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Caitlyn Build Guide by R3puLsiv3

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author R3puLsiv3

Ace in the hole - If you know what I mean

R3puLsiv3 Last updated on October 19, 2013
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 6


Utility: 3

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Hi there!

I'm R3puLsiv3 on EUW and I reached Platinum 1 in Season 3 by mainly playing Caitlyn with over 60% win percentage. I just started playing LoL in the same season, which shows that you can quickly become a good Caitlyn player by using this build.

I got Caitlyn as one of my first champions and played her consistently since then. Even though I played her in so many games, she doesn't get boring, as I always find new ways to improve with her. It's also fun to make people look dumb when you permanently kite them, especially against melee champs.

I really recommend to read all the in-depth chapters about runes, masteries, items and summoner spells, as the examples above need some explanation and adjustment in some situations.

Please feel free to give constructive criticism or tips in the comments and I really hope you enjoy my work!

This guide will possibly recieve more content in the future, if the reception is well.

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About the Sheriff

Caitlyn is a very high ranged attack damage carry who excels at poking and harassing the opponents out of the lane. She falls off mid game compared to other ADCs that's why her strong early game must be utilized to full potential. From then on you can snowball into a decent mid game and quickly reach your late game itemset, when Cait is a monster due to her range, passive and zoning potential.

Pros and Cons


+ Very high base range
+ Great laning phase
+ Abilities scale well with AD
+ Good splitpushing/sieging potential
+ Decent escape/zoning
+ Lategame beast
+ Always on the case


- 90 Caliber Net can be interupted
- No attack steroid apart from passive
- All her spells can be avoided
- Range loses value against gap closers
- Weak mid game compared to some other ADCs
- Hard to master imo (but easy to play)

Skill set

Every 8th / 7th / 6th basic attack deals 150% damage to a champion or 250% damage to a minion or monster. Attacks from brush increase the attack counter by two instead of one. Headshot's counter does not increase from attacking turrets.

Spoiler: Click to view

Piltover Peacemaker
Range: 1300
Cooldown: 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6
Cost: 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 mana

Active: After a 1 second casting time, Caitlyn fires a projectile that deals physical damage to all targets it passes through. Each target hit after the first takes 10% less damage, down to a minimum of 50% of the original damage.

Physical damage: 20 / 60 / 100 / 140 / 180 (+ 130% AD)
Minimum damage: 10 / 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 (+ 65% AD)

Spoiler: Click to view

Yordle Snap Trap
Range: 800
Cooldown: 20 / 17 / 14 / 11 / 8
Cost: 50 mana

Active: Caitlyn sets a trap at target location that activates after a brief delay. When an enemy champion comes within 67.5 range of the trap it activates, snaring and dealing magic damage over 1.5 seconds, and revealing them for 9 seconds.

Caitlyn can set up to 3 traps and each lasts 4 minutes. Traps are visible to both allies and enemies. If she sets a trap when three are already placed, the oldest trap will deactivate itself.

Magic damage: 80 / 130 / 180 / 230 / 280 (+ 60% AP)

Spoiler: Click to view

90 Caliber Net
Range: 1000
Cooldown: 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 / 10
Cost: 75 mana

Active: Caitlyn fires a heavy net, knocking herself back 400 units in the opposite direction. The net travels in a line, dealing magic damage and slowing the first enemy hit by 50%.

Magic damage: 80 / 130 / 180 / 230 / 280 (+ 80% AP)
Slow duration: 1 / 1.25 / 1.5 / 1.75 / 2

Spoiler: Click to view

Ace in the Hole
Range: 2000 / 2500 / 3000
Cooldown: 90 / 75 / 60
Cost: 100 mana

Active: After a brief delay, Caitlyn locks onto a target enemy champion and channels for 1 second. While channeling, Caitlyn gains true sight of the target. If Caitlyn completes the channel, she will fires a 3200-speed homing projectile toward the target that deals physical damage to the first enemy champion it hits.

Physical damage: 250 / 475 / 700 (+ 200% bonus AD)

Spoiler: Click to view

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Everyone has different preferences when it comes to Masteries. Obviously you always have to go 21 points into the Offensive tree as an ADC or u will lose your lane and dish out less damage at all stages of the game. There are still choices that can be made and there isn't one definite build, for each one has it's own advantages and disadvantages. I will go over the three pages that I find the most fitting for Caitlyn and explain my motives behind these selections.

