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Caitlyn Build Guide by MRN.ecco
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Hello, everyone! I am Tyler "ecco" Spesick and I played in the LCS for a couple of teams last year as a mid player!
Caitlyn has been on all time favorite adc champion for me because of her long range, poke style. It fits my style perfectly so it was just naturally when I took more interest in playing ad that I took a liking to her! There aren't a lot of downsides to play her as she has one of the most dominating laning phases of any adc and the highest pushing power of them as well. The most important thing with her is by far her positioning! Practice that and you can become an annoying god on Caitlyn!
- Best early laning phase of any adc.
- Incredibly potent pushing and sieging power.
- Snowballs very hard into mid and late game.
- Very fun and satisfying to play.
- 650 Range
- Catapult can be inconsistent and stopped mid-cast unlike more reliable moves such as Arcane Shift.
- No attack-speed steroid.
- Very reliant on winning early-game and snowballing.
This example composition I have laid out above is really ideal for Caitlyn. She wants to fit into a comp that has very strong snowballing capability and this is seen here by having Vi in the jungle. She is fantastic and snowballing lanes early and capitalizing on the advantage in mid-game by her ease at forcing engagements. Trundle is used because he's a great split-pusher, is strong in the current meta overall, and also serves as a disengage with his pillar (which is great for siege comps).
Lux is used because she is pretty much guaranteed to at least go even in her lane and compliments this comp very well. She can help Nami babysit Caitlyn as well as add to the sieging power and set the team up for strong engagements with her pick potential. She can have her combo set-up very easily by Vi as well! Lastly, Nami is just a great overall pick. She adds even more pick potential, chasing/disengaging with her Tidal Wave, healing as well as movement speed buffs and kiting added to Caitlyn.
Overall, you want a comp similar to Caitlyn to take advantage of her advantages to the fullest you can. A strong, early game composition that does well at sieging towers and can close out games in the mid-game.
Barrier and cleanse are my choices of summoner spells to run on Caitlyn. The reason that I prominently run Cleanse over Barrier is because she is already safe. She is a very long range champion with a disengage that really only has a lot of problems surviving when she gets cc'ed and this allows her to get out of that. If I was up against a heavy assassin team with damage that is unavoidable with cleanse (Such as Vi with Yasuo or Zed) then I'd consider running Barrier if the rest of their team was low cc.
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
These are literally the runes I run on every adc right now. This setup gives you absolutely everything you need for your laning phase which is what is the main goal for masteries and runes. Because they are focused on early game, we have to go 9 into the defensive tree which forces us to take some mana regeneration in our runes which is why we forgo a few flat magic resist.
This is the order that I choose the abilities on Caitlyn. I never stray from this because it is the most well rounded and strongest way to skill her. You are maxing Q first because it gives you the strongest pushing power and damage in lane possible. E is maxed second for lower cool-down and a bit of extra damage. Trap is maxed last because it's there merely for utility and the damage and cool-down on it is very negligible when ranking it up.
Headshot is a really amazing passive overall. It is the one part of her kit that helps her scale into late game decently well because she has no steroids built into her it. It allows her to murder objectives and add a huge amount of burst during team-fights as well (definitely when she gets lucky and crits on it too! - Tangent: I remember scrimming with MRN in the early days and Scarra got snowballed on Kassadin and during the last team-fight, Heartbeat headshot crit him for 1,000 damage so we won hahahaa).
The standing in a bush for double the stacks is interesting but to be honest not a huge factor and isn't used all that often because of how important positioning properly and safely is in general. Stuff like when you're killing double golems you should be standing in the bush next to it for the most damage are times where you can consistently use it but otherwise it is more situational and really not that important.
Piltover Peacemaker is really the move that defines Caitlyn. It is the main reason why she is able to dominate her lane so hard (in conjunction with her absurd 650 attack range). She is just able to constantly shove lanes to tower where she can harass the opposing laners and start pecking away at the turret. It also has extremely high damage on its own for harassing in lane, poking people at towers, being used as an auto-attack cancel for the highest damage possible when finishing off a champion, or used immediately after your 90 Caliber Net for a high damaging, cool combo!
This combo is used by casting 90 Caliber Net and then spamming Piltover Peacemaker immediately after. Piltover will cast from where you were when the animation of the 90 Caliber Net began and you will have almost no animation on the Piltover. It is an insanely strong disengage that does incredible amounts of burst. You can do some really cool stuff with it and then even follow it up with Ace in the Hole for super burst-mode Caitlyn (as long as you have enough space to do it safely!).
Yordle Snap Trap
Yordle Snap Trap is a very self explanatory ability. You put a trap on the ground, enemy stands on it, he can't move for a couple seconds, you gain vision of them, and they take a very small amount of magic damage. You will use these in lane for bush control and also to lay down little "land-mines" in front of towers when sieging to make it more difficult for the opposing team to engage on you.
A small thing that you can use this ability for is to gain vision (whether it is in a bush or around a corner) where you would otherwise not have vision!
