Skarner Build Guide by BrutalGreen
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Skarner is a tanky DPS champion by default thanks to his skill Crystalline Exoskeleton. As a matter of fact, if built correctly he is unmatched in early levels. This makes him perfect for the role of an anticarry or an offtank! This guide will focus on Skarner's anticarry possibilities.
Skarner's ability power ratios are mediocre at best, and his amazing passive, Energize's synergy with attack speed is too good to pass up on for more attack damage. This can ready Skarner's ultimate Impale within just a couple seconds! This is awesome as Impale is no doubt the best close range single target disable in game (in combination with his DPS and sustainability makes him so good as an anticarry).
At the time of writing this guide, Skarner has only been available for two days, thus I can't claim with certainty that it is the best. Yet, after testing multiple builds ranging from full blown AP caster to crit based DPS with lots in between, I've experienced most consistent success with this build. Note that although riot advertises him as a jungler, I wouldn't recommend it as his paths are too limited and his ganks are quite sloppy...
Skarner like pretty much all other melee champions, is cursed with the first few levels before he can get the ball rolling. This is why I use very defensive runes with health quints, armor yellows and magic resistance blues. To top it off I start with a Cloth Armor and Health Potions to soak up all the harass until I can become the tanky DPS I was ment to be :) Alternatively you could start with boots if you have a dedicated jungler making Madred's Razors less useful...
However there is also a DPS part to tanky DPS. That is where the magic penetration reds and 21 points in offence come into play. Magic penetration runes and masteries are always useful as no matter what level, most of your damage is magic based.
Finally 9 points in utility in order to improve exp gain. This should keep you from falling too far behind the sololane/babysat carries you are supposed to take out! However, you could alternatively put those points into defense for improved armor and magic resist...
This is your core damage item as the passive scales quite well from about level 9 and on (about when you will be getting it after you've maxed Crystalline Exoskeleton and got Berserker's Greaves). Not to mention the attack speed further helps your passive and the armor makes your shield that much more effective. Also note that getting Madred's Razors real early in the game permits you to step into the jungle grabbing blue/red with much ease, and makes getting CS that much easier.
Now you ask "why frozen mallet when you already have a slow?", simple, because they stack! And "why not Rylai's Crystal Scepter? certainly you could use 80AP more than 20AD!". True, but the comparison here is a 1.5second 15% slow with a 2.5second 40% slow as you don't really have any single target skills. The ridiculous slow when stacked with Crystal Slash spam lets you stick on your target like a true bug, letting you hit them at much shorter intervals, maximizing your DPS and passive. Not to mention the extra health pool combined with Crystalline Exoskeleton lets you stay in battle that much longer maximizing your effectiveness or assuring your survival! (and not another attack speed item as most would put you over the speed limit anyways)
This is an amazingly cost effective item with great synergy with Skarner as it substantial grants attack speed, damage on hit and magic resist for a measly 2000g. There is seriously no reason not to get this!
Yes they are probably the most useful boots for Skarner if he lived in a perfect world where no one would run away from him or do damage to him. Boots of Swiftness can also be very useful as the extra flat movement speed is affected by the % increase from Crystalline Exoskeleton giving him great chasing power. However, more often than not, you will find yourself adapting your boots to the enemy team getting things like Mercury's Treads against teams with lots of CC/AP...you know the drill! (you could even get the Ionian Boots of Lucidity if you plan on getting Chalice of Harmony)
Now this item is very helpful as it grants AP, attack speed, mana regen and even cooldown reduction! However, with the core item's none of these stats are required except mana regen (call me bad but with this champion I find no point in saving my mana as apposed to spamming my skills on 1-2 second cooldowns). However, its very expensive and if things are not going your way you might just not have the funds. As I made allusion to earlier, Chalice of Harmony with Ionian Boots of Lucidity can be a nice setup for spammers on a budget (usually if things aren't going well early game it's cause of casters as AD carries often don't have their damage yet at this point, the 30MR can be quite useful in such scenarios on an item this cheap). Other alternatives include Tear of the Goddess as it can be maxed out quite early and later be built into an Archangel's Staff or Manamune. Even a Philosopher's Stone can be considered as it pays for itself in gold per five before you even buy it!
This is the item you use to pierce through their defenses. Since most of your damage is magical, usually Malady is the best for this. However, there are times you may encounter problems with dodge based champions like Jax and Sword of the Divine would be a more appealing choice. Alternatively, you could built a Guinsoo's Rageblade if your foes don't have too much defense stacked! This should make you shield and damage quite a bit more powerful...
Skills, Abilities and Gameplay
Skarner gameplay is quite simple. His non-ulti skills boil down to keep Crystalline Exoskeleton up and spam Crystal Slash while fighting champions. Use Fracture as a long ranged skill shot nuke if the need be. Otherwise Fracture should be used mainly for the heal (refrain from using at melee range otherwise).
His ultimate, Impale, is an amazing disable for singling out a foe! In early game it can be abused to pull enemy champions into tower range for easy kills (use when tower hasn't targeted creeps yet for maximum efficiency). Late game, it can be used as a disable for the enemy carry in team fights while dragging them out of position making it easier for your team to take them out.
Don't forget that consistent AAing can reduce the cooldown on his amazing ultimate down to only a few seconds! Not to mention AA is the main source of DPS in this build...
Flash and Ghost work quite nicely for Skarner as his ultimate and most of his damage is melee range. You can easily flash in, use your ultimate then use ghost and your shield to quickly drag them back to where you want them(note that sadly you can't flash while using your ultimate). Being a tanky melee anticarry means that you will often find yourself in a dangerous situation. Ghost and Flash are without a doubt the two best escape mechanisms you can have have to get out of these situations ( Cleanse may also be considered).