Skarner Build Guide by kazahani
Not Updated For Current Season
Not Updated For Current Season
Hello, I am kazahani, and this would be my first submission to the Mobafire community. This is a new, original build that I have been testing out, and any advice or constructive criticism would be helpful.
Skarner is a character with a lot of innate survivability, and due to this fact, most players tend to put him in the jungle. Instead, I combine Energize with attack speed and cooldown reduction items to make him a nasty lane fighter and hybrid carry. This build compliments Skarner's natural tankiness with defensive runes and masteries, while the item build is pure attack speed and cooldown reduction, with a little help from Trinity Force and Hextech Gunblade.
Skarner has one of the best passives in the game, and his ultimate is the most useful and versatile spell I can think of. With this build you will be serving as a hybrid DPS carry, so use every tool at your disposal to go for those kills. You have many different ways to kill with Skarner.
I take standard defensive runes, with the exception of Greater Mark of Attack Speed. Skarner's high base health is complimented by defensive runes and masteries, which allows us to focus 100% on offense with our item build. Let's have a look:
Greater Mark of Attack Speed
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Health
Skarner has a weak early laning phase, due mostly to the fact that he lacks a good harass. The Greater Quintessence of Health helps out a lot with some bonus health, while Greater Seal of Armor and Greater Glyph of Magic Resist make you more resistant to your enemies' harass. Greater Mark of Attack Speed helps you farm more effectively, as well as making you slightly more dangerous should anyone see fit to engage you in lane. Your goals early game are simply to not die, last hit as much as you can, and get Sheen as soon as humanly(scorpionly?) possible. I think this is the best rune set to help you do that.
- Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed Skarner really benefits from being able to move faster than his opponent, so these do help out. I find the flat health to be more helpful though, since Crystal Slash and Trinity Force give you slows, and Crystalline Exoskeleton gives a nice speed boost.
- Greater Mark of Desolation This fits the build very well, since we will be doing a lot of auto-attacking. However, since Skarner does a mix of damage, not just physical, I have found that I prefer the extra attack speed. Remember, with Energize, more attack speed means more spamming your abilities, and that means more procs from Sheen/ Trinity Force.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a new build, and as such it is open to tweaking. Please leave me any feedback you have on my rune choices, as well as any alternatives you may have.
As with our runes, we are strictly defense here, taking standard 9/21/0 masteries. From the offensive tree, we grab
, for obvious reasons, and
for some basic armor pen. In addition we grab all the relevant tank masteries from the defensive tree.
Should look something like this:
There are a number of masteries from the utility tree that I would love to be able to have on this build, such as Transmutation and Awareness , but at the end of the day it is better to grab the armor pen from Weapon Expertise to give our auto-attacks a little more punch. Also, since we are depending solely on runes and masteries for defense, we really cannot afford to spend more in the offensive tree. We will get enough punch from our items.
Skarner has a small mana pool, but his abilities are cheap to cast, and with Energize you are able to spam them to your heart's content. This is good for two reasons: your abilities have really nice effects and can change the outcome of a teamfight quickly; and also because they will proc Sheen or Trinity Force to increase your attack damage. Let's look at each of Skarner's abilities and how this build utilizes them:
Energize - Energize (passive) - This is one of the strongest passive abilities on any champion. This is the reason why this build is so lethal. After your attack speed reaches a certain point, you will be casting Crystal Slash literally every second. Your ultimate, which has a decent cooldown already, will be ready to cast again in under 30 seconds. Nashor's Tooth makes this insane, since it reduces the base cooldown on your abilities, and gives a huge boost to attack speed.
- Crystal Slash (Q) - This spell is your bread and butter. It is just as important as your auto-attack. 3.5 seconds base cooldown is short enough already, but when we get Nashor's Tooth we are already down to 2.6 seconds. This build easily reaches an attack rate of over 2 per second, and with Energize each auto-attack reduces this cooldown by 1 full second if attacking an enemy champion, or 0.5 seconds if attacking minions. This means you will literally be casting Crystal Slash every 1 to 1.5 seconds, which is both insane and crazy. Did I mention that this procs Sheen? Since we will be casting this so often, it will always be charged with crystal energy, so we get both physical damage and magic damage, and we also get an AoE slow. When you are in a teamfight, try to get into the middle of the pack and spam the heck out of this while autoattacking. Make sure you have Crystalline Exoskeleton up too. Take Fracture at level 1, but max this first for the crazy DPS and AoE slow.
