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Skarner Build Guide by Knightly

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Knightly

Skarner in the jungle: GET OVER HERE!

Knightly Last updated on November 7, 2011
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Jungle Role
Ranked #19 in
Jungle Role
Win 52%
Get More Stats

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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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Good day to all of you, gentlemen (and ladies?). This is my first build here on MOBAfire. And because of that, I chose my favorite jungler and one of my favorite characters: Skarner

I will, naturally, update this guide as time passes by.

Constructive critisicm is always appreciated. Trolling... Not so much, but it still makes me smile to know some people on the Interwebs are as pathetic as they are.

Have fun reading. :>

11/5/11: Added laning section. Still under construction, but the item build, masteries and runes are there.
11/7/11: Removed laning section. Why? I don't think Skarner should lane anymore. His ultimate isn't that fantastic in comparison to Nasus' if he gets his farm up... I hope you understand this. :>

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Who's your champion, and what does he do?

My champion is Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard. He's a jungler, or a laner*, depending on what you prefer.

What Skarner does is making carries cry in misery. Take away all their free space, and be an immediate terror after his jungle is done. In team fights, it's your goal, no, your JOB to kill carries. To make sure they can't do any damage. Carries will fear you. They will loathe you. They will be running for their life... And then you pop Ghost, Impale them, hit Crystalline Exoskeleton and start spamming your Q, Crystal Slash. By that point, they should be dead.

Basically, Skarner is a terror. Something you should fear. And...

Are you sure you want to face-check that bush, Ezreal?

*Feel free to do so, but you shouldn't put Skarner in a lane. Why? His ultimate, and the rest of his abilities, work very well when used in a gank. His ultimate is good, but it doesn't compensate for him taking a solo lane when your Karthus or Xerath could've done so, and got Requiem and Arcane Barrage earlier. Also, Skarner is not a carry. So he shouldn't take the bottom lane with a support.

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Skarner's lore.

Centuries ago, there lived a race of creatures as ferocious as they were wise. The brackern were unusual beings blessed with the earth's primal magic, embodied in the form of crystals. Their kind knew of an arcane ritual to bind their life's essence to a crystal, communing with the magic embedded in it. With this power, the brackern thrived in the Odyn Valley, protecting both creatures and crystals alike. Despite attacks from those looking to claim the primal magic, it seemed that nothing could get past the brackern's defenses. Nothing, that is, until the devastation of a Rune War.

A vicious battle was fought near the Odyn Valley and the unleashed chaotic magic poisoned the crystals. The brackern began to grow sick and die, and no amount of defensive magic could reverse the effects. To avoid extinction, their only course was to hibernate underground until the wars stopped. The strongest, most intelligent brackern hibernated closer to the surface to awaken first and assess the world's condition for the return of their race. The recent mining operations and violent escalation in Kalamanda were enough to awaken the first of these vanguards. When Skarner burst to the surface, he lashed out in anger and confusion. Reason eventually won out over his anger when he realized that the agents of the League who found him were simply functionaries. Skarner was invited to the Institute of War to share the brackern's story. In return, the summoners told him about the history that his kind had slept through. Much had been done to curb the unchecked use of magic since the Rune Wars, but it was obvious that the world was not yet safe for his kind to reawaken. For now, however, there is a place where Skarner can use his power to change the world into one to which his kind could eventually return: the League of Legends.

''The humans have not yet learned to control their magic - what once was Kalamanda is now a crystal scar on the history of this world.'' -Skarner

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Pros / Cons

Very strong chasing.
Moderate jungling speed. Really not as slow as people think it is.
Shreds carries to little pieces with Impale and Crystal Slash.
Awesome passive, Energize, allows for extra spamming of your Q.
Sickening burst dmg when you've got most of your items.
Epic voice and looks.

Can be CC'd to hell.
If you haven't premptively 'warmed up' Crystal Slash, your target can escape.
Blue Buff reliant.
Can't really take on the red and blue buffs without Madred's Razors or Wriggle's Lantern.
His skins are mediocre, if you care about that.

