Hecarim Build Guide

[S4] Hecarim, The Unkillable Late Game Beast

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Hecarim, the ultimate late game jungle champion. The transition into the new season has been very kind to him, providing him with new assets that further improve his already insanely good late phase of the game and make it easier for him to get there. However, Hecarim still suffers from the same problems as he did in Season 3: he is extremely vulnerable during the early phase (lvl 1-5) of the game, and his core build is very expensive for a jungle champion. Nonetheless, don't let those weaknesses fool you: if played according to his strengths, Hecarim is definitly a strong champion, perhaps less in tournament games, where the game is centered around the solo lane champions, but certainly in ranked solo queue and the non-tournament game environment. [b]Pro's and Con's[/b] Pro's: -Scales extremely well into the late phase of the game; -Scales better with movement speed than any other champion in the game; -Can easily initiate team fights and catch key targets; -Is one of the best team fight bruiser champions in the game; -Is very hard to chase and kite; -Snowballs extremely hard if he gets ahead during the early-mid phase of the game; -Has an hybrid damage output that is hard to itemize against during the early and middle phases of the game. Con's: -Extremely vunerable to early game counter-jungling and during the early phase of the game in general; -Arguably the most gold income dependent jungle champion in the game. [b]Information about the author of this guide:[/b] I don't pretend to know everything, so let me know if you read this guide and come across something that doesn't make sense to you. I have been playing Hecarim in the jungle at a high level in ranked solo queue for a while now. I played him for the first time in the third pre-season, and instantly fell in love with the playstyle. I played him for over 50 games straight, and he helped me peak at 2250 Elo before I went back to exploring other jungle champions. I've been playing him quite frequently ever since.

The first 5 levels of the game are the hardest and most crucial part of the game for Hecarim. If you get a good start, you will probably do well throughout the whole game and carry your team when it comes to team fighting and the late phase of the game. However, if you fail, the game will be painful and miserably long for you, and you will have to hope that your team can carry you. The thing about Hecarim is that he isn't without flaws: his late game prowess merely makes up for his extremely vulnerable early game. Junglers such as Shaco, Lee Sin, Nunu, Olaf, and Shyvana's and Dr. Mundo's who run Exhaust, will - excuse my rough language - all take a shit on you during the first 5 levels of the game. Therefore, in order to make it through this phase, it is imperative that you get assistance from your team. Ask your teammates to get the ward trinket and to use it on the enemy jungle buff camps, so you can know where the enemy jungler is starting and whether or not he is going to invade your jungle and try to steal your second buff. If you highly suspect that the enemy jungler is, in fact, going to invade your jungle after his first buff (if it's a Shaco or Nunu, they almost always will, and if they don't, they're bad), you have two options: first, you can ask your teammates to help you fight off the enemy jungler. However, before you tell your teammates to do this, you have to ask yourself whether your team can win an early skirmish in the jungle. If the answer or no, then your only option is to go the enemy jungler's second buff and trade buffs with them and hope that the enemy team didn't ward their own jungle entrances. Another strategy is to try to figure out where the enemy jungler is starting, and to start on the opposite side of where he is starting, so that when he invades your jungle, he finds that the buff is already gone. However, this is much of a gamble, but at least the enemy jungler will have to walk a longer path to get to your buff even if he figures out that you're doing this, which might give you the time to get your own second buff before he gets there.

At this point, if the enemy jungler succeeded at counter-jungling you, well, the best you can do is to try and catch up. But if you made it through the first 5 levels and even got 1 or 2 kills, then at around lvl 7 you should be at the same level as your solo laners or one level higher. At this time, you want to start cooperating and try to make shit happen. Hecarim is naturally tanky, so you can dive towers and be a dominant force if skirmishes break out. Alternatively, you can keep farming until you've completed your core, but when you hit lvl 10 or 11, you might want to start considering grouping and making team fights happen, especially if the enemy team has a better late game and some time-bomb champions (such as Nasus). Keep in mind that, in the very late phase of the game, when everyone is nearly fully built, Hecarim might not be able to single-handedly carry his team to victory, especially if all his team's lane carries are behind in gold. The best times of the game for Hecarim are the late-mid and the early-late phases.

In team fights, like I have said a couple times before, your role is to initiate with your ult and to put key targets out of position with your E. It is really important, at this point, to communicate with your team and to make sure that they are ready to follow up when you go, because, even though you're a tanky beast, if you go in alone and the enemy lanes are well farmed, you might die really quickly anyway, and then your team will probably lose the 4v5, especially if you are the only front line champion in your team. Also, your W has a fairly high cooldown, even with 40% cdr, so remember to use it at the break out of the fight, so you can re-use later if the team fight is dragging out. The sustain from it will be especially powerful when you are low HP thanks to Second Wind.

Personally, because I play a lot of carry junglers such as Hecarim, I tend to be very selfish when it comes to giving my blue buff to my mid laner. However, there is a few things you should consider when making the choice of whether to give your blue buff to your mid laner or not. First, check if he's doing well. Even though Hecarim is a snowball-ish jungler, if your Ryze is 4/0 10 min into the game, you probably do wanna give it to him. Also, ask yourself, are the lanes gankable? If there's a lot of time to spend in the lanes either because the enemy laners are pushing a lot or because the enemy jungler is spending a lot of time ganking himself and it's working in his favor, then you probably don't need your blue buff as much. On the other hand, if it's a passive game and all you can do is mostly farm, then take your blue for yourself, because, in order to remain effective throughout the game, Hecarim needs a lot of experience and gold, and it's really hard to clear your jungle at an effective speed without the mana regen and cdr from the blue buff, especially when you don't have Iceborn Gauntlet yet.

[img=items/oracles-lens.png] is the most useful trinket to get as a jungler in my opinion, because most of the time providing vision for your team will be less important than countering enemy vision and knowing whether the enemy team sees you or not. When you gank a lane, you want to use this where you suspect the enemy might have a ward, so you can find out whether the enemy has a ward in the bush where you are waiting. This is so you don't lose 30 sec of farming, sitting in a bush and waiting for a gank opportunity that will never happen because the enemy laner knows you're there. This is especially important for Hecarim who, like I said multiple times, is a champion that really has no time to waste at all and will lose its ability to carry the game if he gets put behind from spending too much time sitting in bushes waiting and trying to make ganks happen.

Because I main the carry jungle champions' niche, I am most likely biased when I say that Hecarim is one of the best and most unique champions in the game. Seriously, though, he IS a beast, especially when he makes it through the early phase of the game. Tell me it doesn't feel good to run into the enemy team, to be unkillable and to slowly kill the entire enemy team when you're fed! Because of his team fight utility, all-AoE damage and initiation power, he is the ultimate definition of a team fight carry; but to make up for that, he is also cruelly vulnerable through the early game. To an extent, Hecarim is also a time bomb like champions such as lane Nasus and Karthus. The only difference is that he doesn't have a lane to get a consistent income of gold and experience from. And for that reason, he is a very fast-paced champion, because every second, every little thing that you do counts a lot. Always focus on farming in your jungle, and always think twice before sitting in a bush at top waiting for the enemy laner to overcommit, because if it doesn't work - and EVEN if it does - doing so will probably make you fall behind, and after that it will most likely be all over for you as a carry. Finally, please keep in mind that this guide is a work in progress, and subject to rapid change as changes occur throughout the pre-season and as the game enters into its fourth season.

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