Skarner Build Guide by Confehdehrehtheh
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Not Updated For Current Season
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When I first looked at Skarner's kit on the preview I said to myself, "Cool, he looks like he can jungle." When Skarner's champion spotlight came out I said again, "Cool, he can jungle."
Then on his release the official forums started raging pretty hard saying that he's underpowered and that his jungle sucks. I say they're wrong and not trying hard enough.
Skarner's jungle is fine and he's fine as a champion. He stays at a good amount of health the whole way through and can clear it in a respectable amount of time. I like a Wraith start myself, but Blue is perfectly doable. In this guide I'll try to get some of the finer points of Skarner across while giving my build that I use(which isn't too far from the Phreak build in the spotlight). This is mainly for a jungle build, but I've included a lane build in case that's your thing.
Skarner really isn't as UP as everyone likes to think. You just need to know how to use him.
Pros and Cons
- Jungles with high HP
- Can take a couple of routes
- Game changing ult
- Moves fast as hell with Crystaline Exoskeleton
- Super glue has a harder time sticking to people than Skarner once he's on em
- Prone to getting kited if he can't catch someone off guard
- Fairly squishy early game
- Bad timing on his ult can make or break a player
- Need to know exactly the distance for Flash + Impale if you choose to initiate with it
Skarner can actually use a couple of different runes but I much rather have AS over other setups just because those scale better into the late game.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Greater Mark of Lethality
Greater Quintessence of Lethality
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Glyph of Attack Speed
Greater Mark of Alacrity
Skarner benefits so much from attack speed all game. His passive converts attack speed into CDR and that is something that can't be replaced imo. Not only do these help in the jungle, they scale into the late game as well.
Greater Seal of Resilience
Armor seals are pretty straight forward for jungling. They keep you alive in the jungle and continue to help the rest of the game.
Greater Glyph of Warding
Flat magic resist will help you greatly during ganks. As the enemy runs or if they turn to fight, these will let you be prepared for any damage you might take. I prefer flat Greater Glyph of Magic Resist to Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist mostly because MR/level take until level 9 to surpass flat MR runes. This is just preference really, but I do suggest Flat instead for the extra early resistance during ganks.
Greater Quintessence of Desolation Greater Quintessence of Desolation
Armor penetration helps the whole game through. With a single mark and three quints you'll have enough for most jungle creeps, and a small chunk from enemy champions early game.
Greater Glyph of Alacrity
These are a decent alternative to MR glyphs. They speed you up in the jungle just slightly, but I prefer the extra defense. Your choice.
Greater Mark of Desolation x 6
Greater Mark of Attack Damage x 3
Greater Seal of Armor x 9
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist x 9
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage x 3
This setup will get you more out of your life steal early on, but won't give you as much CDR from your passive later in the game. AD runes also don't scale as well without crit modifiers of which this build has one item. I wouldn't recommend these, but it can be done.
Only Plentiful Bounty is necessary from this tree.
Skarner needs defensive masteries in the jungle. They synergize extremely well with the heal from Fracture in that less damage taken means a greater percent of your missing health will be healed. These are what keeps you healthy throughout your route.
Greed , Awareness , and Utility Mastery are all great in the jungle and should be considered necessary by anyone that jungles imo, especially Awareness . Also always take Good Hands . It's just flat out better than Perseverence , the math here says so.
A lot of what I've seen people complaining about is that Skarner can't survive his jungle path. Herpaderp, they're using offensive masteries. He needs those points in defense in order to jungle effectively.
> > >
A common mistake is to start jungling with Crystal Slash. This is a good way to run out of mana and die before you can do anything. Fracture has a good base damage with a great heal tacked on, and with Energize the cooldown is still fairly low. THIS is how you start Skarner's jungle, either a blue start or Wraith start will work.
Another thing I see that shouldn't happen is people taking Crystalline Exoskeleton early in the jungle. This is not something that should be done. The shield will last for maybe half a second to jungle creeps early on. In case you weren't aware, that's too short for it to be useful. It also won't trigger an AoE heal like Crystal Slash will when it hits targets that have been marked with Fracture.
The biggest thing to remember is Crystal Slash is your main source of damage, and not even because of the ability alone. The slow will allow you and your team to pound on your target repeatedly. This ability is what turns you into glue once you get on someone. If they don't flash or have an escape of some sort they're basically a guaranteed kill.
Flash is just a great spell overall and until Riot figure's out what they're gonna do with it, I'll continue to use it. Flash will allow you to close the gap to your targets much quicker which makes attaching yourself to an enemy much much easier. Skarner also has the nifty trick of using Flash into an Impale to pull someone away from their team.
People that jungle without Smite should be shot. For Skarner, not using Smite means death. He's not a jungler that can succeed without it. Not only is it mandatory, it also means that you have every buff/dragon/Baron secured when your team attempts these objectives. Stonewall008 has a great video on the subject here.
