Hecarim Build Guide by Angerous
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.
I bought Hecarim the day he came out at 5 in the morning, and have been playing him to fill a variety of roles ever since. I've become extremely well acquainted with his abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, and hope to share some of my knowledge of this extremely versatile champion with you.
Note that this guide focuses primarily on the DPS build listed above (which is meant for top lane), but the tactics and strategies discussed can apply to all roles you choose to play.
Why pick Hecarim?
Let's start this out with a scenario. Your team has locked in AP Sion top, Zilean mid, and Alistar/ Graves bot, leaving the jungle open. (Hypothetically) You know the junglers that that can play consistently well are a dual-wielding Viking, an angry purple dude with a needle sticking out of his back, or an angry horse. What would make you take the equine route in this situation?
Imagine this. You run out of the river bush up top, tossing your Undertow or Infected Cleaver at your prey. The crafty little Lee Sin might get hit with it, or he might be able to Safeguard / Iron Will out of there before Sion even has time to pop his stun (which could even happen if you DO hit him), retreating back to his turret until he knows it's safe. You've wasted your time (and buffs, if you have them) sitting in a bush waiting.
With Hecarim, they won't have time to react by the time they see you booking **** out of the bush thanks to your Devastating Charge. Sure, he might be able to dash back halfway across the river to what he thinks is safe, but you will almost always be able to catch up to him, knock him back, and let Sion nuke him down. If you can't make it to him just by running, you can pop your Onslaught of Shadows, fearing him towards Sion for a second and then getting knocked even further into him because of your Devastating Charge.
I know that this section isn't the best explained, but if you try taking Cleanse on Hecarim in a few games, you will notice many times where it will save your life and even help you pick up a kill.
These are spells I see as viable but situational/sub-optimal for Hecarim. If you do choose to take one of these spells, I strongly recommend you take one of the ones listed above with it and know what you're doing.
If a spell isn't listed, it's because I see it as useless (or damn close to it) for Hecarim. If you want, comment and I'll explain why I see it this way.
That One F*cked up Mastery Tree
I have had questions about my 1/21/8 masteries for the tank build, so I figure they might need a little explaining. The 21 points in the defense tree is a basic tank setup, with the 8 points in utility and 1 point in offense being the concern. Like stated above, I find Ghost is a near mandatory spell for Hecarim, so going into the offense tree for Summoner's Wrath would be the answer. However, I find that taking Expanded Mind and Meditation helps you spam your Rampage much more liberally.
As a player that likes having a great deal of awareness in my lane, I will buy 2-3 wards about 70% of the time I Recall . The Scout mastery allows me to take the greatest advantage of this, but it means I do opt out of taking Brute Force , Alacrity , and Weapon Expertise . I find that, as a tank, I don't particularly need the benefits these masteries give. Thus, the 5% ward range is more of a benefit.
Running 9\21\0 is viable if you are less ward-reliant or prefer doing more damage, but 1\21\8 are my preferred masteries.
Note that these are my personal rune choices. You can take whatever you're comfortable with (remember, always aim for primaries), but it is necessary that you keep the Greater Mark of Desolations and Greater Quintessence of Desolations. This build simply doesn't have enough APen in it, so they will allow you to continue hitting hard targets into late game. If you do replace them, consider taking Youmuu's Ghostblade or The Black Cleaver to make up for them.
The Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction will help you with keeping your Spirit of Dread up, allowing you to engage safely more often late game. It will also allow you to engage and gank more often with Devastating Charge.
If you're jungling, the Greater Seal of Armors are a necessity. If you're in top lane, they will help you dominate the lane early by allowing you to ignore minions a little more and, if your opponent does physical damage, power through them slightly more.
The noob-trap of building pure speed.
