Hecarim Build Guide by NerdChieftain
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.
Jungle / AoE AD, Off tank
Core Preview Build 17.0k gold
Detailed Build to First 6 Items
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.
Season 3 in my humble opinion is a great addition to LoL. Items and heroes feel much more balanced. There are more options, and they are all more viable.
This is my first guide. I welcome your comments. I wish I could have put some pics in Unique skills, but I lack the speedy PC needed to do FRAPS. =(
A lot of feedback to my guide has been "Hecarim is not best suited for damage." OK, fine, maybe that's true. But as having multiple viewpoints strengthens the community, I'm content not to have the #1 guide. This guide focuses on Hecarim's AD abilities and using item synergy to lay down massive AoE damage second only to an ADC with Runaan's, in an off-tank role.
Multiple Ability levels
As you read, keep in mind I have advice aimed at different skill levels. Hopefully this is obvious, but if your expectation of this guide is to see how to be an elitezor ranked player, please do me a favor and hit back. I'm tired of getting comments that my advice to lowbie players isn't good for ranked. I am too old for people not taking time to read. And yes, this guide is long and for people who like to read. Sorry.
Oh the controversy.
Many have said Hecarim should focus on disruption and tanky. I can think of no better way to disrupt than to bring a heavy bat along for the ride. You have to do damage, and Hecarim deals AD damage. In the end, my guide is controversial because we're arguing over how to best get tenacity (or not) and whether Ravenous Hydra is worth it. I have my opinion, which I am keeping in my guide.
Jan 27, 2012 Revision:
With the latest patch, jungle has changed greatly. Furthermore, I got some great high level input in comments.
Jan 5, 2012 Revision:
Remade jungling section. Moves up Zephyr in build order. Refined item recommendations slightly.
December 30, 2012 Revision:
I have a new recommended build, and I seek to make a better jungle section. (See third build at top for this build.) I plan to keep old info up since people have enjoyed it, at least until I get feedback on my new improved jungle build. I am also trying to get this thing more readable.
Hecarim: A Damage/Gank Hero?
I think the most negative feedback I have received is that Hecarim is a Tank/Disruptor, not a damage dealer.
I wonder why so many Hecarim tank guilds include Sunfire Cape? Is it perhaps because Hecarim deals low damage without +AD?
Many also comment Boots of Mobility help you get around the jungle faster. But what about getting to ganks? It seems that in the Metagame, I stand apart in my thinking that Hecarim is a damage dealing ganking SoB. So that's what this guide is for. For better or worse.
Hecarim's two best abilities, and his key abilities for ganking and chasing, Rampage and Devastating Charge, both get extra damage from increasing AD (0.6 and 0.5, respectively).
Most certainly Hecarim can chase and gank. His ultimate can be used in a 1v1 if things get close. It's damage and 1s fear.
Pros / Cons
- Top tier hero based on speed, without a build focusing on speed. Teemo will still beat you. (This is one of the highet BASE speed, with Devastating Charge, out runs pretty much anyone.)
- No collision with minions or allies. When chasing, this is huge.
- AoE by AD.
- Speed makes for great lane ganking. They won't see you coming. "Run-away! Valiantly!"
- Low burst damage.
- No stuns. (Well his ulti kind of...) Makes him weak counter-jungler.
- Vulnerable to slows and stuns. (There are items for that.)
- Hard to initiate.
- Ultimate is a skill shot.
Hecarim play difficulty
- Easy Mobility helps new players get around map and escape close calls.
- Easy Tanky helps survival.
- Medium Damage requires some skill. One skill shot.
- Hard (Special) Mobility makes players without map awareness just as likely to get into trouble.
Verdict: Medium difficulty
Covering the Basics
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Attack damage and armor are key for Hecarim in the jungle and early ganks. Magic resist is for late game, so scaling rune works fine. You may be thinking... "this is an AD late game powerbuild? You've got tanking runes there dork!" Yeah. Hecarim and the items do the work. You don't need runes or masteries for attack damage.
That which is Quintessential
I use Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed. With Warpath, you get 2 bonus attack damage with the movement speed right out of the gate with all 3 runes. Compared to Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage, early game the damage is less. But by late game, with Warpath at 25%, and all the speed items, the bonus damage is 6 and 24 speed (zomg!). Personally, I think this is hard choice to make, and the decision is close, depending on your play style.
