Hecarim Build Guide by SirBroad
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Introduction and Overview
(Also borrowed from Searz, a link to a LoL terminology guide. Helpful for those newer to the game.)
Greetings and salutations! My name is SirBroad and this is my build for Hecarim, the Shadow of War. I've been playing League for about a year and a half now on the NA server and gotten a fair amount of experience with the game in general. Though I don't pretend to be an expert, I still feel that I have some valid points to make in terms of champion building and thus, I have decided to post a guide. Hopefully this is a fairly valid look at the newest champion to join the League, and I plan to be updating this as much as possible. Hope you enjoy it!
Hecarim, at first glance, appears to be a fairly typical solo top, and this is one of his best roles. He can technically be built as a glass cannon suited for hit and run attacks (assisted by his passive which encourages stacking movement speed), but as a melee champion, this is nowhere near viable. At base he has a health of ~2000, so he'll melt if you build pure damage. You're not a ranged carry, you have to get right in there to fight, and moment you get slapped with any sort of CC and focused, you'll disintegrate before you even get a chance to blink. This is obviously suboptimal, so if you want to build for damage and survivability, Hecarim is a good option. However, he truly shines as almost a pure tank. All of his abilities are perfect for teamfighting, and a good tanky build costs even less than a tanky DPS build while keeping similar stats.
Changelog/Patch Notes/Other Points of Interest
Mostly reserved for future use with patch notes pertaining to Hecarim and the items used in this build.
April 19th, 2012
- Guide released!
April 20th, 2012
- Updated with more in-depth description of jungling versus laning.
April 22nd, 2012
- Made a change regarding an error I had made with the functionality of Spirit of Dread, added Sunfire Cape into items section in place of The Bloodthirster.
April 30th, 2012
- Major changes to the item path, after some more games and theorycrafting with a friend of mine. Tanking is the new purpose of this guide. Final build is less expensive, and he fulfills his role far better.
Pros / Cons
- Will almost always be faster than most other champions if you're itemizing to make the best of his passive.
- Decent AOE skills (Q, E, and W) one of which has a very short cooldown (Q just 2 seconds) and synergizes well with Sheen and similar items.
- Has some small amount of built-in sustain with W, though he needs to be in the thick of the fighting to benefit most from it.
- Can chase right through minions due to passive.
- Obvious appeal to those members of the LoL community who fancy diminutive equines of the possessive persuasion.
- Easy to get fooled by his passive; he still needs AD items, the movespeed > AD conversion is just a nice plus.
- Hit harder by CC than other champs - even movement slows cut into his overall DPS because of his passive.
- Full build is expensive, though this is more of a con of this guide overall - core alone remains viable though.
- Jungling is also much more team-oriented, and is difficult to pull off without assistance from your lane (hard CC).
Main rune set
Other runes worth considering
Greater Quintessence of Desolation Greater Quintessence of Desolation
Some utility here, nothing incredibly special but ArPen is always welcome in an AD build. They're not as ideal in my opinion, but they can be used if they're what you have.
Masteries get slightly different. I elected to run 1/21/8 masteries. Maxg Resistance and Hardiness for flat stats, especially in laning. Continue up the defensive tree, maxing Durability and Veteran's Scars for a touch more survivability late game and early game respectively, along with Vigor for a dash of extra sustain, as well as unlocking the next tier, though Enlightenment may have some limited use. Initiator gives you even more movespeed, which helps with chases and escapes and even gives you a very small amount of extra AD with your passive (1 or 2 tops though, don't get too excited.), then Honor Guard and Juggernaut just help with general survivability, plus the extra Tenacity from the latter helps with inevitable CC. With Mercury's Treads, this brings you to about 40% Tenacity, important for a champ that relies on speed.
I chose to take Utility over Offense because overall you get better benefits from it. Swiftness is nice for the extra movespeed, Good Hands can save the game once respawn timers get large enough, and Summoner's Insight gives you shorter cooldown on Flash. At this point it's a choice between Runic Affinity or Summoner's Wrath in the Offense tree. I chose the latter for another kick of movespeed on Ghost, as well as if I take Ignite. Take the buff duration though if you prefer it.
Your GTFO button, good for a lot of things - escaping, chasing, etc. Has some additional use with Devastating Charge if you have to use it. You can blink over them and drag them back to your team. This is incredible circumstantial though; there are other things to save it for.
Ghost is really fun here; it acts as a steroid on Hecarim more than any other champ because of the beautiful few seconds of bonus AD as well. The secondary part with unit collision is useless beause of Warpath, but that's alright.
Personally I like this as a spell - for the longest time I mained it on almost every champ, it has utility everywhere. Take this over Smite if you're going top and feel you can get by without Flash or Ghost.
