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Caitlyn Build Guide by Jebus McAzn

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Jebus McAzn

Caitlyn - Yordle Killing 101

Jebus McAzn Last updated on August 13, 2011
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Team 1

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 21

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 9

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Overview/Quick Reference

Caitlyn - The Sheriff of Piltover
Please comment and try the build and strategies before voting. Thank you.

This guide will cover many aspects of Caitlyn. The first part will cover her strengths, abilities, and the proper runes/masteries/skill order/item build to take on her. The second section will discuss how to play Caitlyn in top lane, mid lane, bot lane, and in the jungle never mind it doesn't work

Quick Reference

Summoner Spells:
- Flash
- Ghost
- Exhaust
- Ignite

Flash should almost always be carried. Ghost if you're up against enemies you need to escape from quickly, Exhaust or Ignite if you're looking to pick up an early kill. Up to preference.

-Greater Mark of DesolationArmor pen marks and attack damage quints, to maximize damage early on.
-Either mana regen seals or attack speed seals - up to preference and also who you're up against in lane, to gauge whether you can just wail on them with your increased attack speed.
- Flat magic resist glyphs. If you know you're not laning against a mage, consider flat cooldown reduction or attack speed instead.

-You pretty much always want to go 21/0/9 to press your early game advantage as much as possible. 15/0/15 is viable but not recommended.

Skill Order
-Always take your Yordle Snap Trap first, to scout out level 1 fights and to secure a lane advantage before the creep wave even gets there.
-From then on max R > Q > W > E.

Item Build
-Start with Boots of Speed and 3 pots if you're in a solo lane, Doran's Blade if you're in a side lane with a support who can babysit you.
-Buy up to 3 Doran's Blades based on how much you need the health.
-If you can afford it on your first trip back, buy B. F. Sword.
-If not, buy Zeal or upgrade your boots.
-Buy Berserker's Greaves if you want to push that early game advantage against a lane which doesn't have much CC.
-Buy Mercury's Treads if you need that defense against CC early on (against a Twisted Fate, for example).

-Your core build is:
With boots of your choice. Please note that you should generally sell your Berserker's Greaves in exchange for Mercury's Treads by the time you get your Phantom Dancer.

-An alternative build that goes for early-mid game dominance, but tapers off late-game:

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Caitlyn is a hyper-aggressive, powerful early game ranged carry who is capable of picking up kills at all phases of the game and forcing enemies out of lane incredibly early. She's very diverse in her roles, as she can be in any of the three lanes.

This guide will be covering all three roles but will always capitalize on her strong early-game, transitioning into a powerful ranged DPS mid-game and a decent late-game.

-HUGE range, making it extremely easy to harass and zone enemies away during all phases of the game
-Powerful zone control with your traps in lane or while pushing a tower
-Ability to spot ganks before they hit you because of your traps
- 90 Caliber Net is an easy blink to evade ganks or push yourself closer to an enemy
-Powerful early/mid game harass and finisher in Ace in the Hole
-Extremely easy to last hit because of your good attack animation, long range, and long-range abilities
-One of the safer carries to play because of her range and 90 Caliber Net - compared to Ashe, you're a lot safer in a teamfight.

-Very little CC - Yordle Snap Trap is unreliable at best during a team fight and 90 Caliber Net should always be used for positioning and escape, never solely as a snare.
-Slightly tapers off late-game due to that lack of utility that many other carries have - HOWEVER, she isn't a weak late-game carry. People simply build her wrong, and that's where that myth comes from.
-Long casting animations on almost all her skills make her easy to predict and also easy to instantly kill as a burst caster before she can do anything.

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Skill Explanations

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

I pick up my Yordle Snap Trap at level 1 because it's strong for level 1 fights and for zoning the enemy. After that you'll want to max your Q, since it's your primary damage ability, then your W, for raw damage, then E, obviously grabbing your ultimate whenever possible.

Headshot is Caitlyn's passive. It's a great tool in lane for harassing, poking, and last hitting early game. Every 8/7/6 attacks, your next attack will be stronger - an extra 50% damage against enemy champs and an extra 150% damage against minions. Since you should always be trying to last hit every minion you can, never waste 3 or 4 minions just to try and get a Headshot proc onto the enemy champion. However, you can zone them out just because you have Headshot ready. Later on, use it to secure buffs quickly and just to increase total DPS.

