Hecarim Build Guide by Xiaowiriamu
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.
This guide will mainly be Ranked orientated, and will involve many explanations as to why Hecarim is the perfect champion to not only win games but to also get your ELO up.
So lets begin:
Who is Hecarim?
Hecarim is a champion in League of Legends (orly?) and is a Melee Tank who is often played in the Jungle or Solo Top. Hecarim is one of the fastest and mobile champions within the League with heavy sustain, damage and reasonable crowd control. He is, in my opinion, one of the most fun champions to play and can turn loss games into a win very easily.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Since last update, there's been changes in the jungle routes, masteries and items. The runes and skills have remained the same!
Pros / Cons
Pros / Cons
- Fast Jungler
- Great at harass vs melee champions
- Near un-killable late game (explanation on this later)
- Can interrupt annoying champions like Yi's meditate
- Can steal baron in a 1v5 situation (if you have smite - more explanation on this later)
- Has decent CC
- Great tank
- Great initiator
- Can make a Loss game a Won game in just one move
- Has great movement and mobility
- Near ungankable if you're playing solo top
- So versitile in the way you build him
- Hes a pony
- Hard to learn
- Considered a risky pick
- Easy to counter jungle
- Build is expensive
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration Pretty self explanatory. for jungling these runes help clear it faster and also armor penetration is useful for most AD type champions, especially if you're going to solo top or mid since most players have the Greater Seal of Armor. These marks are very handy throughout the game and are much better for Hecarim than the other optional Marks.
Greater Seal of Armor Again self explanatory, if going jungle you'll need the armor in order to sustain the jungle better, and also since most Tops are AD, going armor is a no brainer.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist Standard Glyph's that most players use, since most other glyph's are pretty useless and don't really benefit as much as these glyph's. Also these glyph's will come in handy when the game transitions into mid-late and their AP carry (or carries) are dealing damage more heavily.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed Movement speed quints are vital for Hecarim. This is because not only will it make you a very fast and mobile pony but your ganks will be stronger, youll escape from ganks if you're solo top and best of all your passive scales well with the movement speed bonus
This is the main rune-page for Hecarim. I use these runes regardless of what their team is, and what role i'm playing. Only in exceptional circumstances where their team is Full AD, i'll consider using pure Armor runes.
Jungle Masteries #1
When jungling with Hecarin I've noticed a lot of people using very weird masteries, such as 9/21/0 or 21/9/0. and occasionally 9/0/21. However with much experimentation myself with what is the best masteries to jungle with, I've come to the conclusion that 0/9/21 works well.
The 9 in defense gives you Health (which is always handy) and the reflection of damage to minions is very helpful in clearing faster. As for the 21 in Utility the movement speed greatly increases your mobility and potential to succeed in ganks. The mana regen is also helpful alongside the experience gains and more time on blue buff and red buff. But the main reason why I put 21 in utility is because of the spell vamp which works wonders for your (W) and ultimate late game.
Jungle Masteries #2
After the recent changes in jungle and also with Hecarim, this is the new jungle mastery page I use in about 80% of my games now. Before the changes, the 9 in offence wasn't really beneficial, however since the jungle was buffed, and hecarim found some higher cooldown reductions on his skills, it's made it pretty clear that Hecarim needs a bit of a boost in damage output in order to compete with other junglers in clearance times and counter-gank or counter jungling efficiently. This mastery page makes for good jungle clearence, decent output in damage, and beneficial late game. However it makes ganks less efficient due to lacking the extra movement speed / CDR and also experience in order to gain an edge in levels early game.
For top, I like to go 1/21/8. The 1 point in offense is useful for your main summoner spells Ghost and Ignite. The 21 in defense helps sustain top in the early game, and also comes handy late when you start to build tanky. The 8 in Utility again helps for sustain in mana and also summoner spells cooldown reduction is always handy.
