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Skarner Build Guide by Knightro
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Introduction / About Me
Hello, My name is Knightro and This is my guide to jungling as Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard. I first tried Skarner like many people do: during his free week. After my first game, I honestly did NOT like him one bit. He seemed so weird, didn't do much damage, and I had no idea what I was doing with him.
However, later on when I had around 4800 IP, I was deciding on my next champion to buy. I really couldn't decide on whom to purchase, until I noticed that Skarner was 4800. I thought that maybe I had judged him too quickly. I purchased him, and then referred over here to MobaFire to find a suitable guide. I stumbled across Sirspankalot's Skarner guide. It was extremely informative, and a very good way to play Skarner. There were also a few other good guides, such as sp00fz Jungle skarner guide, and another one whose name I cannot currently remember. I quickly picked up the hang of playing Skarner, and he was my main throughout season 3. Season 4 brought along Skarner's kit re-work, and since then there have been very few updated Skarner guides of notable score for new players who haven't tried Skarner, or old players coming back to league who aren't aware of his re-work.
My goal is to carry on the torch of Jungle Skarner. Without such notable guides to refer to, I don't know if I would even be playing Skarner today. It wasn't that the guides were just helpful, but they actually made me want to play Skarner. That is my goal, to make a guide where not only does it help people learn to play a champion, but it actually makes them want to play that champion more, and even if they don't have this champion, they will want to play him.
Skarner is a very versatile champion. He can fit into a huge variety of team compositions, and fill a wide niche of roles. He cant be a full out tank, an AP Fighter, a massive DPS carry, or an aura-support style champion. With his mixed damage output, (both physical and magical), and a couple good CC tools (crowd control), he is a very strong pick on normal games, as well as Ranked Solo Queue.
There is no real bad time to choose Skarner. He does a tons of damage even when building tanky, and when you do go tanky you become extremely hard to kill. The only limit I suggest is when your team already has a jungler, as though I have not personally tried him out in lane, I believe that he is infinitely stronger in the jungle.
I now play Skarner very similar to Tiger Stance Udyr, rushing a Wriggle's Lantern and farming a sh*t ton before charging out of the jungle ready to slay some fools. This build is fantastic for farming a ton and being an extremely strong duelist, ripping foes apart and roaming the map so fast it feels like everyone else is moving in slow motion.
I was so beastly, that I carried even a 4v5. Also, they had a Skarner as well, and helped to show that Feral Flare beats Spirit of the Elder Lizard.
Attack speed is amazing on Skarner. It procs his passive, energize more often and increases his overall clear speed in the jungle. The best runes for Skarner in my opinion.
|Despite the 4.5 nerfs, I still believe these are the best seals for Skarner. They reduce damage taken from minions, monsters, enemy champions, and champion pets. You will definitely notice the difference in the damage you are taking if you do not take these runes, especially in the jungle.|
These are the best magic resist glyphs for almost every jungler. Since the monsters do no magic damage, you don't need any early game magic damage so these will grant more in the late game.
Movement speed is very important for Skarner. He is very short ranged, so he needs to move fast to get into range for any of his spells. These help him roam around the map quicker, as well as either chase down opponents or escape from sticky situations.
|This spell is amazing for Skarner. You can use it to close the gap onto an opponent and grab them with Impale without them expecting it. You can also use it to either jump over a wall onto a low-health enemy for a kill, or escape over a wall from a pursuing enemy. This spell is infinitely more useful then Ghost, since Skarner already has a movement speed boost with Crystalline Exoskeleton. Ghost will not allow you to Flash + Impale someone for a kill. Plus, with this full build you will easily have over 450+ movement speed, before Crystalline Exoskeleton. Ghost is pretty redundant at that point.||
energizeEnergize A decent passive ability, every basic attack reduces the cooldowns of your abilities by 0.5 seconds (1 second against champions). This lets you keep your abilities on a low cooldown, and cast them more often. It scales very well with attack speed.
Crystal Slash I personally love this ability. A small AOE damaging ability that deals physical damage to enemy units it hits. Once you hit someone, it becomes charged. While charged, subsequent Crystal Slashes will deal additional magic damage and increase Skarner's attack speed for a few seconds. The attack speed buff can stack up to three times.
Crystalline Exoskeleton Skarner gains a temporary shield for a few seconds. While the shield persists, he gains a movement speed buff. The movement speed ramps up over the first 3 seconds. Not a terrible ability, but the movement speed will be lost of the shield is broken. It is a pretty hefty shield, so don't hesitate to use it to save yourself from certain spells like Ace in the Hole or Requiem.
Fracture Finally, they made this ability useful! It used to give a pointless heal, but now it slows all enemies that it hits by a good amount. With good range and good missile speed, you can catch enemies out of your range with it to slow them down and catch up to them.
