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Jungle Skarner - SickMotion
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So why Skarner? Skarner might just be my favorite jungler. I enjoy the fact that you can build him as a tanky support jungler or as a bruiser carry. If your team is doing well and putting out good damage you usually can just build supporting items such as Frozen Heart and Shurelya's Battlesong to support them. If they aren't doing to well or you need more damage in fights you can follow a more damage oriented path. A well placed ult will almost always secure a kill on ganks and end game can instantly win a team fight. It can put their carries out of position very quickly and make free meals for your team. For this guide I have done 2 core builds. Build 1 is the damage oriented carry path where you start out with some big damage followed by some utility and tankyness to allow you to initiate end game and stay in fights. Build 2 is more of a tanky and support build that doesn't really emphasize any damage until later in the build. I prefer build 1 for playing pick up and solo games as i allows me to control the game more. I like build 2 for organized team play where you can trust your teammates to do their jobs and you can just support them and initiate fights. Each build has pros and cons and for this guide I will be following the path of build 1, the more bruiser carry oriented build. here begins your Jungle Skarner guide :).
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Other Jungle Guides By Myself:
Jungle AD Sion
Attack speed reds will obviously make you attack faster but on Skarner, this is actually very important. His passive, Energize, will actually make you lower the cool down of all your abilities every time you hit. Although the effect is only half when hitting minions compared to champions, it is still extremely important. By hitting minions while jungling it will allow you to cast Crystal Slash and Fracture much more frequently allowing you to AOE down camps faster as well as heal yourself while doing it. It will also allow you to cast Crystalline Exoskeleton more often which will make you take less damage while jungling and move around your jungle faster. The attack speed from Crystalline Exoskeleton will also be up more frequently which will further your attack speed runes into more cool down reduction. After level 6 it will also reduce the cool down of your ult when it has been used which will allow you to do devastating ganks with Impale much more often. I cant stress enough how important attack speed is as it synergizes with literally every single thing Skarner does. The other option that many junglers use for reds is armor pen but on Skarner, attack speed outshines it literally every time.
Flat armor yellows make you much more durable in the jungle as the jungle monsters attacks are based physical. Since armor scales best from low amounts, they provide a surprising amount of damage reduction. They will also make you more tanky on ganks and in team fights.
Magic Resist per Lvl
Scaling magic resit blues will let you take more abuse from magic damage later into the game while still providing a minimal amount early. Skarner is passively tanky early on so not having early higher level magic resit that flat magic resist blues provide will not be much of a problem.
Attack speed quints will further your passive attack speed from your red runes and but your starting attack speed to 25%. This is essential for Skarner's early game clearing speed and damage. I explained how attack speed enhances every aspect of Skarner above so I don't need to go over it again.
Summoner's Resolve 1/1
10 extra gold on Smite will start to add up 20-30 minutes into the game ;).
A bit more flat magic resit to complement your runes and increase your early game durability.
Flat armor will further increase your survivability early on in the jungle.
Tough Skin 2/2
2 flat reduction on attacks really pays off when 3-4 minions hit you 6-8 times each.
A little bit of health per level is actually very cost efficient and will allow the next mastery in the series.
This will further stack with reduce monster damage to reduce jungle camp damage by 4 per hit.
Veteran's Scars 1/1
This flat health boost gives you a free health quint and will make you a little bit more durable.
Bladed Armor 1/1
Referring to the previous reason, when 3-4 minions are hitting you 6-8 times each, this is a ton of free AOE damage to speed up your clear time.
This will add to your gank potential and increase your clear time by lowering travel time.
The 3% health and 10% cc reduction will make you harder to take down and control.
Summoner's Insight 1/1
15 Second cool down reduction on flash will have you flash ulting more often.
Expanded Mind 2/3
The extra mana can mean the difference in a kill and an escape in those low mana situations.
Improved Recall 1/1
The reduction in recall time may save you in those situations where you are trying to escape in time in a bush and they are all running for you.
Further stacks with Initiator to increase clear speed and gank potential.
Runic Affinity 1/1
Increases the duration of buffs which will keep you stronger for longer.
