Skarner Build Guide by KajiKumihoAkukei
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You'll Never Escape! ~ Predato
+12 Attack Damage or +20 Ability Power, Adaptive
Ideal First Back
Example full build
VS Full AD
VS AP heavy
Threats to Skarner with this build
Hello and thanks for reading my guide!
I am KajiŌkami, a player that loves playing Skarner, he is a great champion that can snowball a game very effectively if played correctly.
I was a Skarner main back in season 4 and at the start of season 5. Recently I picked up on playing him again and I wanted to make this guide, because Skarner is a great early game jungler and a good champion to help anyone trying to climb the ranked ladder.
This guide is made based on the experiences I have had in my games on the champion.
I hope you guys enjoy it, feel free to vote or leave a comment!
If you do like my content, feel free to follow me on Twitch, Twitter or YouTube! You can find the links at the top of my guide!
Enjoy the guide and have fun out there on the fields of justice!
Climbing in Ranked
Challenger to Bronze V
If you want to be able to climb the ladder in ranked here are a few pointers in general (counts for every role and every champion). League of Legends is, and will always be, a team game. This means that you will have to rely on others in order to win games. Some games you can carry your team, some games you will be the one getting carried by your team. Just remember: everyone can have a bad game!
+ Be positive
+ Be a teamplayer
+ Play the vision game
+ Take objectives
+ Play mastered champions
+ Keep your cool
One of the most important parts about being able to win consistently is being positive. If you go into your games with a clear and positive mindset it will not only help you, but also your teammates. Part of playing as a team includes going along with plays your team commits to. Even if you don't 100% agree with the play. By not joining when your team is committed to make the play you just lower the chances of a play succeeding or not!
Another very important key to victory is vision! It's not only the support's job to provide vision. It is a team effort, by buying a Control Ward on every opportunity you have, you will help your team out tremendously! Once you have learned to help your team provide vision, the next step is learning to secure objectives, because they win games. Taking turrets or slaying an elemental dragon can help your team get global gold or increased stats!
Next thing to keep in mind is to play champions you feel comfortable on, don't force yourself into taking the meta pick if you don't know how to play the champion through and through! Knowing everything there is to know about your champion is very important to consistently win lane!
Last but not least: keep your cool! If you are having a bad game, don't start making risky plays or going by yourself. Play safe and rely on your team to help you get back into the game. Same thing goes if your team is playing poorly. Stay calm and don't blame it on them, just keep playing and help them get back into the game.
- Be negative
- Afk farm
- Chase kills
- Be a KDA player
Never flame your teammates, because this will cost you the game more often than not.
For example: We've all been there, the enemy jungler seems to have a tent set by your lane and your jungler doesn't visit your lane once. What to do next, flame and blame your jungler? No! Just play safe, don't give away free kills and let your jungler have impact elsewhere on the map. The same goes for being negative, this will just have a bad impact on your teammates. It will affect their play and your chances of winning decrease by a big amount.
If a game isn't going according to plan, don't go sit in a sidelane doing nothing but farm all game. Yes, farming is important, but helping your team and assisting on plays is a lot more important!
Surrendering is also never an option. If you are behind, just stall out the game until your have caught up with the enemy team or at least until the difference in items and gold doesn't matter as much anymore. A lot of games can be won by just playing smart and waiting for your time, even if you are behind.
One more thing to keep in mind: don't chase for kills. Most of the times you keep chasing for a kill you are just wasting your time or worse, getting yourself killed! If an enemy gets away with just a bit of health take this opportunity to take an objective or provide and clear out vision. This will help your team globally a lot more than trying to get that one kill to boost your KDA and risk dying.
Flash and Smite
In almost every game you will take Flash and Smite as it is just the best set of spells you can get for Skarner jungle.
There isn't much else that can be said about it, you need your Smite for obvious reasons and most of the time it doesn't do you much good if you would take anything else than Flash.
Ghost and Smite
In some games it might be worth for you to take Ghost instead of Flash. This will mostly be when the enemy team doesn't have any escape tools (like a dash, blink, ...) except for Flash. This means you can just run up to the and use Impale without them being able to get away.
But even in this scenario I, personally, still prefer Flash.
