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Hecarim Build Guide by Vapora Dark

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Vapora Dark

Vapora's Guide To Hecarim

Vapora Dark Last updated on November 20, 2016
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Hey guys, my name is Vapora Dark. Currently I'm Diamond 1 on my main account, and last season I made Master tier on two different accounts in less than 100 games both times. Most people know me as a diehard Talon one trick pony, but I've been branching out for a while now and nowadays Hecarim is one of my favourite champions for carrying solo Q with. I played Hecarim a little in season 3 to help me get to Gold since he was broken at the time before dropping him for the longest time after he got nerfed. Recently I finished levelling a new smurf to 30 (they halved the XP necessary so I bought XP boosts, instant regret when I saw how long it still takes...), and for old times sake I decided to make it an OTP Hecarim account, since some of his jungle nerfs have since been reverted. It wasn't meant to be a serious account, but to my surprise I ended up doing very well on it, and it ended up being my highest rated account for a time.

I chose to write this guide mainly because it's been such a blast playing Hecarim and I want to make sure anyone coming to MOBAFire in search of a Hecarim guide sees something that'll help them get the most out of him, whether their intention be climbing through the ranks or just having fun.

Hecarim in the jungle was fairly unpopular for a pretty long time, but as I expected that quickly changed shortly after the Trinity Force change, which IMO didn't increase his strength by much but did make him a lot more noticed.

So, just to prove I can in fact play Hecarim, here are my ranked statistics on my Hecarim OTP account "oh god oh god", currently ranked at Diamond 3 with an MMR between Diamond 2 and Diamond 1.





Follow me on Twitter @VaporaDark if you wanna hear from me outside of the guide, I recently started using it and would like people to actually see the things I may choose to Tweet. :)

If you like Hecarim and would enjoy talking about him, come participate in /r/HecarimMains on Reddit!

And if you ever want to see how I personally play Hecarim, feel free to follow me on Twitch. If you want to see me play Hecarim, please follow and let me know in the chat if you catch me streaming!



Now coaching!


If you're struggling to improve then for £10 (Paypal only) I can do a VOD review of one of your games.

I'm a multi-season Master tier player specialising in ADC and mid lane. If you're interested, PM me here on MOBAFire, on Reddit, or on Twitter to start setting it up.

The focus of the coaching is to show you what kind of mistakes you make without realizing on a game-by-game basis, and to teach you the fundamentals necessary to spot your own mistakes and improve on them yourself. If you feel like you're doing everything you can in your games but still can't seem to consistently win and climb, like every game is a coinflip as to whether you win or lose regardless of how you perform, then that's where I come in and show you what you're doing wrong, or what you should be doing but aren't, as someone that's been playing for 5 years and can stroll through Bronze-Diamond Elo blindfolded with both hands tied behind my back while playing first-time ADC Karma.

With that being said, onto the guide. :)

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// Hecarim has received light nerfs since his sudden surge in popularity after the Trinity Force changes, but he still remains very strong in the hands of a capable player, and he's probably the best jungler to single-handedly carry games with.

And effectiveness aside, he's also just super fun to play IMO. That's of course subjective and anyone's free to disagree, but I would wager that most people reading this could really enjoy Hecarim's playstyle once they get the hang of it.

Hecarim is a true carry jungler, and rather than focusing on getting his team ahead through ganks, he wants to farm as much as possible and get himself ahead by picking up all the kills and CS he can get his hands on. Think of him as having a slightly less selfish Master Yi playstyle, while aiming to carry through being a tanky one man army rather than through having ridiculous DPS, which also makes him a more viable and versatile carry.

