Hecarim Build Guide by Pelikins
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A Note to the Reader:
My name is Pelikins. I've been an active player since BETA and have been theory crafting guides for over two years on Mobafire.com.
I am a competitive player with a ton of ranked experience. I have played over 400 ranked games in season 2 and have reached a rating as high as 1625 ELO.
This IS the best build on MOBAFIRE. I'm not one to make outlandish claims, but I'm throwing that out there as fact (not opinion).
It's play tested and approved by multiple 1600+ ELO players.
They all agree that the build strategy outlined in this guide is the ONLY way to build Hecarim to compete in the competitive RANKED format.
The only reason the score isn't the highest is because the itemization doesn't reflect the initial impressions that players got when the champion was released and the fact that the guide has been trolled by other Hecarim guide creators trying to improve their guide's standings.
That said. READ THE WHOLE GUIDE. THEN TRY IT OUT. THEN VOTE!
Once you've got a general feel for the working of the champion and guide,
YOU WILL BE AMAZED BY THE RESULTS!
Read the whole guide before voting, especially if you see something you don't like and wish to down vote.
The guide does a good job of describing every decision made for the build, if you give it a chance and read it.
If you still wish to down vote after reading the whole thing, please leave me constructive feedback so that I can improve upon that aspect.
I highly recommend asking questions in the comments area. I plan to add an entire section of to guide dedicated to answering your questions. I've played since Beta and am highly opinionated...try me ^_^
Lastly, I love seeing that my guides have had an impact on people's game experiences. Vote! I highly encourage it. I also appreciate +reps!
Pros and Cons:
Can position easily
One of the best sustain abilities in the game Spirit of Dread
Heavy damage without building offensively Rampage Sheen
Absolute beast level 9+
Strongest engager in the game! Onslaught of Shadows
Good clear times
Ganks aren't the strongest until level 6
Not a strong duelist early game.
Can be mana hungry
Can be kited if without ult
Hecarim is a unique new champion that brings several new ability techs to the table.
This makes him interesting to play, but also challenging to build.
Many people fail to tailor their build specifically to Hecarim and instead build him like other junglers. Because of this, Hecarim has earned the reputation of being underpowered.
I present this build to the community because I've found it to be very promising and powerful. I feel this is the best way to build Hecarim in order to fully utilize him.
I will walk the reader through each choice I made.
Warpath - passive
This is Hecarim's passive and probably the hugest NOOB trap Riot ever made. Hecarim gains AD based on a percentage of his movement speed. Many people will fall for the trap of running Phantom Dancers or rushing Trinity Force on Hecarim because they want the free passive AD. I think this sounds better than it really is. First off, only your bonus move speed applies. On top of that, move speed begins to have diminishing returns once the first soft cap of 415 is reached and additional DR begin at 475 move speed. At the end of the day, a percentage of a percentage of a small number ends up not being much. That said, anything that makes Hecarim gain move speed does in fact have slightly more value because of his passive and temporary speed buffs such as Ghost, and shurelya's reverie still end up giving an appreciable amount of AD for their duration (Reverie gives about 20 AD, Ghost gives around 16 (depending on other active effects/DRs).)
Rampage- physical damage - .6 bonus AD ratio - 4 sec CD (can be decreased down to 2)
This is Hecarim's damage staple. You'll use this to clear mobs and it will be your main damage source against players. The sad thing is that this skill deals only 50% damage to mobs. The good news is that mobs will huddle around you allowing you to spam them with rampage with 2 stacks so it still deals good dps, but the hindrance does set you back considerably in Hecarim's first clear.
Spirit of Dread- magic damage- 80% AP ratio - 14 sec cd - 4 second duration
This is the ability that defines Hecarim (as I will explain later. While active, all enemy targets within the area of effect heal Hecarim for a percentage of the damage they take. This includes damage they receive from other players, neutral mobs, minions, and yourself. Healing that you receive from damage dealt to minions is capped at a max for each rank but there is no cap against players.
Devastating Charge - physical damage - 1.5 bonus AD(max ratio) - 16 second CD (rank 5)
This is Hecarim's gap closing ability. The best thing about it is that rank 1 still provides the full 75% move speed boost. It's not a rewarding skill to level, but it doesn't need to be leveled either.
