Skarner Build Guide by ThousandEyes
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Stinging from the Jungle(Updat
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.
Hi I'm Thousand Eyes, I've been an avid LoL player since S2 and Skarner was one of my first champions I really put time into learning. I'm not a pro, and I'm not gonna claim to be the best at him, but I feel I understand him well enough compared to other players to give some insight.
Pros / Cons
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
The runes are pretty important and can't really be changed much, luckily they're also pretty common.
Attack speed is great on Skarner and scales better on him than flat damage marks due to his passive. Especially after the re-rework Attack speed is much preferred over AD because his AD ratios dropped
Flat Armor Yellows
Flat armor is really useful and needed for junglers so you can make your first clear a lot safer and not risk getting caught out and killed.
Scaling MR Blues
You're not gonna see much magic damage early on, scaling MR blues work better cause by the time you'd realistically gank they'd already scale harder than flat MR.
Here's where I can see some changes if you'd like. Personally, I feel Skarner is very dependent on his ability to rush in on people and movement speed really helps with that. It's even better on someone like Skarner since he has no dash or jump to get in on people. Plus it's nice that you can move around the map quicker and get where you need to be.
Like I said if you feel more comfortable swapping these for something else, like more defensive stats, you can. I would highly suggest move speed quints though
Since Skarner works best as a tank we're gonna go deep into the Defense Tree while grabbing points in offense for faster jungle speed and utility to move a bit faster.
Season 4 changes made it so that 9 points in a tree isn't a huge difference when compared to less points so we're gonna go 6/21/3. When I look at what I can get in the 3rd tier of the Offensive Tree, there's nothing there that I like over the move speed you can grab in the Utility Tree.
Hunter's Machete and 2 Health Potions. Pretty standard start for any jungler these days, not much room to swap things around here.
After taking your second buff you want to back and get Ranger's Trailblazer. Since Skarner has no way of innately sustaining himself in the jungle the extra mana and health you get from the smite is very useful.
Also make sure you grab some Health Potions and Stealth Wards with your extra cash. Never bad items to grab.
Skarner can really be built with Ranger's Trailblazer - Warrior or Ranger's Trailblazer - Cinderhulk. It's really personal preference on whether or not you want tankiness or damage. Of course considering Skarner has to dive deep on people being tanky from the cinderhulk is great to survive the initial burst. Skarner scales pretty well with the AD and CDR from the warrior enchantment since his Crystal Slash does magic and physical damage that scales with AD, so Warrior isn't bad either.
You'll also want to get Trinity Force you spam spells on Skarner so the Sheen proc will happen as often as possible, Trinity Force gives you respectable damage, and speed. Skarner actually uses every part of it well, except maybe crit.
Skarner actually is the best user of Sheen in the game, Sheen scales with base AD and Skarner has the highest scaling base AD in the game, tied with Cho'Gath. He spams his spells and auto attacks so much as well that he can proc it and use the proc as much as the item allows.
The Mercury's Treads are great for some early magic resist and the tenacity is awesome too because it's a hard stat to come across. Ignoring slows and stuns is very important for Skarner too.
Currently the devourer enchantment got hit hard and while in 4.20 it might have been viable, the nerf in 4.21 wrecked that. It's gotten some changes in 5.12, but it's still not as good as either of the other enchants. It's also not very synergistic with Skarner's passive anymore, so it won't get you your ult back up sooner anymore.
At this point we're just going to be itemizing to resist what our opponents damage source is.
Magic Resist Options
Basically a cheaper Randuin's Omen with a different passive. If you need an armor item quick and can't afford Randuin's Omen. The passive isn't too bad considering you should be in the fray a lot. It doesn't give as many stats as Randuin's Omen though, so it's not as ideal.
Especially with Cinderhulk if you build it. Frozen Heart gives no health, but the armor it gives is crazy and Cinderhulk alone gives good health. Great against heavy AD comps.
