Skarner Build Guide by Robzored
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.
Hello everyone! My name's Robzored, and this is my Skarner guide. This is my first guide here on Mobafire, but I've put a lot of time and effort into it so do please read it all before you vote :3
Skarner got a bit of a bad rap when he first came out. For a melee "bruiser" character he was surprisingly squishy, and used more mana than an Anivia on a caffeine drip. He needed blue buff and a Tear of the Goddess, and was easy to counter jungle as chances are after his blue wore out he'd be at low health and have no mana left.
Well thanks to a series of buffs, Skarner is now not only viable, he's one of the best junglers in the game. His ganks are amazing, especially once he gets his ultimate, Impale, he can drag someone far from their turret then perma-slow their attempt to escape. He is also no longer addicted to blue buff (though it's still nice). Best of all, Skarner is very resistant to counter jungling, as his slows ensure that your lane teammates have enough time to come down and help him, and he can even do some counter jungling himself now against many opponents.
This guide centers on more of an off-tank/support/general pain in the butt for the other team Skarner. With your ultimate being one of the best initiators in the game, and your AOE slow, you will be a gigantic hinderance to the opposing team, but you'll be too hard to kill for them to do anything about it.
Edit: This guide is old now, but the build still works, though it's not nearly effective as it used to be, it can still be viable, and snowballs quite nicely. There are probably better builds now, but if you want something fun to try, go ahead and read on :D
Pros / Cons
- Very fast jungler
- Amazing initiation capability
- Deceptively tanky thanks to Crystalline Exoskeleton
- Can perma-slow an entire team
- YOU'LL NEVER ESCAPE!!!
- Only one ranged attack
- Fairly easy to kite
- Can still run out of mana if you're not careful
- His only escape is a shield/speed boost
- Vulnerable to pesticides left behind by Singed
Runes, Masteries and Summoner's Spells
My runes are pretty standard to a jungler, with the exception of the Greater Mark of Attack Speed. These synergize extremely well with his passive Energize.
Greater Seal of Armor for the flat armor that is a must with any jungler.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist for extra late game tankiness.
Greater Quintessence of Health These super expensive quints allow you to jungle safely, though you could substitute Greater Quintessence of Desolation if you so desired.
Masteries are standard 9/21/0 Tanky-dps, with the smite mastery of course.
For summoner's spells, personally I use Smite and Flash.
Smite is a no brainer for a jungler
Flash is probably the most useful summoner's spell, and with Skarner it means you can flash over a wall and Impale a poor helpless squishy and bring them back to your team for a perfect surprise initiation.
Other viable choices:
Ghost also works nicely instead of flash, as Ghost + Crystalline Exoskeleton means you can pull someone a long long way with your Impale.
Really Flash and Ghost are the only two sensible choices for your second skill.
This is an amazing passive, and one that this build is almost entirely based on. Every time you autoattack a minion, all your cooldowns are decreased by 1/2 a second, and this is doubled when attacking enemy champions. What this means is that with the huge amount of attack speed in this build your cooldowns will almost be a non factor on everything but Impale
Skarner's super spammable ability. His first slash will do a small amount of physical damage to surrounding units. If any enemy units are hit with his innitial slash, Skarner becomes charged, and if he slashes again in the next few seconds he will do additional magic damage and slow all targets hit.
This is his bread and butter skill. It is what makes his jungle so fast, and it's part of what makes him such a powerful ganker. Being able to slow EVERYONE around him also makes you great in teamfights, but more on that later.
I max this first, since the mana cost no longer increases with level and you're going to be using this early game for ganking and jungling.
This is Skarner's shield ability, and you will grow to love it. When it's up Skarner gains increased attack speed and movement speed. This makes it the perfect tool for quickly closing the distance during a gank, escaping, and when in teamfights the increased attack speed is amazing.
With Skarner's passive, the more he attacks, the more he can shield, and the more he shields the faster he attack. With the completed build this shield will be up about every 3 seconds and that makes Skarner incredibly hard to kill if he has high armor and magic resist.
I max this second.
Skarner's only ranged ability. Hits all targets in a line, marking them. Any damage Skarner does to these marked targets heals him for a small amount, with the amount healed being halved with each subsequent target.
This is a very useful skill for jungling and clearing creep waves, as well as healing up between fights. Combine a fracture on multiple targets with a crystal slash and Skarner heals himself for quite a bit.
Fracture isn't very useful against other champions though, as it has a cast time for a fairly low amount of damage. Better to keep auto attacking, crystal slashing and shielding.
That said, if an enemy is slipping away with only a fraction of health left, by all means use it to finish them off.
I get one level in this at level 2, and leave it there till the end. It is super useful in clearing camps with high numbers of creeps i.e. the wraiths and wolves.
