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Hecarim Build Guide by Vapora Dark

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Vapora Dark Jungle Hecarim Guide 9.22 Season 9

By Vapora Dark | Updated on November 7, 2019
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Runes:

Precision
Conqueror
Triumph
Legend: Alacrity
Coup de Grace

Sorcery
Celerity
Waterwalking
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor

Spells:

LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite

Ignite

LoL Summoner Spell: Smite

Smite

LeagueSpy Logo
Jungle Role
Ranked #15 in
Jungle Role
Win 51%
Get More Stats

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-Table of Contents-
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Hi, I'm Vapora Dark, a veteran player that's been playing since season 1. During that time I've hit Master tier as a mid lane main in season 5, as an ADC main in season 7, again as a jungle main in season 8, and once more in season 9 playing a mix of all those roles including mid and Fizz. I can play every role to a very high level and have a very good understanding of the general aspects of the game on top of that.


I've been writing guides on MOBAFire since 2011, among which my achievements include winning the MOBAFire guide contest multiple times, achieving the highest score on the site multiple times with multiple guides, achieving the most comments on a single guide of all time by a very large amount which hasn't come even close to being surpassed in the 3 years that it's been archived, and having the most collective guide views on the site by a very hefty amount. I've also written some champion guides for Riot Games on the Lolesports site.



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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 Ignite instead of Flash. This is because of two reasons: The first, Hecarim is one of the most powerful duellists in the game with Conqueror so that together with the damage/healing reduction of Ignite makes him almost unstoppable in 1v1's and even 1v2's. The second is that Flash just doesn't matter much on him. His ultimate and E are good enough gap closers and escape tools to make Flash a lot less useful on him and Ghost has been nerfed too many times to take over Ignite now.
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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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Precision & Sorcery



Conqueror
Conqueror: This is the best keystone for Hecarim since it synergises amazingly with Rampage and the long drawn out fights you'll usually be in. With the attack speed from Trinity Force and Legend: Alacrity you'll be very hard to kill in fights

Triumph
Triumph: This is the only rune on this row that is viable. The healing is very powerful in close fights, especially if you get several assists. The gold is nice but fairly negligible.

Legend: Alacrity
Legend: Alacrity: Better than the alternatives since it's the only one that increases your combat stats. The other option is Legend: Tenacity which can situationally be taken in game with large amounts of CC that even Mercury's Treads won't save you from.

Coup De Grace
Coup de Grace: The alternatives simply aren't consistent enough to take over Coup de Grace. You'll never be squishy enough to make use of Cut Down and you'll get more mileage out of Coup than Last Stand in most fights.



Sorcery


Celerity


WATERWALKING
Celerity: Hecarim wants as much movement speed as possible has it helps him not only traverse the map and dodge things but do more damage thanks to Warpath.

Waterwalking: The extra damage and movement speed in river is fantastic as any jungler. Especially on Hecarim as it helps with ganking and securing the neutral objectives such as scuttle or dragon.

Offense:
10% Attack Speed
Flex:
9 Adaptive Force
Defense:
6 Armour

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-Skill Order-

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Q W E Q Q R Q E Q E R E E W W R W W
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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. 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 maximise 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 maximising 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 have your jungle item. 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.

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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.
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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 gains a way larger benefit from Trinity Force than any enchantment could give him. You can upgrade the talisman into the Stalker's Blade when you have the spare gold but tri-force components are usually always better.
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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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Warrior
This is the best jungle upgrade for Hecarim as he is currently a duelist/bruiser hybrid. The large amount of attack damage for the low cost make this an excellent item. You would rush it if Trinity Force wasn't so good. Once you finish this you'll be a psuedo-assassin with how much damage you deal.
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Ninja Tabi
Hecarim makes use of most boots currently. Ninja Tabi are the most universally useful as most games will have a lot of physical damage and an auto attack based champion. However you have a total of 3 options. Tabi's as stated but also Mercury's Treads if you need MR and Tenacity and even Boots of Mobility if you want to go a full on one shot build with extra damage but mostly you want either defence boot.
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Sterak's Gage
Sterak's Gage is the best bruiser item you can buy. A large amount of attack damage that scales with your base attack damage (so per level), a lot of health and the ability to gain a shield when you take a lot of damage. The shield also gives you tenacity for 8 seconds making you incredibly hard to kill. Together with Trinity and Warrior you'll be doing an insane amount of damage whilst also being pretty hard to kill.
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Spirit Visage
100% core on Hecarim due to the massive amount of healing he does, which synergizes greatly with the +30% boost to heals. You'll get this as your fourth item in most games as magic damage is plentiful and your base armour combined with Ninja Tabi is usually enough to survive physical damage.
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Guardian Angel
You'll almost always be getting it as your 6th item . With the way Hecarim currently plays, you'll start to fall off when you can't freely trample squishy targets before they can do much to fight back. Once they can brawl you a bit you become a lot easier to kill. As you'll also be the first one into a fight thanks to Onslaught of Shadows you'll also be focused fairly often. In the late game, having a revive is incredibly powerful and just furthers the play style Hecarim has.
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Dead Man's Plate
Dead Man's Plate is a fantastic option for Hecarim if you need a tanky armour item. The passive effect of this has great synergy with Hecarim and should be your first thought when you think of an armour based defence item. If you need to be more tanky in fights and the revive of Guardian Angel won't help much then this item is the best substitute.
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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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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 Route


Botside Buff -> Raptors/Wolves -> Wolves/Raptors -> Topside buff ( Smite) -> Scuttle Crab

This path is done by any jungler who can reliably take the Raptor camp. Start on the botside buff to get a leash from your ADC/Support before moving onto either the Raptor camp or the wolf camp depending on which team you're on. When you take the raptor camp, make sure to use Spirit of Dread to kill them more quickly as the wolf camp does less damage to you. Then after you take both of the small camps, go to the other buff you didn't get and secure that. Once you have level 3 and both buffs, you can either get the scuttle crab that spawns or look for an early gank. With Devastating Charge you can very easily get behind the mid/top laner if they're even slightly out of position and if there is no gank opportunity you can instead use it to debuff the scuttle crab. You shouldn't be afraid of early dueling as you have Ignite. Not many champions could stand to fight you 1v1.




-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!


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.
League of Legends Build Guide Author Vapora Dark
Vapora Dark Hecarim Guide