Caitlyn Build Guide by snukumz
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+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Threats & Synergies
Caitlyn wants to play with someone with poke & good CC, to match Caitlyn's good poke and setting up her trap to chain CC the enemy.
My in-game name is snu***z and I've been playing league since season 2. I'm currently in Platinum Elo on the NA server, but I will be in Diamond Elo very soon ;)
I haven't played a ridiculous amount of Caitlyn, but I've watched many challenger level solo que games (link to master Caitlyn game), and read all the good Caitlyn guides on Mobafire and decided I should make a guide of my own and share the insights I've picked up from playing and what I've learned from others.
The reason I love Caitlyn is because her poke and range are amazing, her ability to sneakily trap people is amazing, and because she's just a really strong & safe ADC to play.
My mission with this guide is to cover the most important bits of information that will help you succeed when playing Caitlyn. The early, mid, and late game sections will tell you exactly what you should be doing at all points during the game in order to win.
Let's get on with the rest of the guide!
"Born the daughter of a wealthy statesman and a pioneering hextech researcher, Caitlyn discovered her natural gift for investigation when, at age 14, her father was assaulted and robbed on his way home. She snuck out of her house that night with her father's rifle and tracked down the muggers from the crime scene. At first, her parents did their best to discourage her from such risky hobbies, but she was incorrigible. Wishing to protect her daughter in the only way she knew how, Caitlyn's mother began outfitting her with techmaturgical devices tailored to her sleuthing needs."
"Caitlyn quickly gained notoriety, both because she was single-handedly defeating crime in Piltover and also because she soon developed into a ravishing beauty. She never backed down from a case or a challenge, and she was one of the sharpest shots in the city-state. Her services were soon requested by Demacia to help track down a mysterious outlaw who had begun committing high-profile heists."
"The bandit, who always left a card with an ornate 'C' at the scene of the crime, became Caitlyn's nemesis. To this day, Caitlyn still searches for this cat burglar, and the chase has led her all across Valoran. She has joined the League to hone her skills and gain the influence necessary to track down the only quarry that has managed to evade her."
+ Highest base auto attack range in the game
+ Ridiculous kiting potential due to high range and abilities
+ Great damage early & late game
+ Safe to farm with in lane due to long range auto attacks and abilities
+ Great zoning potential with traps
+ Great chain CC potential with traps
+ Can nuke squishies with headshots and ult
- Weak-ish mid game
- Not as much of a hyper-carry as other ADC's late game (Jinx/Vayne/Sivir)
- High mana costs
* Fleet Footwork is going to heal Caitlyn and give her a movement speed boost every time she builds up 100 stacks and auto attacks something. This rune is great if you need health sustain to survive getting poked/harassed by the enemy ADC and support. Lethal Tempo can also be a great option here as it will massively increase your damage per second, and should be taken if you don't think you'll need the sustain & movement speed that Fleet Footwork provides.
* Triumph will heal Caitlyn for 12% of her missing health and grant 20 gold for each kill/assist she gets. This is huge when Caitlyn just barely survives a fight with someone because the heal will allow Caitlyn to keep fighting or survive an ignite.
* Legend: Alacrity is a great option here because it's going to give Caitlyn a ton of extra attack speed, thus increasing her damage output in fights. Legend: Bloodline can also be a good choice if you're playing into a lane with a lot of harass, or if you don't plan on building any life steal items, as this rune will give you up to a maximum of 12% life steal.
* Coup de Grace will allow Caitlyn to do 8% more damage against targets with less than 40% health. This makes finishing off low HP opponents easier/quicker, and allows you to get your Triumph stack sooner.
* Absolute Focus is going to give you extra attack damage while you are above 70% health. This means you'll have an easier time last hitting minions and do more damage to enemy champions, as long as you stay above 70% HP.
* Gathering Storm is one the best runes in the whole game. This rune will give you a ton of extra AD as the game progresses, making your damage even more ridiculous in the late game.
* Fleet Footwork is a great rune choice when Caitlyn is playing against a tough lane matchup like Draven, or if the enemy has a lot of poke, like Zyra.