When I first saw Hecarim's ability Warpath, I was thinking all sorts of things like "**** yeah, Phantom Dancer, Youmuu's Ghostblade, Shurelya's Reverie, TONS OF DAMAGE!". DON'T EVER DO THIS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Sure, the extra AD that you might get from the 12% MS on your newly rushed Phantom Dancer might tweak your damage a little, but most of that damage difference will be coming from the crit on the item. Don't be completely put off by this, it is still a good item for glass cannon Hecarim (more so for Hecarim than other AD carries), but it won't be your bread and butter.
You might be confused when you see the title of this chapter, yet see Trinity Force, Boots of Swiftness, and Force of Nature in the first build alone. Don't get me wrong, these are all items I would buy on Hecarim regardless of his passive. They are simply an added benefit that will often make you the fastest mover in the entire game, other than that Shaco jumping around with his Boots of Mobility.
Hecarim's passive, which allows him to ignore unit collision and also get bonus AD for each point of MS he has (discussed above). In certain matchups, being able to Devastating Charge through the minions and into an enemy can decide who wins the lane. Don't underestimate this.
- You don't have to stop to cast this. This makes it extremely proficient for chasing that Singed with 200 health left.
- It can be cast during Devastating Charge, meaning it will gain the damage bonus from Warpath.
- The cooldown-reducing buff you get from hitting with it lasts long enough to move from jungle camp to jungle camp, increasing your jungle speed a considerable amount.
Hecarim, making you extremely sustainable if you can keep it up during vital moments. Remember that you can only heal a certain amount off minions, though.
- Using this then Rampage a few times on a creep wave might push your lane quite a bit, but doing it once or twice will give you a considerable amount of health if you can avoid too much harassment.
- Engaging without this isn't necessarily the worst idea, but if you can, always try to engage with it up. In a 1v1 situation, you're basically losing a free 30% lifesteal (less in early game before it's Rank 5).
- Using this a second or so before leaving a bush will leave the enemy in lane with little time to react. Even if you can't manage to get behind them and knock them into your friendly laner (or just away from their turret), you can often displace them enough to give the laner time to get into position.
- Used in conjunction with Ghost (or similar, powerful MS buffs), it can absolutely wreck a squishy.
- Used in conjunction with Onslaught of Shadows, it is often enough to move one of their ranged carries to the frontline or isolate the tank and disable them for about 1.5 seconds. This can be all it takes to determine the outcome of a teamfight.
- This can be used over walls, giving Hecarim one of the longest, if not the longest (correct me if I'm wrong), walljumps in the game. This means that you can usually position yourself so that your prey won't even see you coming before they're nuked 100%-0%.
- Comparable to (but weaker than) Janna's Monsoon when it comes to getting the enemy team out of position. Make sure not to waste it by fearing enemies into their turrets or away from your team.
- Even though you may hate doing it (I certainly do), this makes for one of the best escapes in a game, especially with Cleanse. All you have to do is pop the 2 spells, and there's very little chance of them catching you, especially with your movespeed from Devastating Charge mixed in.
These are the two items you should be building in almost every single game you play as Hecarim. The Trinity Force will provide you with a bit of all the stats you'll need. The Boots of Swiftness are invaluable for the early to mid-late game where ganks and laning are a big part of it. As soon as team fights start breaking out frequently, I tend to trade them out for Mercury's Treads. Being a melee, you will often be the target of CC, so being able to manage it is extremely important.
80% of the time, I'll start with Cloth Armour/5 Health Potions, and will always start this way in the jungle. This is, of course, situational. If you know they have an Akali or Vladimir top, don't do it. Start with your boots, and just ignore the armour for a bit. You can choose to not take the armour even if it's an AD top, but it will give you a good advantage.
After my starting items, I almost always build Ruby Crystal. The only exception to this is when they're not even managing to touch you, in which case you can feel free to build Long Sword for the extra damage. After this part, however, you want to build Boots of Speed to get your mobility started. After tier 1 boots, finish Phage and then buy Boots of Swiftness.
After this, you want to rush to finish your Trinity Force. You have the option of Zeal or Sheen, so which should you take?
