After patch 12.23b, Hecarim not only lost his top jungler status but also became a relatively weak pick in this position.
Prior to version 12.23b, Hecarim was truly a jungle monster with tremendous power and dash in combat. Standing out from the early days of this year’s World Championship, Hecarim is like a “winged tiger” with new Mythical items in the 2023 Pre-Season.
This return of Hecarim is largely due to Riot’s changes in the pre-Worlds version to let Ghost of War players focus more on the gladiator item build. However, Riot accidentally created a real monster in the game, turning him into a fearsome dashing machine in combat. Likewise, the “father” of League of Legends is constantly criticized by the community for creating such a terrifying Ghost of War.
Specifically, in patch 12.23b, Hecarim was nerfed by Riot as follows:
Skill Q – Sweeping:
Bonus damage per stack reduced from 4% (+5% per 100 bonus Attack Damage) to 3% (+4% per 100 Attack Damage)
The strong nerf on Q – also the main damage skill of Ghost of War, makes Hecarim less scary in combat. But it seems that this is also a heavy-handed “hammer” of Riot in this version for Hecarim when causing the Phantom of War to drastically decrease his win rate.
Hecarim’s above change also makes it harder for him to take down opponents in a short time like before, which forces Ghost of War to become a Resist champion, opening fights and creating a premise for his teammates. Although the win rate has dropped dramatically in the Solo Queue environment (47.85% win rate), Hecarim will likely still be a reliable choice for matches in the upcoming professional tournaments.
But Hecarim is also unlikely to be buffed in the near future. Because in general, the Ghost of War is a relatively easy champion to play but has high efficiency. So Hecarim players can refer to more Stamina-rich item builds to unleash the power of his other skills rather than focusing on damage as before.
See also: League of Legends: True rumors about a new support champion from Ixtal