This is a must on all jungles in my opinion, and Skarner is no exception. Some may argue that it isn't needed to clear your jungle. This can be true in some cases but without a smite, a competent enemy jungler will just be able to smite steal all buffs from you at will, this includes dragon and baron. Take smite, your team will thank you. Smite does true damage (exact amount not affected by armor or magic resist) to neutral and enemy minions. It will also work on some summoned creatures such as Annie's Summon: Tibbers and Heimerdinger's H-28G Evolution Turrets. The amount of damage is 420 + (25 x your level).
I feel that flash is by far the most important second summoner for Skarner. Without Flash, you will not be able to flash ult the enemy carry in team fights. This is Skarners signature move and the number one reason he can be so devastating. Taking this option away from him is unacceptable in my opinion. It also servers the same defensive purposes as normal when you are caught out of position. I feel Flash is a MUST.
If you aren't going to take Flash at least do yourself a small favor and take this. It will still help with you initiation a little bit but still gets out performed by Flash almost every time. If you feel the speed is really that important I advise you to just build Shurelya's Battlesong instead and have the speed AS WELL as your Flash
You have a built in slow with your Crystal Slash. On top of that a Flash with your Impale is much more offensive on Skarner than an Exhaust, and has many other uses as well.
Even worse than Exhaust on Skarner. The lanes you are ganking normally will have this summoner and so just stick to Flash. A flash ult will do 100x more than an Ignite will if you can't get your ult off.
Will help out the team but not as much as instantly winning a fight cause you took Flash with your ult.
You are building rather tanky and shouldn't be getting chain cc'ed so hard that you will need this. If they are stunning you this much, that will leave you carry open to free fire and you will win the fight anyway. If you feel you really do need this summoner just build a Quicksilver Sash instead.
This spell is almost unmentionable of why you shouldn't select it. It is much better for laneing and the cool down is so long that you wont find much use for it. You used to be able to Teleport while having some one suppressed with Impale but it was unintended and has been removed. You are the jungler anyway, you show up to lanes all the time without Teleport, so why should you need it now haha?
Any spells not listed in the poor choices were so poor they weren't even worth mentioning.
This is your passive. Every time you hit an enemy champion all of your cool downs, including your ult, are reduced by 1 second. This has half effect on minions and monsters. Combine this with attack speed as mentioned in the rune section and you will be able to spam you abilities. It is also extremely helpful for getting your ult back after a gank. When attacking an enemy in a fight, be sure to always be auto attacking and not just hitting spells as it will let you cast in more rapid succession.
This is your bread and butter ability, your slow and your main source of damage. It is also the reason your Q key might need to be replaced after playing Skarner too much. You will literally be pressing this ability 2 times a second for the next 30 or more minutes when you start a game lol. After hitting an enemy once (minion or monsters count) it will become charged. Once it has been charged the next time you cast it there will be bonus damage as well as a slowing effect. Hitting an enemy with q over and over will also cause it to remain charged. It does AOE damage which is also very helpful for clearing full camps and minion waves rapidly. It also scales off AD and AP which makes items such as Trinity Force and Hextech Gunblade work so well on Skarner. By stacking cool down reduction and attack speed with your passive, you should be able to permanently stick onto your target with this ability. Take this skill at level 1 and max it first for both builds.
This is your shield, speed boost and attack speed steroid. It will allow you to have more devastating ganks with the speed, sustain better in the jungle and clear faster or do more DPS with the attack speed. The attack speed also works with your passive to bring your abilities, including this one, off cool down faster. This ability literally scales with itself. Many people prefer to max it first for the move speed on ganks but I personally prefer to max Fracture first (for build 1 at least). I will explain why in the next ability section. take this at level 3 and max it last for build one, and at level 3 and max second for build 2.
This is another AOE ability that works perfectly with Crystal Slash. By casting it on a group of minions first, you can use your Q to pop the healing charge from every minion at once rather than one by one. It is also a ranged skill shot that can allow you to finish off an enemy that is outside of your melee range. The reason I max this second before the shield is it increases your clear time, increases your sustain with the healing, increase your team fight damage and increase your potential to snipe a fleeing out of range enemy. As I stated with build one, I am focusing a bit more on early damage rather than support and utility so naturally I would chose a damaging ability to max second. Some people prefer the shield for whatever reason and that is completely fine. Remember that this is still just a guide and should be followed only as much as you require it. Feel free to make and test changes for yourself, this is merely what I found to be most effective for myself and my play style. Take this skill at level 2 and max it second for build 1, and at level 2 and max third for build 2.
