Skarner Build Guide by Imasukai
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
This is my first ever guide on Mobafire, written for Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard! Any constructive criticisms would be great, as even though I've been playing League of Legends for quite some time, this is the first time I've ever written a guide for any champions.
I figured that due to the new update, some people would be looking to the community to try and find advice on what to do with the new mastery tree, updated jungle and refreshed item set. My aim here is to give you guys a nice, firm basis to start your jungling in the new League of Legends.
Skarner is a great all round champion who I feel is quite under-appreciated in the game. He is reasonably tanky, and also capable of dealing a heap of damage in team fights, able to slow multiple champs with one ability, and his ulti is brilliant at singling out a champion for your team to focus, or to drag away from team fights.
Centuries ago, there lived a race of creatures as ferocious as they were wise. The Brackern were unusual beings blessed with the earth's primal magic, embodied in the form of crystals. Their kind knew of an arcane ritual to bind their life's essence to a crystal, communing with the magic embedded in it. With this power, the Brackern thrived in the Odyn Valley, protecting both creatures and crystals alike. Despite attacks from those looking to claim the primal magic, it seemed that nothing could get past the Brackern's defenses. Nothing, that is, until the devastation of a Rune War.
A vicious battle was fought near the Odyn Valley and the unleashed chaotic magic poisoned the crystals. The Brackern began to grow sick and die, and no amount of defensive magic could reverse the effects. To avoid extinction, their only course was to hibernate underground until the wars stopped. The strongest, most intelligent Brackern hibernated closer to the surface to awaken first and assess the world's condition for the return of their race. The recent mining operations and violent escalation in Kalamanda were enough to awaken the first of these vanguards. When Skarner burst to the surface, he lashed out in anger and confusion. Reason eventually won out over his anger when he realized that the agents of the League who found him were simply functionaries. Skarner was invited to the Institute of War to share the Brackern's story. In return, the summoners told him about the history that his kind had slept through. Much had been done to curb the unchecked use of magic since the Rune Wars, but it was obvious that the world was not yet safe for his kind to reawaken. For now, however, there is a place where Skarner can use his power to change the world into one to which his kind could eventually return: the League of Legends.
Personally, I like building flat attack speed and armour penetration runes on Skarner. Having increased attack speed helps out his passive, and increased armour penetration assists in both jungling and ganking to take down champs.
Some of you may be wondering why I don't choose some tanky runes for Skarner. I find that by placing most of your mastery points in the defensive tree, he ends up with enough tankyness to be able to get by comfortably in the early game, at least until you start building his items.
Greater Glyph of Attack Speed
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration
Greater Seal of Attack Speed
Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration
Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed
From these runes, you are getting a boost of 16 attack speed and 21.6 armour penetration. Having an early attack speed boost for the jungle helps your ability to spam Crystal Slash and deal maximum damage. Coupling this with the increased attack speed on Crystalline Exoskeleton helps guarantee an easy take down on pretty much every camp in the jungle.
Basically, what I've done with this mastery page is concentrate on the defensive tree. Because of my concentration on offense with Skarner's runes, it's imperative that I make up for it in his mastery tree, otherwise he doesn't stand much of a chance against the jungle. You'll also see that I've maxed out Sorcery to further improve his ability to spam Crystal Slash.
I had to rethink my strategy for Skarner in this jungle after the update, as they took out Regrowth Pendant, which was always my starting item. Luckily, the addition of the new jungle items made this an easy decision to make.
: Essential. No two ways about it. Unless you're guaranteed that the enemy team will not invade and your solo top or mid can provide a solid leash, take this. I saw someone else trying to jungle Skarner without picking this up as his first item, and he was executed because the mid didn't provide a decent leash. If you take this first, Skarner can easily solo blue buff, and then through the smart use of his potions, cruise through the rest of the jungle without having to recall until you have enough gold to buy Spirit Stone.
: This is basically like your own permanent red buff, while also giving you a nice little bit of health and mana regeneration to help sustain you through the game and ganks. If you're taking a beating when you gank, consider taking Spirit of the Ancient Golem instead, to provide you with a little more tankyness.
: Pretty much the standard choice for most jungle champions. Again, consider taking Ninja Tabi instead. Remember, choice of boots is situational. If your solo top is having a hard time pushing against two AP champs, Mercury's Treads are the way to go. Alternatively, if your mid is getting creamed by an AD champ, consider Ninja Tabi in order to take a little more damage during your ganks.
: If you look at Crystal Slash, you'll find that it's only the initial attack that does physical damage. Every subsequent attack deals magic damage, which is where this item comes into play. Finding a nice balance between AD and AP is key to maximizing Skarner's damage output. It's important to note that the passive Spellblade does not stack with the slowing abilities of Crystal Slash, but does apply to Fracture, so you do have the ability to slow a champion who is outside of Crystal Slash's reach.