It should be considered a more offensive buy though, because you're buying it for the passive reflect damage.
Might be core, if the situation demands you get it, but otherwise just pass on it.
Note that these are items that I believe synergize well with a more offensive build. You'll have to trade off a defensive item for one of these and you should really only think about these if you're really far ahead early
3 spells on an enemy makes your next auto attack stun
At first I was adamantly against changing this passive. I loved the ability of farming my ult back to use, but as I thought more about it this was a clear reason to change the passive. You were so reliant on that ult that you were forced to farm and couldn't gank if it was down. This was bad design and kinda unhelpful to the team.
Basically the way it works is on jungle creeps and enemy champions Skarner's abilities will add a stack of crystal venom. At 3 stacks, Skarner's next auto attack will stun the target for a certain amount of time. This amount of time scales at levels 6/11/16 all of the levels you can level your ult at.
The new passive is great all around. Your clear time is still fast because, while Riot did nerf the damage on Skarner's abilities, the stun and extra damage this new passive brings makes up for that.
attack/movement speed and AoE damage. More after second hit
This is a bit of a weird ability to explain in text. First activation is just an aoe physical damage spell and gives some attack and movement speed if you hit an enemy. 2nd activation if the first activation hit something will do extra magic damage and increase your attack speed more. The attack speed portion and movement speed of the ability can stack up to 3 times and it really helps your clear and passive activation[
Skarner also retained his old passive on this skill, which is great because it was needed to keep the spell off CD so it could be stacked.
Shield and movement speed.
This is your way to chase people down and keep yourself healthy in the jungle. An important note is that the movement speed increases over time after you active it, so you'll want to pop it early to fly in full speed. This is also why I build a lot of resistances on Skarner as well. Shields scale harder when you build MR and armor. Be wary though, you lose the movement speed as soon as the shield dies.
This is Skarner's most changed skill. Also your only way to make decent ganks before you hit level 6. It's got a good range and the slow is pretty noticeable even at rank 1. Don't spam this to clear the jungle though because you'll go mana hungry pretty easily and it doesn't do much damage either. If you can use it to catch up and auto attack them you'll lower the cooldown enough to get another off pretty easily and then the chase begins.
Pull people wherever the hell you want
My favorite skill on Skarner run up to people and grab them and pull them back into your team. It's a suppression too which means it's the only CC(Crowd control) that can stop someone from using smite.
Your basic idea with this is you want to grab their squishy carry and FORCE them to be out of position. Don't think that's the only use though. If your carry is super fed, but getting dove by an assassin, grab the assassin and force them into the tank line to get mopped up.
There's a cool little passive interaction here too now. If you have stacks of crystal venom on the enemy you'll do extra damage. The extra damage scales with ult levels and at 16 this can be as much as an extra 300 damage.
Basically, if your team is around you'll want to wait to use the stacks after you ult someone because you can stun them for longer. If you're dueling alone, get all 3 stacks and then use your ult so you can get that burst damage down.
Riot lowered the CD on this skill a good 20 seconds at all ranks after the passive change to make up for losing the CD reduction per auto attack. It's a nice addition to keep Skarner feeling like he can ult frequently.
For my basic jungle clear I try and stay in the jungle as long as I can, until I hit level 6. Your power ganks come from your ult, Fracture is great for slowing for a secured kill though, and the new passive can actually make you pretty scary early if you can stun someone. If you see a chance at a gank early, or you want to be really aggressive early, you can do that a lot more easily now.
The new jungle is rough. Really rough. Skarner is able to clear fast still, at least relatively, but he take a lot of damage since he doesn't have a sustain ability. This is why Ranger's Trailblazer is pretty much a must have for an item. Skarner has both mana and health issues early and this help's remedy that.
The best start for Skarner is Krugs. The smite buff from them is useful since you get attack speed from your Crystal Slash. However, it's probably best to start the same side as your bottom lane in order to have more team members in case of an invade.
