Skarner Build Guide by Ulreth
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.
Hybrid Offtank (Jungle)
Hybrid Build Order
Hybrid Full Build
Hybrid Full Build #2
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.
Threats to Skarner with this build
|Katarina||Unleash your ultimate at her when she is casting her R, then eat her!|
Hello there!This is my first guide and i would like to introduce you some of my knowledge (maybe it is not too much) but i consider it relevant in order to play a forgotten champion like Skarner in the jungle as a hybrid offtank. I will explain every topic if i can with reasons about my choices, feel free to comment, in fact i would encourage you to do that so i can get better at this :).
Remember that this is my own style of playing this champion, i'm pretty sure you won't agree with everything here (the "why" is explained in other sections) but this kind of build + own strategy has been very efficient for me and carried me to important victories (although incomplete, you can see summary + experience).
Pros / Cons
Since the first moment i picked Skarner in a free week i loved it, BUT, Skarner, like every other champion in League of Legends has some strong and weak points and you will have to know them if you want to play with or against him.
- Great abilities with CC in area
- Tankyness with Shield! (+Speed)
- Late game monster
- Supress Ult + Combo!
- Blue dependant
- Hard early game
- Needs to get closer to inflict damage
- Can be hard to master
If we take a look at this points we can see that 3 of the Cons go away with the progress of the match (Blue dependant, early game problems and mastering Skarner), we will explain that in one of the following sections of this guide.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed: You will need this because one of your cons are "Needs to get closer to inflict damage" and Skarner is slow even if it has Crystalline Exoskeleton so take 3 of this to counter that.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed: This is for extra attack speed to be more aggressive and let the enemy know that you are a hybrid fighter offtank so they can fear you.
Greater Seal of Armor: With this you will have a bonus to become a offtank and keep on fighting more time than expected.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: Don't forget about AP champions, you will need this as well in order to fight them with extra resistance to spells.
Greater Mark of Attack Damage: As well of attack speed this can go well because Skarner has a buff of attack speed with Crystalline Exoskeleton so a bit of attack damage can go well with this champion.
greater mark of armor penetration: Same as attack damage, adding this instead of attack speed can be efective as a result of a combination with Crystalline Exoskeleton.
Greater Seal of Scaling Health: You will lose some armor but gain more health points, this option is viable if you want to look more tanky to the enemies.
Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration: As Skarner has some mana problems you can counter that with this rune but you will lose some protection against AP champions.
The essencial thing you need to know to understand this topic is your primary role: Hybrid Fighter Offtank (Jungler champion).
Note: Also remember that you are not meant to die more than 5 times per game but depends on how you play Skarner.
Defense: This will provide you resistance to crowd control (which is really annoying because you need to get closer to the enemy to attack him), Armor against AD and AP champions and health to initiate a team fight.
Utility: As you are a jungler and have some movility problems, the utility tree will help you with that and give you extra duration time with boosts and relics (remember you are blue dependant).
This section will explain everything about Skarner items, one of the most important parts of the guide but first let's define what are the moments (in game) included here.
First Early (level 1)
Early (below level 6)
Mid game (level 6 and more)
Late game (depends on the course of the game)
- Well, Hunter's Machete, Warding Totem and a Health Potion will be your first buy. This is due to the fact that you need some more damage to initiate your jungling process and recover a bit of health.
- When you have cleaned the jungle like 2 or 3 times (maybe more or less, depending if you encountered some problems like dying or not having blue) you can buy Madred's Razors (part of Wriggle's Lantern) and Boots of Speed to give your champion some movility and damage if you want to gank at early (in my experience i do not recommend ganking at this time unless it is truly necessary or you have a really easy gank but try being versatile so you are unpredictable in the game).
- At the beginning of mid game if everything goes well (you should have Ranger's Trailblazer by now) maybe you can buy Sheen and Mercury's Treads depending in your money, remember that even with Sheen you can run out of mana but will take you more time so you still being blue dependant for a few more levels.
Note: Use Warding Totem to give your team more vision of the jungle and plan counter-gankings. I know that i didn't put what bonus does Mercury's Treads takes after buying the final set, but there is not just one way for that, you should consider it by yourselves depending on the course of the game.
Mid Game II
- As team fights are in progress, start considering to buy Iceborn Gauntlet and part of Hextech Gunblade (do not complete yet Hextech Gunblade, save it for the last and go for Randuin's Omen or Banshee's Veil) to have even more extra damage and more stats.
- This is the best part of your game, you should have reached full potential at this point so start buying what you didn't complete yet, focus on Randuin's Omen and Banshee's Veil in order to get the last part of the final set and finish the game being the classic hybrid offtank.
Important: Do NOT take this build order as an obligation, feel free to modify any order of this depending on the game situations but if you want, for example, you can buy first Banshee's Veil for magic resistance instead of Randuin's Omen (maybe the enemy is based on AP damage instead of AD so you might wanna skip AD armors and go for magic resistance). Think your build according to your game.