(I confess, writing this guide I used 2 GQ Attack Damage and 1 GQ Movement Speed, to get 7.5 damage at start. Hey, I didnt want spend my IP on 3 GQ of Movement, OK? I R POO)
Maybe, Maybe not
Many people recommend Greater Mark of Armor Penetration for the marks. These are less helpful for opening jungle attacks. (See below for Mathcraft.)
Now that this is Season 3, Armor Pen runes WOULD stack with Weapon Expertise . They also would stack with Last Whisper in a ADC build, but this is not an ADC build. However, smart players may have ADC in the back of their minds just in case.
9 GM of AD vs 9 GM of ArmorP
8.55 AD vs 11.52 ArmorP
11.52 ArmorP gives about 10% damage increase. With 59 base damage, 8.5 damage is slightly better for busting jungle camps. If I wasn't AoE focused, I'd want the ArmorPen to bust tanks. But, I'm not going to chase tanks.
IT'S A TRAP!
Utility is not for me
The utility tree is tempting with 9 points yielding Runic Affinity , 20% bonus time on blue and red. However, you don't get the Ghost speed boost talent from attack tree. Plus, in my experience, having a little armor penetration and extra damage takes Gankarim to the next level.
Defense tree picks
The defense tree is a little bit harder to flesh out. Many people see Veteran's Scars as essential. However, I can't seem to pull myself away from other masteries, because this is off-tank primarily to jungle, with a focus on damage and mobility. With Spirit of Dread, Hecarim has quite a bit of health regen, making 30 health early game less essential. (Less is a relative term, of course.) Also, with W Spirit of Dread], Hecarim is more about regenerating his HP than having a large amount.
Relentless Tenacious and Block seem critical to charging in, I choose these over Veteran's Scars .
Variations on a Theme
1 pt from Hardiness , 1 pt from Resistance , and Reinforced Armor seem like they could be sacrificed for Veteran's Scars . Since some items will give health, these three masteries pay off more late game.
A commenter suggested Defender over Reinforced Armor . I haven't seen the mathcraft on this one to indicate which is better. I like Reinforced Armor because it helps with ADC late game. I include it here, because it seems a sensible suggestion. I can't say one way or the other, for lack of specific knowledge about how Reinforced Armor works.
Legendary Armor pays off most late game, while Hardiness and Resistance are strong early. Hopefully these are well balanced.
Ghost Is my favorite escape ability. If you use my recommended build with Boots of Swiftness and Zephyr, Ghost will give you a lot more escape than Flash, as they will have trouble slowing or stunning you down. This also synergizes with Hecarim's Devastating Charge for a long chase sequence. I pick ghost because it is equally good for offense or defense on Hecarim.
Flash is a tried and true staple. In my opinion, if you can move enough to get to a good place to flash over a big obstacle to get away, Ghost will work just as well. But, maybe you are better with, or accustomed to, Flash.
Cleanse is a hard sell on any hero. With Hecarim's mobility, it is a bad choice.
Smite is a necessary choice for the jungler.
Heal is a great choice if you are not jungling. With Summoner's Resolve , you get additional health and utility to help your teammates and ganks. However, I would not suggest laning with Hecarim. There are better choices.
Ignite is everyone's favorite spell to finish the kill. It's not for Hecarim. Hecarim chases the enemy down. When laning, Ignite could make the difference early. But again, Hecarim is not a good hero for laning.
Hecarim or for any melee in Season 3 is Ravenous Hydra. The activated ability mimics Rampage, so I set it to item slot #1, which uses hotkey 1, right next to Q.
Crescent has the added advantage of procing life steal. It has more range than Rampage, but does reduced damage at the outskirts. Crescent will do about 50% damage to heroes compared to Rampage, but about 75% to heroes. Again, decreasing with distance. You want to either use crescent right after you get into a group fight, or because of it's range, possibly save it for the chase. It's 7s cooldown means you probably get to use it once.
Perhaps Hecarim's most utilitous spell. Or perhaps Deliciously OP.
- Damage life leech: that's LifeSteal and SpellVamp.
- AP based (+20%) scaling magic damage
- The life leech is off all allied damage dealt (not just yours).
- Only last 4s, like that makes it balanced!
Oh. My. God. OP
Regrettably, Spirit of Dread is best used for farming, farming health from minions, and a slight edge in hero fights. Therefore, you get the most utility from 1 rank, and not much from subsequent ranks.
