Skarner Build Guide by metalhydra273
Grandmaster Skarner Guide for Season 11, My WayBy metalhydra273 | Updated on April 30, 2021
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Runes: Predator Style
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+15-90 HP (lvls 1-18)
Ability Order Ability Order
Threats & Synergies
Even when not meta, Olaf is the hardest counter to Skarner directly by far. His ult and the threat of it mitigats anything you have to offer and he stomps you 1v1. If you face him hope you have a team that can deal with him as he falls off late. If you manage to wait out his ult or if he wastes it, he should have a hard time if you pick him off with your own ult, but you're usually better off just searching for other targets unless it's a prime situation and you know it's down. Watch out for possible invades throughout the game, and try to keep him from getting the early need he wants to 1v9 the game.
New from jungle buffs: Look at her kit. She might even be a harder counter than Olaf since she doesn't need an ult to completely invalidate you if she plays her cards right. She has 2 types of snares to force you away or lock you down, and then black shield is black shield. Her clear speed has been buffed immensely to make her a viable jungler, giving her an advantage in momentum, and as a matchup rating she very well may be up there with Olaf. Nevertheless she has her issues, namely facetank dueling. If you can get around her abilities and wait out/break her black shield, she's a sitting duck and you should be able to get her killed easily, unlike Olaf who isn't scared of you outside of ult. She has counterplay so utilize it well, or you're going to have a bad time.
Just in case this returns to the meta at some point, but regardless Sylas is an absolute pain. If your ult doesn't get him killed, expect him to recover about half the health he lost from it immediately. Sylas players are delighted to play against Skarner no matter if he's lane or jungle. He's a problem. Pick him off before he uses your ult on one of your teammates. His kit synergizes way better with it and he can gapclose and kidnap without even needing flash (though he can also utilize the flash ult combo). If you kill him off early you'll save you and your team a lot of headache because he can heal off most of the damage you'd be able to do yourself.
Blue Kayn isn't a big deal since if he can't 1 shot you you get him killed very quickly. Rhaast however is an issue. That champion heals way too much for you to deal with as well as adding hard cc to the mix. Ideally you can kill him with your ult, but in many cases, he survives and ults to get back into the fight. Win while you have advantage in the early game, where Kayn is weakest, otherwise you'll likely have to play for your team.
Fiddle's rework has changed the tide of this matchup thanks to all of the additional cc which he can use to make you irrelevant in fights. Get around it though and he's a sitting duck. I recommend considering a qss to protect your team from his ults or punish him while he tries to get away with his fear. Make sure you know where he is if you plan to engage with your ult, since you're engage is very linear and he can easily bait and counter it.
Vi can be tricky to lock down before she hits you first, and in many cases you'll get chunked hard if she does. Try to outpace her around the map as if she falls behind all she can offer is engage, which if you can survive she'll be in trouble.
Jarvan can often feel unkillable at times and you can do little to stop him from doing what he wants in fights. If he's too tanky to deal with, ignore him. Otherwise a front to back may be your best option. Look to stay in the game and help your team survive his engage.
Trundle is much like Olaf in all ways other than the fact that you can cc him. Try not to face him alone and plan an escape route if you attempt to fight him, as you can get away if you can get around his pillar. In fights, it could be best to get rid of him as he can be an annoying front liner, but is very vulnerable to your cc.
Lillia is a nuisance. She can easily dance around you if you miss your e or punish you with sleep threats. In teamfights she should be considered a primary target as killing her off before she ults gives your team a huge advantage. You may have to burn flash to do this however, as she can react sleep you by landing an ability as you get close (if you can even do that that is).
Kindred favored, but you hard stomp if you win early. Kind of like a Kai'sa in that they're a tank busting adc but with the addition of a dash kite and a slow. Lock them down and be prepared to either pull an enemy out of their ult or get them kiled before it can be used. Kindred will likely build a qss and that's where this gets hard. Check out my section qss for a few tips on beating that.
If you ult her, make sure it's a kill or else she'll repel away for free. She does a lot of burst damage and has a good early advantage state, so look to survive the early game and size her up come mid game.
Kha'zix can be slippery, but if you can nab him he's in trouble. You can win 1v1's but it's not in your favor so try to avoid getting bursted down unless you know you can kill him. Try to peel him off your team before he stealths from your cc or gets away.
His w is annoying, but get around it and he doesn't offer much directly outside of a proc and run. Watch for his ult if you wanna kill him. Either save your ult for after he uses it or ensure his death before he can turn back time.
Poppy is a rare jungler, but has ways to keep you out of fights and can just be unkillable in a lot of ways. Avoid fighting her and look to kill her back line or have your team burst her down as she is vulnerable to your ult. Learning the timing of ulting her (or even one of her teammates) as she tries to eliminate you from a fight can net your huge rewards, as at worst you temporarily even the exchange, and in many cases will give you a free kill.
