If you mention “AP Hecarim” to a Hecarim main, chances are you’ll get a punch in your face. But if you do so to an off-meta enthusiast, they’re likely to nod at you in a gentlemanly manner.
All jokes aside, AP Hecarim has been a viable off-meta build for as long as I can remember. It focuses on empowering two of Hecarim’s abilities, the ones that deal magic damage and scale with ability power.
As a result, you get a bit squishier but far more explosive playstyle that can be extremely fun, especially if you get ahead early on.
So if you want to learn how to play AP Hecarim, buckle up and let me take you on a rollercoaster of League of Legends experiences!
The Fundamentals of Playing AP Hecarim
The “AP” in Hecarim’s Kit
If you’ve never tried AP Hecarima and you aren’t sure what the playstyle is all about, let me explain the basics.
First off, Hecarim’s W, Spirit of Dread, is a magic damage type of spell and it scales with AP only. When activated, it deals damage to all enemies around Hecarim for a few seconds while also giving him bonus resistance and healing.
Unfortunately, only the damage portion of Spirit of Dread is affected by ability power so the healing and resistances stay the same. However, the damage helps you take down enemies faster, including minion waves and jungle monsters.
Hecarim’s R, Onslaught of Shadows, is the second magic damage ability and the most important one in this build. It allows you to charge in a chosen direction, dealing huge amounts of AoE damage that scales with 100% of your AP while also fearing your enemies.
Onslaught of Shadows is what you’ll primarily use to deal damage as AP Hecarim.
The Strengths of AP Hecarim
If you’ve understood what AP Hecarim is all about, let’s talk about what exactly can he do in a single match.
The biggest strength that AP Hecarim offers is one-shotting multiple enemies at once. Since his R does so much damage with ability power items, and it’s easy to use as well, it’s difficult for Hecarim to not win a team fight.
For example, let’s say that the enemy team is grouping around Dragon. If you manage to circle around and use Onslaught of Shadows on three enemy champions, you’ll definitely assassinate one and leave the other two fleeing away from you on 50% HP.
The way you actually perform this is really simple.
Hecarim’s combo starts with activating E and running toward your primary target. You then cast R to gap close and deal damage. You should immediately follow that with a basic attack which will knock back the target thanks to the E. In the end, just activate your W and stand in range until the target is dead.
Most players don’t expect Hecarim’s W to deal so much damage, if any. However, the ability can help you proc Dark Harvest and drain away the last portions of your enemy’s HP.
So, this is what you should be doing on AP Hecarim whenever you have your ultimate available. Rinse and repeat until you tilt all of your opponents.
Where Should You Play AP Hecarim?
If you aren’t sure whether AP Hecarim’s place is in the jungle or not, you’ll be happy to hear that he can be played in multiple roles.
Obviously, AP Hecarim won’t be as effective in clearing jungle camps as AD Hecarim. Maxing out W can help you keep your health up and deal AoE damage, but expect a bit slower early game.
I personally prefer playing AP Hecarim in the mid lane. Yes, there are a lot of unfavorable matchups and you often get pushed under your turret. But if you’re being careful and you focus on getting as much XP and gold as possible until level 6, you can have a great game.
I’ve also tried AP Hecarim as a support and the results were better than I expected. Your damage won’t be as high but the utility is there and it’s definitely helpful.
Top lane is a bit difficult for AP Hecarim since the AD bruisers there make dueling in the early game almost impossible.
So, my advice is to try out AP Hecarim in mid lane or jungle first.
Read Also: AP Jarvan IV Build Guide
The Best AP Hecarim Build in Season 13
- Dark Harvest
- Sudden Impact
- Eyeball Collection
- Ultimate Hunter
- Gathering Storm
As you can see, the entire rune page is constructed with a simple idea in mind – to maximize your damage when you first go in with Hecarim’s R to assassinate the enemy carries.
First off, Dark Harvest allows you to collect souls from low-HP enemies and stack your damage against them. It’s great for the late game and it’s definitely a fun keystone to play with.
Sudden Impact gives you bonus magic and armor penetration immediately when you use Hecarim’s R. And Eyeball Collection increases your ability power passively as you go through the early game.
Ultimate Hunter is a key rune here because the whole playstyle of AP Hecarim depends on having the ultimate ability available. This rune shortens its cooldown substantially, so you have more chances at one-shotting your targets each game.
For secondary runes, I tend to prioritize Celerity because of its movement speed buff. MS is essential on Hecarim, regardless of the build you’re running.
And Gathering Storm is another scaling rune that will slowly but surely pump up your total AP.
There are other rune pages that you can also use although they don’t work as well as this one. For example, you can go for Phase Rush and have more movement speed or Electrocute for a better burst.
But if you’re new to AP Hecarim, I’d suggest you stick to my rune page.
- Ionian Boots of Lucidity
- Night Harvester
- Lich Bane
- Cosmic Drive
- Rabadon’s Deathcap
The actual item build for AP Hecarim is a mix of burst and consistent-damage items made to give you general advantages and not only specific ones.
For example, the mythic item you’ll mostly run is Night Harvester. Besides the great stats (AP, health, ability haste), it also allows you to deal extra damage when you first hit an enemy champion. This synergizes with Dark Harvest and helps you assassinate opponents.
However, we also take Manamune/Muramana which is an AD item. The first reason for this is that we need all the bonus mana it grants. And second, having a bit of extra AD allows Hecarim to deal decent damage with his Q and auto-attacks as well.
Your two core items beside the top two are Lich Bane and Cosmic Drive. Lich Bane gives you AP and it adds an on-hit magic damage effect which you can use instantly after pressing E. And Cosmic Drive grants a bunch of movement speed in combat which is definitely useful.
Rabadon’s Deathcap is the item that will buff your damage the most because it grants a lot of AP and it also boosts the stat.
As for boots, Ionian Boots of Lucidity is what you should always run on this champion. Hecarim definitely needs as much cooldown reduction as possible, so these boots are his default.
There are also many optional items you can go for. For example, I often build Hextech Rocketbelt because it allows me to do tricks and outplays. And if I’m ahead, Mejai’s Soulstealer is what I always buy.
But if I need defensiveness, I prioritize Banshee’s Veil and Zhonya’s Hourglass.
Read Also: AP Rengar Build Guide
Skill Order and Summoner’s Spells
No matter where you play AP Hecarim, you should always max out W first, followed by Q, and then E. W is our main basic ability but we also need Q since Hecarim can spam it all the time.
Here’s the level-by-level skill order path for AP Hecarim.
As for Summoner’s Spells, you should prioritize Ghost and Flash.
If you’re playing AP Hecarim in the mid lane, I suggest running them both. But as a jungler, you might want to use Ghost and Smite instead of Flash. You’ll often find that movement speed is much more useful than blinking on Hecarim.
In the world of off-meta LoL builds, AP Hecarim will always have a place. I’ve had fun with it for years and I always go back to it when I get frustrated in my solo queue games.
AP Hecarim is all about crushing your opponents with your ultimate and dominating teamfights. I’m positive that this speedy horse can cure your boredom while also making your opponents insanely tilted.
So, definitely give it a try!