Caitlyn Build Guide

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Takehiko's Hi-Dmg/CDR Guide to Caitlyn, the Sheriff of Piltover

written by CJConcept

Caitlyn Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

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    Greetings fellow summoners,

    I am Takehiko of the US Server, and this is my guide to Caitlyn in 5v5 Summoner's Rift. Most of the guide goes into great detail for new Caitlyn players; however, an advanced build is compiled under one topic for advanced Caitlyn players.

    I've spent my last several games of League of Legends playing Caitlyn since she came to the League. I've tried several different builds of my own, and that of other Summoners, whom I'd like to thank; for without them, I would not have stumbled upon this build I find suitable to my playing style.

    Speaking of builds, please know that there is not just one way to play a champion, and also know that this is based on my experience. It is completely situational, depending on how your game progresses. Therefore, item builds and/or skilling order could be different. I will try my best to describe my playing style with this build, and I hope you enjoy this guide. Practice makes perfect.

    As the game progresses and patches come, I will try to continually update this guide accordingly.

    Guides that were useful to me (and may also be useful to you):
    Enforce Justice with Caitlyn, the Sheriff of Piltover
    GiRLSTAR's Intensely Juicy Caitlyn Guide (Now with 33% more Juicy)

  • Update Log

    -Updated Guide in accordance to v1.0.0.111.
    -Frozen Heart only gives 20% CDR now.
    -Added a section for the build I currently use.

    -New content in "Takehiko's Playing Style."
    -Added a build for advanced players. If you wish to use the advanced build, you can skip most of the other topics, and read the guide starting from "Takehiko's Build for Advanced Players."

  • Abilities

    Every 8 attacks (attacks while in brush count as 2), Caitlyn will fire a headshot dealing 150% damage to a champion or 250% damage to a minion.

    This is one of Caitlyn's top harassing skills early game, regardless of being at mid or side lanes. Keep aware of when Headshot is charged up, and plant it on the wanted enemy champion. This will keep them blue-pilling, or playing safe. You could even get a kill with this if done properly. However, this can also be used to last hit minions and push a lane hard (providing that you use it wisely.)

    Take note that this passive is prepared on the 7th charge, and shot on the 8th charge. So if you're in the bush and currently have 6 charges, your next shot will be the Headshot. If you wish to save the shot, come out of the bush and shoot once to get the visible charge.

    Piltover Peacemaker
    Caitlyn revs up her rifle for 1 second to unleash a penetrating shot which deals physical damage (deals less damage to subsequent targets).

    This skill is a good chunk of the build, and will be maxed out ASAP (aside from Caitlyn's ult.) Piltover Peacemaker is Caitlyn's poke skill, as well as her main source of damage. You will be spamming this skill a lot, SO GO WILD AND MAKE SURE YOU LAND IT! Also, remember to poke with your far-ranged basic attack during the cooldown!

    Yordle Snap Trap
    Caitlyn sets up to two traps to reveal sneaky yordles, which trigger on champions. When sprung, the trap immobilizes the target and deals magic damage over 1.5 seconds.

    The traps make for a diligent Caitlyn. Though you can only lay two traps at a time (planting a third will set off the first trap), the traps can block off several routes on the map. The traps keep you aware of incoming enemy champs, or ganks. The traps can also be used to stop an escaping kill, or help you and/or your teammates escape (if used right.) If it helps, you could even trap Baron and Dragon to keep your team aware of enemy activity.

    On top of slightly damaging and stopping enemy champs in their tracks, it keeps the victim on the visual. It even provides a mini-Clairvoyance when placed. This means you can drop your Ace in the Hole, if it helps you get the kill.

    Note that this could be used to annoy the enemy champs at their tower, but it triggers tower aggro. So use this with care.

    90 Caliber Net
    Caitlyn fires a heavy net to slow her target. The recoil knocks Caitlyn back.

    An awesome skill, but very situational. With this guide, you will be skill-chaining Piltover Peacemaker and 90 Caliber Net a lot. In other cases, you will be using this to get away; spamming it if you need to. I don't recommend using this to slow an enemy champ for the kill, when you could just use it to get ahead and plant a Yordle Snap Trap (unless of course you have a solid wall to keep you from recoiling too far, or you know your teammates can kill the target.)

    Ace in the Hole
    Caitlyn takes time to line up the perfect shot, dealing massive damage to a single target at a huge range.