- Crystalline Exoskeleton (W) - Fantastic utility skill. This does three basic things: it gives you a shield that absorbs a fair amount of damage, and it provides a decent boost to your movement and attack speeds. You should strive to have this up every time you are engaged with an enemy. Use it before you initiate a teamfight, chase down enemies with it, use it when you are 1v1 with an enemy champion in the jungle, or if you get ganked, pop this and laugh as you run to safety while they harass your shield. Max this second.
- Fracture (E) - This spell has some limited usefulness in early laning, but I see a lot of builds that focus too much on Fracture simply because it has the highest base damage out of any of Skarner's basic skills. You will be doing way more damage with Crystal Slash and using up a lot less mana while doing so. Take this at level 1, since it adds a little bit of sustainability to the early laning phase, but max it last, because Hextech Gunblade does a much better job of keeping you alive. Whatever you do, absolutely avoid using this as a harass in-lane. The range is too short, and the damage it does is not enough to justify the mana cost. Easiest way to OOM? Spam Fracture. Late game, once you put a few more points into it, this skill is actually useful for finishing off a near-death enemy as they try to flee. Otherwise, only use it when you can follow it up with Crystal Slash to consume all the marks.
- Impale (Ultimate) - I have so much fun with this skill! I can't begin to tell you all the uses for this! First off, don't underestimate the damage that it deals. Since our build gives us a little bit of AP, this will actually be hurting your taget quite a bit by itself. But besides that, having your enemy completely at your mercy as you drag them around the map for almost 2 seconds is perhaps the most satisfying moment I have found in League of Legends. There will be more on this skill in the Tips & Tricks section, but here are a few of my favorite things to do:
- Let your enemy push the wave back to your tower. If you are low on health, try to bait them into diving your turret. When they decide to move in and attempt to finish you off, let them hit you once to aggro the turret, then Impale them and drag them around while your turret pulverizes them.
- Impale is devastating when used in a teamfight. Use it to disable the enemy carry, and drag them out of position. Use it to trap low-health enemies as they attempt to flee and drag them back into the fray. You will be getting a ton of assists using your ult to drag people into your team. Don't accuse people of KS, just realize that this is part of the way Skarner helps the team win.
- Kill squishies! Is there a pesky Teemo or Twitch picking off your team? Sneak up on them from the jungle, pop your ult and drag them into the brush. As soon as you have them on your stinger, hit them with Crystal Slash so that when your ult wears off you are able to hit them with it again while it is charged up for a slow. From there, keep auto-attacking and spamming Crystal Slash. You will be shocked and amazed by the amount of DPS that Skarner has against squishies.
I suggest taking Flash instead of Ghost. You already have a movement speed buff from Crystalline Exoskeleton, and Mercury's Treads combine with Trinity Force to give a good base movement speed. Flash is sadly disabled while you have someone Impaled, but it is by far the most versatile summoner spell for melee characters.
I take Exhaust for two main reasons: it helps out a lot if you are fighting an enemy champion 1v1, and it takes an enemy out of a teamfight completely for the duration of the spell. If you Exhaust the enemy carry and then Impale their mage and drag them away, most teamfights will be over before they begin. In a pinch you can also use it to stop someone from escaping, or to slow down a pursuer if you need to escape.
I prefer Flash, for the reasons stated above, but there are definitely some good things that Ghost brings to the table. The ability to chase down an enemy is something that Skarner benefits from greatly, since he needs to be in close to deal his damage. Also, I know that a lot of Skarner players like to pop Ghost right before they ult so that they can drag their victim farther.
A lot of players will flame you and call you a noob for packing Heal, but to be honest, it has always been a great choice for a lot of champions, especially since the recent buffs they gave it in the Fizz patch. You want to use heal when you are around teammates, or when you will heal a whole wave of minions. Using it to save yourself from dying when no one else is around is somewhat of a waste. Try to avoid those situations.
I haven't gotten a chance to test Surge since they added it for season 2, but the extra ability power and huge buff to attack speed would be wicked, so this could be a great fit for Skarner, especially during his weak early game.
You can't allow yourself to get CC'd for long. Period. You have to be able to land your auto-attacks and skills, and you have to be able to do it fast. One of the best uses for Cleanse is to use it right after initiating a big teamfight. Everyone should be focusing you with their spells and disables, so you can pop this to render it all wasted mana, and proceed smashing faces.
This is where the magic happens. We have spent most of our efforts defensively up to this point, but from here on out we it will be pure, high-octane killface. I will take you through my item build step by step, with basic information along the way, and then I will spend some time explaining exactly how to use these items to their greatest effectiveness. Let's get started!
