Skarner Build Guide by Junksie
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, and welcome to my Skarner guide. After playing Skarner for a short while, using the guides I found elsewhere on MobaFire (some of which are really great) I felt that he was missing something. So I quit the custom game I was playing to test yet another new jungling route and build, and read the whole Skarner page(s) on League of Legends Wiki. Now, I know there are plenty of ways to play Skarner out there, but I believe that the best is a high-damage offtank, simply because Skarner has to be in the thick of things to Impale someone, slow with Crystal Slash, and to generally be a nuisance or threat. This guide is designed for a high damage output, while maintaining utility and tankiness.
As a side note, I want to thank Jhoijhoi for here amazing guide guide (yes, two guides), which can be found here, and the authors of all the other amazing Skarner builds out there, even though none of them fit well for me.
Also, I want to thank Chubby Baby for the suggestion of a Shurelia's, and giantzombie for general advice.s
Thanks so much to Thunderpike, who recently gave me the idea for Manamune Skarner!
Pros and Cons
Why play Skarner?
CONS: Skarner's main abilities ( Crystal Slash and Impale) both have very short ranges, his shield ( Crystalline Exoskeleton) breaks easily early on, and his one ranged move ( Fracture) is low-damage, high-cost. He is not the best/fastest jungler out there, nor the best ganker, and he is fairly squishy early on in the jungle. Why on earth would anyone want to play someone like this?
PROS: Simply because Skarner has amazing CC in the form of his Impale and EXTREMELY (we're talking Overload low cooldowns here) low cooldown on Crystal Slash's AoE slow and damage. Skarner's damage output is better than average later on as well, and he can even slow and damage Impaled victims with Crystal Slash WHILE he drags them to their doom. His tankiness (especially with this build) allows him to be the first in the fight if needed, and to absorb a lot of damage that would otherwise be hitting his carries. If played smartly, Skarner is definetly a force to be reckoned with.
MasteriesSummoner's Resolve for the Smite bonus gold. Resistance is because you get little MR in this build, and Hardiness , Tough Skin , and Indomitable provide more durability in the jungle. I take Evasion because 3% reduced damage (plus 1.5%) from AOE abilities is invaluable on the front lines, and Siege Commander because good ganks can often result in pushing a tower down. Honor Guard is for the same reason as Evasion , and Juggernaut because 3% health and 10% disable reduction is almighty. Initiator and Swiftness provide 5% movement speed bonuses (which, if you have 450 MS, is a pretty solid 22.5 MS). Expanded Mind is because extra mana helps, and you shouldn't die much in this build, and Runic Affinity provides much more buff duration (50s worth), which really helps out Skarner with slows, damage, and ability spamming.
Why don't I take Bladed Armor ? It DOES NOT reduce damage. It RETURNS 6 damage. You will still take the same amount from minions, and deal only 6 in return. Since you already have AOE clearing abilities, this is next to useless. The only real benefit is that it will consume Fracture marks.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Health Regeneration
The MR flats could easily be swapped for MR/level, as you get little in this build (and they break even at level 10). An alternate choice would be for CDR Glyphs as well.
Marks could be swapped for flat AD, armor pen, MR pen, hybrid pen, etc. Even extra armor would be viable, but not recommended.
greater quintessence of desolation QUINTS
The Quints can swapped out. I take the Quints mainly because the extra 10 Armor pen helps a lot with speed and DPS, but it isn't all that necessary on Skarner. 4.5% movement speed from 3 Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed would bring you up to 9.5% bonus speed, 10.2% bonus AS from 3 Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed would bring you up to 25.5% bonus AS with the Marks; most of the Quints would work well, it is completely up to you.
Talisman of Ascension
As Skarner, you can start with almost any initial jungling build, but I prefer Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions. A Vampiric Scepter is viable, but you lack enough damage early on for it to be worth it, and Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions causes you to lack some early durability and clearing health. As with most junglers, build your Wriggle's Lantern, then tier two boots (either Mercury's Treads or Ninja Tabi). If you need to get your Boots of Speed before your finished Wriggle's Lantern, then do so. Get a Sheen next, because the proc on it is GODLY for Skarner, as he is tied with Cho'Gath for the highest base AD in the game (130).
