Hecarim Build Guide by Zarthalian
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.
Lore and Introduction
"Since his first sighting on the northwestern shores of Valoran, the towering, armored specter known as Hecarim struck a chilling fear into the hearts of all who laid eyes upon him. No one had ever seen anything like his titanic, ethereal form before, and the mystery of his sudden arrival was deeply unnerving. When Hecarim began to march eastwards, leaving a trail of desolate, lifeless ground behind him, the villagers of the plains fled their homes for the safety of nearby Demacia. In the city's now-overcrowded taverns, rumors about this inhuman phantom spread in hushed whispers. Some claimed that he was the vengeful shade of an ancient warrior, intent on destroying all living beings; one man insisted that they had seen him leading an entire legion of spectral cavalrymen; others still believed him to be the creation of some hateful necromancer. One Demacian commander, seeking to dispel the terror that had gripped the city, assembled a few of his finest soldiers and rode out to turn back or destroy Hecarim.
The commander led his soldiers to stand in Hecarim's path and braced for his assault. As the apparition bore down on them, an overwhelming sensation of dread gripped the warriors. The men, frozen in fear, could only scream as the ghostly titan ran them down, tearing them apart and trampling them beneath his iron hooves. Hecarim turned to the crippled, cowering commander and uttered a chilling statement: "This is merely the beginning. No mortal army can withstand the might of the Shadow Isles." With that, Hecarim departed, resuming his grim march. Driven to insanity by his nightmarish experience, the commander stumbled back to Demacia, where his dire warnings were dismissed as the ravings of a madman. While Hecarim's origin and intent were still a mystery, his destination became clear when he reached the Institute of War and, in a voice both ominous and commanding, demanded entry into the League of Legends."
Hecarim is a tank jungler with great initiation and damage. He scales amazingly into late game and can easily carry teams to victory. In teamfights he is an absolute monster, dishing out tons of AoE damage and healing off any damage he takes. Even after the nerfs, Hecarim is still an amazing jungler that provides a lot to a team. He's currently my favorite champion because after playing many games I still enjoy playing him due to how much he can impact any game.
Why you should play Hecarim (Pros and Cons)
Pretty good clear
Deals good damage with few damage items
Great late game
Extremely hard to kill in teamfights
Easy Baron steals
Easy to shut down early
Needs a lot of farm
Mana intensive if you spam Q
First clear can be bad
Slows will reduce his damage, but not by much
AD ratios aren't good
The runes you'll be using for most of your games
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration - Due to Hecarim's low AD scalings, I have realized that armor pen runes are actually the better choice. You'll be doing more damage with these, especially in the late game.
Greater Seal of Armor - These give you the durability you need to survive the jungle, they also give you a slight edge in tanking vs. any physical damage.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist - These glyphs give you magic resist (duh) for tanking magic damage, which you'll probably be doing sooner or later. You could either take flat or scaling.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed - Since movespeed is practically what Hecarim is known for (outside of insane self heals and pro initiation), you should get these. If you're starved for IP, you can get armor pen or attack damage.
These are the masteries you will be using for most of your games.
Exhaust will help your ganks out a ton. If there are a lot of high damage people on the enemy team, you could take this.
Ignite will help you secure kills, or its something to take if you're playing top lane Hecarim.
Teleport can help you come in from surprise locations, and if you have homeguard, the result can be hilarious. A spell to consider for top lane or jungle Hecarim.
Skill Explanation and Skill Sequence
Hecarim's passive. It gives you a little bit of AD from your items and potential movespeed runes and masteries. This passive is not worth building around (unless you're trolling), as the AD you will get from it after you have your "OP Movespeed build" will be barely noticable. It's not the best passive in the world, but it is still good because it allows you to ignore unit collision and gain a little bit more AD during Devastating Charge.
Hecarim's main damaging ability. This is what gives Hecarim a lot of his AoE damage, and this is also what makes Iceborn Gauntlet an amazing item, as it allows you to activate it very frequently. During your early jungle clears and some team fights, you should be cautious about the overuse of this ability. While the mana cost is low, the low CD can trick you into spamming it, which will eat away all of your mana pool. I recommend maxing this ability first for its damage output.
