Skarner Build Guide by Sobutai
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 and welcome to my jungling guide to Skarner: The Crystal Vanguard. This is also my first guide ever written and on Mobafire. I do not claim to be an expert at this in the least. All criticisms and comments are welcome.
Thank you for reading and please rate.
Pros and cons
Nice CC (Ulti and Slow)
Can easily get the weakest enemy into a 1 v 5
Weak early game
Skills require AP (Going hybrid makes this more bearable)
Has a weak gank compared to other junglers
No real escape mechanism
In this section I will be going over the skills and my thoughts on them, starting with the passive and ending with the ultimate.
Energize(Passive): Basic attacks lower the cooldowns of Skarner's abilities by 1 second against champions and 0.5 seconds against non-champions.
I find this passive to be what makes Skarner such an amazing champion, for anything he's doing. With a heightened attack speed this passive pretty much allows Skarner to be able to completely abuse his skills. Even his ult will be ready much sooner than it should be, with roughly two attacks per second your ult will be ready in 30 - 40 seconds if you're constantly attacking.
Crystal SlashSkarner lashes out with his claws, dealing physical damage to all nearby enemies and charging himself with Crystal Energy for 5 seconds. If he casts Crystal Slash again while empowered by Crystal Energy, he deals bonus magic damage and slows all targets hit for 2 seconds.
Cooldown: 3.5 seconds
Radius of AoE: 350
Cost: 22 / 24 / 26 / 28 / 30 mana
Physical Damage: 20 / 35 / 50 / 65 / 80 (+0.8 per bonus attack damage)
Magic Damage: 20 / 32 / 44 / 56 / 68 (+0.4 per ability power)
Slow: 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 %
This is your spam skill, with a 3 second cooldown. With your passive you will be using this skill more than you count. When you hit with it twice you get a nice bit of extra damage. This can also lead up for fracture.
Crystalline ExoskeletonSkarner receives a shield for up to 6 seconds. While the shield persists, his movement speed and attack speed are increased.
Cost: 60 mana
Cooldown: 14 seconds
Shield Strength: 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+0.6 per ability power)
Attack Speed Bonus: 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50 %
Movement Speed Bonus: 15 / 17 / 19 / 21 / 23 %
This skill will save you more times then not and will also help you close the gap when chasing. The shield will majorly help when jungling and will be a minor help in a team fight. The attack speed from the shield goes hand in hand with your passive, which will help you spam this skill a bit more. Its cool down is pretty low also, so with good AS you'll be able to lower it down to about 6 -9 seconds.
This shield can be pretty crazy with good life steal.
FractureSkarner summons a blast of crystalline energy which deals damage to enemies struck and marks them for 6 seconds. Any further damage dealt to marked targets by Skarner will allow him to consume the mark to heal himself. Subsequent marks consumed will heal for 50% of the last.
Cooldown: 10 seconds
Cost: 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 mana
Magic Damage: 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 / 240 (+0.7 per ability power)
Heal: 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 (+0.3 per ability power)
The heal from this skill is minor but can save your life in the jungle and in the lane. The nice part of this skill is its range and damage. The range is small but it can shoot over a wall when you need it to and possibly secure a kill.
ImpaleSkarner suppresses an enemy champion for 1.5 seconds and deals magic damage to it. During this time, Skarner can move freely and will drag his helpless victim around with him. When the effect ends, Skarner's target will be dealt the same amount of magic damage again.
Cooldown: 110 / 100 / 90 seconds
Cost: 100 / 125 / 150 mana
Magic Damage: 100 / 150 / 200 (+0.5 per ability power)
Everyone says this Ult is OP. I would have to disagree. With this hybrid build the extra bonus damage is useful but still isn't all that much damage. I've seen it compared to Ramus's taunt, and the length of time and damage can be very comparable to a late game. In early game I find his ult to be better. The real use for this skill is to drag the weakest person in a group and bring them into a team fight. When you are ganking it's used to either initiate or to grab one who is running and almost dead.
Q: Crystal Slash
W: Crystalline Exoskeleton
The skill sequence is pretty straight-forward. Grab the Q first. It's the most useful for jungling. The AOE damage with a low cooldown is the most useful skill. Next grab W for the shield and attack speed. Then Q again, then E, the E can be used for the heal but use it only when you need it. It can eat mana. From there the sequence is R,Q,W,E. Maximize the Q for the damage it produces and the shield for protection and ganking. I don't find E to be too useful but be sure to use it when necessary. It's a nice initiator as it's ranged and you might get a heal.