* Triumph is still the choice here when playing against a difficult matchup.
* Legend: Alacrity is the best option here for DPS, but Legend: Bloodline is the better option if you need the sustain to survive the laning phase.
* Coup de Grace is still a good choice here, and the other options can be good as well.
* Magical Footwear is a good option here because it's going to give us free boots with 10 extra movement speed to allow us to kite better and move around the map faster. Perfect Timing can also be a good option here too to save us in a pinch, especially if we plan on building it into Guardian Angel at some point.
* Biscuit Delivery is the best option here because it's going to help us sustain health and mana while we play against a lane that wants to knock us low and HP and kill us.
PILTOVER PEACEMAKER (Q): "Caitlyn revs up her rifle for 1 second to unleash a penetrating shot which deals 50 / 90 / 130 / 170 / 210 (+1.3 / 1.4 / 1.5 / 1.6 / 1.7 per attack damage) to the first target struck, then widens by 30 units, dealing 60% damage to any additional enemies."
This is Caitlyn's main form of poke, not counting her auto attacks. This ability does a lot of poke damage to the enemy in lane and should be used on the enemy when they get too close or when the enemy ADC goes for last hits. This ability will deal more damage if there are no minions in the way. This ability can be casted while in the air after using your 90 Caliber Net.
YORDLE SNAP TRAP (W): "Caitlyn sets up to 3 / 3 / 4 / 4 / 5 traps which trigger on champions. When sprung, the trap immobilizes the champion for 1.5 seconds and reveals it for 3 seconds. Traps last 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50 seconds. Caitlyn can also fire one 1300 range Headshot at trapped targets, dealing 40 / 90 / 140 / 190 / 240 (+0.4 / 0.55 / 0.7 / 0.85 / 1.0 per bonus attack damage) physical damage.
Caitlyn can store up to 3 / 3 / 4 / 4 / 5 traps at a time and gains charges every 30 / 24 / 19 / 15 / 12 seconds."
Caitlyn's traps can be very useful to zone enemies away from objectives (dragons/baron/towers), to force the enemy to play in certain areas you want them in when they are defending their tower, or to chain CC an enemy that has been CC'd by one of your allies.
90 CALIBER NET (E): "Caitlyn fires a heavy net that slows down her target by 50% for 1 second and deals 70 / 110 / 150 / 190 / 230 (+80% of ability power) magic damage. The recoil knocks Caitlyn back 400 units.
Caitlyn can also Headshot netted targets once at 1300 range."
This is Caitlyn's only mobility ability so use it wisely. This ability will allow you to slow the enemy it hits and kite much more effectively. You can also use this ability to get closer to an enemy to finish them off. Note, you can hop over/through some walls with this ability. The damage/net portion of this ability will be blocked by minions, so be mindful of that.
ACE IN THE HOLE (R): "Caitlyn takes time to line up the perfect shot, dealing 300 / 525 / 750 (+2.0 per bonus attack damage) physical damage to a single target at a huge range. Enemy champions can intercept the bullet for their ally. It provides vision of the target for the duration."
This is Caitlyn's ultimate ability and it will allow you to secure kills from very far away. In the late game this ability alone can knock an enemy squishy from full HP to less than half HP, so sometimes it's best to use not as an execute but to make an enemy carry to back off and give up an objective/tower.
*You want to use Q while you are still in the air so that when you land it gets fired off instantly, then follow up with your long ranged headshot.
*Make sure you spam W a few times right after you use your 90 Caliber net to make sure the Yordle Trap gets placed. While the enemy is slowed by your net it will be much easier for your trap to spawn in time and catch them.
*This combo will increase the range of your net and make it harder to dodge. Use this combo to finish off a low HP target from long range if you don't have your ult yet/up.