Alternates to Flash:
These are the only two I've found to be particularly useful alternates. Ghost will make you haul *** when combined with Crystalline Exoskeleton, but doesn't have the escape/initiate awesomeness that Flash has. Exhaust will secure kills with its slow alongside your constant barrage of Crystal Slash.
As you can see, Hextech Gunblade and Trinity Force are absolute core items regardless of which build you take. Build 1 will put out more DPS through Nashor's Tooth attack speed and ability power along with Sunfire Cape's AoE damage. You will always be right on top of someone. Don't discount the small damage ticks from Sunfire.
The off-tank build will let you soak up a LOT of damage. It's really kinda funny how much you absorb. At the same time you do some pretty crazy damage in return. I'd suggest taking this route if you get focused in all of the fights, or if you need another sponge. Otherwise the damage route is usually the better course.
Wriggle's Lantern is a pretty standard item for any jungler. The wards that it provides will make up for the relatively small price, and it gives great stats all around.
These are the only two boots I ever build, and 90% of the time Mercury's Treads are more useful. CC is rampant everywhere and Berserker's Greaves won't keep you as safe, but the AS they provide can easily ramp up your damage output early game.
This is a non-negotiable core item for Skarner. I see a lot of comments and builds going full AP and I don't understand why. Skarner's damage comes from abilities AND autoattacks. Here's some news for those who don't know already: Autoattacks scale with AD. Shocking, I know, but it's true. Energize means you WILL be autoattacking. Why not capitalize on that and do more damage? The active from Hextech Gunblade + the slow from Crystal Slash will keep people glued to the ground while you repeatedly pound on them with your claws.
This is another non-negotiable core item. The order that you build the parts can change, but it needs to be built. Everything it gives helps Skarner, but the best part is the active. Skarner is always using spells and because he sticks so well you'll be landing every single proc from Trinity Force. Absolutely amazing item.
Sunfire Cape is a brilliant item. It provides some solid defense through armor and HP, and it has its passive dealing AoE damage just by standing near people. If you've read this far you know that's what Skarner excels at. This adds a good amount of damage without actually doing much. Plus it's fairly cheap.
Here's where we pick up some attack speed after Trinity Force. Nashor's gives an extremely large increase to your damage output late game. You'll have roughly 240 AD, 150 AP, and 1.3 AS with Hextech Gunblade, Trinity Force, and Nashor's Tooth.
If you plan on off-tanking this is the item to grab. The resistances are nice, and because of the passive's particle people tend to focus you less. You can argue the fact all you want, but there's a psychological effect that comes with seeing someone with Guardian Angel. People don't want to focus you if they're efforts aren't going to be rewarded with a kill. Use this to your advantage and melt some faces in the background. More on this in Tips and Tricks.
I'd actually recommend replacing Sunfire Cape if the enemy team is mostly magic damage and you're going the damage build. Force of Nature provides the highest MR in the game and gives great health regen. To top it all off the movespeed makes it so no one can ever escape you. Not without popping Flash or something equally important.
If you want to replace Sunfire Cape with some magic resist, but feel you need some more damage, Wit's End is a great choice. As we all know attack speed is great on Skarner and translates into more ability damage overall. More abilities means more slows. More slows means more damage from your team. Everyone benefits from you buying an item!
Now Rageblade is an iffy choice. In theory it's perfect for Skarner. AD, AS, AP, what's not to love? The problem is early game Skarner has troubles actually getting to his opponent, and Rageblade is usually an early game purchase. Now late game this is a perfectly reasonable choice over Nashor's Tooth. It won't give you the mana regen or CDR, but the extra AD and growing AP/AS make up for it. I'll keep experimenting with it to see how it works out. So far I don't particularly like it.
Learn to love these three items, because you'll be buying them a lot. As the jungler your job is to keep the lanes farming. That means warding and counter-warding to prevent them from getting ganked. This section could be made into an entire guide(and conveniently is here), but I can give a brief overview of important notes here.
- Keep Baron and Dragon warded at all times. There is no excuse for your team to not have vision on these two objectives other than the enemy killing your ward.
- Try to keep a ward at the river bush for the top and bottom lane if its occupant is too lazy/stupid to ward it themselves. This will probably save them more times than not.
- Ward the jungle, especially enemy camps. You can potentially catch people off guard at buffs this way.
- Buy Oracle's Elixir if you know the enemy is whoring out wards like you are. Skarner actually has pretty good sustain with just a Wriggle's Lantern so an early Oracle is a solid investment.
For more knowledge refer to the guide linked above. It really is a great source of information on the topic.
Early Game and You
Skarner's time in the jungle is actually really good. It might not be as fast as Udyr, but it's safe and still fairly quick. He can gank any time after his first recall and his ganks will almost always get a summoner spell popped or a kill.
