Analyzing the Pick
First you have to look at Hecarim’s strengths as a champion.
- He brings good, sustained AOE damage in his Q
- He has solid sustain when doing damage with his W
- His E and R both offer strong initiation from very far away
- His passive makes getting boots early a strong purchase
- With a homeguard enchanted teleport, he can easily gank other lanes with a ton of damage and speed
And his weaknesses.
- His Q range is short and has no way to trade with ranged champions without all inning with his E and R.
- He has little impact in fights when behind.
- He can not trade in lane without pushing the wave.
So what can we take from that? Hecarim excels when he is in a lane against a melee champion and stays at least even or preferably gets ahead. He needs a lot of resources from his team and can take over a game once ahead.
Even against ranged champions, Hecarim’s last buffs lowered the mana cost on his Q and increased healing cap of his W against minions and monsters, allowing him to shove waves quickly while sustaining through harassment. By doing this while keeping yourself safe with wards, Hecarim can survive through even the toughest match ups and get himself in to the midgame with the items necessary to team fight.
With all of this in mind, it’s easy to see how Hecarim can be a strong pick. So how can a team fail to find success with such a strong pick? Using the Gravity versus Liquid game as an example, I’ll try to cover as many as possible.
The Summoner Spells
With most people in China and Korea running Teleport and Ignite, it’s only understandable that other players would copy that in hopes of recreating their success. However teams need to recognize the other factors that go in to the choice of these spells. Why run Ignite over Flash? Ignite gives you an extra bit of damage and you don’t need Flash to get to a fight when you already have your E and R to initiate. When given opportunities to get kills, Ignite can be the difference in securing them or leaving your opponent with just a sliver of health.
What are you giving up by picking Ignite over Flash? I could write an entire other article on the uses of Flash and how overpowered it is in comparison to all the other summoner spells. The uses of Flash are endless. It can get you out of ganks in lane, get you out of fights when you’re low, allow you to get on to low health enemies to clean them up, allow you to initiate from even further away, and much more.
In the game, Hauntzer picked Ignite over Flash but was never given the opportunity to use it. Hecarim is extremely easy to gank early without Flash and needs to have his jungler ward and camp him to get him the items and levels he needs. Hauntzer got no such support until he had already been shut down. You also need to create opportunities for Hecarim to teleport in and get kills but he was never given any such opportunity in the game.
The Lane Matchup
As stated earlier, Hecarim struggles against ranged champions as he doesn’t have any abilities to trade with them from distance and has a long cooldown on his gapcloser. When you give that ranged champion CC to stop his E, Hecarim’s only choice is to try to burst them with his R. Team Liquid’s two solo laners, Kennen and Lissandra, both could have walked all over Hecarim. Kennen can easily land his Q,W,E, for a stun and disengage if Hecarim attempts to engage and Lissandra can just as easily spam Qs with the occasional W or E if Hecarim manages to get close.
With Hecarim being picked in to such a hard counter along with such a strong ganking jungler, the amount of resources that would need to be funneled to him almost outweighs the benefits of having him on your team. If you can’t or don’t want to give that much of your team’s resources to your Hecarim, you’re much better off picking a champion that can still make an impact without much gold like Sion or Maokai.