If you're jungling, this is required. Hec's sustain in jungle isn't perfect because of the healing cap on his AOE, so you need that boost in speed to keep yourself healthy. Also useful for the standard reasons - stealing/securing Baron, Dragon, and buffs.
My preferences are Ghost > Flash > Teleport > Smite, though Ignite and Heal are worthy of mention too. Let me know in the comments as well if you have success with other spells like Cleanse.
Recommended build sequence:
Alright, here's the meat and bones of the build. Hecarim can build one of two ways in my eyes - jungler or solo top, and the actual build is the same in my books. Play Hecarim top if you're not comfortable with ganks, otherwise you won't get the items this guide recommends - lots of farm makes this possible, so top is easy if you play carefully and farm well. If you can get fed though, it should be well within reasonable as a goal.
Right off the bat, Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potion gives you mobility in lane, a slight amount (5 flat, more with runes and masteries) of AD, and gets you off to a good start, plus it gets you right towards Mercury's Treads. I chose Mercs over Boots of Swiftness after a long and hard debate weighing them both. In the end, the difference is 20 movespeed, something you can easily make up with all of your bonuses. In exchange for the movespeed, you get some resistance to casters, as well as tenacity, which turns into one of Hecarim's most important stats. Slows are painful enough, but they cut a lot more directly into your damage output than with any other champ. Once you get Merc's, you should be able to effectively avoid being ganked, as well as put a small amount of AD under your belt. From there, rush Phage. It gives you more damage and health to help with trading against your opponent, and the slow will make them think twice if you're jungler is on the prowl, as well as help you chase them if the need arises. This will eventually be made into a Frozen Mallet, but that part can wait. For now, round out your stats with a Chain Vest and Negatron Cloak, finishing your Mallet after them, buying Giant's Belt along the way if you find yourself at base with enough gold. From there, build your Cloak into a Force of Nature; the MR will help heaps, but it's the regeneration you're really after, and the bonus movespeed is a treat. Finally, build your Chain Vest from earlier into Atma's Impaler. These four items - Mercury's Treads, Frozen Mallet, Force of Nature, and Atma's Impaler form the core of your build, making you exceptionally tanky to help with initiating, and you have enough of an AD stat to make your presence known during the fight. From here, build either a second Giant's Belt or Chain Vest, depending on what you want to build next out of Warmog's Armor or Sunfire Cape. Sunfire Cape has more utility with the armor as well as its passive, which synergizes well with Spirit of Dread, but if you build Warmog's last, you risk losing that last 350 health. Personally I prefer building Cape first, just because it ensures that you can operate at full potential in teamfights. It still helps with Atma's Impaler, and you still have more than enough health for most situations, provided you don't just let them murder you. Regardless, build one, then the other, then proceed to tank to your heart's content!
It should go without saying, but it's still worth a mention - wards. As the saying goes, wards win games. They keep Dragon and Baron safe as well as your buffs, and even your opponent's buffs if you're feeling confident. Wriggle's helps reduce this need with its free wards, but you still may need to buy the occasional one to ward Baron. Late game Elixirs may be useful too, particularly Elixir of Agility because of the additional crit.
Other items have viability on Hecarim depending on different circumstances, though this build is good for the average game. I've taken the 4 that I feel are the most likely to make an appearance, and they are listed below. Replace Atma's first - it will usually result in the least damage or survivability gone.
Extra armor and magic resistance are cool, plus the revival effect if you get focused a lot. Be warned, this cuts into damage a decent amount.
If the game calls for it, this can have its uses. It used to be a core item for this build, especially with the mini-crits going so well with Rampage, but in the end it's just not made for your role. You're not a DPS champ in the same sense, you're very much a tank. If you decide to take it, trade it for Frozen Mallet - there's no reason to waste the slow passive on either, and building Phage twice is a waste.
Take this to counter burst casters or if there's "surprise" magic damage that can get you when you think you're safe ( Requiem, Trueshot Barrage, Yordle Snap Trap, and Noxious Trap are all basic examples.) Swap for Atma's Impaler if you feel it necessary - you trade some armor for mres, and in the end you come out with about the same AD from it. Hopefully you shouldn't need this though, only take it if you absolutely must; 4k health is a lot of survivability, especially against burst champs.
More armor, some extra mana, and a solid passive ability. This has a lot going for it, but I just don't consider it core. Swap it for Sunfire Cape if you feel you can do without its passive.
Skill Sequence/Ability Details
Taric's Shatter, for comparison.