Pros / Cons
+ Fun champion
+ Easy to master
+ Provides great cc
+ Great early jungle clear
+ Strong early 1 vs 1
+ High impact ult
+ Good objective clear
+ Moves quickly around the map
Skarner is a fun champion, he is very easy to master and his kit very simple. He provides a good amount of crowd control.
His e Fracture provides a slow and if you land a basic attack on a target hit by Fracture they are stunned as well. This makes Skarner really good at ganking and fighting 1 vs 1 in the jungle.
Because of his passive Crystal Spires you can take objectives very quickly and health as Skarner.
Skarner ult Impale is one of the greatest tools to set up ganks. If you Impale an enemy carry and drag them into your team, a kill will almost always be guaranteed!
- Weak late game
- Ability reliant
- Weaker out of jungle
- Summoner spell reliant
- No gap closers
- No real escape
Skarner is an early game jungler, which means that he needs to make an impact at the earlier stages of the game, because he falls off late game.
As Skarner the most of you utility and damage comes from your abilities, so you will need them to be up if you want to make an impact.
Skarner has no real form of escape, if you get caught out or make a bad engage, you can't get out unless you have Flash.
Skarner is a lot weaker outside of the jungle, because a lot of his early game pressure comes from his passive Crystal Spires. If you don't have Flash up as Skarner it is harder to catch someone out, unless you can run at them really fast and they have no escape.
Primary Rune Paths
Since the beginning of season 8 and the release of the new runes system, a lot of different builds and paths have been created and explored.
This left many players confused and indecisive about which rune is the best for their favorite champion.
In this chapter I will be talking about the 2 primary rune paths that are, in my opinion, the best way to go for Skarner. I will be talking about the Domination tree and the Resolve tree.
These runes complement both the tank build and the bruiser build, which one to pick will depend mostly on the enemy team composition and your own preferences in playstyle.
Primary Path ~ Domination
Taking Domination as a primary path gives you more play making options, you can take some good runes that allow you to set up ganks easier and get on targets faster.
When going in to the Domination tree as Skarner you can't ignore Predator because ii gives you a quick way to get to the enemy when you are ganking.
Having Predator makes your ganks post 6, when you have Impale, so much stronger!
If you start channeling Predator while you are in the river, you will be too fast for the person you're ganking to get away without blowing at least a Flash.
Note: always make sure you fully channel Predator before engaging, or else you will just put it on cooldown.
|Cheap Shot is the best choice here for Skarner because of the bonus damage you can deal when you stun people with your Fracture + auto attack combo or when you snare someone with your Impale. This makes it by far the most effective rune to pick here for Skarner.|
Vision is key if you want to win games. That's why Zombie Ward is such a good rune on junglers, especially since the removal of trackers knife.
This is the only rune I'd consider taking here, just because of how important it is to have good vision control.
Relentless Hunter is a very good rune to take because of the increased movement speed it gives you out of combat. This rune can give you up to +48 movement speed out of combat.
Having this much mobility allows you to have a lot more pressure on the map, enabling you to set up more ganks or to countergank if you laners are in trouble.
Ingenious Hunter is also worth taking, because of the increased up time of item actives it can give you. Fully stacked this rune can give you up to 40% cooldown reduction on item actives. This means you can have Predator up every 90 - 60 seconds and Righteous Glory every 54 seconds. Needless to say this greatly increases your ability to pull off successful ganks.
Furthermore, this also applies to your Sweeping Lens. Enabling you to clear out the enemy vision a lot more frequent.
Primary Path ~ Resolve
Taking Resolve as a primary path gives you more tankiness and survivability. You can tank more damage and be a beefier frontline for your team.
Aftershock is the best keystone to take in the Resolve tree because it is so easy to proc on Skarner. You can proc it by hitting someone with Fracture and then hitting them with a basic attack, or, more importantly just by using Impale.
Taking aftershock makes you a lot tankier after you used Impale an enemy champion and it deals a nice amount of bonus damage.
With patch 8.10 Bone Plating got nerfed, making Font of Life the most effective rune to take on Skarner because of how the champion works.