My standard page

This is the masteriepage I use 95% of the time for Caitlyn. I think Meditation is very important as it allows you to keep your traps up, harass the enemies and push, if needed, without having your mana running short too quickly. I prefer to have some defensive stats as well, but many people prefer Summoner's Resolve over Resistance . Caitlyn like any ADC gains no magic resist per level and the shield of barrier is not always reliable and has a big cooldown. I think magic resist gives you a slightly better endurance and Summoner's Resolve gives you a better all-in potential. Also many people tend to pick the 2 points in Butcher instead of 2 points in Havoc or Fury . I feel that I don't need the extra damage because I will rarely lasthit under the turret as Cait due to the pushing potential of Piltover Peacemaker. If you find yourself having trouble lasthitting with Cait then just go for it.

The defensive page

This is the page I use in around 5% of my Cait games. I only use this one when I feel that the matchup is uncomfortable, for example if the opponents have a strong all-in botlane like Leona+ Varus. In that case I want to be prepared for an all-in fight in the best possible way. I achieve this by going deeper into the defensive tree and pick up Veteran's Scars . In this scenario I also go for Summoner's Resolve to block more of the incoming burst with Barrier or to have an improved Cleanse against annoying permastuns. It can happen that you get pushed into your own tower when u play passive and have no extra mana regeneration, that's why I pick up Butcher in this page for easier lasthitting under the turret.

The utility page

This is another basic ADC masterypage that I honestly don't like too much, but is used by many people, I believe. Summoner's Insight and Mastermind greatly improve your Summoner Spells and Runic Affinity is good in the later stages of the game where you will be given at least red buff as often as possible. I really think that 108 health on level 18 via Durability is overall better, but having Summoner Spells earlier up can be crucial too. I guess it's a question of preferences here, so choose whatever you feel the most comfortable with.

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The Runes I use are pretty basic ADC runes and to be honest, there aren't a lot of possible alternatives. ADC runepages tend to be pretty dull, but there are still adjustments that have to be considered before every match, just like it was the case with masteries. The following ones are the runes I find worth choosing from.


Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Mark of Lethality
Spoiler: Click to view


Greater Seal of Armor
Spoiler: Click to view


Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Spoiler: Click to view


Greater Quintessence of Life Steal

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Spoiler: Click to view

This is the runepage that I use the most often on Caitlyn. It works every game and for most ADCs so if you don't own a lot of runepages or if u dont know which runes to choose from, just pick these and you are always fine. I pick this setup 80% of the time at least.

Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Life Steal

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

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Summoner Spells

There is not much to say about this topic. You play an ADC, so you should be used to limited choices already. Below are the three main choices you have, Flash is always to be taken as Caitlyn though.

No other choice. This often offers you a second chance at life and also let's you chase fleeing enemies.

Take this if the opponents don't have any cc, that you think is worth being cleansed. It allows you to trade without fear of an all-in situation.

Pick this one if there is a lot of cc on your lane, like Leona, or just in general, like Amumu for example. It will make your all-in potential weaker most of the time.

I never tested this, but it could be a viable choice against ADCs that solely rely on autoattacks, like Vayne, or if you fear other autoattack champions in general, like Tryndamere.

I do not recommend this as you shouldn't even be in range to cast it most of the time. It's just not worth it to have a little more damage at the cost of easily being ganked early or killed in the mid and late game. The damage part of Ignite can even be cleansed.

I only choose this on Ashe, but if you think you can make it through laning phase with Ghost, then it can be one of the best summoners in late game, if you know how to kite. It is very inferior in the laning phase though, compared to the main choices.

It's not a bad choice in theory because Caitlyn is a great splitpusher and Teleport helps a lot in this regard. If your map awareness is high you can contribute to small fights early and even if you are late you can always snipe someone with Ace in the Hole. The obvious downside is that it makes you very weak in the lane, so it could possibly be used when you laneswap or play Caitlyn in mid.

Heal is maybe a little underrated or it is just too easily countered by enemy supports with Ignite nowadays. It is not very strong at the early levels compared to Barrier which has far more reliability. Nevertheless, in some matchups this is not necessarily a choice to be laughed at.

Yes, you are the most important member of your team and a second life can win the game later on. But you shouldn't count on dieing when you pick summoner spells and usually your whole team will be dead when you died, for you should be the last person to die, which leads you to a situation where you have to defend the base alone against the remainder of the enemy team. I don't say it's useless but it has a huge cooldown and will make your laning phase significantly weaker, which is usually where you want to shine as Caitlyn.

