Skarner General Guide by Raist
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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.
Hello there fellow summoner's, I am here to present my (currently) working build for Skarner, my in-game name is a little different, Raist42, I wanted to get just Raist but like a lot of different names that was taken by an account that has 0 games played T_T.
This being my first guide I am open to critique as long as it is constructive :). Not much to say about myself other than I really enjoy playing League and I wanted to try and help people understand a champion that is mostly underestimated by most of the community.
This guide is to help people build and play Skarner in a way that will allow everyone to see how he is indeed a useful champion, yeah I know he still isn't the best out there but he is far from the worst and with this build I hope to show why I say so.
Also once you hit late game try to resist the urge as you dive 3 of them under a turret yelling "FEEL MY STING!" :P
Skarner got buffed recently and it really did help, personally I still wouldn't play him as a jungler but now he is not such a bad choice, this patch did not change the way I play him it just made things easier for me overall.
For runes they should be pretty self explanatory, if you want you can take different quints or Glyphs but these have worked best for me. For Quints the other good options would be HP quints or maybe Flat AP, both of which are good choices and honestly I can't see either going wrong because while Quints are good, it's not gonna be a game changer if you don't have "the one." He has some mana issues until you get your RoA so the seals really help and the magic pen is because he deals just about all magic damage.
This setup helps me a lot cause it gives me that needed tanky-ness in the early game to not just die (which I've discovered is a good thing to avoid). I don't invest in the Utility because to me putting 9 points in there is not worth giving up the free 15% magic pen from the offensive tree, plus the cooldown from the offensive tree doesn't hurt either.
A setup I've been meaning to try has been 9/0/21 cause those cooldowns may help but I don't know if it would be worth giving up the tank part of masteries.
Going 21/anything to me is pretty useless cause I mean, why would you go all offensive on a tanky AP :|.
This item set up I find helps out a lot. The 2 gold per 5 items you want to rush the hell out of because Skarner is VERY item dependent and this with farming will help you get out of that awkward mid-game phase that he feels lackluster in. You will want to get the deathfires last because holding on to the gold per 5s for as long as possible makes a very noticeable difference. Generally I will sell my philosopher's stone when I can hard buy my Lich Bane cause one thing you will notice with this build, it may just feel like you're not doing much, you get your Lich Bane, EVERYTHING DIES! At the end of this build you will have about 600 AP with almost 3k HP and plenty of mana to spam to your hearts content.
My games have pretty normally been going something along the lines of: First trip back, KLP and maybe boots, Second trip back, Philo stone, Third trip back Revolver, and then I just start building my Rod of the Ages and following that the rest of the build isn't too complicated so a quick glance should be all you need.
Every build I have seen says to max his Q first, to me this is silly. I max his E because not only because it has high base damage but the heal is AMAZING especially after you get spell vamp. His W is amazing at, well just about everything, high base, move speed, attack speed, low-ish cooldown. His Q honestly is not very good, think about it, a slow that requires you to basically be in range to already be auto attacking, low base damage, and needing to hit it twice before it even starts to slow. this skill isn't good until you have your Lich Bane in my opinion.
Also, HIS PASSIVE IS AMAZING! It isn't that noticeable until you get to later levels but I've had cases where I use my ult to start a team fight and then I get to use it again before the fight ends just because I never stopped attacking, so just if you are able to do NOT stop auto attacking unless doing so would get you killed.
You CAN get flash instead of ghost but I find ghost helps out a lot more than just a flash and because you can cast ignite during his ult I find that helps a lot against champs that have heals or even flash cause pair that with your ult, Q, and an auto attack with Lich Bane, most squishy champs will be dead.
Most of the time, let's assume you NEED to get a kill, it will go something along the lines of, "pop ghost and W, use E then ult, ignite and Q, once they break out keep mashing Q and auto attacking" most squishy champions will die from this or at least be forced out of the lane allowing you to farm and level while they're gone.
I can see an argument for getting teleport for solo lane and in that case I would replace ignite because ghost is just too good to give up.
This is VERY IMPORTANT FOR SKARNER not only because his ult can pick someone up and bring them to your team but working with your team will help you get more gold faster and get past his weak mid-game. Just be sure not to be one of those people that uses your ult on someone like a fiddlesticks that just finished channeling and being all like "HEY GUYS! I'M HELPING!!! :D"
Playing Skarner in a teamfight is a little weird, starting one can be up to you assuming you don't have someone like Malphite or Amumu, so act like you are blitz and grab someone out of line, but then your job is to just get into the middle of things and go to town on the squishy people, the amount of damage he can put out in a short amount of time is pretty scary.
Creeping / Jungling
Don't, yes he can but doing so not only requires you to get items that do not work well with him as a whole, but you can get any number of better junglers. Even if he can clear the jungle quickly, he has poor ganks pre-level 6 and if he is counter jungled recovering is really hard.
From my experience he works very well in the bot lane but with the heal from his E he should be able to solo. I know he can 1v2 because in most cases when I am in bot lane my partner is someone who starts to roam and gank leaving me to deal with 2 people which I have been able to do most of the time.
Farming with Skarner can be kind of hard, his auto attack animation is a little hard to get used to, pair that with low base damage and you have your work cut for you. Generally I will use his E on the caster minion line and just last hit them and in most cases the melee minions should be low enough for Skarner to get as well. Late game isn't a problem because all you need to do is E which will kill the casters right away and then mash Q to kill the melee minions.
I have yet to play ranked with Skarner yet so until I do I really will not be able to provide any incite as to how viable he is but if you DO want to try him in ranked I would say go solo top because the EU metagame is still gripping the NA servers with the AD Support bot lane, this is a way for you to fit in on just about any team.
Summary aka TL;DR
Basically, Skarner is a very, stupidly strong late game champ and doing anything but AP is just a waste of time. He has a fun play style once you get used to it and I hope more people start to like Skarner as I do :D.
I will try and update this if I notice that I missed something or if I find out some new way of doing things that helps a lot. When I eventually end up playing him in ranked I will add in my thoughts about that, cause as of right now I know he is viable in solo que normal but ranked could be a different story.