Skarner impairs the movement of his enemies with Fracture + the following stun and with Impale. This makes Font of Life very effective on Skarner, allowing you to heal up your teammates by just using your natural cc.
|Second Wind is the best rune to take here in my opinion because of the same reason as I explained with Bone Plating: it helps you survive longer. The only difference here is that Second Wind doesn't give you damage reduction, but increased health regeneration after taking damage.|
|Unflinching is the go-to rune here because it is just such a good rune on junglers. They can get the most out of the rune because Smite has such a low cooldown. For Skarner this means you can smite your target with your Stalker's Blade, stealing 20% of their movement speed and on top of that you get bonus tenacity and slow resistance because of Unflinching, making it very hard for enemy champions to get away from you.|
Secondary Rune Path
Sorcery is the secondary rune path to go for Skarner because it holds 2 runes that suit Skarners playstyle perfectly.
These 2 runes are Nimbus Cloak and Celerity.
|With patch 8.11 The Ultimate Hat has been removed (RIP). Instead Nimbus Cloak has been released. This is a great rune to get on Skarner because it gives you 100 bonus movement speed shortly after casting your ultimate and it allows you to move through units for 2.5 seconds. Nimbus Cloak makes your Impale so much more effective because you will be able to bring your impaled target so much faster into your team! So thanks Riot for making such a great rune!|
Celerity is a rune that fits Skarner and his play style perfectly! It gives you + 3% bonus movement speed and bonus AD/AP. Since Skarner doesn't have any gap closers, he really benefits from movement speed to get close to his targets to Impale them.
That is why Celerity is a really important rune to take on Skarner. The bonus movement speed can make the difference between catching you target or them just getting away.
Note: Celerity grants adaptive stats based on the numerical bonus movement speed, not the percentage. This means that you get bonus movement speed based on every 1 movement speed you are above your base movement speed.
Crystal Spires (Passive): Spread around the map there are 6 Crystal Spires: 2 on your teams red and blue side jungle + 2 in the river at dragon and baron + 2 on the enemy teams red and blue side jungle.
Crystal Charge: While within range of a Crystal Spire controlled by his team, or while an enemy is stunned with Fracture or suppressed with Impale, Skarner gains 70 - 120 (based on level) bonus movement speed, 43 - 160 (based on level)% bonus attack speed and restores 2% maximum mana every second.
Crystal Slash Q: Skarner deals physical damage to all enemies in range. If an enemy is hit, subsequent uses of Crystal Slash within 4 seconds deal bonus magic damage. The AP ratio of this ability scales with bonus AP.
Basic attacks against non-structures (everything except turrets and inhibitors) reduce Crystal Slash's cooldown by 0.25 seconds, quadrupled to 1 against enemy champions.
|Crystalline Exoskeleton W: Skarner shields himself for up to 6 seconds, gaining initial bonus movement speed that accelerates by 100% over 3 seconds while the shield holds. The shield strength scales with bonus AP.|
Fracture E: Skarner launches a blast of crystallized energy in the target direction, dealing magic damage to all enemies struck and slowing them for 2.5 seconds, as well as marking them with Crystal Venom for 5 seconds. Fracture's projectile slows down every time it hits an enemy.
Skarner's next basic attack against a target marked with Crystal Venom consumes the mark to deal bonus physical damage and stun them for 1.25 seconds.
Fracture's cooldown is reduced every time Skarner stuns a target with Fracture or suppresses a target with Impale. Fracture's magic damage scales with bonus AP.
|Impale R: Skarner brings down his stinger, rooting the target enemy for 0.25 seconds, dealing 60% AD physical damage, magic damage, and suppressing them for 1.75 seconds. At the end of the duration, the target takes the same damage again. Impale's damage scales with bonus AP.|
Impale: your ult is your biggest form of crowd control. Being able to catch one of the enemy carries with Impale can turn a teamfight completely in your favor, or guarantee a kill when you are ganking. So for that reason you will want to put a point in Impale on every opportunity you get. This means at levels 6 > 11 > 16.
Fracture: this is the second form of crowd control Skarner offers. The slow Fracture offers is increased with each level you put in the skill, with a slow for 50% during 2 seconds at max rank. Even more, the next basic attack you use on a target that has been hit by Fracture will stun the target for 1.25 seconds.
