Caitlyn Build Guide by Mususaki
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 and Abilities
For those of you who are new to using Caitlyn, you should get familiar with her abilities. Her passive is Headshot, which, on every 6th auto-attack, she deals bonus damage to a target, and if she's in a bush the number of auto-attacks it takes to trigger Headshot are halved.
Piltover Peacemaker is probably her main ability. I max that first because it's a huge damage-dealer early game and nice harassment ability. Usually at the beginning of games, especially after you've purchased The Brutalizer, you'll go right through a character's armor, assuming they aren't stacking it, so auto-attacks and abilities do a lot of damage early on.
Yordle Snap Trap is a nifty ability to get out of sticky situations or pick up a kill. It's also nice to push an enemy against a turret just by placing traps around the foe's turret, or to defend your own by placing it in front of your turret. If you place it in range of your turret, it helps to pick up a kill every once in a while from those who like to turret dive. Placing traps in midst of team-fights is a clever way to pick up kills or set up an escape for you and your teammates if things go bad. It's also nifty to place one right behind someone who's being resurrected by Guardian Angel, so ensure they don't escape, or against those jumpy champions who close the distance between you and them in an instant to ensure your escape.
90 Caliber Net is an ability that launches a net in the direction you target that slows the opponent it hits and hurls you backward. This is a nice tool for escape or even to save a teammate in trouble. It's also nice to catch up to enemies my launching it at them and making up for lost distance as they're slowed, or launching it behind you to leap toward your opponent.
Last, but not least, Ace in the Hole. This is her ultimate ability, and possibly my favorite. The range is practically the whole screen, and once the enemy is targeted there is virtually no escape. However, an enemy teammate may block your ultimate, which makes it hard to trigger it during team fights when other foes stand in the way of your target. Keep in mind the amount of damage your Ace in the Hole does before executing, because if you use it too soon, your target gets away. Before level 11, you can get away with finishing someone off who has about 200 to 300 hit points left. At level 11, count on it wiping out a good 400 to 600 health. And level 16 to 18, you can just about take half a non-armored opponent's health with your ultimate.
As the battle rages on, I find myself using abilities less and less as auto-attack picks up more kills than anything by level 17-18.
First, I take 9 Mark of Desolation, which help to penetrate the armor of enemy champions to make sure your attacks do the full amount of damage they should. The more armor penetration you build, the more damage you can get through to your opponent, plain and simple.
Second, I take 9 Seal of Scaling Cooldown Reduction. This was a tough decision for me, as there are plenty of good seals to choose from, but in my opinion, this is best, especially for early-game. This way, if you find yourself running a bit low on mana, but can't Recall to purchase Mana Potion, you can time your abilities appropriately to squeeze out a few Piltover Peacemaker shots and an Ace in the Hole. Less useful late-game, however. Much of your damage will be coming from auto-attacks, but it's nice for if your doing a bit of harassing late-game and need the extra mana.
Third, I take 9 Glyph of Attack Speed. This will increase your attack speed, which is especially nice early-game just to pop off a couple more shots faster than your opponent can, or even simply to stack onto your Phantom Dancer speed boost.
My quintessences are made up of 3 Quintessence of Desolation because it adds to the above Mark of Desolation, granting you a total of 24 armor penetration at level 1. Most champions' armor at level 1 is around 30. Do the math.
Usually, Caitlyn starts off with Doran's Blade. While it is a nice starting item, I prefer to start myself off with a Long Sword and a Health Potion (I'll even wait for minions to spawn for a second Health Potion if I'm taking the middle lane). Why is this? Well, if you can harass and kite well enough, you'll whittle down an opponent faster than they can carve into you. Especially at level 2, with 90 Caliber Net, that will create a safe distance between you and your foes. Once you've purchased The Brutalizer, you can count on cracking about 45 armor like an egg, which is basically all of a character's armor this early in the game unless it's a tanky opponent. Like I said, Doran's Blade is a good starting item, but it doesn't have the much needed "oomph" to power through a target's health. Your best defense as Caitlyn is your offense.
Second, I take Berserker's Greaves. This is a more offensive boot, but if you feel you are in need of defense, take up Mercury's Treads for tenacity, or even Ninja Tabi for dodge. These greaves boost your attack speed and movement speed.
Additionally, I take Vampiric Scepter, turning it into The Bloodthirster. This is about the only "defense" I tack onto Caitlyn, as it can turn the tides in a 1v1 or 1v2 stand-off. It starts with a base attack damage and lifesteal percentage, but the more mobs and champions you kill, the more it builds, maxing your damage stacks at 40 and your lifesteal at 10%, for a total of 100 damage and 25% lifesteal. Be warned, these bonuses are lost upon death and must be re-farmed. Kite well!
To boost myself with some much needed attack speed and critical chance, I go with Zeal, turning it into Phantom Dancer. While this does not increase your attack damage, it increases your attack speed, movement speed, and critical strike ratio. With attack speed glyphs and boots, the chance for you to land a devastating critical auto-attack is increased, while being slightly faster than your opponent's movement speed to chase down targets, or even outrun foes when things get hairy.
By now, you should already be doing some pretty nasty damage, even in just auto-attacks, but it's high-time to boost your damage. Infinity Edge is a well-rounded damaging item that bumps up your damage 80 points and your critical strike percentage another 25%-50%. At this point, Caitlyn's auto-attacks will be doing more damage than abilities, so I usually stick to those, but it's still nice to harass enemies or tip the scales in your favor with them. Just stay in the back and kite.
The Black Cleaver is a nifty item if you'd like to blast through the enemy team's tank(s), as it increases your attack damage, attack speed, and the more auto-attacks you land on a champion reduce their armor by 15 for 5 seconds, stacking 3 times for a total of 45 armor penetration. If you're having more trouble with a tank, I would suggest taking Last Whisper in place of The Black Cleaver for 40% armor penetration, but less damage increase. The two are interchangeable depending on the situation. At some point, if the battle goes on long enough, you may have to get both, selling The Brutalizer to open up an extra slot.
While this build isn't definite, it depends much on how well you kite your enemies.
Remember that Caitlyn isn't someone who can just dedicate on a battle without teammates to back her. Always stay close to your tank or brute and utilize your abilities to aid teammates in battle or help them escape. Also keep in mind that you are a kiter, and distance is your greatest ally in battle. Since Caitlyn's range exceeds many other champions', use it to your advantage to harass and poke your foes, and time your abilities to get that Ace in the Hole.