Whether you start Krugs or Gromp, smite it immediately for the buff and clear the red/blue buff that you're closest to. If you feel you can clear one more camp before you head back feel free to, but you should have enough to back after those two camps and get your Ranger's Trailblazer after you buy that head straight over to the blue/red buff that you didn't clear yet and take it.
Since the jungle changes, you need to be smart about how you smite. Each camp gives a different buff that is useful in different ways. This buff is given to you when you smite not when you kill the camp. So keep that in mind.
Gromp - gives a poison thornmail buff
Blue Buff - restores % missing mana
Murkwolves - creates an unkillable ward spirit that follows enemies that invade your jungle in that area.
Razorbeaks - gives power to notify you of the next nearest ward you walk buy and the ability to clear it.
Red Buff - restores % missing health
Krugs - Makes every 6th auto attack stun minions and monsters
Each has a different use and you have to smite according to how the game is going, you'll also want to keep in mind you'll need smite for objectives such as dragon and baron as well. So jungle control has gotten infinitesimally more important.
If you ever get low or are sitting on a lot of gold head back to your fountain and buy up. It's important to keep buying items when sitting on a lot of gold so you can stay relevant in power.
Once you hit level 6 and grab your Impale and look for someone that's playing really aggressive or far forward. Bonus points if your laner has some kind of crowd control to help you reach them. As soon as you're in range grab them and pull them as far away from safety as you can.
I also want to talk about a little trick with Skarner that you can now do a lot easier and can really increase your clear time.
As you move from camp to camp, try and make sure the damage that actually kills the camp is your Crystal Slash. This will re-apply the stack and start the counter for it again. Now because we get movement speed from that and our Crystalline Exoskeleton now you can move from wight or a buff over to a camp and keep your Crystal Slash fully stacked. Meaning you have all of that attack speed you stacked from the last camp.
Here is a great video from the legendary Last Skarner NA explaining what I mean if you don't get it.
You'll want to have your ult to gank most of the time, but if you have a lane with some other hard CC and good damage, or the enemy is really far forward, don't underestimate the power your passive and slow bring. Skarner is much more useful now without his ult than he ever has been.
|Obviously we want our ult leveled as often as possible so we can lower the cooldown on it. Plus we get more damage from stacks of crystal venom as we level it.
We want the attack speed and AoE from Crystal Slash first so we can clear the jungle at a safe and reasonable rate. And we get to move from camp to camp faster, as well as stick to people better.
Crystalline Exoskeleton is the next in line, the movement speed and shield go up as we level it so this will increase our chase potential and tankiness.
Fracture is the last thing we're leveling because the damage is minimal and the rank 1 slow is good enough for what you need it for. If you want to have stickier ganks, or if you want to drop Iceborn Gauntlet from your build you can try maxing this over Crystalline Exoskeleton but be forewarned you're losing a decent amount of speed and tankiness for this.
Role in Fights
Skarner's role in fights is usually to charge in and grab the squishy carry from the back line and pull them out of position and get them killed.
You want to be enough of a damage threat that you need to be dealt with, but you don't want to sacrifice tankiness for this. You can't do your job if you can't reach the back of their team before you die.
Basically keep diving and auto attacking towards the back line and be as much of a problem to them as you can. Toss as many Fractures and Crystal Slashes towards them as you can.
If you can grab someone and pick them off do it. Make sure it's someone who you can kill if they're dragged to the front. Pulling the tank towards your team and focusing him isn't a good thing and you'll probably lose the fight.
You have a great initiate, but you don't have to be the one to do it if you you have someone on your team who can initiate from range. Say Malphite, Leona, etc.. If they force the fight the enemy is focused on trying to reposition, and in that chaos you can dive the back line and grab who you want.
That's about it!
Thank you for reading! If you guys have any suggestions on how to make my guide better, cosmetically or informational, or just any kind of comments please leave them down below.
I hope you give Skarner a try and enjoy him as much as I do!