Note: If you have reached the full build and you want to replace Ranger's Trailblazer - Cinderhulk you can do it, take into account that Skarner is built as an hybrid champion so anything that gives multiple stats is aceptable.
Remember that Randuin's Omen has an active instance to use that reduces the movement speed of nearby enemy champions depending on your armor bonuses, so use it when they try to escape!
Extra Items + Alternatives
If you are being harassed by AP champions you should start thinking to buy Mercurial Scimitar or Maw of Malmortius to reinforce your magic resistance against them and maybe use Quicksilver Sash to escape from some enemies.
- Zephyr provides a tenacity as a passive and good stats for Skarner to be a offensive offtank so you throw away your Mercury's Treads and change them for Ninja Tabi or Boots of Mobility to gain either resistance to normal attacks (AD champions) or initial ganking speed.
- Boots of Swiftness is a viable option against champions that won't allow you to get closer (unless you receive a slow, stun, etc), so consider this kind of boots to counter that BUT take into account that if you do not have any item of tenacity you will be vulnerable to other spells so you might wanna take Zephyr or Spirit of the Ancient Golem.
- Warmog's Armor will be useful if you need to play as a real tank when your team lacks of one and you can combine it with Sunfire Cape to inflict tons of area damage under a team fight.
- Frozen Heart is good for reducing the attack speed of enemy champions and that can give you advantage against dangerous AD champions in team fights.
- Hextech Gunblade boosts you with more AP damage to be even more hybrid than you are, this item focuses more on 1v1 fight rather than team fights but it's also useful.
- Guardian Angel provides you more tankyness and makes you even harder to "die" when you have it, it can save your life lots of times but sometimes it is just useless.
Skill Sequence + Summoner Spells
1 - Crystal Slash and Crystalline Exoskeleton are the spamming keys that you will use to inflict damage in the WHOLE game so consider them to be maximized first.
2 - Fracture is very useful to get closer to some enemies that aren't so close or enemies that are escaping from you as this line of energy will reduce their movement speed and cause them a bit of damage.
Priority: Impale this is your sign, your truly source of power, seriously this skill will provide you a supress of 1.75 seconds once you get to your victim to carry him/her wherever you want and give it to your allies so they finish your work or get him closer to your tower, or even take him/her out of his tower.
Note: If you combine Flash + Impale you can jump from a bush instantaneously and grab your victim to execute a perfect gank (remember that if he/she tries to escape you can use Fracture to slow him).
Smite: For a jungler this spell is an obligation, specially for Skarner because he does not have any spell vamp or life steal at early game so you will need this to clean the jungle faster or even steal a buff from the enemy team.
Flash: This spell is very useful to combine it with Impale and grab your enemy before he realises you are there and take that victim to your allies so they can finish the job.
Although Flash is very useful and i take it as first choice spell after Smite you can consider taking Ghost because Flash cannot be used after Impale and Ghost yes so it is also useful to push away even more an enemy after grabbing him/her.
0 - energize: This passive will provide you the ability to lower your cooldowns and spam your primary skill ( Crystal Slash) and your shield ( Crystalline Exoskeleton) to inflict tons of CC and damage in area while you hit the enemy.
1 - Crystal Slash: I explained this before, spam this whenever you attack and keep pressing it until the enemy dies. If you do not want to loose your stacks of slashes, press Q near to an enemy minion while you are chasing an enemy champion so you are ready to attack him when you get nearer to him/her.
2 - Crystalline Exoskeleton: This shield provides you movement speed and extra health points to resist some hits before getting any real damage, so if you want to spam it you can do it, but it is better to use it wisely when you are initiating a gank, a team fight or a escape.
3 - Fracture: Used for chasing or escaping from an enemy by slowing him with this energy line (this is your gap closer), it doesn't inflict too much damage so it is just a CC that must be used wisely.
4 - Impale: A melee grab that supresses the enemy for 1.75 seconds and allows you to carry him wherever you want and cause him some damage. This is your key weapon for the game, it can be used both for attack or defense, keep in mind that the victim will be focused by your allies during team fights so this must land effectively on key targets.
- If you want to give it to your allies in a kitchen plate, fine do it!
- If you want to initiate a team fight with this and give the victimg to your allies again, fine do it!
- If you want to save your escaping ally by grabbing the chasing enemy and pushing him away with this (and maybe get the kill), fine do it!
- If you want to fight 1v1 to an enemy champion and gain a 1.75s advantage by grabbing him and not moving him, fine do it! (I do not recommend this, try to plan coordinated attacks with your allies if you have the chance before doing this - last resource)
Remember that if you combine this with Flash the enemy will be supressed before he can even think about that BUT remember that Flash cannot be used after Impale is executed.
Important: Some champions can escape from supression (like Gangplank with his oranges or Alistar with his ult), you will have to know when to use this ultimate (watching the enemy moves, spells cast, cooldowns, etc).