This is your ultimate and Skarners signature ability. It is almost like a Warwick ultimate, but you are able to run around after grabbing the person. This makes it amazing for not only controlling their carry, but then bringing them back to your team to slaughter them. It is also very effective for picking up enemies that are out of position and carry them even further from their team. Stuns and such will not break the suppression duration, only immobilize you. This makes it much more effective than all other current suppression ults in the game. Also, If timed right you can actually grab an enemy after they have Flashed or dashed away and pull them really far back and also burn their summoners. This can also be timed with knock backs such as Alistars Headbutt causing them to knock you back as you ult them making them even more out of position. Take this at level 6, 11 and 16.
As mentioned above we will be following and explaining the build 1 item path for this part. The situational items section does contain most of the build 2 items as well so feel free to substitute items where you feel it to be necessary. The last item of a build is usually situational as well and is a best case scenario item. Very rarely will your game go best case scenario though so keep this in mind. As with all guides, item builds should be taken as a guideline and never followed exactly 100%. Each and every game will unfold differently and you should change your build to best adapt to the current situation.
Keep in mind changing you build doesn't necessarily mean switching out items, it could be as simple as building items or even component items in a different order than specified.
Boots of Speed + 3 Health Pots
As I do with most jungles, I prefer to start with boots on Skarner. The reason for this is it allows you to move through your jungle faster and scales with your move speed masteries very well. It also makes your first gank ALOT more devastating. Most solo lanes start with boots as well so to be able to catch up with them you will also need boots. With your rune and mastery set up as well as skill order, you should be able to sustain yourself with by level 3 without health potions. This means that your first 3 Health Potions will be enough for you until you go back for your first buy. They also will help you if you chose to counter jungle, or if you get counter jungled and need a fast escape or chase.
Philosopher's StonePhilosopher's Stone
This is a perfect first buy for Skarner whether you are going DPS or a more tanky build. If gives you hp5 for sustain and mp5 so you can keep your mana pool up and no longer rely on blue buff. The gp5 aspect also will make you a lot of money. You will gain 300 gold per 10 minutes for free just by have this item that you need anyway. This 300 gold can be spent however you like, but consider it as 4 sight wards per 10 minutes. That is enough to keep one spot warded for 12 minutes. It is basically like a Wriggle's Lantern passive if you look at this way, only you don't have to buy wards if you don't want! You can also build it into a Shurelya's Battlesong later, trust me, this item is perfect for Skarner, cheap price and not a single wasted stat.
I like to get this right now to add a little meat to your bones. You will be later turning this into a Phage for build 1 but the reason I single it out here is the extra health will really help you out early in the game.
I like to get boots 2 early because it will give you even more speed for your ganks. It will also make CC less effective against you while ganking and give you some durability if the person you gank tries to just kill you. I feel that the passive cc reduction is also extremely necessary for when you start team fighting as you will be on the front line. If you are doing very well you can delay the boots 2 buy and continue building your Trinity Force.
This is your force step in your Trinity Force. As said above you can skip boots 2 and build this first if you feel it would be better for your current game. It will make you more tanky, will make your autos slow even further with your Crystal Slash + Phage proc and give you more auto damage and damage on your Crystal Slash.
After you have a bit of beef from your Phage, this will give you a much needed boost to your mana pool as well as an increase to your all abilities damage from the AP. It also gives you a nice single target nuke on your autos that works well for jungling and fighting. The passive works great with Skarner because it is activated every time it is off cool down with how much he ability spams.
This is the final item toward your Trinity Force. The crit is handy and will give you some unexpected burst but it is all about the attack speed and move speed. Unlike your shield where the move speed only works while it is active, the move speed from this will always apply. In the rune section we talked about how amazing the attack speed is on Skarner. If you don't have enough to fully build the Zeal but can build parts, ALWAYS build the Dagger first as attack speed is so amazing.
