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Skarner Build Guide by Maintained

Fear My Sting - Jungle Skarner [9.18]

By Maintained | Updated on September 12, 2019
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Skarner
    Predator Skarner
  • LoL Champion: Skarner
    Aftershock Skarner
  • LoL Champion: Skarner
    Juggernaut Skarner

Runes: Domination-Sorcery

1 2
Domination
Predator
Cheap Shot
Eyeball Collection
Relentless Hunter

Sorcery
Celerity
Waterwalking
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor

Spells:

LoL Summoner Spell: Chilling Smite

Chilling Smite

LoL Summoner Spell: Flash

Flash

LeagueSpy Logo
Jungle Role
Ranked #9 in
Jungle Role
Win 52%
Get More Stats

Ability Order E Max First

Threats & Synergies

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






Hello there! I'm Maintained, a veteran league and a passionate Skarner player. I've peaked Platinum I and I have a lot of Skarner games under my belt. I've also consulted with Diamond+ Skarner mains to make sure I deliver a guide that will serve you well. While there are many different opinions of what runes and items Skarner should build, but I recommend this most general build for newer Skarner builds. After you get the hang of Skarner's mechanics, you can then experiment with different setups.
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Skarner at his core is a juggernaut with high damage at the cost of relatively low mobility, with a lot of built in crowd control. He has very easy clears and powerful dueling while inside his Crystal Spires, or even outside his Crystal Spires as well after getting Trinity Force. He brings in powerful ganks with Predator and Impale and only gets stronger as the game goes in as he gets bulkier.

He also brings a lot of options for teamfights, serving either as a strong front-line tank initiator or as a peel machine for your carries. He's also great at catching targets out before a teamfight even happens. Skarner is a good pick when you need a beefy front line, an initiator, or even both.
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+ Strong Dueling Within Passive
+ Scales Well
+ Very Durable
+High Damage with Trinity Force
Strengths
Skarner has an easy time dueling other champions within Crystal Spires and very few champions can face him inside it. Once he gets his Trinity Force he doesn't even need his Crystal Spires to duel, and will be able to dish out tons of damage throughout the game as he gets tankier even as other bruisers start to fall off.

Weaknesses
You'll need at least 5100 gold on Skarner before you get your Trinity Force powerspike, and until then, you have to play around Crystal Spires if you want to duel people. Falling behind means delaying this powerspike, and you'll only fall off harder if you don't start building tank stats while the enemy team is getting ahead.
- Have To Play Around Passive
- Hard to Catch Up when Behind
- First Powerspike is Expensive
- Easy To Kite
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Did you ever hear the tragedy of Juggernaut Skarner? I thought not. It’s not a story Riot would tell you. Juggernaut (AD) Skarner works extremely well due to his high AD ratios. You sacrifice durability to be a mean lean fighting machine. With Juggernaut Skarner you have the potential to kill targets, especially squishy ones, before the duration of your stun from Fracture even runs out. Making you one of the strongest duelists in the game. The trade-off however is that it makes you a weaker teamfighter.

When should you pick Juggernaut Skarner over Tank Skarner?

As a rule of thumb, the Juggernaut play-style is better at dealing with melee targets, while the Tank play-style is better at dealing with ranged targets. If their team composition consists of 3 or more melee champs, you'll find Juggernaut Skarner to be most effective there, as you'll be more likely to be in your targets' faces to dish out your high damage. You can still do the Juggernaut playstyle into more ranged team compositions, but it would be less effective.

You'll find Tank Skarner to be more effective into team compositions consisting of 3 or more ranged targets. To begin with, Tank Skarner is able to absorb more poke, and since ranged targets tend to be less durable than melee targets, building more damage can become overkill. Tank Skarner is also better at forcing engages, which is favorable against ranged team compositions, especially if your team is not poke based either.


An essential on any and every jungler. Without Smite you lose buff and objective control. Sayonara Dragon and Baron . Without Smite you lose the buffs from the other camps which is actually a huge loss. Without it you can't even purchase jungle items. By now it should be pretty self explanatory.

Don't even try and play Skarner without Flash. It is the only get out of jail card you have if you ever find yourself in a sticky situation, you also won't be able to initiate team fights without it. You'll also fail your ganks twice as much without it. If I ever see you playing Skarner without flash I'm reporting you.
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Predator grants you a lot of pressure around the map along with Relentless Hunter. It also significantly improves your ganks and allows you to gank through wards as the enemy team won't be able react in time. Predator also allows you to initiate fights without the use of Righteous Glory. Take Predator over Aftershock if your game plan is to apply jungle pressure through lots of ganks.

Aftershock grants you a lot of tank stats along with Conditioning that give you stronger dueling. This results in stronger counter-jungling, counter-ganking, or skirmishing in general. Aftershock also becomes a significantly better option once you have Righteous Glory.







Predator is strong on quite a number of junglers. It allows you to apply lane pressure even while in your own jungle while it's off cooldown. It allows you to countergank even if you're not close enough. It allows you to gank through wards simply due to how fast you are. This keystone also allowed you to initiate fights with Impale without the need of Righteous Glory. Don't use Crystalline Exoskeleton while charging Predator or you will cancel it.

Hitting an enemy with Fracture followed by any source of damage or even just using Impale will proc the true damage. This will increase your initial burst even more. Since Sudden Impact does not work on Skarner, and Taste of Blood doesn't help with jungling or ganks, Cheap Shot is the superior option.

Not much to talk about in regards to Eyeball Collection, it's just a source of permanent attack damage. However, it doesn't give any stats at the start of the game, until you get some eyeballs collected.

Relentless Hunter is great for junglers. It allows you to more around the map faster, which means more ganks, less time spent running from camp to camp, and getting to key objectives faster. Unfortunately, its downside is that it isn't Ingenious Hunter.