Experienced Jungle Masteries
Recently been testing this particular mastery page out and at the moment seems to working a treat. Late game you benefit more, and also your ganks are stronger in terms of damage, jungle clearance also relatively faster with the only issue of less sustain. I've chosen to put this for the experienced Hecarim's out there as this page requires you to know your limits, since your ganks are going to uphold less sustain, so you're going to die faster, same applies in the jungle, you need to analyse the game and understand where their enemy is, since you have less sustain you're more prone to counter-jungling.
Notes: This page was inspired by KSL ****BirD :) who also influenced me on playing Hecarim in the first place, managed to face him recently when he was Hecarim again, learnt a thing or two ^^
Rampage is Hecarim's main tool of destruction. It's a helpful skill when last hitting minions or damaging your opponents, The short cooldown and AOE damage makes this skill a MUST to maximize as it transitions well on your core items.
How to use Rampage effectively
When using Rampage, especially early, its best not to spam it too much. This is because it can deplete your mana pool very fast and if you have no mana itll be hard for you to escape especially if someone comes to counter jungling or gank you when you're playing Solo Top.
Spirit of Dread
I max this skill second as the AOE damage and sustain is vital when jungling or playing solo top. It works wonders with your AOE damage from your Rampage as well. As on April 2013, there was a change which nerfed this particular spell. However, after much testing and games with Hecarim - i found that generally in the jungle you're still efficient and sustainable as before even if the cooldown has increased significantly, also in teamfights you do lack that general sustain over the long period of a fight, but in all, most fights only last 15 or so seconds. So again, it hasn't really effected the game-style of Hecarim at all. Another thing to note is that since the cooldown has increased, it encourages players to use this skill more appropriately throughout the game.
How to use Spirit of Dread effectively
When jungling if you smite whilst using this skill you will gain a lot of HP back. When Solo Top, its best not to use this skill unless you really have to, and when i said you have to, i mean when someone comes to gank or you're low and need to sustain. A great method when using Spirit of Dread is when in team fights ad you activate it when most opponents are around you become stupidly tanky as your health seems not to move. Thus so, its best to use this skill when there are a lot of enemies around to get the best out of it. This skill works most effectively if you have Spirit Visage. Also starting with W first when jungling is useful as you have better sustain when finishing wolves and also the damage is near identical to level 1 rampage (Q)
When play Jungle, this is your main ganking tool and works exceptional well in catching enemies up, or pushing them towards your team. It's also a great escape tool, especially when playing solo top, making you one pain in the butt to gank!
How to use Devastating Charge effectively
This is really hard skill to use effectively, its best in some scenario's to keep it, for instance when ganking Yi, try not to use it unless you really need to, because if he meditates you won't be able to cancel it as the cool-down on Devastating Charge is relatively high. Another way to use it effectively is when ganking or initiating activate this skill and then use Onslaught of Shadows in-front of the enemy and then knock (using devastating charge) the enemy towards your team.
Onslaught of Shadows
Your ultimate and main initiating tool. An incredibly useful spell that deals AOE damage and fears enemies in the end of the spell. The damage from the skill is exceptionally good after completing level 3.
How to use Onslaught of Shadows effectively
Using this skill effectively is vital in winning team-fights. As explained before, using this skill in conjunction with devastating charge can ensure an easy kill, especially if you've feared and knocked the carry towards your team. Another way of using this skill effectively is if the enemy team is doing Baron. I've had many games where i'm the last one alive, or I've re-spawned first and I've used Onslaught of Shadows right into the Baron pit, fearing the whole enemy team and then smiting it - stealing the Baron.
Ghost This is your main summoner spell whether be Top or Jungle. It's movement speed bonus gives you an edge in damage when chasing enemies, and is also a great spell when ganking or escaping ganks at Top lane.
Smite A must for jungling and in order to steal baron, or ensure you get baron. Also drake.
Teleport A summoner spell I've used for many games when playing Solo Top. This is indeed necessary if you're facing a harass champion or if you feel like you'll struggle in your lane. In one particular game i was losing top pretty hard by an Irelia who was 2/0. But because i had teleport, i ganked bot lane and secured not only 2 kills for my team but also dragon. This small move within the game transitioned us to win the game as a whole. Teleport can also be useful in order to get back in lanes fast.