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This is the build I choose. In this order. In the lategame, I might swap some items around to become more tanky, or more DPS based, depending on how well my team is doing.

Even though boots are supposed to be "situational", Mercury's Treads are a MUST on Skarner, just because he's as vunerable to CC as he is. Berserker's Greaves CAN work, but I would NOT recommend it.

Guinsoo's Rageblade is a very good item on Skarner. With the attack speed increase, you can easily spam Crystal Slash using Energize. An overall solid choice, although if you want a boost in your survivability and chasing, you could switch this one with Frozen Mallet.

Trinity Force is a FANTASTIC item. Skarner's a hybrid character, meaning the AP, AS and AD this item offers is extremely useful. And it gives an extra slow, so yeah...

Atma's Impaler, one of my favorite items, is a hybrid defensive/offensive item, giving you armor and AD, making you resillient to melee carries such as Master Yi or Tryndamere.

Banshee's Veil. An amazing item overall. Allows you to withstand stuns like Veigar's Event Horizon, and walk away before he can melt your face off. The extra mana and health is nice too, but I mainly take it for the spell shield.

Hextech Gunblade. Even after the nerf it's an amazing item for Hybrids. It offers AD, AP a slow and spell vamp. Fan-tas-tic item. Take it. This one isn't swappable in my book.

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Summoner Spells

Because Skarner is a jungler, you're going to take Smite, naturally. Now, I've been debating over the secondary spell you're going to take. It can be Flash or Ghost, although there might be some other viable choices in spell. Let me summarize it for you:

Is a given. I'm sorry, but jungling without Smite is like going flawless on Tryndamere without popping Undying Rage once in a game: Nearly impossible.

Skarner can use both Flash with Blink of an Eye or Ghost with Haste . Ghost allows you to cross the map faster, but has less utility and ganking potential than Flash, because you can't come closer to land "that final Crystal Slash hit. Ghost does work really well with Crystalline Exoskeleton and Impale to close the gap between your enemy, and do extra damage.

After playing some games with Flash, I can now safely say that it works just as well as Ghost, if not better. I've taken a point in Blink of an Eye which works amazing with Presence of the Master .

Seeing how Skarner is pretty needy on Mana in the early stages, this could work. But I wouldn't recommend it.

No. Just... No. Nononono. Your support should always have it, not you as a jungler.

I'm going to put these two together because they're both useless on Skarner, in my opinion. Revive is useless in general, I tend to think. Heal still has it's uses on characters with "Build in Flashes" such as Kassadin's Riftwalk or Shyvana's Dragon's Descent.

Well... This is one of the useful spells, but Skarner shouldn't take it. Why? He has a build in Slow and Supress. His slow is spammable, and his supress is on a fairly short cooldown if you take the time to pummel some minions.

Skarner's pretty vunerable to CC, so this might be a good choice, depending on their team setup. Although you'd have to sacrifice your jungling speed OR your escaping capabilities. It's your choice.

Seeing how I consider taking Ignite on junglers as killstealing, I never bother taking this one. Even though Skarner lacks a DoT, I wouldn't recommend it. Leave the kills for your your laners, unless they can't get the kill.

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Don't get me wrong, but Skarner has filthy, filthy farm. With Crystal Slash and Fracture it's so easy to clear out minion waves and deny pushes.

Even though Skarner loves his farm, I would never kill creep waves. You should keep those up for your carry to farm, unless he/she isn't there to take them, or is too far away, be my guest and take them.

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Before I head into Masteries, Runes and skills, I'm going to explain his jungling route and the way his abilities have to be used.

Your jungling route in general will be:
Wolves > Wraiths > Small Golems > Look for a top or bot lane gank* > Back to base > Blue buff > Gank > Red buff > Repeat.

If there's a ranged character like Teemo or a tanky one like Malphite soloing top** and willing to pull blue, your jungling route will look like:
Blue > Wolves > Wraiths > Small Golems > Back to base > Start Ganking.***

*Depending on what side of the map you are. If you're on the blue side, gank bot. Purple side, gank top.
**If you're on the Purple side, ask your carry and support to pull it for you.
***Grab Red buff after going back to base.

