Skarner Build Guide by FiniteParadox
Mastery Tree Is Outdated
WARNING: These masteries are still using the old tree and have not been updated to the new tree by the guide author. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Hello! AriisCrystalbane here, bringing you yet another underplayed yet extremely powerful champion. Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard. Skarner, a jungle pokem-wait, I'm not a pokedex.
Skarner is an amazing jungler and can also solo top well, however, this guide is about building him and jungling with him, if you're looking for solo top, I suggest you look elsewhere.
High AoE Damage
High Single Target Damage
Able to sustain himself
Can suppress a target
He has a pokemon reference "Skar Skar Skarner"
Has a MS buff
Has a shield
Extremely fun to play
Very, very strong late game.
Kinda weak early game
No gap closer.
He's the only one of his kind...currently.
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
Greater Mark of Alacrity
These marks are extremely powerful on Skarner, they synergize with his passive and together with his Q make him one of the fastest junglers, almost on par with Shyvana.
Greater Seal of Resilience
These seals are the best seals for pretty much any jungler. They're a huge boost to survivability in the jungle.
Greater Glyph of Shielding
These Glyphs are the recommended glyphs for almost every single jungler, they help impact late game very well as MR is harder to get in bulk than armor.
Greater Quintessence of Swiftness
These quints are a huge boost to Skarner's ganking strength as he lacks a true gap closer and they help his jungling speed a bit by reducing the time between camps.
- Greater Mark of Desolation Greater Mark of Desolation
These help Skarner in his early, mid, and late game by making a fair bit of armor meaningless to him. These allow him to do true damage with his physical attacks to most of the jungle creeps. If you take these I highly recommend taking Greater Quintessences of Alacrity.
Greater Glyph of Warding
I'd only suggest these when the enemy AP Carry's are early game AP's like Annie or Sion. Most other AP Carry's shines late.
Greater Quintessence of Health
Greater Quintessence of Attack Speed
Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration
Greater Quintessence of Fortitude
These really bulk up his early game jungling strength. He can jungle for much longer at safe levels due to an extra 80 health during his shaky stages.
Greater Quintessence of Alacrity
I'd suggest these when you're going to be taking Marks of Desolation. They keep his jungle fast due to his passive making Q a constant application.
- Greater Quintessence of DesolationGreater Quintessence of Desolation
These really strengthen Skarner's late game strength and speed up his jungling a bit by getting through most of the jungle creep's armor.
I choose these masteries as they increase Skarner's jungling speed, survivability, counterjungling strengths, ganking strength, and utility all while turning him into a snowballing monster that you're punished for focusing and for not focusing.
Best start for strong junglers.
This item is too good for junglers. I grab it on almost every jungler.
There is no champion in the game that can get more out of Trinity. From level 7 onwards he has the highest Base AD in the game as the proc passive only works with base AD. All the stats help Skarner out a lot, and there is pretty much no way you're going to have a Trinity Force by the level 7 mark, even a Sheen would be difficult.
Such an amazing GP5, the health is wonderful and it's a component of Randuin's, one of my favorite items for Skarner.
NOTE:Due to the increased cooldown on Impale, it may be more prudent to grab Wit's before starting on Trinity, really depends on the situation and if you're needing impale to gank.
Magic Resist Items
This is pretty much my second favorite item on Skarner, it makes him attack fast enough so that he can Q incredibly quickly and be tanky enough, especially with the passive that magic does much less damage to him. All in all, a win-win situation. The proc damage is a little neat bonus, but even if that was removed I'd not consider Wit's End to be any weaker of an item.
Generally, I won't grab this although the MR, health regen, and MS bonus on it is really nice. Most games are balanced so this isn't the best choice. But if enemy AP gets fed or there is an overabundance of AP, get this.
FoN is better than this in most cases, only times I'd get it over FoN is when a champ's combo, such as LeBlanc, is all of their damage. Break that combo and their damage is shot.