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Skill Sequence

There is room for variation and I did not always play Caitlyn like this but I came to the conclusion that this is the best way to play Caitlyn.

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

It is obviously necessary to always max Piltover Peacemaker first. I prefer to go for one level of Yordle Snap Trap at level 2 already because I want to get all the traps up fast. If you are afraid of a gank or an all-in fight then get 90 Caliber Net and put a point in traps at level 3 or 4. The next choice refers to what you should max next and I strongly suggest you to max Yordle Snap Trap because in the mid game there will be a lot of sieging and fighting for objectives and it is really important to get traps up in the respective areas as fast as possible, to prepare for fights. All that maxing 90 Caliber Net offers you is less cooldown and a little more damage which is okai but you should not be getting caught so often anyway, that you would need to use this spell twice or even more often.

> > >

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It's very important to always adjust your itembuild to the ingame situation. Even though ADC builds leave not much room for creativity, it is crucial to buy items in the correct order to maximize the damage output or sustain in the laning phase, or have a bigger impact in mid game.

Starting Items

The basic start for any ADC with lifesteal runes or sustain support. This allows you to win trades and go all-in.

Spoiler: Click to view

Spoiler: Click to view

Spoiler: Click to view

Building your Core

Don't just rush blindly for Infinity Edge at all cost. Try to farm up enough gold to get B. F. Sword on your first back. Often times getting an Vampiric Scepter somewhere inbetween is very important, to not get poked off the lane. Dont get Boots of Speed before you destroyed the opponent's tower is a good rule of thumb in my opinion. Get Berserker's Greaves after you completed your Infinity Edge though, no matter what. Below is an example of an optimal itempurchase order.

Item Sequence

Vampiric Scepter


Cloak of Agility

Infinity Edge

Berserker's Greaves

Sometimes life hands you lemons and you have to make lemonade. When you have a bad laning phase, don't despair, and don't try to reach your items at all cost. Get more Doran's Blade and get an early Vampiric Scepter and try to farm your way to Infinity Edge from there. If the laning gets even worse and you die alot, you should deviate from your build and go for The Bloodthirster, in order to be at least somewhat usefull in the mid game and have more survivability. Afterwards, you should really just go for Last Whisper because you dedicated yourself to a mid game oriented build and want your abilities to do more damage.

Item Sequence

Doran's Blade

Vampiric Scepter

The Bloodthirster

Berserker's Greaves

Last Whisper

Now comes the next stage of the game and you have to check if they got a lot of armor already. This is often the case because Infinity Edge is very hard to get fast, if you are not being fed. There are three paths from here: 1. Going straight for Phantom Dancer/ Statikk Shiv if the opponents don't have armor yet. 2. Going for Zeal and then Last Whisper is the path I seem to choose the most often and that's why I show it below 3. Rushing straight for Last Whisper, if you had a rough early game and the opponents already have tons of armor.

Item Sequence

Berserker's Greaves


Last Whisper

Phantom Dancer

The late game

Congratulations, you made it to the late game and can now watch, as you shred through enemy tanklines from a far distance. It is time now to finish some defensive items. First we want to transform Vampiric Scepter into The Bloodthirster/ Blade of the Ruined King. I prefer The Bloodthirster a lot, but Blade of the Ruined King is good for self peel and killing tanks due to the passive. The second-last itemchoice of the game now arises, which is the question of what defensive item to get.

A second life is invaluable, especially on a carry. It also gives some resistances but has no offensive values. Sell it for another defensive item if the effect of Guardian Angel is on cooldown and you have enough money to do so.

My absolute favorite last item on Caitlyn. This gives you a huge chunk of health, some damage and an invaluable on-hit slow that allows you to kite and chase even better. This item is highly underrated in my opinion.

This item is invaluably strong against certain champions. Always get this when the opponents got a suppression spell, like Nether Grasp, or other dangerous spells that you can't get rid of by Cleanse, like Death Mark for example.

Good choice if you fear certain initiation spells, like Rocket Grab for example. Also gives a good amount of health and a lot of magic resistance which ADCs often times lack of.

Other itemchoices

I will list some more items that I find worth noting and explain why they are viable in certain situations.

Great item if you manage to get it early. This really helps when you are splitpushing or sieging together with your team. A critical strike Headshot with the active of this item really packs a load.

If you need magic resistance, but don't want to sacrifice damage then this is your way to go. It happens really rarely that I get this, but it is by no means a bad choice in some situations, just a risky one.