Piltover Peacemaker is Caitlyn's Q and it's your primary offensive ability. When you activate it, you shoot a skillshot of pretty decent width in a straight line for about 1000 distance.

You should NEVER, EVER SPAM THIS SKILL. Caitlyn's mana pool is terrible. By spamming your Q, you're only pushing the lane and probably laning about 30% of the Qs you shoot anyway. There are three scenarios when you should be using your Q early on:

1. You're ganking or somehow trying to kill the enemy and want as much damage as possible
2. Your minion wave is pushed to their tower and you're trying to zone them out of last hits or harass them while they last hit
3. Your enemy just stepped on a trap and is an easy target for your Q

Because of its 1 second channel time, Q is easy to dodge and will probably not hit the enemy unless it's in one of the three scenarios, where they're not thinking as straight and will have a MUCH harder time dodging it. Other than that, use this skill to farm and to push waves of minions.

Yordle Snap Trap is Caitlyn's W. You should almost always get your Trap as your first skill, to establish what I call the "trap line" in your lane, OR to prepare against an enemy jungle invasion.

The mark of a good Caitlyn player is how she uses her traps. If she's using them at level 1 to spot for ganks in lane, she's playing passively and thinking passively. If she's using them to create a line in the middle of the lane that you can't cross and is zoning you out of XP, she's thinking aggressively and wants to kill you.

You need to be very aggressive with your traps early on to gain a lane advantage. The exception is if the enemy has a powerful jungler that can gank you early, and your traps are better used to spot and stop these ganks.

90 Caliber Net is your E skill. When used, it pushes you back a certain distance (across some terrain, if you're positioned that way) and shoots a net out that deals magic damage and slows an enemy. Rarely, if ever, will you be using this skill for the damage or the slow. The blink is the essential part - it lets you escape ganks, as well as tossing you through walls, over gaps, or toward your enemy.

With your net, you should almost never die to a jungle gank, unless you've screwed up. Mid and late game, use it for positioning and for hopping over walls to chase or to run.

Ace in the Hole is Caitlyn's ultimate, and her signature ability. It's a long range sniper shot that never misses but can be blocked by another enemy champion, making it a pain to fire in a team fight. In lane, it's strong not only for finishing, but for harassing as well.

Don't think your ultimate is a treasure that you have to keep to get kills. At rank 1 it's only on a 90 second cooldown. As soon as you hit six, ult the enemy. You've brought them down a big chunk of health, and you probably weren't going to kill them in the next 90 seconds anyway, so why not get all the harass in you can?

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Rune Explanations

Greater Mark of Desolation
Greater Mark of Desolation

Greater Seal of Clarity

Greater Seal of Replenishment
Greater Seal of Replenishment

Greater Seal of Alacrity

Greater Glyph of Warding

Greater Quintessence of Strength

Greater Quintessence of Fortitude

I run full armor pen marks to increase my damage against squishy characters and all characters in general. Armor penetration is a no-brainer on most AD carries. Never take any other Mark on her.

Since Caitlyn doesn't buy any mana or mana regen items, you may also find yourself mana-hungry late game. Since you can't really afford to take blue buff (your AP carry should always have it), you may find scaling MP5 to be just as good late-game while sacrificing only a little early game. You'll have to be smarter about when you use your abilities early on but it will pay off later.

Caitlyn needs mana. No doubt about it. Early game is where she needs it most, hence the reason why I choose to go flat mana per 5 instead of scaling by level, since I tend to be very aggressive with her abilities (especially her Yordle Snap Traps) early on. If that doesn't suit your taste, you may like the next option.

This gives a noticeable boost to your attack speed early on and is primarily for people who want to prioritize autoattack harass as much as possible. The attack speed helps when last hitting, as you can get two in quick succession that you may have missed otherwise. By running AS Seals, you're going to have to be much more frugal about spamming your abilities all game, because you WILL run out of mana if you're not careful.

The glyph of choice for most squishy characters. With the current metagame being AP carry mid and support+AD bottom, if you go mid, you'll often find yourself against a lot of magic damage. Magic resist glyphs go a LONG way to keeping you alive and will greatly increase your chances of winning a lane against Annie, Orianna, Anivia, Swain, and other strong mages.

Simply put, you want to maximize your early game damage as much as possible. Attack damage quintessences combined with armor penetration marks are the best way to accomplish this on Caitlyn. Also viable (but not as effective) is attack damage marks+armor pen quints, full attack damage marks/quints, or just full armor pen marks/quints.

