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Skarner Build Guide by Hazardist

Jungle [14.10] The NEW Skarner Bible by LAN's Rank 1 Skarner

Jungle [14.10] The NEW Skarner Bible by LAN's Rank 1 Skarner

Updated on May 21, 2024
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Hazardist Build Guide By Hazardist 203 24 504,844 Views 53 Comments
203 24 504,844 Views 53 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Hazardist Skarner Build Guide By Hazardist Updated on May 21, 2024
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Runes: Grasp

1 2
Resolve
Grasp of the Undying
Shield Bash
Conditioning
Overgrowth

Inspiration
Magical Footwear
Approach Velocity
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+10-180 Bonus Health
+10-180 Bonus Health

Spells:

1 2 3
Most common choice
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LoL Summoner Spell: Gustwalker Smite

Gustwalker Smite

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
Synergies
Ideal Strong Ok Low None

Champion Build Guide

[14.10] The NEW Skarner Bible by LAN's Rank 1 Skarner

By Hazardist
First credentials
Because they say first impressions matter:

Introduction
I go by the nickname Hazardis in League of Legends. I've been playing since season 7 in the Latin America North server and at the moment my peak is Grandmaster. I started as a main support but over time moved to the jungle, which is now my main role.

At the end of the guide I will drop a few recordings from my own games that I have saved, to help highlight the capabilities that my proposed build and playstyle have. I'm also leaving you my numbers after season 12 and my peak as LAN's rank 1 Skarner for credibility purposes:



And me hitting rank 1 of LAN again in season 13.2:

Why Skarner? Pros and cons
The newly reworked Skarner is a version of the champion that is more fun to play, has a higher skill ceiling and can better adapt to the current ecosystem of the game, meaning that he's a great champion to pick up for those that enjoy playing juggernauts of tanks, but struggle to carry their games with any of the other similar champions on the roster. He has plenty of crowd control in his kit, is naturally tanky and has a very respectable damage output, making him ideal to put yourself in charge of winning your games, but also to prevent being rendered useless when you're playing from a disadvantage.

Pros
+ Able to abuse meta items
+ Rewarding to play and master
+ Disrusptive and anti-carry
+ No downtime during fights
+ Great, underrated scaling
Being naturally tanky, Skarner's adaptability to almost any situation and team composition makes sure that there will never be a game where you should absolutely not have picked him to begin with. He has a higher skill ceiling than your average bruiser-tank jungler champion thanks to his versatile playstile, builds and rune paths, so you are warranted to not get bored of trying to get better with him over time.

Cons
- Ability rotations can feel clunky
- Long cooldowns on abilities
- Reliant on hitting abilities
- Unrewarding DoT mechanic
- Hard to pick up
The reworked Skarner offers solutions to the problems with the old champion such as unimpressive basic abilities and lack of mobility, but also brings new issues himself. Using his abilities can feel clunky for most people at first, his E can feel unrewarding to use when not done properly, and his new DoT (damage over time) mechanic is something not many players will like.
Runes
The best keystone I can recommend to you at the moment is Grasp of the Undying, as it boosts your dueling potential by a considerable amount as well as provide a little but nifty amount of sustain in extended fights, plus the rest of the resolve tree being a really good fit on Skarner; Shield Bash will get a lot of use throughout the game because of your shield from Seismic Bastion, and the shield from Sterak's Gage will grant you a considerably output of extra damage at virtually no cost; Conditioning is an standard choice for tanks as it makes every resistance item you might possibly guy have greater value by default; and Overgrowth has perfect synergy with Grasp of the Undying, Heartsteel, Sterak's Gage and Sunfire Aegis at basically no cost.

All of this with Inspiration as your secondary tree taking Magical Footwear for a consistent way of saving yourself 300 gold and getting an even version of the standard Boots, and Approach Velocity to help with your overall stickiness to targets during pretty much every fight.

cashback is an interesting alternative for a more long-term economic gain compared to Magical Footwear, but until I've done further testing with it, I can't recommend it for every one of your games.

Alternatively, for your secondary tree you can go with Sorcery taking Transcendence for more ability haste in case you won't get enough from items, and Waterwalking for better skirmishing and objective solo-taking potential. Precision as secondary can help your survival at the cost of mobility, with Triumph and Legend: Tenacity as the most optimal options.