Crystal Slash: at level 1 you put a skill point in Crystal Slash to get the fastest clearing time on your first camp. Then, after you have maxed out Fracture, Crystal Slash is next for one simple reason ~ putting more points in this skill will make your jungle clears a lot easier.
Note: many players still max Crystal Slash first, but you will get better results by leveling up Fracture first.
Crystalline Exoskeleton: you level up Crystalline Exoskeleton a first time at level 3. After that you will wait until the end to level this skill up again. This is due to the fact that the other abilities just offer more utility for Skarner. Fracture helps more in the form of crow control and Crystal Slash helps more in the form of better jungle clear.
Items ~ Tank Build
In this chapter I will talk more about the itemization on tank build Skarner.
There are a lot of good items you can build, each of which I will explain below.
|Hunter's Talisman is the best starting item for jungling with Skarner. The primary reason for this is that it is better for clearing larger camps.|
|Refillable Potion is all you need to sustain your first jungle clear as Skarner because of the increased stats you get from your passive Crystal Spires|
Stalker's Blade - Cinderhulk is the best jungle item to build on tank Skarner. It gives you bonus health and a nice damage per second while in combat.
I prefer Stalker's Blade - Cinderhulk over Skirmisher's Sabre - Cinderhulk because of the movement speed it steals when you cast it on an enemy champion. This can be very useful when you want to set up a gank. Combined with Predator this makes it very hard for enemy champions to escape from your ganks.
Righteous Glory is a must buy item on Skarner in almost every game. You will always want to buy this as a second item.
The reason for this is very easy: the item active is so good on a champion like Skarner who has no real gap closer. Using Righteous Glory when setting up a gank gives you a nice burst of movement speed + it slows the enemy if it procs again when you are near them. On top of that the bonus armor and cooldown reduction are very good.
Oracle Lens has become available from level 1 since patch 8.8. This means that you can sweep your entire jungle a lot sooner than you used to.
I recommend you switch from Warding Totem to Oracle Lens after your first back. This allows you to clear out vision, making it harder for the enemy team to know where you are. Needless to say that doing this greatly increases your chances to get a free kill. Because if they can't see you coming, the chances of pulling of a succesfull gank are a lot higher.
Mercury's Treads are preferable when the enemy team has a lot of cc. The increased tenacity will help you get out of tough situations just that little bit faster.
Another good situation to go for Mercury's Treads is when the enemy team is very heavily ap focused (ap top + jungle + mid).
|Ninja Tabi should be your choice when the enemy team is full ad, just because it will help you so much against full ad comps. The reduced damage from auto attacks and the extra armor will keep you alive a lot longer against full ad comps.|
|Dead Man's Plate is a very good item on Skarner. The increased movement speed over time enables you to move around the map even faster + it provides you with a nice amount of bonus health and armor.|
|Randuin's Omen is another great item on Skarner. The passive gives you 20% reduced damage from critical strikes and slows the attack speed of enemies attacking you. This can be very useful when the enemy ad carry is fed. The bonus health and armor you get are also very good. On top of that the active slow synergises well with Skarners kit and helps you catch the wanted target.|
Frozen Heart is a strong item to consider building on Skarner in situations where you need extra armor and want to slow the enemies attack speed, but don't need the reduced damage from critical strikes. The bonus mana and cooldown reduction are very useful for Skarner because you want you ult to be up as often as possible.
Example of when to build Frozen Heart is when the enemy team has a fed ad carry like Varus or Kog'Maw because they build a lot of attack speed, but not crit items.
Thornmail is an item with a very specific use: to be build when the enemy team is almost full ad or when they have a few auto attacking champions. The bonus health and armor + the reflected damage will give you a lot more survivability in these situations.