For me, the biggest improvement in my Hecarim play came when I realized at full health, I don't want to drop W right away. Life regen at full is zero life regen. Wait until Q's cooldown is almost up from initial 4 seconds. Then WQ. Since Rampage cooldown is now 3s, you get life return from two hits using Q. This is especially effective when jungling blue or red. I call with Q (wait 4) WQQ. You can drop F Smite in there for health, too.
Dropping E, in a 3s run you can basically cross the width of the widescreen (16x9).
Running for 3 seconds, getting more and more speed for first 2 seconds, then collide into enemy with knockback. The further the distance, the more damage.
When leaving the fountain, I hit E. I get the mana back, get there a second or so sooner, and the cooldown rests right when I get there.
More details on using this are in Unique Skills below.
Hecarim flies across the map. Anyone caught in the small recticle receives a 1s fear and some damage (scaling on AP, so not great). This is good for disruption, but also getting Hecarim's AoE abilities right into the thick of things. Also, an escape tool or for the chase.
This is a skill shot. Not for the timid. More details on using this are in Unique Skills below. To play Hecarim like a pro, read on.
Ghost can give a slight damage boost or help chase before you get all "itemed up" with speed boosts. I don't think such a long cooldown for 20-40 AD is worth it, but hey, nothing is more exhillirating than winning a close call due to a powerplay involving Ghost, right?
Smite does two things. It helps you jungle and it gives you 10 gold. I find that it also helps me remember to jungle, all throughout the game. It also helps with Dragon or Baron.
You might think that using Smite whenever it is up on cooldown, even against a minion, is a good idea. Gold is gold. However, mid game, I would save it so I can conserve health in jungle camps. Late game, the jungle is a joke for Hecarim. He uses it to heal. Spam smite for gold.
Many people may be surprised to level W last, since E gives "full utility" at level 1. And after all, didn't I just say W is OP?
But leveling up E Devastating Charge offers 2 big benefits. First, the cooldown is reduced. That's gankalicious. Additionally, the damage increases. A lot. That's burst damage. That's extra gankalicious, but also is great for mowing down towers.
The major drawback to W Spirit of Dread is that if you are building AD, it doesn't get any bonus damage. W helps survive jungling early and doing late game team fight AoE. So save leveling it until late game.
Levelling up W Spirit of Dread first or second is not good. If you have trouble with survivability, get a Vampiric Scepter early.
Alternatively, you could throw an extra point towards Spirit of Dread or balance leveling it with Devastating Charge, to try and get more health back from dropping damage or in team fights. I think the marginal increase in health regain doesn't outweigh the ganking pain and mobilityfrom putting E first. But hey, this is a guide. Experiment how you want.
The Big 3
I am a firm believer in getting the right 2 or 3 starting items for a hero to have solid potential throughout the game. There's nothing worse than having a build you are fighting against while you fight the enemy. I pick 2 or 3 items (in addition to boots), because in many cases, you are not going to reach late game.
For Hecarim, those 3 items are Aegis of the Legion, Zephyr, and Ravenous Hydra. Obviously, without Ravenous Hydra, you won't deal AoE AD.
Aegis of the Legion should be your first item. Showing up to a gank with armor and health regen armor makes you the team's hero. It also helps you jungle faster and better. If you are eager for damage, get Emblem of Valor, then Stinger or Zeal, then come back to Aegis of the Legion.
Zephyr offers the most speed boost (10%) per item, with other choices weighing in at 5%, 6%, or 8%. Zephyr also offers a good amount of attack speed, which is critical to make Phage proc. Once you have +10% speed, no one will escape your chase even with Flash with rare exception. Zephyr's cooldown bonus is huge for Hecarim. You can spam (Q) Rampage that much more often.
Tenacity is hard to get on an item. It's included! Hecarim is a magnet for slows and stuns, because the enemy doesn't like how fast you are. Maybe they're jealous or they don't like AoE... nonetheless hit and run attacks go a lot better when you can run away.
Life steal is a staple for melee heroes with obvious benefits. Hydra is the new life steal item for melee only. It offers splash damage, life steal, and lots of damage. Splash damage has high synergy with R Onslaught of Shadows and multiplies damage in team fights. As a bonus, it also has AoE pound similar to Rampage. If that weren't awesomesauce, its activated cleave heals you with lifesteal (!!).