Ivern has many ways to get around you can protect his team by utilizing everything his kit can offer. Choose to ignore him or get him out of the way quickly. Keep track of his early game movements so that you don't lose an early buff for free and fall behind through farm. Try to pressure objectives first so he can't conceal his team with bushes and prevent your engage.
Mundo can be hard to run from thanks to his cleavers, and you will struggle to kill him even with your ult. Abuse him with your cc to wear him down in fights. Try to get an early game advantage by out roaming him on the map and getting some dragon pressure to stop him from walking in freely.
Nunu & Willump
Nunu is a huge meatball on the front line, but you can take advantage of this if you can get him killed. He's rather difficult to keep track of and can secure objectives easy, so work with your team to locate him and stop him from helping his team with his roaming power by warding rivers. His cc can be hard to deal with but the same goes both ways. Stop his ult with your e if possible.
Pops up now and then in the meta. Very dangerous with his damage, especially his ult. If you can help it don't take a fight where his ult will get your team wiped. He's a particularly good ult target as he doesn't have much to deal with it other than hoping he can survive the onslaught, but killing him off immediately in a team fight will do your team wonders. If there's a more important threat though, cc in general is just a good way to deal with him, just be wary of his damage output.
I'd say Graves marks the true even point of jungle matchups in this guide. He can be hard to kill sometimes, is fresh fodder others. You have means to outplay him and run him down thanks to your spire speed in a 1v1, and you can also kill him easily with ult, but if he gets ahead it can be trouble. Limit his early game capabilities and look to be more useful than him throughout the game by getting objective prio early and force him to try to contest.
New from jungle buffs: Diana is a bit of a wildcard. On one hand she can burst super hard and still be hard to kill if she gets ahead. On the other, you can lock her down to limit her damage, or steamroll a weak Diana if she falls behind. Not sure what to think about this one, could vary game to game. If anything, try to secure her death before she can use her burst when given the chance.
Jax is pretty hard to fight thanks to his e. You kinda just end up waiting around for it to end in hopes of stunnng him. Jax does best in the 1v1, deny him that and you can get him killed pretty easily. Just play around his e and watch out for his stun engage.
She is a very fast and dangerous jungler that can burst you down harder than you might think. She has almost every advantage except for your cc. Limit her early game pressure and make her irrelevant by locking her down if you can get to her.
VIego will get mauled if you ult him, but he's a duelist by heart and can really dish out some damage if you find yourself alone with him. Play around your cc and don't let him burst you down with his dps. Running him down shouldn't be difficult, so pick fights carefully and he shouldn't be too big of an issue. Fun fact, if Viego builds qss and takes a form of a teammate who doesn't have it, he can't use it anymore! Keep this in mind should that situation come up.
An ultratank that seems to be underplayed right now. Try to dodge her skillshots and don't let yourself get locked down. Try to outpace her throughout the game and watch for a counter-engage if you go in first.
Easy on paper, but Rengar has many ways to outplay your kit and will abuse that if you let him get ahead. His enhanced w acts a qss, but if you can avoid wasting your ult on it, you can get him killed easily. It's an odd matchup that heavily favors the winner of the early game. If you go even though you have the slight advantage. Sit on your team when he tries to ult and he's not likely to dare try.
An extreme version of Elise that scales hard instead of winning early. She's squishier and easier to lock down though, but try to avoid getting charmed and executed. Get ahead and the matchup is much easier.
Rek'Sai has benefitted greatly this season, but I still think this matchup is slightly in Skarner's favor. She has a lot of burst sure, but once it's over you can deal with her pretty easily. You may survive in a 1v1, but in a teamfight you may not want to get too close to a prowler's claw combo. Let her engage first and you can punish her greatly for it. Be quick though, cc her before she gets to use her full combo and burst down a teammate if she doesn't engage onto you.
Xin wants to 1v1, you can prevent that. He is an easy ult target and you can even drag him in if he ults to let your team infiltrate the barrier. It's even better if he's not ahead as your e may sometimes be enough. He is still a threat if you're alone though or if your ult isn't enough, so make your decisions carefully.
Zac is beefy but after his cc is gone you can punish him for jumping in. It can sometimes be worth ulting him to limit his survivability as letting him pick up droplets can make him last way longer than he should. You can even punish him before he goes in by ulting him out of his e, but this is situation. It can also sometimes be best to interrupt his team from following up so situational decision making is key here.
If he's out of position don't let him leave by blocking his e. If you go in, be careful of his ult putting you out of position. If you can get to him though he's usually easy for you to put down.
The bear struggles against your cc if he's in a bad position. Keep in mind that your e will reset his q, but if you're running away it should still be enough to flee from him. If he looks for a dive you can counter him with your own ult and possibly make him regret dunking in.
AD Shyvana is an easier matchup as you can get her killed fairly easily, but she can beat you in the 1v1 most times. AP is a bit harder as she doesn't need to be close to you to wear you down. Shyvanas love to go for dragons so make sure you keep a tab on it and punish her attempts if possible.