*Make sure you have a Headshot ready before doing this combo.
|Doran's Blade is a great starting item for Caitlyn because it's going to give us extra attack damage for last hitting minions, extra HP for tankiness, and life steal so that we can heal back some of the damage we take from the enemy.|
|Berserker's Greaves are usually the best boots option for Caitlyn because it's going to increase her attack speed by quite a bit. When playing against lanes with a lot of poke/CC (like Jihn/Zyra), or against teams with a lot of CC, you might be better off picking up Mercury's Treads.|
|Infinity Edge is core on Caitlyn and provides her with her biggest power spike. Infinity Edge gives Caitlyn a huge boost in attack damage, increases her crit chance, and increases the maximum damage that her critical hits do by 25%. Infinity Edge is very expensive but very powerful on Caitlyn.|
|Rapid Firecannon is the offensive version of Phantom Dancer. Their stats are basically identical except Rapid Fire Cannon gives you increased damage and increased range for one attack (until more energy is built up) and Phantom Dancer gives you extra movement speed/ignores unit collision for 2 seconds when you auto attack a champion and gives you a nice shield to tank damage. Rapid Firecannon is a great item on Caitlyn because it makes her range truly outrageous, it can even be paired with Statikk Shiv, Stormrazor and Headshot for some super sweet bonus damage and AoE slows.|
|Stormrazor gives Caitlyn an extra 55 attack damage, 15% attack speed, 25% crit strike chance, and every time you fire off an energized attack you do an extra 120 magic damage and slow the enemy hit by 75% for .5 seconds. The slow from this item gets buffed by Statikk Shiv so you're able to slow up to 7 targets with one auto attack.|
|Statikk Shiv gives Caitlyn 40% more attack speed, 25% critical, 5% movement speed, and each energized attack does an extra 120 magic damage and can bounce and do damage to up to 7 targets. If you get Statikk Shiv, Stormrazor, and Rapid Firecannon all of the effects stack allowing you can do 360 bonus magic damage to up to 7 targets with each energized attack, plus an AoE slow of 75% for .5 seconds.|
|Guardian Angel is a necessary pick up when playing against fed AD champions and high burst damage AD champions like Zed & Rengar. Guardian Angel is also a good item to get in-general because it will revive you when you die and give you an extra chance to turn around a team fight.|
|Bloodthirster can be a good final item to pick up if the enemy doesn't have champions with high amounts of armor. Bloodthirster will give you a bunch of extra attack damage to destroy squishies and a lot more life steal to survive extended trades and sustain enemy poke, as well as a shield to make you tankier.|
|Mercurial Scimitar is very important to get if the enemy has a form of hard CC that will likely result in you getting killed (Malzahar ult for example), as this item will cleanse you of all CC and give you 50% increased movement speed for 1 second. This item also gives a nice amount of attack damage, life steal, and magic resistance.|
|Phantom Dancer is a great item for Caitlyn because it's going to give her attack speed for doing more damage, more critical strike chance, more passive movement speed, and more movement speed/ignores unit collision when auto attacking enemy champions. Phantom Dancer also provides a sizable shield when you get knocked below 30% health, similar to Maw of Malmortius, except Phantom Dancer blocks all forms of damage and not just magic damage. You want to either build Phantom Dancer or Maw since you can only use one of the Lifeline passives.|
|Maw of Malmortius is a necessary pickup when playing against high AP burst damage champions like Leblanc and Fizz because when you are about to get knocked below 30% HP from a magic damage ability you will get a shield that blocks 350 magic damage for the next 5 seconds. This item also gives you a lot of AD, MR, and 10% CDR, as well as a second passive that increases your AD, life steal, and spell vamp once you get knocked below 30% HP.|
|Lord Dominik's Regards is a necessary item to pick up only when the enemy is building a lot of armor, otherwise pick up items that will more greatly increase your damage or survivability.|
|Mortal Reminder won't give you as much damage vs tanks as Lord Dominki's but if you're playing against high sustain/heal champions like Vladimir or Soraka then build Mortal Reminder instead of Lord Domink's. Cancelling out 40% of their sustain/heals is too important against those kinds of champions.|
Focus on last hitting and staying safe. If you have an aggressive support like Thresh/Blitz/Nautilus then don't be afraid to go for kills constantly, their CC will make it very easy for you to land your traps and smash the enemy to bits.