Health seems quite obvious, ESPECIALLY if you don't start with a Doran's Blade. With a boots+3 potions start, health quints give you more to work with and let you lane more aggressively without fear of being killed as quickly.

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Mastery Explanations


I run a 21/0/9 mastery build to capitalize on Caitlyn's amazing early game. You benefit from most masteries in the tree.

Overall 21/0/9 is the strongest. Unlike Corki, you don't grab a lot of mana items so 21/9/0 is possible but not very strong, and unlike Ashe, you really need the early game advantage so you can't afford to go 15/0/15 (although it's POSSIBLE).

Offensive Masteries

Tier 1 - Obviously, take Deadliness over Archmage's Savvy because you're an AD champion. Take Cripple for improved Exhaust.

Tier 2 - You'll want Sorcery for the CDR, which is universally useful, and Alacrity for the AS.

Tier 3 - Archaic Knowledge is a little debatable but your traps do some pretty significant damage and should not be neglected. Sunder adds some significant impact to your attacks.

Tier 4 - Take Brute Force to make you hit even harder.

Tier 5 - Lethality will help you later on and is a decent boost to DPS.

Tier 6 - Havoc is what we came here for. There was a change to Havoc that now makes it affect total damage, not just base, so it's a very good mastery to have.

Utility Masteries

Tier 1 - Good Hands is stronger than Perseverance. If you don't know why, there are a ton of threads on LoL forums everywhere explaining why. Take Haste if you're using Ghost.

Tier 2 - Awareness is very strong on any champion as it lets you stay on par with enemies and not fall dangerously underleveled. Besides, Expanded Mind is a terrible mastery on any champion, most of all someone like Caitlyn.

Tier 3 - Utility Mastery is the best choice here, to make your red buffs last as long as possible.

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Summoner Spell Explanations

Flash is a must nowadays. Literally everyone takes Flash now, as it lets you do some crazy juking and escape/chase maneuvers, especially with walls. With your 90 Caliber Net, you have a mini-blink already. However, Flash is much faster, and with everyone else in the game basically taking Flash already, you're going to need it if you want to have any hope of being able to out-position them. It's great in team fights, it's great in lane - it's excellent everywhere.

Ghost remains a solid choice on many ranged AD carries. A few months ago, Ghost+Flash was absolutely necessary on every ranged carry in the game: Ashe, Kog'Maw, Miss Fortune, Corki, et cetera - all because it was an excellent escape spell. It still is, and Ghost gives you not only the movespeed you want to evade a gank, but also the ability to kite in a team fight or to chase your enemy down in lane to get off one last attack or Piltover Peacemaker to get a kill.

Exhaust is another interesting option. Remember when I said "A few months ago" when I was describing the Ghost+Flash "metagame"? Now you see Exhaust+ Flash becoming very popular on a lot of carries. This is because Exhaust can be just as useful as Ghost when you're escaping a gank, and is MUCH more useful in lane to cripple your enemy when he/she tries to kill you, or when you're trying to kill them. It is a very powerful spell now, affecting AD and AP carries alike, and Flash+ Exhaust is very viable on Caitlyn.

Ignite is your last choice, meant to maximize your burst damage as much as possible. Consider the scenario where an enemy's at about 60% life and gets caught in your trap. You autoattack, Piltover Peacemaker, autoattack, Ignite, and get in maybe 1 more autoattack before ulting them. They're probably dead. Ignite can make Caitlyn dish out some SCARY burst damage early game.

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Starting Items

Boots of Speed
Explanation here.

Doran's Blade
Explanation here.

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Early Game Playstyle - Solo Laning

In any case, you're going to want to gather by your jungler to offer him protection in case the enemy decides to invade. Yordle Snap Traps can give you advance warning as to whether enemies are coming or not, and can give you an advantage in a level 1 fight.

Once arriving to lane, place your traps in a line near the middle of the lane, slightly more toward their side so they have trouble running around. Use this positioning to your advantage and force them to miss last hits. Harass them whenever you can - get free shots off and abuse your long range. Your early game damage is quite huge.

If an enemy hits a trap, punish them for it. Try to get in an autoattack, then hit them with Piltover Peacemaker. Focus on last hitting, but also try to zone the enemy out of last hitting and if possible, experience.