Shaco is annoying, but if you can beat his tricks you win in a direct 1v1. His boxes are the biggest issue though and can stop whatever kind of progress you try. Unless you can surprise him, only ult when you're sure it's not the clone. Test the damage you can output and if it's suspiciously high, ignore it. Oracles will aid you in keeping track of his movements if he tries to get away from you, so be smart about chasing, and in the game as whole as to not fall for his traps. Objective prio can go a long way here.
While Udyr is strong now, his only real advantages he has over your is his clear and 1v1. Keep up and stay clear of feeding him and this matchup is basically free. Limit him from getting onto your carries and he should die quickly. If you must, you can remove him fairly easily with your ult, as, despite being a tank, he can't front line very well and needs to weave in and out to be most effective, much like Skarner without ult. Beat him at his own game by being more useful in fights later with your ult advantage.
Lee sin struggles to kill you without ult, and you can even ult him as he ults you to punish his tries. If you play it right he should struggle to get much done. Just be quick on your fingers to stop insec attempts.
Karthus is easy to kill off, but not always easy to survive against. If you can, kill him away from the objective to limit the damage he can deal while in passive, and look to get mr so you aren't punished as hard for going in.
His ganks and taunt can be troublesome, but you can make him obsolete by limiting him from going in with your ult before he can taunt anyone and get him killed, if not at least worn. Win through farm and objectives if ganking isn't a viable option.
Amumu is really just a cc bot. While he will become useful in teamfights, you outpace him easily in the early game so look to set him behind however possible.
You outscale Pantheon, hard. Even if he gets fed early he's a champion that has to go in, and you can get him killed in most fights unless he snowballs his team to a point where fighting becomes impossible. Counterganks and setting up objectives are key here, just watch for where he ults in and peel where needed.
Much like Udyr, all you really have to do is peel for your team and outpace his farm. He has little to offer outside of direct 1v1, so just be careful of his burst like sustain.
Surprised Hecarim, a consistently good jungler, is at the bottom tier? Skarner hard counters this matchup thanks to the nature of his cc. You can ult Hec no matter how he tries to go in, even through his ult thanks to how it reacts to unstoppability (this does not work on Vi however, which is a reason she's hard). Thanks to your spires 1v1s are fairly even and you should have the means to get away if things start to go south unless you're completely isolated and he has everything up. This matchup can be an issue if Hecarim gets too far ahead early though and becomes unkillable with either a healing or full tank build. Still though, Hecarim HAS to engage to be useful, so look to punish him for overextensions and get shutdowns to get your team back into the game. Skarner has the means to stop Hecarim from doing anything he wants, so look to take advantage of that when he tries to go in.
Yi will die to your cc, and you should win 1v1s throughout the early game and parts of the mid game. Late game though he can easily run both you and your team over, especially if he gets a qss. Chain your cc correctly and the matchup is won. If he gets ahead early though, expect him to be very dangerous. Know when you can't beat him on your own anymore and use a friend or a few to pick him off easily.
Nocturne has 1v1 potential, but that's it. Get around his spellshield with q ideally and if he fears you, ult right before the fear goes off to stall out his buff he gets from it. Like Rengar, sit on your team in fights and let him engage, play it right and he should die easily.
Thresh provides a lot of cc to back you up, but what highlights him is the combo potential with his lantern, as you can grab it while ulting. If you have a friend who plays thresh, try it out, it's a lot of fun and can make for some awesome picks.
You want to get a leash at your red (not necessary but helpful since you're clear is unhealthy) and then transition into krugs. After taking krugs you want to look for a reset to get your predator boots early, which opens up early ganks opportunities and gives you access to the rune as early as possible. You can also look for a gank before backing though if they enemy is pushed up. This is most reliable on red side since the enemy top laner isn't likely to ward too early and you can motion your top laner to manage the wave so that the enemy pushes up if they don't do so on their own (which happens relatively often anyway). A quick punish in the top laner can net your laner a good advantage in a volatile lane, which you can either use to snowball or leave alone to help the rest of the map. When doing this though, the enemy jungler could be in position to take your blue so keep track of what side they'll be rotating to. If you know they're taking your blue you can look to vertical jungle by taking their blue camps assuming they started red. If you want to do this safely or can't stay very long, use your e to drag the blue golem out to the edge of your spire and you'll be able to take it using your river spire rather than going deep to take the spire in their jungle. Knowing where the enemy jungler is is very valuable in the early game as it can help you make these game to game decisions, so try to judge where they are correctly based on who leashes for their team if your team isn't able to get early jungle vision. Normally though you'll just drop a ward in the tri bush as you're backing and pick up your boots, control ward, and oracle lens. From here you should have time to take your blue and transition into scuttle, and if no ganks are available, return to clearing the rest of your camps. If you don't get a leash a raptors start is viable with your q, just keep in mind you'll be pretty unhealthy regardless. Try to kite around them when clearing level 1 to mitigate some damage.