Caitlyn is one of the oldest and most prominent ADCs in League of Legends. She’s exceptional at one-shotting enemy players, especially with her lethality build.

But Caitlyn’s AP build can sometimes do the same thanks to her E.

If you’ve never seen someone playing AP Caitlyn successfully, I’m here to give you a complete introduction. This post will familiarize you with everything regarding AP Caitlyn, from runes and items, to in-game tips.

But let me be frank with you – building ability power on Caitlyn isn’t for everyone.

This is an off-meta mid lane or off-meta ADC build meant for having fun. It’s not the strongest playstyle and if you don’t want to lose LP don’t try it in your ranked solo queue games.

That said, let’s see how AP Caitlyn works in LoL.

Here’s What You Should Know About Caitlyn’s AP or AD Situation:

Caitlyn damage

Caitlyn is an AD marksman and most of her damage is physical. She has AD ratios on 4 of her abilities, including her passive. However, Caitlyn’s E – 90 Caliber Net is a magic damage spell that scales with AP.

So, most players go for an ADC build for Cait but you can opt for an AP off-meta build too.

In other words, the traditional ADC or the lethality Caitlyn build will be better choices in 99% of the games. They take advantage of Cait’s strongest points and allow you to carry games.

I’d say that the regular ADC build for Caitlyn deals the most consistent damage while the lethality build is all about explosive damage and one-shotting enemy players.

On the other hand, the AP build has a bit of both. Thanks to Nashor’s Tooth, each of Caitlyn’s auto-attacks will do extra magic damage that scales with her other AP items.

On top of that, she still has explosive damage thanks to the high AP scaling of her E and the keystone Dark Harvest.

90 Caliber Net is the main ability when you play AP Caitlyn. It’s her dash-and-headshot mechanic that you normally use for kiting and squeezing a bit of extra damage.

However, here it’s the main damaging spell and you usually max it out first.

The great thing about this off-meta build is that no one expects that amount of damage from Caitlyn’s E. Players usually get confused when you one-shot them with Cait’s dash, so it’s funny to see their reactions in the chat.

In this next part, I’ll talk about the runes and items in greater detail, so read on.

Read Also: AP Kai’Sa Build Guide

AP Caitlyn Runes – Explained

AP Caitlyn runes
  • Dark Harvest
  • Cheap Shot
  • Eyeball Collection
  • Ultimate Hunter
  • Manaflow Band
  • Scorch

Dark Harvest

Dark Harvest is a great keystone for scaling and increasing your damage for the mid and late game. It allows you to deal bonus adaptive damage to enemies on low HP.

And the amount of bonus damage is calculated by the soul stacks you collect throughout the match.

The way you collect the Dark Harvest souls is by hitting an enemy when they’re on low HP or when you see their champions glowing red.

Dark Harvest’s bonus damage is essential for AP Caitlyn because it supplements the loss of damage from not building AD.

Cheap Shot

Cheap Shot is a simple rune that lets you deal bonus true damage to enemies that are immobilized.

In other words, each time opponents step on your traps or you slow them down with 90 Caliber Net, you’re going to deal extra true damage to them. The rune only has 4 seconds cooldown, so it’s a good thing to have it.

Eyeball Collection

Eyeball Collection is another scaling rune that helps you in the mid and late game. It will give you bonus ability power per eyeball stack which you can do by collecting champion takedowns.

Note that even an assist counts as a champion takedown, so it’s an easy rune to fully stack in LoL.

Ultimate Hunter

Ability haste is one of the most useful stats in League of Legends overall. And whenever you’re playing AP Caitlyn, you want as much cooldown reduction as possible.

What Ultimate Hunter does is that it increases your ability haste for each unique enemy champion you’ve slain.

At 5 stacks, this translates to 31 ability haste in total, which is more than enough cooldown reduction from a rune!

Manaflow Band

Manaflow Band is a very helpful rune when it comes to mana management. And since you won’t be building items that grant mana on AP Caitlyn, it’s really a must-have one.