The biggest reason for Ingenious Hunter is to reduce the cooldown for Predator. The more you can abuse Predator, the better. Your trinkets also get a lower cooldown, allowing for better vision control. If you are unable to consistently abuse Predator, it's better to stick to Relentless Hunter.


Since you get Boots of Speed at level 3, Celerity will take effect early on and help you get around the map faster. This is very significant for a jungler. Celerity will also increase the movement speed bonus from Predator, Crystalline Exoskeleton, and any other bonus movement-speed source. Celerity also has nice synergy with Relentless Hunter.

Although the movement speed and bonus stats only work in the river, there are many benefits to this. For starters, you are able to take scuttle faster. The stats also help you fight other junglers when contesting scuttle. You also get to enjoy the stats you get when contesting Dragon and Baron . The bonus movement speed is also really great to get in more ganks from the river.






Aftershock is a powerful anti-burst rune in a meta of upfront damage. It allows you to go head to head with even the strongest early game duelists as long as you're in your Crystal Spires. This keystone also does damage after your resistances wear off, give you both tankiness and damage all in one. Aftershock is also useful lategame as when you try to initiate a fight with Impale, the enemy team will through a massive wave of damage towards you, which Aftershock will mitigate.

Makes you bulkier whenever you use Crystalline Exoskeleton and allows you to do extra damage on your next auto attach each time you use it. This damage scales with health, which you build a lot of, and the shield amount that Crystalline Exoskeleton gives you, which also scales off of health. You also get to use Shield Bash more often when you get cooldown reduction.

Conditioning is always the best option for junglers investing into the Resolve tree. This is due to the lack of champion interaction junglers get as opposed to laners, as a result, it is unlikely that you feel the downside of not having Conditioning for the first ten minutes of the game. Conditioning also improve the resistances you get from Shield Bash and Aftershock.

Unflinching is also better on junglers than it is on laners. Due to the low cooldown on Smite, and the fact that you almost always open up a fight with smite, you'll be getting empowered bonus tenacity and slow resistances during each fight. Unflinching also makes Skarner's vulnerability to kiting less noticeable.
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Crystal Spires is an ability that you either love or you hate, no exceptions. As Skarner, you have to play around your Crystal Spires, especially before Trinity Force, as you're only half a champion until you get your Trinity Force powerspike. Even before you start jungling, you have to play around your Crystal Spires.

Your team's first objective when the game starts is to capture both river Crystal Spires. It's basically free gold and you get river control when you get around to doing Rift scuttler , although you may want to be careful if the enemy team has a stronger level 1 than your team does. If you can't get both river Crystal Spires, capture the one on the side that you plan on taking Rift scuttler .

By capturing the river Crystal Spires, the enemy jungler will have to spend a bit of time capturing them again. If they choose not to, you will have river control when contesting Rift scuttler . If they do capture it, their position will be revealed to you. This is what an enemy capturing your spires in the fog of war will look like:
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You can tell an enemy is on it ~3 seconds before they capture and the Crystal Spires will leave a 15 second residue to indicate when the enemy captured it. Pinpointing the enemy jungler's location helps you play around them, and maybe even counter jungle them. Speaking of counter jungling, capturing Crystal Spires is a great way to force junglers out of their own jungle. If their laners are unable to assist them, most junglers cannot fight you under your Crystal Spires.

You should know that capturing Crystal Spires reveals enemies in the surrounding area, but it doesn't reveal you, it only gives away your location. Use this to your advantage as such:
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Once the laning phase is over and games revolves around teamfights, fighting inside your Crystal Spires will become a rare occasion. This is fine for the most part, as Skarner can hold his own with Trinity Force, but fighting within Crystal Spires still gives you an advantage. Contesting Dragon and Baron are both good ways to force enemies to fight within your Crystal Spires.



Crystal Slash is an AoE skill with no base damage but high AD scaling. The cooldown gets lowered when you auto attack a champion. It is your consistent source of damage and its primary function is to proc Sheen frequently. Every Crystal Slash used right after the first one deals twice as much damage.

Q start or E start? - As far as I'm concerned, both starts give comparable results, however, E start is better for invades and counter-invades, so I recommend starting with Fracture if any level 1 interactions happen, otherwise, start with Crystal Slash.

Max Q last - Unless you're going AD Skarner, the AD scaling you get from maxing Q is negligible. Thus, the only function of this skill is to proc Sheen frequently.

  • When fighting camps with multiple monsters, position yourself between all the monsters to maximize your clear speed.
  • Time Crystal Slash with Sheen's cooldown, especially when taking towers, to maximize your damage.
  • You can use Crystal Slash during Impale. Use this to your advantage by getting the Sheen effect for your next auto once the duration of Impale runs out.
  • Your auto attacks work independent of Crystal Slash, and cannot be cancelled by it.



Crystalline Exoskeleton acts as both Skarner's main defensive ability and movement speed ability. It's good for dueling, it's good for chasing, it's good for engaging, and it's even good for running away.

Max W second - As we mentioned earlier, maxing Crystal Slash isn't going to increase your damage in a meaningful way. Maxing Crystalline Exoskeleton second increases your tankiness, increases the movement=speed bonus, and reduces its cooldown, significantly increasing your ability to stick to targets. As we all know, you can't do damage if you're not in range for your targets.




Fracture is skill shot you do not want to miss. It has good base damage, it slows and then stuns, and then gives you all the steroids you would get from Crystal Spires for at least 1.25 seconds, and then you can reduce the cooldown by hitting Fractured targets.

Max E first - Maxing E first increases your damage, and reduces its cooldown and gives stronger slows, which means more stuns, more steroids, and more sticking power. You get almost the same dps as you do maxing Crystal Slash plus the benefits on crowd control.

