Skarner Build Guide by JungleSkarner
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.
Welcome to my Jungle Skarner guide. I'm a 1700 elo EU West player and I have played skarner about 200-300 games now (in ranked). I started playing Skarner before any those buffs because I realised how strong this champion is.
If you decide to learn this champion, you will add an extremly powerful and still underrated champion to your list. Skarner, in my opinion, is the strongest jungler along with Rammus.
I saw some major misstakes, even in the best rated Skarner guides, so I had to share my experiences. This guide will work for any elo.
Now lets get started:
Why should I play Skarner (in the jungle) ?
+ Skarner has strong ganks at any phase of the game.
+ once your oponent gets caught by your Q-skill + Red buff slow chain he is 99% dead.
+ he is one of the fastest and safest junglers
+ you cannot counterjungle him
+ he wins 1on1 vs nearly every champion (which is important for a jungler)
+ he is fun to play, huge potential, you can get better every game
In my opinion the best way to get out of elo hell, and easily into 1500+ elo. But it takes about 100-200 games to learn him and play him at his fullest potential and another 200-300 games to master him.
his guide is only recommended for playing the jungle, NOT the top lane.
I will later upload a video of this in a ranked game aswell.
You start at wolves (ask your team for some dmg assistance) and go blue buff. Do not gank bot/top at level 2, since the chances of a kill/flashforce are too low.
Go wraith and try to finish all 4 Wraiths with your 2nd Crystal Shard (E Skill) to gain maximum health back. Continue with red buff and check out the mid and bot lane while killing the lizard. If any of those lanes push your team hard, go immediatly for a gank, if not continue with 2 golems and check lanes again.
YOU MUST KNOW where the enemy warded the bot lane, keep your eye on the minimap and watch the enemy supporter when he leaves the lane. Most of the times you can tell where he warded if you watch him, even if you dont have vision.
If you consider bot/mid ungankble (only experience will tell you, just play alot of games) go back to wraiths->wolves which respawn just in time. Check out if any lane is pushing again. You should consider ganking top/mid after doing wolves, because they dont have a ward that early.
From here on you have to start doing your own decisions, depending on the game situation. But I can advice to you to keep an eye on the top at early levels, if they push the lane I guarentee you a 100% kill.
Personal Advice (read this!!!):
+ Don't gank riven top (ungankable for skarner), you cannot do anything about him. Tell your teammate at the start of the game so he can deal with it.
+ Even if you get counter ganked by the enemy jungler, you can keep fighting in most situations because you are so much stronger and got AoE dmg/Aoe slow.
+ Do not 1on1 Trundle, he is the only jungler I met in 500 games that beats you on equal farm
+ It is easier to gank bot/mid if you started on the north/east of the map, and its easier to gank top/mid if you started south/east of the map, because the map is actually Asymmetric (correct me if this is the wrong word, I think its correct though)
+ Ganking bot allways has priority (you can get 2 kills sometimes and botlane can win you the game)
+ ALLWAYS (in soloQ) try to get the kills. ALLWAYS, and I cant stress this enough. You snowball extremly hard. I have won games (ranked) where I had 10:0 and my team had 0:10. And if I didnt took all the kills I would have lost 100%, but I could carry it and it felt pretty easy despite the sick feed.
+ give the 2nd blue buff to mid, it will help him alot and only about 20%/30% of ppl in ranked 0-1800 elo do this, this will give your mid lane a huge advantage. If your mid player died already 1-2 times by now, you should take it yourself. Trust me on this one.
+ try to stay in the jungle until you have 1050 gold for madreds + boots
How do I gank ?
Something you should do all game, is observing the lanes. Just check each lane regualary while creeping. Low hp enemeys, overextending enemys are easier to gank ofc.
1. Lane ganking
2. Jungle invasion
1. Lane ganking
There are many ways on how to gank each lane. You should consider which way is the best before approaching a lane. Each lane is different, depending on ur starting location.
Ganking mid (same):
Ganking this lane is the hardest. Tell your teammate to bait the enemy, than you have the biggest chances for a kill, unless he is pushing hard. If you can flash ult the enemy it is definatly worth it (you have to be sure to kill him), since killing mid champions is a pretty big deal, and if your teammate isn't sleeping he wont be able to escape.
Several options. Going through the bushes of the lane, this works pretty good if you started south/west and you want to gank bot, or if you started north/east and want to gank top.
Again tell your teammate to play dumb and bait. Baiting works extremly easy in this occasions. But make sure its not warded, ask ur team or watch if the minions attack you while beeing in the bushes.
If you gank from the river, use the 'sneaky' way through the enemy jungle (bot if you spawned northeast, top if you spawned south/west), but becareful not to get coutnerganked by mid/enemy jungler. THis one is risky, you must be aware of the enemys since they might see you entering their jungle due to a ward.
2. Jungle invasion.
Since skarner is one of the most powerful 1on1 champions, you should try to steal the enemy buffs whenever you get the chance (good junglers will try to do the same with your buffs, keep an eye on them as soon as they respawn).
I always got a ward on me (even if its just from lantern) to ward the enemy blue buff. The blue buff is alot more important than the red buff. Don't go for the 2nd blue buff, that is too dangerous and you probatly won't have the lantern by than. But refresh it and place your ward there 1-2 minutes before the golem should respawn the 3rd time. Try to find out when the enemy jungle took his 2nd blue, or when mid disappears, reappears fast (means he got blue) and place the ward 3-4 mins after that).
