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Skarner Build Guide by CEOxLetMeLiveInc

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This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

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League of Legends Build Guide Author CEOxLetMeLiveInc

Skarner : Riot's disguised AD Carry or The Real Skarner

CEOxLetMeLiveInc Last updated on August 18, 2011
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Jungle Role
Ranked #22 in
Jungle Role
Win 49%
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 20

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 10

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Hi, I'm CEO and this is my Skarner guide. I don't consider myself at professional League of Legend player but I do think I have a good understanding of the game mechanics and strategies. Well... apparently enough so I'd take a shot at writing a guide on this great site that helped me many times over the last year!

If there are flaws or improvement to be made please let me know in a respectful and constructive matter and I'll see to it! ;)

PS: English is not my first language. I try my best to avoid syntax errors but if you're kind enough to msg me about them I'll be quick to correct them.

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Changed the purchase order. I have been toying with item priority the past few days and I come to realize that if I purchased a Sheen, I didn't need to finish the Trinity Force right away. I still got a pretty good damage boost and it would allow me to finish up a Phantom Dancer early. This makes for a faster hitting and moving Skarner mid game without much reduction on the damage side! :)

Also changed the summoner's spells. Replace Exhaust by Teleport. I found that Exhaust was not necessary to slow targets or to evade them. I also found that Skarner is even better I destroying buildings than I originally thought. Teleport is a great way to defend or kill a tower really fast before the enemy team can react.

Corrected skill order. Thanks Mugulord!

Also made a quick change on it. I used to get Crystal Slash at level 2 and Crystalline Exoskeleton at level 4 but I switched them. It works better with the early game having a sizeable boost of speed and damage for chasing and early first blood than having Crystal Slash early.

Modified Item section. Added links and some formating to all the sections.

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Lets take a look at Skarner (copied from LoLWiki) :

Energize : (Innate): Basic attacks lower the cooldowns of Skarner's abilities by 1 second against champions and 0.5 seconds against non-champions.

I beleive that this passive is one of the most powerful in the game. Having a way to consistently reduce the cooldown on ALL your skills (including it's ultimate) is quite a powerfull hability. Also, Skarner have it's own "build it" speed upgrade in Crystalline Exoskeleton which synergize very well with it.

As of right now, I beleive the way to build Skarner is to abuse as much as possible his passive to be able to do preaty powerfull things in battle.

Crystal Slash (Active): Skarner lashes out with his claws, dealing physical damage to all nearby enemies and charging himself with Crystal Energy for 5 seconds.
If he casts Crystal Slash again while empowered by Crystal Energy, he deals bonus magic damage and slows all targets hit for 2 seconds.
Cooldown: 3.5 seconds
Radius of AoE: 350
Cost: 22 / 24 / 26 / 28 / 30 mana
Physical Damage: 20 / 35 / 50 / 65 / 80 (+1.0 per bonus attack damage)
Magic Damage: 20 / ? / ? / ? / ? (+0.4 per ability power)
Slow: 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 %

First of all, this skill have a VERY low cooldown. And coupled with the fact that every autoattacks reduces it makes it preaty much spammable at all time, even without and items. The main point of the skill is the slow effect. With enough attacks speed you'll be able to maintain the slow on your target champion ennemy indefinatly (unless the game now feature some kind of slow diminishing returns that I'm not aware of).

Damage scaling is ok, it's spammable, it slows the target, it's aoe... rather small but still, a good spell.

Crystalline Exoskeleton (Active): Skarner receives a shield for up to 6 seconds. While the shield persists his movement speed and attack speed are increased.
Cost: 60 mana
Cooldown: 14 seconds
Shield Strength: 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+0.6 per ability power)
Attack Speed Bonus: 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50 %
Movement Speed Bonus: 15 / 17 / 19 / 21 / 23 %

This skill is the core of Skarner. It has a perfect sinergy with his passive AND his ultimate. The attack speed portion let you do a lot more attacks, leading to more damage, leading to massive cooldown reductions, leading to more skills that finaly lead to more damage :P

The second part is as much awesome. It gives you a great deal of bonus movement speed. Very good for chasing, escaping or just running around.