  • Avoid using Fracture between minion waves to hit a champion unless you have to. The projectile speed decreases significantly for each target it hits.
  • You can increase the duration of the steroid you get from Fracture by hitting multiple Fractured targets.
  • Impale reduces the cooldown of Fracture.
  • Using the Fracture into Flash auto combo gives less time for enemies to react as opposed to using the Flash into Fracture auto combo. An example of such a combo is shown below:



Impale is Skarner's main initiation tool, and it's a point-and-click supression. It has the weakness of being low ranged, which is why you'll want Predator or Righteous Glory to be able to initiate with this. The suppression will drag your targets wherever you go for the duration.

  • You can Impale targets who are behind a wall, if they're in range.




Start with Hunter's Talisman if you're taking the Predator route. While Hunter's Machete allows Skarner to clear single target camps a lot faster due to the attack speed boost from Crystal Spires, you still need to start with Hunter's Talisman is order to be able to clear Crimson Raptor and Krugs .
Start with Hunter's Machete if you're taking the Aftershock route. While Hunter's Machete allows Skarner to clear single target camps a lot faster and sustain better due to the attack speed boost from Crystal Spires, you'll be level 3 before you clear Crimson Raptor and Krugs , and by then, you can easily clear them without Hunter's Talisman if done right.
You don't need to start 3x Health Potion as you don't need that much sustain for your first jungle clear. It's also way cheaper than having to buy more Health Potions each time you use them.
Start with this totem. You'll generally want to use your wards to pinpoint where the enemy jungler is, so ward your jungle if you feel you're going to get invaded, ward your lanes if the enemy jungler has strong early game ganks, or ward their jungle whenever possible if the enemy jungler is generally an early game farming jungler. Switch this trinket to Oracle Lens before 20 minutes.



Stalker's Blade is a must have 95% of the time. It gives you the extra chasing power that Skarner desperately needs, whether it is to get in range for Impale, or just to slow down the targets so that Fracture is easier to hit. Keep in mind that using Chilling Smite while Predator is active will consume Predator. You may consider Skirmisher's Sabre if the enemy team consists of 4 or 5 melee duelists.



The cheapest and most cost effective source of armor you're going to be getting, and it's rather effective against auto attack heavy champions. It'll also be the only item that gives you armor for a while. You're going to want to upgrade your boots after getting Trinity Force. If you're falling behind and are going for Iceborn Gauntlet, you can upgrade your boots right after Sheen. Get this item over Mercury's Treads if they have a mix of 3 or more physical damage based and auto attack based champions.
Like Ninja Tabi, this item is a cheap and cost effective source of magic resistance and tenacity. It's also the only item that gives permanent tenacity. Get this item over Ninja Tabi if their team is heavy on crowd control or magic damage.
This item is really niche and you'll almost never build it, but you may have to when they have an overabundance of consistent slows. The only time I ever had to build it was when the enemy team has 2 Glacial Augments, and both of them had both Twin Shadows and Hextech GLP-800. They also had a Braum, and a Frozen Mallet Urgot. Don't believe me? Look for yourself. Yes, it's on a different champion but you get the point.



Get this item after Trinity Force for the cheap and cost effective stats it gives. Stalker's Blade - Warrior is a good item if you're playing AD Skarner, but this guide is focused more on a tank oriented setup. Besides, Trinity Force alone already gives you the damage you need to take out their priority targets, and if you're behind and going for Iceborn Gauntlet, you definitely could not justify going for Stalker's Blade - Warrior.
This is a really strong item on Skarner, the movement speed from Phage will help you stick to targets, the Sheen effect can be spammed due to Crystal Slash's low cooldown, and increase in dps thanks to Stinger. You'll want this item over Iceborn Gauntlet if you're ahead or even, as due to its high price, if you start falling behind you can't justify holding back on tank stats.
Budget Trinity Force with tank stats. You still get the Sheen effect, get a slow instead of a movement speed bonus, and you get to keep the cooldown reduction, but you lose out on a lot of damage in exchange for tankiness. Take this item over Trinity Force if you're falling behind.
This is only a core item if you're not going Predator. You'll need this item as your primary initiation tool to be able to Impale a mispositioned target. This item also gives really good stats so you're not gimping yourself in terms of stats by going with this item.



If you're going Predator, this will be your armor item as opposed to Righteous Glory. Dead Man's Plate is heavy on both armor and health, but why would you take this over other armor items? Its passive gives you huge roaming potential, which is ideal for going after objectives or catching people out. It also helps you burst down their carries. Build this first over Adaptive Helm if their team is heavier on physical damage than magic damage.
Your standard tank magic resistance item. There isn't much to say about this item. You can't utilize Spirit Visage as you have no built in healing, and Abyssal Mask costs slightly more. This item becomes really efficient against mages that spam the same abilities or have a lot of DoTs. Build this first over Dead Man's Plate if their team is heavier on magic damage than physical damage.
Build this item alongside Adaptive Helm if their entire team is magic damage based, or instead of Adaptive Helm if your team has a lot of magic damage. Each target you stick to will be exposed to more magic damage. It will also help your mages burst down targets you catch out with Impale as they will be inside the aura. You also get a bit of healing each time you cast a spell.
Build this item alongside Dead Man's Plate if their entire team is physical damage based, or instead of Dead Man's Plate if they're mostly auto attack based, but without much critical strikes. You may also need this item for the healing reduction if they have someone with oppressive healing like a Dr. Mundo. The healing reduction works on lifesteal as well.
Build this item alongside Dead Man's Plate if their entire team is physical damage based, or instead of Dead Man's Plate if they're mostly auto attack based with a lot of critical strikes. This item also has an active slow, which is nice.
Build this item if their team composition is based on poke. If you get poked too hard you could simply stand back and fully heal after a few seconds, rather than needing to recall.
Build this item last. At this point of the game, carries control the game and they will melt through tanks. In teamfights, the first team to lose their frontline will almost definitely lose the teamfight, followed by losing the game. Gargoyle Stoneplate will help you outlast their frontline with its high resistances and active.



