Skarner Build Guide by anhungerartists
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.
Introduction (Lane vs. Jungle)
This guide is a casual guide to tanky dps, laning Skarner. To say that this is competitive would be unfair as I have not played him in ranked games yet and still think he needs time before he breaks into the meta game. I do hope that he will rank high in the tiers as he is incredibly fun to play and seems to have real looming and dangerous presence.
There are a few reasons why I prefer laning to jungling Skarner. First off the ability for someone to be in the jungle doesn't mean that they should be in the jungle. Speed and ganking ability should factor in before even thinking about whether it is viable or not. Sure its viable to jungle with Malphite and Karthus but would really want to miss out on having Nunu, Warwick, Udyr, Tryndamere, Shaco speed through the jungle. My biggest discrepancy is whether to throw him solo top, as most trinity off tanks tend to (Irelia, Jarvan etc.) or to put him with a buddy bot as he can help the controlling of dragon very well, as he has decent jungling abilites.
What it comes down to is team comp, depends on who is on your team if you are rolling straight along with the metagame of tank, ad off tank, ad carry, ap, and support, than it seems you will be soloing top, with presumable a tank in the jungle ad carry, support bot and ap mid. But as I said before it varies with team comp so assigning Skarner a lane before assigning him a team seems to be a bit unnecessary.
First off, I'd like to say that this is still coming down to some experimentation. Skarner is hybrid dealing consistent amounts of magic and attack damage. So when it came down to trying runes I tried as many as i could.
Magic Penetration x9
As I said Skarner does relatively consistent amount of both magic damage and attack damage, so to get both forms of pen I chose magic pen marks over armor pen marks simply because Armor pen marks results in a more balance amount of both penetrations where as armor pen marks will give you 15 armor pen but magic pen quints gives you a sad sad amount of 1.89 per quint.
Flat Armor Seals x9
With masteries and runes this will start you off with a nice base armor of 37.69 taking in a additional 3.8 per level, I prefer this to per level because it makes your early game survivability more consistent. Some people take mana regen marks, which is fine but skarner only really spams his skills to heal, chase and kill. Harassing with Skarner is not your main focus(although still there), making having a nice ranged lane buddy really nice (Lux is turning out to be one of my favorite for dual lane =D).
Magic resist per level x9
This puts your mr per level up 2.6 from 1.25 putting you at 38.6 at level 1, and difference between flat mr and per level is preference just as flat armor vs. per level but I think this way makes you a really consistent laner, especially because you have a heal that is not all that bad.
Armor Penetration Marks x3
10 armor pen + 8.5 magic pen = pen on both sides of the Skarner equation. Movespeed quints might be nice, haven't tried it yet in that case I would probably take armor pen marks over magic pen quints.
Note: This is a work in progress, I am experimenting with different things, I have tried attack speed marks, and cooldown glyphs, where this gets your skills going all the time, I believe this configuration allows you to have more damage output and survivabilty, the job of a trinity off-tank
Basic Masteries and Summoner Spells
Masteries are tricky for Skarner, I am tempted to go all the way down defensive, for the ap and attack speed bonus and of course the damage reduction and health but doing this will miss out on a couple things I think Skarner deserves to get from masteries.
Before I go in depth about masteries I'm going to touch on summoner spells as these two tie in to the decision.
Flash, now some good chasers like Singed use ghost as a way to chase and catch up. Ghost for skarner seems to be a waste as he has a skill (Crystalline Exoskeleton) that gives 15 / 17 / 19 / 21 / 23 % movement speed increase. Not only that but while you are chasing you will be lower the cooldown of this 14 second ability by one for every successful auto-attack on the champion, so you can semi-consistently speed yourself, not to mention the abiltiy to chain slow with Crystal Slash. Flash will allow you to catch up if the enemy champion has flash as well as you cannot ghost through walls.
Exhaust, gives you additional slow if you do not think you can get the slow you need to keep up right away. I'm not gonna list skill combos for chasing as there are many and they change as you obtain different items (phage and rylais).
Summoner spells often make or break a team and the ability to have and use summoner spells when necessary more often than not can change the flow of a game. This is partly why utility is so important for Skarner, I repeat partly.
