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Mar 6, 2015

FOTM Report: Top Lane Hecarim

Many of you noticed the slow creep as Hecarim top climbed his way up the tiers, now bordering God Tier. How did he get there? Why is he there in the first place? Let's check out the goods ~


As some of you have thoughtfully pointed out, Hecarim's slow and steady rise currently has him poised at the brink of a God Tier Top laner, held back only by the "Vel'Koz Parable". For those of you that don't know, the Vel'Koz Parable refers to the time where I put Vel'Koz in God Tier too quickly, resulting in widespread riots across the internet and the close fall of humanity as we know it.

When Is Hecarim Strong?

Note that the title is not "Why Is Hecarim Strong". I am personally a strong believer that Riot can successfully balance champions despite "overloaded" kits, (see Thresh and Lee Sin). Through number tweaking on a champion's visible abilities (AOE size, range, etc.) coupled with "hidden traits" (HP regen per level, armor per level, etc.).

Therefore, Hecarim is strong when:
  • He can run down and kill opponents before they get to a tower and/or tanky enough to dive it;
  • He is tanky enough to survive while he's running to initiate;
  • He can initiate faster than enemies can react; 
  • His AOE fear lasts long enough for his allies to follow up on; and
  • He can out damage/sustain his opponent(s). 
As a champion with an AOE crowd control, continuous damage on a short cooldown, a form of sustain, and superior movement speed, Hecarim is really a numbers-based champion. Right now his numbers are very good.

Key Components to the Current FOTM

Summoner Spells
Classically, people playing Hecarim tend to run Ghost and Teleport, the former of which synergizes well with his passive that converts speed to damage.

However, lately the trend has shifted over to running Ignite + Teleport on top lane Hecarim. The reason for this is to obviously provide him some extra damage, but also compensated for his built in movespeed as an escape.

Item Build
As for items, Trinity Force and defensive CDR items in the form of Frozen Heart and Spirit Visage are his bread and butter.

His runes are standard for Hecarim players, but not for top laners. A slightly unique set, his best runes are currently movement speed quints and armor penetration reds to take full advantage of his short cooldown "nuke".

Why Now?

Patch 5.1 increased his healing and reduced his mana costs, he's slowly catching on as top lane's been fairly stagnant for a while.

Where Hecarim Does Well

As a champion that bullies other melee laners with his quick cooldown Q, Hecarim does very well against these champions. Because of the way minion aggro works, simply using his Q to harass doesn't draw minion aggro, which means he can trade well at early levels.

Against ranged champions, he can also succeed as a result of his fast gap closer and short cooldowns. Basically, Hecarim does well against almost everyone, but may have trouble against short cooldown casters such as Cassiopeia and Lulu and to some extent, a skilled Lissandra.

Even if he doesn't win his lane outright, his teleport ganks are very difficult to escape from, especially after he picks up homeguard boots. Quick teleports to bot lane can net him easy double kills and a free dragon.

Picking him first in solo queue is also a very safe bet, as he can also be played in the jungle as well. Even if they correctly guess you to be top lane, he suffers very few counters. Maybe I should move him to God Tier after all...

What do you think about top lane Hecarim? Comment below!

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  1. Plus, he's gotta go fast.

  2. Umut Berk AlkanMarch 06, 2015

    I just played Fiora versus a top laner Hecarim, at pre-6 it was pain in the ass because of the low cooldown of his Q, but post-6, he can get destroyed easily if there's not enough armor to reduce damage from her. Just a little tip...

  3. I beat one as Irelia, truth to be told, it was quite easy

  4. Yeap!!! Hecarim so cool and good!! I shall try him...

  5. Fiora's Ultimate is OP when used with good efficiency.. =/

  6. Sam JacksonMarch 06, 2015

    I love his team fight ability to jump onto the squishies and keep on their faces with enough tankiness to survive but enough damage to get solo kills with o ly one damage item.

    I personally love watching games with him too, hec is a fun champion that livens the action up a bit, I hope that riot aren't looking to nerf him now that he has become popular.

  7. BoltOfSpadesMarch 06, 2015

    Bro, this is Irelia we're talking about here.

  8. God Tier .

  9. TerrowinMagikenMarch 06, 2015

    Hey SSJ, it seems like you mentioned trying to get homeguard relatively early. However, as I'm not a Hecarim player myself (but thinking about getting him,) I was wondering what kind of boots you would recommend actually getting first- tank boots (ninjas/mercs) or possible Ionian's to have his Q up even more often. Thanks!

  10. Personally, I think getting resistance is much more beneficial than getting CDR boots. His Q runs on an already short cooldown especially with the Q passive where it further reduces the cooldown. Either you take resistance or boots of swiftness since it gives a bit more AD the other option.