Take Phase Rush on tough matchups such as Olaf or Trundle, which require you to play less aggressive. The burst of move speed will help keep you safe, and it's also useful in other scenarios such as when you're dragging an enemy towards your team with Impale.
Summoner spells
Although no longer the clear best spell on Skarner, most enemies will be running Flash in your games and having it yourself is important to not place yourself at a disadvantage. I run it on almost all of my games, as it's also the most consistently valuable option.

Ghost can be situationally better than Flash if you are against mostly melee champions who will prefer to stick to you than run away from you, which means you will need move speed more than catch potential; but generally it is less consistently useful.

Gustwalker Hatchling is the standard pet you will take for most games because the tempo you gain from the increased movespeed is too valuable throughout the game and only keeps adding up. It is also a lifesaver in situations where you are chasing a target, or fleeing from a fight in the jungle.

Take the Mosstomper Seedling instead in games where the enemy team's win condition revolves around burst damage. For example, if they have 2+ assassins. Besides, it synergizes well with Shield Bash and also with Spirit Visage if you decide to build it.
Skill path
You will always prioritize maxing Shattered Earth first because the damage cap on monsters can only be increased by investing points into it, and it is also your main source of damage on every situation. Then, upgrade Seismic Bastion for better shields on yourself, and stronger slows and damage on the enemies. As is standard, you will always want to invest a point into Impale at levels 6, 11 and 16.

As of patch 14.8, there are no real reasons why you would take another order when maxing your abilities, so this is the bread and butter for pretty much every Skarner jungle build.
Itemization, step by step
First back purchase options

Picking up Bami's Cinder on your first back will be the ideal thing to do if you are going for Heartsteel as your first item, in order to not sacrifice damage to camps and champions in the early game. You can sit on it and then complete Sunfire Aegis second or even third later on

Caulfield's Warhammer builds into both Sundered Sky and Spear of Shojin, so if you are decided on rushing an AD item but still find yourself unsure of which it will be, this is the ideal choice on your first back.

And if you have 300 gold to spare for any reason after these purchases, grabbing Rejuvenation Bead is an okay choice for the sake of building towards Heartsteel. If enemy team is heavy AD and you're planning to contest objectives, taking a Cloth Armor is fine as later on it can be turned into Sunfire Aegis, Plated Steelcaps, etc.

First item options

Heartsteel is finally a viable item to build as jungler after its recent buffs, and has near perfect synergy with the rest of what my suggested setup provides. It significantly boosts your W shield, your pet camp damage, your other HP-related items and its infinite health stacking mechanic ensures that even in losing fights, you should be coming out of them with some degree of reward.

Spear of Shojin is really strong on Skarner right now as all the haste it provides will lower all of your cooldowns significantly, while also making your Q hit even harder. It's the best item to boost your clears, your dueling potential and your objective taking, but its downside is that you will be rendered less resistant when being focused in fights.

Sundered Sky still works great after the nerfs and makes for the best foundation upon which to build an AD bruiser-oriented build. It may not work as well on Skarner compared to other meta bruiser such as Lee Sin, but the sustain will keep you going on extended fights while also offering a bit of extra burst for the shorter ones.

Sunfire Aegis is in a good state after its recent buffs. Its low cost and high stats make it an attractive item to build in the early mid game. It is fine to buy first in games where you are either undecided on rushing Heartsteel or don't mind building it second in exchange for a quicker powerspike. Otherwise, build it second.

Tier 2 boots options

Plated Steelcaps is the go-to purchase when the enemy jungler (or their most fed carry) is an AD champion, which only becomes more efficient against auto attack-heavy champions like Urgot, Master Yi or Trundle. Don't hesitate to choose them if you need the extra armor.

Mercury's Treads are my favorite boots to run on Skarner due to the extra tenacity, and the early magic resistance comes in handy in more cases than not. Go for them if surviving crowd control chains is a priority in the game.

If you don't have much need for extra resistances and the Ability Haste is proving too useful to let go of it, sticking with Ionian Boots of Lucidity isn't a bad idea. Bear in mind that I always recommend swapping them for either Plated Steelcaps or Mercury's Treads later on in the game, or to skip them and leave your tier 2 boots purchase for after you're done building your first full item.

