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Skarner Build Guide by Kuffey

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Kuffey

Skarner: Frugal Killer, Lane and Jungle

Kuffey Last updated on December 3, 2012
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Team 1

LeagueSpy Logo
Jungle Role
Ranked #6 in
Jungle Role
Win 53%
Get More Stats

Ability Sequence

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

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Patch Notes/Update Log

August 11, 2011: Guide released ROCK LOBSTAA
August 12, 2011: Added pictures
August 13, 2011: Changed Archmage's Savvy to Deadliness , gives you a little bit more luck, one crit goes a long way, especially early game. And AP isnt that effective on Skarner, only good in hybrid items like Hextech Gunblade
October 23, 2011: Fixing fixing fixing, JUNGNER ES BACK

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Hello! This is my first guide on how to play Skarner, The Crystal Vanguard.

Do you want a champ who can lay down area of effect slows with 3 second cooldowns?
Do you want a champ that has Yi's Highlander as his W with potentially NO cooldown AND a shield?
Do you want a champ with an E that heals AND does strong line damage?
Do you want a champ that can win a team fight, get 5 assists, AND escape?

Then Skarner is the champion for you. This guide will lay down the basics of how to play him/her/it.

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Greater mark of desolation


Now, the reason I go with armor penetration marks is for one reason only. EARLY. GAME. DOMINATION.

~15 Armor penetration is enough to bring your laning enemies armor close to zero, and hit very hard on minions, allowing easier last hits.

YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED CLARITY SEALS. Skarner is very mana hungry early to mid game, and even with these runes if you spam skills, that lucky Xin Zhao will be able escape after you find out you dont have enough mana for your Q anymore.

Your standard magic resist glyphs, to make you a poke-proof shell early game, and help out late game. You only have melee and a little bit of range with Fracture, so this is important.

And health quints give you that little boost to double kill your lane at early game, and sustains you in 1v1 fights.

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Now, I go with 9/21/0 masteries, simply because Skarner doesn't need utility, and he can easily dominate with defensive masteries and the boosts from offensive masteries.

Strength of Spirit allows you to have great health regen throughout the game, to help keep you off your toes. The armor and magic resistance masteries help defend you against champs like Ashe and minions.

IF YOU USE DEFENSIVE MASTERIES, NORMALLY POKERS LIKE ASHE WILL ONLY HIT FOR AROUND 40 DAMAGE. And your health is absolutely amazing, especially with Veterans Scars.

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Summoner Spells

The one summoner spell you ALWAYS need is .

List of uses for this awesome summoner spell:

You can-
-Flash in their face!
-Flash OUT of their face!
-Flash in their face then drag their face to your teammates!
-Flash out after AOE slowing all over their faces!


Now, for your second spell, I usually take to make 1v1's child's play and to help in Team Fights. Other acceptable options are:

Ignite for that pesky 20 HP champ, it's great for just diving in, igniting, then running out.

Clarity, I've used it before and it only comes in handy early game. Better switched off with something else.

Fortify- It protects against a push, AND the mastery gives more farming power early game.

Cleanse- Flash in, Grab their carry, cleanse away the CC, and bring the carry to your team and out of position.

Smite- jungle skarner needs this so he can facerape faster

Teleport- Get Core items, Teleport to a pushed tower, take it down, run away. WIN GAME.

And Ghost, for even more pulling and escaping power.

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IMPORTANT: How to ultimate successfully

What makes a Skarner is not his AoE slow, or his shield/mini highlander, or his damage/heal.


A well placed Flash-Ult-W combo can take their carry, support, or any squishy out of the fight to be murdered by you. Or, it can grab a fleeing enemy.


You MUST time an ult right. This can be the difference between Trynd spinning away like a muscular ballerina, or a 1 HP pile of gold in your grasp.
Grab champs that do most of their damage through sustained combos, such as Riven or Cass or Brand, and mess up their skills.

Don't grab tank unless its to save a teammate and your Q isn't charged
Don't grab their AP burst unless they can be taken down fast before the burst, EX. Annie
Don't grab anyone who has a CC-block on them, EX. Olaf ult or Morg shield.