Combining the 3 items you have build will free up room, give you more stats, better passives on the move speed and damage proc and all only costs 300g. The move speed will help you catch and slow or ult enemies and the sheer damage output from this alone will be insane.
Now that you have some damage you will be a threat, you will need to build some defense to be able to survive in the center of the brawl. This will build later into a Frozen Heart. It offers a further increase to your mana pool, a DPS and utility increase with the cool down reduction and the armor will make you a lot harder to take down.
The attack speed on this synergizes amazingly with energize. The damage on hit increases your single target damage output and the magic resist passive also adds some survivability to an item that already greatly increases your damage.
This not only will give you an insane boost to your mana pool and make you super tanky vs AD characters, but it will also de-buff the enemy team. The cool down also greatly increases you damage output.
Force of Nature
The passive move speed on this combined with your shield and Trinity Force move speed as well as your masteries will make you a nascar. It will really help for catching and stick to your target it fights and will make casters never want to waste their cool downs on you. At this point you will be extremely durable vs all damage and still putting out massive amounts of your own damage.
Skarner benefits hugely from every stat on this item. the on use slow will help to further lock down the enemy team while the AD and AP stats will rocket your damage out put even higher. The life steal and spell vamp combined with how tanky you are will make it near impossible to take you down without blowing literally everything. A full build DPS Skarner is terrifying :).
Situational Items / Substitute Choices:
This item is EXTREMELY useful to have one for yourself. The support player normally buys one but if you have your own, you can pop it right when you know that you are going in and not rely on someone else to do it for you. It also offers a lot of cool down reduction and has a nice health bonus.
Aegis of the Legion
If you find you need some kind of general defense against both AD and AP, this item will offer moderate amounts of each. If you are planning to build this later you can also start building parts of it much earlier in the game as needed. It also gives armor and magic resistance and a very small damage boost to your team which they will love you long time for.
This is very helpful if you find yourself being the focus of much CC. it will also remove Exhaust and Ignite as well. The magic resistance will also help avoid getting bursted lower than you can heal back from. Keep in mind that when you are CCed or dead, you do 0 damage. Although this item is defensive in nature, being able to drop all CC is a great offensive ability. It will also allow you to continue your initiation if stunned when entering.
Sometimes if you need to further slow the enemies attack speed on top of Frozen Heart or just have more armor, this can do the trick. very effective against characters like Vayne.
Will allow you to avoid incoming CC while rushing at an ult target. Also makes you more tanky against mages and gives you a nice boost to your health and mana pools.
An extremely underrated item. Builds from smaller also useful items and will make you a lot more tanky and the cool down reduction will have not only you but your whole team doing more damage. A nice item to support your team if they are doing well or you are behind.
This offers nice amounts of Armour and a bit of magic resistance as well. It can also mentally win the team fights for you if the enemy sees you have it and choose not to focus you while you slaughterhouse everything. It is also very good against teams with about 50/50 AP and AD damage. This would be a better buy as well when you choose the build 1 path. If you are just tanky support, by end game you wont be doing much damage anyway so their is no need to focus you and you should already have massive defensive stats anyway.
Once you reach max build and you no longer need money, make sure to always be running elixirs. If you are approaching a team fight that will probably decide the game and you have some extra gold but can't afford a full buy, buy some elixirs as well. If money isn't a factor or just no one else can afford, also keep an Oracle's Elixir running. It will give you map control by clearing wards and let you see stealth champions such as Twitch and Akali if they have any.
General Jungling Tips:
-Small minion camps spawn at 1:40 and re-spawn 1 minute after the last creature of the camp is killed.
-Blue and red buff camps spawn at 1:55 and re-spawn 5 minutes after the last creature of the camp is killed.
-Dragon spawns at 2:30 and re-spawns 6 minutes after it is killed.
-Baron spawns at 15:00 and re-spawns 7 minutes after he is killed.
Early Game Skarner:
Generally you will want to be getting blue buff first on Skarner. The mana regen and cool down will allow you to clear your jungle a lot faster and keep your mana pool up in the process. If for whatever reason you are unable to start blue, you will want to back a bit early and get the Faerie Charm component of your philosopher's stone.