Creeping / Jungling + Ganks
First let's define the respawn times and positions of the jungle creeps.
Blue golem = 5 minutes (spawns at 1:55 - start here with leash)
Red Lizard = 5 minutes
Wolves = 50 seconds
Wraiths = 50 seconds
Golems = 50 seconds
Dragon = 6 minutes (spawns at 2:30)
Baron Nashor = 7 minutes (spawns at 15:00)
Jungling route of Skarner
Blue Golem (spawns at 1:55 - start here with leash)
Note: Obviously the Blue Golem and Red Lizard won't be available every time you complete a cicle, and you don't have to strictly follow this (i mean if you have wraiths closer than wolves you can go first at wraiths then wolves), just remember the respawn times of the most important sections of the jungle like Blue Golem (spawns 1:55, dies 2:15 so it will respawn at 7:15, etc).
The jungling route starts at blue golem  (first spawn at 1:55) and goes on through the image.
- Ask your team to leash the blue golem (using Smite when blue golem has few health left) so this task isn't so hard to achieve.
- After you have blue buff (taking a Health Potion) you can farm with Wolves spamming Crystal Slash and Crystalline Exoskeleton.
- Continue jungling and go to Wraiths repeating the same process of Wolves.
- After that you should be able to do the same with Red Lizard (remember to use Smite again to kill him earlier).
- Keep going to golems and repeat the spamming process of Wolves and Wraiths.
The rest of the jungling route can be deducted by yourselves (you will have Wraiths nearer than Wolves so you will go there and then Wolves, etc).
- As i explained before, ganking in early game can be difficult but if it is truly necessary (enemy is pushing lane and the tower is in risk) you should help there (if you have the chance to learn Fracture before level 5 to save one lane do it).
- When you reach level 6 or more you can initiate a real gank with full potential, use the combinations mentioned in the Spells section to chase your enemy and kill him.
- Covering and Pushing lanes can be useful if you have executed a succesful gank and you have the free path to tower, but remember to put a ward in order to prevent an enemy gank.
- Use your Warding Totem wisely, cover your allies or the enemy jungle to counter-jungle (remember to ward important sectors like Dragon or Baron or a common place for ganking)
- This part hasn't too much science for you, a gank made by the enemy can be prevented by the use of wards, signals of your allies and yourself and strategical gaming but if it happens you must be prepared to counter-gank.
Example (Top lane):
If you are in a line pushing with 1 more fellow a tower and suddenly 2 enemy champions come from nowhere you must escape using Crystalline Exoskeleton + Crystal Slash + Fracture pointing to them while you run to your tower with your fellow, BUT if the enemy keeps following you even under tower you can use Impale to let your ally escape and get a kill under tower (do NOT do this if you consider your health is TOO low, it's risky but it can save you and get a kill if done correctly) => Doing this technique correctly can save lives and will cause the other enemy champion to leave or die while the rest of your teammates come to rescue you.
Note: This is just one example, execute counter-ganks in a creative way to be unpredictable or impossible to kill for the enemy, remember that is better to play safe and risk only when necessary, so that your enemy keeps hungry (it can be physically stressing also for the enemy to see that you never die or something like that, just play with it).
I know what you are thinking, of course you can do this! BUT keep in mind that in early game you are very vulnerable to an inminent attack from the other jungler or the enemy team, if you want to do this to steal blue or red you must manage the times of almost every creep in the jungle (experienced players).
An example of stealing blue:
- The first blue that spawns at 1:55 and dies at 2:10 will obviously respawn at 7:10 approximately so you can plan a counter-jungle to steal the other blue at 7:10 being there at 6:50 to put a ward (thanks to Warding Totem or Wriggle's Lantern) near the enemy blue golem area to have a vision in case of a escape. If everything goes according to plan, you should kill their blue at 7:20 or 7:25 using Smite and if you want you can leave one of the lesser creeps alive before escaping so the creep respawn doesn't activate until the other jungler clean that area.
Skarner will first start as a ganker for the lanes that need some help (already explained in creeping / jungling section) until the team fights begin.
Then Skarner can initiate team fights as you can combine Flash + Impale and grab and enemy to your allies and have a 5v4 advantage in the rest of the team fight.
Remember your role and you will never have problems with the team, keep that in mind!
There is not too much to say about this, farm whenever you can using the spamming methods mentioned before (especially below level 6) because when you start your real ganks you will have to run from one way to another and help every lane possible and push some of them to destroy some towers.
Remember to use Smite whenever you can on big creeps to lower their health or give them the grace punch and steal it from the enemy or someone.
Summary + Experience
Thanks for reading this guide! Hope it helps you a lot and feel free to comment about this so i can improve my future guides, i will leave you some images later about my experience with Skarner (sorry for not showing more).
Remember that this is a beta guide, i am constantly updating it to be completed and it is based in my own gaming experience so you may not agree with everything in here, feel free to modify everything to your capabilities and play style :).
Summoner: Ulreth (Latin America South)