    This skill will be a major part of this build. You can use it whenever you find it necessary. For me, I use it at the beginning of a team battle (hopefully on a vital champ of the enemy team), and conserve it for getting enemies escaping team battles due to low health.

    Thanks to Riot's buff on this skill, you can guarantee it's usefulness. (I just wish they buffed her a little more in base damage, and health.)

  • Masteries, Runes & Summoner Spells

    The information provided here is according to my personal preference. It may not be yours, for it is just a guideline.

    For my Masteries, I use 21/9/0 for the damage and survivability.

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    As for my Runes, I go for Armor Penetration, Armor, and Magic Resist:

    9x Greater Mark of Desolation
    9x Greater Seal of Defense
    9x Greater Glyph of Shielding
    3x Greater Quintessence of Desolation

    For my Summoner Spells I like to carry Clairvoyance and Flash.

    The Flash is an extra get-away/engaging spell; gaps can be closed or created with E in combination with Flash. As for Clairvoyance, it'll help you plant your ult on enemy champs escaping into the Fog of War. It is also great for revealing vital spots on the map to keep your team map-aware.

  • Items

    Here is my general item Build and brief reasons on why I chose the item:

    Manamune ~Solves your mana problems, and when maxed out, it's like a BF Sword (perhaps even better!)
    Boots of Swiftness or Boots of Mobility ~Provides Caitlyn with better movement speed.
    Youmuu's Ghostblade ~15% CDR and some offensive stats. Active is great for escaping, or pushing.
    Frozen Heart ~20% CDR, 20% less ASPD for nearby enemies, and +500 Mana stacks onto Manamune's effect.
    Last Whisper ~More AD & Armor Penetration
    The Bloodthirster or Infinity Edge or The Black Cleaver ~More AD


    Since Doran's Blade has been increased in cost, I have been starting with a Long Sword and a Health Potion. Early game, Caitlyn is awesome at harassing and taking control of a lane. Therefore, I don't need the lifesteal from Doran's, when I could just pop the pot if needed. Though, later on a Bloodthirster could be useful in survival.

    On your return you want to get your Boots of Speed and Tear of the Goddess.

    Farm for your Manamune and boots. My boots choice is Boots of Swiftness or Boots of Mobility for the speed.

    Now, depending on how things are going, you will want to rush either Youmuu's Ghostblade or Frozen Heart. (After getting one, rush the other.)

    From there is totally up to you. I like to get the additional AD and Armor Penetration to ensure authority.

    Note: This is a high AD and CDR, skill-spamming build, so don't rely too much on your auto-attack to harass. Plus, the item build should allow you to constantly use your skills with little, or no consequence. If you haven't done so, check out Caitlyn's stats when you input this, including Masteries and Runes, in her Builder. The stats are pretty amazing, especially on her Q and R.

    Due to v1.0.0.111 changes: This build for beginners will only provide 38% cooldown reduction. If you wish to have max CDR, you can trade two or three Greater Glyph of Claritys for Greater Glyph of Celerity.

  • Skilling Order

    This is my general skilling order. I want to harass with Q a lot, so I'll max it out ASAP. I also use E a lot more than W. So basically R>Q>E>W.

  • Takehiko's Build for Advanced Players

    This build has different Runes, Masteries, Summoner Spells, and Item Build. It's a high physical nuke build with small cooldowns, but very little survivability.

    Masteries: (21/0/9)

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    This is the Mastery set-up I like to use. It works well with my Rune set-up by helping with offense, mana regen, and reducing cooldowns.


    9x Greater Mark of Desolation
    9x Greater Seal of Clarity
    8x Greater Glyph of Celerity + 1x Greater Glyph of Clarity
    3x Greater Quintessence of Desolation

    Again, this makes a great combination with the Mastery set-up for offense, mana regen, and reducing cooldowns.

    Summoner Spells:

    Clairvoyance and Ghost

    The reason I switched out Flash for Ghost is because this build does not rely on Boots of Swiftness or Boots of Mobility to get you to places. Since you will be staying as far back from danger as possible, Ghost will help you get to your camping grounds ASAP.

    Skill Order:

    Item Build Example:
    Youmuu's Ghostblade
    Ionian Boots of Lucidity
    The Bloodthirster or Infinity Edge or The Black Cleaver*
    The Bloodthirster or Infinity Edge or The Black Cleaver*
    The Bloodthirster or Infinity Edge or The Black Cleaver*
    Last Whisper

    *If necessary, replace one or two of the BF Sword result items with a Banshee's Veil and/or Frozen Mallet


    Like I said before... "Since Doran's Blade has been increased in cost, I have been starting with a Long Sword and a Health Potion. Early game, Caitlyn is awesome at harassing and taking control of a lane. Therefore, I don't need the lifesteal from Doran's, when I could just pop the pot if needed."

