Skarner Build Guide by sexrocket
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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.
I played Skarner as a jungler to start because he is labeled as one and thats how Phreak decided to spotlight him. After playing him in the jungle I realized that he takes a lot of damage in the jungle and doesn't have great sustain. So I decided to play him as a solo top champion and my opinion of Skarner was 10x better.
If anyone ever watched Irelia's Champion Spotlight, she was jungled with, and now she is almost exclusively played solo top. I have a feeling the same will happen with Skarner.
P.S. I know my build is like identical to Phreaks build, but thats only because it is actually good :P
I use armor pen marks simply to capitalize on his reliance on auto-attacks to reduce cool-downs. I use dodge seals just as a preference which I think really helps with laning against certain champions (Irelia, Jarvan, Udyr). Magic resist/lvl glyphs for the late game tankiness he needs since he is a melee fighter. And then I use movement speed quints, simply a preference because he becomes super fast with his W spell, Trinity speed, and FoN speed.
I chose to use masteries like this because unlike several other tanky dps solo tops he doesnt have any ability that increases his tank stats. For instance Irelia has her CC reduction passive, Jarvan with his passive armor from his E, Udyr with his shield every 6 seconds, Trundle with his stat steal ult, etc...
Because of this he really needs as much help as he can get to be tanky since he is going to be in the middle of the fight a lot. Not to mention he really benefits from the Ardor talent in the defensive tree giving him 4% more attack speed and ability power.
I like to start regrowth pendant and a health pot and rush philo stone. This takes care of my early mana problems and makes laning much more sustainable. Then I get tier 1 boots and possibly a HoG if I am farming well, giving me a bit more HP plus that extra gold which is always nice. Then I get Phage, only because I like having the extra HP in lane and plus the slow proc is good to keep your enemy near you so you can get your second Q off to chain slow them. Then I go back and get sheen, wards, hp pots, etc.. Then I just try to flat out finish Tri-force. After completing Tri Force I get Merc treads which is usually a little late for some champions but my speed quints + W spell keep me fast enough to get around until this late, if the other lanes fail you might have to get Merc's before you finish Trinity. After all that I get a giants belt for the extra HP and then try and finish Rylais after that. After that all items are situational. If they have a **** ton of magic damage, but a negatron cloak before you finish rylais, and then after rylais, try and get an FoN or a Banshees, but I prefer FoN for the movement speed. Your movement speed will just be stupid after that. If they have a heavy hitting AD champion doing well, get a Sunfire Cape or a Randuins. If is slightly mixed and your doing well think about getting a Guardians Angel. If your doing incredibly well, get a gunblade, and possibly a rageblade.
If you are facing a really strong lane sustain champion (Irelia, Udyr, Nidalee, Yorick) I would recommend buying a wriggles lantern before or even in place of a HoG. This will keep you safer from ganks and give you some added lifesteal.
I level E to 5 first because it actually provides good sustain. I get 2 points in Q by level 8 to farm easier. All you have to do is E the Caster minions then walk up to them and Q to farm and push your lane, as well as heal. After I get 2 points in Q I max my W next to give me better move speed, attack speed, and shield. I OFC max ult at all possibilities, and lastly level Q. My reasoning for maxing Q last is that it really is **** for dmg, so a 2nd level of it at lvl 8 is good enough for me to farm and slow people with.
Summoner spells are preference although I feel flash is too good to not use. Especially a flash ult combo on Skarner. Other good picks besides exaust are teleport, ignite, and ghost if you just really wanna fly away.
Early game I play safe and farm. If i get harassed then I harass back with an E and then heal of the minions it went through and if possible auto attack them once or twice. If I am versus 2, which can happen a lot, I call for early ganks. When they gank I use my exaust to slow them and Q a minion on the way to them and then once I get to them Q them for the slow proc. While OFc auto attacking them and using E for dmg.
Mid game I have better sustain with more lvls of E and more HP for Hog and Phage so I play a little more aggressive, but still no craziness. Still just farming and puhsing, but I make sure to buy wards to prevent ganks. When someone is coming to help gank my lane, depending on who it is I will either let them initiate or I will, but I will wait until the enemy has started retreating or flashed (if they have flash) to flash with them to ult them back into danger. Then exaust them to keep them guarantee kill.
Late game, I should have my fill Tri-force and at least my giants belt if not already the full Rylais. So I have quite a bit of HP and some solid dmg, so I do not hesitate to jump into fight and start hurting. I use my ult for many different things in team fights. I can use it take a melee champ off our ranged carry, or to take a squishy closer to our carrys for them to light um up, or take them to a an area that they dont want to be (like a Malz pool, GP Ult, Nunu ult, Morg pool, etc...) One thing is for certain though, he isnt that best initiator. Let someone else initiate and then come in and do your thing.
Skarner is a fun champion and def. very different than other bruisers. I am not sure how viable he is in competitive play, but he is no doubt worth a try.