Team sucks? Doesn't matter, Hecarim's a free, independant pony who don't need no team.
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Flash is core on almost every champion in the game, but Hecarim is actually one of the very few exceptions that'll take Ghost instead of Flash. This is because of two reasons: The first, most obvious reason is that his passive Warpath converts bonus movement speed into AD, the only champion in the game that converts mobility directly into damage. Additionally, while the loss of Flash would be devastating for quite a lot of champions, Hecarim can actually get away with it since his in-built mobility is already so high thanks to Devastating Charge, and so he can take Ghost to stick to/get to targets more effectively whenever necessary, while receiving a decent AD boost in the process. And if he ever finds himself needing to get past a wall, he can shatter Trump's dreams by dashing through it with Onslaught of Shadows.
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Smite is absolutely core on junglers, especially since this season they made it so you can't even buy your jungle item without it (and attempting to jungle with no Smite and no Hunter's Machete would be disastrous). Smite will allow you to clear the jungle a lot faster and more healthily during the early-game, and later on it'll allow you to secure objectives such as the elemental drakes, Rift Herald and Baron.
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Greater Mark of Lethality takes too long to scale up as of patch 6.22, so AD marks are now your best option, as they'll help your clear and increase your damage to champions.
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Armor seals as most of the damage in the game is physical, and they make your clears helthier.
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If you're going Enchantment: Cinderhulk then you should use any combination of glyphs that gives you 10% CDR at lvl 18 so you'll have 40% CDR at full build. The recommended setup is x6 Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction, but if you don't have flat CDR glyphs and they're too pricey for you, you can just use x6 Greater Glyph of Scaling Cooldown Reduction and x3 Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist, or x3 Greater Glyph of Magic Resist if you don't have those. If you're going Enchantment: Warrior then you should just use x9 scaling MR or x9 flat MR.
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Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed is the most obvious choice due to Warpath. They'll never give you quite as much AD as AD quints would, but they'll give you about a 3rd of the AD in addition to the extra 16 movement speed, which is a great stat on Hecarim even without Warpath.
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Your options are either 18 in Resolve for Strength of the Ages , which gives you a lot of sustain in the jungle, or 18 in Cunning for extra burst through Thunderlord's Decree . You could instead take Stormraider's Surge , but I believe it's insuperior to the extra burst given to you by Thunderlord's Decree .

The meta keystone on almost every jungler is Strength of the Ages , because as I mentioned it gives you a lot of sustain, and makes you considerably tankier throughout the game. If you instead choose to go for Thunderlord's Decree , you should still take 12 points in Resolve because it makes your clears much healthier than Ferocity. If you're going 18 in Resolve though, it's more personal preference whether you go 12 in Cunning or 12 in Ferocity. I prefer to go 12 in Ferocity for the healthier clears and higher damage in ganks, but it's also viable to go 12 in Cunning for the higher buff duration, out of combat movement speed if you want it, and Dangerous Game .
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-Skill Order-

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Warpath

Bonus movement speed is converted into bonus AD. It's not much, but it's great since movement speed is a great stat on Hecarim anyway, so it's not like you have to go out of your way to get movement speed just to make use of your passive.

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Rampage

With some levels this spell becomes great, but early on it's reaaaaally mana intensive, which is why I always start my jungle path on whichever side has blue buff. At max rank CDR it has a 1.6 second CD, which almost perfectly matches Trinity Force's cooldown, so you can space it out to maximize your Trinity Force procs. On its own this spell may not do all that much damage since you're not building AD, but it's one of the best spells in the game for maximizing Trinity Force's damage.

Remember that Rampage doesn't work like Shadow Slash in that it can be used in conjunction with your auto-attacks; using Rampage at the end of your auto-attack animation will cancel your auto-attack, meaning you should wait until your auto-attack has actually hit its target before using Rampage, rather than spamming Rampage as soon it comes off cooldown.

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Spirit of Dread

Early-game you should only use this spell either when you have blue buff or are fighting blue buff, since Rampage is mana intensive enough on its own. However, whenever you can afford to use Spirit of Dread it's pretty decent for sustain. You don't need to worry about saving your smite or Devastating Charge burst for Spirit of Dread to maximize the healing, you'll reach the monsters healing cap fairly quickly just by DPS'ing the camps.