Impale Honestly, this is one of the best ultimates in the entire game. You automatically suppress the target, and then you can drag them around with you for 1.75 seconds. This means you can catch an opponent with it, and then drag them back into your team and kill them immediately. Note that you cannot Flash or use basic attacks against the target while dragging them, but you can cast Crystal Slash and Crystalline Exoskeleton.
Start with Crystal Slash for a quick level 1 clear. At level 2, take a point in Crystalline Exoskeleton to soak up some damage from the next camp you clear. At level 3, you can either level up Fracture if you want to gank, or level up Crystal Slash again and keep jungling. Put a point at level 4 into whatever you didn't put a point in at level 3.
Max Crystal Slash first for the consistent damage and attack speed stacks. Whatever you max second really depends on your playstyle. If you like being tankier, then max Crystalline Exoskeleton second for the shield and movement speed. If you are a more aggressive player, the you can max Fracture second for the slow and the damage. Always put points into Impale at levels 6, 11, and 16.
The best start for any jungler. I see plenty of junglers starting with Doran's Blades and I want to slap them senseless. This is the must-have start for any jungler, offering sustain, damage for clearing, and a trinket. I highly advise starting with the Warding Totem, but swapping it out at level 9, when the Sweeping Lens's cooldown gets reduced to 60 seconds and it becomes more viable.
Make sure to pick these up as soon as possible. Wriggle's Lantern is great because you can earn stacks towards the Feral Flare through ganks now, while madred's does not. Boots of Speed give movement speed to help you get around the jungle quicker and escape dangerous scenarios. Health Potions keep you alive and Stealth Wards keep tabs on enemies so they don't catch you off-guard.
Feral Flare is so ridiculously strong on Skarner! When you aren't ganking or pushing lanes, make sure that you are farming your jungle for stacks. If your jungle is empty, then go steal some of the enemies jungle (read the counter-jungling chapter for more info). It also makes Skarner's clear go from very fast to broken-ly ridiculous fast. Boots of Swiftness are great because they are so good for roaming, ganking, escaping, and they basically ensure that once you get onto an enemy champion, they will not be escaping you without Flash. Trinity Force is amazing because it does't scale with other damage items, so this and Feral Flare are really the only damage items you need. Zephyr offers tenacity and great offense stats, including CDR, attack speed, attack damage, and movement speed. There is not a single stat here wasted on Skarner. At level 9, the Warding Totem gets outclassed by the Sweeping Lens since the 60 second cooldown lets you sweep for Dragons, Barons, and wards in general.
These items are just to ensure that you are not easily killed throughout the game. Whichever item you buy should be chosen carefully, since generally you only build one, sometimes two of these items, and only two if you desperately need the defense. I usually take Randuin's Omen, since it will prevent me from getting kited so easily, and the AOE active can help out to escape or chase enemies.
These last items will round out your build and fill in any stats that you might require. I usually take Wit's End for the magic resist and attack speed, but you can use Mercurial Scimitar if you need the free Cleanse, and Guardian Angel if you are getting focused and need a second chance to win.
There are generally two ways to start jungling as Skarner. For you reader's convenience, I shall list two different ways to start the game (just click the spoilers below).
After clearing your two buffs, then you should first clear the Wraith camp. It is small and will get you to level 3. After hitting level 3, if you see a gank then level up Fracture and go for it, but if there is no opportunity to gank, then level up Crystal Slash and return to jungling. After Wraiths, you should clear the small golems, and then the Wolves. By this time, the Wraiths should have re-spawned, so you can go clear them again. This is the general jungle route when you aren't ganking.
I don't advise clearing the Wight periodically, as the Wight really sucks. It hits very hard, and it doesn't offer very much gold. If you want to clear it, make sure you have Smite, otherwise don't even bother.
To clear buffs, make sure you stand in the middle of the camp. This will ensure that Crystal Slash will hit every monster, and maximize your clear speed. When using Smite to clear small camps, make sure that it will be available to secure important objectives within the next 40-ish seconds. For example, if you are clearing the Wraiths at 6:40, then don't use Smite, since your Blue buff will be re-spawning around 7:15.
Note that the small camps re-spawn every 0:50, (50 seconds). With proper timing you can be right at the camp just in time for it to re-spawn, so you can kill it immediately. This will help to prevent counter-jungling.
The large buffs re-spawn every 5:00 (5 minutes). So your first buff should re-spawn roughly around 7:15, and your second buff around 8:30 or so (depending if you were counter-jungled or not).
Dragon spawns at 2:30, and re-spawns every 6 minutes after. The best time to take dragon is whenever the enemy bot lane is missing. If the enemy bot lane just recalled back to base, take your bot lane and mid laner and secure dragon. Of course, don't bother attempting this within the first 6 or so minutes of the game, or if you are all low on health. The dragon can easily kill you if you are at less then 50% hp, since you will generally be tanking it.