Now we look at the enemy team. Are you tearing apart, ganking away, and generally beating the **** out of the enemy team? Are the enemy carries underfed/farmed? Are you worried about being bursted down or focused? This is where you make the big decisions about your build. If you need more health, grab an early Giant's Belt, or maybe go for a full Warmog's Armor before you even think about grabbing your Trinity Force. Have you successfully kept the enemy carries from getting fed? Grab your Trinity Force straight away, getting either Zeal or Phage first (personal preference again). WARNING: If you have been beating the **** out of people up until now, you may want to grab your Warmog's Armor, as you may get focused in the team fights now, unless there are even more fed people on your team. After getting both, grab your Atma's Impaler (again, depending on how your build has gone so far, you may have had to grab your Chain Vest already.
Depending on what point you are in your build, you may be extremely difficult to kill whilst dishing out tons of damage. What more do you need? You have one spare slot (if you sell your Wriggle's Lantern, and if you want to sell your shurelia's reverie(which I don't recommend except in REALLY long games), you have another one. Are enemies escaping still?
As Chubby Baby wrote in his comment, "i disagree with getting frozen mallet with trinity force, as thats just getting two slows. really not necessary. maybe throw in a shurelya's as you might want that extra movement speed to get in a fight and grab the carry out."
This is amazing advice. It is an easy, simple solution to lacking a huge speed boost when Impaleing, sticking on to someone, etc. It adds durability and utility. TRY TO FIT A SHURELyA'S REVERIE INTO YOUR BUILD. Depending on how well you are doing, you may need to get it early on, or save up your cash for a Trinity Force or Warmog's Armor first. In the laning section (when I decide to make it), it will be a NECESSITY, as philosopher's stone will provide plenty of sustain and mana regen.
What is Manamune Skarner? Why do we take Manamune, and a bunch of other items that don't seem to synergize? The build that I created for Manamune Skarner doesn't stack mana, as you may think. Of course, you could build Frozen Heart and Banshee's Veil and maybe even Rod of Ages, and your AD will be through the roof, as well as your resists. But the Manamune build I use fits together and combines well. You start with your normal jungling items, summoner spells, and masteries, and Manamune Skarner is similar in build to regular Skarner, so you can switch builds mid-game, depending on what is called for. I like to rush a philosopher's stone ASAP, as the GP and mana regen are amazing, especially if you have to give away Blue. Boots of Speed come next (or first, depending on how badly you need mobility), then Tear of the Goddess. Rushing your Tear of the Goddess and philosopher's stone gives you 15 extra mana regen (22 when you turn philosopher's stone into shurelya's reverie), and allows you to start charging you Tear of the Goddess more often and from early on. Using this sequence, I've had a fully charge Tear of the Goddess by 15 minutes reliably (or even earlier). Next comes Mercury's Treads for Tenacity and Movement speed, but you could take Boots of Swiftness or even Boots of Mobility. shurelya's reverie is usually a good next item to take, but taking a Sheen early will increase your damage output. Wriggle's Lantern should be bought whenever you need more sustain or extra wards, but is not necessary in this build. Manamune and Aegis of the Legion are your next purchases, and I usually take Aegis of the Legion first, but, if I'm not needing the armor/magic resist boosts, Manamune will give you plenty of extra damage. Trinity Force comes next, for Tons O' Damage, and then swap out your Wriggle's Lantern for The Bloodthirster or anything that tickles your fancy. If you decide not to swap out Wriggle's Lantern, the total item cost of this build is ~1300gp, which is fairly low for a jungler. By forgoing many expensive items, we lower our dependibility on having a good game, and can make comebacks easily, especially when it is taken into account that all of our items (most importantly shurelya's reverie, Sheen, and Manamune) are under 2.5k, not including Trinity Force (which is 2.8k once you have Sheen).
AbilitiesCrystal Slash first, then Crystalline Exoskeleton, and lastly Fracture. Crystal Slash is Skarner's main skill, and Crystalline Exoskeleton is absolutely amazing for running places, increasing jungle speed, pushing turrets, etc. The only reason we put a point in Fracture early on is to increase jungle sustain because the starting shield is too weak. You could start out with Crystal Slash, Fracture, and then Crystalline Exoskeleton if you really wanted though, instead of going QEQ.
