Caitlyn Review and Theorycraft

Caitlyn is the new Piltover and Zaun champion who uses Trap synergies to unleash hell on the lawbreakers.

Hey, Agigas here! I’m excited to analyze the new champion spoiled today – Caitlyn, and the cards revealed alongside her.

I will start by rating the champion, then share a theorycraft that would suit the champion’s playstyle, and finish with ratings for all the other cards revealed.

Here’s our rating scale for new cards:

  • 5.0: Meta-defining card, should prove itself as a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes.
  • 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes.
  • 3.0: A solid playable, could serve as a staple for some archetypes.
  • 2.0: Could be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks.
  • 1.0: Unlikely to find its place in the meta.

Caitlyn – 3.0

Caitlyn is a cheap champion with a good statline and the Quick Attack keyword to attack safely. Her gameplay is centered around Traps – she puts Flashbomb Traps into the opponent’s deck and levels up after 5 Traps trigger.

To evaluate Caitlyn, we need to talk about Flashbomb Traps. They are similar to Poison Puffcaps, but, instead of dealing Nexus damage, they damage a random opponent’s unit.

Flashbomb Traps are obviously great against 1-health units, and they can chip away at bigger units, making it easier for you to deal with the opposing board. If you manage to reach a critical mass of Flashbomb Traps, it will be very hard for the opponent to hold onto his units.

The downside with those Traps, however, is the randomness. You don’t know when they’ll hit, and, if the opponent has several units, you don’t know what they’ll hit. Sometimes, Flashbomb Traps will have very little impact on the game – you need to either reach a critical mass of them, or somehow set up for them efficiently, or abuse relevant Trap payoffs.

All in all, Caitlyn’s level 1 is far from impressive, but the decent statline will help her a lot.

To get her to level 2, your opponent needs to trigger five Traps that you’ve planted in their deck. This isn’t a small task for a deck relying on Flashbombs as those come in small numbers. However, the Traps triggered don’t have to to be Flashbomb Traps. This level-up condition is much easier to achieve with Poison Puffcaps.

It is also very important that Caitlyn herself doesn’t need to see Traps activate to level up, making the condition much easier to fulfill granted you’ve planted enough Traps.

At level 2, Caitlyn gets to shuffle 4 Flashbombs instead of 2, giving you a way to control the opposing board. She also deals face damage that scales with the number of Traps triggered on a given turn, which helps finish games. This level 2 isn’t overly impressive either, but what it does will be very relevant and impactful in a deck with a lot of Traps.

I gave Caitlyn a 3.0 rating, which is pretty low for a champion. I think she really needs more than just Flashbomb Traps to level up, and she is not impactful enough in her level 1 form.

This should limit her to Shroom archetypes unless there are more Traps to be revealed in upcoming spoilers. Also, her reliance on striking is detrimental. Finally, even when you do give her the support to fulfill her fantasy, she still is quite unimpressive for a level 2 champion.

I expect Caitlyn to be an interesting champ in high-synergy decks such as a Shroom deck – but she will be limited to those archetypes.

Caitlyn Shrooms created by Agigas • last updated 2 years ago

This deck is made to fulfill the Caitlyn fantasy. With the strong Piltover and Zaun trap package, featuring both Flashbomb Traps and Poison Puffcaps, she will very easily level up and deal a lot of face damage.

Teemo goes well with Caitlyn, as he also benefits from adding Poison Puffcaps into the opponent’s deck. Just like Caitlyn, he also shuffles Traps himself – your champions are both enablers and payoffs.

Clump of Whumps, Sting Officer, Puffcap Peddler, Chump Whump, and Piltover Peacemaker all add more Traps into the opponent’s deck. Flashbomb Traps will control the opposing board, and Poison Puffcaps will finish games by burning the opponent’s Nexus.

To activate all those Traps more quickly and reliably, we have a lot of symmetric draw effects. Veteran Investigator, Aloof Travelers, and most importantly, Hexcore Foundry, will ensure you do not run out of cards while making the opponent draw into your Traps. Corina Mastermind is a good finisher in this kind of deck as well.

To round that shell up, the deck packs a strong control package. Mystic Shot is a must-have, as it can target the Nexus to finish games. Ravenous Flock and Noxian Guillotine have a great synergy with Flashbomb Traps, which would be underwhelming against a board of large units otherwise. Those Noxian removals are extremely cost-efficient, making it a lot easier to control the tempo of the game.

While this deck looks very synergistic already, it will need some testing for us to know if it will get to the level of the Freljord version, playing Ezreal and Teemo. While Caitlyn offers stronger early aggression, she isn’t as reliable when it comes to finishing games because of her reliance on striking.

Piltover Peacemaker – 2.0

If you aren’t making good use of your Flashbomb Traps, Piltover Peacemaker is a more expensive Mystic Shock that can’t go face.

To justify this spell, you will need to run payoffs for Traps, limiting this card to Trap decks exclusively.

I expect this card to see some play, but only in very specific archetypes.

Insider Knowledge – 1.5

By itself, Insider Knowledge offers you a bad deal and puts you at a disadvantage. You and your opponent both draw two cards – but it was you who invested a card and 3 mana to make that happen.

With some synergies, like Traps, you can leverage this spell by making draws punishing for your opponent.