I have received the question in comments "Why do you insist on this item?" and the statement "I'm disappointed you are building this as dps." Well, the point is well made: If you want Hecarim to do some serious DPS, then you want Ravenous Hydra. If you don't want DPS, but rather want something tanky, don't get the item.
Before you dis it, I recommend you try it for yourself. You don't have to get it early, either. I recommend it as your 6th item or teching for it in appropriate situation. I don't know why you would have a hero build that didn't include damage. Maybe I'm being dense, but I think a jungle and gank hero should deal some pain.
Consider that as you play LoL, you want your build to flexible, maybe more tanky, maybe less. This is an item many people won't consider for Hecarim. You should. High synergy and burst damage.
Crescent is probably best for Hecarim because of burst AoE damage. By itself, it's nice. But in combo with Q, your high damage skill just doubled for enemy champs, which I like to think of as burst.
When you are low on health, W with Ravenous Hydra and Q can clear the wave and slap you with some health.
Off Tank? What What
Make sure your team knows you plan to build Runic Bulwark. Often the Support (especially Taric) or top laners like Malphite may go for this item. You don't want to duplicate the same item aura. Get Emblem of Valor and Glacial Shroud early instead.
Tenacity and the Benefits it bestows
Hecarim, as a mobility hero with Tenacious x3, you deserve even more Tenacity. Now, the question is whether to get (in order of cost) Mercury's Treads or Zephyr or Spirit of the Ancient Golem. Opinions will vary here. And perhaps this is the most controversial point in the discussions of this build order. In some games, you will want Mercury's Treads if they have lots of early game CC. On the whole, every stat Zephyr grants, Hecarim needs. So even if I believe (and I do) that I don't need Tenacity every game, this item is great regardless of that consideration, so I make it standard in my build.
Item Picks In Depth
Boots of Swiftness grants a unique ability. It reduces slows. I find that this fact is almost completely ignored, because this is a new benefit of the item in Season 3. It also gives a little more speed, making it easier for Hecarim to get fewer speed items.
Boots of Mobility have great synergy with E Devastating Charge. It also helps jungling and ganking.
Mercury's Treads gets an honorable mention in my guide, because Zephyr grants Tenacity. I do not recommend this item.
"I think swiftness mobility and merc treads all have their place. Low cc teams with slows I choose swiftness. High stun teams i choose mercs and teams with no amazing cc i think mobility work best. I end up using swiftness most often." -CorruptSoul, commenter
Shurelya's Reverie or
This is an item in build you can possibly skip. A Crystalline Flask (discussed in advanced jungle) can provide an equivalent effect at a lower price.
Hecarim benefits from passive regens of both items. Shurelya's Reverie gives gold as Philosopher's Stone and provides team support with speed boost. The speed boost is nice for Hecarim, but nicer when used in a team push situation, to either run away or chase down hurt enemy champs.
Spirit of the Elder Lizard grants incinerate. This is highly synergistic with Hecarim, but not incredibly powerful. Dealing any damage gives an additional magic damage boost. So, your Q Rampage, Ravenous Hydra, W Spirit of Dread, and basic attacks get bonus magic damage.
By itself, for just basic attacks, this effect is weak for a high attack speed character. (Maybe only 10 extra damage per attack.) It is also weak without AP. For these reasons, I would drop it first from the build if another item is needed based on your situation. And frankly, I think the Hunter's Machete items aren't that great. This is the best one for Hecarim.
- This item roughly doubles Spirit of Dread pokes, which also refreshes the incinerate.
- Hecarim has 3 abilities and 1 ultimate with AoE, this extra slap gets applied and refreshed a lot.
- This item's ability is limited to situations for maximum effect.
- Get this item for the sustainability and 50 damage. Incinerate is just a bonus.
[IcoSpirit Visage size=35]
Aegis of the Legion is the quintessential team tanking item. As previously mentioned, your team only needs one. A good substitute item would be Thornmail. It's the only item to give a full 100 armor. Randuin's Omen is good for team fights too. If you don't get Shurelya's Reverie, Frozen Heart AND Iceborn Gauntlet can be good. Plus double Glacial Shroud helps greatly with cooldowns. When facing lots of magic damage, Spirit Visage is a good alternative. With high health, it helps with both damage types.