In team-fights try not to blow the trigger on this too quickly, since you don't want to be wasting the healing while you're still full HP. Additionally don't go too deep to kill the ADC unless you're very sure you can kill them. It heals you not just based on your own damage but based on your team's damage too, so if Spirit of Dread is in range of the enemy's frontline, which has 5 people attacking them, then you'll heal for a lot, especially with Spirit Visage. In fact the healing alone can result in making you tankier than Stalker's Blade - Cinderhulk makes you, it can just give some absolutely ridiculous healing if you position and time it properly.

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Devastating Charge

This spell is the source of all Hecarim's mobility and also can act as a huge nuke, making it his main ganking tool. If this is on CD when you want to gank then you should probably just wait until it comes off CD before ganking.

You can use this to walk between camps early-game to increase your clear speed, but be careful that you're sure you won't need it to run away should you ever run into the enemy jungler. If you're at 30-40% HP then you should hold onto it just in case you need it to run away.

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Onslaught of Shadows

As the spell indicates, the end of the charge creates a shockwave that fears enemies hit by it, causing them to run away from Hecarim. The key word here is away, they will always run away from Hecarim, meaning you can use it to cause enemies to run away from safety and into your team for example, like a mini Insec.

In team-fights you'll either want to use it to catch a carry out by making them walk into your team, or just to be generally disruptive by splitting the enemy team up and CC'ing as many people as possible.

