Skarner Build Guide by Resther
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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.
Welcome to my Ability Power/Attack Speed Skarner Build. Please be aware that this is my very first build here, and I am not any kind of master at this. I've been playing with this build quite alot, and I've found it works well for Skarner. So let's get started.
My Build In a Nutshell
First off, this is not ideal for jungling, which should be fairly obvious, due to the lack of Smite as a Summoner Spell. Instead, this build is designed for laning with Skarner.
I like to start off fairly simple. Although it is not in the above item build, I will occasionally go with a Doran's Shield if I feel that my opponents are tougher for me to handle. Normally, I'll start with an Amplifying Tome and Health Potion, so I can jump right into my next item early. This usually sets me up just fine, though it has also left me banged up after the first confrontation. Because of this, I have found myself playing a very defensive early game with Skarner. I have fairly good Armor and Magic Resist, but I have had some issues with aggressive enemies, resulting in early death.
I prefer to farm carefully, and retreat if my enemies get greedy. I start with Fracture at level 1 so I can harass minions and enemy Champs from a distance. Plus, the heals are very useful early on. At level 2, I'll start to farm more efficiently, thanks to the addition of Crystal Slash, which means more healing. At level 3, I grab a point in Crystalline Exoskeleton so I have an early escape mechanism, and some defenses. If my enemies are pushed around enough, initiating with Exoskeleton, and poking at them can (and often times will) force them away, even if it's for a brief period of time.
On my first trip back to base, I like to upgrade my arsenal with either a Dagger, or a Meki Pendant. Both of these will be built into my first major investment. I also grab some Health and Mana pots if I have the funds. If you can afford it on the first trip, try to grab Boots of Speed as well as the above items. Costly, yes. But it'll all be worth it soon enough.
Try to farm as much as you can, without overextending. That Nashor's Tooth depends on it ! I continue my pattern of Farming, Harrassing, and Leveling Fracture and Crystal Slash. At level 6 the fun begins. By this point, I like to try and have at least the Stinger, Boots of Speed, and Fiendish Codex. If your teammate is ready, try to nail one of your opponents with Impale, drag them back, and burst them down as much as you can. Even if you can't, it still scares them out of lane for now, which means you can hit the turret or farm.
On your next trip back, which should be number 3 or 4 by this point, get your much-anticipated Nashor's Tooth. It gives Skarner all kinds of useful stats: Cooldown Reduction, Attack Speed, Mana Regen... It's just an amazing early game item, and I wouldn't recommend going without it. If possible, grab Merc Treads or Berzerker's Greaves. Whichever one tickles your fancy, though I've recently found Merc Treads to be the better choice, and have made them my boots of preference.
Sheen is your next investment, and later on you will turn this into a Lich Bane. If need be, grab the defensive items first. Chain vest for Atma's and Null-Magic Manteau for Lich Bane. If you're still doing well, grab a Blasting Wand to turn into Lich Bane. Once you have this, you'll really start pumping out some damage.
If by this point, you find yourself in desperate need of defenses, do not hesitate to finish Atma's and Warmog's, or at the very least get close to finishing them. If your defense is holding you over, get your Guinsoo's Rageblade started. If you want more Attack Damage, grab the Pickaxe first. If you want more Ability Power, grab the Blasting Wand. Either way, you'll love Guinsoo's Rageblade once you have it. You'll literally start tearing through everyone at mach speeds.
To top it all off, finish your Atma's Impaler and Warmog's Armor. This will complete your build, although I usually finish my games without either one completed. Usually it's over before I even dip into a Warmog's Armor.
With all that said, let's move onto Runes.
I personally find Armor and Magic Penetration to be effective on Skarner. Being a Hybrid, he benefits from utilizing both Abilities and his Basic Attacks. I take more Magic Pen than Armor Pen with my Runes because Skarner's abilities scale off AP, and are extremely spammable, meaning you'll be using them while you're using basic attacks. This combination is deadly effective, especially since I play super aggressive once I have my Mid-Late Game items. Combined with Guinsoo's Rageblade, and your other damage items, you'll literally be "Tearing them apart" as Skarner says.
x6 Greater Marks of Insight (Magic Pen.)
x3 Greater Marks of Desolation (Armor Pen.)
x9 Greater Seals of Resilience (Flat Armor)
x9 Greater Glyphs of Shielding (Magic Resist Per Level)
x9 Greater Glyphs of Warding (Flat Magic Resist)*
*I have not personally tried Glyphs of Warding on Skarner, as I have not acquired 9 yet.
