Caitlyn Build Guide

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I'm not a crazed gunman, I'm an assassin - A Guide to Caitlyn

written by ahhhdmiral

Caitlyn Build

Table of Contents

  • Abilities

    Every 8 / 7 / 6 attacks (attacks while in brush count as 2), Caitlyn will fire a headshot, dealing either 150% damage to a champion or 250% damage to a minion.

    Caitlyn's passive is very useful for both farming and harassing. It is best to use the headshot to hit an enemy champion to deal extra damage. Utilizing this is the difference between good and bad Caitlyn's.

    Piltover Peacemaker
    Caitlyn revs up her rifle for 1 second to unleash a penetrating shot which deals physical damage to targets in a line, it deals 15% less damage to subsequent targets, down to a maximum of 60% damage decrease.

    Caitlyn's main damage skill. I find that when using this skill, you want to always try and lead ahead of enemy champions due to the casting time and projectile flight time. You always want to try to get as many creeps in one strike as possible.

    Yordle Snap Trap
    Caitlyn sets up to three traps to reveal sneaky yordles, which trigger on champions. When sprung, the trap immobilizes the champion, deals magic damage over 1.5 seconds and reveals the target for 9 seconds. Traps last 4 minutes.

    Each Snap Trap should either be placed in brushes, or important choke points. This means that champions will not see the trap until it is too late, or they must activate the trap or find an alternative route. Using these traps effectively will prevent the number of ganks on Caitlyn.

    90 Caliber Net
    Caitlyn fires a heavy net to slow down her target by 50% and deal magic damage. The recoil knocks Caitlyn back.

    Caitlyn's net is useful for creating, or closing distances between her and enemy champions. It can also be used to propel her through walls, but don't rely on this as an effective escape mechanism.

    Ace in the Hole
    Caitlyn takes time to line up the perfect shot, dealing massive 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.

    Caitlyn's ultimate allows her to get the finishing kills on fleeing champions. It is best to use this when there are not many enemy champions between you and the target, as they can physically block the projectile once it is fired.

  • Updates

    05/04/2011: Guide is first released

  • Introduction

    Welcome to admiral's guide to Caitlyn! This is the first guide I've written, so please, bear with me. I plan on writing more guides sometime in the future.

    I've been playing League of Legends for a bit over a year at the time of writing this, around March 2010. I play League of Legends almost everyday, ranging from 1 hour to 6 hours a night. Please keep in mind that this is how I personally play Caitlyn, but I hope it help, even if it's just a little bit.

  • Summary

    Caitlyn is meant to played as a ranged physical carry. This entails that; you don't die, you get the kills, and you push the lanes. This may seem like I'm asking too much, but it can be accomplished through positioning, control, and knowing when to push. Unfortunately, this isn't something you can outright teach someone, but here are some tips to set you on your way:

    1. Positioning is everything. Whether it's in team fights or during the laning phase, you always want to place yourself in a good position. You never want to put yourself in a situation where you can allow the other team to kill you easily, you gotta make them work for that 300 gold.
    2. Knowing when to push. The main rule of thumb is to never push past the river unless all members of the other team are accounted for. If there are players missing, this usually means that: they're taking down key monsters (Baron or Dragon), they're inside their or your jungle killing the Neutral Minions, or they're getting ready for a gank. The most efficient way to counter this is to place wards in key positions, mainly the entrances in the river.
    3. Last hit, never auto attack. You never want to be auto-attacking minions, the only time you should be attacking a creep is when that attack finishes it off. The reason for this being, is that if the enemies in your lane are auto-attacking, then they will eventually push the creep wave past the river. This makes it easier for you to gank them, since they have to run a longer way back to their tower for safety.
    4. Cut your losses. Let's say a gank goes horribly wrong. There is no point in staying the fight, you need to know when you're fighting a losing a battle and high-tail it out of there. It's better to run away than to give the other team's carry the bounty on your head.

  • Pros / Cons

    - Rivalled only to Tristana, Caitlyn boasts one of the largest auto-attack ranges in the game.
    - Free wards! Caitlyn's Yordle Traps make it easier to spot ganks, as well as cover escape routes.
    - Caitlyn's long range ultimate means no one will run away from her.

    - Caitlyn's damage falls off in the late game. Compared with other ranged physical carries, Caitlyn's abilities tend to be useless in the late game, and shes left to rely on her auto-attacks.
    - Her ultimate can be easily blocked by a champion.
    - Caitlyn is very squishy, if you find yourself in a bad position and focussed by the other team, you're pretty much done for.

  • Runes

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

    Armor penetration Marks are amazing for Caitlyn, since not only are her auto-attacks affected by them but her Ultimate and her Piltover Peacemaker benefit from the armor penetration.
    Mana regeneration Seals and Glyphs are a staple for Caitlyn, because she is very mana hungry during the entire game.

    3x Greater Quintessence of Desolation

    Personally, I find that armor penetration Quinessences work the best with Caitlyn, since she benefits from them the most. However, there are a couple of possible alternatives:

    3x Greater Quintessence of Fortitude
    3x Greater Quintessence of Swiftness

    The added HP from Quintessence of Fortitude will give Caitlyn an easier early game, and the Quintessence of Swiftness will allow Caitlyn to escape ganks easier, as well as catch up to fleeing enemies.

  • Masteries

    External Image

    I know what you might be thinking, "He must be crazy not to put 21 points in his Offense Mastery Tree!" You may be right, but my reasoning for this is because I personally feel that Caitlyn benefits more from the extra 2 mana regeneration per 5 seconds than the extra 5% damage. If you feel that I'm wrong, feel free to put those two points from Meditation into Sorcery and Havoc.