Onslaught of Shadows - magic damage- 80% + 40% AP ratio - 100 Sec CD (rank 3)
This skill is what makes Hec really attractive (in my opinion) to a team. The ability allows for Hecarim to perform brutal and effective ganks, position himself in team fights, catch runners, initiate team fights, or escape a hopeless situation. The ability has an AoE predictable anti-taunt called "horrify."
Build General Strategies:
I will now walk the reader through the most basic concepts for the build.
First off, which stats are and are NOT promoted by Hecarim's kit (I.E. What should we build and what should we NOT build on Hecarim.)
Lets first look at Hecarim's kit (previous chapter).
One of the challenges to building Hec is that his kit is split. He has 2 AD ratios and 2 AP ratios, he has 2 magic damage abilities and 2 physical damage abilities. Most of Hecarim's skills are AoE and not highly damaging, making spell vamp mediocre on him, while he has no synergy with life steal, auto attacking stats, or on hit effects either.
This makes building offensive stats on Hecarim unrewarding and about half as effective as on many other champions.
The one thing Hecarim does have going for him offensively is that he has a steady stream skills to constantly activate. This makes gaining Sheen procs very easy. Sheen is paramount to Hecarim's dps for this reason. The other offensive component that works well with Hecarim is cool down reduction.
CDR will drastically help all the spells in his kit.
CDR and Rampage:
Rampage has a 4 second CD. IF you hit a target with rampage, the CD is reduced by 1 and then 2 seconds. Without CDR you hit with your first skill and then wait 3 seconds for the second one and then all rampages after that point are 2 second CD.
With max CD you hit with your first and then only have to wait 1.8 seconds and all after that are 1.2 second CDs.
Laying it out, full CDR vrs NO CDR
1st Ramp- 0 sec vs 0sec
2nd Ramp- 1.8 sec vs 3 sec
3rd Ramp- 3 sec vs 5 sec
CDR and Spirit of Dread:
With Full CDR the CD on the Ability is now 8.4 seconds. The ability still has a 4 second duration and the CD begins to reset on activation.
That means that Hec can have the self healing aura on him nearly half the time, only being vulnerable for 4.4 seconds between CDs. .
With no CDR Hec is vulnerable for 10 seconds between CDs. You effectively reduce the duration that Hecarim is vulnerable by over 50% by maxing CDR on Hecarim.
CDR is obviously also good for Devastating Charge and Onslaught of Shadows as well. The effects aren't quite as drastic. CDR is nice on your ult (especially) as you can use it on a gank, and then gank again when it has around 6 seconds left on CD. They won't expect you to have it on your second gank.
So, we know we want a Sheen and maximum cool down reduction. What else do we want on Hecarim?
First off, we need some sustaining power. Hecarim uses mana and does not synergyze well with life steal or spell vamp. For these reasons, first building a philosopher's stone is the optimal choice. The mana and hp regen will allow Hec to jungle quickly and safely. Since philosopher's stone also builds into one of the most cost effective CDR items in the game ( Shurelya's Reverie), and provides a gold/5 income, it makes it an even more optimal item to first build.
Last key point:
Remember when I said that Spirit of Dread defines Hecarim?
Let's get back to that point. First off, as stated, we can get the effective CD of the ability down to 4.4 seconds (8.4 second CD with 4 second duration). So now nearly half the time we are nearly unkillable as long as we aren't horribly out numbered / out played. By building heavy resistances (armor and mr) we can make each health we regenerate through itemization and through Spirit of Dread more powerful!
Let me explain:
If we have 0% resistance to a damage type, then for every 1 damage they toss at us, we take 1 damage, hence every hp we regen is worth 1 effective hp.
Now if we have 50% resistance to a damage type, then for every 1 damage they toss at us, we take .5 damage, hence every hp we regen is worth 2 effective hp.
Now lets stack 244 armor worth 70% resistance to physical damage on our Hecarim. For every 1 physical damage they toss at us, we actually only take .3. That means every hp we regen is worth 3.3 hp!
