(Note: This post was made a while prior to Caitlyn's rework in V5.22, and is therefore mostly obsolete. While her live kit is very successful and should likely stay, I think this could potentially be an interesting and fun, albeit radically different, way of implementing Caitlyn's sniper fantasy.)
This is a tentative rework for Caitlyn, the Sheriff of Piltover. For a long time, Cait's been prominent in the competitive scene as the premium lane bot lane bully, sacrificing late-game scaling in exchange for powerful early game poke and harass. As a marksman originally made to succeed as a mid lane, it's not surprising that Caitlyn is strong in lane, but that strength often doesn't manifest itself in the best ways, as her massive range has forced her to be underwhelming at pretty much everything else, including her autoattacking power, to the point where she's stopped being truly satisfying to play. Perhaps just as importantly, though, despite supposedly being the game's sniper marksman, her kit is pretty much antithetical to a sniper's in many ways: her passive is the opposite of one shot, one kill, her main nuke plows through multiple targets and tends to deal less damage the farther it travels, and her point-and-click ultimate offers no potential for the player to truly express their sniping skills. Caitlyn's outdated in many ways, with visuals, gameplay and even a niche that are aren't on par with Riot's modern design standards.
Overall, one of the main problems with Cait right now is that she has a bit of everything (e.g. poke, CC, mobility, DPS, burst), but doesn't have any of it in truly amazing amounts, which is why she can often be oppressive early and disappointing later on. Her abilities also don't really sync well with each other or her build: there's no real reason for her to have a dash, her Q can actually end up dealing less damage than her basic attacks, and her biggest synergy is the interaction between her traps and her ultimate, which doesn't happen that often. I think Cait deserves to keep a lot of her tools, but also needs an ability set that truly makes her function like a sniper, emphasizing precise aim and planning over just run-of-the-mill persistent autoattacking, and thereby be the absolute strongest marksman in several core respects (namely range and squishy-busting) while also having major drawbacks (e.g. overall immobility, less reliability on autoattacks, some of the worst waveclear around).
Hovering the cursor over a visible nearby enemy champion causes Caitlyn to focus them. If the target does not break focus by moving out of the cursor's range within「 1 ÷ attack speed seconds 」「 2 seconds, reduced by attack speed down to a minimum of 0.4 」, she reveals them for 5 seconds and causes her next basic attack against them to critically strike and deal 50% AD + (50% AD × Ace in the Hole's rank) bonus physical damage.
Enemies can see if they are being focused or marked, and Caitlyn can only mark one enemy at a time.
Headshot in its current implementation is pretty much the opposite of a sniper ability: instead of prizing her policy of one shot, one kill, Caitlyn instead gets a bonus for attacking multiple times in a row. I think this effect should be completely turned around, and the idea here is that Cait would instead get to have a fantastic damage bonus on every shot, but would also have to truly aim to achieve it (there would also be more interaction between her and her targets, despite her typical range being a lot longer). The critical strike effect here is actually even more powerful than on live, as I proposed to rework crit in a separate blog post, which would make crits require three strikes to land, and would therefore make Caitlyn at her most precise be able to triple her crit power. Overall, I think Caitlyn should be one of the best squishy-killing marksmen, as befits a sniper, and this mechanic would allow her to mark priority targets to eliminate in as few shots as possible. The aim duration and per-attack speed reduction is meant to map exactly onto her attack speed, so if you aim perfectly you should be able to headshot on every basic attack.
Additionally, I also majorly changed several of Caitlyn's base stats: on one hand, I reduced her range to a crappy 425 from 650 (this makes more sense below, where one of her abilities extends her range significantly), and slashed her attack speed to a static 0.5, but also increased her base movement speed to 340 from 325, and gave her a base AD of 81, up from 50.04, and increased her AD growth to 7 from 4, giving her the highest base AD in the game at all levels. Again, all of this makes more sense when you read her other abilities, but Caitlyn's only source of damage would be her basic attacks, which is why I think she deserves to have ridiculously high base autoattacking power (she'd also be able to miss on her basic attacks, too). Caitlyn is also a bit of an AD mage even on live, benefiting much more from raw AD than any other stat, and I think that deserves to be somewhat preserved here too, where Cait wouldn't attack very fast and would tend to favor raw AD (and perhaps crit, too) over attack speed. I also made her manaless, not necessarily because she needs a buff to her lane staying power (though she'd admittedly have a harder time not getting pushed back), but because her strength would be gated in other, more appropriate ways, namely through limited windows of poking power and huge moments of vulnerability thereafter.
Toggle On:Caitlyn plants herself on a solid foothold, losing the ability to move normally and limiting her ammunition to 5 shots, but increasing the range of her basic attacks.
Additionally, while Piltover Peacemaker is toggled on, Caitlyn cannot use basic attacks normally, but inputting an attack command instead causes her to fire a bullet in the target direction, stopping at the first enemy champion hit and counting as a basic attack. Caitlyn can attack this way at a speed equal to her attack speed, and gains an indicator showing the maximum range of her basic attacks, visible to her only.
Toggle Off:Caitlyn reloads Piltover Peacemaker's ammunition, with the reload time being reduced by 「 0.2% for every 1% bonus attack speed 」「 1% for every 5% bonus attack speed 」.