Counter-jungling is sneaking into the enemies jungle to steal their jungle camps to rob them of gold and experience. Skarner is a pretty decent counter-jungler, as his Crystal Slash lets him clear quickly and Crystalline Exoskeleton keeps his health up. The best camps to take are the Wraiths and Wolves, and occasionally the Small Golems. When you head into the enemy jungle, only take one camp, and then get out as fast as possible. The longer you stay, the higher the risk and the higher the chance of getting caught. Make sure you have Smite when going to counter-jungle! It makes the steal so much faster and safer.
Counter-jungling is a very effective method of shutting down certain champions early. Certain champions like Nautilus, Nasus and Rammus have very weak early game, and cannot handle you going into their jungle and taking their camps. This will weaken them and cause them to fall behind, being rather useless to their team. You need to know your enemy jungler quite well before attempting to counter jungle them, as certain champs are able to deflect your counter-jungling, making it a huge waste of your time.
How to recover from being Counter-Jungled
Skarner is actually counter-jungled rather easily. Early aggressive champions like Kha'Zix and Lee Sin can easily counter-jungle and zone Skarner out of his own jungle. If you can't recover properly, then you will have a very tough time coming back from all the set backs and be very useless to your team. If you are getting counter-jungled a ton, then you need to take a few precautionary steps to recover:
If your second buff was stolen, say you were clearing your red buff and the enemy jungler Smited it because he has it warded, you should immediately go and see if you can take his buff. If he is smart, he will go and take it immediately so that you cannot, but sometimes they won't because they don't want to take a buff if they already have it. In that case, take it when he's not around, and then you will be on even footing again.
Keep your jungle clean of wards. If the enemy jungler is constantly catching you and forcing you to recall in your jungle, then you don't have to be a genius to guess that they have your jungle warded. Buy yourself some Vision Wards and the Sweeping Lens and check any areas that might be warded. Good places to check are the brush right near the Wraith camp, and any entrances to your jungle.
Ward your own jungle. If you keep the entrances to your own jungle warded, then you will be able to see when the enemy jungler enters your jungle. When he does, you can call your allies over and they can help you kill him. No jungler, no matter how fed, can win a 3v1 when he's not expecting it.
One of the simplest ways to deal with counter-jungling is just to clear your camps constantly, and thus deny the enemy jungler any further chance to rob you of said camps.
Since you are the jungler, you will be roaming all around the map, yes? So it makes total sense for you to be dropping some wards in some important spots as you go about your jungle route.
Remember you can place up to 3 Stealth Wards and 1 Vision Ward on the map at once. Try to place the Vision Ward somewhere where it will get a lot of vision of enemy champions, but not so obvious that it will get killed immediately, as you will have wasted 100 gold.
Ward Locations (Outlined)
You should do your best to buy a couple of wards each time you return to the base. Keeping the map warded is a great strategy and can easily turn games in your favor. You will be able to see jungler ganks before they happen, catch the enemy team attempting baron or dragon, and also be able to catch out lone enemies when they go to ward or something.
Don't forget to upgrade your trinket into Greater Stealth Totem or Greater Vision Totem, as it gives you a free full Stealth/Vision ward, meaning you don't have to keep an empty slot in your inventory for wards.
During the late game, you need to keep tabs on the enemy team through wards. Catching out a single enemy can turn the entire game in your favor, making any immediate team fights a 5v4 for your team. You also need to make sure that you don't get caught out by the enemy team when you are going to place a ward or clear a lane of minions or something.
You also need to keep tabs on baron constantly. Keep the entire area around it warded. If the enemy team goes for baron then the best thing to do is contest it while they have committed to fighting it. The baron deals a ton of damage, so if you ambush them in the middle if taking it, they will have to turn their attention to you, and the baron will continue to hammer away at them, making them take even more damage.
If you have to defend your base because an inhibitor is down, then do not for any reason attempt baron , or contest the opposing team while they secure baron . Leaving your base for any reason with a downed inhibitor is what loses games. Now, if there was a team fight in your base and you Aced the enemy team, then one person should stay and defend the base from super minions while the other alive players push the lanes or take baron or whatever. Just make sure to be back at your base healed up by the time the enemy team has re-spawned.
Well, this has been my guide to Season 4 Jungle Skarner post-re-work. I hope you enjoyed this guide, and if you did, please leave a comment as to why you liked it. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments or PM me. And remember, upvotes are always appreciated. Have fun jungling as Skarner!
If you like my work, make sure to check out some of my other guides!
My Trundle guide.
My Nunu & Willump guide.