Ignite A very useful summoner spell for when you're playing Top Lane against sustainable champs or to just ensure a kill on the enemy
Notes: Another useful summoner spell can be Exhaust which I use mainly vs. Xin zhao or heavy burst champions.
Ninja tabi are a must vs heavy AD teams or if you're facing a AD Harass in your top lane, such as irelia and pantheon.
I usually get these boots in most my Hecarim games, the tenacity is a MUST vs CC teams and the given MR is useful when facing AP teams.
Very rarely get these but if i'm stomping the enemy team and i want to move around the map s fast as possible, these boots are a treat to do just that.
For the enhancements of my boots I usually go for homeguard since its faster to get my hp/mana regen to get back into lanes and also the given movement speed makes sure I can just do that as well. Not only this but when defending turrets or inhibitors, the passive of this enhancement alongside your (E) gives you mass AD, so you can storm in and do heavy damage to the enemies hitting your turrets.
This is the core build for Hecarim. Sheen is really useful for Hecarim as the passive works well with the fact you can spam your Rampage (Q) and then proceed to activate the passive afterwards. Spirit Visage, which is a particular item most people forget to get on Hecarim, is core because, it gives you great sustain with your Spirit of Dread (W) and not only that but the magic resist and health, including the CDR is very useful for Hecarim.
This is a bit of a discussion but before the changes on items, Trinity force was the key item for Hecarim, but now it can be argued that it isn't anymore. UPDATE:Trinity force has been changed since I last updated this build, however after a few tests i still believe Iceborn is a much better item in terms of ganks and chasing down their carries or even saving your team-mates (because the slow effect is OP) Thus so, ...in 75% of my Hecarim games I have got Iceborn Gauntlet. This item is great vs a Mix / or Heavy AD team as it provides you with CDR and a lot of Armor. The ability power and Mana are also useful for Hecarim as well. However I found that vs Heavy AP teams, Trinity force is better. Why? Well because the Armor from the Iceborn Gauntlet isn't really necessary, and the Trinity force gives much better damage and health. So:
Vs. Heavy AP get Trinity Force. Vs Heavy AD / Mix get Iceborn Gauntlet.
These are the two Core items vs. a Heavy AD / Mix team. The sunfire cape is an item i usually get in most my games anyway, generally because the passive works a treat for your overall AOE damage and the health and armor is a treat. The randiun's omen which follows makes you an unkillable beast vs most AD champs, and the active on randiun's makes sure you can chase those pesky escape champions down, such as Nidalee, and Ezreal.
Pretty self explanatory, but Maw of Malmortius gives of an amazing passive and also heavy damage and sustain vs AP teams. I usually rush this item vs heavy AP teams as it can be the difference of surviving an onslaught of a burst, or if i'm facing a Karthus. Warmogs Armor is a great item vs AP, why? well its tanky and also makes burst ap champs pretty mad when you survive their combo's. Since the changes with aegis of legion, and runic, this is the only good applicable item that works well with Hecarim to go forth with..
This item was one I overlooked. It gives great damage output for Hecarim's skill-set and also boosts his sustain. The active makes it easier to gank and chase enemies or to scout enemy champions.
A great item for Hecarim since he scales both AP and AD very well. The life steal and spell vamp is a treat for Hecarim and helps him sustain longer it team-fights whilst dishing out a lot more damage. I generally never get the chance to buy this item, as its usually my last item i bother getting.
Another great item for Hecarim, not only does his skill-set cause AOE havoc, but having this item on top of it all just puts the icing on the cake. I usually don't rush this item after Iceborn anymore since i usually build Hecarim tanky. However it's still a great item.
This item works wonders vs a Heavy AD team. The magic damage return works wonders with Sunfire and the additional AP you have. This is a must have item if you're facing a AD lineup such as Riven top, and Pantheon mid.
A self explanatory item. This is a must-have item if you're facing attack speed enemy champions such as Vayne, Tristana and Kogmaw and generally any other team with Nunu as support.