I get this very often as the armor and MR from it is extremely nice and the passive just makes it so that if they focus you, you won't really die and your team can get the kills, and if they don't focus you they suffer for it. Late game Skarner is an extremely high priority target.
I'll only ever get this to counter Malzahar and Warwick.
This is an absolutely amazing item. The passive, the unique passive, the active. All are extremely wonderful. I'll get this in 90% of my games.
I don't get this anymore, but I used to when I would often forget to use Randuin's active. Frozen Heart is just a weaker Randuin's.
This is one of my least favorite items in game. It's extremely selfish for a survivability based armor. Frozen Heart and Randuin's both are a lot better because of the AS slows they give. However, if the other team is extremely Auto-attack heavy I'll grab this.
I get this very often as the armor and MR from it is extremely nice and the passive just makes it so that if they focus you, you won't really die and your team can get the kills, and if they don't focus you they suffer for it. Late game Skarner is an extremely high priority target. ((Only listing this twice because some may want to refer back to this and look specifically for armor items))
Something you can make out of your Philo stone, it has a really nice active and is rather powerful for your team.
Really efficient item for its costs. Has good stats, Generally I'll only get this if they have a lot of AD. This puts his armor, extremely high.
Most of the time...I don't get this. I do when I need a really strong cushion against true damage in high quantities. (Olaf and Cho come to mind, Vayne and Irelia do not.)
Attack Damage items
Very efficient item, only grab it if you need AD specifically.
Viable Boots choices:
For when they have an auto-attacking top and jungle such as Udyr and Trundle and their mid isn't super CC heavy.
Most cases I grab this, lots of CC on their team and helps mitigate magic damage a bit more.
Typical Endgame Build:
General items that can be good and have worked for others, but I've never personally had
great success with
It's a fantastic item, and I think it should be on every team. It just doesn't seem to fit Skarner in my opinion, might just be me, though.
Creeping / Jungling
Start at wolfs, see if you can have your allies hit the wolfs with one or two auto-attacks or a single AoE if they have it at level 1. They go to blue, get a leash and clear it. Verbally tell them not to stay past 700 health as that's actually detrimental to your clear. Smite when it's at 425~ health. Usually this is when I pop my health pot.
Pick up Crystalline Exoskeleton at level 2. Clear the Wraiths camp.
Move onto red and kill it as usual, then look for gank opportunities, if none continue jungling and after each camp check for opportunities. If none arrive, which is rare, by level 6, recall and get Boots, Philo, and Heart of Gold if you can. If you can gank, after the gank judge if you can continue jungling or ganking, or if you need to recall.
Recent changes to Skarner's Q, mainly the increased costs, makes it so he needs blue buff for just a little bit longer. Inform your AP Carry of that if they're one to profit from blue. Skarner can pretty much susttain himself on Philo alone though.
(Innate): Basic attacks lower the cooldowns of Skarner's abilities by 1 second against champions and 0.5 seconds against non-champions.
This is a huge part of what makes Skarner so strong. It's basically Ezreal's Mystic Shot in a passive and much easier to take advantage of. You can almost always have Impale ready for a gank because after you use it, you just whack a bunch of minions and the cooldown comes off. It makes jungling much easier as well with being able to spam his AoE's.
Q: Crystal Slash
Skarner lashes out with his claws, dealing 25 / 40 / 55 / 70 / 85 (+0.8 per bonus attack damage) 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 24 / 36 / 48 / 60 / 72 (+40% of ability power) bonus magic damage and slows all targets hit by 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 / 45% for 2 seconds.
This is Skarner's bread and butter skill, although not his signature skill, if an enemy is caught by this, they aren't getting away unless they can blink in some fashion or CC you. (Or if they're Yi or Olaf, with Highlander and Ragnarok, respectively.
It's his most important skill, whether jungling or laning, it's the source of most of his damage (Single Target Damage < AoE Damage). With the AD and AP ratio, you'll be doing lots of damage to any target, including tanks. Always max this first.