If you have a carry that's doing well, you can build this item to help them out. Knight's Vow will help prevent them from getting bursted down and in return they will help heal you as they do damage. Build this item over Zeke's Convergence if your carry is vulnerable and the enemy team can dive them in teamfights.
If you have a carry that's doing well, you can build this item to help them out. Zeke's Convergence will help your carry do more damage to the enemy team, and it will help you stick to your targets as you get an aura that slows enemies around you after you use Impale. Enemies being slowed by you with Zeke's Convergence will take more damage if they get attacked by your carry. This will help burst down targets that you Impale. Build this item over Knight's Vow can dish out damage without much risk of being dived on by the enemy team.


There is no jungle path route that is set in stone, as no game is the same. The mark of a good jungler is their ability to adapt and react on the spot in reaction to how the game is going. Sometimes you're going to get invaded, and sometimes you're going to get counterjungled. While it is impossible to cover all the scenarios, this guide will cover the majority of situations you need to know in order to succeed.



Clearing camps is easy with Skarner for the most part, Crystal Spires practically do all the work for you. For single target camps, just mash your face on the keyboard. For multitarget camps, hit as many targets as you could with Fracture and hit each of them with your empowered auto attack to reduce Fracture's cooldown, all the while spamming Crystal Slash and Crystalline Exoskeleton.

This is especially useful for when you want counter-jungle enemy camps without making the enemy jungler aware of your position by taking the Crystal Spires. Doing so will make your Crystal Slash and Fracture get off cooldown faster, and will also give you an attack-speed steroid as long as you keep hitting targets afflicted with crystal venom. Unfortunately, this does not work well with single target camps for obvious reasons.



Note that when camps have low enough health, you can move on to the other camp and let them die to the DoT from either your Red Brambleback buff or Hunter's Talisman as shown in the clip above. This can save you a lot of time in the long run. Note that Hunter's Talisman's DoT will not execute Red Brambleback or Blue Sentinel , but the Red Brambleback buff can.

When moving towards a camp, use Crystalline Exoskeleton before you get to the camp. Apart from the obvious movement speed bonus when moving while using it, this trick is useful for getting your Crystalline Exoskeleton off cooldown sooner to absorb more damage, while still absorbing the full blow with your initial shield.

Another tip related to Gromp and Crimson Raptor . While they are not traditionally within range of Crystal Spires, you can attack them while being within it yourself. There are no jungle camps that are not in range of Crystal Spires.






Before you even start jungling, the most important thing you need to do is keep an eye out for invades. Once the camps spawn, it's time to start jungling. Your laners can help you leash Red Brambleback for a faster clear, then move your way to Crimson Raptor followed by Ancient Krug .


If you choose not to get a leash, start with Crimson Raptor instead, for an easy level 2, them move your way onto Red Brambleback followed by Ancient Krug . Keep in mind to use the Fracture trick to increase your clear speed. There are a few advantages of starting without a leash. Firstly, by letting your laners get to their lane with the minions, they can start applying lane pressure sooner, which gives them the upper hand. Secondly, by not arriving late to their lane, your starting location can remain ambiguous, although more experienced junglers would have an educated guess on where you're starting. On that note, having your blue-side side laners arrive to lane a few seconds later would trick your opponents into thinking you started at Blue Sentinel .

Once you're done with Ancient Krug , recall to buy boots. This is important as having Predator this early can allow you and your lanes to snowball that much sooner. You will also be able to afford a Control Ward so make sure you buy them. Vision wins games.

Next, make your way to Blue Sentinel and clear it. Take a look at your mid and side lanes for a ganking opportunity (more details on that later in the guide) while taking Rift Scuttler . If there isn't any, or after your gank, make your way to Gromp , then follow it up with Greater Murk Wolf . Apart from having Predator early on, the beauty of this route is its farming efficiency. Once you're done with Greater Murk Wolf , your red-side camps would have spawned and you can continue farming.





Similar to the Predator route, you'll want to keep an eye out for invades. Note that you can use this clear for any other non- Predator keystone as well.

If you're blue side, start jungling by getting a leash for Red Brambleback then move your way to Ancient Krug . Note that you do not need to clear the full Ancient Krug camp. Clearing only the first two units are fine in your first clear, as the camp gives 30% reduces exp on your first clear, and fully clearing it would take too long.Follow it up by clearing Greater Murk Wolf , followed by Blue Sentinel , and then Gromp .

You should be level 3 by now. Move move your way to Rift scuttler . There is a possibility that the enemy jungler may show up and try to take Rift scuttler as well, although you should have arrived before Rift scuttler , so you have the time to analyze the situation and ward around the area. Start by checking which of your lanes have priority, once you've done that, push the scuttle towards that lane. If the enemy jungler tries to contest Rift scuttler , your laner should be there to assist you. If none of your laners have priority, try and take Rift scuttler before the enemy jungler shows up. If you try and fight him for it the enemy laners will collapse on you.

Afterwards, look to gank either side lane or mid lane. If you gank a side lane, consider recalling after the gank and make your way to Gromp for your second clear. If you gank mid lane, consider taking the other Rift scuttler as well, if it's still up, then make your way to Gromp .

If you're red side, your path should look similar but in reverse, in a sense. Refer to the graphics to get a better idea of the jungle path.



Getting counterjungled is often unavoidable as a jungler. It can be difficult to deal with unless you play it well. In order to play properly, you need adequate warding. This includes buying Control Wards.



The highlighted sections in the image above shows the most common placements for junglers and laners. This makes it unlikely for you to get counterjungled without knowing where the enemy jungler is coming from. Placing Control Wards in the indicated locations will give you vision of the enemy jungler getting into your jungle. Now is the time to start considering your options.