  11. Any thoughts on taking teleport/smite in the jungle?

  12. Ive actually been doing this little cheesy all in strat on top-lane hec where immediatly when i have enough money for homeguard boots, i all in the enemy top-laner and leave them at about 40%, recall, buy homeguard boots, TP back in lane and kill the enemy top, works most of the time and is hard to react to.

  13. Teleport is pretty much useless if you're going for all that early aggression Hecarim is ably to apply, as ghost can give you that little bit of damage and movement speed to get that gank successful and your lanes snowballing. Although teleport might be a lot better later on in the game with securing objectives or setting up ganks through smart wards, ghost still gives yous ome additional damage (due to Hecarim's passive) and just doesn't really fall off, I mean, it's still useful.
    This is just my personal opinion, I don't main junglers, but if I have to, I often pick Hecarim.

  14. Lactose TolerantMarch 08, 2015

    You get enough CDR from your core items(Spirit Visage, Zephyr), Boots of Swiftness with Furor is the best for him normally.

    You only go Ninjas/Mercs if

    1. Your team isn't doing well
    2. You are the only initiator/tank on your team
    3. One of your lane fail miserably and you're the only one that can survive and kill the fed champ

  15. I got my ass kicked by a tp Hec top as Cho yesterday. He unexpectedly
    rushed mobis with homeguards. I killed him and about 2 seconds later I'm
    dead from a single auto as a Hecarim rushes out of the bush. This is
    Rammus all over again lol.

  16. Mac MorrisMarch 09, 2015

    I've been playing Hecarim a lot recently and I have to say that the best way to play him is to invest heavily into playing him. That means getting him his own rune page!! For best results try Armor pen reds, scaling health/flat armor yellows, scaling cdr blues, and move speed quints

  17. Nicolas CageMarch 09, 2015

    It works.

    Teleport on junglers is always situational, and never mandatory on a jungler. But, if your team is willing to play around it, it can be very strong.

    Hecarim doesn't really need a summoner spell that provides mobility, so he's a good candidate for Teleport.

  18. better nerf Irelia. No kidding, I didn't play her for around half a year and went 22/3/9 without even playing that good (its not bad mmr its around gold1-plat 4). Jesus fucking christ she is broken as hell

  19. dariusfox05March 20, 2015

    seriously viktor is too OP right now....

  20. Michael EgureApril 04, 2015

    Quinn decimates hecarim. oh you want to charge me? vault.... gl
    oh you think you're fast? valor ulti.
    your spells on quick cd? to bad i have to be in range of your aoe. mark gives + ms & bonus dps for one quick in and out hit. don't mess with the falcon trainer

  21. *insert ranged top laner here* beats Hecarim too

  22. ma nam i jeffApril 15, 2015

    kinda late, but still: pick quinn? get ganked and get fucked

  23. hec is pretty over strong now, ez to be tanky and have high damage, and also high speed to chase or escape. thats really stupid

  24. Heca can outplay alot of ranged toplaners, including quinn. but his biggest counter however, is lulu u will never get close to her, and when you do she polly's u then slows u. and her ult neglates ur burst. you can roam but it wont help much because ur most likely far behind everyone else. cuz she ruins your teamfights aswell :( nothing you can really do against her.

    -heca toplane main since s4 :3

  25. Marcus NorrmanMay 27, 2015

    Hecarim wins many toplane encounters though with few exceptions compared to other champions

  26. Marcus NorrmanMay 27, 2015

    Teemo is dominant only before level 3-4. After that a hecarim can easily all in on a teemo, the decider wether or not teemo would live is if he gets a gank or if he flashes at the right time

  27. Marcus NorrmanMay 27, 2015

    ├Źndeed, I do believe that Quinn actually might be well off pre level 4, but after level 6 she's out done.

  28. Marcus NorrmanMay 27, 2015

    I suppuse I'm a Hecarim main, and when I do play him in jungle I tend to pick between teleport, ghost or ignite. In my opinion, ghost is the worse one out of the three, teleport is mostly viable if your team is... dependable and aware of the fact that you can and will teleport gank. Ignite is my favorite solo queue spell for Hecarim in jungle because it gives him a significant increase in kill potential. It falls off slightly in late game but is still very usefull for decreasing healing sources as lifesteal and such. For solo queue I do not think Hecarim is a lategame champion though since he is generally speaking worse than other bruisers / junglers once the teams are nearly or fully built.

    To sum it up, ignite for early kill potential rather than TP, unless your team have map awareness and are decent at setting up on incoming ganks

  29. Marcus NorrmanMay 27, 2015

    It would be hard to nerf him as well since he is very close to the breakpoint where he'd be not playerd at all if the wrong numbers are tweaked the wrong amount.

  30. Felipe T. FreitasJune 05, 2015

    Bad news for you, Heca, at last me playing, easily reach a quinn in valor ult. ;D


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