Caitlyn Build Guide by MRN.Heartbeat
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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.
Early Game / Laning phase
Not Updated For Current Season
Here's a video I did to show you how I generally play Caitlyn in a high ranked game: http://www.twitch.tv/heartbeatttlol/c/2513962
Follow me on twitter! @HeartbeatLoL
Let's talk about what Caitlyn excels at, and what she's mediocre at.
- Incredibly Long auto attack range (650)
- Has an escape ability ( 90 Caliber Net)
- Incredibly Lane Dominant, can play aggressively 'safely'
- Has an extremely long range nuke (Ace in the Hole)
- Has great tower siege capability, using her traps
- Can poke well using her Piltover Peacemaker.
- Peacemaker is a skillshot
- Has no AD or Attack speed steroids
- Mediocre mid game without items
|.|| Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration
Greater Quintessence of Life Steal
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
9x AD marks are key because you want to be doing the most damage as possible as an AD carry. AD marks will not only let your auto attacks and skills do more damage, but it will also help you last hit easier.
Armor seals are very core for an AD carry because you will most likely be going against another AD carry and a support. Without armor seals, you're going to be taking a LOT of damage in lane, and thus without these you will never be able to 2v2 against the enemy bottom lane.
I like a mix of mana regen and magic resist glyphs. There are two ways to build glyphs, either full magic resist (scaling or flat, whichever you feel is appropriate) or throwing some mana regen glyphs in. The reasoning for mana regen glyphs is so that you can take 9 points into defensive tree in your masteries. This gives you a lot more armor and health for laning phase. Without mana regen glyphs, you're pretty much forced to put points into utility tree for the mana regen. So I like the trade off, and i personally recommend putting a couple mana regen glyphs + using the defensive tree in your masteries.
I like using 2x Life steal Quints and 1x AD Quint. This is because you still want the lifesteal runes that will help you sustain yourself forever in lane, while still having a pinch more of AD to help you bully your lane harder. If you feel like you just want more scaling into late game, then feel free to take 3x life steal quints, i believe this is personal preference.
21 points into offensive tree is core on any AD carries. Your main role is to farm until mid to late game, so that when you have 4~5 items you will be doing the most damage in your team. In order to maximize your damage output, putting 21 points into offensive tree will bring out that maximum damage potential. I personally like putting the 3 points into butcher/destruction for easier farming under tower / more damge to turrets (since Caitlyn is one of the strongest tower pushing champions in the game). If you disagree, then feel free to put the 3 points into havoc (remember getting 2 more damage every 100 damage isn't too appealing for me.)
Now like i mentioned in the rune section, I like to go 9 points into defense tree so that i won't have to put points into utility tree for the mana regen. To do this, you will need a couple mana regen glyphs in your runes. Caitlyn does use a lot of mana, and you WILL need mana regen to stay in lane. So personally, through many experiments I came to personally liking the 9 points into defense tree as it lets your laning become a LOT more flexible with the extra armor and health.
There's only one ideal way to build Caitlyn. The reasoning behind this is because of Caitlyn's lack of steroid, she needs to be building straight into the late game as soon as possible. As soon as you have that sweeet IE + PD + LW, you'll be pretty much set for the game in terms of damage.
- This is the most solid item to start with on Caitlyn because you can utilize the Damage/Sustain that this item gives better than any other carry due to your long range.
On your first back, you should try to buy
- This is the best item you can get on your first buy. Saving up 1550 gold might be a bit hard, but this will let you build towards that Infinity edge as fast as possible, while still giving you a ton of AD by itself during laning phase.
- Try to buy one of these two at the very least on your first back if you're forced to back early. Vamp sceptor will pretty much let you sustain yourself until you can buy a BF sword, and berserker greaves are one of the most cost-effective items in the game because it gives you a lot of movespeed as well as attack speed, which are both really strong on caitlyn.
Building into Late game..
- This item here is probably the most important item to get on Caitlyn. Not only does it add a lot of raw damage as well as that 250% increased damage from crit, but once you get a crit on your passive Headshot, it will do MASSIVE damage. If you have a smooth laning phase, you should definitely aim to build this item first.
- This item synergizes best with Infitity Edge because it gives you a lot of crit as well as attack speed in order to have more chances to crit. The movespeed definitely helps as well in order for you to kite.
- This item is great if you plan on sieging towers really quickly because it adds the most raw damage than any other item. It's also nice vs divers so that you'll be able to somewhat sustain yourself throughout the fight.
- I tend to go Shiv with BT because it's a bit cheaper than a PD, and you'll be able to hit your last whisper much earlier. BT/Shiv is much cheaper than an IE/PD, hence i like to buy those two in that combination - IE/PD for the ultimate late game damage, and BT/Shiv for mid game presence as well as tower sieging.