  • Summoner Abilities


    I use Flash and Ghost because Caitlyn has very low health. I know she as an escape spell in the form of her 90 Caliber Net, but the delay before casting often makes the spell useless. Ghost is useful for chasing down enemies or escaping death, and flash is also good for the same, but also if you need to cover that extra little distance to get the enemy in your sights for your ultimate.


    I find that these spells can be substitutes for Flash and Ghost, because teleport covers one of Caitlyn's weaknesses, her mobility. Cleanse is useful when you find that you're initiated upon and you can never escape.


    Either of these skills are suitable replacements for either Ghost and Flash, but not both of them. Exhaust is helpful when you're being chased down, or even shutting down the other team's carry. Ignite is good for when you find that enemies always manage to escape with very little health (but that's what Ace in the Hole is for, isn't it?)


    Caitlyn should never run any of these spells. Ever. I find that Clairvoyance is useless because it needs specific situations in order to be useful, i.e., the enemy is within range of Ace in the Hole, and has low enough health to warrant the use of said skill.

  • Skilling Order

    You want to max her Piltover Peacemaker as soon as possible to deal as much damage as possible. Since the amount of Yordle Snap Traps available at level 1 and 5 are the same, there is no need to put more than one point into it until as late as possible. As always, Ace in the Hole takes priority over any other skill.
    R > Q > E > W

  • Items

    I always start off with Doran's Blade, because it helps with Caitlyn's lack of health early game. I always try to blue pill at the very last second, so I don't miss out on any experience and gold while I'm gone. I try to harass the enemy champion(s) in my lane, and then blue pill back. My first back, I will try to save up enough gold to buy B. F. Sword right away. If you find yourself without gold, Boots of Speed and Vampiric Scepter should suffice.

    Now, if you were able to buy your B. F. Sword, my next item would be Berserker's Greaves or Mercury's Treads. If you purchase Boots of Speed and Vampiric Scepter, I would buy a B. F. Sword. Then, I rush The Bloodthirster as soon as possible.

    My next two purchases would be B. F. Sword and Dagger, in order to build The Black Cleaver. However, if you find yourself in need of survivability, I would buy Phage in order to build into Frozen Mallet.

    At this point, your build should looks as follows:
    1. Berserker's Greaves or Mercury's Treads
    2. The Bloodthirster
    3. The Black Cleaver
    4. Frozen Mallet

    The build splits at this point depending on what the other team's composition is. If they have high HP and are tanky, I would recommend [item=Madred's Bloodrazor]. If the other team is not tanky at all (that, or you find yourself not getting focussed much), I would purchase either Infinity Edge or The Bloodthirster. If you find yourself facing a plethora of casters, I would consider buying Hexdrinker and Banshee's Veil. If at any point at all you find yourself needing items for survivability, Banshee's Veil, Randuin's Omen or Thornmail are good items.

    Build summary:

    VS Non-tanks
    1. Berserker's Greaves or Mercury's Treads
    2. The Bloodthirster
    3. The Black Cleaver
    4. Frozen Mallet
    5. Infinity Edge or The Bloodthirster

    VS Tanks
    1. Berserker's Greaves or Mercury's Treads
    2. The Bloodthirster
    3. The Black Cleaver
    4. Frozen Mallet
    5.[item=Madred's Bloodrazor]

    VS Casters
    1. Mercury's Treads
    2. The Bloodthirster
    3. The Black Cleaver
    4. Frozen Mallet
    5. Hexdrinker
    6. Banshee's Veil

  • Build Example

    Core build

    VS Non-tanks

    VS Tanks

    VS Casters

  • Farming

    Farming creeps with Caitlyn is extremely easy, her attack animation ensures that attacks are almost instant the moment you click on an enemy creep. This does not mean you should be auto-attacking creeps, you need to learn how to last hit efficiently. Last hitting is making sure your champion deals the last hit on a creep. To ensure your champion does not accidentally auto-attack a creep, you want to make sure you are moving back and forth. The advantages of last hitting are that you will not be pushing towers as much (meaning less attempts on ganks as you will not be overextended), and you will have control on creep kills and gold, than by just auto-attacking a creep and praying your champion happens to strike the finishing blow.

    If there is no action going on in the map, or if you are too scared to push past a certain point of the map, you want to be taking out the neutral creep camps in your jungle (or the enemy's jungle if you're feeling adventurous). This ensures you will always be farming even when there is a stalemate. It is not recommended to do this late game, because the possibility of a 5-man gank is much higher. If your team has a jungler, make sure to ask them if it is all right you start farming the neutral creeps.

  • Working in the Team

    Like all ranged physical carries, Caitlyn has high damage output and low health. This means that you must always place your team mates in between you and the enemy champions.

    Stalemates: There comes a time in every game when either team is camped just out of range of a tower, waiting for one team to make a mistake and capitalize on it. Caitlyn has very long range and you must make sure to exploit this. Keep getting in auto-attacks every now and then, and keep using your Q every time it comes off cool down. Once the other team has been wittled down it would be a good idea for your tank to initiate and start a team fight.

    Team Fights: Your main focus during any team fight is the other team's carries. Often, these carries (like yourself) have a high damage output but low survivability. Making sure they are taken care of at the beginning of a team fight makes it easier for your team to score an ace. You never want to focus the enemy tank as it is a waste of time, and your damage can be used on someone more deserving.

  • Conclusion

    Caitlyn is a very simple character to play, making her a very versatile character to play. Her Yordle Snap Traps prevent ganks, while her 90 Caliber Net allows her to escape them.

    Here are some last reminders to help better your game:
    1. Always place your main tank in between you and the other team.
    2. Do not over extend, know your limits and stay within them.
    3. Keep your farm up so you can buy items.
    4. If you realize you are fighting a losing battle, run away.

    Be polite.
    Be efficient.
    Have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

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Submitted by ahhhdmiral

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