Hecarim's sustain ability. This makes Hecarim extremely hard to kill in teamfights depending on how much damage you and your team can do. After its nerfs, you wont be healing for as much, but it is still a wonderful ability. You probably wont be noticing the damage this spell deals (unless you are playing AP Hecarim, it's got an 80% AP ratio!), the heal can be gamebreaking in teamfights. If you can position yourself to where the enemies that are taking the most damage are in the aura of Spirit of Dread, then your enemies will have an extremely hard time trying to take you down. I take a point in this ability at level one, but I max it second, after Rampage.
One of Hecarim's mobility abilities. This allows Hecarim to chase, flee, and gank extremely well. Devastating Charge has synergy with itself, because the more you move during the charge, the more damage you are likely to do, combined with the extra AD you get from the bonus movespeed. Since you will be trying to position yourself to where you can knock your target into your team, you will have to move more, and therefore you will end up doing more damage. Combined with your ultimate, this makes an excellent tool for initiation.
One of the greatest initiation spells in the game. This allows Hecarim to charge an INSANELY long distance into the enemy team, and fear everyone around him, splitting them up and allowing your allies to pick them off. This spell also comes in handy for pulling off drive-by buff/dragon or even baron steals. Onslaught of Shadows in, Smite, and then if you can, Ghost and Devastating Charge right on out of there. Of course, if escape is not an option (it probably isn't if it was a Baron steal), then you shouldn't use Ghost, and instead just die for the good of the team like the true (horse-)man you are. If you use this for ganking, then the ideal combo would be to start Devastating Charge, Onslaught of Shadows in behind the target, knock your intended target into your team, and then finish them off. This also has a pretty good AP ratio if you're interested in AP Hecarim.
My recommended skill build is as follows
I start with a point into Spirit of Dread, and then I will put a point into Rampage at levels 2, and if I don't plan on ganking right away, then I will delay a point into Devastating Charge to level 4 so I can put another point into Rampage. Obviously, with such an amazing ultimate, you will want to put points into it at 6, 11, and 16. I max Rampage first, Spirit of Dread second, and Devastating Charge third. I have tried maxing Devastating Charge second over Spirit of Dread, and I have to say it can work because of the decreased CD and increased damage, but I'm not entirely a fan, because you give up sustain due to the fact you are stuck with 60 HP heal from minions per Spirit of Dread while jungling.
On Hecarim, it's critical to build the right items so that you can maximize your effectiveness throughout the game.
|This item has become probably the most popular jungling item. If you look at the stats, its clear why. CDR, Health, Tenacity, and then spirit stone bonuses are all good things for a tank jungler. The tenacity is amazing because it allows you to safely buy boots other than Mercury Treads, expanding your boot options. It's also very gold efficient, similar to it's other spirit stone item counterparts. You want this for most of your games.||Before this item, Trinity Force was the thing to build on Hecarim. This is because, with Rampage, you can activate Sheen very easily and maximize your damage output. However, Iceborn Gauntlet has become a more favorable alternative, due to the fact that it makes you tanky, provides an AoE slow and gives you CDR and mana. This makes Hecarim's already high AoE damage output get even stronger. Also, after the mana cost increase on Q, you're probably going to want the mana. You can still buy Trinity Force, as it is by no means bad, but you should be opting for Iceborn Gauntlet most of your games.||This is more of stating that you will need some sort of upgraded boots. You will probably buy Boots of Swiftness or Ninja Tabi for most of your games, but there are other options seen below.|
|These boots go very well with the tenacity from Spirit of the Ancient Golem. You will be able to further ignore CC effects (okay, just slows with these, but still). Also, the less you are slowed, the less AD you lose. I'd suggest getting these in most of your games.||These boots are for when you end up skipping Spirit of the Ancient Golem. You don't want to waste gold buying TWO tenacity passives, so if you did get ancient golem, you shouldn't be picking these up. Of course, you still can, its not just optimal. If you're going for the more carry-oriented lizard elder + other stuff build, then you're gonna want these, but other wise, pass them up.||If you're not picking up Boots of Swiftness, you're probably gonna be picking up these. If you want to be tanky and dont feel like the movement speed bonuses from Boots of Swiftness, then these are the boots for you. AD Carry's are pretty pesky in the current meta, so the damage reduction and armor can be very helpful.||A real man's ganking boots. These are better now that you're not missing the tenacity from Mercury treads. Pick them up if you want to gank a lot. I don't buy these boots much, just because I don't like buying Boots of Mobility in general due to the lack of any sort of defense you get (the same could be said for swiftness, but they give you slow reduction!) If you buy these and the game goes on long enough for you to complete your build and have money left over, sell these and either buy Boots of Swiftness or Ninja Tabi.|