W: Crystalline Exoskeleton
Skarner receives a shield for up to 6 seconds which blocks 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+60% of ability power) damage. While the shield persists his movement speed is increased by 15 / 17 / 19 / 21 / 23% and his attack speed is increased by 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50%.
This is part of what makes Skarner so powerful and durable, he gets a massive Attack Speed and movement speed buff as well as a 250+ shield. If you see Skarner bursting out of the bushes with his stinger poised and his exoskeleton glowing, you know you're in for a world of hurt. Max this second.
Skarner summons a blast of crystalline energy which deals 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 / 240 (+70% of ability power) magic 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 for 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 (+30% of ability power) health. Subsequent marks consumed will heal for 50% of the last.
This is a rather underwhelming skill and easily the weakest in Skarner's kit, I wouldn't want it buffed as it could easily make Skarner game-breakingly OP. Not even an early point in this is worth it. Save any points for last.
Skarner suppresses an enemy champion for 1.75 seconds and deals 100 / 150 / 200 (+50% of ability power) 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.
Ah...Skarner's signature move. This is 99% of the reason you play Skarner, the other 1% being that he's epic and whatnot. This is pretty much the only skill in the game that gives you full control of an enemy champions movements for a short time. There is Hyper-Kinetic Position Reverse that Urgot has, however, that puts him at risk, suppresses himself as well, and is liable to put him in danger. Impale is great for stopping people from running, great for initiating a fight, and works well for lining up bursty skills such as Summon: Tibbers.
There really isn't much to say about comboing for Skarner, just mash Q all day and every day.
Team fights: Unless you have an initiation style tank such as Amumu or Galio, initiate yourself with Impale. Skarner is extremely durable.
Ganking: Coordinate with your team, let them know you're planning on ganking. See if they can bait their lane enemy into attacking them, this gives you the perfect scenario to gank. Make sure your allies don't push their lane and try to see if they can make them head towards the river. (I only suggest the river one if they can do it without being overly obvious as that can make them think "Oh. Enemy jungler is there, I should go the other way.")
Bush Fights: Just rush right in. You're tanky. You're a freakin' scorpion. What's there to be scared of?*
*DISCLAIMER: I do not suggest doing this all by yourself when no one is with you. Side effects may include chain CC's, burning skin, poisoning, exhaustion, crippled limbs, and death. Consult a lawyer before face checking bushes to see if it is right for you.
Skarner is extremely viable for Ranked Play, however, and this is going to be my most general section of this guide. Before you even attempt Ranked I earnestly suggest you get at least 3 champs in every role (Solo top, Jungler, AP Mid, AD Carry Bot, and Support Bot) before attempting. And don't play Jungle Skarner if it doesn't help your team comp or if someone else is jungling and picked a jungler already. You can try and see, -before- a jungler is decided on your team, if you can jungle. I cannot express this enough. Do not ruin it for others just because you want to jungle Skarner in ranked. From my experiences just asking is generally enough.
Every time you b, you should get at least one ward (Unless you have -just- enough for a core item).
All in all, Skarner is an extremely powerful champion that can initiate well, can jungle, can take a ton of damage, can dish out a ton of damage, can gank, and offers a lot of utility and CC. You'll have to play him yourself to see if he's the right champion for you, but he is extremely powerful.
11/25/2011: Guide Released
11/26/2011: Added Summoner Spells section and added more info to ganking.
11/28/2011: Added detail to Items section.
12/24/2011: Way late, but updated for jungling changes and Ahri patch.
12/27/2011: Woot! 71% rating. Thanks to all who've upvoted. ^_~
01/17/2012: Updated for the Sejuani patch. He's still a strong jungler, I wouldn't say these changes made him worse than he was before.
01/28/2012: Removed Gunblade from usual ending, got Shurelya's earlier. Removed Wriggle's from viable items. Added section on warding.
05/01/2012: Completely removed Gunblade from guide. Added text on boots choices.
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