This is the core change I want to implement to Caitlyn's playstyle in lane (and, incidentally, is fairly similar to Xerath'sLocus of Power, an ability that got cut from him when he received a rework). Piltover Peacemaker is a decent ability of its own, but one that isn't really befitting of a sniper, and its late-game falloff makes its use a bit of a trap. Here, I think Caitlyn deserves to have access to some of the best poke around, though also with several tradeoffs: core to Cait's theme, I think, is the idea that as a sniper, being good at her means being genuinely good at sniping, so in this firing mode Cait could actually miss with her autoattacks. Another core vulnerability should be that Caitlyn should always be vulnerable to body-blocking, so if a tank positions themselves in front of her target she's going to be in trouble, and would have to reposition.
Another massive tradeoff here would be Cait's total immobility, so while she'd get an amazing vantage point in fights, she'd also be extremely vulnerable to any kind of attack from up close. This is also why I reduced Caitlyn's autoattack range: as a sniper, she shouldn't be able to attack very well when out of focus (i.e. from the hip), and her effective range when not allowed to stand still should be extremely low. It also means her Q would get to scale a bit more slowly early on, allowing her to attack her opponents from a decent range (and through minions, too), but not snipe them from halfway across lane just yet. This is also why I buffed her base movement speed: Cait should be able to reposition well and not be totally immobile when caught out, since she'd already have a really hard time fighting on her own, and doing so would make toggling Piltover Peacemaker off not too horrible in the middle of combat, though she'd still be one of the least mobile champions in spite of her movespeed and dash.
Yordle Snap Trap
RANGE:1000 / 67.5
Recharge Time:21 / 17 / 13 / 9 / 5
Passive:Caitlyn stores a charge of Yordle Snap Trap periodically, up to a maximum of 3 stored at once.
Active:Caitlyn sets a trap at the target location that arms after 1 second. Enemy champions who come near the trap set it off, becoming rooted for 1.5 seconds and revealed for 3 seconds, during which time they become immune to further Yordle Snap Traps in the area.
Caitlyn can set up to 3 traps, with each one lasting up to 4 minutes. Traps are visible to both allies and enemies. If she sets a trap when three are already placed, the oldest trap deactivates itself.
Perhaps this isn't necessary, but I removed the damage from Yordle Snap Trap, as I don't think it's really the most important feature of the ability. However, I also think doing so would better allow Cait to have her traps on a charge system, which would allow her to set up camp and form a sniper's nest fairly quickly. The ability itself doesn't scale per se, but I boosted the cooldown reduction per rank to allow this ability to transition from occasional trap-laying in lane to very quick and easy mini-zone control, particularly since I extended the ability's cast range.
Aside from that, I removed the true sight component of the vision and reduced its duration. I'm not a fan of true sight, as I think it hard-counters invisibility, and I don't think it makes sense for this ability to provide vision for so long in most cases anyway. I want to preserve this ability's synergy with Ace in the Hole, and shifted a bit of vision to Cait's passive, but otherwise Yordle Snap Trap shouldn't provide excessive amounts of vision beyond the initial trap.
90 Caliber Net
COOLDOWN: 20 / 17 / 14 / 11 / 8
Active:Caitlyn fires a net and dashes in the opposite direction, slowing the first enemy hit by the net for 2 seconds.
As with Yordle Snap Trap, I removed this ability's damage, as I don't think Caitlyn should ever really want to use this just to damage her opponents, shortened the net range (this shouldn't offer long-ranged CC), increased the dash distance a tiny bit to make it the same as other dashes, such as Quickdraw and Relentless Pursuit, changed its slow a bit and reduced its cooldown at all ranks. Normally, as an immobile sniper Caitlyn shouldn't really need a dash, but with a major steroid that roots her in place it would be entirely justified as an escape. Cait would be easier to catch overall, most of the time, and when caught would have a lot more trouble fighting adequately, but this change would somewhat compensate for her extreme immobility in all other situations.
Active:Caitlyn toggles on Piltover Peacemaker and becomes able to mark any visible target on the map with Headshot, with her next basic attack gaining global range and dealing true damage to marked targets.
Ace in the Hole does not consume Piltover Peacemaker's ammunition, and lasts until it is toggled off or Caitlyn fires the shot.
In terms of champion-to-champion interaction, Ace in the Hole is really interesting when it can be body-blocked by an ally, but is otherwise pretty much unstoppable in single combat, which would limit Cait's ability to ever thrive healthily in a solo lane if the meta were to shift back (I didn't especially plan for her to be a viable solo laner with these proposed changes, but with the above kit I think she could). Additionally, it's also not really a true expression of sniping, since the ability's point-and-click, and therefore offers no real potential to express superior aiming. The aim of the above changes is to make the ability the deadliest single-target nuke in the game, and in the right circumstances Cait could be able to one-shot a squishy from the other side of the map. There would, obviously, be a lot of caveats to this: the ability is a narrow skillshot, so it could easily miss, it can only deal major damage to marked targets, and so requires heavy telegraphing to work to its full potential, and as with all of her other damage could be body-blocked by other targets. The damage differential would also mean that body-blocking would also always be advantageous, so while tanks would be the best at doing so, squishier champions could also step in to save their allies. This is also why I want to speed up Cait's basic attack projectile speed: along with the new Q, this should let Cait be pretty accurate at very long distances, and while she'd still have to lead her target, she'd also have some degree of predictability.
The bonus damage to Headshot is here for two main reasons: firstly, it would allow Cait to scale really well with her passive without necessarily being overbearing in lane (her poke could get pretty fierce), and secondly it would allow Ace in the Hole to scale without a change to its active, both offering an incentive to rank up the ability and enhancing its damage.
What do you think of these changes? Do you think this would be a good sniper kit? Would it be appropriate for Caitlyn, or does she have a niche of her own? Would playing this kit interest you?