    This time though, on your return you want to get your Boots of Speed and The Brutalizer.

    Farm to finish your Youmuu's Ghostblade and Ionian Boots of Lucidity.

    Now again, depending on how things are going, you can get more AD, more Armor Penetration, or even some form of defense. Personally, I like to stack up on three The Bloodthirsters and a Last Whisper.

    Input this information into Caitlyn's Builder on to see the nice stats, especially on the skills.

  • Takehiko's Current Build

    Masteries: (21/0/9)

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    9x Greater Mark of Desolation
    9x Greater Seal of Clarity
    9x Greater Glyph of Clarity
    3x Greater Quintessence of Desolation

    Summoner Spells:

    Clairvoyance and Ghost

    Skill Order:

    Item Build Example:
    Youmuu's Ghostblade
    Ionian Boots of Lucidity
    The Bloodthirster*
    The Bloodthirster*
    The Bloodthirster*
    Last Whisper

    *If necessary, I replace one or two of the The Bloodthirsters with a Banshee's Veil and/or Hexdrinker. I might even pick up Infinity Edge or The Black Cleaver, if I cannot constantly keep my stacks on The Bloodthirster.

    With my current build, I only hit 33% CDR; this is due to my preference for Mana Regen. However, I do still hit max CDR by picking up the Blue Buff (providing it is alright with the team.)

  • Takehiko's Playing Style

    1. Starting mid
    2. Starting at a side lane
    3. Ganking
    4. Team battles
    5. Switching lanes
    6. Jungling
    7. Survivability Tips

    1. Starting mid:

    If I start mid, I will generally take advantage of my range. Keeping my distance, I will push my lane as much as possible, while constantly collecting last hits. Everytime Headshot is charged, I will try to save the shot for the enemy champ, also harassing with Piltover Peacemaker whenever possible.

    If the lane is pushed against my enemy's tower, I will concentrate fire on the tower. Keeping an eye on my opponent, I have my E ready to pull back and chain with Q for some nice damage. In my opinion, this is what makes Caitlyn a versatile, lane-pushing carry. Skill-chaining E and Q could be used in different ways, just be smart and creative with it. You could even skill-chain with the three Q, W, and E.

    I use this strategy throughout the game. Also, when I get my ult, I constantly look for an opening to shave the enemy champ's health by using Q, and I'll use Ace in the Hole when they start running at low health.

    2. Starting at a side lane:

    If starting at top or bot, I will follow the same strategies as in mid, but I will take advantage of the bushes nearby. The bushes in middle lane are not that useful in helping push the lane, but on the side lanes it is great! Headshot charges double time in the bush, and that means quicker harassing.

    I like to constantly trap the bushes, since it is often traveled through by enemy champions. It gives my partner the heads up, and it could even give us the gank. It's also a great way of knowing who is coming down the river, if there's an MIA.

    3. Ganking:

    One of the awesome highlights of being Caitlyn is being able to help your allies by ganking the enemy champs in their lane. I will start by using Clairvoyance along my path of travel to determine if any enemy champs are along the way to gank where I'm supposed to do so. It helps avoid unnecessary deaths, and allows cooldown on Clairvoyance to begin ASAP. So, if I have a runner in the Fog of War, I can use it to find them and finish them off with my ult.

    When in place for ganking, I'll alert my teammates who my target is, so they'll know what to do and engage. When that happens and all attention is on them, I jump in screaming with my Q-spam and E ready to close gap with runners. It also helps if I lay traps in vital routes to avoid counter-ganks.

    4. Team Battles:

    It is inevitable. There will be lots of team fights during your game, and you will need to partake. I like to play it safe at a distance when my team is engaging. I'll start with an ult targeting a designated squishy, then I'll constantly poke with my Q and long-ranged basic attacks. Again, W and E are ready for escape uses, and R is ready to finish off runners.

    It helps to know the order of priority targets during team battles, so you're all targeting that one person and picking off the team together, one by one.

    5: Switching Lanes:

    If there's another thing Caitlyn is great for, it's her ability to push other lanes. She can do this with a partner, or even alone! I usually start off at mid, and if switching lanes is necessary, I'll give my lane to someone capable of holding it. In the meanwhile, I'll be in their lane pushing, and watching over the ally who needs strengthening.

