Caitlyn Build Guide by Aggroed
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.
A brief note about ArP vs AS
OK, so there are lots of builds out there that emphasize ArP or AD. These builds are often backed up by someone's insane table of data that shows hands down their system does more damage on one shot. I don't doubt that, but I actually think it's a pretty ****py system to judge a build by. Often times Cait has the chance to shoot more than once, maybe twice, and who knows maybe even three times. The question is how many shots does she get off. So, before going all crazy because another Cait packs more of a punch in one hit, please realize that this Cait hurts end game, she brings down squishies like The Terminitor, and she melts face. It's good times.
Also, the ArP argument falls short. You are ranged dps. You're job is to kill squishies. Run in and attack the tank you'll get chewed out by your team. Argue that's who you should kill because of you're ArP and they'll laugh in your face. You are not there to bring down the tank. You're there to kill everyone around the tank, and then finish off the tank only when everyone else is dead. By that point, a little ArP isn't going to make a lick of difference.
Finally, when you are unloading on brand you're usually not worried about his thornmail. When you're teaching Ashe that Cait>Ashe when you're standing and banging with eachother you're not wondering if her chain mail is deflecting your shots. It doesn't work that way. The squishies you spend most of your game targetting aren't wearing armor. So the idea that you need fat tons of ArP falls short there. Sure, maybe you do more damage to the tank, but if you're targetting the tank it's probably GG either way: you started shooting the tank and you're an idiot and your team is all dead now, or you killed everyone and the last one standing is the tank. Have fun, shoot him once for me.
Cait is a power carry. This means that early game she is weaker than many of the other champions and that the rest of the team will have to carry her until she levels. Once she levels and has some items on her belt she can be incredibly powerful, and enjoy her melting face with every shot she takes.
Caitlyn is one of the best Mid's in the game. Her long range and her skill set allows her to keep her enemies at bay while racking up minion kills, while keeping her opponent from getting anywhere near the same number of kills, and constantly poking them down so that they have to hug the tower. Caitlyn can be slow to get started as her damage is relatively weak early game. If you are able to score a kill watch quickly as your lead will increase. I found that with only 1-2 early game kills I can dominate for for a while.
When you mid your biggest weakest is getting ganked. As Cait is kinda squishy it's important to be able to get out of trouble fast. I find that flash is one of the best spells for this. I used to use heal as it was a shorter learning curve and I was able to bait with it a time or two and get tower kills for my effort. However, since switching to flash I've been ganked far less, gotten more kills, stayed alive longer allowing me more gold and more killshot opportunities, and generally making a bigger impact in game. So, when the gank comes from the river, where it always comes from, I have the ability to flash out of the trap and then net to slow them. This gets me safely to my tower and away from trouble.
If I can't flash backwards there is always running into the river and using net to hop over the mini cliff. If I lay a trap on my way down I have sight and can shoot them a few times and Pilt them for having the nerve to try to gank me.
Keep in mind that late game Cait's require lots of money to destroy opponents. It's because of this that I find attack speed so useful. In most games that I play I find that by the time I reach 80 minion kills my laning opponent is still just on 30-40. 40 minions is worth 1600 gold or roughly 1 BF Sword. When Cait is ahead by that much it gives her a huge advantage.
Your passive "headshot" is worth paying attention to. Be aware when you are about to fire off a headshot. If you're only going to attack you're opponent every so often try to do it with headshot active. It'll hurt, make them play more defensively, and help you ruin their chance of getting minion kills early.
Chumps getting in the way of you midding
Morons like Ashe, Brand, Twitch, Morgana, and others think that they should mid. Maybe they are good. Likely they are terrible. Don't let them. Don't give up. Be a prick. You have range, and escapability. You're also the carry. Feed Morgana and it's good. Feed Cait and it's Gee Gee. Even when I'm not fed I have the most damage dealt. The most gold. The most tower kills, and I change fights when I'm there. That's a lot easier to do when I have leveled mid, and get the gold from being mid.
Cait is arguably the best champ I've seen that can 2v1 other champions. Some combinations are terrible for her like a stun high damage combo. She's too squishy to handle Morgana and Jax combined, but disregarding just a few champ combos I've laughed my way to a few kills and tower down without their 2v1 hitting my tower.
Here especially I've found the phiosopher's stone in my build to be increidbly useful. Cait is powerful until she runs out of mana, and unlike champs like karthus that never seem to OOM I find that Cait runs out fairly quickly, especially when 2v1ing. To counter this I get the philosopher's stone, which keeps my mana high. This lets me keep them at bay with a combination of Pilt and Headshot, and have the mana to run via Flash and Net if my passive aggression finally gets to them.
Do your best to shoot out of the brush as much as possible seeing as you're headshot builds up twice as fast. Also, try to keep traps in the brush, especially in the patch coming from the river as ganks (ie 3v1) often come from there.
I use all speed Runes. When the game starts I'm just shy of 1 attack per second. This allows me more minion kills. It also allows my headshot to charge faster. I understand why some people like Dolan's stuff, but I find that if I can keep my mana up the health doesn't matter because they can't get close to me as I fire to fast, and have long range spells to keep them back. I liked the damage from that or the long sword, but I found that I missed out on more minion kills early game with damage rather than with speed, so I pushed speed in my build.