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Hunter's Talisman
Your options for your starting item are Hunter's Talisman and Hunter's Machete. Hunter's Talisman is by far the most optimal starting item on Hecarim due to the sheer amount of mana regen it provides, multiplying it by x2.5. On top of that it also synergizes with AoE, and Hecarim has an AoE spell on a 2-4 second CD spell in Rampage, so it overall gives him both the healthiest and the fastest clears.
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Refillable Potion
While it obviously doesn't give as much short-term sustain as buying 3 Health Potions, long-term you get far more sustain for that 150g investment than you would through regular potions. Additionally it gives you the option of upgrading to Hunter's Potion for 250g on your next couple of backs.
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Hunter's Potion
While it may seem unnecessary, since you've already invested 150g in it for the Refillable Potion, making the 250g upgrade is actually really cost-effective, and here's why I love this item on Hecarim. As it gets later on into the game, Hecarim's clear gets better and better from his super weak early clear, and he has less need for extra sustain from Refillable Potion or Hunter's Potion. But it can still be pretty mana intensive, especially if you're giving your blue buffs over to your mid laner, and the great thing about Hunter's Potion is that it gives you mana sustain alongside regular sustain. 35 mana for a full clear of small jungle camps gives you 140 extra mana to play with, and with the 5 other charges the item starts with you get a total of +315 mana just for clearing your jungle a single time (if you were to theoretically need to spam all 5 charges at once). Additionally while the +60 HP per camp may seem overkill, it reduces the need for using Spirit of Dread during your clears, leaving you topped up on mana in more way than one, and ensuring you have Spirit of Dread up for whenever you may need it for PVP.
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Trinity Force
This is the item you should be rushing even before your upgraded jungle item. The reason for this is that Hecarim doesn't need to be tanky early on and benefits a lot from building damage, but Enchantment: Warrior isn't as good as Enchantment: Cinderhulk out of early-game, since building Enchantment: Warrior into Trinity Force leaves you very squishy for mid-game, where you're expected to be a frontline. Rushing Trinity Force instead of either jungle item gives you the best of both worlds, by rushing a damage-centric item in Trinity Force which is also your unskippable 100% core item, then following it up with a tanky item in Enchantment: Cinderhulk.
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Stalker's Blade
This is the best jungle upgrade for Hecarim as it allows him to stick to targets even while his Devastating Charge is down, and it even indirectly increases his AD through Warpath.
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Skirmisher's Sabre
This is the second best jungle upgrade for Hecarim and may situationally be better if you want to duel the enemy jungler a lot, since in extended duels it provides a lot more damage and makes you a lot tankier in 1v1's.
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Cinderhulk
As already mentioned earlier, this is the best jungle upgrade for Hecarim as he needs to be a tank, and the fact that you'll be rushing Trinity Force before it means you don't have to worry about dealing no damage as a result of building the tanky jungle upgrade rather than the AD jungle upgrade.
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Boots of Swiftness
These are generally the best boots for Hecarim since he's so reliant on movement speed. But they've been nerfed enough that they're no longer core and can situationally be replaced with Mercury's Treads against high CC comps or Ninja Tabi against high AD comps.
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Dead Man's Plate
After your first 2 items + boots you'll want to build either this or Spirit Visage. Spirit Visage is the more situational purchase for dealing with high magic damage, whereas Dead Man's Plate is the more general purchase as there tends to be a lot more physical damage in games compared to magic damage.
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Spirit Visage
100% core on Hecarim due to the massive amount of healing he does, which synergizes greatly with the +25% boost to heals. And yeah just y'know, look at what I said above for when to buy it.
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Guardian Angel
Amazing item ever since it had its cost reduced from 2700 gold to 2400. You'll almost always be getting it as your 6th item rather than before like other junglers do, but Hecarim has more important items to buy. The only situation in which I would buy it any sooner than 6th item is if I'm buying Spirit Visage before Dead Man's Plate, and I then want a quicker powerspike by upgrading my Chain Vest into Guardian Angel rather than saving up for Dead Man's Plate. Or alternatively, if you're super fed then Guardian Angel will make you even more ridiculously obnoxious to shut down.
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Sterak's Gage
This is what I usually sell my Guardian Angel for when I'm full build and Guardian Angel is on CD. It's great on Hecarim because it increases your base AD rather than your additional AD, which means it increases the damage of Trinity Force procs. And who's one of the best champions in the game at getting Trinity Force procs? Bingo!
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Randuin's Omen
This can be an alternative to Dead Man's Plate vs high crit damage comps ( Yasuo mid and Sivir/ Vayne ADC, for example). Or it can be an alternative to Guardian Angel/ Sterak's Gage if you're against super high AD comps and you just want to maximize damage and general tankiness.
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Banshee's Veil
Again this can be an alternative to Guardian Angel but vs very high magic damage comps. Honestly I'm not sure I've ever bought it though, it's very situational since it's rare for comps to have so much magic damage that you would want to itemize a second/third MR item in a game where most damage sources are physical (towers, minions, auto-attacks, baron, dragon, ADC DPS compared to AP DPS, etc.). It does give even more MR than Spirit Visage though, as well as the spell shield, so specifically as a magic-damage counter it's better than Spirit Visage, though Spirit Visage is still a much better general item for Hecarim due to the CDR and the healing increase.
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Ionian Boots of Lucidity
You could build these if you're not getting 10% CDR glyphs. I've never tried it myself but it does sound interesting, since aside from reaching the CDR cap faster you also get +10% CDR on your summoners, which is an 18 second reduction on your Ghost, and combined with Insight Ghost will be reduced by a total of 45 seconds, leaving Ghost at a 125 second cooldown. You could Ghost for almost every team-fight!
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Here's a compilation of all the Hecarim mechanics I can think of that you may not have figured out on your own until you have more experience.
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- Use Rampage right as your auto-attack ends, or as soon as it comes up if haven't begun your auto-attack animation yet. Q cancels auto-attacks so you don't want them to get in the way of each other.
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- Devastating Charge increases your AD because of Warpath. When you're dashing onto an enemy you should use Rampage mid-dash because your MS boost is still active, so you have higher AD and Rampage should do slightly more damage than usual, which may be the difference between kill or no kill. Just don't Q too early or you may miss the enemy champion and miss out on that instance of Rampage entirely.
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- When ganking you almost always want to lead with Devastating Charge to knockback the enemy as far away from their tower as possible. But you don't knock back enemies in whichever direction you dash in, you knock them back in whichever direction they are relative to you when you actually hit them, meaning blinks like Flash can allow them to completely redirect your knockback to favour them, as so. To counteract this, if you're ganking someone who you know has a blink or Flash up, you should bait the cooldown by running right up to them as if you're going to dash into them, but right before you get to them just suddenly switch direction to the direction they would want to Flash in. If you correctly predicted the Flash then you can now still run behind them to knock them back in the correct direction, or at least knock them back to the side, as opposed to knocking them back to safety if you don't predict the Flash. This is easier to do if you have Ghost up since the faster you move, the more chances of you succeeding in repositioning Devastating Charge before it times out. (I will try to remember to provide a video showcasing this mechanic next time I get a replay of myself doing it)
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- You can Rampage during Onslaught of Shadows, so if it's off cooldown, there's no reason not to cast it while you're casually flying over the target you want dead the most.
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- You can use Devastating Charge to catch up to someone, Onslaught of Shadows ahead of them to make the fear knock them back, then when the fear is running out actually hit them with Devastating Charge to knock them back even further. If you succeed then it should pretty much be a free kill on your target.
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- Devastating Charge's dash can be used to go through walls, the most common use of it being to dash through the blue buff wall onto blue buff if you have it warded. It's rare to actually be able to use it on champions, but you should bear it in mind at all times, since on occasion the opportunity to dash through walls will come up, but the window of opportunity is very small and you need to be quick to notice it or predict it.
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- As mentioned before, it's best not to use Spirit of Dread when at full HP, and best to use it when near targets that are going to take a ton of damage.
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- When you have Sheen/ Trinity Force remember to spam Rampage off cooldown whenever taking towers, to get the proc damage. If possible position yourself so Rampage will hit minions to reduce the cooldown and therefore increase the frequency of your Sheen procs.
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- It's best to space out your Rampage's to match your Trinity Force proc cooldown since they have such similar CDs anyway. Rampage has a 1.6 second CD at full CDR with full stacks, and Trinity Force has a 1.5 second CD, so you maximize your DPS by slightly delaying Rampage sometimes to get your Trinity Force proc out as soon as possible.
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Jungle Routes
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Gromp Start
Gromp ( Smite) -> Blue -> Wolves -> Red