Iceborn Gauntlet gives cooldown reduction and powerful Spellblade proc, which slows!!!
With this item alone, your Q Rampage has a cooldown of 1.7s - 3.4s; i.e. 1.7s after you have used it twice in a row. That's enough to keep the slow on your opponent.
Frozen Heart helps with a little more cooldown reduction, more armor, and is great for team fights.
End Game Item
These items are all great for Hecarim late game. Ravenous Hydra is my go-to item. In close games there may be a lot of chase and counter-pushes, meaning Trinity Force or Frozen Mallet can help a lot. Finally, for those pesky mages, Mercurial Scimitar, which is recommended for magic resist and cleanse without losing an AD punch. The bonus speed can help you in a pinch, too. All these items are expensive, but they can be highly beneficial as a mid game purchase. One other thing of note: Trinity Force and Iceborn Gauntlet both have spellblade. So you don't want both.
Boot Enchantments are quite exciting.
Gankarim approved Enchantment: Furor helps in the chase, especially if you take it mid game. It only procs for Hecarim on Devastating Charge and auto-attacks. But 10 bonus damage and 12% more move speed can't hurt when trampling enemy scum into dust. A clever strategy is to tag a minion with a hit for a speed boost on the way to the enemy champ.
Gankarim approved Enchantment: Homeguard is a great choice if you are playing defensive. After a nice hit and run attack, why not an instant recharge? An undead centaur deserves to be pampered. I love this item for Jungling as well. Fountain trips are common especially with tanking a gank. Drop E and get to the first tower ring at 1100 speed in 1 second! (Well, I exaggerate.) One the defensive, dropping Q in team fight is nothing to sneeze at, considering your Warpath bonus damage. I think this is probably my favorite enchantment, because it gets you out of the base fast.
Gankarim approved Enchantment: Captain may make your allies happy. You are so fast... when you initiate, they can't help. Captain team chase FTW. Again, a great mid game choice.
FAIL Enchantment: Alacrity seems an obvious choice for Hecarim. 12% from Furor, however, is a lot more speed when it counts.
FAIL Enchantment: Distortion could help Hecarim, but I don't like to use Ghost except in an emergency. So I don't really see the benefit to be significant, especially compared to other options.
Movement Speed Mathcraft
Note that the Movement Speed calculator in the cheat sheet doesn't work as of this writing Dec 15, 2012. Therefore, the damage stats in the cheat sheet are wrong as well.
Sadly, you start to get diminishing returns on movement speed above 415. What this means is that Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed are helpful early game, but give diminishing returns as you get speed items.
Hecarim's base speed is 345, with Boots of Swiftness, you get 410 speed.
Improved Ghost gives 35% speed!
Devastating Charge peaks at 75%. (Because of diminishing returns, actually 35%-45%, but still, dayum.)
This table shows move speed with abilities versus Runes and Items.
Q = 3 Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Z = Zephyr
L = Zeal, almost same bonus as Trinity Force
This table highlights that the Quintessences give much more help early game than late game.
Advanced Skill Usage
Hecarim is good for ganking and disrupting team fights. However, using good tactics and strategies with your abilities can set you as a cut above the rest.
Rampage during the chase
Rampage is great for killing opponents. But the range is pretty short. You have to almost be touching an enemy hero. Which is really frustrating in a chase. It's best to drop Q before Hec stops to attack, or you may be out of range! IN Season 2, Q was less difficult to land. I think the fact in Season 3 that all hero models are smaller, means Q is harder to land. I guess you can't always get a buff, sometimes the great nerf bat falls from the sky and spanks you.
Quick Tip: To land Q, do not click on the enemy opponent to chase. Click past them. This lets you spam Q without stopping to basic attack. Also, you want to outmaneuver your opponent in team fights. Only using Q lets you run past to hit E and push them back to your team. Basic attacks guarantee you won't be able to do this.
Q (wait 4) WQQ
As mentioned above, using Q Rampage and waiting for the first 4s cooldown lets you to use W Spirit of Dread for two Q hits. This is primarily for HP regain in early jungling. Note that once you get a cooldown reduction item, you can WQQ right away.
Always gank with red from the river so you hit your enemy with E Devastating Charge from the side, so you don't push them toward their tower.
For the real power shot, come from behind. E works well to push enemy out of their tower's protection into your allies' grasp. You can even drop a Q Rampage and an autoattack and escape from the tower.
