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Skarner Build Guide by drag0nius

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League of Legends Build Guide Author drag0nius

Limb from limb - 4.10 Skarner

drag0nius Last updated on June 20, 2014
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Jungle Role
Ranked #22 in
Jungle Role
Win 52%
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 21

Legendary Guardian

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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I am writing this guide primarily as first source of tips and ideas about Skarner's rework. The suggested build is for toplane, but it's simply because i didn't jungle much with him.

I was well established high-Platinum player who made it into Diamond 2 during course of last week thanks to jungle Skarner (pre-4.10) and a good bunch of luck.

The playstyle was pushing his early-game potential to it's limits through:

  • 28/2/0 masteries,
  • 29% AS, 9 armor, 11 AP runes,
  • smiteless blue then full jungle clear for 4 lvl gank ~3:30,
Everything combined made it possible for me to quickly kill anyone i dig my claws into.
Yeah, even Lee Sin/Udyr/Elise had no chance if you just kept hitting them instead of running.

As you can imagine i was very disappointed when i saw patch notes pretty much halving his damage output. However after playing him a few times i discovered the rework made him a lot more reliable ganker and didn't impact jungling speed as much as i expected.

Then i saw a Skarner totally wrecking Darius top lane, even after giving him First Blood.

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Pros / Cons


  • innately tanky,
  • a lot of crowd control,
  • extreme sticking power,
  • still high damage,


  • has to get close and personal with enemy,
  • lack of sustain,
  • mana problems,

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What actually changed?

I will only mention the changes briefly, for exact number check Patch history section on

Crystallizing Sting

Skarner-exclusive version of Braum passive, stacks are applied with spells (Q/E) and consumed by auto-attack for stun and damage or Impale for extra damage,
  • hits hard,
  • tooltip states per-stack instead of total damage [as of 4.10],
  • auto-attack stun triggers 6 seconds cooldown,
  • Impale DOES NOT trigger cooldown,

Crystal Slash

  • MS buff
  • retained AA cooldown reduction,
  • slightly reduced flat damage,
  • halved scalings,

Crystalline Exoskeleton:

  • reduced cooldown,


  • reduced cooldown,
  • damage effectively halved,


  • reduced cooldown,
  • consumes passive for extra damage,

Essence Reaver & Doran's Blade changes

Essence Reaver remedies Skarner's biggest disadvantages: lack of sustain and mana problems.
Multiple Doran Blades work exceptionally well at sustaining him during laning phase.

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How to utilize changes?

The passive

First and most important: Skarner's damage WAS NOT simply taken away from him it was moved into the passive, he lost some sustained DPS, but blowing off passive hits like a truck.

Changing his passive added entirely new aspect of gameplay and using it effectively is what will separate good and bad Skarner players.

So how do i use it?

  • Make sure you don't let go off enemy until you blow it off - it makes a lot of unexpected damage during extended trades and the "you can't get away" feeling to the runners.
  • If you are planning on using Impale make sure not to blow the passive off with auto-attack before using it.
  • Try not to use both W and E before Impaling, chasing down runners will be a lot harder without either after Impale is over.


The old CDR on auto-attack was retained only on Crystal Slash, but all other abilities had cooldowns reduced making up for more consistent gameplay - not entirely AA dependent.
Summing up this change makes him a lot harder to peel off.


Make sure you utilize Skarner's newfound mobility in:
  • most obviously chasing enemies down (with some plan even Nidalee can't outrun you),
  • guerilla warfare (hit and run, ambushes),
  • catching up and dragging them ridiculous distances (now you rarely need to Flash),
  • most importantly in dodging skillshots and other high damage abilities,
For me Skarner resembles Udyr on steroids :)
Even if you end up vs heavy poke ranged champion (takes some practice) don't be afraid to run them down at ~4-5 lvl, you almost certainly will have more damage and health than them.

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Collection of good ideas

Full Attack Speed setup seems to work best on him, tried couple others, but nothing is even remotely as powerful as AS both on lane and in jungle.

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Collection of bad ideas

For the love of god do not begin the game with defensive rune/mastery setup or even first big item, you will most likely be as useless as everyone seems to think Skarner is. He has the greatest impact in early/mid game and he is already tanky enough to get away with starting in the offense.

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19/06/2014 - initial release,