I've not shown much love to this item until now. This is a great item to upgrade spirit stone into when jungling. The passive works a treat vs tanky enemies since its true damage, and can cause havoc in situations where you're in the middle of the enemy team. (UPDATE: This item is boss, and is sort of a core item for Hecarim, i usually get this when playing Top as well. 9/10 games I get this item!)
Notes: It is important when choosing items to analyse their team and adjust by what their team is building or by how fed they're. The item builds are merely a guide and don't 100% reflect true builds that I use within the game. As you can see below, my items are constantly changing by whom i'm facing:
(print screen from lolking)
- I only get this item when their team is Heavy AD and CC. Since you'll be getting ninja tabi vs a heavy AD team - You'll like the tenacity to withstand a heavy CC team; So this item is perfect.
- Get this if your support is going more of a carry build than support build. Such as Fiddlesticks Zyra Lux and Morgana. I've got this item in a few of my hecarim games, the stats are really good and work well with Hecarim, such as the cooldown reduction for his Q and the added health and armor. The passive works nicely when you engage and protect your AD carries (which is usually your job if you're going tanky)
- Bit of testing, and also from various reviews. This item is useful and situation to Hecarim. I wouldn't advise it for every-game. But in games where you find you lack CC control (possibly you went for ninja tabi or boots of swiftness) and you also need damage or more gank presence - then this item is the best choice.
- I found that the damage output (from passive) is relatively good if you're facing a tanky team, and the health and added ap is just a bonus. I only rarely get this, or if im just playing a normal and having fun.
Can I still get Trinity Force vs a heavy ad / mix team?
Here's the deal with Trinity Force, I've had a lot of comments that it's actually better than Iceborn. Well, only in rare cases it is. Now these cases are where the heavy ad team or mix team don't really have much escape, and you also find that its actually more beneficial to get Trinity force in order to take advantage of the movement speed passive. Obviously it seems that the new Trinity Force will be IDEAL for Hecarim, but its not better than Iceborn, simple.
However, i have found i'm getting the Trinity force a lot more than I used to, so maybe if i can test a few more games with it, I may update this later on, but at the moment Iceborn > T.F
Below is the new standard jungle route:
This is the new standard jungle route. The difference here between the old one was the changes in the jungle a while back where the wraiths/wolves/golems wouldn't spawn till 1:55 (same time as the main golems) making it not very efficient to start them anymore. Not only this but a wide majority of players are becoming accustomed to counter-ganking their enemy jungler at top. So, if you start on blue side (the bottom side of the map) it's vital you start RED GOLEM in order to go from red->blue->top to help your top-laner countergank the enemy (since 95% of enemy junglers go top after level 3 and doublebuff). If you start red/purple side, which is the top side of the map, you will want to start BLUE GOLEM then go to your Red, then proceed to top.
Below is an image of the old standard jungle route:
This is the old route, which is still applicable, except you want to be starting your main golem buffs rather than wraiths or wolves. However this is a route I don't general do anymore, unless I know I'm going to get counterjungled / invaded (i.e they have a blitzcrank, nunu thresh, shen or shaco)
Counter-jungling route (Route #2)
Now as you can clearly see, there are 3 possible directions after completing your red buff (blue buff if you start top side). You can either take your blue golem, or take theirs, or even take their red. This can be complicated to explain why I've included these 3 directions after (1), And I'll advise only the experienced players try this as it takes a lot of analysing the game, awareness and understanding of the map / enemy in order to do so. More explanation on this will be given later on in this chapter
When ganking its important to understand where to come in from and what are the best routes to do so. Below is a illustration on the standard ganking routes for Hecarim:
As you can see there are many ways to gank the opponent. The ganking area of jungling takes a lot of practice and experience, especially with Hecarim - as you want to position yourself in a way that you can knock back your opponent into the enemy, or even tower.
Now we move onto the hard stuff (if you know what I mean *wink*)
**** As you can see it looks complicated already. First of all this is for the advanced Hecarim players out there and the ganks shown should only be done if you're level 6 or above to ensure you can escape or deal as much damage as possible.