This will be your uninterrupted jungle route. Now, we all know that you likely will grab a gank or have some sort of interruption on your course, but unhindered this will put you at level 5 at roughly 5:35.
- Start Wraiths with a Vampiric Scepter and Fracture. Smite big wraith.
- Move to wolves, focusing the big wolf. As soon as it dies place a point into Crystal Slash. Fracture + Crystal Slash should finish off the remaining two wolves pretty quickly. Remember to manage your mana. Try to stay at about 100 mana if possible.
- Twin Golems are next. Smite should come off cooldown right when you bring one to 400-500 so focus the other and smite the one with lower health. Crystal Slash and autoattack the second one to death. RECALL
- Buy Cloth Armor and 2 Health Potions. Continue to the Ancient Golem. Open with Fracture trying to hit both lizard minions at the same time. Hack away with Crystal Slash. I like to use a health potion here just to keep my health up at max, but it isn't necessary.
- Continue through the small camps. Do not attempt Elder Lizard until after Twin Golems. Smite will not be up by then.
If a wraith start isn't for you, you're in luck! Skarner can start blue as well, though I don't like it.
Buy Cloth Armor and five Health Potions. Fracture the Ancient Golem until near death. Smite for kill. The route is pretty straight forward, with Elder Lizard coming last after Twin Golems. Pop a health potion at each camp. Ask for a leash if you can get one. It helps a ton.
As noted before, it isn't likely that your route will be that clean-cut. You should constantly be aware of gank opportunities. Watch your solo lanes and see if anyone is overextended. Bottom lane is also a pretty easy lane to gank so long as one teammate has some sort of CC whether it be a slow, stun, knockup, etc. As long as they can keep someone in place for even a second you can rush in and Crystal Slash all over their face.
While Skarner doesn't have a gap closing ability, he excels at sticking onto people and preventing escapes. This is why ganking a lane that has a strong stun like Cryptic Gaze or Dazzle is so helpful. Once Skarner is on you there isn't a whole lot you can do. Even if they do manage to escape with Flash, Ghost, etc., you've just forced a summoner spell to be popped. Come back in 30 seconds. It will be gone and you'll have an easier kill.
Laning phase is over. People are farmed up and ready to team fight, and you have your Hextech Gunblade from all those awesome ganks you pulled off. You now take the role of damage dealer and sponge in a fight. Even without resistances, Skarner soaks up a lot of damage using only Spell Vamp and Life Steal. Both of these heal him for great amounts due to his barrage of abilities and attacks. Remember: Autoattacks are a large portion of Skarner's damage. Life Steal will heal you for a ton in a team fight.
- Squishy AD carry
- AP carry
- Tanky DPS/Offtank
This is the general list to go by, but it can always change from game to game depending on who is getting fed. With Impale you lock down a single target for 1.5s while still being able to obliterate them and their team. Do not underestimate just how valuable that is. Try to save Impale for key targets like that, but don't be afraid to throw it out immediately. The cooldown is pretty short because of Energize, so you might be able to use it twice in a fight.
Hextech Gunblade will allow you to single targets out much more easily with the crazy high slow. In general a chase combo will go Hextech Gunblade, Crystal Slash, Fracture, auto attack, Crystal Slash, auto attack, Crystal Slash ad nauseum. It is extremely hard to get away from Skarner once his combo has picked up momentum.
Tips and Tricks
Impale is an incredible versatile ability in that it can be used for defensive and offensive tactics. On the offensive, Flash into Impale can catch people off guard and allow your team a free kill. Defensively you can Impale an enemy that's chasing a teammate. This same tactic can be used on an enemy attacking you to give you enough free hits that you can heal yourself with LS/SV and gain the advantage in a fight.
Crystal Slash needs to hit twice in order to slow. As you go in for a gank, cast Crystal Slash on the minions in the lane. This will charge the next hit for a slow. Of course try to catch the enemy champions in the first cast if you can.
Fracture + Crystal Slash can clear waves quickly and heal you up in the process.
Impale can provide some pretty funny results when you pull people into traps such as Yordle Snap Trap
Activating Crystalline Exoskeleton in the brush before a gank will give the enemy less time to react. It's a pretty large boost of speed and people tend to panic when they see Skarner rushing directly at them with 400 MS and just Wriggle's and boots. More often than not this will get a panic flash/exhaust out of them. Come back in 30 seconds and repeat.
In the end, Skarner is an excellent champion in the jungle. He can lane effectively as well, but I much prefer to scuttle about through the trees.
If you take anything from this guide, remember these general tips:
- Crystal Slash slows on the SECOND cast. Charge it up on minions before hand.
- Crystalline Exoskeleton makes you go ZOOOOM. Use this as your escape/chase.
- Flash into Impale can devastate the unprepared. Catching people off guard with this will easily net a kill in your favor. The range on Impale is short though, so learn your distances.
Most important of all, have fun! There's no point in playing if you aren't having fun! :D