    6. Jungling:

    Caitlyn's got pretty good jungling capabilities; I just don't recommend making her a pure jungler. However, I like to farm for easy gold from jungle creeps every now and then. When I do so, I'll be in the closest bush and use Q to aggro. The reason I stay in the bush is to keep undetected from enemy champs, and kill the creeps faster with Headshot's double time.

    This is a great tactic against the Red and Blue Buff creeps. It can also be used for Dragon, if the game allows! For Dragon, I'll stand in the bush on the river nearby the entrance to Dragon, and I'll use my Q to aggro the Dragon out of his nest. Now I get to fight the Dragon while in a bush!

    7. Survivability Tips:

    We all know that Caitlyn is one of the most squishiest champions in the game. While using this build, you want to make sure you are always attacking from a safe and strategic spot. As for any champion, you want to make sure you are always on your toes to avoid any distant incoming pokes; especially if you are using the advanced build because it is dedicated to high damage and max cooldown reduction, rather than survivability.

    Always be weary of your surroundings! Wherever you decide to set-up camp, you'll want to place wards, or traps. The traps have a little Clairvoyance like Nidalee's trap. This will keep you aware of incoming ganks. You can also 90 Caliber Net any chasers to create a gap and slow them; not to mention placing traps along your escape route!

    Now for a really neat technique. If you're carrying The Bloodthirster and Youmuu's Ghostblade, a great way to heal up, or even overpower a squishy chaser 1v1, is to activate Youmuu's Ghostblade in a bush and auto-attack. Remember: Headshot double stacks in the bush. So if you ever find yourself in need of health, find the nearest safe bush with easy-to-kill enemies. ( 90 Caliber Net into one if you have to!)

    This concludes the gist of my playing style.

  • Working in the Team

    Team Battles:

    Whether you are starting at mid or one of the side lanes, you will want to make use of your range and harassing ability. This goes the same for team fights. Be safe and close by as your team initiates, then join in at a safe distance.

    I like to start off with my ult, targeting a vital member of the enemy team. Afterwards, I will constantly poke at them with my Q and my basic attack from afar. Make sure to be ready for a get-away, if you are targeted! But don't leave your team behind, unless necessary!

    If your team does well, then there should be no problem winning the team fight. And, remember to use your Ace in the Hole on escaping enemy champs!

    Neutral Creep Buffs:

    Red if very useful on Caitlyn, so arrange with the team to take Red Buff whenever possible. It gives Caitlyn great strength with its on-hit effects for slowing and DOTs.

    Blue is quite useful early game, when building for Manamune. Generally, later in the game it is not needed. Just don't take Blue Buff if it better helps another allied champion.

    Natural Abilities:

    Caitlyn has great laning abilities, and can help watch over an ally in need of leveling or lane-pushing. Her traps and net also make her a nice pseudo support champ. She can help allies flee by buying time with sprung traps and skillshot nets, while constantly planting these get-away tools.

    Caitlyn's Needs from the Team:

    Caitlyn is a good carry, and as for all carries, they need to be well taken care of. Establish with your team that you will need much support in surviving, since Caitlyn is quite lacking in health.

  • Pros / Cons

    These are Caitlyn's general pros/cons.

    The Pros
    (+) Naturally long attack range.
    (+) Great at destroying towers.
    (+) Skill-set grants Caitlyn a lot of versatility, which includes an escape mechanism.
    (+) Deals out a lot of damage with skills.

    The Cons
    (-) Terribly squishy.
    (-) Slow movement and attack speeds.
    (-) Skills eat up a lot of mana.
    (-) Takes a lot of concentration to keep track of the availability of skills.

  • To wrap things up...

    This concludes my guide to Caitlyn! Please provide comments on my guide on what you think, or what could possibly make it better. I know I did not cover everything, as I do not know the "Perfect Guide to Caitlyn." However, I'd like to state again how helpful these guides are:
    Enforce Justice with Caitlyn, the Sheriff of Piltover
    GiRLSTAR's Intensely Juicy Caitlyn Guide (Now with 33% more Juicy)

    Remember! This guide is based on how I play her, and may not be your cup of tea. However, I hope you found my guide useful to follow, especially if it helps you find your preferred Caitlyn.

    See you on the Fields of Justice! Add me, if you wish to game with me.
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