A major meta shift has taken place over the past several patches.
A hit animated Netflix series and an incredibly powerful kit on Summoners Rift have kept one sheriff in the minds of League of Legends fans for an extended period of time. But some seemingly meaningless nerfs have rendered Caitlyn a shell of her former self lately.
After completely dominating the bot lane meta for nearly all of the 2022 season at all levels of play, Caitlyn continues to see welcomed yet detrimental hits to her relevance in the current state of League. This comes only a few months after the end of the main stage of the 2022 World Championship, where Caitlyn sat uncontested at the top of the ADC meta with an 87.5-percent pick/ban rate.
In early March’s Patch 13.5, Caitlyn finally received her first nerf in over a year, though it only targeted her base damage and armor in an attempt to decrease her early-game effectiveness. Yet despite how small this nerf seemed, the Sheriff of Piltover has almost completely disappeared from all levels of play in League. She currently sits at a nine percent pick rate and six percent ban rate in high Elo, according to OP.GG, with these stats being over 20 percent each only a few patches prior.
On top of this nerf, Caitlyns lowered presence has been coupled with recent buffs to a number of other ADCs that havent had similar time in the spotlight, including KogMaw, Jinx, and Xayah. Specific ADC pairings like Lucian/Nami, Zeri/Yuumi or Lulu, and Caitlyn/Lux have also fallen from priority in favor of more varied bot lanes that are more team-oriented than solo-carry focused.
While a handful of buffs might be enough to increase Caitlyns meta relevance, balancing this ADC has long been a major issue within League. Even the slightest tweaks to her numbers can bring her back to the top of the bot lane meta and ultimately pick/ban once more, which Riot Games seems to be actively avoiding. With the longest innate auto attack range in the game, Caitlyn excels at poking her enemies from distances from which they cannot retaliate safely, and any little buff would allow her to do this more easily.
But a majority of the marksmen champions in the castincluding Caitlynare set to be impacted by the upcoming changes to ADC Mythic and Legendary items, including the move of Infinity Edge to the Mythic item category. This may negatively affect immobile ADCs like Caitlyn since most enjoy the extra dash that Galeforce enables, soon having to choose between the extra crit damage IE provides or a bit more movement, no longer both.
As of now, Caitlyn continues to be an oppressive champion in the laning phase when combined with champions like Morgana or Lux that can combine their roots with Caitlyns traps. But until some adjustments are implemented, its likely the Sheriff of Piltover will be off duty for a number of patchesmuch to the joy of many League players.