New Skarner doesn't benefit from movement speed as much as the old one, but Boots of Swiftness are still an acceptable purchase when you are against champions that have strong slows in their kits, of which can abuse Rylai's Crystal Scepter well, as in those cases slow resist is a lot more valuable to have than the tenacity from Mercury's Treads

Second item options

Jak'Sho, The Protean remains what is possibly the strongest tank item and despite its high cost, building it second secures you with a very significant powerspike in the midgame that will only get better as the game goes on and you stock more resistance items to go with it. Think of it in place of Locket of the Iron Solari in games where you have more gold than normal, and especially if the enemy comp lacks true damage.

Similar to Knight's Vow, Locket of the Iron Solari offers great value for little cost and is also the item you go for when you need to be adaptive, because it offers both armor and magic resistance, and a pure shield which will help against both types of damage. It's a great second item pick up on most games, even when you're ahead.

Sometimes it is advisable to take Sterak's Gage second if you opted for Heartsteel, such as in games where you are mightily ahead and could profit from offensive stats more than defensive, while also not sacrificing durability thanks to the great synergy between the Lifeline passive and all the HP you are stacking. Besides, the tenacity will always come in handy.

Iceborn Gauntlet has an okay synergy with skarner as activating it on your first or second auto after using Q will make it easier for you to land the final auto, as well as the utility that inherently comes from slowing your enemies at a low cooldown. Higher value purchase when against an AD jungler.

After the Knight's Vow nerfs, Zeke's Convergence has taken its place as the better low cost tank item during split 2 because it now has more HP, mixed resistances and no gold efficiency wasted on mana. The passive aura comes in handy after ulting because if you land a good Impale, it will help you stick to the targets after suppresion; and if you fail it, at least you get something out of it.

Third item options

With how strong ADC and other Infinity Edge users have become in this meta, you should always consider purchasing Randuin's Omen as your armor item in the mid to late game as it might just be what saves you in a teamfight. Besides, the AoE slow around you can prove helpful to disrupt the enemies you've engaged on even further.

Spirit Visage has less synergy with new Skarner than with the old one given that his shield is by default smaller, and he can't spam it as often anymore. Although if you're stacking enough HP, have Sterak's Gage and some other sources of sustain such as an enchanter support, ocean soul etc, it can potentially be a high value purchase; just not a consistent enough one.

Abyssal Mask is your go-to magic resistance item when you are at a disadvantage against a fed magic damage dealer on the enemy team, as at a relatively low cost it provides a decent chunk of magic resist, ability haste, and has a good enough synergy with other HP items.

Kaenic Rookern's shield scales off your maximum health, which makes it a very appealing item with this build. If you're against only one AP threat, you can take this item and forget about them for the rest of the game, though it's even better to build against AP heavy compositions. Take it when you want to survive burst magic damage, rather than long fights, for which Force of Nature is better.

New Skarner has some nifty AP ratios on his W and R and his passive applies magic damage, which turns Liandry's Torment into a viable option if you would prefer dealing more AP damage than physical. Particularly good against tankier enemy teams where the fights will be longer and they will be stacking HP items just like you do.

Fourth item options

Thornmail is the obvious choice when you're looking to counter champions that heal a lot as well as becoming tankier. Although the nerfs to Grievous Wounds have decreased its performance, I have found that it can proc a lot of passive damage on its own and the anti-healing can prevent some instances of rampant sustain from the enemy team, so the item should by no means be undervalued.

Force of Nature has amazing value against heavy AP threats such as Cassiopeia, but is also consistently good against most forms of magic damage, in a similar vein to Kaenic Rookern. The difference between the two is that this is the item you should prioritize against sustained damage, rather than burst.

Situational items

If you're feeling confident enough in the early game after your first back, picking up a Dark Seal is a viable option as you can get a good enough value out of a fully stacked one, and selling it later down the road if things go awry won't punish you much.

Bit more of a for-fun suggestion but turning a fully stacked Dark Seal into Mejai's Soulstealer can potentially get you dishing out a surprisingly high amount of magic damage. While viable, at the moment I don't recommend that you actively try going down this path on most of your games.

Cosmic Drive could theoretically work in games where you want to stick to AP damage while also having enough ability haste to make proper use of it. With this said, it doesn't have much synergy with Skarner currently and is something I would only advice trialing to already expert players of the champion who know his limits to some degree.
Brief macro-game guidelines
HOW TO GANK: Learning the blind vision spots is of utmost importance when it comes to approaching a lane quickly. Stick to the walls or other terrain if you're approaching from the river, and pop your Oracle Lens as you're approaching the bush; if you spot a ward, don't waste time clearing it and just keep going before the enemy has too much time to react. Always make sure to ping your laners (responsibly) 5-7 seconds before you go in.