Fits as a replacement for Berserker's Greaves when you have all your items. You don't lose too much movement speed and deal a lot more damage in return, also tenacitiy is great to have in the late game.

If you prefer to become a mid game monster then get this item, as it buffs all your offensive abilities by a lot due to the armor penetration. Or, if you are crazy and want to just deal absurd amounts of damage at the risk of your life, then get this as your final item instead of a defensive item.

Not horrible, but also often times not really worth it, compared to Phantom Dancer or Statikk Shiv. Has a cool active that can lead to the enemy carry dieing in three hits. The problem is you will more often be stuck at the tankline and then the three critical strikes are not worth that much.

In theory a good item on Caitlyn due to the fact that you generate Headshot stacks when the bolts hit. Unfortunately the Headshot will only proc on the main target and you should not be standing close enough to hit three people the same time anyway. If you are able to hit three people in a high elo game for extended periods of time then you are stomping them very hard, because you should be dead.

I get this extremely rarely, if the opponents have an all AD lineup. Gives good selfpeel via active and passive effect and obviously a huge amount of armor and health. I only get this if I feel that my team is very bad and can't peel at all for me.

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General Gameplay

If walls of text bore you, then I fear that this chapter is not what you are looking for, as I try to go a little more below the surface here.

Now that all the preparations are done, I try to give you a general idea of what your role in the game is and what you should do at every stage of the game. This guide cannot replace the many games of training that you will need if you are new to Caitlyn, but it prevents you from being completely clueless.

"I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it."

Early Game

Buy the appropriate item(s) and head quickly into your own bottom side jungle, to gain vision over jungle paths, to prevent invades. If you are running late and you are too scared to check a brush, pick Yordle Snap Trap at level 1 to check the brush with a trap. Remember, that this will make your level 1 trading potential much weaker and good opponents could use this as an opportunity.

When creeps arrive, join them on the lane and start farming, the rule of thumb is that you should strive for a farm of minutes passed times 10. This is often times not possible because you will lose creeps eventually when you fight in lane or get pushed into your tower, but it's good to have a general goal that you try to achieve as good as possible.

I often play very aggressively at all levels, if I have at least equal items. Try to play with your range and don't let your opponent always lasthit for free. Keep an eye on your own creeps, that are getting low, and predict when he will go for a lasthit to punish him with free autoattacks. Remember: He can only attack you or the creeps at the same time. So he either chooses to get a creep and lose health or lose a creep and trade with you. It's usually a win/win situation because you will most likely attack him earlier due to higher range.

When you harass, try to keep up a high mechanical level. For example, don't use Piltover Peacemaker first and then autoattack, but autoattack once and cancel the attack into the spells. This is time and resource management and decides who will win a trade and later on the lane. I will not teach you mechanics here and I highly suggest you watch progamer streams for that purpose and look very precisely at how they use a champion.

Use your traps consistently and try to always have them all up. I prefer to put some at the edges of a brush which makes it impossible for the enemy support to enter the brush without taking harass. I also put them in the middle of the lane to limit the possibility of movement for the opponents and also to prevent getting jumped on. I rarely put some in the tribrush or the riverbrush because I expect my support to ward these areas so I can focus on zoning with traps in the lane.

Often, people fall prey to early aggression because they don't expect it that early. If your enemy starts Doran's Blade and you manage to harass him to half health at level 1 or 2, the lane is already done for him. You can permanently zone him and he has no chance to regain health or to fight you. I often win my lane at the early levels just by walking up to them and get some autoattacks and a Piltover Peacemaker in. I lose a few creeps that way almost always, but I sometimes deny my opponents completly from then on, making it more than worth it.

Never go back when you are being pushed. Always push out your lane before you go back, and if possible try to force your opponent back before you push the lane. That way, he loses experience and gold and you build an even greater advantage. If you are being pushed in, ask your jungler for support, to give you a possibility to teleport back. If you forced the opponents out of the lane, you generally want to teleport, even if you don't have too much gold because he will return with slightly more items usually. Ask your support to help you push as fast as possible and go back then at the same time. There is nothing more annoying than an uncoordinated bot lane where everyone goes back as he pleases. A mistake like this is punished severly in high elo. If I find my opponent alone at the lane, I will zone him completely. Every time. Synchronize your teleports.

When you are ahead it is sometimes beneficial to let the tower of your opponents live, to deny them even more. Only do this when it's very early and all your other lanes do fine. If your team struggles and you are ahead then share your power with them by pushing your tower and go fight for objectives, while the enemy botlane tries to recover. Once you destroyed the opponents tower it usually translates to the mid game for you.