You can also "come from behind" from the river. Run past them, then turn around and push toward your tower. PAWNAGE. This is hard to pull off, because you need to be pretty darn fast, or facing a Noob. And then what joy or gold is in the kill?
Devastating Charge: kill that tower
Devastating Charge lasts 3 seconds. I like to use the minimap to navigate out of combat. I have learned about how far I can travel with E on in 4 seconds, by the length of the white pathing line. To do maximum damage, you want to run the full four seconds. This also works against towers. You can get in a good large first hit with a well timed E. If you are working on a tower when E cooldown comes up, start to run away, hit E, and make a circle to connect E to the tower. It will surpass your auto-attack early game.
Alternatively, the minimum damage from Devastating Charge isn't shabby if you don't want to stop auto-attacking the tower.
When pushing towers, Hec can run past the tower (with minions present) and intercept the whole next wave of 6 or 7 between the towers. You get minion gold and your minions (and ally) get to attack the tower unabated. To do this, run to the magicians in the back first, so all the minions surround you for a nice WQ-fest.
Then, you are a good distance away to return with an E charge for the tower takedown.
Devastating Charge: the chase
Your first instinct in a chase will be to hit E and right click your opponent. But that won't help much in a chase. You will push your enemy away from your allies. You will not get maximum damage from E. Your speed and damage builds with E over the 4 seconds time, and stops as soon as you hit the enemy. Furthermore, the extra speed increases the damage from Q, but only before you charge the opponent. A better idea is to chase and run past your enemy, hit them with a WQ combo, and either knock them sideways (into a wall) or backwards.
Skill Shot: Onslaught of Shadows (R)
Based on the description of the spell, you might think anyone caught in the path of the onslaught will get a one second fear. This simply is not so. Your enemies have to be inside the circle target reticle. So for the skill shot, you want to time and anticipate your opponent's movements for the one second or so travel time of the onslaught.
Penultimate skill shot
When chasing a particularly speedy opponent, hit E for the speed boost. Aim your R to land in front of the runner. He will run in fear away from you, backwards from where he was headed. Right click and your E will push him back even farther, dealing loads of damage (you travelled pretty far when you dropped R). Then you can QW and auto attack if your allies haven't beat you to it.
The Ultimate Skill Shot
The same as before, except do it in a team fight, screwing up 3-5 players.
Inititating with Onslaught of Shadows is risky. Being the only one in the middle of the enemy team is rough. Also, it is possible to avoid the ability if it's the only thing to avoid. This is the Ultimate Skill shot: master this, and you are king. The risk is also mitigated by the skill of your teammates, how much armor you have, and whether they have high magic damage.
I find the best play in a late game team fight is to not initiate. Then, land a well planned R, spreading damage, fear, and pandemonium -- also, setting you up for AOE goodness of WQ1. Once you are there, auto-attacking with Ravenous Hydra can devastate and enemy team. Also, with Frost Mallet or Trinity Force, you can catch a runner easily with E and Q.
The tactical advantage of disrupting a team fight should be carefully weighed against a strong initiator. This ability can also screw up Fiddlesticks or Nunu in their channel ultimates.
I don't personally like to initiate team fights with Onslaught of Shadows, because I am usually PuGing. PuGs do strange things. Furthermore, good players are always moving. At extreme range, bad luck from moving enemies can mean you miss one or two intended targets. That's bad, M'kay.
Weaksauce Skill shot
So you noobed it up. Your escape isn't working out and your Ghost cooldown is spent. Well, R can be a great escape tool. Noob. Hey, not dying is not dying. Swallow your pride.
You might plan on the weaksauce. If you go deep into enemy territory to get a second tower, escaping may be necessary. Now the point is you can push early for gold. Normally this is a moronic move. But with D, E, and R and possibly Shurelya's Reverie in reserve, you can do it.
Jungling 3.0 Basics
Several jungle changes have been made.
The two most critical are
(1) monsters aggro based on who is closest and
(2) the main monster is tougher while the small ones are weaker.
(For you elitezor readers, check it out, this is an introductory section.)
The proximity aggro means the term "leash" is obsolete. I now use the term "pummel". You, as the jungler, have to tank the main monster while your pummels auto-attack the main monster. TANK N SPANK. Wait until the Monster is at 495 health to Smite to make sure you get the kill.