Using this strategy we can make the effective HP of Hecarim well over 10k over the duration of a team fight. All while dealing a considerable amount of damage and being disruptive.
THIS IS THE OPTIMAL WAY TO BUILD HECARIM FOR COMPETITIVE PLAY!
First off, this Hecarim is a jungler. He needs to run Smite. So we will always run Smite with this build.
For our second option, I've tried many skills. But I've found Ghost by far the most useful.
The reason for this is that counter ganking is where Hecarim really excels.
The enemy jungler will rush in and try to gank an ally. You can pop ghost, if your level six you can get there even faster with your ult, reverie too, and E is also handy for this. The enemy team will charge straight into yours thinking they have a numbers advantage. You can disrupt their damage, position them into your turret, peel for team mates and do crud-tons of AoE damage to them and have considerably more AD than normal while you do it.
Ghost is also really nice for your own ganks, as warding against you is already difficult because of the impressive range of your ult. Ghosting into ult range leaves them with very little time to react to your gank.
The fact that ghost gives Hec improved benefit because of Warpath makes it incredible for him.
Nothing too fancy or unique here. Follow Phreak's instructions in the spotlight.
Max Rampage first followed by Spirit of Dread.
Rampage is your main damage source while Spirit of Dread is your tankiness in team fights and jungle sustain.
You'll want to max rampage over spirit of dread first for your ganks. Rampage deals considerably more damage to champions and even creeps than spirit of dread. The philosopher's stone and rank 1 Spirit of Dread are enough to keep Hecarim max hp beyond his first jungle clear as long as you use the suggested runes and masteries.
Get one point in Devastating Charge for the extra cc and move speed on ganks.
Keep Onslaught of Shadows max level possible!
Looking at my runes, many people will probably say, "Huh? WTF is this dude doing mixing runes like this?" It just worked out this way that this happens to be the best rune setup for Hecarim. There is nothing wrong with mixing runes...aside from having to have a dedicated Hecarim rune page...
I run armor penetration marks and 1 armor pen quint
Reducing the opponents armor as much as possible make Hec's base skill damage count the most. Since you'll be abusing that base damage, these will really help. Since Sheen procs don't scale with AD but deal physical damage, armor penetration wins out over AD.
I run 2 AS quints
2 AS Quints will improve your initial clear and jungle speed along with your dps considerably in the early and mid game against stationary targets.
I run 7 MR/level glyphs. Since MR itemization is more rare and less rewarding to buy, I run these quints.
I run 2 flat CDR glyphs to get me from 39% to 40% CDR. These also improve your early jungle speed very slightly. While these put you slightly over cap, you don't reach cap until about 30 minutes typically. Being 0.3% over the cap for the last 10 minutes of the game isn't the end of the world...
These are your typical jungling seals. Pretty much a requirement for full clearing on the first run with a regrowth pendent.
As stated several times now, I start with a Regrowth Pendant and a hp potion.
I do my first full clear (wolves then blue, then wraiths, then red, then golems, then wraiths, then wolves, then gank mid or top if either look potential, then return).
Once completing this initial clear I return and purchase both philosopher's stone AND Boots of Speed
At this point, your build should be reactive to your income. If on your next return you can straight buy a Sheen go for it. If you can't, upgrade Ionian Boots of Lucidity and buy whatever components of Sheen you can afford. Don't skip on tier 2 boots for just components of a Sheen. The mana and AP aren't important for you. You're after the procs. If you can't straight buy the Sheen, tier 2 boots are by far more valuable to you.
Value to you at this point in the game: (Get the item(s) with highest value)
Sheen> Ionian Boots of Lucidity> Amplifying Tome> Sapphire Crystal
As soon as possible upgrade the to tier 2 boots. ALWAYS get Ionian Boots of Lucidity. These boots are the cheapest CDR items in the game. They also improve you MS to help your ganking and give you some bonus AD.
I next buff my damage with a Sheen with your current CDR you can being rampage down to well under 2 seconds. That means lots and lots of sheen procs. Don't worry about getting a trinity force...it isn't needed at all. The sheen by it self does the trick and is a third of the price.
