Once Hecarim gets ahead, he can stat-check pretty much every champion in the game while having no difficulty sticking to them. Hecarim doesn’t have huge counters outside of teamfights, the best way to counter a Hecarim is to not let him get ahead early on, through knowing his game plan and avoiding common mistakes players make when playing against him.
Let’s look at Hecarim’s abilities and try to trace a game plan from it as if we were the Hecarim player ourselves. This will help us understand what Hecarim wants in a game and how to not allow him to get ahead.
- Passive – Warpath: Hecarim gets bonus attack damage equal to a percentage of his movement speed. This passive complements Hecarim’s kit by giving him bonus damage once he uses abilities such as Ghost (summoner spell), Predator (rune), and his E ability that also gives him bonus movement speed.
Be careful when fighting a Hecarim that has Ghost available, as his damage can be overwhelming even in the early game.
- Q – Rampage: This ability deals damage in a circular area around Hecarim. It has a short 4-second cooldown and Hecarim gets a stacking buff every time he hits this ability, stacking up to 2 times, reducing its cooldown by up to half and increasing this ability’s damage.
A good Hecarim will try to keep this ability stacked as the difference in his damage output is massive when compared to a non-stacked Q.
- W – Spirit of Dread: Hecarim’s W is an AoE ability that deals damage around him and heals for a percentage of the total damage dealt to enemies while it’s active.
- E – Devastating Charge: Hecarim becomes ghosted (allowing him to run through units without getting blocked) and gains ramping movement speed for 4 seconds, his next basic attack makes him dash towards his target, applying a knock-back that scales based on the traveled distance by Hecarim.
Devastating Charge is probably Hecarim’s strongest tool when it comes to getting ahead, it allows him to catch up to low enemies in the early game, racking up easy kills.
- R – Onslaught of Shadows: Hecarim dashes in the target direction and deals damage in an area around Hecarim’s destination, making the enemies flee away from him (the fear duration scales based on the distance traveled by Hecarim with his R).
This is another part of Hecarim’s kit that complements his huge mobility and punishing options in the early to mid game, it allows him to set up tower dives and collect easy kills using creative paths.
Remember that Hecarim commonly picks Ghost as a summoner spell and movement speed increasing runes such as Predator, synergizing with his Passive and how he wants to play the game.
From all of that, we can see how Hecarim wants to snowball a game – punishing low-HP or overextended laners by abusing his huge movement speed advantage in the early game and setting himself ahead.
The primary way to nullify a Hecarim snowball as a jungler is to pick a dominant champion that can keep track of Hecarim by taking control of the river, setting up deep wards, and counter-ganking him when possible.
Another way to counter Hecarim is to put yourself in his shoes, check which of your laners are susceptible to ganks and anticipate his ganks by countering a tower dive or alerting your teammate.
Also read: Best ADCs to Pair With Shaco
Most Common Hecarim Combos
Hecarim is a champion that doesn’t really have “traditional combos”, but it’s good to know how he usually uses his abilities to approach specific situations so you can be prepared for it.
- Activate E for movement speed > R behind enemy > use E knock-back towards his teammates, this is probably Hecarim’s best way to displace a champion, making it possible for him to gank or pick out enemies even if they’re under the safety of their turrets.
The best way to deal with it is to save any form of dash or blink and use it after he casts his R, making it so that even if he hits you, you’ll be feared towards safety instead of getting feared towards his teammates.
- Ghost + E combination in the early game, Hecarim can easily snowball a game by picking a few kills early in the game with this combination that provides him a huge amount of movement speed, making it possible for him to kill low enemies even if he passes through wards as he’ll be too fast to be avoided. Recognize that this is one of Hecarim’s best ways to get himself ahead early and try to not get surprised by it.
1. Relies on Snowballing
If a Hecarim doesn’t get a kill before level 6 or at least on his first use of his Ultimate, he won’t have an easy time finding picks and favorable fights as the game goes on. Hecarim relies on early kills to get the items he needs to become a massive stat-ball as the game goes on. Keep this in mind when playing against him to prevent an early snowball and he’ll be much easier to deal with.
