Skarner Build Guide by Septius
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 build focuses mainly on Skarner being a great supporter and distraction/bait for the enemy team. With this build, you will utilize your shield to the fullest, focusing on AP and cooldown reduction in order to maximize the uptime of your shield, reduce it's cooldown, and buff its damage absorption significantly so it lasts much longer before breaking. The movement speed increase and attack speed boost are excellent for Skarn, but if your shield breaks in 1 hit, it becomes quite useless.
With a more powerful shield and lower cooldown, you should be able to dash in and out to harass your enemies quite efficiently. It also makes saving your teammates/lane partner a lot easier. Skarner is great at getting between an injured teammate and an enemy champ. Use your shield as much as possible to get in-between them and soak up some damage, and spam your Q to keep them slowed and off your teammates heels. Keep in mind, Skarner is good at distracting, but not at tanking. He can move in and out of combat quickly to soak up small/medium portions of damage, but if he is caught and surrounded, he will die very quickly. Skarner isn't terribly good 1 on 1 with this build either, at least until mid/late game. Try not to stray too far from teammates whenever possible, your strength is in your support ability.
Another great bonus to this build, is that with so much flat CDR, you will be using your ultimate A LOT more often. Attack minions as often as possible to reduce your CD's and your Ult will seem to be up all the time with this build.
At the end of a game, if played correctly. You should have a decent number of kills, few deaths, and a lot of assists.
Before you read on - I'm not very good at trying to explain or tell others how to actually play during a game, rather than explaining what items to build and what runes to set up on a champ. But since most guides seem to have a section dedicated to that, I'll give it a shot. Just keep in mind, this is how I usually try to play in a game, but all games are different and different situations call for different tactics. If this fails, play the way that feels comfortable to you, and don't try to force something that doesn't work for you.
Early Game: Skarn isn't very powerful early on. Be defensive, don't push much, tell your lane partner to do the same. Try to harass when you get a good shot, but be conservative, don't burn your mana out too fast. Try to wait til 6 to really engage. Obviously, if you get a golden opportunity, take it, otherwise play safe til 6 at least. Once you have your ult, let them push until you get a good opening close to your tower, shield up, ghost, run in and ult someone, drag em towards your tower and exhaust as soon as the ult ends, spamming your Q should keep them slowed after exhaust wears off. (also, try to ult as far away from enemy tower as possible early game). You should easily be able to kill or at least badly injure one or both of the enemies, especially if you got em close to your tower. Go shop then return and keep this up, unless another lane needs a gank. Then go back and keep pushing.
Mid Game: If you've taken a tower down, try to snag blue, and if at all possible, red too. Speed around the map and look for gank opportunities. Otherwise, team up with a DPS and start trying to bait enemies. Have the dps chill in some bushes while you roam out in the open. Overextend yourself if you need to, as soon as an enemy engages you, ult + shield + ghost and drag em to your teammate(s). Skarn is good at this because he has relatively low health in this build and looks rather squishy, but if you are smart and don't let yourself get overrun, you should be able to easily survive/outrun 1 or 2 champs by popping shields while your teammate takes them out. Keep this up as much as possible, support where needed.
Late Game: At this point, Skarn should be sort of an off-tank. Try to stick with your team as much as possible, as you will be very important in team fights now. In team fights, spam the living **** out of your Q for some nice aoe dmg and slow. Save your ult and use it on an enemy carry or AoE champ to shut them down when they use an AoE ult or such. If needed, you can also perform nicely as a backdoor champ if the enemies are well distracted. You should have no trouble zooming through a lane clearing enemies very quickly, as long as you don't get caught off guard, not many other champs should be able to catch you at this point.
Things to remember:
Don't try to initiate team fights. Let the tank do his job, if you overextend and get locked down, even if you land your ult, you will die very quickly.
Learn when to use your ult offensively and defensively. If a certain champ is giving your team trouble in team fights, wait for them to jump in and drag them away from your team, or use to shut down heavy AoE champs.
Remember to take advantage of your heal. E + Q in the middle of a minion wave can heal for a nice chunk of health.
TAbuse your shield, even if only for the movement speed boost.
Try to get blue buff as often as possible. This build is can be taxing on your mana supply, anything to help with regen is a plus.
Red: Magic pen. AP build, obvious choice.
Blue: Ability power per level. You could go CDR or flat ability power, but I feel these scale up pretty fast and are more beneficial in the mid/late game where Skarner really shines.
Yellow: Mana/5 per level. Skarner is really mana hungry, especially early/mid game, Dorian's ring plus these runes help keep him in the field a bit longer.
Quints: Flat Ability power. I've thought about going flat CDR but I don't have the IP to buy them at the moment. For now, I like the flat AP since it beefs up my shield absorb and damage to help harass early game.
Pretty basic caster masteries. A lot of this build revolves around cooldown reduction, anything that lowers your cooldowns on Skarn is extremely useful. The utiilty tree also helps boost your mana and mana regen which is important since the items in this build are a tad light on mana and MP/5 until mid/late game.
You could swap out Expanded Mind for Awareness, I just prefer the bit of extra mana.
Start off with Dorian's Ring. From there, start building Hextech Revolver, then build Ionian Boots of Lucidity. Next, build Sheen, then Fiendish Codex. Once you have both of those, finish up a Lich Bane, then follow with Morello's Evil Tome. After tta, start building Rabadon's Deathcap. Finally build your Hextech Revolver into Gunblade, then, if time permits finish it off with a Rageblade.
Start out with Fracture, followed by Crystalline Exoskeleton(shield), then Crystal Slash. At 4 and 5, Fracture. After you hit 6 and get your ult, try to evenly distribute your points between Shield and Fracture, giving priority to Ult (of course), Shield, Fracture, and finally Crystal Slash.
Regarding Summoner Spells, I feel Exhaust and Ghost are pretty much necessity for Skarner. Others could be viable, but I highly recommend these. Also, Flash does not work with Skarners Ult.
Exhaust: Seems to go hand in hand with Skarners ult, and very handy if your Q slow is out of range or on CD.
Ghost: Stacks with your shield movement speed increase, so the combination of these can be great for quickly moving in to ult an enemy, chasing down a runner, or just quickly getting out of a bad situation before it gets worse.
This is my first guide, so I hope I didn't forget anything. If you decide to try it, GL and I hope it works well for you. Please feel free to comment.