I also like attack speed as it scales well with everything she adds. Extra damage is nice, but I find that in some team fights and other situations I'm able to get off two slightly weaker attacks as opposed to 1 slightly stronger attck.
There are at least two things in my build that I think have people scratching their head. Philospher's stone and Bloodthirster before boots. Here's my reasoning.
Philosopher's Stone is a great item early game for Cait. She bleeds mana so fast, and this keeps her up. It allows for longer farming. More tools to keep her enemy at bay, and when they do get a few good shots on her a potion of health and a little bit of time has her back to full health while they are usually weak. This imbalance makes it hard for them to be too aggressive or to push, which plays well to Cait's strengths.
The boots are also something I find I can get away with not having right away. When I lane mid the combo of net and flash gets me out of trouble before ganks happen. When I 2v1 I'm often against my tower anyway so a little extra speed isn't going to make the difference. What I find does make a difference is when I double my damage output with a BF Sword. Early game laning opponents back off so quickly at that point. I sometimes get the level 1 boots before I get my Bloodthirster just for a little help getting out of ****py situations, but I think the damage is more important than the movement speed early game because of my summoner spells.
I rock out the Pilt first. My second skill depends where I'm laning. If I'm on the side I like the traps. If I'm Mid I get the net. After that I max out Pilt and my Ult as much as possible and tend to alternate my net and trap.
Every basic attack (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.
Q key: Piltover Peacemaker
Caitlyn revs up her rifle for 1 second to unleash a penetrating shot that deals physical damage (deals less damage to subsequent targets).
W key: Yordle Snap Trap
Caitlyn sets a trap to find sneaky yordles. When sprung, the trap immobilizes the champion, reveals them for a short duration, and deals magic damage over 1.5 seconds
E key: 90 Caliber Net
Caitlyn fires a heavy net to slow her target. The recoil knocks Caitlyn back.
R key: Ultimate 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.
When I first started I used heal and teleport. It was easy to get started that way. Now I use flash and teleport.
I like flash as that and net get me out of almost all the trouble I encounter.
I like teleport as it allows me to get my items real quick and be back in lane lickity-split.
Additionallly, teleport is nice as it allows me to protect or destroy towers ultra fast while also being able to farm up a ton of kills.
By level 8-12 I am normally winning or have won the tower fight so I often feel I can take a momemnt to grab the red buff. This buff can make the difference between a poke and a kill. Grab it when you can and realize enjoy the extra damage output you're about to get.
Conclusions to speed Cait
I've played a few hundred games as Cait. I started by being laughed at. I used heal. People complained. I got my butt kicked a lot. I've been fine tuning my build for a while, and finally feel like I have a nasty combination. For the past 15 games or so I've had the most minion kills and the most gold earned. I only lost the money race once in those games to an extremely early game fed Yi. Otherwise on average I kill about 250-300 minions while the next closest person is about 150-190. As for gold when we win I'm usually about 4-6k ahead, and when we lose I'm still about 2-3k ahead. Also, I usually win the most damage dealt category. As one angry but cool Rammus said in game "This Cait hits hard." In part because I kill so many minions I'm usually a few levels above by mid game and so my mid game Cait doesn't suffer. In fact, in some games I'm so far ahead I wander without fear of death and watch Xin's run. That's a good feeling.
Speed Cait doesn't always have the most team kills to get going, but by 15 min in I'm often double the nearest persons minion kill rate. So, I have roughly 80 kills they have 40. A minion is worth say 20, so I have 1600 gold more than the average person. It means I get my blood thirster pretty quick, and then I get even more kills even faster, and I can actually damage my opponents rather than just poke at them.
As for the philosopher's stone to start, I used to find that I ran out of mana too quick. Cait depends on Q to keep her laning opponent at bay. When I get the philosopher's stone I also pickup some health pots (3-4) and I can usually lane without interuption until about level 14 or when it's finally time to get my BF sword, and then when it's time to pick up my bloodthirster/boots.
Normally I pick up bloodthirster before boots. I make an exception for a few champs though (Brand, morgana, lux, anivia, morgana), which are the Champs that shoot stuns at me and if I can't dodge it I get in trouble. However, when I'm just laning mid and for the early games most of the people that I lane with can't do enough burst damage to me so fast that I can't escape with just my net and a flash. I almost exclusively use it defensively.
Since Cait can't do too much burst damage I usually ult right away on an opponent that's fresh. Pick them down until it's ready again and then go for a headshot, net, pelt, ult combo.
Ok, now comes the speed boost, movement speed boost, and crit percent. These help sustain me
as I lane or actually, by this time my turrets down and I'm helping push the weak turret then the other.
Also, I find around level 10 or so I can jungle pretty quickly and easily and by level 14 I can solo dragon. Getting red buff between minion waves makes a huge difference in my ability to score kills early game, so grab it, and tell you're jungler to STFU about it.
This Cait hits hard, owns her lane, does the most damage, gets the most gold, and isn't a freaking scrub. I still have some trouble in team fights, but with 2 good beefy dudes in front I pick and pick and pick, and we can keep them back or kill a turret. People on both sides of the game said my Cait dominated. Good times.