Pummels can go wrong. If your allies kill the small monsters with AoE, you won't make level 2. That will screw you up on reaching level 4 badly. Don't let it happen.
You can kill blue by yourself. But you need to drink a Health Potion as soon as you take damage.
1 Pummel is typically all you need in terms of help.
Hecarim can do this with 3 health potions, but you need good pummels to do so. So the guide includes 4.
Hecarim should go straight to blue to get cooldown and mana to spam Q mercilessly. You can kill blue by yourself. But you need to drink a Health Potion as soon as you take damage. However, you need a 4th Health Potion.
With the assistance of 1 pummel, you can move on to wolves easily. At level 2, you can regain some health with W. (If your pummel leeches XP, suddenly you are in trouble. Wolves could have healed you a bit.)
Can I take wolves first?
With 2 good pummels, you can kill wolves first, taking hardly any damage. In PuGs and lower level play, you can't count on this.
Yes Hecarim can solo the wolves, but you don't want to. First, all 3 wolves and the 2 mini golems dont get you to level 2 for using W to regen health. Second, cooldown on smite is a limiting factor and you want to start the cooldown timer as soon as possible. Third, bad pummels are less likely to kill the mini golems than the baby wolves.
You will need your second Health Potion to take the golems. Don't try golems with less than 200 hp and a potion, or you will take the respawn of shame (and lose blue.) Teleport home. Go to red and use a Health Potion.
WIth 4 or 5 Health Potion at start, you are able to move on to take red. But then you willprobably have to teleport to the fountain.
- Blue. Use Health Potion.
- Wolves. Q (wait 4) WQQ
- Wraiths. Q (wait 4) WQQ. Health Potion
- (skip red, smite is not up)
- Golems. Q (wait 4) WQQ. Health Potion
- Red. Q (wait 4) WQQ. Health Potion
- Wraiths. Q (wait 4) WQQ.
- You are now level four. B Recall . Shop, gank, win!
By level 7, cruising through the jungle becomes very straightforward and soon the health loss is negligible. Especially if you get a kill on a gank and you get more damage or lifesteal quickly.
You want to be jungling and hitting blue and red on every respawn. Keep in mind they respawn every 5 minutes. Make note of the time and when they will respawn.
Of course, you want to gank as much as possible. Griefers love to blame anyone and everyone but themselves for their deaths. As a jungle, it's your fault that you didn't gank early or not enough, or you went to top first instead of bot. Try to be graceful. Your teammates need to understand that placing a ward in the river and not pushing hard are key to getting a gank.
Hecarim is a late game hero. So yeah, levels 1-5, he isn't strong. (Doy!) He is strong when he has his ulti at level 6. He isn't viable without Devastating Charge and Boots of Speed, and he isn't strong enough to get red and have a good amount of health to gank level 2.
The biggest problem with Hecarim is that 2 jungle passes give you enough gold and level 4 so you can gank with confidence. That's pretty slow by most jungling timelines. Having said that, you may want to look on to advanced jungling.
The Min/Max game
Minimizing your weaknesses and maximizing your desirables is always the key to playing games.
There are several possible goals to pursue when maximizing Hecarim.
For an early Jungle, I want attack damage.
For ganking, I want movement speed.
For late game, I want Armor Penetration.
Maximizing Attack Damage
1x Weapon Expertise
9x Greater Mark of Attack Damage
3x Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
15 damage from 3 Quint really outshines Hunter's Machete in early levels.
This is good for jungling or early ganking.
3x Greater Glyph of Movement Speed
Boots of Mobility
Note that if you go Wanderer , you cannot get Weapon Expertise . In my view, that is a mistake. To help your team, dealing damage is important. Tanks have to deal damage, too.
1x Weapon Expertise
9x Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
3x Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration
Armor Penetration is now the undisputed end game item ability. In Season 2, I found Armor and Magic Pen weak because it did not stack correctly. Now it does, and armor is cheaper.
How about maximizing for sustain?[
Hecarim has a lot of built in sustain. His biggest weakness in sustainability is mana. If health sustain is an issue, Vampiric Scepter early is an easy way to get the effect without jumbling up masteries or runes.
Advanced Jungle Starts
If maximized for damage, Hecarim can skip Hunter's Machete. I only use this build to go for Wolves/Blue/Red, so I get level 3 and gank with boots and moderate health. (I get 1 level each in QWE when I do this.) Personally, I hate hunter's machete and all the items made from it. Gimme my boots.
