Skarner Build Guide by TomFra

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author TomFra

Skarner's resurrection: AP AS build

TomFra Last updated on September 13, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 13

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 6

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 11

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Hello everyone!
I'm TomFra and this is my first Mobafire build. For the first champion I chose the reluctantly seen Skarner. Many People don't like him because because he's often played in a wrong way.

Some weeks ago I really sucked with Skarner. I used an Offtank build with Trinity Force and 0/21/9 but somehow I wasn't able to manage him.

So in these past days I thought about the strengths of Skarner and made my own item build. With this build on Solo Top I managed to defeat really strong 1v1 Champs like Udyr or Tryndamere.

I'll try to explain this build and hope that Skarner will be a more feared Champ than before ;)

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History Skarner's

Centuries ago, there lived a race of creatures as ferocious as they were wise. The brackern were unusual beings blessed with the earth's primal magic, embodied in the form of crystals. Their kind knew of an arcane ritual to bind their life's essence to a crystal, communing with the magic embedded in it. With this power, the brackern thrived in the Odyn Valley, protecting both creatures and crystals alike. Despite attacks from those looking to claim the primal magic, it seemed that nothing could get past the brackern's defenses. Nothing, that is, until the devastation of a Rune War.

A vicious battle was fought near the Odyn Valley and the unleashed chaotic magic poisoned the crystals. The brackern began to grow sick and die, and no amount of defensive magic could reverse the effects. To avoid extinction, their only course was to hibernate underground until the wars stopped. The strongest, most intelligent brackern hibernated closer to the surface to awaken first and assess the world's condition for the return of their race. The recent mining operations and violent escalation in Kalamanda were enough to awaken the first of these vanguards. When Skarner burst to the surface, he lashed out in anger and confusion. Reason eventually won out over his anger when he realized that the agents of the League who found him were simply functionaries. Skarner was invited to the Institute of War to share the brackern's story. In return, the summoners told him about the history that his kind had slept through. Much had been done to curb the unchecked use of magic since the Rune Wars, but it was obvious that the world was not yet safe for his kind to reawaken. For now, however, there is a place where Skarner can use his power to change the world into one to which his kind could eventually return: the League of Legends.

''The humans have not yet learned to control their magic - what once was Kalamanda is now a crystal scar on the history of this world.'' � Skarner

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Mind of this build

Skarner has a really strong passive skill. With every hit his cooldowns are reduced by 1 second (0,5 sec for non-Champs)

That means: the more he hits the more he spells.

That's why this build is focused in Ability Power and Attack speed.

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Item Explanation

Skarnes Crystal Slash doesn't cost much mana and has a really low cooldown. But if you spam it too much, your mana gets really low.
Thats why I start with a Meki Pendant and 2 heal potions, followed by a Tear of the Goddess. This way you can start early to charge the mana for the pearl and you can spam much more of your Q.

The second item will be Sorcerer's Shoes, which shouldn't need much explanation. You just need Speed and as an AP based build magic penetration is really important.

The third item is the Stinger When you have this item and attack enemy Champions you can already cast your Crystal Slash nearly every second.

Afterwards I always buy Sheen. With the permanent usage of the Crystal Slash the sword will be used the whole time.

When you have these four items, you should already start with your first end game item, which would be Nashor's Tooth. The tooth gives you higher Mana Regeneration, and when you attack an Champion, you can use your Crystal Slash every second, and the cooldown of Crystalline Exoskeleton will end before the buff itself stops. This way you have always shield, high attack rate and fast movement speed.

Now, that you already have high damage, you still should get some defensive items. I always buy a Giants's belt followed by Rylai's Crystal Scepter. This way you get more Health, AP and the Fracture as well as the Impale spells will slow your foes.
Sometimes I buy the Recurve Bow before the scepter to get a bit more attack speed.

After the scepter you already should have something about 155 Ability Power. If you upgrade your Sheen to the Lich Bane you have more then 200 AP. This isn't much, but because of your high attack speed you can spam your Crystal Slash every second. So with Lich Bane you do 200 Bonus damage every 2 second. As an addition you have a higher movement speed and you get a bit more magic resistance.

With all the items you have till now, you beat every squishy champion to death. But now there is still a problem with tanky champions. Because of that you should buy Madred's Bloodrazor Combined with your attack speed which should be 1,5-2,0 you burst every tank down.

For the last item an upgrade of your tears (which probably already have 1000 bonus mana) to Archangel's Staff would be well. Now you have more than 300 Ability power as well as a really high mana regeneration, so that you are well suited for many champions.

I'm still not sure if these are the best items and I'm still experimentizing, but if I find a better combination (or if you have an advice) I'll keep you up to date.

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Rune Explanation

For Skarner I first take Greater Mark of Magic Penetration. In the early game this penetrates a good amount of the enemy champion's defense and you will be able to do much damage with your Crystal Slash.

Skarner dies really fast if not handled correctly, that's why you should have some Greater Seal of Armor to keep him alive especially in the early game.

For the mid to late game you need some magic resistance, and because Lich Bane is the only item with a bit magic defense Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist would be a good way to push Skarner's defense.

I'm not sure what a good choice would be for the Quintessence slots, that's why I chose the Greater Quint of Insight so that you will do some more damage to the enemy.

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Unusually to many AP chars I didn't take the 9/0/21 Masteries. Instead I took a 13/6/11 order.

The offense Masteries will help Skarner to get lower cooldown, have higher Attack speed (which means again lower cooldown) as well as to break the enemy's defense.

Like I already said Skarner dies really fast in the early game. That's why I put 6 points into Resistance and Hardiness , which are really really strong skills and will greatly improve his skill to survive.

In the last tree I took all the skills like Meditation and Perseverence which will help Skarner's mana to recover faster as well as to gain more experience.