The last part is the shield. A shield is always nice and it save lives. But in the case of Skarner it can be a limitation. His bonnus attack and movement only lasts while the shield is up. Meaning that if you take enough damage for the shield to break you lose it.

Fracture (Active): Skarner summons a blast of crystalline energy which deals damage to enemies struck and marks them for 6 seconds. Any further damage dealt to marked targets by Skarner will allow him to consume the mark to heal himself. Subsequent marks consumed will heal for 50% of the last.
Cooldown: 10 seconds
Range: 600
Cost: 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 mana
Magic Damage: 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 / 240 (+0.7 per ability power)
Heal: 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 (+0.3 per ability power)

Another very versatile skill. First, it's a ranged skillshot with short range. Despite the range, it's still the best harassment skill Skarner has. If maxed early it does a very good amount of damage even without any AP items.

It also marks your targets with a debuff that makes you heal yourself if you hit the target again. The heal generated from a full pack of six minion is considarable. Just hit the whole wave with Fracture then go in the middle of the wave and cast Crystal Slash for a nice chunk of life gain!

This skill is key to his laning phase and should be used as much as possible to sustain AND harass at the same time.

Impale (Active): Skarner suppresses an enemy champion for 1.5 seconds and deals magic damage to it. During this time, Skarner can move freely and will drag his helpless victim around with him. When the effect ends, Skarner's target will be dealt the same amount of magic damage again.
Range 125
Cooldown: 110 / 100 / 90 seconds
Cost: 100 / 125 / 150 mana
Magic Damage: 100 / 150 / 200 (+0.5 per ability power)

And then we have his signature move. Suppressing skill are already well known througout the game for being one of the most powerfull AND frustrating skills effect. Loosing control of your champion is never fun... but being pulled around all the while is just the icing on the cake :P

Pull them to your tower, pull them in the middle of your team, pull this @#$%@# Fiddle out of your team while his ulti is active... PULL everyone :P

Do not hesitate to spam this one since every attack you do will reduce it's cooldown.

Also, dont forget that you're not bound to run around while his Ultimate is active. Many time I just attack an opposing champion by Impaling said champion and unleashing all the damage I can while he's helpless, giving me a solid lead in the fight and lowering the chance for him to use his skills multiple times in the fight.

Also, Skarner can be quite efficient in 1v2 situations. Simply storm one while impaling the other then proceed to kill the impaled when the first one dies.

Lastly, movement speed. Make sure you pop Crystalline Exoskeleton every time you intend to drag someone around for the extra speed and the added durability! The more speed you have, the more deadly these drags will be.

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The build

The skill tool kit of Skarner gives you incentives to do two things :

First : Spam skills. You get rewarded for spamming Crystal Slash with a slow. Each time you attack, your cooldowns decrease, hence giving you more opportunities to use your skills. While playing Skarner you WILL be spamming anything and everything as much as possible.

Second : Get Speed. Your passive rewards attack speed and Crystalline Exoskeleton gives you attack speed and movement speed. The more attack speed you have, the more you can cast, the more damage you do. Also, movement speed is key in utilizing your ultimate. The more movement speed you have the more efficient your ultimate gets.

This build is intended to satisfy these two criteria by making a powerfull and efficient Skarner.

Also, since the item build is designed around attack speed, I feel AD is the way to play Skarner. I know he has some good AP ratios but, while pumping up attack speed, AD gives the best return in investment. In addition to attack speed, the main source of skill damage of Skarner scale nicely with AD. This gives him a lot of punch in that regards. Keep in mind that more attack speed makes for more Crystal Slash and more AD makes for deadlier Crystal Slash :)

Crystalline Exoskeleton makes you farm minions like a mad man and gives great utility. The scaling with AP is good but from what I experienced so far, I dont feel that going AP to boost the shield gives significant advantage do its utility. Most of the time, either the shield last full duration because you're not focused (or running away faster than your pursuers) or it falls in one or two seconds because you're being focused.