Put traps in the end of bushes so that the enemy can't enter your bush without getting trapped, and can't go all the way forward into their own bush, thus reducing their ability to harass you from their bush.
You can also use traps when attacking the enemy turret to funnel the enemy into a particular spot & force them to keep their distance, this makes it very easy for your support to land CC, and for you to poke them. Them having to keep their distance also means they'll be missing CS, which is going to put you & your team ahead in gold.
Make sure you or your support always has a ward in the river if you plan on pushing your lane or making an aggressive play. Nothing is worse than losing a 2v2 fight that would have gone in your favor to an enemy jungler or mid laner that showed up because you didn't have vision set up.
If you & your support have better waveclear than your opponents don't be afraid push your minion wave hard and force the enemy to farm under their tower and miss CS, or be forced to use their abilities on minions, thus sparing you & your support from getting harassed by their abilities.
In summary, early game for Caitlyn is about farming safely, poking the enemy when can, and looking for kills when either the enemy is low or is disabled by CC and thus not a fair fight for them. Now let's move onto the mid game.
The mid-game for Caitlyn is about still maintaining good farm because you'll need lots of gold to keep completing items and scaling, but you'll also be involved in more scrappy 2v3/3v2/3v3/3v4/4v3/4v4 fights because of how much your team and their team are roaming around the map due to turrets falling. There usually won't be full 5v5 fights yet, but it will happen sometimes, like when there's an Infernal Dragon to fight for.
Your ultimate isn't very useful in team fights but if you notice one of their carry's is a bit too far away from his team you can quickly take 1/3 to 1/2 of his HP off with your ult so that when the skirmish does start he'll be much easier for your team to take out. Otherwise, just use your ult like you normally would to secure a kill on a low HP targets.
You should try to use your traps to zone the enemy team off of dragons and baron (see examples of how to do that below).
When you are in the actual fight you want to stay back behind your tanks/front line so that they can soak up damage and catch people with their CC. Whoever they catch you'll want to use your combos on and melt their HP. Don't dive into the enemy team to reach their carrys, unless their CC abilities are down, otherwise it's highly likely you'll get CC'd and die.
After winning a team fight get towers/inhibs/dragons/baron, try to make winning team fights count for something. If nothing else, or if only 1 person survives the fight and thus can't secure objectives alone, try to push a wave or 2 before recalling so that your team at least has a push advantage and can maybe get an objective once everyone respawns.
Now let's move onto the late game where both teams are grouping up as five and a loss or win here means a loss or win of the entire game.
In team fights, stay back behind your front line and melt whoever gets within range of you. Keep checking your mini-map constantly while you are in a team fight to make sure there isn't an assassin trying to flank and surprise kill you. You will be the #1 target the enemy team is looking to kill in the late game so be extra careful of being dove by the enemy front and back line.
Use your ult just like you did in the mid game, either pick off a low HP target that's trying to get away, or use it on an out of position carry since you should be able to do 1/2 to 3/4 of a squishy champions health bar at this point.
You can use your traps offensively when seiging to zone the enemy away so that your team can take their turret more easily.
You can also use your traps defensively to make it impossible for the enemy to take out your turret without getting trapped.
In summary, the late game for Caitlyn is about not dying, picking people off or knocking people low with your ult, doing ridiculous damage with your auto attacks & headshots, using traps to defend or attack objectives, taking those objectives, and winning the game.
*Caitlyn's ultimate gives true sight of the enemy champion it targets, so if they go into a bush or try to stealth you and your team will still be able to see them until your ultimate hits them.
*Caitlyn traps briefly give you vision of bushes so use them to check bushes for enemies before face checking them. You can also use traps over walls to give you vision of blasting cones/vision orbs so that you can shoot them.
*Place traps behind towers so that the enemy can't see them and will likely step on them.
Here's a great video that goes over Caitlyn trap placement.
Don't forget to hit that like button at the top of the page if you learned some useful information here :)
Try out Caitlyn for yourselves, she can be a really rewarding champion.
If you have any additional questions, or want to see me play live, come join us on the stream.
That's it guys, peace!