WHEN TO GANK: The new Skarner has decent early gank capabilities as soon as level 3, as your auto attacks and W will slow the enemy laner if you can get into melee range. You shouldn't pop your E discriminately when starting a gank because it is slow and easy to react to for the enemy, and instead should try to position yourself on top of them either through an intelligent ganking angle, Flash or Ghost and then use your E to drag them backwards to your laner, or onto the nearest wall for a stun and a burst of damage.

WHOM TO GANK: I really advice you to not waste any time ganking any laner that has died before 4 minutes, or that by the 10 minutes mark has at least 3 deaths; that's all the proof you need that they don't know how to lane properly and that they're not worth trusting with any resources. You're better off focusing on lanes near live objectives who are also even or not losing by too much, and especially in volatile matchups (melee vs melee, etc).

JUNGLE TRACKING: In this season, tracking the enemy jungler properly is more important than ever due to how much priority objectives have at all stages of the game, and with Skarner it's extra important as your counter-ganking potential differs depending on how early or late you are into the game. A good rule of thumb to follow the enemy jungler in the first minutes of the game is: if he started on the same side of the map as you for the first clear, he will remain on the same side as you for most of the first 10 minutes of the game, assuming that A) you have focused diligently on farming, and B) he doesn't seem to be camping any of the side lanes or hovering around mid for too long.
Early jungling
At the very start of the game, you should move to the top side river if you're playing on blue side, or the bot side river from red side. Stay in the bush near the river for a few seconds to assess if there are any enemies showing themselves on the map. If you see that the enemy bot laners or the jungler are away from the nearest buff quadrant, move in to drop your first ward on either the buff's pit or on raptors, as this will give you information on the enemy's first route and you can predict where he will be for the next 3 minutes of the game.

A full clear of your jungle (6 camps + scuttle) is the most generally advisable strategy for your initial clear, and with the recent jungle changes you are more than okay going leashless so ping your teammates away and give them an optimal start to the game instead of wasting time leashing you. Be wary of possible enemy invades or counterjungling, and also plan your route optimally. The best way is to do Buff -> Krugs -> Raptors, or Buff -> Gromp -> Wolves, then move on to the other side of the map.

This is an example of a normal first clear when you're playing on blue side. Remember: you start with Q and go leashless:


Below is how it's done when you prefer to start from topside, with the biggest variation from last season being that you won't have to skip krugs anymore before contesting the bottom side scuttle, so this route becomes the safest option when there is a realistic threat of level 2 invade from the enemy jungler ( Nidalee, Graves, etc).


From red side, starting bot without a leash will make it possible for you to full clear before the 3:30 mark with ease, so you can proceed as follows:


When on the red side, starting top without a leash is at its most optimal as you will have the red buff during all of your clearing, and by finishing bot side you can be ready to gank, countergank or aid in any way the most important lane to snowball before the first drake spawns.


Analyze the state of your lanes during your first 3-4 camp clears. If none looks easy to gank, move on to the other side of the map to keep farming. Skarner has very decent pre-6 ganks so it is wise to look which lane you can start impacting from early on in the game. If not, focusing on farming to hit level 6 as soon as possible is the smartest strategy.

Post level 6 you can become more proactive with your ganks as your ultimate is great for locking down a target. Also, be on the lookout for your winning lanes about to crash waves into the enemy tower and setting you up for a dive, which are somewhat simple to pull off as Skarner.
Jungling in the mid game
If the Drake is alive or the next one is coming up, move to the bot side to gain vision control around it and prepare an ambush on any approaching enemies with smart uses your sweeper lens and control wards. If the Rift Herald is alive, play around top side on your next rotation.

If you are at a disavantage and your team lost all of the Tier 1 towers, go into your own jungle more carefully from there on. Nevertheless, it is really important that you do your best to keep your CS numbers as high as possible as this is the stage of the game where you can begin outscaling most other champions, if itemized properly.