Starting with Crystal Slash, start at your wolves then do blue buff when it spawns with a leash. Once the golem is dead you will be level 2, get a point into Fracture and then head to your wraith camp.
With the ability to spam your spells on short cool downs with the mp5 to sustain it, you will not only be able to clear faster but you will have a lot more sustain. make sure to use Fracture on as many minions as possible to get the most healing out of it. Also try to keep up you Crystalline Exoskeleton to avoid damage. After wraiths I like to move up to the mini golem camp and get level 3 and let my Smite refresh before doing red. When you have level 3 you will have a point into all of your basic skills and should be able to jungle with taking any damage, especially with blue buff. Remember that you have a very short cool down on your Crystal Slash combined with energize. You should be spamming QQQQQQQQQqqqqqqQQQqqQqQQqQQqQQqq whenever fighting (you can literally expect to push it over 1000 times a game lol). From here I would go to wraiths again as it will be spawning in a few seconds if it hasn't already. Get the wraiths and you will be level 4.
Right now you can be looking to gank before you go back to base. With level 2 Crystal Slash, you will be doing a ton of damage and since you started boots with all the move speed masteries, you will be super fast when you use your shield. The red buff slow combined with Crystal Slash will practically freeze your enemy in place while the red buff damage on top of your own will be over whelming. Keep in mind when ganking a lane that even if you don't get a kill, you will help your team mate out. If you can force the enemy to waste summoners, potions or even mana, this could give you team mate the edge that later will win him the lane.
At this point you should be trying to gank wherever there is an opportunity. When there is no gank opportunities, be sure to be farming your minion camps in the jungle to keep up with gold and experience. One of the major mistakes a jungle can make is using too much time on ganking or too much on farming, you have to find the gentle balance between both. Another thing to note is try to farm more when you have a blue buff. The buffs it gives will allow you to clear camps much faster and make you more money in a shorter period of time. Also be sure to hold lanes for your team mates when they are either back or dead. The extra gold on last hits you can take will be nice but the big advantage will be free solo lane exp that would have gone to waste. Continue your ganking and farming procedure until it is time to group up for a team objective such as dragon, a lane bush or a big gank.
Going into mid game you should be looking to have your Philosopher's Stone, Mercury's Treads, Phage and possibly Sheen or some of its components. If you have more than this at this point you have probably done very well for yourself or the game is progressing very slowly.
Remember even now that the game is getting deeper to always remember to keep farming when you have no where else to be. If there are no plays to be made, just keep farming rather than forcing something. A big mistake at this point that many players make is to either force or waste too much time making plays when they could just be safely farming up. With this said make sure to still be there when team fights unfold or when there is an objective to contest. Once again it relates back to the delicate balance of farming and actively ganking and contesting.
Continue to work toward your Trinity Force if you don't already have it built and then progress into your defensive items. Once you have this you will notice just how much damage you can do. If you have ever done the tanky, support utility build on Skarner, you will for sure notice the difference in raw damage out put with the early Trinity Force build.
Be sure to maintain control of your own jungle and buffs for your team and do you best and controlling their jungle as well for total map control. Help your team keep crucial choke points warded as best as you can and at this point be sure to ALWAYS have a ward on baron. No matter how good you are doing, if the other team sneaks a baron they could sway to momentum very easily.
As far as actual team fights go, you will have 1 of 2 main jobs. The first and more common job will be to try and catch any of their squishy players out of position with your ultimate and bring them back to your team. Be sure to not Impale an enemy with Quicksilver Sash as it will be wasted. Make sure your team is also able to follow up your initiation as well. Try to be hitting with auto attacks as much as possible to keep your spells refreshing often. With your slowing effects and massive movement speed you should be able to lock down any target you chose. If the enemy is bunching up you may also be able to lock down more than 1 for awhile as your slowing on your Crystal Slash has a small AOE effect.
The second job you may perform if you already have a good initiation or the other team is super aggressive in fights is to peel off enemies from your carries. Your slowing effect should be enough to control enemies that are charging your team and if not, you can Impale them and let your carries free fire on the suppressed target.