2. Strong Dueling Champions
Champions that can duel Hecarim and fight him in the river, thrive against him in the jungle. Hecarim is strongest in the early game when he can surprise someone with his huge movement speed and burst damage, if you bring the fight to him, he usually doesn’t fare as well. Another positive point of bringing the fight to Hecarim early on is that you’ll keep track of him, giving your laners additional safety as they’ll know his location on the map.
Hecarim’s only form of mobility that can pass terrain is his R dash, champions that can kite him around walls or even create terrain of their own can be a pain for Hecarim to deal with.
Although it’s very hard to kite a Hecarim if you’re by yourself, it’s very doable with the help of allies and different forms of CCs and mobility. Displacements and stuns are crucial to buy enough time until Hecarim’s Ghost expires, making him that much more vulnerable.
The Best Hecarim Jungle Counters in Season 12
Nocturne is one of the junglers that can match Hecarim at multiple stages of the game and in teamfights. As a Nocturne, try to keep Hecarim in check in the early game by taking control of the river and trying to spot him in his jungle by placing wards, you’re stronger than Hecarim in the early game, and you can also make use of your W shield to block his Devastating Charge if he comes at you from far away.
After level 6, you can use your ultimate to counter Hecarim’s attempts at ganks. Another good use of your ultimate is to wait for Hecarim to try and start a teamfight, then activate it as it’ll make Hecarim and his teammates short-sighted and unable to follow up on his engage.
As a ranged jungler and having a passive ability that makes him ideal in fighting physical damage based champions, such as Hecarim, Graves can keep Hecarim tied up in the early game by invading him and keeping track of him, especially as Hecarim won’t have access to his R and won’t be able to chase you through walls that you can dash through, in case his teammates come to help him.
3. Xin Zhao
Among junglers, Xin Zhao is known to have one of the strongest early dueling potentials, abuse that by invading Hecarim or fighting for river control, as he can get pretty low in his first jungle clears and you won’t have a problem winning these fights – of course, be mindful of lane priorities, if your nearest laner is under their tower you’ll find yourself in a 1v2 or even 1v3 very quickly.
Also read: How to Play Against Teemo?
The Best Champions to Counter Hecarim in Season 12
As Hecarim is a jungler, it’s natural that he’ll interact with other lanes in most stages of the game, from early game to teamfights. This is where some champions can make the game much more difficult for a Hecarim player. Let’s take a look at those champions.
Veigar is such a strong pick against Hecarim due to his E ability that forms a cage, stunning any champion that crosses it. As Hecarim doesn’t have a blink, he doesn’t have a choice once he is trapped inside of Veigar’s E but waiting for it to expire or run through it and get stunned – not only that, but Veigar can create a safe zone for his teammates as Hecarim will get stunned if he tries to go in.
Strong disengage can really put a break on Hecarim’s hooves, and Janna is one of the best champions at doing so, having multiple forms of disengage. She also provides bonus movement speed to her allies in the form of her passive, which is very helpful against such a fast champion.
Champions that have ways to stack hard-CC onto Hecarim make it way harder for him to reach his priority targets, or you can even pick him off as he doesn’t have a good escape outside of his Ultimate, which has a long cooldown.
Another aspect that makes Nautilus strong against Hecarim is that, even though Hecarim has a lot of movement speed, Nautilus’ R nullifies that as it is a targeted CC, waiting until your R lands to stack the rest of your CC can be a good idea (but be careful, sometimes Hecarim can outrun your R if he’s already sped up and a little far away from you).
As mentioned, contrary to many champions, there’s no clear way to beat Hecarim outside of denying his early snowball. Use the knowledge acquired in this article about how Hecarim works to counter-pick him and not allow him to get to a point where he’s too strong to abuse his other weaknesses.