If you are able to keep the blue buff for your self, you can now grab a Heart of Gold. This item will eventually build into Randuin's Omen but will buff your hp and pay for itself in the mean time.
If you are giving away the blue buff, you should build a Warden's Mail instead. Warden's Mail will provide you enough incoming damage mitigation and health regeneration where you won't need Spirit of Dread for health regeneration. This will save you a ton of mana.
Your next item will be a Kindlegem that will eventually build into a shurelya's reverie. This is another very cheap way to boost your CDR.
I next finish my shurelya's reverie this gets me closer the CDR cap. The extra mana regen is very nice for jungling without the blue while the active provides some bonus AD and mobility. Reverie is a very solid item for counter ganking, counter jungling and showing up when you are needed. The fact that it also provides 20 AD to you for a duration isn't bad either.
You now have nearly full CDR. That means you can have w running on you almost half of the time. Since you now have mana regen and hp regen enough to sustain in the jungle in addition, you should build resists so that all the hp you regen has higher value.
If you have not yet bought any armor, it is now time to purchase Warden's Mail.
I now buy a Negatron Cloak this item will compliment all the self healing you are capable of by mitigating incoming damage by significant % so each regenerated hit point is worth more. If an enemy mage gets fed, it is a good idea to get this item sooner.
I next build a Randuin's Omen. This item is guaranteed to be effective since Hec has great mobility and can position so well with his ultimate. This item can really hurt the enemies AD carry and fighter.
To further buff my MR, I upgrade the Negatron to a Force of Nature. If you are having trouble with CC, another option is a Quicksilver Sash this item is also handy against champions that have healing reduction in their kit in addition to countering ignite. If they are igniting you, make sure to go QSS and build it earlier. If they are magic damage heavy, bump this item up in the build order either way you decide to go. The extra resists become really important if this is the case.
I now buff my dps by upgrading the Sheen to a Trinity Force. This will improve mobility add slow procs, improve sheen procs and give a rounded melee stat boost.
My last item is a Guardian Angel this item provides both armor and mr to further improve the benefit of your hp regeneration and also gives you a second chance if you are focused down in a team fight. Because your resists are so high, the hp they give you on return is considerable, especially since your Spirit of Dread will likely come off CD while you revive. This item is very handy as they will now need at least two focused bursts to bring you down allowing you to play/position very aggressively.
If you are looking for maximum damage from your last item, The Black Cleaver is where it is at. Since you have sustaining power to get all 3 stacks and still stay on the target for an extended period, this item will shred more armor typically than a Last Whisper while also providing more AD and some AS on top.
If they are AP heavy, or have a fed mage, it's an excellent idea to grab a Hexdrinker early. I will usually build my philo, boots, and sheen and then grab a Negatron Cloak followed by a hex drinker. The down side is that this fills your inventory quickly making building future items a bit harder and makes getting wards for your team harder as your inventory space is limited. The upside is that the Hexdrinker will provide a ton of effective hp for Hec against a mage. I finish the build with a Maw of Malmortius when I go this route.
If you are looking for a way to be more solo effective, then The Bloodthirster will be your last item. This will give you more health regen (life steal) to compliment you high resistances and will work well with your current setup as the Trinity Force provides you with decent rounded auto attack ability. The item also provides a good amount of AD for your rampage spamming. Personally, I prefer the Guardian Angel route but this route is likely the second most viable and is especially good if your carries can not handle the enemy bruisers. With this item you likely will be able to solo an enemy carry yourself. The downside is that you won't survive damage bursts as well and a single ignite can end you.
The last really good option is a sunfire cloak. This item was buffed back to 40 damage per second in the last patch. That's a pretty considerable amount of sustained damage if you are a champion that can stand in the middle of a team and roast everyone. My only issue with the item is that it gives health rather than more resists- which isn't as good for Hecarim- and the item gives the minimum amount of armor of any Chain Vest recipe. But if you and find yourself running around in circles chasing around their carries while Shen and Dr. Mundo constantly try to peel for them...this is a decent item to tell Shen and Dr. Mundo to go die in a (sun)fire.
