helpful early game when you need to spam your Piltover Peacemaker and Yordle Snap Traps as much as possible. Scout and Swiftness are both viable options as well, amking your wards better or Caitlyn faster respectively.
In offense the only Masteries that aren't helpful for Caitlyn are:
Mental Focus Arcane Knowledge Blast Archmage Demolitionist
All the rest can be very helpful.
Summoner's Wrath is probably the most useful of the three spell masteries for Caitlyn, giving her boosted Exhaust, Ignite, and Ghost, all of which are very good on her.
Brute Force is a mediocre 3 AD boost, but it will get you into the higher tiers. Two points in Butcher will actually give you more damage over all against minions which might be more helpful early on.
Sorcery These three points could go into any of the masteries not chosen, except one of the 5 above. I chose Sorcery in order to use Piltover Peacemaker and Yordle Snap Traps a little bit more often early game.
I'll probably finish filling out the description of the rest of the masteries eventually, but for now I'll just say that AS, Armor Pen, Crit, and Life Steal are all amazing on Caitlyn.
This is one of those great spells that is useful throughout games in multiple situations. Use it to chase, to escape, or to make an enemy nearly useless in a team fight.
As far as movement spells go, Flash is currently my favorite. Caitlyn doesn't make quite as good use of it to close because of her range, but it is still excellent for chasing and escaping. In particular, I once escaped a full team by flashing into the dragon's area with about 100 hp left. Unfortunetly Falsh is being nerfed, so my recommendation for this spell might be changing soon.
I know plenty of people who swear this is better than flash. I don't have anything against it, I just prefer flash. If you like ghost, feel free to use it.
An extra 400 damage at lv 18 is great, but an extra 70 at lv 1 isn't as wonderful. This isn't a bad spell certainly, so if you like it go ahead and use it, but in my opinion Exhaust is more useful.
Can be helpful, but it's being removed.
Better left for support champs.
If you're just learning to solo mid this might be helpful, but I'll refer you to this parody: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZILk8xlihVc
I took this once on accident and it actually saved me a couple times. Because of that I won't say no to it, but I still prefer Exhaust and Flash.
No other spells really belong on Caitlyn.
Skill Sequence and Use
You passive, every 6th to 8th shot will deal bonus damage, 250% to a minion or 150% to a champion. If you fire from in a bush, each shot counts as two. This is really helpful mid/late game to take the blue and red buffs. In the laning phase, try to hit the enemy champion with this. Most will see it coming and back off, but it does a very nice chunk of damage. Don't save it to long and miss minion kills though.
This is your bread and butter skill, get it at level 1 and max it first. It is a straight line skill shot that damages all enemy units in its path, but gets weaker as it does. It also has a 1 second charge. In the laning phase, try to aim it so that it will hit minions before or after the champion. It might be weaker, but the shot is fairly easy to dodge and some damage or kills (and therefore gold) is much better than nothing. Also, I've noticed that people tend to dodge the shot less often when they have minions between them, only to still lose a lot of health.
Yordle Snap Trap
Very useful traps, their main downside is that they are visible to the enemy. Get it at level 2, and max it second. They give temporary sight when placed, and the champions vision when stepped on. If you're running from an enemy, place a trap in the path. If you place it to far ahead and they get around, don't worry, they still wasted a little time moving around it. Remember that it takes a second to activate before it can trap someone. In late game, if someone has a gaurdian angel place a trap (two if you can) near/under them when they die the first time.
90 Caliber Net
This skill does some damage, but it's main purpose is to slow the enemy. Get it at level 3, and max it last. It also knocks Caitlyn backwards. This can be used to chase by knocking you closer to your enemy, but there are times when you aren't going to be able to catch up, and then you should try to shoot it forward and hit the enemy. In the reverse situation, it can also be used to run, slowing your enemy and giving you more distance. Finally, the knockback can be used to pass through some small walls, but thicker walls will stop the knockback completely.
Ace in the Hole
Your Ultimate, the longest ranged, non global skill in the game. It has a two second charge time. In the first second if the target steps into the fog of war the target will be lost. After the first second, there's only a few ways to escape it. The most common is to have an ally champion to take the hit for you. Less known is that if they finish recalling after the first shot but before it hits, it won't connect. A few shields, like Nocturne's can also stop the shot, but it can't be dodged.
With the new masteries, I felt like trying a new start set, and Dagger/Mana Pot has been doing very well. Grabbing Boots of Speed are ok if you are more used to starting that, but I personally don't like it. If you're having trouble starting with Dagger, try out Doran's Blade or Vampiric Scepter. Doran's will put your build back a little, but the Scepter will become The Bloodthirster later.
Berserker Greaves Berserker Greaves
My favorite boots on Caitlyn. This build is heavily focused on attack speed, and these boots are the first step toward nearly 5 attacks every two seconds. However, if you're worried about CC, Mercury Treads is still a good choice.
This build loves daggers. All together you'll be buying 6 of these. I don't buy more than 3 the start. Two and a Vampiric Scepter is probably the best option
This is probably the best Attack speed items on Caitlyn, giving much needed attack and movement speed, and crit chance, which goes well with her passive. If you want to start getting AD faster, a Zeal and two Dagger's is probably enough before starting The Bloodthirster
One of my all time favorite items, if you can get and keep the stack max it gives you 100 AD and 25% Life Steal. Even with out the stacks 60/15% is still amazing. If you don't get a Vampiric Scepter early, you should buy the [[B.F. Sword first if you can.
Sword of the Divine
So much Attack Speed. And with this amount of attack speed, the extra 100 magic damage every fourth attack will occur every 2 seconds, you're passive Headshot will go off once every 3 seconds, and you should crit once every 1.25 seconds. That is quite simply a ton of bonus damage.
After several people telling me to put IE on my build, and a little more testing of it, I decided to make it the normal choice instead of Last Whisper. The crit chance, with your Phantom Dancer means every other shot will crit, and every crit will deal 250% instead of 200%. Combined with your passive, you'll almost never deal your base attack.
This isn't a highly nessessary part of the build. If you're doing good and don't need something else, this is a nice step to getting capped attack speed. Otherwise replace it with something below.
This is a very nice item if the enemy is stacking armor against you, which there is a very good chance of.
The only time I recommend using this is when most, if not all, of enemy team are playing AD champs. Suddenly you have 170+ armor, and they're attacks hurt themselves. I also mention this item because it's a very good Caitlyn counter, and you should always be careful about fighting an enemy who has it.
This is for the reverse situation of Thornmail, when the enemy has more AP and likes to use CC. The passive is very nice to have against Annie, Veigar, Cho'Gath, etc.
This is one of the items that any champion could buy if they have the gold/space for it. Against balanced teams it's probably better than Thornmail or Banshee's Veil.
Stacking a second The Bloodthirster is always fun, bringing your AD and Life Steal up to ridiculous levels.
As with most champs, you should be buying Health Potions and Mana Potions whenever you can. Mana pots should probably be your first priority so that you can harass more. If you are worried about ganks, buy some Sight Wards.
Finally, Elixirs, especcially Agility and Fortitude, can be very helpful, and once you're done buying items, you should buy them with your extra gold because they'll active automatically.