Standard start if you're on red side since you get to have your bot lane help you with it, and if you have a melee support they'll usually tank most of it for you so you can move onto blue buff with almost no damage taken. Having 3 people attacking the gromp also means it'll die faster meaning you'll have to use less mana for Rampage so you can clear blue faster once you get to that, since you will run out of mana at some point while killing blue buff. Then wolves for level 3, at which point you should get red buff, then either pick up the scuttle crab if you're confident you have the HP to contest it if the enemy jungler has the same idea, or if you know they're on the opposite side of the map. Alternatively you could gank a lane if you see a good opportunity.
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Krugs Start
Krugs ( Smite) -> Red -> Blue ( Smite)

Standard start if you're on blue side, so you can have your bot lane help you. You can't afford to do another camp before taking your second buff with this route since Hecarim goes OOM while doing red buff, but it'll overall have you healthier than starting Gromp due to the Krugs' stun passive saving your HP. After blue buff you can either gank, or take Scuttle and again either gank or just continue clearing your jungle.
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Red Start
Red ( Smite) -> Wolves -> Blue ( Smite)

This start can be useful if you're worried that the enemy jungler may invade you at your red buff ( Shaco), since they'll arrive too late to kill you and won't be able to steal your buff. It's a little less efficient though since you won't get the Krugs' Smite passive.
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-Gameplay-
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Farm, farm, farm. You want to get yourself as fed as possible so take as many jungle camps as you can, as well as lane CS whenever possible. F
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As with any jungler you should be ganking, but don't go out of your way to force ganks that seem unlikely to succeed. But on the flip side, go for any ganks that seem likely to succeed, since whether it results in a kill for you or for your laner, you'll still be getting free gold and XP, and then get to tax some gold/XP from the lane CS as you help your laner shove the wave into the tower to make the enemy miss out on CS.