Game Play Notes:
I find Hecarim ideal as a counter ganker. While he isn't exceptionally powerful against a single target, he regenerates a lot of health and deals a considerable amount of damage in AoE against multiple targets.
Showing up at the right opportunities is the real trick.
First off, memorize jungle paths of the enemy junglers. Expect an Udyr to gank red side around 4 minutes. Expect Rammus to gank mid around 3:15. ECT
The key is predicting enemy jungler movements and keeping your movements invisible.
If one of your lanes is really pushed and prime for a gank, chances are that's where the enemy jungler is headed. If one of your teammates is huddled under his turret at low hp, chances are a dive is coming. Keep aware of these situations and show up on time.
THAT'S THE KEY!
Use your great mobility in Devastating Charge Shurelya's Reverie Ghost and Onslaught of Shadows to get where the action is going to be. Onslaught of Shadows especially provides you interesting pathing options.
Make sure to have good team sight ward coverage (even if it means buying wards for your teammate's lanes) so that you can respond in time. Stay alert and predict enemy movement.
Also stay aware of their sight ward coverage and stay invisible. Make them think a bad dive or gank is a safe one.
Once you show up once or twice and spoil their day, they will become more timid and start missing plays that they could of made out of fear of you showing up.
Often they will start placing wards in your jungle to try and prevent you from being as effective at countering. An Oracle's Elixir is very handy for this as you can really cripple their vision. You are also very tanky and mobile making you and ideal Oracle's carrier.
BE THE GHOST IN THE JUNGLE. IT'S NOT JUST YOUR LORE, IT'S YOUR PLAY STYLE!
Avoid duels early on. While you are nearly unstoppable against equally geared enemies late game, you are severely disadvantaged in a duel early on. Do not fight an enemy jungler 1v1 pre-level 9. Farm your side of the map and only engage enemy players with help. If an enemy jungler is trying to counter jungle you, engage them after they begin fighting the minions. The minions will help twice by dpsing them and also by healing you through Spirit of Dread. Once you have a Sheen life gets a lot better for you on the dueling front. At level 9 when you have max'd out Rampage and have some cdr you will be able to win most duels.
Play smart, gank ideal targets and counter gank to really make Hec shine in the early levels.
Warding for Counter Jungling 101:
Warding is of paramount importance to successfully counter ganking. Being able to identify a gank and position the counter is of utmost importance.
There are 4 ward locations that need to be covered early on to insure success if your Nexus is the one on the bottom side of the map. If your base is the top, just rotate this image 180 degree to get the optimal coverage. Obviously, if they get an oracles, things get interesting as you can't defend these ward positions easily.
I've numbered them 1-4 in regard to importance.
#1: Bot lane / dragon ward. This covers the path out of their blue. It will let you see a gank going bottom, especially if they go tri-bush bottom a long time in advance. It will also let you know if they are trying to counter-jungle your red or golems going from blue or if they head towards mid they could be going to gank mid or steal wraiths/red.
Usually the support will cover this location. But ward it if they don't.
#2: Top lane tri-bush. You can skimp on some coverage if you lower this ward slightly to see the river as well, but as long as ward #4 is in place, this location is optimal. It gives you the most time to see a gank top coming so that you can get into position to counter and gives your top time to retreat. Usually I make the deal that I place and maintain #4 if they do #2.
#3: This is the best location for a ward to protect middle and your wraith camp entrance. This location gives mid plenty of vision and reaction time for a gank coming from right side. I ually mek the deal that I place and maintain #4 if they do #3.
#4: This one is the final piece that makes everyone feel safe and happy. It protects left side of middle, the blue buff, and the top from a gank through the middle. It also will display middle heading top for a gank. I volunteer to keep this one in place.
If all four wards are in place, you can get to about any lane from anywhere in time to foil and counter a gank. This makes counter ganking effective and is paramount to a successful Hecarim. In addition, you can better keep track of where they are placing wards so that you can avoid them with this much vision.
Ganking 101: Make Rammus and Lee Sin Look Like Weak Gankers.
One of the strongest things that Hecarim has going for him is his ganks.