In almost ever single game, I build Zeal first. You need it for the movespeed and melee combat steroid more than you need Sheen for the on-hits and mana. However, if you're having mana issues or are only able to stay engaged for a hit or 2, Sheen could be viable.
If you're the tank, replace Trinity Force with Frozen Mallet. The extra health and guaranteed slow is much better for a tank than the damage from Trinity Force.
Next you should build your The Bloodthirster so you can start picking up the stacks on it. If you have the money for it, go ahead and buy the B. F. Sword. If you don't, Vampiric Scepter is still a solid option, so don't stress if you don't have the money for the sword. The alternative to this is to build an Infinity Edge, but this will leave you relying on your Spirit of Dread to keep you sustained. If you're having issues with being attacked by physical damage, go for the Glacial Shroud. Whichever you buy, make sure to get the other one next. If magic damage is more of a problem than physical, pick up a Negatron Cloak and finish your The Bloodthirster. The point of this part of the build is to provide you with both damage and protection if you're doing well enough for it, and purely protection if you're not.
These should round off your defenses, so just build whichever is more beneficial against their comp first. Note that this isn't an extremely rigid guide, and you can switch out pretty much anything after the core build. For example, on an AP-heavy team, consider building a Maw of Malmortius instead of a The Bloodthirster.
I'd... take an item that has health over Frozen Heart to make the health regen passive on Force of Nature more useful. ~ Phil Collins
This is a very good point. If the other team doesn't get a ton of power from their autoattacks (as in 3/5 of them rely on them), definitely try building Randuin's Omen instead. The active is just one more thing thing to help you stick to opponents, and the added health will help you survive. However, if they are very autoattack reliant, Frozen Heart's aura will shut down a good deal of their damage.
My general rule of thumb is that you can replace an item if the item you replace it with somewhat improves the primary stat of the replaced item (For example, Banshee's Veil could be an acceptable replacement for Force of Nature if they're not incredibly AP heavy, and you want the extra health/spellshield).
In this section, I will describe some items that I believe are viable on Hecarim, and explain some of my choices. If you have any questions about ones I don't explain, please feel free to ask me about it.
Your Role Throughout the Game
Early on in your lane, you should attempt to harass and zone your opponent as much as possible without passing the river, like most tops. You can almost always achieve this safely by using Devastating Charge to jump into them with your Spirit of Dread activated, and then immediately using Rampage and walking away.
When you become strong enough to take a few hits (which is often after building your Phage), you no longer have to worry about holding back. Zone aggressively as possible and cleave whatever you can to death. If you do choose to push like this, never use your Devastating Charge to attack the opposing laner unless you know you can kill them or harass them a great deal. You should have your river bush warded, and need to use it to escape when you see the enemy jungler approaching it. If they choose to be crafty and you have the money for it, also ward the tribush to open up another escape route and close an assault path for them.
By end game, assuming you've had sufficient feed, you should be powerful enough to take nearly any champion on 1v1 with a good engage. Your Trinity Force will be proccing hard in combat whenever you Rampage, giving you a severe advantage over other Trinity users. In teamfights, you will be able to engage with your Devastating Charge, and be able to push a single threat into your team, or even just away from theirs.
Note that you are still a DPS though, and you must stay alive to do your job. If you do start getting focused after your Devastating Charge, you are left with a few escape options.
- Optimally, you will be able to use your immense movespeed to walk out of the fight and into a nearby bush until someone else grabs aggro.
- Your second best (and depending on the situation, sometimes your best) option is to drop your Onslaught of Shadows in the middle of their team (and if possible, behind their carries) and try to run out while they're scattered and distracted.
- You had a really bad engage (and it does happen to everybody), and your whole team is still 5 seconds from being able to help you. You managed to get yourself bursted down to 50% before your tank even took a hit, and you know you're going to die. This is a situation in which you can use your final, most desperate tactic. Run to the nearest wall seperating the lane from the jungle, and pop your Onslaught of Shadows as far into the jungle as you can. Don't think this is a free ticket out of the incoming teamfight though. Heal yourself back up off jungle mobs, route back, and join the fight.