If you are on the opposite side of the map, consider vertical jungling. Their jungler won't be there to stop you after all, but what if you're on the same side of the map and their jungler is heading towards you? Consider this:
  1. Can you fight them head on?
  2. Can your laners assist you?
If you answered yes to the first question, then just relax and take it easy and enjoy your free kill. Either that or they're going to flash away. Make sure their laner doesn't follow up while yours keeps on farming because things could go south real quick. Keep in mind that very few junglers can fight Skarner head on inside his Crystal Spires, don't let them take it if you plan on fighting them otherwise the answer will turn to no as soon as it turns red.

If you answered no to the first question, ping your lanes for help. Sometimes, they won't be able to, but if they can, wait for them to be in proximity before charging onto the enemy jungler as you don't want to die because they get there.

If you answered no to both questions, then you may have to give up some of your jungle camps unfortunately. It's important that you don't try to risk your life against a hard match-up just for a few camps. You'll only set yourself behind even more while they enemy jungler gets ahead.


Tracking the enemy jungler is not an easy task, but it's one that the best junglers need to be able to do. Jungle tracking will not only allow you to inform your lanes of their jungler's whereabouts to prevent from getting ganked, but you can also use this knowledge to turn an enemy gank into an advantageous situation by counterganking or getting objectives.

Predicting The Initial Route


Some champions can have their jungle routes predicted before the game even stats. Xin Zhao and Twitch are good examples of this. You can assume with high confidence that both those junglers will start with Red Brambleback and immediately get a gank in afterwards, either at the closest side lane, or mid lane. While Skarner will be in no position to countergank, just knowing this information is enough to prevent such an event from happening by notifying your team. The simple act of preventing them from getting a level 2 gank off already puts them at a disadvantage compared to you, as their strong level 2 ganks are they only things they had going for them.

The majority of junglers, however, don't have a starting path that's set in stone. Those junglers are happy starting either Red Brambleback or Blue Sentinel . You can predict where their jungler started based on which of the side lanes came to lane late. For example, if the enemy bot lane on the red team came to lane late, but their top laner was in lane as soon as the minions arrived, it is most likely that their jungler started with Blue sentinel , and will be at the top side of the map soon after. If both side lanes arrive late, take a look at their health and mana, sometimes laners use their mana or take damage to help leash the jungler. Let us assume we figured out that their jungler started with Blue Sentinel . This means three things, the first being that your bot lane is at a low risk of getting ganked for the moment, the second being that your top lane is at a high risk of getting ganked, depending on how far in their wave is pushed, and the third being that the opposing jungler will contest Scuttle . Their jungler is now likely to do 1 of 3 things:

1) Clear four camps and then gank top/mid
2) Clear five camps and then gank top/mid
3) Clear five camps, do Scuttle and then gank top/mid

If the enemy jungler chose to do the first option, there's unfortunately not much you can do unless you're doing the same thing. You can let your laner know that he's in danger of ganks so that he can respond accordingly.

If the enemy jungler chose to do the second option, you can counter it by sparing a ward into either the top lane tri-bush or into the river pixel bush, depending on where you think their jungler will gank. You can then go for gank yourself if you see an opportunity, or go for Scuttle . If your wards spot the enemy jungler going for a gank, get off the Scuttle and go for the countergank. If he doesn't go for the gank, kill them at Scuttle , then look to take their jungle camps. You can determine which jungle camps they have up by looking at their CS count, which I will talk about later in this chapter.

Keep in mind that this is a specific scenario and it's mostly an example of how you should think, rather than being the tracking bible. It assumes you did the standard Conqueror route I talked about in the previous chapter, and that the enemy jungler started their bot side jungle camp as well. You can apply this same tactic as long as you mirror the opposing jungler's starting buff.

Then there's junglers like Zac, who can't contest scuttle or gank well before level 4 that they have to clear all 6 of their camps before showing on the map.

Reading The Enemy


Reading the enemy is another valuable way to track them. Reading the enemy includes reading their cs, their health bar, the buffs they have and the duration left on it, and just looking at the champion they're playing.

While reading the enemy jungler's cs gets less effective over time, it's especially effective to read during the first clear. One thing to keep in mind is that each jungle camp gives 4 cs. So if you find the enemy jungler with double buffs and 12 cs, they only cleared one camp outside of Blue Sentinel and Red Brambleback . With this knowledge, you can invade their jungle and expect to find at least 1 camp up for you to take regardless of which side of the jungle you enter.

If the enemy has 16 cs with double buffs, there is a chance they cleared all the camps at one side of the jungle, so you wouldn't want to waste your time invading only to get nothing out of it. This is where knowing the enemy jungler will come in handy. For example, a Warwick that started at Blue Sentinel will have cleared Greater Murk Wolf and Gromp , since Warwick is more comfortable with clearing single target camps. He then clears Red Brambleback before going for a gank. You can now invade his red side camps knowing they're up. Even if you choose not to invade, you know that Warwick will now spend time on the red side of the map after his gank to clear his camps, leaving the other side of the map free of enemy jungle pressure.

Even if you haven't figured out which camp the enemy jungler started in the first two minutes of the game, there is a surefire way of telling once you see the enemy jungler. Buff duration is the key, if the enemy has double buffs, take a look a look at which buff expires first is sure to tell you which buff they started with.

By inspecting Lee Sin, we determined that he started Blue Sentinel before Red Brambleback . We also determined that he cleared 2 camps between Blue Sentinel and Red Brambleback , based on the time difference between Blue Sentinel before Red Brambleback , and knowing that Lee Sin clears single target camps better with Hunter's Machete, we know that the additional two camps he cleared were Greater Murk Wolf and Gromp .