His ganking potential with Onslaught of Shadows is extreme while even prior to level 6 he can gank well with Ghost and Devastating Charge.
One of the best things about his ganks is tons of options. This should make their lanes spend more on wards and have to place them aggressively where your Oracle's Elixir carrier can remove them easily.
He is one of the few junglers who is fast enough to run up a lane for a gank. This is especially easy post level 6 with a team member in the lane who has a hard CC. If you run up a lane with cc, have them use their targeted CC as you arrive (don't chance it with skill shots though) and onslaught of souls on them landing slightly behind them to fear them towards allies, then knock them farther up your lane with devestating charge. With focused dps rolling on them, the target should drop quickly.
Here's the biggest tip: Control bottom, control the game.
Bottom is one of the hardest to gank since it is constantly warded, but a couple good ganks puts TWO of your allies in a good spot. The support will feel free to grab Oracle's Elixir while your AD carry gets fed. This will make your future ganks even stronger and will allow you to control the dragon as well.
A bottom gank is often my first NON-COUNTER GANK.
Why no u: Q & A
Q: Why u no buy Wriggle's Lantern?
A: While Wriggle's Lantern is a powerful item, Hecarim has no synergy with life steal as his kit does not provide any auto attack steroids and none of his abilities add on hit effects. That makes wriggle's lantern a lackluster item for him. Additionally, building attack damage on Hecarim isn't highly rewarding because his Q only has a .6 AD ratio, he again has no auto attack steroids, and his CD on E is 24 seconds long at rank 1 (where it will remain until late game). Having your first item give you very little combat effectiveness on a champion that inherently isn't very strong early game is not a good idea.
Q: Why u no buy Mercury Treds?
A: The simple truth is that Hecarim doesn't need them. First off, there is a cost savings in going with any other choice of boots. Secondly tenacity isn't all that amazing for Hecarim. You have great mobility in ( Devastating Charge, shurelya's reverie, Ghost. You have the most powerful gap closer ever made in Onslaught of Souls. While you are dpsing you should be constantly repositioning yourself in front of where they want to go, which makes short ccs ineffective against you as they will spend the CC duration navigating past you only to get hit by rampage as soon as the CC is over. Most importantly, CC does not interrupt you survivability. Your regeneration in Spirit of Dread and your mitigation through resists are passive effects. In short, CC doesn't stop your DPS effectively, rarely allows them to escape you, and doesn't hinder your survivability. The only CC's that are a pain are long suppressions. First off, Hecarim shouldn't be the one getting targeted with these, but if you are- a Quicksilver Sash is a better answer than Mercury Treds anyway. Instead we build Ionian Boots of Lucidity because they will drastically improve our jungle clear time, survivability, ganking potential, dps, and mobility, and disruption. For considerably less coin than the treds.
Q: Why u no build Phantom Dancer?
A: Cuz they bad for anyone cept AD carries. You are tanky dps who poops on AD carries, why would you want to be AD carry?
Q: Why u build Trinity Force so late? Trinity Force best item in game for Hecarim!
A: No, Sheen is best item in game for Hecarim. Trinity Force is really expensive Sheen upgrade with whole bunches of stats that don't work well on Hecarim. Get Sheen fast, then ignore rest of Trinity Force until you can afk by their carries and not worry about it anymore.
Q: Why u no build attack speed?
Attack speed is not ideal for [Hecarim]] and anyone building it beyond a couple runes and Trinity Force is doing it wrong...
Attack speed is for auto attackers. That champions that naturally get auto attack steroids or build complete glass cannon (ranged). Hec builds too defensively and doesn't have any AS, crit, or AD steroids. Attack speed is not an ideal stat for past his initial clear.
Your Questions; My Answers:
There is no content in this section. Do you know why? You haven't asked me any questions yet!
See that box at the bottom...Peli likes answering questions...
I hope you've enjoyed your read of my Hecarim guide and that I've inspired you to try my orignal take on this new and dynamic champion.
Personally, I've found great success with the build and feel that with it, Hecarim is a viable and powerful champion.
If you've enjoyed this guide, check out my others.
Feel free to vote and comment.
+reps are always appreciated.