Example if the enemy team has Zed mid, Jinx adc, Kai'Sa jungle and Fiora top.
|Spirit Visage is a very good item if you feel like some bonus magic resistance would be nice. The bonus health + health regeneration + cooldown reduction you get on top of the magic resistance make this the number 1 magic resistance item to take in most of your games.|
|Adaptive Helm can replace Spirit Visage if the enemy team has an ap champion on their side that spams abilities, like Cassiopeia.|
|Abyssal Mask can be a valid magic resistance option if you have short ranged mages on your team like Ryze or an ap assassin like Katarina and Akali. Because taking Abyssal Mask will increase their damage output, as well as give you some more tank stats.|
|Warmog's Armor is solid choice for a 3rd of 4th item. It gives a big amount of bonus health and due to the passive it will allow you to stay on the map without running low on health.|
|Knight's Vow is a very good choice if you have a ranged support like Lulu or Janna on your team that doesn't naturally build Knight's Vow. By building this item you can support your ad carry so he/she can deal as much damage as possible.|
|Zeke's Convergence can be build for the same reasons as I just mentioned with Knight's Vow.|
|Locket of the Iron Solari can be build for the same reasons as I just mentioned with Knight's Vow.|
Items ~ Bruiser Build
In this chapter I will talk more about the itemization on bruiser build Skarner.
I will talk about the items that are different from the tank build only, because there are several similar items which are already explained in the previous chapter.
Stalker's Blade - Warrior is a great item if you want to go for the bruiser build. The attack damage helps you out while clearing camps / fighting in a 1 vs 1. The 10% cooldown reduction is also very useful.
Note: you q Crystal Slash scales with attack damage.
|Trinity Force really increases your damage output when fighting + it greatly improves your jungle clearing speed. This should be the 2nd item you build if you want to focus on your damage output.|
Iceborn Gauntlet is another great item to purchase on Skarner when going for the bruiser build. This should be the 2nd item you build if you want to focus on your catching potential. It gives you everything you need:
Note: Trinity Force and Iceborn Gauntlet share the same unique passive - 'spellblade'. In other words: the bonus damage effect of the 2 items doesn't stack. In the priority list Trinity Force is listed before Iceborn Gauntlet.
The area of effect slow Iceborn Gauntlet offers isn't considered part of the 'spellblade' passive, instead it is listed as 'icy'.
This means the following when you build both Trinity Force and Iceborn Gauntlet:
- The bonus damage on an auto attack after using an ability will come from the Trinity Force passive, the bonus damage from Iceborn Gauntlet will not be applied.
- The area of effect slow from Iceborn Gauntlet will still be applied.
Sterak's Gage is a really interesting item to buy on bruiser Skarner.
The passive effect on Sterak's Gage gives you 50% of your base attack damage as bonus attack damage.
But the more interesting part of this item are the other 2 passive effects.
Tank or Bruiser?
In this chapter I will give the reasoning as to when you should go for the tank build and when you should go for the bruiser build.
The tank build is the one you will be building in 90% of your games, because this is the build you take when your team doesn't have more than 1 other tank on the team.
This is the case in most games, because in solo queue most players like to play carry champions!
So if there are no other tanks on your team, or only a tanky support, the tank build is definitely the way to go with Skarner.
The bruiser build is the one you should build in those rare cases where there are already 2 tanks on your team and your team can use the extra damage.
Example: you have a Leona support and a Maokai top. In this case I really suggest you go for bruiser Skarner because you team will benefit more from a little extra damage seeing as your tanks will already be doing there job of forming a very strong front line.
Skarner Jungle ~ Full Gameplay
This video is a replay of a game I streamed.
It contains, in my opinion, everything you need to know about Skarner gameplay.
- 10-04-2018: published guide (chapter 1 - 7).
- 18-04-2018: updated guide to patch 8.8.
- 20-04-2018: updated guide layout.
- 26-04-2018: added chapter 8 ~ unique abilities + 9 ~ skill sequence.
- 02-05-2018: updated guide to patch 8.9.
- 03-05-2018: added chapter 10 ~ Items ~ Tank build + 11 ~ we await our time.
- 04-05-2018: added chapter 11 ~ Items ~ Bruiser build + chapter 11 ~ we await our time moved to chapter 12.
- 16-05-2018: updated guide to patch 8.10. Replaced Bone Plating for Font of Life after nerfs.
- 29-05-2018: added chapter 12 ~ Skarner Jungle ~ Full Gameplay + chapter 12 ~ we await our time moved to chapter 13.
- 31-05-2018: updated guide to patch 8.11. Runes changed.
- 14-06-2018: updated guide to patch 8.12.
- 27-06-2018: updated guide for patch 8.13.