Skarner's ultimate, and oooooooh boy is it a good one. Skarner suppresses the target for 1.7 seconds, during which he's free to drag them anywhere he pleases.
This is one of my favorite ultimates in the game. There are so many many many uses to this ability that I'll just have to try to list them.
- Initiating teamfights by dragging a squishy to your team
- Pulling an enemy further from their turret during a gank
- Creating a pinata out of the enemy carry for your team to whack
- Pulling dangerous characters away from your team (e.g. A Fiddlesticks with Crowstorm or a Master Yi that's too close to your ranged and AP carries)
- Bringing enemy ranged characters into melee range
- Dragging someone through a Teemo mushroom forest
- Dragging someone into your turret (bonus points if it's the summoning platform turret :D )
- Keeping an enemy in a teammate's ultimate (e.g. Nunu's Absolute Zero)
- Snatching children away ( Annie)
This is where my Skarner build differs from most of the ones I've seen on this site.
Start with Cloth Armor and five health pots. Pretty standards stuff for most junglers.
Berserker's Greaves are the boots we're going to want to get. This may seem like a very very very odd and out of place choice for Skarner, but trust me, they work wonders on him. As I've mentioned, more attack speed means more shielding and crystal slashing, and once we get these we can clear the jungle in no time flat, as well as provide better ganks by doing more damage and slowing more often.
Nashor's Tooth is the main item of this build, and this is where this build differs from most. This item gives you everything we want in spades. Huge attack speed increase, huge cooldown reduction, and even a bit of AP and mana regen to boot. Best of all? It's pretty cheap, especially for such a core item. I know this sounds like a strange item to rush, but trust me, it works wonders.
Frozen Heart comes next, as once we have the Nashor's Tooth we can afford to build tanky, and the Frozen heart fits the bill perfectly for an armor item. In addition, it gives cooldown reduction (enough to hit the cool down reduction cap of 40% if you also have the nashors) and mana, which Skarner needs. The aura also makes Vayne and Master Yi cry. This builds nicely off of the cloth armor we started with.
Force of Nature is my personal choice for the magic resist item, but Banshee's Veil is also a perfectly legitimate alternative. I personally get the Force of Nature since it synergizes so well with Warmog's Armor
Warmog's Armor turns Skarner from just tanky to full on impossible to kill. With the force of nature we already have, even Madred's Bloodrazer barely touches us.
The 6th item is up for debate. Personally I go with a Guinsoo's Rageblade for the great attackspeed and decent AD and AP, but a Hextech Gunblade is a perfectly viable alternative, though i prefer the rageblade since the gunblade nerf.
The big question I'm sure you all have is WHY YOU NO TRINITY FORCE!?!?
Trinity Force is a good item for Skarner, not gonna debate it, but personally I've had much more success with the Nashor's Tooth, and considering how much cheaper the Nashor's is, it means we can build tankier quicker to have more of a prolonged impact on teamfights.
Go back and get Boots of Speed and some Sight Wards and start looking for ganks. If there aren't any, then you have the choice of just continuing to jungle and level up, or to do some counterjungling. There are some great guides out there on how to counterjungle, but basically try to steal everything in the opponents jungle you think you can safely get away with.
As a jungler it's your responsibility to keep track of all your teammates and help them whenever possible. If your solo top is in danger of being turret dived in the near future for example, offer to take his lane temporarily while he goes back to heal. Ward the river so your laning teammates can see ganks coming.
As for doing ganks yourself, before you get your ultimate just try to get behind the enemy so your allies can come help (pro tip, use your Crystal Slash on minions as you approach your target so your next slash will slow). After level 6, do the same thing except most of the time you will want to initiate with your ultimate before keeping them slowed.
Once the laning phase ends Skarner really starts to shine. Your job now is to initiate teamfights by grabbing any squishy that you catch out of position. My personal priority list for targets going something like this
Very fed enemy carry>ranged AD carry=AP carry>melee carry>support
Never initiate by pulling the tank. Seriously, delivering Galio to the center of your team is just asking for an Idol of Durand and an ensuing ace.
If you are not the initiator of the fight, then save your ultimate for disabling the biggest threat, whatever that may be at the time. Use your best judgeship on this.
Once the teamfight is underway, your job is to get up in the face of the enemy and start slowing everyone. You should be absolutely mashing the Q and W buttons. Your keyboard should sound like someone playing Evelynn while on cocaine. With all the slowing and damage you do to the enemies, they have no choice but to focus you, the all but impossible to kill bug (so Skarner is more like a roach really....).
So there you have it. If you follow this guide you will be more annoying than a bedbug, and just as hard to kill. Your team will love you, and your enemies will call you broken.
I'm looking for any feedback people on this guide, and i do read all the comments so feel free to leave your thoughts, just be cordial please :)
Special thanks to Jhoijhoi for an amazing "how to make a guide" guide