Skarner Build Guide by Gott der 7 Meere
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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.
Im remaking this guide for a Tear of the Goddess-centered build and a more organized and smaller guide.
Why would I build AP on Skarner ?
Skarner is a melée champion without gap closers who seems potentially unsuited for a solo lane. But a closer look reveals something different. Skarner has insanely high base stats that will let him win any kind of exchange if he doesn't get kited around. And then his skills are just awesome for a solo laner. They all revolve around dealing sustained damage and offer him some kind of protection. The best of these skills is Fracture, an amazing farming, poke and sustain ability and this guide will teach you how you can abuse it to win your lane.
AP Skarner is similar to Mordekaiser in many ways. If you play him like you would play Morde, you should do well. The secret is his farming and pushing capability. What distinguishes him from morde are some mana issues (we will deal with them) and a lot of CC.
How does this build use his abilities ?
EnergizeHHH Energize (Passive): Whit 2.5 AS and 40% CDR you get a 0.6 sec Crystal Slash, an unbrekable shield, you can spamm Fracture for aoe damage and heals on a 2-3 sec cooldown and you get a significantly reduced ult CD. However, the incredible potential of your passive is not reliable and needs you to be in melée range. Use it to get more Fractures early, and try to get close to its maximum potential in teamfights. Be aware that this also can eat through your mana in a matter of seconds. Even though you won't build AS, allied spells like Blood Boil can greatly enhance your damage output.
HHH Crystal Slash (Q): A singular use won't archieve anything. It is supposed to be used sucsessively. Since kite shuts this down, you won't bother putting any points here early. A stronger shield and Fracture are more important. Later this will turn into your highest damage tool. Remember to charge it on minions before you hit a champ and to use it while your supress enemies to have them slowed.
HHH Crystalline Exoskeleton (W): Early game it is used to escape ganks - if you see them early - and to chase. It can also get rid of some poke or help you get the next Fracture faster. However, before maxed, it's not very reliable, as enemies will easily break it. But there will come the time, when this is maxed, you have resist and AP and then you will be invincible. Its probably the only shield that can be renewed before it even expires. It is the reason that you can go melee and still survive. Be advised to get early resistances, if only a Null-Magic Mantle, because they make your shield that much stronger.
HHH Fracture (E): This is the main reason we take AP. With a low cost and CD (thanks to Energize) you can spamm it in lane, and with its high range, and broad AOE band and damage, it is a perfect farming tool. Wait, on top of that, you get a sizable heal for free, since you will lasthit anyway there is no need for Health Potions on skarner.
HHH Impale (R): This is the ultimate ultimate. The most potent form of CC, combined with sick damage, and your still allowed to move. Really, the only downside is that its range is short. The Cooldown can really plummet if you can attack things, the fact that you face backward lets you ignore Mocking Shout. Be mindfull of Cassiopeias, though.
How to build him ?
Skarner has a shield, a heal and very high base stats. In other words, you can fully focus on only AP and he won't show any weakness. Start with an all AP rune setup and a Doran's Ring. This will allow you to lay down some serious poke, and push some waves. If you have a junlger's help, you can get a kill early. Should you get ganked, you will most likely be full health and you might easily pick up a kill because most enemies will underestimate you. But you can also go a more save and approved mixed resist/AP rune mastery setup and start with Cloth Armor/ Null-Magic Mantle and Health Potions. However, with the increased Movespeed and the changes to Doran's Ring I suggest you take it regularly. The only exception is when you face a strong early game laner and jungler. In this case start with Crystalline Flask, Sight Ward and Health Potion or Mana Potion.
Pick up Boots of Speed and more Doran's Rings if you just farm, the new doran's give you really nice Mana. Abyssal Scepter should be rushed against magic damage and for the easier farming. Sorcerer's Shoes are a bad option overall, because you will have to switch them out for Mercury's Treads sooner or later anyway, also since they now only give 15 penetration opposed to 25 MR, the decision here is simple. If you do well and can gather kills, feel free to go more defensive with Glacial Shroud (This is also your item of choice against physical damage...), else buy more ap towards Rabadon's Deathcap to be a proper thread.
If people try to counter you with MR, buy a Sheen. Because you lack resist from masteries or runes, try to get at least a Negatron Cloak and Chain Vest now. If you bought Sheen and Glacial Shroud, Iceborn Gauntlet is a cheap upgrade now. In case you need HP, get a Giant's Belt or a Haunting Guise.
Since you will notice your MS lacking at some point, dont hesitate to get boot upgrades now. Work towards a Sheen upgrade if you havn't already, otherwise continue to get AP items, you will need the Rabadon's Deathcap now. Another interesting option is Liandry's Torment. Continue to stack defenses if you die to quickly and get your CDR capped.
Since you need to survive in order to do damage and your spells are really spammable when you can remain in combat, it is of more use to get AS, CDR and Tankyness in order to do more damage instead of just stacking more and more AP. Thus cover your last remaining slot with more resistance, Health and saving effects like Randuin's Omen, Guardian Angel, Spirit Visage or Quicksilver Sash.
Getting Void Staff is a terrible idea, as you need the additional slot for more tankyness, your overall damage comes over time, and in the long run, no one can fight you Liandry's Torment is nice if your team needs damage and has a tank. Some aura items like Will of the Ancients or Runic Bulwark can really make you godlike, and you should urge your support to get them, other items are situational upgrades that you can get in your last slot if you choose to sacrifice some durability: Hextech Gunblade, shurelya's Reverie, Deathfire Grasp...
Tips and Tricks...
- Some champions like Cassiopeia are difficult to beat, since you will be hard pressed to trigger the heal from Fracture, you will push the lane if you use Fracture, and they can kite you around until you die. If you cannot avoid such matchups, max your shield, get resist and farm under your tower, your time will come, you can beat anything late game - if you are able to get there without beeing utterly outfarmed. Every champion has its weaknesses, and Skarner is no exception.
- Skarner has the highest base damage in game, Sheen and its upgrades work wonders.
- Due to his good AD ratio on Crystal Slash and high AS, hybrid items like Guinsoo's Rageblade or Hextech Gunblade are good options. But please note that we get AP not only for damage, but mainly for the heal and shield it offers and acctually neglect raw damage output in favour of those.
- Clearing the wraith camp is easy with Skarner, so steal it from your enemy, push and roam.
- Nashor's Tooth is considered evil by the comunity and should therefore be avoided. With S3 its acctually one of the more cost-effective items, but pairing AP with AS is still seen as dubious.
- Please realize that while starting with AP and Fracture offers a nice lane presence, there is no reason that you cannot go gp10 and tank items + Trinity Force. Look at your team composition for advice on how to build your Skarner. Sometimes your team needs support items, sometimes it needs pyhsical damage or just a decent tank and initation.