That's not all we can gather from buff duration. We can also determine almost exactly when the buffs will spawn, give or take a few seconds, using a bit of math and knowledge. Looking at the screenshot above, we see that Lee Sin's blue buff has around 25% of its duration left. What we need to know is that blue and red buff last for 120 seconds, and respawn 300 seconds (or 5 minutes) after they are killed. With this information, we know that he has around 30 seconds left on his blue buff, and that he killed it 90 seconds ago, which means his Blue Sentinel will spawn in roughly 210 seconds, or 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

Another thing we can consider is the opponent's health-bar. In theory, you can determine if the opponent used a Smite or two during his first clear, but there's too many unknown variables that make it difficult to predict correctly. However, we can still use their health-bar to our advantage. If the opponent ends up with low health, after getting a gank in for example, you can expect them to be off the map for the next 30 to 45 seconds. Keep in mind this does not apply to all junglers. Warwick, for example, can sustain from a jungle camp back to a healthy state pretty easily.

Using Plants To Your Advantage


Now that we're masters in tracking the enemy jungler's first clear, it's time we used some new tools to track their subsequent clears. While some people may neglect plants, or treat them as an afterthought, they are pretty effective at tracking the enemy jungler. Most notably, Scryer's Boom will be the most useful plant for the job.

Scryer's Boom grants a cone shaped vision of the map based on the direction it is it. If you're not using it to detect and clear wards, using it for tracking is the next best thing. To do so, you'll want the Scryer's Boom to be hit in such a direction that it grants you vision of the enemy jungler's camp. The best case scenario is when the plant reveals the enemy jungler. However, that doesn't always happen. There are two more scenarios, either the Scryer's Boom reveals a cleared camp, or a camp that's still up. If the jungle camp is up, it could indicate that the jungler could be there soon and apply jungle pressure on that side of the map. If the jungle camp is cleared, then the enemy jungler might be applying pressure on the other side of the map. That might not always be the case, so it is up to your own intuition. Keep in mind that using the Scryer's Boom will give away your location, and likewise, if the enemy uses a Scryer's Boom, their location will be revealed as well.

How else can plants help out with tracking you ask? Debris.

Scryer's Bloom Debris
Blast Cone Debris
Honeyfruit Debris

When a plant is used, a debris is left behind for 30 seconds. If you've been keeping an eye out on the enemy laners, you can tell whether or not that plant has been used by enemy jungler. That's how you know that the enemy jungler has been around that area recently in the past 30 seconds.

Wards


By now we've all expected to see this section here. Wards are a guarantee when guessing just won't cut it. Some teams choose to invade and ward buffs at level in order to know where the enemy jungler is starting. However, with what we've learned so far, we can use our wards for other purposes. That's during the first clear. Using your wards in the enemy jungle for subsequent clears is a foolproof way to track the enemy jungle, as your eye don't lie. Here are some optimal warding locations to track the enemy jungler.



Ward in those locations when you're near the area, after taking Scuttle for example. It's not just your wards that can help with tracking. The enemy jungler's wards can help you with tracking as well. You'll want to try and learn which ward skin the enemy jungler is using to make the process easier. When scouting for wards, check their duration, if they're the enemy jungler's wards, they can tell you when the enemy jungler was last here. It's similar to plant debris, but more reliable.


Now that we have talked about farming, let's talk about the more important duties of a jungler. Ganking and getting objectives are the staple of this role. This means that being a successful jungler is heavily reliant on your macro. Let's start with the simpler of the two; ganks. What does a typical Skarner gank look like?

Before you're level 6, you'll want to use Predator and Crystalline Exoskeleton to rush towards the lane you're ganking with the movement speed bonus. Once you're in a good spot, throw out your Fracture and stun them. Try not to throw it out immediately, in case they prematurely use their mobility skills or Flash. Then, keep hitting them with your auto attacks while spamming Crystal Slash until they're dead.

After level 6, you'll still use Predator and Crystalline Exoskeleton, but this time you'll open up with Impale instead of Fracture. This is important as opening up with Fracture will consume Predator and slow you down. If you're ganking without Predator, open up with Fracture, followed by Impale then hit them with an auto attack for the stun. After that it's business as usual.

How do we determine which lanes are gankable? Let's go through some rules that you should learn to successfully gank;


1) Is It Warded?

This is more of a metaphorical question. More often than not, it will be warded, but where? Your laners can often determine where their opponents warded based on where they went for a split second. When someone walks to river and comes back just as quickly, chances are they warded within that vicinity. Control Wards from your team can help reduce this ambiguity.

Now that you have a rough estimation of where their wards are, keep in mind that with Predator and Crystalline Exoskeleton, you can gank through wards with the enemy team having little time to react in between.

Since Skarner cannot jump over walls, use blast cones to strategically unlock a gank parth you wouldn't be able to do otherwise.


2) Are They Overextended?

Firstly, let's talk about what overextending is. The further the enemy is from safety, the more overextended they are. During the laning phase, the towers are considered your safety zone. If the enemy is close to it, they are considered safe for the most part.



Keep an eye out on your mini-map at all times. If you see an enemy close enough to your towers, that is a sign of overextending. You'll almost always want to gank an overextended enemy if given the chance, as failing such a gank is pretty low. You're almost guaranteed getting a kill unless they have Flash. There are exceptions, however, if there is a huge wave pushing in against your laner, then dominant laners such as Renekton can use it against you and get a doublekill. Some laners don't even need their minions, such as post-6 Illaoi. Keep in mind that the overextended chart does not apply to all champions. Pyke for example is considered safe even in the yellow zone.


3a) Is Their Flash Up?

Although the enemy having their Flash up should not be a deterrent, keep in mind that Flash can make it difficult for Skarner to get a kill before level 6, and you may have to use your Flash to do so. If you make the enemy Flash when you gank, that is considered a successful gank.

If an opponent does flash, keep track of when it will be up again, and use this opportunity to get another gank in before then. Ideally, your team will also be tracking their opposing laners' Flashes as well, and letting you know. Once you hit level 6 and get Impale, you can kill opponents even if they have flash up, as you could still catch up to them with Predator and Crystalline Exoskeleton, and pull them back to your ally with Impale.


3b) What Other Forms Of Mobility Do They Have?