Crystalline Flask was awesome when it was 225 gold. I had to buy it...
I like how it helps with mana sustain early. Now that it costs more, the purchase is a strategic choice. After Hecarim gets some mana items, he is pretty good to go. But not early. With this buy, Hecarim can get through all the creep camps, ending with red, TP home and buy boots, refill flask, and then go a ganking. (With extra mana.) But it is a little slow for some laners who need early help.
Maximizing for Armor Penetration, you need the 5th potion and the Machete. But you are investing in your end-game future.
Experience is the best teacher
The key lesson I learned playing lots of Hecarim is to get Tier 2 boots quickly. Pre-Jan patch, you could get boots of swiftness after two jungle passes. But there is less gold there now.
My Jungle Path
- Wolves. With 2 Pummels.
- Blue. (Use flask or potion) Level up W.
- Wraiths. (Use flask or potion.)
- Golems. (Use flask or potion.)
- Red. Q (wait 4) WQQ. Use (Use flask or potion.) Level Up. (Optionally go heal or go gank.)
- Wraiths. (Use flask or potion.)
You now have red, about 180 mana, and nearly full health. Top is closest to gank.
Hecarim Weak Early
Because Hecarim is weak before level 6, I like to maximize for Attack Damage and go Wolves/Blue/Red. With good teammates, the jungling goes well. (Ask for "hard leash.") The enemy is caught off guard, and snowballing starts. Also, getting to level 6 primarily through the jungle is really a pain in the keester. I find this is the best way to overcome Hecarim's weak early game.
Be warned: a crafty high level opponent might ward red. Be on your toes.
There are three really evil strategies that really goad Hecarim's pet monkey. Why do we put them here? It's not wise to advertise your weaknesses, after all. But we'll hedge our bets that Hecarim players will read this guide and your opponents won't.
Blink Strikes, Flash
Abilities that make a character temporarily disappear or move, such as energy assasins, Flash, Fiora, Riven, or even Vayne can "blink out" right before Devastating Charge connects. This makes you lose your attack lock on and sends you sailing in the wrong direction. Also without 15% move bonus, you can't make up for such an epic power play, and the gank fails. When you consider the time you invest to set up a gank, you just got schooled and lost the battle.
That's enough to make a homicidal undead centaur cry.
While some say Hecarim is a harder hero to learn to play, chasing could not be any easier. Without collision, you literally click and watch. BUT, bushes mess all that up. You don't know if they are gonna turn around and come back out or keep running. This cheap strategy used by the desperate uses lag to their advantage. How uncool. (Or crafty?)
When playing peek-a-bush with a staunt face check, dropping WQ can help keep the damage up. W is good near pushes because it stops recall .
Remember you optionally can use W to full effect by not connecting until the full 4s are up, to help you land one or two Q.
Bait and Gank
I play aggressive. So when I see a lone hero partying in a lane, I'm dropping E R W Q and asking questions later. Good teams will intentionally use a hero for bait (usually tank or off tank.) Then, bam, you're swarmed. Without any cooldowns up. Not even D Ghost can help you now. Best thing to do is to be suspicious of low hanging fruit. And don't run ahead of your weaker, slow allies. Yes, they can't run like a horse, but they have other helpful attributes.
Perhaps map awareness and the spidey sense needed to gank or not to gank is the most advanced LoL skill. But when you are so fast, and mobile, you need 110% focus. That's all I'm saying.
I'm too cool to have lost a game by trying for a greedy gank, falling into a trap, and getting my team killed as they run in one by one. That's never happened to me. *Cough* :(
Farming / Pushing
By level 7, spamming Q makes farming with Hec stupid simple. He can charge in with E, drop WQ1, and beat his allies to the farm. Late game I have leveled waves of 30 minions in a second flat with Ravenous Hydra, Q, W, E and maybe 2 auto-attacks for cleanup. Because Hec doesn't have collision, he can get into the middle of that minion wave to drop his AoE. Deliciously OP.
Chog has to stop for like 0.5 seconds to ground pound and launch his Q. What an inconvenience! Your high speed helps you clear the next wave before your own minions catch up.
If you gank at level 4, you probably don't have time on red for a second gank. Help the lane push and easily get half a tower (if not the whole thing) really early. Hopefully your E can help.