Hecarim is a very proficient jungler with a slightly above average clear speed, good regeneration, and hard ganks. He is comparable to Shyvana, but with slower clear speed and more reliable CC for ganking.
When starting in the jungle, Cloth Armour/5 Health Potions and a leash are necessary to not have to Recall after grabbing red or golems. I personally like leaving the Cloth Armour not upgraded until after my Trinity Force, but you can choose to start your Frozen Heart if you want to jungle-tank.
On Hecarim, I like using a basic Blue>Wolves>Wraiths>Golems>Red route, starting on Wolves with the help of my teammates if possible. Jungling with Hecarim is like jungling with most other champions. Clear your jungle as quickly as possible and gank when you can, but try to take it easy on the ganking until 6. His ganks are extremely more reliable after getting your Onslaught of Shadows, but still doable without it with the right positioning.
I'll usually grab 2-3 Crest of the Ancient Golem s before letting my mid take it. You will notice that you're frequently going low on mana if you're spamming your Rampage in the jungle, so the 2-3 is usually enough to tide you over until you're ganking and teamfighting more.
At level 6 or 7, try to get support from your bottom or mid lane to take on Dragon. Note that by this time I'll usually have an Oracle's Elixir, and will have made sure to clear the ward there 30 or so seconds prior. It's not absolutely mandatory to grab it then, but you should do so as soon as bottom or mid lane has about 45 seconds to spare. This often also leaves you in a good position to gank either of those lanes with Onslaught of Shadows, so make sure to grab it whenever possible. Remember that this build doesn't take a Wriggle's Lantern, so it can be fairly difficult to solo dragon at low levels.
Friends and Foes
As a champion that not only has great combat ability, but good utility as well, there are several aspects of the game that Hecarim excels at.
Solo Split Pushing
Due to his speed, Hecarim has an incredibly surprising ability to keep a presence in 2 lanes at once. You can run straight into an enemy creep wave at top, cleave them all down, and start your Devastating Charge down to middle once you see opponents coming. This tactic is caught on to rather quickly, so remember to protect yourself. Buy 2 or 3 wards, and pop them in the jungle in places where you'll be able to see them coming and retreat to another lane appropriately.
Swain and Jax are chasing your Ahri down middle lane. You're halfway there, and could easily just charge in the direction she's coming from and stop her pursuers. OR, you can run into the jungle away from her, and then Onslaught of Shadows through the wall, fearing Swain into the turret and Jax in the opposite direction. This could open up Ahri for and easy combo and kill on Swain. Never underestimate the power of your ultimate in non-teamfight situations.
Another good ability to come from Hecarim's speed is his ability to distract the enemy team. Let's say your team wants to grab dragon, and you're currently stealing the enemy wraiths. You can either make your way down the river to d ragon, or push down middle, alone and exposed. You're all alone, so the enemy team will go for you, not the 3 mia or the 1 guy on top pushing his tower. For Hecarim, this is okay. Being caught alone is always okay on Hecarim as long as you're not surrounded. It's extremely easy to pop your Devastating Charge and just get away by running in a clear direction (that is optimally lit up by wards).
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this guide. I believe that I've covered a fair amount of information in this guide, but I would greatly appreciate it if you could tell me anything I missed in the comments section.
This is my first guide submitted to MobaFire, so I would also appreciate it if you could inform me of any formatting or coding I may have went wrong with or could make look better.
Thanks to jhoijhoi for her Making a Guide guide.
- Guide published
- Fixed Jungle build skill order (previously 10 points in Spirit of Dread)
- Added Randuin's Omen to items section
- Cleaned up some sentences to improve readability
- Added Masteries section
- Added Jungle section to the build
- Added Spec Ops section to the build
- Minor aesthetic improvements
- Added Garrison to possible summoner spells
- Clarified uses of abilites
- Fixed Rune Choice section to fit wording to Greater Seal of Armor
- More aesthetic tweaks
- Clarified that Frozen Mallet should be bought for tanking