Not all laners are as easy to gank as others. A Varus, for example, is significantly easier to gank than a Tristana, but even she is easy to gank if you keep in mind that a well-timed Impale can negate her Rocket Jump. In that case, don't instantly Impale them. Instead, either predict, or if you have the reaction time to not need to predict, when she's going to use Rocket Jump and Impale her at the same time. Impale should pull her back to you. Other champs like Ezreal have uninterruptible mobility, and trying to Impale them during Arcane Shift will cancel your Impale(?), although that might just be a bug.

4) Do They Have Hard CC?

A well landed hard crowd control skill can completely nullify your ganks. However, the game has transitioned away from point and click crowd control abilities to skillshots. This works in our favor as Skarner's high movement speed allows easy dodging of unwanted crowd control. Alternatively, if you can't walk around incoming crowd control skillshots, you can Flash over them if you need to.

Hard control like Lux' Light Binding can completely nullify a gank if you get hit by it, as by the time the crowd control runes out, she will be under her tower. Your best bet is to simply avoid it, or if you can't, Flash over it.

Some hard crowd control abilities are worth getting hit by in order to stop an opponent from escaping. Such examples include Galio's Justice Punch, Sejuani's Arctic Assault, and Sion's Unstoppable Onslaught. Body blocking this crowd control stops them from escaping using this skill and stops them dead in their tracks. You can body block their skills simply by staying in the path of their escape route. Note that you want to body block those skills if they're trying to escape. If they're trying to engage on you, you best be avoiding those.


5) What Objectives Can You Get Out Of A Successful Gank?

You just completed a successful gank. Congratulations. If you walk right back into your jungle and continue farming, you could be making a mistake. Look at what objectives are on the map. Got a double kill bot lane? Sounds like an easy Dragon . Speaking of, Dragon is a better objective to get than Tower Plating Gold, so if you had to prioritize, go for Dragon . Got a kill top lane or forced them to recall? Push the wave in and get some Tower Plating gold. You get even more ahead while the opponent loses minion gold to the tower. Note that there is no rule of thumb for which objectives to get and when. This comes down to your intuition.
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Sometimes getting Dragon and Baron isn't always as easy as getting a double kill bot lane. Sometimes it's an Infernal Drake and you need to contest it. There are some things you need to prioritize over others to maximize. Baron has more priorities than Dragon , so we'll start with talking about Dragon first.




The top priorities for Dragon are:
  1. Do you have vision control around Dragon ?
  2. Do you have a Control Ward for Dragon ?
  3. Do you have Smite up?
  4. Are you able to fight head-to-head with the opposing team and come out ahead?
If you answered yes to all these questions, you're almost guaranteed the Dragon , although things can always go wrong. If you're on the red-side team, pull Dragon out of the pit to have more control over it and to avoid a sneaky enemy jungler from jumping in and instantly taking it from you with his Smite. If the enemy jungler is not in a position to contest Dragon , then a Control Ward is not required.



Rift Herald is a lower priority than Dragon due to its lower net gain. On average, Rift Herald only nets you a tower and a bit of damage on another tower. Rarely more, and sometimes less. However, Rift Herald also drops Eye of the Herald which gives whoever picked it up an empowered recall, which isn't usually game-changing, but its nice.

The rule of thumb to who would get Eye of the Herald is; if you have a split-pushing top lane who is winning his lane, it's in his interest to have it. Otherwise, the jungler should be taking it as his access to other lanes allows for the best use of Rift Herald when the opportunity arises. A good opportunity to use her is when you want to make a push with little to no contesting from the enemy team. You'll ideally want to get at least a tower and a half with Rift Herald . Any more is a bonus, any less is a unfortunate.

You can also use Rift Herald to draw pressure on another side of the map. For example, if you use her top lane, the enemy team will have to go top lane to deal with it. This means that the bottom half of the map will be less pressured if they go top lane, and you have an objective you want to take there. Even if they don't go after Rift Herald , that means you're guaranteed free damage onto turrets.



Now let's talk about Baron . It's so easy to mess it up, even the pros do it. It's very easy to completely throw a game due to Baron that its bound to happen to you eventually, but what makes baron so special that its worth risking the game for? For teams that are ahead, you may need to push towers but either the enemy team has strong wave clear, or your team lacks the ability to siege towers for whatever reason. Hand of Baron helps counteract as it empowers your minions. For teams that are behind, Baron may be the only chance they have to be able to get back into an even playing field. There are a number of scenarios you want to be looking out for that give you the edge at contesting baron and how you can avoid them from happening to you:

1) You have Super Minion s pushing their base.
With Super Minion s pushing into their base, if the enemy time tries to contest baron, they risk losing their Nexus Turrets.

How to avoid:
Pushing the minion waves far out means Super Minion s could take a while before getting to your turrets. They're pretty slow, just not at taking out turrets.


2) Your solo laner has Teleport, they don't.
Assuming your solo laner can hold their own in a 1 on 1 scenario, have them push bot side. They will have to send their own solo laner to deal with him, effectively making it a 5v4 when your solo laner Teleports in. If they send more than one person to deal with him. Just rush Baron before they are able to get there in time. Make sure you're in position to do Baron when that happens otherwise his death would be in vain.

How to avoid:
Have a solo laner with teleport, otherwise, try to have your solo laner be able to kill him with summoner spell advantage or stop him from Teleporting in.


3) Their jungler is bot side.
If you rush Baron , they have no smite to try and steal it, and they have to try and fight you in a 5v4 over it. Baron is yours if you play your cards right.

How to avoid:
Don't go bot lane when Baron is up if you think they have even have slim chance of doing it.


4) Their entire team is heading towards Dragon
If your team has the DPS, and they're in position to do so, rush Baron No one is there to stop you.

How to avoid:
Don't prioritize Dragon over Baron


5) One of their teammates got caught out and died.
It's a 5v4 and Baron pressure is in your favor.