**** This is where the analyzing of the game and awareness comes into play. This is also what separates the good and bad players apart. The cyan dots represent movement from the opponent, primarily at this given illustration, mid lanes opponent. Now if the opponent in mid comes in from route 1. Then it means that the enemy jungler has started Blue buff, if he comes in from 2. It most likely means hes started at your red buff. If hes came from 3. Then the enemy jungler has started Red (usually in Lee sin games). Now from this we can build a picture and understand where the enemy jungler is at this time. Usually you can predict whether the enemy had a smiteless pull or not by the time it takes mid to get into their lane. However top lane can also help pull for the enemy and the same goes for bot lane, therefore its important to watch them as well.
**** This denotes the enemy jungler. If the enemy ganks bot after his blue buff (so hes ganking around 1:57~2:05) then its clear his red buff can be taken with ease as hes going to be no threat to you spotting you as hes bot lane. However its very rare that a jungler ganks bot straight after blue, but its always good to keep an eye out. Nevertheless for those starting at red buff ( Lee Sin and Shyvana mainly) then usually they gank top as soon as possible, so if you see them top with just a red buff at around 2:00 mark, then quickly run to their blue after your smiteless pull and steal it!. UPDATE: please be aware most junglers now counter-gank top at level 3, thus so, lee sin and shyvana for example may start blue.
Notes: if you start on the other-side from the images above, the same routes apply.
When to pick Hecarim
Its never a bad time to pick a Hecarim. Since hes underrated and barely played - a lot of players underestimate him and also don't understand his skill set, so with this in mind, you're already a step ahead of the game. Hecarim is versatile when it comes to team-play. He can be a tank, a bruiser or someone that deals huge damage. He can also play Solo Top and Jungle efficiently and mid reasonably well. Hecarim works really well with anyone that has CC within the team, generally if you have an Amumu jungle, and a burst CC AP mid such as Vladimir, Annie or Rumble then its pretty much GG. However, for me, i find there are some scenarios where I am jungle, or I am top and I think...maybe I shouldn't be picking Hecarim.
HARD DIFFICULTY vs
Going Top: Rammus, Nunu, Jax, Aatrox and Elise
Reasoning: Rammus is just a insane tank and pretty much counters most AD's. There are a few Rammus top players out there, so don't underestimate them, once they taunt you... you're pretty much dead, especially if their jungler comes. Nunu has insane sustain and harass, you just cant beat him...no-one can. Elise is OP, you cant sustain her harass, she is quite tanky, can dodge your ultimate nicely and also you cant really run from her. Once Elise gets lane control its pretty much GG for you. Jax is difficult due to the changes with Trinity force, hes a force to reckon with, if you fall early game its pretty much gg. Aatrox similar to nunu in the essence he has good sustain, escape and insane damage output, want to watch out for this champion, especially his passive!
Going Jungle: Xin Zhao, Nunu and Shaco
Reasoning: All 3 can counter jungling you with ease, and xin zhao is a monster, you cant 1v1 him. Nunu also slows you constantly so can countergank, counterjungle and totally mess up your lane game.
MEDIUM DIFFICULTY vs
Going Top: Vladimir, Yorick, Pantheon, Irelia, Darius and Malphite
Reasoning: Vladimir and Yorick have decent sustain and harass, and can be difficult for those inexperienced with Hecarim, or even experienced. The same applies for Pantheon and Malphite. Irelia and Darius are medium difficulty since they do insane damage once they hit a certain level, and true damage is always a killer for Hecarim.
Going Jungle: Vi and Nautilus
Reasoning: Both hurt in 1v1 and also have decent counter jungling capabilities.
BE CAREFUL DIFFICULTY vs
Going Top: Cho'Gath and Nidalee
Reasoning: Cho'Gath has true damage burst and heavy CC, be careful and dont underestimate him, he has great sustain in lane and synergizes with most junglers, so always ward your lane. Nidalee shouldn't be a threat, however if its a good nidalee expect a few spears coming your way, try your best to dodge, Nidalee can pack a punch and also has great sustain and farming capabilities. However if you can dodge most her spears, you should be able to freefarm easily.