- Once you have your BT/Shiv or IE/PD you'll want some percent armor pen so you can start shredding down tanks. As the game goes into mid-late game, everyone will have at least some armor because of runic bulwark, so you'll need to get this regardless as your 3rd or at least 4th item.
- I build this if the enemy team has multiple divers. This will let you self-peel using the active and it's just a generally good utility to have building towards the late game. I'd buy this instead of a Bloodthirster after the IE/PD/LW build.
Defensive item options for late game
- If the enenmy has a lot of skill shot CC's, or massive pokes you'll definitely want to buy this item. The cooldown on this item is fairly short, so as long as you position decently you will be immune to getting caught.
- I like to get this if i just need that extra bit of HP to stay alive, and the lifesteal i have is enough to sustain myself throughout extended teamfights. This will make your auto attacks slow every hit, so it's also really great utility to provide for your team.
- If you need to buy QSS because of a supression skill or against unavoidable ultimates from zed, morgana, or vladimir, then go ahead and buy this. It will also give you a lot of AD from the full upgrade, so if your reaction is good enough to press the active and save yourself, definitely go for this item.
You always want to max Q first because it is your trademark pushing/harassing/poke ability. By leveling this ability up it will deal much more damage, as well as decrease its cooldown.
Next, you want to max E because it's your main escape ability. By leveling it up it increases the damage the net deals, as well as significantly lower its cooldown. This means it will add more punch to the E+Q combo, and you won't have to be zoned when your net is down as it will have a much less of a cooldown.
Lastly, max traps last because it gives you the least benefits. You can max traps 2nd if you're playing 5's with your friends or team and your team wants to start pushing at around 10 minutes. By being able to put a trap zone when you're sieging your team will have more catch opportunities as well as having a safety zone. But otherwise, you should max this skill last because it's usually late-game when your team will want to group up and start pushing, maximizing the utilitiy that the yordle snap trap brings.
Good Lane partners
Let's talk about which popular support champions are great with Caitlyn.
- Thresh brings everything to a bot lane. He will give you a ton of CC, a lot of damage, as well as that lantern to get you out of sticky situations. As a Caitlyn lane who's designed to take down towers by pushing, you'll feel really safe with the amount of peel that Thresh has when a jungler seems to be camping you. Also, if a Thresh lands a hook then that should end up in burning the enemy bot lane's summoner spells or even a kill.
- Janna Cait is an old school lane that has always been strong because you can fully utilitize the AD buff that you get from Janna's shield in combination with Ciatlyn's insane auto attack range. Also, Janna is one of the best peelers for an AD carry mid-late game, so that just adds more reason to pick janna with caitlyn! Although, you should watch out for bad trades because Janna won't provide you with much health sustain.
- This is one of the hardest pushing lane combos for a bot duo. With Lulu's Glitterlance combined with your Piltover Peacemaker you should be able to instantly clear creepwaves at max levels. Not only that lulu can give you a shield as well as a big health buff with her ultimate, so this makes her a great support to be with a Caitlyn.
- Sona's one of the best poking/trading supports in the game, using her powerchords to chunk enemy bot lane often. This is where Caitlyn also excels at, by being able to poke the enemy down with your 650 range, hence these two make for an excellent lane. Although you should definitely watch out for jungler ganks because Sona isn't a mobile champion and she doesn't offer much peel for you.
- Nami is my recent favorite support to play with Caitlyn because her E works best with long range AD carries, and Caitlyn is one of them. When she lands her bubble you can follow up with a trap for an incredibly long snare duration, and she can also heal you through trades. An all around good support with a Caitlyn!
- This is another old school lane where the taric will stun and then Caitlyn can set a trap under the stunned target for an additional snare duration. Works well, but we haven't seen much Taric lately. it's still a great lane, just underplayed.
Early Game / Laning phase
You should decide how you want to play laning phase before the creeps meet at 1:55. You can either start pushing right away, or play the last hit game and look to trade here and there. This also depends on the support - if you're playing with a melee support you might want to farm near your tower because melee supports won't be able to do much when you're up pushing enemy tower. Always try to coordinate your ridiculous auto attack range with your support to maximize the amount of poking and harassing you can deal in lane. For example, if the Janna gives you a shield you should maximize the efficiency of it by trying to play a bit more aggressive with the shield as well as the bonus AD you get from it. Remember to always use your traps somewhere either in the bottom brushes or at the enemy tower on cooldown.
Mid/Late Game + Teamfights
In teamfights, it's actually a lot easier to play teamfights with a Caitlyn because of her long range. Try to hit what you can with your range, even if it means tanks. If you feel like the enemy nocturne built full tank and you're okay with him hitting you then ignore the tank and go for the back line with your team. This kind of stuff comes with experience and game-knowledge, so the more you play Caitlyn the more knowledge you'll have on knowing what to do in teamfights.