Flash because Flash is awesome. Honestly. As a mostly tank player, I'm not a huge fan of flash. I only ever take flash on Skarner and rarely Lee Sin. Most of my champs, I just don't see the point is Flash. I only realized how good it was when I got Skarner. Ganked? Flash. Stealing their blue and they surprise you? Smite Flash. Someone too far to Impale? Flash Impale. Need to gank someone in a difficult spot? Flash. Someone just flashed away from your Impale? Flash Impale.
Ghost is also amazing, allowing you huge map mobility and posssibly better escapability then Flash. With your Crystalline Exoskeleton, shurelya's reverie, and Ghost, almost nothing will be able to catch or flee from you. You may think, "But I have a shurelya's reverie, why do I want Ghost?" Because Ghost works even before you get shurelya's reverie, it works when your shurelya's reverie is on cooldown, and it can stack with it to give you 500+ movement speed.
Because you're a jungler. Smite is not necessary, but it is amazing. The extra 10GP every time you smite something, so mid game when you only off-jungle, spam it. Even when you gank, if no buffs are up, just Smite a minion. Smite can secure you dragon, baron, and buffs if you are counterjungled or are counterjungling.
Exhaust is a great debuff that can help when ganking, being ganked, Impaleing, etc. But, with these masteries, you don't get the Exhaust boost. It's still good, especially on other champs, but isn't superspecialawesomeamazing on Skarner.
In my opinion it's better than Ghost or Exhaust, helping even more in ganks. However, Smite is almost too good to give up, and Flash, as stated before, is amazing in too many ways.
Teleport is good if you are laning, but this is primarily a jungling guide (for now). However, it can also help in ganking "two lanes at once".
Heal is better (like Teleport) if you are laning; it helps against ganks or in team fights
Please Don't Take:
Ehhh..... Good in duels, but no.
You have Mercury's Treads and Indomitable . If you're having that much trouble, pick up a 1400GP Quicksilver Sash. It isn't used enough anyways.
Are you a support?
Only if you REALLY have to give up first blue early on.
Do you PLAN on dying to go back to buy?
Jungling Skarner is extremely simple. Start with Crystal Slash, get a leash at Blue, Smite Blue when it gets to 445, then grab Fracture. Head to Wolves, drinking a Health Potion if necessary (and if you started with them), Fracture, then Crystal Slash. Spam Fracture whenever you can, and use Crystal Slash even more. After Wolves, kill Wraiths, then Golems, then take a second point in Crystal Slash and head to Red (drinking Health Potions when necessary). Kill Red, spamming Fracture and Crystal Slash, Smiteing the big lizard. Now, you can either gank then jungle again, grab Wraiths again then gank, keep jungling (non-optimal, you'll have to grab Wolves then Golems), counterjungle, or any combination of these.
Ganking with Skarner is also very simple. If you can charge your Crystal Slash before even coming into contact with the enemy champion, it allows you to activate your slow sooner. Slow him(or her), try to basic attack him for more CDR and Red buff proc, stick onto him, and he should die. Once you get to level 6, ganking becomes even easier. Simply repeat this, then Impale when they get further away, or Flash Impale. BUT REMEMBER: While impaling, you can Crystal Slash and activate Crystalline Exoskeleton, BUT YOU CANNOT BASIC ATTACK OR Fracture. This may not sound big, but it WILL make your Crystal Slash come off of cooldown more slowly, which in turn can cause you to proc your slow too late.
Thank you for reading, commenting, or down/upvoting. I may or may not try to record a video for jungling/ganking, and build a laning Skarner section if enough interest is shown. This build is still under construction, and I will attempt to keep it extremely current.
Thank you :)
Sept 22, 2012
Reviewed for Syndra patch
August 31, 2012
August 19, 2012
Added Manamune Skarner **Shoutout to Thunderpike, thank you for one of the best ideas for Skarner I've ever had!!!**
August 11, 2012
Reviewed for Diana patch
May 21, 2012
Reviewed Guide for Varus patch
March 15, 2012
Changed guide name, started working on jungling video
Edited various sections
Febuary 26, 2012