Take his red if it's respawned and he just ganked top for example.
+If you approach the enemy champion, and on your way to the enemy you pass some minions, use your Q once. This way you will slow on the second use of Q.
+ Try to master 'Orbwalking'. => Auto hit -> move -> Auto hit -> move. Do this manually to abort the animation, this way you can stick to the enemy and deal more damage and 'chainslow' him (redbuff, Q-Skill).
+ Respawn times:
Blue Golem: 5m
Red Lizard: 5m
Explaining the item build
I will explain you in detail why to buy those items.
Cloth armor + 5 pots: Safe jungling is essential, to start boots you require different runes which are lessefficient
Boots: Essential for Skarner. You need to get close to the enemy to do anything at all.
Madred's Razors + Faerie's Charm: for faster jungling, faerie charm allows you to give 2nd blue buff to your mid player and still be able to have enough mana for ganks+jungle. You can sell faery charm when it allows you to finish a bigger item.
Sheen: Best item for Skarner, buy it at all costs at this point, sometimes even before you finish lantern if you have the right amount of money.
Mercurys Treads: If the enemy team has hardly any Hard CC's/Slows (ONLY VERY RARE CASES) buy berserker boots.
Giant's Belt into Sunfire Cape: Gives you enough life to survive AP carry bursts, helps you diving alot because of its armor. You need everything this items gives you. Note: If you are fed already by now, (4-5 kills) you should buy TriForce before Sunfire Cloak.
Trinity Force: Gives you everything you need, aswell a perfect item for skarner.
From here on it depends on the game. You should probatly buy some MR now, though armor is alot better for Skarner. So if your enemy have alot of Magic Damage, buy Armor items.
Items I recommend, depending on the situations:
Banshee's veil / Force of Nature / Atma's Impaler (triforce+sunfire gives you enough HP) / Aegis of the Legion / Stark's Fervor / Shurelya's Reverie Shurelya's Reverie
Your last item MUST be last whisper. That's why Triforce and Lantern should be your only offensive items.
+ If your ganks/jungling has been unsuccessful and your lanes are losing, you should consider buying Turtle Shell/Philosophers stone.
+ Buy Philosoper's stone -> Shurelya's Reverie if your team has no engage, or is struggling to do so.
Explaining runes/masteries/summoner spells
I'm not a math crafter, nor am I a fan of mathematic formulas in games like this. The best way to find out what runes are the strongest is by playing and testing. The feelings of your subconsciousness provide you with a much better raiting of whats best for the complexity of situations (I have no idea if this sentence is acceptable english, feel free to correct me).
Those I put into this guide are what I made the best experience with. What you should have at all costs are 9/21/0 masteries and atk speed Marks.
You need Flash to use ur ultimate effieciently. Smite for jungling. You don't even need Smite for the buffs, you could theoretically go Exhaust / Flash, but you need something like Cho'Gath in ur team to finish Baron/Dragon.
Explaining Skill Sequence
The proposed Skill Sequence is the only way to play Jungle Skarner. You need the Q-Slow for ganking, the W-Speed for charging onto the enemy. The damage of E is too low to skill it earlier.
Most imporant: How to play in teamfights
There are basicly two ways of playing Skarner in teamfights:
Option 1: The Guard
Play 'The Guard' when ur AD Carry is fed and has shown some skill. Especially in lategame this is the only thing you will do, since the AD Carry is the heart of every team. If he dies, you lose, if he can constantly pump out his hits, you win. This is how you protect him:
You constantly have an eye on your AD carry and position yourself never more than 1 autohit range away from him. You act like a wall, allways between the AD carry and the enemy offtanks. As soon as the fight starts, they will blindly run onto your AD carry to kill/zone him. All you do is to stick onto those who try, spamm your Q (to slow) and auto hits (thats important for dmg and so you can spamm Q as much as possible). This will make it impossible for them to even reach your AD Carry while he can Kite easly.
Use ur ultimate if Champs like Irelia/Lee Sin/Akali.... jump onto your AD carry. IMMEDIATLY ULT them. If somehow the enemy AP/AD Carry is in range, ult him immediatly aswell.
Option 2: The Boss
Play 'The Boss' if you got fed early game, if the enemy team is squishy, your AD carry is a bad player (happens often enough), one hyperfed enemy is the only danger to your team, or if your team lacks damage.
In this scenario you try to kill the squishy most fed enemy carry. Works best against ap champions, since most AD Carrys are too protected + babysitted by support + can kite you.
Get trinity Force ASAP and afterwards tanky as f**k. You only need Trinity force to kill squishy carrys fast. Shurelya's is also recommended for this, but not neccesary.
As soon as the teamfight breaks out, you charge with your shield into the enemy team and try to grab the biggest danger to your team. Don't be afraid burn your flash to grab him with your ultimate, that's the best way to use your flash. If you manage to drag him into your team, he is instantly dead. You go for squishiest targets that deal the most damage. If you get exhausted you just try to stay on your target, slowing it with Q+autohits.
+ NEVER EVER ult Kennen/Fiddle (in ult)/Morgana/Galio/Main Tank, only in rare cases where you can drag them away from ur team while they are in their ultimates. These cases are rare.
Champions Skarner is strong/weak against
Note please. GUIDE NO FINISHED YET
Posting this Guide now, going to improve this layout and content more during the next 2 days. Please be kind enough not to rate yet, but please comment if you want to. I will remove this chapter as soon as Im done.