|This item will take you over 40% CDR, but it allows you to speed boost your team for chasing/escapes and even for intiating a teamfight. It has the added bonus of building out of Philosopher's Stone, which will increase your gold income early. I don't get this much, but it is in no way a bad choice.||Twin Shadows I never buy this. However, it does give you AP (you have good scalings!) and magic resist. It also lets you catch targets off guard, and it can increase your ganking potential. I'd imagine its very upsetting when you realize you got killed by a Hecarim with Twin Shadows, so that's a plus. I've never actually tried this item, but I've heard word of it and considered it.||Hextech Gunblade is an item that will give you even more sustain as well as damage. It also has a ranged slow, which can help you keep up with fast moving targets. I have never bought this, but if you really have to carry your team in damage, then it could be beneficial.||Warmog's Armor is a fantastic item if you think your resistances are fine and you need the straight health. It's strength is also a weakness, because a lot of health just causes % of health damage from champions like Elise, Amumu and Zac. As previously mentioned, this item's downfall is that it's PURE HEALTH. Nothing else. (ok, health regen. you got me.)|
Jungling and Ganking
Another route you could do if your teammates are willing to give you smiteless would be as follows,
Wolves -> Smiteless Blue Buff -> Wraiths (optional) -> Red Buff -> Gank
This route allows you to clear fast, but Hecarim's true ganking power comes from the Onslaught of Shadows + Devastating Charge combo, so I normally don't do this.
As far as early game jungling goes after your first clear, you should go Double Golems (smite) -> Wraiths -> Wolves. This is the most effective way to farm the jungle, and it should keep you at good health. Just remember while jungling, don't spam Rampage, you need mana for any potential ganks or duels. After each clear, you can either gank or go back. I believe that Hecarim should really focus on clearing his jungle early in the game until he has Onslaught of Shadows and Spirit of the Ancient Golem, in which case you should start ganking when your ultimate is up. If you gank too much, then you will starve yourself of experience and even gold if the ganks are not successful. It is beneficial to your team in the late game to farm so you can keep up with everyone, and remain relevant lategame. However, if a golden ganking opportunity presents itself, then you should always take it.
Teamfighting and the Late Game
Baron is a good option for when your team is ready to fight but the enemy is making it difficult to fight. If you begin a baron, the enemy will more than likely try to stop you, and then you turn around and fight them. This can be risky, as is you fail, you will give up a free baron. If it succeeds, you can win a teamfight, take baron, and take towers.
Stealing baron can be easy for Hecarim as long as you have your ultimate up and smite. All you have to do is wait for it to get low (1500-3000 health, depending on how fast the enemy is killing it), Onslaught of Shadows in, Smite, and try to get out of there. Hopefully, you didn't failsmite, so you secured Baron for your team. Also you could end up killing a low health member of the enemy team, to equalize the fact that you're probably going to die unless your team is nearby to follow up.
Summary and Closing
If you liked this guide and found it helpful, please upvote it to support me. If you have any suggestions on improving this guide, please tell me in the comments. Also, if you spot any misspellings or bbcode errors, please tell me so that I may fix them. Any questions you have I will be happy to answer in the comment section. If you didn't like this guide, please tell me why so I can improve. This is my first guide on Mobafire, so it is very much a learning experience for me. I hope you found this guide useful, and if you did, get out onto the Fields of Justice and start carrying your team in Season 3!
3 March 2013 - Released!
15 May 2013 - Changed the recommended marks to armor penetration from attack damage. Added this section as well as patch history section.
24 July 2013 - Got rid of patch history section, didn't like it, updated build