Going Jungle: Olaf and Zac
Reasoning: Olaf is tanky, true damage, throws axes...This bad boy is one to look out for, especially if hes a good olaf. Zac has reasonable sustain, good damage output and also good jungle clearance making it viable for him to counter jungle.
Notes: A great thing about going top Hecarim is that the enemy team won't expect it and think it'll be someone else on your team going top, thus so you'll have the benefit over them because you've tricked them into choosing a team which counters you in the jungler, or counters your team's "supposingly" top. For example, if you picked hecarim top, and then your have a Zed going jungle. The enemy will most likely think that Zed is the one going top.
UPDATE on Hecarim top: with the recent changes in both jungle and items, and also the introduction of newer champions such as Aatrox, also the fact that people are becoming more experienced within the game, Hecarim top isn't as strong as he used to be, there are more counters than before this guide was updated. I used to pick Hecarim top in a lot of my games, but now I've found myself deterring from it, I still think its a great pick top, if you know who their top is and isn't in the difficulty lists.
To summarize, Hecarim is a really fun champion to play, and is one of the strongest champions in game (in my opinion) as he has really good sustain, CC which can ultimately win you a game if done right, and has reasonable damage alongside being mobile. Even if your build costs a lot in comparison to some junglers, if played right, you can become one fed pony and eventually earn enough blue ribbons to win the game.
- This guide may inherit some mistakes and will be fixed shortly after revision
- The overall look of the guide will eventually be improved and become more visually appealing
- More content will be added and various chapters improved
- Please comment and express why you think this guide deserves a downvote before doing so
Changes with UPDATES
- Improved when to pick hecarim
- Changed jungle routes
- Improved analyse on items
- Changed masteries
- Updated on the idea of picking Hecarim top
- Updated masteries
- Runes remained same
- added to situational items
- added to situational items
- highlighted importance of spirit of elder lizard
- added a few notes about the recent change of Hecarim's W
- Now considered a mere core item, and would advise rushing this as soon as possible whether jungle or top.
- Added an experienced jungle and top build
- Added what champions to not pick hecarim vs, and difficulty of certain champions when picking Hecarim
- (after much testing) are considered useful
- 9/0/21 considered a more optimum mastery page for Hecarim jungle
- Removed QA chapter
- Added notes to various builds
IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT THE PATCH NOTES 01/03/2013
"These changes make Hecarim’s durability more consistent by smoothing out his early game jungle clear while reducing his late game survivability in team fights."
This is basically what has happened tbh, since his W has been nerfed, even cool-down are longer early, he'll suffer sustain. However, his ganks early will be stronger in terms of damage, jungle clearance also faster. Here's a rundown of whats happened:
1. His jungle clearance will be faster and balanced
2. His extra damage from rampage makes up for the loss in damage from S.Elder Lizard.
3. Ganks will seemingly be stronger since Q does more damage
1. Less sustain in jungle
2. Less sustain in teamfights (not by much though)
As for the item changes in the patch:
Elder Lizard: "Incinerate damage reduced to 14-50 over 3 seconds from 15-66"
This is a small change, but an important change for Hecarim. Basically in my opinion, since Q has been buffed slightly in damage, the damage reduction for the incinerate will counter this, so really you'll only notice a very minor change in damage, something that'll make maybe 50 damage in total difference in a team-fight. Now you could argue this is a lot early game, or even late...and could change a team-fight, but typically speaking...this really isn't a problem and you shouldn't be concerned. I'll still rush spirit of the elder lizard.
So to clarify, Hecarim still viable, and still one of the strongest junglers. Just be careful when jungling as you definitely want to start W now, occasionally I've started Q, but now since sustain nerfed it's better to get W first so you can keep 1~2 pots. Another thing is, since cooldown is longer early game for your W, again, be careful and understand the limits.
Notes: I've also noticed Vi been nerfed harder than expected, The same applies for Xin - I think now Hecarim is more of a threat than Vi, and now is easily in the Top 3 junglers. I also think rushing 6 is more beneficial than ganking lanes that are a complete waste of time and effort. Unless you believe you can burn a summoner or kill them, or even help your team-mate sustain better.