Check the enemy team's itemization regularly as at this stage of the game, it is likely that one of them built a Quicksilver Sash to counter you and knowing whom not to Impale will save you from a misuse of your ultimate.
Jungling in the late game
If your team has lost two or all tier 2 towers, be cautious of staying behind and helping control the vision line for your team to avoid picks from the enemy. Inversely, if your team has taken down the enemy's tier 2 towers you have several opportunities to look for picks in the side lanes or in the jungle that will help secure nearby objectives or structures, or even the game at this point.

Outside of that, Skarner is good for sieging towers as Shattered Earth works on structures, and he can flee quickly with Ixtal's Impact if being collapsed upon. If your R is not available and your team is grouping up near an enemy turret, it is a good idea to either enter the jungle to farm or prepare an ambush, or go to a side lane to push the wave and help apply pressure.

In late game teamfights, it is vital that you save all of your main resources ( Flash, Impale) for the biggest treat on the enemy team, usually the ADC which you normally have no means of reaching if they are getting peeled. You will act as frontline but also as an initiator, so keeping a cool head by not forcing any unfavorable fights is what will win you the game. Remember to plan ahead with objectives as well, as any barons or elder drakes at this stage will most likely be game-ending.
Closing thoughts
Thank you for making it to the end of my guide for Skarner, though it is far from being finished as it's likely gonna remain a work in progress for as long as I am a League player, so do check back every now and then to stay up to date with my progress and the changes that the game itself goes through over time.

After over two years of wait, Skarner has finally been reworked and fortunately it turned out to be a change for the best, as the new champion fixes more problems than it causes, is fun to play and has a potential for long-term playability in the League meta. Still, we shall miss the last brackern and forever remember him.

For fun: skins tier-list
In this section I'll simply discuss the one topic that we all care about: skins! Skarner's base skin sadly shows its age by a long way, and the champion simply feels unplayable without one of his skins on. I will rank them all from most to least favorite, but do feel free to let me know in the comments which are the ones you personally like the most!

#1: Battlecast Alpha Skarner

Simply perfect. The reworked version took an already great legendary into one that suits the champion thematically even better, gave him animations that feel strong yet fluid and the new voice acting does it justice. Even if the gap between this and the rest of the skins isn't as broad as it was before, it still is the skin that you want to take for every game.

#2: Cosmic Sting Skarner

Cosmic Sting is his most recent skin to date and outside of the legendary it is my most liked, since the theme is cool and it's the only skin with chromas.

#3: Sandscourge Skarner

The reworked version of this skin was a big jump in quality, aligning it with the modern day iteration of the High Noon universe and a huge bulky scorpion with a bad attitude is the perfect fit.

#4: Guardian of the Sands Skarner

Probably the skin that saw less changes when it comes to its execution, but it's still a good theme for Skarner and the shared splash art with other monster champions is always a welcome sight.

#5: Default Skarner

The new default skin for Skarner is only an improvement from the old one in that the model is a lot better and the visual and sound effects are decent enough. Besides that, his color palette is boring and the splash art is underwhelming.

#6: Earth Rune Skarner

Consensus among the other Skarner mains I know is that this skin has been left as the worst post-rework, and I have to agree. It doesn't feel like the new version does the theme justice at all, the model looks bland and boring and it brings no new effects whatsoever, making it hardly worth the RP to purchase.
Archive of resources and media
My latest pentakill in season 13:



How the tanking capabilities from Jak'Sho help you tank an entire team and win the fight:



My first pentakill with a bruiser build back in season 12:



Showcasing the 1 vs 1 potential of rushing Trinity Force, even outside of Threads of Vibration and at a resource disadvantage:



Just an example of what you can achieve with a Black Cleaver rush:



Zombie Wards that you place may help you set up important ambushes that would otherwise not have been possible:



My build will make you tanky AND bursty at the same time. Don't believe me? Ask this Yone:



Your top laner is a brainless Tryndamere? Good thing you're playing with my build, so you can still win:



Watch out for the enemy's "body language" while a turret drag is possible, it will almost certainly catch them off guard for an easy kill:



Tip on how to effectively gank Fiora: juke her parry by cancelling an auto attack while she's tagged with Ixtal's Impact:



My build and playstyle allow you to solo-triple kill even against fed enemy hard counters, such as Vayne:



If you have hit your Black Cleaver powerspike, you are more than capable of fending off enemy tower sieges:



Sterak's Gage and Triumph will be there to save you when your teammates won't:

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