Now, your ults cooldown looks incredibly long. But remember: your passive LOWERS cooldowns by .5 seconds on mobs and 1 second on a champ. This means that you get at least 5 seconds shaven off by using your ult, and when you farm with about 1.5 attack speed mid game with Crystalline Exoskeleton, that results in -1.5 cooldown for every 2 seconds! That nearly halves your ultimate cooldown.

This is what makes your ult spammable and ready to use by the time your victim respawns late game.

The most important thing is to know when to use your ultimate. You should have at least one useful summoner spell up, such as Ghost, Flash, or Cleanse. In the ultimate time, the important thing is DISTANCE, not damage. Make sure your opponent cant escape, with a teammate on your side or items like Bilgewater Cutlass with a powerful slow.

Try to catch your victim by surprise. Flash and ghost covers a lot of distance, especially with Trinity Force.


This is why it's advised to bring Ghost or Exhaust along with flash.

What you should typically do for teamfights is first of all,
DO NOT INITIATE. You do not want to be focused by 5 people, you are not the tank.

Wait for your tank to initiate, then

-Use your to get in there quick, Flash may also be used
-Target their main damage dealer with and lead him away as far as possible, while using Crystal Slash use at the end of your ult, or at the very start to gain as much ground as possible,
-Rush in the teamfight with your charged up crystal slash, slow them ALL.
-If you have low HP escape, or if you have high enough health help finish them off.

If you do this right, at least 3 people on their team should be dead, including their carry.

Also, a good tactic for ganking early-mid game OR jungle scorpio is to:
out of a bush, then pull them close as you can to your turret.

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Laning Basics as Skarner

Now, for the question.

"Which lane to take Kuffey?"

Well, remember that Skarner requires to be up-close and personal to do tons of damage. I recommend laning with someone with a slow, snare, or stun. Also, they need to be able to burst a lot of damage when you use your ultimate, Impale. This is why champions like Lux, Ashe, or Irelia work perfect with you. Lux has a snare AND a slow, Ashe has a ranged slow that will help you get closer to deliver heavy AoE destruction, and Irelia can pound out damage with a slow. However, these are not the only champs that do well with you. A lot of other champs have good synergy with Skarner from my experience.


Someone who needs a TON of farm
People with low damage output early game
Pure melee characters like Trynd

Now, Skarner should NEVER solo/take mid. Skarner is a team champion, meaning he needs to stick with a teammate that can help him dispatch enemies. When pulling an enemy champ, you aren't supposed to just use it as a 1.5 second stun. You are supposed to hightail it out of there, and into your teammate cluster for an easy kill, and to turn the fight from 5v5 to 5v4.

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Skarner: The lane pain

When I lane with Skarner, I typically get 2-5 kills, 0 deaths, and a few assists. Now, the one thing you need to have with Skarner is:


Levels 1-6 (early game)

Rushing to first blood at level 1 is NOT advised. Why? Your crystal slash is too weak to chase down a fleeing champion with your lanemate.

Waiting for level 2-3 is advised, as then you will have Crystalline Exoskeleton to help. Waiting for level 3 is still advised however, as it nearly doubles the power of your Q, and adds more slow.

At level 3 or so, you should have most of your mana pool left.

Wait for when the time is right, ex:
-Focusing your teammate
-Low HP

Charge up your Q, then gain ground on them very fast with Flash or Ghost. Focus on one opponent first, and if you brought Exhaust like I reccomended, use it on the other enemy. You should easily be able to take them both out, and net about 600 gold and your teammate gold if he/she assisted too.

If you have enough gold after that AND you are out of mana or on very low health, you can go B to get
and a

This will solve your mana problems and add a bit of DPS and speed.

Otherwise, stay in lane and save up for Sheen.

The next time you should go B if you already did is to get:

THIS IS IMPORTANT. Get Sheen ASAP. Don't get a little more farm, even if you have FULL health and mana, go back to get sheen. This item spikes your damage up TREMENDOUSLY, and helps farm, while turning you into a turret destroying beast.

Levels 6-11 (midgame)

When you hit level 6, you can leave the lane for ganks. Just be very sneaky. Or you can pull your lane enemies again for more gold and kills for you and your lane partner. Keep on farming, and get your Guinsoo's Rageblade.