- In-lane sustain may be a viable use for this, but will probably get you harrassed more while you try to heal up. Use it while you already have them retreating, then run back through minions so they can't respond as readily. Only try this when your opponent is in range, unless it's an absolute emergency and you have absolutely nothing to lose by using it.
- Important to note! I was completely misreading this ability, its healing is based on damage from ALL sources to enemies inside the AOE, not just the damage from the ability itself. Keep that in mind during teamfights.
- Use this to push people away from your team if you have to. It could save their life depending on circumstances.
- Be careful with the knockback. As much as it can save a teammate when used correctly, it can also doom them if you push the wrong person in the wrong place. It can also ruin your allies' plans, particularly those with ults that require positioning. I watched a Hecarim drag people out of Nunu's Absolute Zero several times over the course of a match because he wasn't paying enough attention.
- Also available to push enemies into your team if the positioning is right. With this said, it's not especially good for ganking. Unless the other team is incredibly pushed, you're just not going to get an effective gank from river (though heavy CC from your ally in lane fixes this).
- This can be used for ganks, but it's best used for initiating teamfights or turning the tide of an existing teamfight.
- This doesn't make a usual fear where affected enemies run around uncontrollably, they will always run in a straight line away from Hecarim. Keep this in mind.
Jungling vs. Laning
Like I've said, Hecarim has plenty of potential as either a laner (ideally solo top) or a jungler, and which of the two paths you take is almost entirely up to you. I'll give a brief rundown here, and go into more detail below that.
Personally, I prefer Hecarim as a laner. This is because I'm still a subpar jungler at best, so jungling Hecarim is difficult for me. To counteract this, I just play him as a typical solo top champion. Take Devastating Charge first if you feel confident enough to push them around a little (like into your tower if they get too aggressive, this likely won't happen early on though), otherwise take Spirit of Dread for the sustain, only using it in range of your opponent or in emergencies. Rampage is your primary harassment tool, which is slightly risky because you have to be so close, so it all depends on your opponent. Don't be afraid to base if you can trust your minion wave to hold theirs away from tower; you'll stay healthy, keep your build going (and possibly gain a small item advantage if they don't base as often; all that gold is only good once they spend it) and you can come back to your lane reasonably fast, especially if you Devastating Charge from pool. The extra couple of seconds may mean a minion or two. If your jungler ganks for you, do your best to pull the enemy further from their tower with Devastating Charge's push - it's your only hard CC, and your jungler will appreciate it if they don't have very much of their own. Besides this, just play him top as you would anyone else. Because of this, there isn't nearly as much to talk about in terms of playing Hecarim as a solo top. He has a lot more mobility, take advantage of that.
Jungling is what separates the decent Hecarim players from the good ones. Jungling is debatably the hardest role to play on a team to begin with, and while parts of Hecarim's kit make it easier, other bits will make your job frustrating. Devastating Charge can be either your best friend or your worst enemy depending entirely on your positioning. This means that ganking bot or top needs a lot more work than with most other junglers, especially since Hecarim doesn't have much of a source of follow-up CC. Exhaust can be taken to help this, but hard CC in lane is best - talk it over with your teammates in champion select, and make them aware that they need to help. This is mostly for river ganks, which are tough to pull off unless your target is very pushed, which can be avoided. The easiest way around this is the single path above river on each lane; it's your backdoor to the lane, and lets you gank a lot easier, as long as you're willing to risk running right by their tower. Mid functions similarly, though ganks from river aren't quite as difficult. It's still optimal to gank from above river, though, this raises your chance of success.
The spots talked about are shown above for reference, though the assumption is that you understand where I'm talking about. (Red denotes prime gank spots for the bottom team, and yellow shows the ideal ones for the top team.)
These spots, as useful as they are for ganks, also have a major vulnerability, especially the side lanes; they're easily warded, with the added danger of passing right near their golems and red buff. If a ward picks you up and their jungler is nearby, you'll be in for a fight, so prepare for that possibility, to say nothing of them knowing you're on the way. This is further complicated by the fact that your lane may not be able to remove that ward - if your team is on the upper half of the map, you can probably ask your support to remove it with a pink ward or Oracle's, but if your team is on the bottom half, that duty would have to go to your solo top, who risks provoking a gank themselves for the same reason that it's dangerous for you to be there. Just be careful and coordinate with your team though, and you should be able to pull through. Hecarim's jungle is not for the faint of heart, it's high risk/high reward.
In conclusion, Hecarim is a solid DPS character with the ability to become reasonably bulky, and excels in the solo top slot, while making a viable jungler as long as your skill level allows it. I hope my insights on this champ prove to be useful to at least some of you, and if you do well with it, go ahead and send me screenshots of game stats, I just might make a section devoted to it!