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Skill Sequence

In fact Skarner's abilities are all important, Crystal Slash for damage and slow, Crystalline Exoskeleton for shield, movement and attack speed, and Fracture for more range and life steal.

As for my part I always level my Crystal Slash to the max before the other two spells. At the beginning you only have Meki Pendant, so you don't do much damage. Another reason is the CC of Crystal Slash, which slows your foes by a amount of 45%! And you can cast this spell every few second.

Impale of course needs to be learned at level 6. Theoretical you can upgrade your other spells on lvl 11/16, and level the ulti at 17/18. The stun is the most important part of this ability and won't get better with higher level. But I still prefer upgrading Impale as usual because of the cooldown reduction as well as the higher damage of the spell.

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Summoner Spells

For the summoner spells I take Flash and Exhaust

Flash is probably self explaining; it's just the most usefull spell ever.

I mostly use Exhaust as second summoner spell to counter AD champions, as well as to hold them at tower. After pulling enemy champions with Impale, you can cast Exhaust and Crystal Slash. If he doesn't have flash ready he will get hit by the tower at least 3-4 times.

Some other possible summoner spells are Ghost, Ignite or Cleanse.

Ghost can be combined with Impale and Crystalline Exoskeleton, and you can drag other champions over an extremly long range.

Ignite can be used to get a bit more damage output.

And at last Cleanse, which is also a good spell to chase or run away from champions.

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Whenever you play with Skarner, you always have to make use of all of his abilities. He's not a champion like Tryn (no offence) where u just auto-hit your foes to death.

Starting a fight with an other champion, your Crystal Slash is your main damage dealer. When you have high attack speed the cooldown of the Q regenerates after 1 second, so you actually can just smash this button.

One of the best way to start the battle is with this row: Q W Q E Q

Why? First you use Q to charge up your Crystal Slash. W so you can withstand more damage with your shield, and to have higher attack speed. Q will be up again so reuse it. Now you use your E, try hitting the champ and as many minions as possible, to heal you as much as you can.

After this engagement there is often already a sign who will win this encounter.

If you win, just keep hitting. If the other champ trys to run away just chase him with Crystalline Exoskeleton Combined with your Crystal Slash you slow him by 45%, while you run faster with 23%. If your fleeing foe is an Yi (with ulti) or too close to an enemy tower, you can use Impale to drag him away. And again with your Crystalline Exoskeleton you get higher movement speed, so you can drag the enemy farther away.

If you are about to loose the fight you have 2 choices. You can either just run away, with the Crystalline Exoskeleton it's easy to get away of the enemy. The second possibility is to use your ultimate, to drag your foe into the direction of a tower. If you drag really good and the enemy gets hit by some towershots you can turn the side of the battle. But even if you don't get hin into tower range, getting closer to the tower will scare the enemy champion, and he could intend retreat a bit to get some distance. Use this few seconds to hit him again and to get the upper hand. If you are too hurt you can use the moment to get away from him.

Sometimes there are still 1v1 battles, where after the Q W Q E Q combo still isn't a sign who will win. You can either continue to use this combination, or (if possible) use the terrain to your advantage. When there are minions next to you, you can use your ulti again to drag your foe behind your minions. Afterwards the minions will automatically start attacking the enemy champion. Especially in the early to mid game this few hits can make a really big difference.

This situation now was just an example how to use Skarnes abilities, especially his ultimate. To win a 1v1 with this champ you always have to try to get the territorial advantage.

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Solo Top

Playing Skarner on the top lane is really dangerous at the beginning. When you fight a 1v1 you mostly have to make use of all your abilities. That's why you should only start actively harrassing and attacking your foe when you're Level 3 or 4. Try not to get much damage and when you see a gap attack and harrass your foe, as soon as you reached the level.

It sure depends on the enemy's champion and his way of fighting, and you should adapt to his style.

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I can't really say much how to farm with Skarner. In the early game you just have to last hit as much as you can. Skarner has a good damage output at the beginning and it's easy to kill minions with him.

In the mid game you are already strong enough to kill all minions with Crystal Slash Just spam this spell 2-4 times and all minions are dead.

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Of course you will have to fight with your team against your opponent. And again Skarne's ulti can make a crucial role how the battle will turn. There are 2 main functions how to use Impale.

The first one is to fetch a lonely Champs. Before the battle begins there are always these moments were the to groups just spike each other. Playing Skarner you have to try to drag one of the champions out of their group into yours. This champ will be focused immediatly by your whole team and die instantly. You should try to drag a squishy champ, dragging their tank would be pretty useless.

If the teamfight starts by another trigger, like Amumu charging in, you have to focus their carrys. With your Crystalline Exoskeleton you will get to them really fast and with the combination of Crystal Slash you will kill them really fast, without them having a chance to escape. You can use your ultimate either to catch fleeing champs, or to prevent a champion from casting. You can surpress Katharina's or Karthus's ultis and save your team. When you fight against a Fiddlesticks with his ultimate, you can as well sacrifie yourself, surpress him and drag him away from your group to save your mates.

Skarner's Impale is an extremly strong ability and can always turn the side of a battle.

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Well, altogether these are the most important facts about Skarner

With the right items, good skill and not flaming teammates this champion can be really powerfull. But for my opinion I still think that Skarner is a bit too weak. He dies really fast in the early game and I have really big problems against champions like Cho'Gath. Hopefully there will be a patch in the next time which will make him a bit tankier.

I hope you liked this guide, I still don't know if this are the best items and runes, but for the beginning they should be a good approach to the ultimate Skarner :P

If you have any questions, flames (well better not), or other build possibilities, just mail me or leave something in the comments, thanks for reading and bb ;)