: By the time you reach this point in the game, you'll find that you don't quite have the health to pull off an effective gank anymore, or you may not even be jungling anymore. A little bit of health wouldn't go astray, right? Well, why not add some damage in with that? Skarner needs to be close to an enemy champ to be able to deal maximum damage with his abilities, which makes Sunfire Cape a no-brainer.
: There are three stats that Skarner loves; attack speed, ability power and cooldown reduction. Nashor's Tooth gives all three! What's better than that?
Your last item is really quite flexible. The only reason I've placed Trinity Force in the cheat sheet is because it's more often than not the item I go with, but it's also perfectly fine to consider other options. If you're still looking for some more health, try getting a Warmog's Armor instead, or possibly a Frozen Heart if the enemy AD carry is doing particularly well.
Try to steer clear of getting any full on damage items as your 6th item. Remember, you're the jungle, not the carry. Your mindset should be on helping to turn the tables in a team fight, not to pick up as many kills as possible. Don't buy items like The Bloodthirster, Infinity Edge or The Black Cleaver, as they don't do much to help your overall cause in the game.
Lastly, your boot enchantment. Usually I go with Enchantment: Alacrity as it's one of the cheapest, and gives you that little bit more movement speed to be able to traverse the map quicker. Enchantment: Furor only applies the speed buff to your basic attacks and Impale, so this isn't a great choice, and only take Enchantment: Homeguard if you find yourself recalling a lot, or if you're the one pushing back minions from invading your base while the rest of the team pushes.
Crystal Slash is Skarner's main damage dealing ability. You basically spam Q while attacking due to his passive Energize. You definitely want to level this one as quick as possible.
Crystalline Exoskeleton increases both movement and attack speed for the duration of the spell, or until the shield is destroyed. This is another reason why Skarner likes having a bit of ability power. The more ability power, the more hits the shield can take, therefore also improving the amount of time Skarner gets his speed buff for. This should be your second ability maxed.
Fracture is probably Skarner's least useful ability. It only becomes useful against the enemy once you've bought your Iceborn Gauntlet. Before then, you should only be using it to get a little bit of health back from the jungle camps through the passive. Once you have Iceborn Gauntlet, however, it does make a nice initiator. Take a couple of points in this early on, but level it last.
Lastly, Impale is Skarner's main tool for changing team fights. It can be used both offensively and defensively. In terms of offense, it's great for preventing an enemy champion from escaping a gank or team fight. Defensively, you can use this to pull the main damage dealer away from the team fight. It's particular useful to use against champions like Rammus and Shen who have taunts, and tend to build items like Thornmail that rip your team apart. Always look at the situation before using Impale. Sometimes, you might use it at the beginning of the fight, and then find that it was actually needed toward the end. As a general rule, don't initiate with it.
I know it seems like everyone's doing it these days, but Flash and Smite are your best friends in the jungle role. Smite is standard for finishing off jungle camps, and Flash is more useful when it comes to ganking. Being able to Flash onto an enemy champ as they're trying to escape and pop off a few Crystal Slash's can do wonders for securing the kill for your allies.
Other viable options include Ghost for closing the gap on an escaping champion to Impale them, and Teleport for quicker ganks.
Jungling & Ganking
As I mentioned before, Skarner is able to take blue without a leash, providing he's got a Hunter's Machete and Smite to finish it off. My usual route is to go straight from blue to wolves, taking a potion along the way. Go from wolves to wraiths, and then take down golems after that, taking potions as you need them. Remember, you have five, so don't be afraid to use them. Once you've taken care of golems, head back to wolves, they should have respawned by the time you get there. Go between wolves, wraiths and golems until you've run out of potions. You should definitely have enough gold by that point to buy a Spirit Stone, so recall and grab that, but try not to gank until you've got Boots of Speed unless any of your lanes are having a particularly hard time.
Always be smart with your approach to gank. If the lane is pushed, it's not a good idea to approach from the river, as this leaves you exposed and an easy target to be focussed. Assess the situation as you approach the lane and gank wherever is appropriate. Initiate all ganks with Crystalline Exoskeleton already popped, and spam the hell out of Crystal Slash to maximize damage. Remember, the point of a gank isn't always to secure a kill. Sometimes, all that's needed is for you to push the enemy team back so your ally in the lane can farm and get a little more formidable.
I hope you gained a little something out of this guide for Skarner. He's pretty much one of my favourite champions to play in the game, due to his well-rounded stats and useful abilities. I'll add some score sheets later.
Ciao, and remember to leave a comment and a rating!