Mid Game

You destroyed the enemy tower and probably are about to finish your Infinity Edge. You are an excellent pusher so joining other lanes to push more towers is a good way to build a lead for your team. Once you reach an objective put Yordle Snap Trap up as fast as possible to gain a positional advantage over the area. Usually, other lanes react too slow and you can get a lot of towers for free, and less towers mean less map control, which enables you often times to do higher tier objectives like dragon and steal their buffs. Don't just stay on your lane and farm, I did that mistake when I started playing, but even though I won my lane all the time, I lost alot of games. I played for myself and not for the team, so don't make this mistake aswell.

In the mid game, when you are not pushing or doing an objective, try to get farm wherever you can. Shove lanes and then proceed to take jungle camps and shove the next lane, always leaving traps at important jungle paths, to gain more map control for your team. Obviously try to take the red buff every time it's up and use the advantage that it gives, by attempting to claim objectives. Only take farm when you feel that it is safe to do so, as your death probably means the loss of objectives to the other team.

Team Fights

Now is the time when team fights are bound to happen most of the time. In a teamfight, like any ADC, it's most of the time best to hit what's right in front of you. It is not your job to reach the enemy carry, but it is obviously good if you get a chance to. There are only rarely exceptions to the rule, but sometimes an enemy is such a low threat that you can just bypass him and attack a higher priority target. If you are not sure, then just stay at the highest possible range where you can still attack. If you are unsure about being jumped and all the major spells of the opponents are still up then it is often advisable to not attack at all. This sounds very weird to some players but imagine this scenario: Zed is fighting in front of you with your tank and did not use ultimate yet and let's just say there is also a Malphite with his ultimate still up. It would be highly dumb to just start attacking them, even from the farthest range possible. You will immediatly get jumped and instantly die, at least above bronze elo. This is just an example, but it is sometimes better to not attack at all for some time, and attack later and for a longer time, without dieing, or attack at the start and have the possibility of dieing instantly.

Always place new traps in a teamfight when the cooldown comes up, but remember what I said about mechanics, don't let your spells take away important time from you, that you could use autoattacking. If you fear to get jumped, then it is a very good move to place a trap on top of yourself. The opponent has to choose between running around it or running into it, which both buys you a little time usually.

Move in between every attack. Reposition yourself after every attack, according to the situation of the teamfight. This will come naturally after some time, so just keep practicing, but dont just stand there like a sitting duck waiting for your doom.

Late Game

You are soon about to finish your itemset and you are now the most valuable team member. This leads to your number one priority, which is not to die at all cost. Don't ever get caught out, only go to farm if it's safe, stay with your team more often and don't make dumb moves like chasing a tank alone over half the map.

Don't attack if it is not safe. This is now even more important than in the midgame due to the consequences of your death being much, much more grave. If you die, then that means baron gone, inhibitor gone, or game gone, so choose wisely when you have the chance to do damage in fights. Your traps become insanely dangerous and if someone dares to step into one, while being in your proximity, you punish him with a lot more attacks than before. Keep traps up and try to get both buffs if you are allowed to.

Try to make it clear to your team that you are the highest threat and therefor need to be peeled for. In general, communicate with your team alot and use pings when you are being jumped outside of their field of vision, to get them to react faster. Don't ever use your offensive spells in a late game teamfight because the cast times are horrible and you could do over 9000 autoattacks in the time you cast Ace in the Hole for example.

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Caitlyn does mesh well with most supports and there are also not alot of ways to counter her. But there are still matchups, that are more difficult than others and should be looked at. Unfortunately, it is hard to tell the difficulty exactly, as you always fight against two champions and certain champions get eventually more dangerous when paired with other champions.















Miss Fortune















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I hope I was able to show you the basic principles of how to play Caitlyn in this guide. Focus on winning your lane early with superior range, but don't forget to farm as well. Later on try to contribute to your team and get objectives, if possible, to reach the lategame, where Caitlyn is a real joy to play in my opinion.

And this also brings me to the most important thing to do when playing Caitlyn: to have fun :D just like I had writing this guide, even though it was hard for me, as it was my first time doing such a thing.

That's why I want to thank Jhoijhoi for his awesome tutorial guide, which you can find here:

This guide is dedicated to all my friends, especially Aleks who wanted me to teach him more about how to play Caitlyn.

Leave comments if you find mistakes and if you liked it I would also be happy to know it!

Game on and always remember to have an Ace in the Hole!