Manaflow Band grants you 250 extra mana and increased mana regeneration for the rest of the game.

You can stack the rune up simply by damaging your lane opponent with an ability. And in the case of Caitlyn, you can easily do this with her Q.


Scorch is an early game rune that you mainly take for poking. Caitlyn is a notorious champion in LoL when it comes to early game aggression, so Scorch fits very well with her playstyle.

When Scorch is available, it will burn the enemy champion with extra magic damage. It’s not much, but the damage can sometimes be enough to secure a kill.

Read Also: AP Twitch Build Guide

AP Caitlyn Items – Explained

AP Caitlyn items
  • Ionian Boots of Lucidity
  • Nashor’s Tooth
  • Night Harvester
  • Lich Bane
  • Horizon Focus
  • Rabadon’s Deathcap

Ionian Boots of Lucidity

When it comes to boots, I’ve found that Ionian Boots of Lucidity are the best ones on AP Caitlyn. They grant you 20 bonus ability haste and they’re very cheap.

However, you can also go for Berserker’s Boots if you want more attack speed.

Nashor’s Tooth

Nashor’s Tooth is the first core item you want to build on AP Caitlyn. It’s a powerful upgrade not only because it gives you bonus AP and attack speed, but it also makes all of your auto-attacks deal extra on-hit magic damage.

What’s great about Nashor’s Tooth is that it keeps AP Caitlyn’s playstyle similar to that of AD Cait. She can still poke enemy champions and auto-attack all the time. 

So, always build Nashor’s Tooth first.

Read Also: Full AP Kog’Maw Build Guide

Night Harvester

Your mythic item on AP Caitlyn should always be Night Harvester. It’s the hardest-hitting mythic in the game and it’s the best one for one-shotting enemy players.

What Night Harvester does is that it lets you deal bonus damage when you first hit an enemy. It synergizes very well with Dark Harvest and allows you to assassinate enemies below 50% HP only with Caitlyn’s E.

The item also offers bonus health, AP, and ability haste, so it’s a fantastic purchase!

Lich Bane

Lich Bane is the second on-hit item you want to have. Basically, it empowers your basic attack to deal extra magic damage after you use an ability.

In other words, Lich Bane will buff your headshot whenever you use E on an enemy champion. The bonus damage even scales with AP, so make sure to build it in each game.

Horizon Focus

Horizon Focus is a mage item that takes advantage of long-range abilities. Caitlyn’s whole playstyle is long-ranged, and it’s not difficult for her to abuse Horizon Focus for more damage.

90 Caliber Net, Caitlyn’s E, has a range of 800 while the necessary range for Horizon Focus is 700. In other words, if you hit an enemy champion with the max range of Cait’s E, you’re going to activate Horizon Focus.

Once Horizon Focus is activated, it allows you to deal 10% bonus damage to the affected target. So, it’s great for one-shotting!

Rabadon’s Deathcap

Rabadon’s Deathcap is the best ability power item in League of Legends and I also recommend it for AP Caitlyn. It grants a lot of raw AP plus it boosts all of your AP by 35%. So, make sure to build it in the late game.

Optional Items

As far as optional items are concerned, nearly all AP items can be useful in certain situations.

For example, Luden’s Tempest can be a good mythic item if you’re lacking mana. Morellonomicon lets you counter healing and Shadowflame works well against champions with shields.

On the other hand, Void Staff is always a good option against tanky opponents, and Zhonya’s Hourglass against assassins.

Read Also: AP Jinx Build Guide


As I mentioned in my intro, AP Caitlyn is not for everyone. It’s definitely a harder playstyle to pull off than AD Caitlyn, so it does that skill and knowledge to play it successfully.

I’ll also repeat that this is a fun build you can try out in ARAM, URF, or normal games, so it’s definitely not for carrying hard matches in ranked solo queue.

That said, I hope you’ll have fun with AP Caitlyn in LoL. Good luck!

Last Update: March 2, 2024