Advanced Strategies #2: Caitlyn
Welcome to my second AD guide, part of a mini-series that will cover all ranged carries! If you’ve missed the first, feel free to check it out as well!
Caitlyn, the Piltover Peacemaker
Caitlyn is the goddess of early laning. She is a blast to play and can help her team even at level one with her Yordle Snap Traps providing crucial map control. Although she loses some of her incredible damage output in the late game, she remains a constant threat with her Headshot passive stacking with critical hit items.
Farming, Harassing & Laning - Being aggressive is the name of the game for Caitlyn. She is a champion that encourages pushing strategies and incredibly bold plays, because her kit works both offensively and defensively in lane. As such, she most often assumes the role of a bully early on, trying to deny the other carry as much farm as possible and preventing them from catching up.
Any support that can poke in lane and can buff is Caitlyn’s best friend. Champions like Taric, Leona and Blitzcrank are still great partners, but don’t highlight her one core strength- harassing! Early game poking is a must! Duck in and out of brushes for a couple of auto attacks. Push the lane hard if you have sufficient map control and poke under tower. Constant aggression keeps Caitlyn safe as she doesn’t fare well in all-in scenarios. Pushing denies the enemy carry farm and keeps heavy crowd control supports from engaging.
Get into the habit of setting up a zone of control. You want to place Yordle Snap Traps where they matter. First priority is securing your brush. Next you should watch how far the enemy carry must be to last hit and focus on trapping in a line. This makes their safe zone narrower and helps you land easy Piltover Peacemakers. A straight trap line should be used when being aggressive. If laning against a competent Leona, Blitzcrank or any other punishing support however, you want a triangle set-up for your traps- two in the brush you want to keep safe and one where the enemy carry needs to be to last hit.
Never use 90 Caliber Net during stun animations! Sometimes the net will fire without result as Caitlyn can be stopped from jumping backwards. Ideally you want to use your escape before crowd control even reaches you. Remember, Yordle Snap Trap takes time to set up and can only hit one target. You have one net to survive in most cases, so utilizing the strong slow provided is heavily recommended.
Midgame gameplay & Item Choices - Both Piltover Peacemaker and Ace in the Hole scale incredibly well (130% AD and 200% AD respectively). Additionally, Headshot also scales with Caitlyn’s damage, making early heavy AD items, such as the Bloodthirster and Infinity Edge, extremely efficient on her. The standard midgame carry build needs no armor penetration, is cheaper and does more reliable damage in teamfights. With a heavy AD carry focus, however, Caitlyn can do some redonkulous burst damage with her abilities and Headshot procs. Keep in mind this needs a bigger commitment to farming and is best utilized with Marks and Quintessences of Desolation (Armor Penetration).
Gameplay is pretty straight-forward: stay behind and survive at all costs. An important note is to always put traps around the objectives your team is fighting for – if they’re doing dragon, place some around the brush areas and entry points. If you’re pushing a tower, prevent the enemy team from engaging by making a line of traps in front of them. Since Caitlyn is very limited at choosing her targets, you should make an effort to kite anyone who goes for you and let your team focus the important targets. Caitlyn is excellent at cleaning up due to her ultimate. If you win a teamfight, you can easily catch someone fleeing with an E -> Q -> R combo.
Ace in the Hole’s damage becomes significant at level 11, so even if the two teams aren’t fighting, it’s sometimes worth it to fire it just for the extra harass. Speaking of decisions, you can opt to level either 90 Caliber Net or Yordle Snap Traps after Piltover Peacemaker, depending on how the game is going. Maxing W makes securing areas much faster, while higher ranks of E mean you can use your escape more often in teamfights; perfect against bruisers and assassins who can stick with ease.
Carry potential & Choice of Support - If you want a solid ranged carry who can also hold her own versus most lane matchups, look no further. Caitlyn is right at home when placed in a poke comp revolving around wearing the enemy down in both health and global gold. Keep in mind that you are trading late game damage for the ability to snowball with laning dominance. As such, your aim when picking Caitlyn should be focused on taking the enemy out early. With her ability to secure kills and objectives, her carry potential peaks at midgame.
Caitlyn requires a thoughtful approach when supports are concerned. They have to supplement her ability to deny most champions without leaving her exposed to full aggression. If the enemy has gone for a burst combo then having an Alistar or Janna on your team can really make a difference. If this is not the case, Sona and Nunu are Cait’s best friends, with their respective poke and damage increase mechanics.
Caitlyn can’t keep relentless assassins from catching up to her. Champions like Irelia, Olaf, Xin Zhao, Riven, Jax, etc., can put a damper on the range dominance she reigns over most enemies. That being said, she is great against less mobile enemies and is especially good at destroying slow-moving mages, especially with a red buff. Examples of champions she can take on with proper micro management would be Ryze, Syndra, Karthus, Morgana and Rumble. Crowd control in particular is Caitlyn’s worst enemy, as 90 Caliber Net is very difficult to use when enemies are already next to you.
Q: Who are you?
I’m an avid player from EU West who’s been in the League since Season 1. My highest Elo is 1927 but I mostly play premade matches. In all teams that I’ve joined for various tournaments I’ve taken the role of an AD carry. I’ve played every champion in this category extensively, although special credit must go out to Vayne who is my personal favourite.
Q: Who is this guide for?
Mostly players who have decided to delve deeper into the role of AD carry.
Q: What can I find in it?
An overview of each AD Carry, its strengths and weaknesses, both in lane and in teamfights, as well as tips for synergizing with certain support champions. There are short lists of counters and allies, as well as more detailed explanations as to why that is the case.
Q: Should I completely agree with all your choices for counterpicks and good allies?
Of course not! I’ve based my opinion around general advice. Of course, players can always pull off something amazing that I haven’t mentioned, but this guide is aimed at providing the most solid and safe choices.