You are welcome to try and see if this works more effectively. I'll do the same once I can afford the remaining runes.
x1 Greater Quint of Resilience (Flat Armor)
x1 Greater Quint of Desolation (Armor Pen.)
x1 Greater Quint of Insight (Magic Pen.)
My current Masteries are 23/6/1
I take both Brute Force and Mental Force in the Offense Tree, and lead into both sides of the tree equally, taking Attack Speed, Cooldown Reduction, Armor Pen., Magic Pen., and Icreased AP. I also take Demolitionist, because Skarner is excellent at destroying towers thanks to his beastly attack speed with this build. You may have noticed that I do not take the Summoner's Wrath Mastery. I honestly wish I could explain this, but I can't. It's amazing, and I would strongly recommend utilizing it if you feel it better suits your tastes. As for me, I like destroying towers quickly, so Demolitionist is my personal preference.
I like to be a tad more defensive early game, so I take Resistance and Hardiness in the Defense Tree. I always have a solid 41 Armor and 38 (give or take) Magic Resist at level 1. This makes Skarner a tad more defensive, which is not a bad thing.
In the Utility Tree, I grabbed 1 point in Good Hands, simply because recovering from death a little faster is never something that should be ignored. As minimal as it is, it's still useful.
I'll explain a few:
- First Item -
Amplifying Tome or Doran's Shield
Amplifying Tome lets you start your Nashor's Tooth earlier, and lets you start with a health or mana potion, both of which you may need.
Doran's Shield is a strong defensive alternative, but slows down your build just a bit.
- First Item Investment -
Sheen or Fiendish Codex
Sheen is a very common choice, mainly because it builds into two items Skarner uses: Trinity Force and Lich Bane. Both items grant Skarner everything he could need, but are a tad pricey...
Fiendish Codex is an equally nice choice. You get mana regen and ability power. I think you get Cooldown Reduction from this as well. All 3 of these are anecessity on Skarner, so why not get this ASAP ? Plus it builds into an even more useful upgrade.
- Major Item Investments -
Lich Bane or Trinity Force
Lich Bane grants Skarner Magic Resist, Ability Power, and the same effect as Sheen.
Trinity Force grants Skarner Attack/Move Speed, Basic Attacks that Slow, Ability Power, and Sheen's Effect.
If both are so good, why Lich Bane > Trinity Force ?
This is really a matter of Preference. Trinity Force offers alot in one package, but notice the pricetag. As useful as it is, it's not cheap, and while I have used it before, Lich Bane offers a more defensive alternative. Not to mention the extra AP on it is exactly what ingrediant belongs in this AP/AS build. Trinity Force is equally viable, and should not be shunned. If you feel it suits your tastes, please go ahead and use it. Both items are excellent on Skarner.
Other Item Options:
Hextech Gunblade: Still very viable on Skarner, and allows some pretty good healing on top of your built-in healing.
Black Cleaver: Attack Speed and Reduces Enemy Armor. What's not to like ? I'd use this on Dominion more than Summoner's Rift, but it's still a very viable item. Too bad it costs so much.
Force of Nature: Strong Defensive Item for Magic Resist. Useful for a more defensive build in my opinion.
Thornmail: Same as above.
Guardian Angel: Good all around defensive item with a very useful passive. Coming back from death for a second chance is always nice, but if you waste it, it's a costly mistake.
Manamune: Attack Damage and Mana Regen. If you have trouble with mana, don't hesitate on getting this. It can save you in a jiffy.
Fracture > Crystal Slash > Crystalline Exoskeleton
This is my thought on the order of importance for Skarner's Skills.
Fracture is your only Ranged Ability, and the one I max first. It hits pretty hard, and is the whole reason you can heal. Having a relatively cheap heal at level 1 is a valuable asset. You can poke enemies, farm, and harrass with ease. Just don't abuse it or you'll be out of mana fast.
