Hecarim Build Guide by Aenemius
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Welcome to Name That Brony! I mean pony. I mean warhorse. I mean OH GOD THE BLOOD!
Hecarim is a champion in the League of Legends, as of April 18th, 2012. He's best described as a high-mobility jungle, surprisingly capable of early, terrifying ganks and late game tankiness.
Hecarim's kit centers around movespeed; as such, I've worked through a number of potential builds since he was released - however, with the number of changes in metagame and pushing theory, a lot of movespeed based or pure carry builds don't work as well as they could. Despite his passive, Warpath, providing a damage bonus scaling on movespeed, play has shown that some obvious choices (items like Boots of Swiftness and movespeed runes) aren't actually the best shot at owning your jungle and making the enemy miserable.
This being said, Hecarim excels in solo queue jungling, due to his strong command of counterjungling and lane camping utility. He's easily one of my favorite junglers, aside from Maokai and Skarner.
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.
"You don't understand...the shadows will consume us all..." - Former Demacian Commander
Why Movespeed is a Blind
Having a bonus based on movement speed seems like an excellent versatility play. Because of this, my first builds with Hecarim consisted of;
- Boots of Swiftness again for movespeed bonus of 90 points.
- Phantom Dancer for AS, crits, and the 15% movement speed bonus
- Force of Nature for regen, as well as the 8% movement speed
- Three Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed for 4.5% bonus movespeed.
- A number of other attack speed items and lifesteal items including The Black Cleaver, Wit's End and The Bloodthirster
While this seemed like a natural move, given his kit, it actually didn't have the expected effect. With all of the above movespeed items, and masteries to match, my final speed bonus was 90 points from boots, and 27.5% from items and runs. So, without Ghost or Lulu's Whimsy bonus, my movespeed was around 546.27
This movespeed translates into, yes, amazing map coverage.
However, at level 18 it means 51.96 bonus damage from Warpath.
Just over 50 AD from a passive feels like a lot - more than a B.F. Sword admittedly. However, balance this against the loss of utility items such as Banshee's Veil or Mercury's Treads for magic resist, never mind Infinity Edge for damage, and it begins to add up.
A single change of item, such as replacing Boots of Swiftness with Mercury's Treads or Berzerker's Greaves, more than makes up for the difference in damage with it's own benefits, and provides other meaningful utilities Hecarim needs to survive in a lane.
This aside, compare that 51.96 AD with the bonus from the build above.
With only three items contributing, plus masteries, this still works out to 475.8 movespeed; a damage bonus from Warpath at level 18 of 38.95.
Roughly 12 AD and 40 movespeed difference, but far more versatility as a champion all together. In fact, just changing out Phantom Dancer for Trinity Force eclipses the difference; Trifoce has 30 AD, 18 more than the difference in movespeed accounts for.
This is not to say Gotta Go Fast Hecarim is an invalid play; but you DO need to be highly aware, as with other highly specialized or situational builds, that the mobility you're building means large opportunity trade-offs elsewhere.
Ghost is your friend. Say it with me; Ghost. Is. Your. Friend.
You are a ghost horse. Scaling from speed. Pop Ghost in the middle of a teamfight? Damage bonus. Pop it right before a gank, as well as your E, Devastating Charge? Ridiculous burst damage and engage speed.
Everything else is an afterthought. I use Ignite with it's mastery for the passive AD and AP bonus as much as I do for a last-chance kill if I'm laning. Hecarim is so much the lane chaser it's hard to imagine needing Exhaust - though it can be handy - and just about everything else has diminished returns. Flash is a good replacement for Ghost if you prefer - but the champ's innate mobility and the benefits of Ghost have so far outweighed other mobility spells for me.
Smite is required when jungling, as Hecarim's early jungle can be miserable unless you've got aid. We'll see what Season 3 looks like for this.
Skills - Like Nocturne, But with More Chase
Hecarim's kit is of course all about mobility. Both his E, Devastating Charge and his R, Onslaught of Shadows, are excellent gap closers.
The thing to remember when building Hecarim, however, is that he's an excellent farmer and a superb chaser. His passive, Warpath, having built-in unit collision ignore means he can move through any kind of morass - minion build-ups, teamfights, etc - and gain excellent positioning to knock back with Devastating Charge or pounce over a wall with Onslaught of Shadows.
So far, building AD and Hybrid Hecarims, I've maxed Rampage first every time to farm; I see no reason to change this up. Those looking for an aggressive bend to their game might choose Devastating Charge after, rather than Spirit of Dread for the sustain and farming bonuses.
Onslaught of Shadows is a real killer when jungling Hecarim. Being able to jump the entire thick wall behind either Blue or Red buff camps and push an enemy jungler off the monsters is a big deal. Similarly, leaping a wall into lane behind an enemy for a gank - especially followed with a Devastating Charge push into a tower - makes the range and fear of this ult just scream gank.
During engagements, I generally keep Spirit of Dread up whenever it can be, and use Rampage as often as possible. Because of the AOE on the latter, keeping moving while chasing down a target is easier - just give movement commands and keep spamming Q.
I'm still working on item builds for Hecarim, so what's above is only what's provided me success so far. Expect change here.
Hecarim's an obvious counter for some particular champions - even though we've yet to see him in tournament play or on the pro field - based entirely on his kit.
Riven suffers against Hecarim due to his sustain and multiple AOE skills. Jumping around works well against skillshot champs; however, Hecarim's not needing precision targetting means Riven can't as easily get out of the way if he's on her.
Nocturne suffers when jungling against Hecarim for obvious reasons; Noc's a highly mobile ganker and chaser, but with Hecarim's natural mobility, even Duskbringer doesn't often keep Nocturne on his tail; and due to that being a timed skill bonus, it won't be much help getting away from our horse.
This being said, Hecarim can be countered soundly by CC-centered champions.
Leona is an excellent counter-tank for Hecarim due to her multiple slows and stuns; slowing Hecarim steals damage potential from him.
Dr. Mundo's hatchet throw has a slow which destroys Hecarim's solo lane damage capability as well.
Nasus with his Wither, or Nunu with Ice Blast simply eat Hecarim alive.
Exhaust is a must countering Hecarim again because slows steal his damage potential.
Tryndamere's or Pantheon's early solo top will cause Hecarim a lot of pain when attempting ganks. Their higher mobility early game, and burst damage, make it hard for Hecarim to keep up with sustain.
Jungle Hecarim is one of the most aggressive gankers I've seen.
Most jungle gankers rely on pounce abilities and stealth; Hecarim's mobility means, even without these, he can rush a lane and run down an opponent easily even at low levels. The trick there is getting into position, and avoiding wards, before you gank.
Hecarim's mobility is startling - and that's one of his major advantages. I enjoy playing him quite a bit, and hope you have the same kind of fun I've had so far.
If you've had any success with Hecarim so far, either using one of these builds or another, please to let me know in the comments. Like any new champ, Hecarim's meta is still forming - so take chances and work every angle you can to get the most out of him!
- 2012-04-18 - Champion release
- 2012-04-19 - Guide published, V1; Bruiser and Movespeed builds
- 2012-04-20 - Jungle build added, Hybrid updated to play better against tankier solo tops (specifically, Riven and Shyvana
- 2012-04-21 - AD build added in response to a semi-successful solo top lane against Tryndamere and Pantheon.
- Complete rework of guide in progress based on success during ranked play, observation of high Elo junglers, and testing in season 3 changes.