Start with Sapphire Crystal and 2x Health Potion. You need to rush Sheen in a bad way, and the extra mana from the crystal will help more than the AP from Amplifying Tome. Skarner tends to OOM in his early laning phase, so we get a little help there, too. Health pots are an obvious choice.
Your goal is to stay in lane until you have enough gold to get Sheen on your first trip back to base. If you are doing well, you can stay out past this point and also get Boots of Speed on your first trip back. You will benefit greatly from the extra move speed, even more so than attack speed this early in the game. Your next goal is to farm up and get Stinger as fast as you can, and then upgrade it to Nashor's Tooth. At this point, your mana problems should disappear, and your DPS should be much better. Your sole focus early game is to not die, and farm as much gold as possible, but once you get Nashor's, you can jump right in to your mid game.
Your Mid game is when you start to shine. I recommend upgrading to Mercury's Treads first, to help take the bite out of enemies' spells and CC. Then you want to go straight for Guinsoo's Rageblade. Rageblade pushes your DPS much higher. With the crazy amount of attack speed you will have by now, plus the miniscule cooldown on Crystal Slash, you should be at max stacks in less than 3 seconds. Max Guinsoo stacks will ensure that you are melting their faces before they can really do much about it. Zeal will be used later to finish your Trinity Force, but right now the attack and movement speed boosts are a big help.
Late game you should already be raping faces, so now it's time to pile on! Grab a Hextech Gunblade for the insane health steal. Lifesteal or spell vamp by themselves wouldn't be that great on Skarner, since he deals physical and magic damage evenly, but a healthy amount of both on the same item, plus extra attack damage AND ability power? Yes, please! At this point they usually just start running away if they see you comming. Finish your Trinity Force for the improved Sheen effect and the extra health.
If you are having trouble, you could definitley switch out Guinsoo's for something else, like Madred's Bloodrazor if they are stacking health, or Phantom Dancer if you need more movement speed or more punch from your auto-attacks.
Ok, just to quickly go over the main points again:
- Early game you will need to play very conservatively. Stay close to your tower and farm up gold FAST.
- Take Fracture at level 1 to help with your sustain, but don't use it to harass or you will OOM.
- Rush Sheen. It's good.
- Once you get Sheen and Nashor's Tooth, it's time to start racking up the kills.
- Impale makes you a deadly ganker. Keep an eye on the map for enemy champions who are pushing too far and make them pay.
- Don't be afraid to initiate teamfights. You should be in the middle of them anyway, face-smashing as many enemies as possible with Crystal Slash.
You have to have a thick skin to play Skarner. I guarantee in a 5v5 pregame chat that someone will be raging at you that "Skarner sucks so bad!!". For the first ten minutes of the game you will be playing it pretty safe, so they will probably continue to pick on you, right up until you pop out of the bushes and peel the enemy carry off of their *** with Impale and obliterate them to dust in a few seconds.
Tips 'n Tricks
- As soon as you Impale an enemy, hit them with Crystal Slash right away. It will do a little extra damage, and plus it charges you with energy, so that when your ult wears off you can hit them with it again for a slow.
- Make sure you use Crystalline Exoskeleton right before you Impale for the movement speed buff. It lets you drag them farther. Same thing for Ghost if you brought it.
- Right before your ult wears off, change directions so that they are on the opposite side of you. They will have to run around you to go the direction they want, which gives you a little more time to crush their nuts.
- Try not to use Crystalline Exoskeleton to absorb incomming nukes, if you can help it. The buffs only last as long as your shield is up. Obviously, if you are about to die, then do it, but try to keep those buffs as long as possible.
- Skarner is excellent at pushing down turrets! Crystalline Exoskeleton gives you a big buff to your attack speed, and you can spam Crystal Slash to proc Trinity Force. That's right! Trinity Force bonus attack damage applies to turrets!
- If you get matched up against a ranged champion with good CC (like Ashe or Caitlyn), you should probably switch lanes with someone.
Big props go to jhoijhoi for her super helpful guide. Thanks for the tips, and thanks for refreshing my knowledge of BBCode! If you haven't built a guide on Mobafire before, definitely check out Making a Build by jhoijhoi!.
Please leave me any feedback you have in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
11/30/11 - Guide published to Mobafire.com.
12/1/11 - Minor aesthetic improvements. As suggested by multiple people, I moved Guinsoo's Rageblade to be a lot earlier in the item build.