However, this would be a very specific situation, and even in the right shell, I don’t expect Insider Knowledge to see play because of tough competition with Hexcore Foundry, Aloof Travelers, and Veteran Investigator.

Coup de Grace – 1.5

Coup de Grace removes a follower without damaging it, which is quite unique for the Piltover and Zaun region.

However, this does come at a cost, putting you at a card disadvantage, and it also can’t target champions. Those are both huge downsides, and I don’t expect the card to see a lot of play.

Coup de Grace becomes more interesting when you can gain advantages out of the opponent’s draw, like in Trap archetypes. However, I’m afraid the card might struggle even in the right shell for it because of the follower-only condition (remember Whimsy in Ionia).

Corina, Mastermind – 2.0

Corina, Mastermind offers you 2 options, but in reality, you will use the second one most of the time, and the first one will be more of a backup plan.

Flashbomb Traps, this late into the game, will have a hard time being impactful, and you should ask for a bigger and more immediate effect out of your 6-cost unit.

The second effect, however, makes Corina, Mastermind an interesting payoff and a solid finisher for Trap archetypes.

Sting Officer – 2.5

Sting Officer is one of the better Flashbomb Traps enablers, doing a good impression of Caitlyn.

However, this unit suffers from the “2 mana, 1 health” syndrome, making it quite vulnerable to pings such as Make it Rain, Twisted Fate, Statikk Shock, or Vile Feast.

Still, when you need cards that plant Flashbomb Traps, this is one of the better ones. If the opponent does not have a way to remove Sting Officer efficiently, this card can do a lot of work.

Justice Rider – 1.5

Justice Rider has a very low immediate impact. While she is a decent value-over-time engine, her floor and ceiling aren’t that impressive.

Maybe decks looking to reach a critical mass of Flashbomb Traps could make use of her, but even in the right archetype, I’m not sure she is worth playing.

Advanced Intel – 1.0

Advanced Intel doesn’t serve much of a purpose outside of a deck that has payoffs for your Flashbomb Traps, and, unfortunately, it probably doesn’t make much sense there either.

The value on this spell is just too low, and there are better ways to plant Flashbomb Traps.

Ambush – 2.0

I’ve seen a lot more hype over that card than I thought there would be.

Giving Elusive to a unit is nice, but you need a very specific setup for this to be an impactful play. Ghost works in Sivir Ionia because it is used with Sivir, a Spellshield unit that has the potential to OTK the opponent and can share Elusive with the rest of her allies.

Moreover, Sumpworks Map was already a card in Piltover and Zaun, and it barely ever saw play. While Ambush should be slightly better in the right deck thanks to the attack boost, I don’t expect it to be enough to make it much more successful than Sumpworks Map has been.

Officer Squad – 1.5

Cheap units that create a particular spell are usually more optimal to include in your deck than the said spell itself because the creature’s body offers a nice bit of value.

However, this rule doesn’t work as well with expensive units, because they cost you a lot of tempo, making you pay for the unit before you get access to the spell. Therefore, you need the unit to be valuable by itself.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for Officer Squad, who is simply an underwhelming body for 5 mana, which is the point in the curve where your units have to provide some immediate impact on the game.

I would expect that archetypes that could be interested in Most Wanted will play the spell directly in their main deck instead of opting to pay for this unit first.

Most Wanted – 2.0

Draw 3 is a lot of value, and the downside of this spell can be managed thanks to fodder-like created cards (e.g. Draven’s Spinning Axe, Gems, Mushroom Cloud).

However, this effect comes at a significant tempo loss and will be weaker when you don’t have any proper discard fodder. Moreover, Slow speed is detrimental when you need to find an answer to a play that is about to resolve on the stack.

Note that Most Wanted can be used on the opponent, for example, to force them to draw Traps. However, there are a lot of better ways to force the opponent to draw, so I don’t expect this use of the spell to be too relevant.

Station Archivist – 3.5

Station Archivist comes with a good statline while offering some nice value. As long as your deck has enough spells, you will see multiple spells in your top 5 cards that you can choose from, which will allow you to adapt to the situation and find the right answer.

The fact that the Fleeting card is a copy of your spell can also be used to an advantage – for example, a card like Go Hard benefits greatly from being duplicated.

Finally, Archivist shows all your spells that are among the top 5 cards of your deck, making it easier for you to make informed decisions.

However, Station Archivist needs you to play a deck with enough cheap, proactive spells to work properly. Because of the Fleeting keyword, spells that are too reactive or too expensive will be hard to make use of.

Closing Words

Overall, today’s reveals introduced quite a lot of cards that are seemingly on the weaker side. Caitlyn is interesting but looks a little bit underwhelming, and her support package is even less impressive. Still, those are highly synergistic cards, and in the right package, they might just surprise us.

I hope you’re enjoying the spoiler season as much as I do. We already got a lot of new mechanics and powerful cards, and I’m very excited to continue theorycrafting with them.

If you have a question, want to share feedback, or discuss this guide, I’ll be happy to answer you in the comments below! 

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Thanks for reading!


LoR player with multiple tournament wins and #4 ladder peaks. Ascended Seasonal top 4. I love writing guides to share my experience with the game with the community!

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