Crystal Slash is the ability I max second. It's great for clearing minion waves, and devouring health quickly. Plus, with such an absurdly low mana cost (15 mana at all levels), you'll be spamming this ability often. Also, thanks to your passive, Crystal Slash will almost always be available, assuming you utilize your basic attacks. Using Cystal Slash a second time will result in a free slow. This is what makes your chasing potential so brutal.
Lastly is Crystalline Exoskeleton. I get this at Level 3 and leave it there for awhile. Once my other abilities are leveled up more, I'll start putting points into it. I find it useful at early levels when chasing, retreating, and harrassing. Also, Ghost + Exoskeleton + Impale = A long run back to safety for your enemies. Try to use Exoskeleton whenever you're going in for the kill, and drag your enemy backwards. The farther you take your opponents away from safety, the more damage you can do. Unless of course they have flash, then it sucks trying to catch up to them again.
After the release of Surge, I have to say, I fell in love with it. It's like they designed it specifically for Skarner ! Attack Speed AND Ability Power !? Need I say more ?
Ghost is a great choice as well. That extra "oomph" can really help your Impale become far more effective. Dragging enemies back further than just Impale and normal move speed allows, is a great thing. Up the ante even more with Exoskeleton, and you'll be dragging your enemies across the map with ease.
Other Summoner Spell Options:
Clarity: Great choice if you feel mana starved like I always do when I play Skarner. Very viable choice, but Manamune can solve it. Likewise, so can Nashor's Tooth. Still great to have in an emergency though...
Exhaust: Good counter measure to annoying Flash users. Helps you land your ult more easily, and makes your enemies' escape even more hopeless.
Ignite: Decent, but fairly ineffective here. It's good for whittling down enemies while you're in a drawn-out slugfest with an enemy Jax or someone, but otherwise not so useful.
Smite: Only if you're Jungling.
Pros / Cons
- Great Ganking Potential at any level after 6
- Early harrass and heals with Fracture
- Amazing attack speed and damage output mid and late game
- Decent defenses without sacrificing too much offense
- Can be very Aggressive mid-late game
- Can be tough to lane without a teammate
- Laning isn't as easy at really early levels (Player Dependent)
- Defenses aren't as efficient as other builds are (Due to health being your defense)
- May be forced to play defensive at early levels
I prefer going bot lane when I play Skarner, but Top is also plausible. Either way, I always find myself needing a teammate at early levels,especially if there's 2 enemies in one lane. Having someone there to back you up if you get into trouble is not only reassuring, but also wise.
Say,for instance, my lane partner is someone who can snare or stun an enemy. This sets me up to use Impale to drag them back to my teammate, as we proceed to burst them down. Likewise, I can Impale an enemy, drag them back to my teammate, who proceeds to snare or stun them, and we burst them down that way.
Whenever you can, ask if your teammates want you to gank. I usually try to gank mid, as it's the most efficient place, but you can gank top or bot as well. Plan on ganking at some point. If you see a 3v2 at top lane, don't hesitate to hide in the brush, and grab someone when the opportunity arises. Also, if you can afford it, help your team out by buying wards every now and again. Place them in normal ganking positions, both to help prevent enemy ganks, and improve your own.
If possible, try to turn the tide of battle in your team's favor. If someone is being chased, try to get over there, and Impale his or her chaser. This can make all the difference. Also, try to drag an enemy champion towards your turret for some extra damage. If they overextend, make them pay for their mistake.
If a teammate is in danger, and you cannot save them, don't try to. Even if they hate you for not helping them, it's better that you escape, rather than give your enemies 2 easy kills. You are fast and can get out of a bad situation with relative ease. Going back to my build for a moment, this is a scenario where Merc Treads are superior to Zerker's Greaves. If you can escape, do it.
I'm sure other builds have this too, but I find that this item set allows me to chase my enemies without fail. I can stick to them as intended thanks to constant slows from Crystal Slash, all while dealing out some pretty beastly damage. Even if they escape, they know you'll catch them sooner or later...
Not much else to say. I hope you enjoyed this build of mine. Please feel free to leave comments and constructive criticism. (Rudeness will not be tolerated) Good luck with you games, fellow Summoners. Hope to see you on the fields of justice !
"SKAR, SKAR, SKARNEEEEEER !"