1/8/21 is the configuration I use for Skarner and I will explain why
Cripple, makes you and your teamates do slightly more damage to the target, and the extra .5 seconds of this could help, remember League is a game of small numbers. If you don't have this mastery, you shouldn't run exhaust.
Increase your base armor and mr by 6 and get a small percentage of health regen, or dodge if you so choose
Good hands can save your entire team if you get sloppy or get unlucky and get a late game ace even if you are ahead. Like i said game of small numbers and every second counts. Experience mastery too keep you up and ahead of those without it or to catch you up if your computer turns into a TI-82 for a moment.
Meditation, helps with Skarners perceived mana troubles. Like i said before, he is not a spam beast like Yorick, Corki or Urgot thus making manamune a necessity but to build that on him seems to be a waste, this will help prevent it.
Red buff on a chaser is wonderful, get the utility mastery and get red buff if your ad carry is dying a lot, no sense giving the buffs to the other team.
Flash mastery, why not be able to flash 15 seconds earlier, better than having one more point in perseverance which will only save you if you got away with less than 10 health or expanded mind which is almost useless on most champ
Quickness, yes please.
Cooldown reduction, as you will not be building any in this build it helps to have any percentage at all and 6 percent is not a bad thing.
And of course presence of the master allowing you to use your summoner spells even earlier than you thought you could.
This to me is one of the hardest parts about Skarner as it changes with the build you are going with. With this build it seems you are more valuable for your Q and W ability than your E although I would argue that you should not focus your e anyway as the max damage is low and you are not a nuker that relies on one ability being higher than others and the cooldowns of his non-ultimate abilities do not lower upon leveling up. You are constantly spamming your Q during chases as it slows and the slow percentage increases with level. Your W also increases the movement speed as you level it, so leveling those equally with a priority on a the slow seems to be the best for chases.
Finally the bread and butter of Skarner. Unfortunately Skarner is rather item dependent. This is heighten by your ability or, lack of ability to farm. I don't think I need to say this but I will, you need every last hit. Now with champions like Irelia who are item dependent as far as getting trinity force goes, typical builds will incorporate heart of gold and phil stone, flipping those into their respective items. This is a viable option for skarner as the actives of each of those items are pure chasing active and no one will ever get away. But the difference with skarner and other trinity tanks is, although trinity increases your damage output by an insane amount and switching right to defensive items is viable, you still seem to fall behind around 28 minutes after you only have trinity and treads.
Core items include, trinity, merc and rylais.
Bread for skarner, this is the dough from which Skarner rises. Zeal, movement speed for chasing capability, attack speed for increased cooldown reduction and crit for the hell of it. Phage, the occasional slow procced from this item makes chasing so easy. Sheen, all i have to say about this, Build sheen and win.
Skarner is in it to win it, you need to only take a percentage of that Lux Snare or Amumu Ult so you can get back to battling it out and picking kills.
Butter. Makes the rest of the game go nice and smooth. No one will ever get away from you and killing you is almost not an option. This will bump your health up closer to that desirable 3.0k at level 18. Give you the extra damage you need to still be able to kill your target. Earlier in this guide I mentioned that I wasn't going to give you a skill combo for chasing as iteming skarner changes this as it goes along. With this there will be more slows on the target that you choose the you will know what to do with. Now your e ability becomes a helping hand in your chasing mechanic.
Atmas and Banshees. You will do dirty dirty things if you can get these two both off. I recommend atmas than banshees as oopposed to parts of each, UNLESS. Unless you are dying often than you should go for the negatron and chain vest as you have enough health for your basic defensive items to hold value.
Items I avoided
Hextech Gunblade: Drain tanking is not always as effective as just being a beef castle, especially now that ignite could ruin your strat. But i could just build a quicksilver to remove ignite, just get beefier.
Guinsoos Rageblade: Honestly if the game is still going after these five items are going just build it, it makes skarner even more powerful and has nice synergy for low cost
I am not claiming that this is the only way to play Skarner but with the metagame forcing melee dps to take on the tanky role it is the way i see Skarner best for this game. Thanks for your time, I hope you enjoyed my guide.