Skarner Build Guide by MRxMONEY
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Standard Five Item Build
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Skarner - The Crystal Vanguard
Welcome to my guide on playing jungle Skarner. I want to first say thank you for checking out my guide and I appreciate any feedback that you have on it. With that said, I also want you to know, I do not believe there is a "one build fits all" for Skarner or any champion that works every single game. There are many items that work really well on Skarner so know that I dont think my build is the only way to build him. This guide is a strategy and simplified item based approach to winning more games with Skarner. My build and jungle viewpoints are based on 2000-3000+ normal and ranked games that I have played jungle so this guide should help you improve your game and give you some great tips for low or high ELO jungling.
I also want to say that Skarner is one of my favorite champions to jungle and was my most picked champion in season two. Once season three came Skarner fell off completely and pretty much no one played him because of the mana issues and jungle changes in season three. However, I started playing him again in season three and found a key component to solving his mana issues with a big investment and found him to be a very strong jungler again. I don't think he is the best jungler in the game right now and there are other better picks that have great initiation, faster farming abilities as well as better utility making them a preferred choice in this meta. However, I still think that Skarner has a high chance of carrying or snowballing games in your favor which can make him a very strong pick.
If you are already a jungler, then you probably know the ropes and may just use my item builds for your game. If you are new to jungling and looking for great tips then this should help you out a lot. If you looking to dominate with Skarner the this is the best guide out there.
More on these builds below as well as in game strategies for you.
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"My stinger brings ugly death."
Basics for Jungling Skarner
Before we get started, the very first thing about playing Skarner is you need to be patient. Skarner is a late game champion and excels at capitalizing on enemies positioning mistakes. He is not some high DPS kill them all type of carry jungler.
Now that we covered that, Skarner is most commonly a jungler in the current meta and is one of the easier champions to play. He is a melee fighter that scales really well off CDR and attack speed but has one of the highest mana requirements in the game. You can build him tanky or with damage and he shines either way. Skarner is known for his ultimate, his perma slow from his "q" and for being an absolute monster to deal with late game, despite being fairly weak early on.
When playing Skarner, all your focus needs to be on not losing the game in the first 20 minutes. This is because Skarner is a mid to late game champion and becomes an absolute monster for the enemy team to deal with the further the game goes on. His early game is rather weak to me and the only thing he really has going for him is his ganks every two-three minutes once he hits level 6. Skarner also suffers from having one of the biggest mana needs of any champion so dealing with this issue is key for playing him at all. The last thing is your style of play needs to be the front line tank/initiator. If you are not the type of player/jungler that is always looking for when and how to initiate a fight then Skarner isn't the right jungler for you. This is because he has one of the most powerful ultimate's in the game so he can win team fights in 2 seconds if he captures the right carry and your team is able to insta kill them.
For game play, Skarner is rather weak on ganking pre level six so I actually prefer to just farm your jungle for the first 7 minutes of the game or cover lanes when needed. Because he is weaker early on I dont want to run into a counter gank or lose XP trying to get a gank to work causing loss of double buffs if you die or a lane getting snowballed in the wrong direction. I would rather farm and get gold trying to hit level 6 ASAP which is when Skarner has godlike ganks. Then you have the option to help out lanes that are behind and need it.
One of the most depressing thing about playing Skarner is when the enemy carries have a Quicksilver Sash. This item cleanses your ultimate so not only dose your threat go down to all most nothing without your ultimate, you are usually out of position once they cleanse it and can get blown up fairly quickly. However, the Quicksilver Sash is usually only built by the ADC because the upgrade for this item is an attack damage item. The best thing you can do to avoid this is check whether the enemy carries have this item built or not. If the AD carry has a Quicksilver Sash and the AP carry dose not then just grab the AP carry if you can get into range. If you cant get into range to get a key target then it is best to use your ultimate to peel for your carries and just grab any tanks or other divers that jump on them.
That pretty much highlights Skarner in the jungle so please read on and I hope this guide helps you out.
Pros / Cons
- Good jungle sustain
- Pretty fast clear times
- Has amazing ganks level 6+
- Really strong late game
- Has a sheild with a speed boost
- Can win team fights with flash/ultimate combo
- Has a built in perma slow for one ability
- Weak early game
- Extremely mana dependent
- Quicksilver Sash shuts down your ultimate
- Doesn't have a true gap closer
Runes & Masteries
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Greater Mark of Attack Speed - I take attack speed Marks for two reasons, faster clears in the jungle and attack speed increases your passive which in turn lowers the cooldown on all your abilities from attacking.
Greater Seal of Armor - I take armor Seals because that are the best seals in the game and the early armor gets you through the jungle levels 1-5 without dying to jungle creeps.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction - I only take (6) cooldown glyphs because I take 4 points in Sorcery which combined give me 10% CDR at level 1. I think this setup is much better than 5% attack speed from 4 points in Fury and 8 more magic resist from another (6) Greater Glyph of Magic Resist which is the other best option.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist - I only take (3) magic resist glyphs because I prefer having more cooldown reduction when I'm jungling and these are the second best glyphs for junglers.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed - Movement speed is great because you dont have a true gap closer so they allow you to get to your that much better. Movement speed also stacks with your masteries, your Boots of Swiftness as well as Crystalline Exoskeleton making you one fast scorpion.
The setup I take is 4-23-3. I think this is the best setup because Skarner is best build as a tank but he scales from movement speed and CDR very well. This is why I only put 4 points in the offensive mastery Sorcery to get the 5% CDR and 3 points in Fleet of Foot to get the 1.5% movement speed. This leaves me with 23 points which I put into the defensive tree because these masteries scale off health and defensive resistances better taking advantage of the tank items in your build more.
The way I level up my abilities is Q>W>E. I dont count leveling up R because that is your ultimate and you will get this at 6, 11, and 16 every game. I level up Crystal Slash first because it is the highest damage output ability you have so your dueling damage is better as well as the damage you do to jungle camps so your clears are faster. Leveling this up dose not lower the cooldown on this ability but dose increase the slow you get from multiple uses on the same target. I level up Crystalline Exoskeleton second because the sheild goes from 70 - 250 and the attack speed and movement speed boots goes up a lot more as well. I level up Fracture last because its not a very good skill and doesn't seem to fit with his kit that well, however I will always get one point at level 3 because it give you some sustain in the jungle which is nice throughout laneing phase.