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Additionally make sure to hold lanes whenever possible, e.g. if one of your laners has to recall or dies, the enemy will be shoving that wave into your tower to make your laner miss CS, so you can take advantage of this by taking the wave for yourself since it would die to tower anyway, and thus get yourself ahead since lane CS gives more gold than a jungle camp, and does so without being at the expense of your HP.

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Whenever one of your ganks succeeds, look out for an opportunity to get an objective out of it. For example if you double kill the enemy bot lane you can convert that into a dragon since for the enemy mid and jungle to contest that they'd have to 2v4. However, dragon is not always a possibility, especially if your team is low or if you only kill one of the enemy bot lane, and sometimes it's just not even the best objective to take. If you have to choose between taking a dragon or getting the tower first blood, you should pretty much always go for the tower first blood, since it grants a massive gold increase which is more immediately beneficial than that of the buffs given by dragons. And in general I would just always prioritize towers over dragons, since getting more map control by taking down towers makes it easier to take dragons later on, whereas choosing to take a dragon instead is harder to convert into taking towers later.

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Whenever you see the enemy jungler showing up on the opposite side of the map, if there's no plays for you to make on your side then it can be worth going into their jungle to counterjungle them while they're too busy to respond. If you're invading the blue buff side then you should first check Wolves and Smite them if they're there, since it'll give you vision of the enemy jungle for a full minute afterwards. If you're invading the red buff side then you should go to whichever camp is nearest, but Raptors is preferable since it's the one they're most likely to farm so therefore the most beneficial to deny.

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Whenever you counterjungle, if possible you should take the big monster but leave 1 small monster alive, to delay the camp's spawning as much as possible. When the enemy jungler wants to farm the camp, they won't find it already in the process of respawning soon, but have to kill the last remaining monster for a tiny bit of gold and a tiny bit of XP, and then have to wait the entire 1m40s for it to respawn.

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If you find yourself getting significantly ahead of the enemy jungler then you can just start going into their jungle whether you have vision of them or not, provided your lanes are in a position to help you. With a level advantage you have a stronger Smite and can easily steal away camps they're trying to do, and they shouldn't be able to straight up win fights against you. Just don't do this if your nearest laner is getting pushed in since that means they won't be able to come help as they would miss a lot of CS to the tower, but the enemy laner can come help kill you without losing out on anything.

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As the game progresses you'll find yourself in many team-fights. During team-fights you generally want to hit as many people as possible with the Onslaught of Shadows fear, but it's not quite as simple as that since you also want to use it to either get onto an enemy carry, preferably fearing them backwards into your team, or to peel defensively for your carries. Thus try to hit as many people as possible, but with another purpose beyond that.

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And as for whether you should go for the enemy carries or peel for your own, that depends on how fed your/the enemy carries are, how hard to kill the enemy carries are, and how hard it would be for your carries to survive without your help depending on the enemy team comp. There's unfortunately no specific course of action that's best in every scenario, so you'll have to use your best judgement.

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Hopper is Bae
I hope this guide helped you learn to play Hecarim. He was a wonderful introduction into the jungle role for me, and I trust that if you've got this far into the guide that you'll find him equally fun. And I hope this guide will help you learn to play Hecarim to his full potential. :)

Feel to follow me on Twitch if you ever want to learn from my own Hecarim play, just make sure to request it in the chat so I know there's actually demand for it!




If you still have any further questions after reading the guide, feel free to ask in the comments, I'll try to answer them as soon as possible and consider addressing them in the guide so future readers may not have the same questions.

Special thanks to Hoppermh for coding the guide and making the banners.

And once again I would like to remind you that if you enjoyed the guide, upvotes are always appreciated and help very much!
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