Levels 12-18 (Lategame)

You should be actively be participating in team fights, and nabbing tons of assists. Build your Hextech Gunblade and go on to finish your build, and getting your situational items.
You are now a tower destroying monster. You can solo a tower with minions in about 10 seconds, take the opportunity to push the lanes and anger your enemies. The game is almost over by now, and you should have your 5th item, a situational one. If the game doesn't end yet, pick up your last item and finish the job :D

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Core Items

Working on it, trust me for now, will explain when i has time

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Controversial Items

There are items that look like they would be perfect for Skarner, but fall short.

Such as:

Attack speed, AP, mana regen, CDR, whats not to love!


The attack speed should come from a better item such as Phantom Dancer that gives much better bonuses. The ap from this item is meager, barely enough to be noticable. You don't need the mana regen any later than mid game, as you will have a good enough pool to last you a long time along with your 9 Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration. You don't even need CDR with your passive.

Hey look, health, AP, and a slow! AMAZING!


This item is good for the AP Skarner. But Skarner is a hybrid champ that leans more towards attack damage. First of all, if you need health, the game will probably be going badly enough for you to need to get Warmog's Armor for ~100 gold cheaper. The price tag on this item is INSANE for its bonuses.

500 Hp? That's only 90 more than a Giant's Belt at almost 3x the price.
80 AP? That 1.6k can buy you 2/3rds of a The Black Cleaver, which is MUCH better.

OMG! 35% slow! This does sound good, until you realize you have no single target spells. Multitarget spells are only 15%. And your Q already slows 40%. Not enough of a difference to warrant getting the item.

This item is actually OK, but only in rare situations. If the enemy's movespeed is insane with champs like Mundo who have movement speed boosting abilities with Ghost, you will need the 40% slow given. Only get this item when you feel everyone's escaping, even with your powerful slow and low cooldowns. 20 attack and 700 health isn't good enough for that price tag, and won't do much in other scenarios.

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After The Core: Situational Items

First of all,

BUILD YOUR LAST. You won't need it that much.

After the 4 core items, you have 2 item slots left. Skarner is completely fine with just these 4 items, any further DPS items won't have as much as an effect.

Look at your enemies/teammates builds.

Is your tank effective at soaking up all the damage and have a decent build up?

You can end the game quick by building your Trinity Force for the added 50% damage on cast, along with a slew of general bonuses, and topping it off with a The Black Cleaver OR Infinity Edge and Phantom Dancer.


Sadly, this is often not the case. There will be champs tired of you pulling them into your teammates, and hunt. YOU. DOWN.

Close range melee DPS trouble=

Guardian Angel


Randuin's Omen

Ranged DPS troubles=

Thornmail --> Warmog's Armor

Getting cheesed by AP Combo Nukers (Must land a lot of skills, usually has stun ex. Brand)

Banshee's Veil --> Quicksilver Sash

Most of the time there's a mix of AD and AP. In this case,

Guardian Angel


Warmog's Armor

The order doesn't matter for these, I do equally as well starting with both for 5th item.

For a 6th item, it is always highly reccomended to get

This item has saved me countless times in a team fight, as I usually go in to ult their carry to bring them back to my team, and almost escape, die, then watch as my team destroys them. HOWEVER, with this item, you can just pop back to life AND take a helluva longer time to kill. Definitely one of the items i never fail to get, considering adding it to core.

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Skarner is a champion that can't just rambo the enemy team like Master Yi. You rely a lot on your team to take some of the damage, and finish off your impaled victim before he can escape. No matter how good of a Skarner you are, your team is still more important. Try to play with someone who you know can be a good lane partner for you, instead of gambling and seeing if you get an amazing save-your-life Soraka, or a horrendous Kayle who get's their entertainment from getting all the last hits.

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Last Words:

This is my first build on mobafire, I hope it serves you guys well :)

I spent a lot of time formulating the build, and I'm tired of those AP Skarner's that autolock in queue and bring down our team.

Comment and Rate, leave criticism on item choices and whatnot.

Have fun!