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Skill Sequence

Alright, your skills. Skarner has fantastic skills, in my humble opinion. His Crystal Slash synergizes well with Crystalline Exoskeleton and Impale. The only skill that is kinda lagging behind is Fracture, IMO, although it still has it uses for grabbing early buffs.

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Masteries and Runes.

The reason why I take the 9/0/21 build is because of Presence of the Master and Haste . Although Good Hands and Perseverence are pretty solid also.

Presence of the Master allows for Smite Spam, which synergizes well with Plentiful Bounty . And Haste works well with Crystalline Exoskeleton to cross the map faster.

The 9 points in offense are for Plentiful Bounty and Archaic Knowledge . The reason why I didn't take the additional crit chance is because I consider it inferior to the extra AP per level on Skarner, seeing how he's more of a Hybrid, like Jax and Teemo, and not really much of an AD character like Tryndamere.

I take 9 Attack Speed runes to give my jungling speed a boost, 9 armor runes to increase my survivability, 9 magic resist runes because it's a given for ANY jungling character, in my opinion. I take the Armor Pen Quints to boost my lategame and my effectiveness in teamfights.

This is how I've build Skarner ever since I got him on his release day, and I'm sticking to it. Although, when he's getting specific buffs (or nerfs), I might try to alternate my playstyle.

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Team Fights.

Teamfights as Skarner are hilarious. You can build him as a tank to permaslow everyone, or as a Hybrid DPS to shred their Carries to tiny little pieces. Let me lay out your priorities, and give you an example how a teamfight would go for you as Skarner.

1. Carries. Ezreal, Ashe, Graves, etc... Just Crystalline Exoskeleton in, Impale and then start your spamming of Crystal Slash. If they get away, try to finish them with Fracture.

2. Supports. Sona, Janna, Soraka, Karma and Zilean, if he isn't throwing bombs at front. The reason why you want to kill those is obvious. Stop all healing and buffing, and in Sona's case, deny a Crescendo, although Janna's Monsoon can be deadly too. Ignore Taric, unless you're positive you can take him down quickly.

3. Melee DPS. At this point, the back of their team should be dead, and the survivors should be running away or trying to mop you people up, depending on your succes. Focus junglers like Lee Sin or Nocturne, because they can deal sickening AoE damage with Tempest / Cripple, Dragon's Rage, Duskbringer and Umbra Blades.

4. Tanks. Taric applies to this group for me. Just kill the remainder of their team.

If team fights don't go well for your team, you should escape and save as many teammates as you can with Crystal Slash' slow, and then use Crystalline Exoskeleton and Ghost to escape.

Now, let me describe how a teamfight would go for you as Skarner. Let me lay out the teams for you:

Your team:
Miss Fortune

Their team:
Lee Sin

So. Let's start off by initiating the team fight in mid. You should've been hiding in the left bush at this point, and walk up the ramp in front of their jungle, next to Baron Nashor . You pop Crystalline Exoskeleton, Impale and start spamming Crystal Slash on their carry, Caitlyn in this case. You ignore their support, Taric* because he'll have to much HP at that point in the game, and I'm sure you can't burst him down. Next you go kill Xerath, Lee Sin and Akali (In that order). Impale should be off CD because you've pummeled their guys to shreds, you use it on Taric, their support, if he tries to escape. Pull him back into your team, and wrap up the fight.


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Let's wrap this thing up, shall we?

Overall, Skarner is an amazing character. For me, he was worth the 975 RP, seeing how I still have fun with him, unlike Shyvana (Waste of money/IP, don't buy her).

In the case of tl;dr:

Skarner is a hybrid character. (Needs AP and AD)
Skarner is a better jungler than laner.
Skarner shreds carries.
Skarner is a ****load of fun.
Skarner is meant to target Carries, then Supports, then DPS and then tanks.
Skarner's ability sequence: Q > W > R > E.

Thank you for reading, hope you enjoyed my very first guide. :)