How to avoid:
¯\_(ツ)_/¯



Sometimes, Baron pressure isn't all about taking Baron , but also about the mind games. There are multiple tactics involved around Baron . It's likely that you've seen them before and you're wondering how to execute them sufficiently.


The concept and execution of this one is simple - your team needs to have enough DPS to do Baron before the enemy team can get there. Bonus points if you have Mountain Drake . Ideally, you'll also have a beefy teammate soaking up Baron damage in case you had to fight afterwards. Not even Hand of Baron will win you a teamfight if your entire team is sitting at half health.

While this tactic does not require sufficient warding, it is welcome. However, if you find their team in no position to contest Baron , if they were all stuck at base dealing with Super Minion s for example, waste no time getting there. You can ward on your way there, or around Baron while fighting it, but do not waste time going out of your way. Have your support ward around instead. The faster you kill Baron the less likely they are to get to your team in time to fight.

It is recommended to have a Control Ward in the Baron pit as it can reduce the chances of Baron being stolen if someone on their team manages to get there in time. Especially if that someone has Smite.

The clip above shows us clearing enemy vision around baron . When we realized we could clear Baron before the enemy team could try and fight us for it. We cleared it as quickly as we could.




Your team is ahead, but they're hiding under their towers and you can't siege it. This tactic is not about taking Baron , but about using it to get the enemy team away from their comfort zone and to fight you away from their towers. You'll want good vision control. Now it's about mind games. You'll want a Control Ward in the Baron pit, and you'll want a Oracle Lens to deny their vision around Baron while you expand yours. You're starting Baron and the enemy team wants a piece of the pie. The lack of vision will get the enemy team closer and closer as they try to get vision on Baron , until they get close enough and hit the bear trap. When they're close enough to your team, force an engage on them. Since you're ahead, that teamfight should be yours to win.

So what can go wrong with this tactic? You need everyone on the same page, if an engage happens and some of your team keeps on attacking Baron rather than following up on the engage, you may lose the teamfight even if you have the advantage.





You'll want your team to be ahead for this tactic as well. This tactic is the hardest to execute as it requires near perfect vision control. It only takes one well placed enemy ward to foil your plans. To execute this tactic not only will you want to deny vision in and around baron . You won't actually be this time. Instead, you hide in a bush. The enemy will try to get close in order to ward baron. As they approach the bush, force an engage on them and win the teamfight. Sound familiar? It is similar to the previous tactic. Although it is harder to execute, it is less risky and you won't be fighting Baron .




Notice that when you're ahead, it's safer to bait a fight than to try and finish the baron. if the enemy jungler manages to get a Smite steal in, you can lose the lead you had on them. This is due to the Risk versus Reward nature of Baron . If you take it when ahead, you're still ahead. However, if the enemy jungler manages to get a Smite steal in, you can lose the lead you had on them.


No two teamfights play the same, especially not for Skarner. What your objective in teamfights will be depends on the scenario you're in and your team composition. Your role could be to catch someone who is out of position, so that you win the teamfights before they even start. You could also choose to be the team's frontline and initiator, and if that's not your cup of tea, you could also peel for your carries instead.



Reacting to a mispositioned enemy requires quick thinking and quicker reacting, as the opportunity could be lost just as quickly. You see a target alone for easy picking, but where's the rest of his team? Did they show on the other side of the map just a few seconds ago? If there aren't any wards around, and you have no clue where the rest of his team could be, you could be falling for a trap, and will get collapsed on if you try and go for him. If you have an idea on where the rest of his team is, use Predator/ Righteous Glory and Impale the mispositioned soul into your team. It is now a 4v5 and the map control is yours.





A teamfight doesn't always start when you want it to. Your priority is to have a clean teamfight, and that requires patience. You are now in a stage of pre-teamfights. Both teams lingering around throwing poke until one person steps in a little too close and gets initiated on. Skarner isn't very vulnerable to poke thanks to his Crystalline Exoskeleton, you can absorb some of their poke. You'll also want to make sure you're at the front, so projectiles don't hit your vulnerable team. Block as much as you can with Crystalline Exoskeleton, but don't block projectiles that are not going to hit your allies. You also have the privilege of Warmog's Armor if their team-comp is based on poke. You'll also want to make sure priority ultimates don't get through you, such as Ashe's Enchanted Crystal Arrow, or Kled's Chaaaaaaaarge!!!

If a priority target steps out of position, there's no better time to initiate, use Predator/ Righteous Glory and.. well, you've already heard of this part before. If you pull it off, the team fight should be in your favor. Avoid Impaleing their tanks unless their team is in no position to help them.

If you get engaged on, Fracture as much of their frontline as you can and then stun whoever you Fracture, try to save your Impale for targets who try to get past you and dive on your backline, as long as you don't die without using Impale at all.




An unusual tactic Skarner ends up using, but still a good option. You can play the role of peel if your team has another frontline to hold his own, the enemy team has divers, and your carries are performing well. This tactic has you starting off as the secondary frontliner. As the secondary frontliner, you don't want to be in front of the primary frontliner, as if you get initiated on, you won't be able to assist your backline. When the divers start diving, you move back to your carries and Impale or Fracture the opposing divers off of your carries. Should the job be successful, rejoin the frontline and get the job done.
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Thank you for checking out my guide. Feel free to ask me if you have any questions, and if you have any feedback, feel free to share those as well. Hopefully this guide has taught you how to become a better Skarner, and more importantly, a better jungler.

I would also like to give a special thanks to those who helped make this guide what it is. Please give a round of applause to:
  • Jovy for the header, banner, graphics, formatting, basically everything that's colorful in this guide was made by her, and I couldn't thank her enough for it.
  • PsiGuard for giving me guide advice.
League of Legends Build Guide Author Maintained
Maintained Skarner Guide
Fear My Sting - Jungle Skarner [9.18]