90 Caliber Net
90 Caliber Net is a fantastic escape ability that is very temperamental. It is fantastic because it is a fairly fast cast time, has a pretty nice displacement and also slows down the guy who is chasing you down (if you hit them!). The reason it is not so good is because if any CC blops down upon you while in the start-up animation, you just stop moving and it goes on cool-down. Because of this, you have to be /very/ careful not to cast it too early. Let's say a Leona lands her Zenith Blade ontop of you. First instict would be to spam out your Net, right? WRONG! Wait for her rotation of CC to land and /then/ if you still need to disengage, cast it!
Ace in the Hole
Ace in the Hole is a great sieging tool. If a squishy is ever isolated a couple second's of movement away from a tanky teammate, use this ability on them while sieging to put that person in a very awkward position. They will be very low and therefore capable of being bursted which makes it risky of them to stay and defend but they kind of have to for the tower's sake. Usually I use this ability before fights to set up awkward situations like the aforementioned ones but there are times where an opportunity of using it won't present itself so I'll have it ready to help clean up a team-fight.
One thing I definitely want to put emphasis on here is /DO NOT/ use this when dueling another champion unless you are using it to burst off the remainder of their health for the kill. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a Caitlyn dueling the other adc champ and close range they just start casting their ult even though it won't kill them. This is time where you can be kiting, dodging skill-shots, and most importantly LIFE-STEALING!
Doran's Blade is as standard as you can be for a starting item on an ad carry nowadays. There really is no other choice.
On my first back with Caitlyn my goal is to have at least 900g so I can pick up Berserker's Greaves. The reason that I rush boots 2 is because it makes you the most annoying you can possibly be in lane early on while being the safest you can possibly be as well. It also makes auto-attacking people when they go for last hits very easy.
Bloodthirster is our first major item that we pick up because Caitlyn has two amazingly well scaling ad spells. This will give us not only extremely strong auto-attacks with high sustain but also high burst potential as well. Statikk Shiv is followed up immediately after to help us seize our mid-game potential as much as we possibly can. It is cheaper than Phantom Dancer and also gives more damage mid-game due to the passive procs being magic damage and mid-game typically there isn't a lot of magic resist being stacked at this point.
Last Whisper finishes out our main core because you will start needing a lot of armor penetration by the time you complete the item. Then, if going a defensive item you will then pick up a part of that now (either Quicksilver Sash or a Giant's Belt). Which you will be getting depends on the time of damage you're facing, how much burst they have and how much cc they have. If a lot of cc and magic damage, QSS is our choice. If a lot of sustain damage or AD burst then Giant's Belt. If you have a really heavy front-line and baby sitting, then neither! Caitlyn is someone who can get away with going a full damage build so you should take advantage of that when you can. Infinity Edge will be the item built next (either after a recipe item for one of the late-game defensive items or just straight up if going full damage).
The reasons above explain when to go one of these items (or neither!).
So, you want to tiptoe on ice and live dangerously, yeah? I respect that. Full damage it is. If they have an extremely tanky front-line consisting of 2 or more stacking health then you should go Blade of the Ruined King. The active will help you kite against them and the percentage-damage of their current health will help you burst them down as quickly as possible. If they have people /not/ stacking a lot of health then Phantom Dancer should be your choice because it will give you an absurdly high amount of critical chance.
Draven is the other one that can be a little scary. You don't really beat him in lane that hard and (the same as Vayne) if he ever takes range out of the equation he really heavily out dpses you so be careful and make sure to keep your distance and position properly.
As I've discussed throughout this guide in a few different places, laning will define how the rest of the game goes for Caitlyn. Winning your lane sets you up to snowball into the mid-game and have a decisive victory. Constantly push your lane over and over again with auto-attacks and Piltover Peacemaker. Do your best to hit your laning opponents with Piltover while shoving the lane as well. Harass them under turret as well as auto-attack the turrets when you can to gain a global gold advantage and begin the snowball!
Once the turret falls in your lane, it is best to keep the momentum going by rotating to another lane and start tearing down as many outer turrets as you possibly can. It can be difficult to do so if they have a heavy wave-clear mid such as Ziggs but even if they do, diving him or using Ace in the Hole to scare him off can work wonders.
So keep rotating, kill outers, and you will have a lot of map control. This should set your team up to have monstrous objective and vision control which means more free gold from Dragon! Yayyyyyyyy!
Start sieging even more towers, poke with your Piltover Peacemaker, auto-attack turrets, auto-attack enemy champions, but always pay attention to your positioning. If you ever get caught out of position and lose your snowball it can easily lead to you losing the game.
Position far in the back when a team-fight does break out, kite as well as you possibly can and don't let them bait out your 90 Caliber Net. Save it for when you should actually use it and make sure that there isn't any cc close to you that can stop it! Shoot whatever is closest to you and always keep your range on the enemies. Your range is the largest advantage that Caitlyn brings to the table.
Late-Game is very similar to mid-game. You want to be sieging towers constantly and just always be forcing sieging as a team. You /never/ want to be playing passive, sitting around doing nothing with your advantage; definitely as a Caitlyn. It is a very high-paced game that is extremely momentum based so never let up!