There is one summoner spell that you cannot go without:
Smite: This is what helps your jungle. Without it you would have one hell of a time and would not be able to solo blue.
There are other spells that you can take. I prefer to take ghost but you can also take:
Exhaust: This could help you close the gap or escape, but it's not very multipurpose. Let a laning DPS or tank take it.
Ignite: This can be used in the jungle and to help get a kill. I find this early and late game to not do as much damage as mid game. I'm honestly not a huge fan of ignite unless I'm against Warwick or Mundo.
Flash: Also known as the "noob button." This can be used to close a gap or get away. The best part of this skill is you can jump over a wall. The big downside is that its cooldown is ridiculous. I like this skill, just not on Skarner.
Ghost: With this skill you can get back into the jungle quicker, gank nicely, run away and most likely get away. You can also get around the jungle quicker. Overall, I find this spell to be the most useful.
The other spells I find to be useless for jungling, but it's up to you if you want to change ghost out for something else.
Runes can be varied greatly. For me, I use the same rune page for junglers and tanks. I find this set to work bests for most junglers and tanks. There are many ways you can change your masteries around to get the desired gameplay.
Mark: Armor Pen. I find this work best as it does more damage to pretty much everything. You could also go with attack speed, however there is a cap to attack speed and Skarner can get quite a bit of it.
Seals: Armor. The flat armor allows you to take more damage in the jungle early and it's just nice for any fights. Later in the game it doesn't seem like much but that little extra can save a few shreds of HP. You can also go with dodge or health but Skarner doesn't have anything to complement dodge and he has a nice base health anyway. I also find the armor to be more useful.
Glyphs: CD. For Skarner, this can help early in the jungle and possibly be a lifesaver. However there are other glyphs you can choose such as magic resist, health or attack speed. The attack speed glyphs don't really give much but can still help early game.
Quints: Health. This helps Skarner stay in the jungle longer in the beginning without needing to go back as often. This can also be replaced with whatever you feel like putting here. I personally prefer Health.
I take 1/21/8.
The one point into smite helps with the cooldown and give a slight bit of extra gold, both of which are extremely useful.
The points into hardiness and resistance can help quite a bit early game while you're in the jungle and early ganking. Hardiness allows you to take less damage by the minions and stay in the jungle longer. This plus resistance also allows you to take less damage when ganking. I chose health regen over dodge because that extra 2% to dodge isn't as valuable to Skarner as the health regen, he has nothing that goes with dodge and no items in this build add dodge, so health regen is the pick. 3 into harden skin so you can survive in the jungle longer. Also put one into defensive mastery. Veteran scars give you extra health which is useful in and out of the jungle. Ardor gives you a little extra to the hyrbid build and early can be helpful with your passive early on. Tenacity is amazing, this mastery makes it so you take 4% less damage and is one of the best ways to stay in the jungle and in a fight.
This tree is pretty straight forward. Perseverance gives you mana regen, which with your small amount of mana in the beginning you might spam your Q a bit too much. This allows you to regen your mana at a steady pace even without blue buff. Haste brings Ghost up to where Ghost used to be and allows better ganks, faster jungle movement and easy escapes. Awareness is a must for any jungler. This is what helps you stay on the same level as the other champions and without it you would be left in the dust.
Here I will be going over the items in the build and what other items are also useful. The early sequence will be gone over in Jungling.
Boots are up to how the player feels they need to react to the enemy team. I like to go with attack speed or tenacity boots. For increased speed you could also go with speed or mobility, but with ghost and W's speed boost may be overkill.
The core items in this build are: Rageblade, Gunblade and Trinity Force.
Guinsoo's Rageblade: This is the most cost-effective and amazing hybrid item. Giving 35 Attack Damage, 93 Ability Power, and 32% attack speed for a little over 2k. All you have to do is use skills and attack to keep the stacks. This is one of my favorite items as it just molds well with many champions and can really turn a fight.
Hextech Gunblade:First off, with Skarner's crazy speed and this item's active, this item can secure almost any kill. It's another reason not to take ignite. Where this item doesn't limit enemy healing, it has a nice DOT and gives them a slow. Of course the AD and AP mixed with the Life Steal and Spell Vamp can be pretty deadly with Skarner.