When attempting baron remember that you do not have a Wriggle's Lantern so you will be getting no procs. Depending on your team comp this could make your baron quite slow. With this being said you will usually be able to win fights at baron when the enemy is forced to advance on you. When I play Skarner I prefer to either bait baron or start it and then force a fight from it rather than trying to muscle it down asap. If it does come down to a damage race on baron, be sure to Impale the other teams jungle right before it gets low enough to Smite. While suppressed by your ult, they will be unable to cast a Smite of their own.
Continue to follow the build and make substitutions for your current game based on your best discretion. It is not uncommon for a game to end before you can even finish your Wit's End or Frozen Heart or even before that. Hopefully the reason it is ending is because you crushed the opponent and not the other way around haha;).
-Can go support initiator or a very dominant bruiser carry build.
-Has a suppression ult.
-Strong pre 6 ganks compared to other jungles.
-Brings much more early and late utility to the team compared to Warwick, another commonly played suppression ult jungler.
- Impale + Flash and or Shurelya's Battlesong can instantly snag an enemy carry.
- Impale cannot be cleansed with Cleanse
-All skills synergize with each other perfectly.
-Very durable in the jungle.
-Still does nice damage even when building gp10 items.
-Deceptively tanky even when low with his shield and Fracture heal.
-Ult can stop other junglers from smiting for the duration.
-Very hard to kite and peel off his target once on them.
-Good peeling ability for your own team with his slow.
-Extreme damage out put and healing while being super tanky end game (Build 1).
-Clear speed is very dependent on blue buff early on.
-Not as dominant in the jungle early on compared to other jungles.
-Weak to counter jungling early on.
- Quicksilver Sash Really hurts his team fight presence.
-If you are about to die from damage over time such as Ignite and there are minions next to you, try hitting them with Fracture and then damage them for a little life steal. Sometimes 10-20 health stolen is the difference between living and feeding. Also remember to use Crystalline Exoskeleton in situations like this if it is off cool down.
-Careful about stacking too much attack speed if you don't have the mana pool and regen. It will allow you to cast abilities much faster with your passive but if you run out of mana, all this attack speed would have been better balanced with some mana and mana regen.
-Hitting minions and champions will reduce your cool downs with your passive energize. Remember this in situations described above, sometimes just 1 extra hit will get your Crystalline Exoskeleton off cool down in time to save you.
-When you are caught with no where to run, turn and fight. Your passive energize will take your abilities off cool down the more you are attacking and works best when hitting enemy champions. This means that you can turn around and get your shield and healing proc off cool down much faster by just fighting and possible just our duel your pursuer.
-Your passive will also lower the cool down of your ultimate, Impale. Be sure to always be hitting minions to get it off cool down as fast as possible.
-When running at a gank target, try to hit a minion or enemy on the way with Crystal Slash to charge the slow. This way, when you get to your target you can slow them with your first ability rather than your second.
- Crystal Slash can be cast while ulting.
-Once you have Trinity Force or even Sheen, be sure to still spam abilities when hitting towers to get the extra damage proc whenever it is up.
-As with all junglers, never Smite the buff, dragon, or baron that you are fighting until the health is low enough. Make sure that your Smite will be able to execute the monster and not leave it at very low health. If you fail to kill it, other junglers could smite steal your buff / objective monster and leave you looking like a rookie.
-For the above reason, always make sure you have a Smite ready when going for major objectives such as Dragon and Baron.
-Mousing over Smite in game will tell you exactly how much damage it will do. Keep in mind this damage will increase with every level you gain by 25.
-Remember that you can Smite while stunned or silenced but not while suppressed. Keep this in mind when doing or trying to steal baron or dragon. If you Impale their jungler (impale is a suppression ult), they will not be able to cast Smite until the durations over. If timed correctly you can ult them and smite when its low enough without ever having to worry about ''out smiting'' them because they simply can't cast it.
Thank you for checking out my Jungle Skarner Guide! I hope you picked up some useful information on how to better your play. Feel free to leave a comment and please thumbs up and tell your friends about my guide if you found it helpful:D! Thank you and look for more guides from me coming soon!
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