Trinity Force: Here is another amazing item on Skarner. This item gives him extra ... well, pretty much everything. The real kicker on this item, however, is that every time you use a skill, your next attack does 1.5x more damage with a chance to slow. Now imagine, with your crazy attack speed, what you can do with this. Every 1 or 2 swings you can use your Q, with his passive, nice attack speed and this item's passive, Skarner can dominate almost anyone.
Honestly, I've been in very few games where the enemy team hasn't surrendered by the time I've gotten my Trinity Force. After the 3 core items and boots I like to go for a defensive item as W's shield is starting to be a bit lackluster and you need something else. If the enemy team is CC heavy or AP heavy Banshee's is a must, the MR and bubble are great. The health and mana are a great plus too. If the enemy team is AD heavy, you may want to go thornmail. If it's a perfect balance and you don't think you'll get overwhelmed, you can always grab a GA.
Your final item can be whatever you feel is needed. I find Ghostblade to work wonders. It can destroy any tower and can help turn a team fight with the way you can abuse your passive. Bloodthirster is another good item to use if you feel you need extra life steal.
This is where you will be spending most of your time early and mid game. From here you will level up, gank and skulk around. There are a few things you should keep in mind before attempting to jungle.
Practice jungle routes in a practice match before you do it in a real match. I like to practice my routes a few times a day when I get the chance. This way, you can learn more about the champion and how to maximize his potential in the jungle. You can also have a friend play with you and practice counter-jungling and how to adapt to counter-jungling.
BUY WARDS! Place these wards in the river bushes and at enemy buffs. This way the lanes can see ganks and you can gank someone taking a buff or snipe it with smite. But you should also remember to only buy wards when you have excess gold and are ahead of the game. You may also want to ask other players on your team to buy a ward or two. If you can split the responsibility it will be easier on your money and ganks will be harder for the enemy team.
Even if you don't get a kill, as long as you're not dead nor are teammates dead, your gank was probably successful. If everyone on your side is fine but the enemy got away, now your mates can free farm and maybe even push the tower a bit. Also remember that early game, before Rageblade, its more likely that your mates will get kills and not you. But this is fine. Don't get angry. During early game, as long as the enemy side of the lane is empty and you got an assist, at least everything is fine.
Once you feel confident in your jungling abilities, it's time to take charge. As the jungler, you need to be able to tell your team what to do. They need to know how you want to gank, and if you want them to push more or pull back a bit. It is also your job to keep track of all the MIA's. These guys can appear anywhere on the map, even in a bush you want to use to gank or in your jungle. Be sure to call any MIA's, or remind of any MIA's.
Now, onto the actual Jungling!
Gank/grab more jungle creeps then gank
Now, this is the path if you don't get any screw ups along the way. There will probably be many if you aren't an experienced jungler. You need to pop your pots at the right times and wait when it's necessary. Then again, I'm here to tell you these things, so let's get down to it!
Start off with cloth armor and 5 pots, go to Blue. You don't need a leash when taking blue, it seems like it hurts a lot, but in the end you'll be fine (However if someone offers, it would be rude to say no!). If you're low on health, pop another pot and take wolves, be sure to use your W and Q. Move onto wraiths, you should have enough to take on wraiths without needing another potion. If you do, no worries you; still have 3 . If you don't have 3.5 - 4 bars, wait around in the red buff bush and pop another pot. When you have 4 bars, take on Red Buff. If you feel you can, take on mini golems. If you have any potions left, use one and start ganking. If not, then go back to spawn. Grab your basic boots and a vamp scepter if you can, and ghost and W over to the enemy blue buff (If there isn't an enemy jungler). If it's there, take it. If not, look at the lanes quickly and decide where to gank or help. From here, stay around the jungle, taking creeps and placing wards and ganking where it's needed, or covering a lane if its needed.
Skarner is now one of my favorites in the jungle. He may not have the best initiation compared to other champions have, but he has decent speed and a nice ult to pull the weakest enemy to their death. He is exceptionally fun to play and easy to pick up.
All Rates, comments, questions and critiques are welcome and will be answered if needed.
Hope you all have a great time playing Skarner, and that this guide helps!