Same thing with Impale and Fracture. These have decent AP scaling but are really shining cause of their utility more than their damage.

I intent to do some maths in the near future to prove that my instincts are valid. I'll post the results when I have them.

Lastly, I have seen my share of useless Skarners over the last few days and it make me really sad. This champion can easily carry a team and can 1v1 regardless of what people are saying. Yes, it's design is not that great in that it makes you think this is an AP champion but in reality, everything about him is about attack damage.

Just please, before bashing the theory, try the build. I have great success with it in every game I play and if you think Skarner is week you should definitely give him another chance :)

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For runes, I chose to get some durability for the laning phase. Skarner has an 'ok' skill for harassing in Fracture but I find that the defensive boost early on makes him a great solo laner.

Marks : Greater Mark of Desolation
Seals : Greater Seal of Resilience
Glyphs : Greater Glyph of Warding
Quintessences : Greater Quintessence of Swiftness

I found that for quintessences, movement speed brings the best out of Skarner and make his ultimate that much scarier.

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I go with offence for the added attack speed which benefits greatly Skarner.

For the second tree I got with utility for the added buff duration and better regenaration.

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Summoner Spells

Flash/Ghost is a staple for... well... every champion and Skarner is no exception. I personaly prefer Flash as Skarner already have a build-in on demand speed boost.

Exhaust works well with Skarner, emphasising on his strengths.

I do prefer Teleport on Skarner for a fast trip back early to purchase the Tear of goddess and then later in the game to port to a "winning" lane for a quick tower kill which Skarner greatly excels at! Ad his natural mobility and the items in the build and you can literally be all over the map!

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The goal of this build is attack speed and movement speed. Here is the detailed item build and the reasoning behind it:

Manamune : The first item of the list answers the resource problem. If you are to spam your skills like there is no tomorrow you will need access to quite the amount of mana. Two items are on the list for near infinite mana : Manamune and Archangle Staff. Since this guide is focusing on AD rather than AP, Manamune it is! Remember that while you run, you can spam all your skills and boost it very fast. By level 13 you should have it maxed no problem! Lastly, by level 18, this item should net you around +70 attack damage. A lot of stats and utility for the price!

Berserker's Greaves : Again an easy choice for movement AND attack speed.

Phantom Dancer : This gives a very big chunk of attack speed and movement. Everything that is Skarner!

Trinity Force : This item is amazing in every way. It gives everything you'd ever want on an item for Skarner: attack speed, damage, movement speed, passive damage increase and some ability power as an icing on the cake! This is an absolute must for Skarner.

After [[Trinity Force], you should adapt to the ennemy team composition, behavior and itemization; building defences, armor pen, utility, movement, etc... Just remember that when going for damage, attack speed or procs from hits are key!

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In the first few minutes of the game, you should use Fracture every time an enemy champion gets near his minions. It will bring his health down slowly but steadily. Every time it's safe for you afterwards to hit the marked minions do so, you will get a small heal that, over time, will keep you as long as you want in your lane.

As soon as I get 650g, I push the lane back to the enemy's tower then recall and get my Tear of the Goddess. While on your way back spam Crystalline Exoskeleton to get back faster and Crystal Slash every time its off cooldown to start building your mana pool! At that point you should have no problems using all your skills at will all the while growing your mana pool to get the best damage bonus out of Manamune early on.

At that point I usually stay in lane as long as I can, only coming back out of necessity or if I have a log of gold and a window of opportunity arises.

By the time you have your Manamune, your boots and a Sheen you'll be hard to deal with and will do a lot of burst damage. Use it to your advantage and punish anyone that overextends his lane.

Use your ultimate every time you can. Remember to always be attacking something; creeps, jungling, attacking structures and champions. Every time you attack, all your cooldowns go down a bit. So if you have mana to spare, go attack something and pop Crystalline Exoskeleton. If you keep at it, you should be able to use your ultimate in nearly every fights.

In team fights, your speed and your burst should be the bane of enemy carries. As soon as the combat starts, go strait for their best damage dealer and lock him out with your ultimate.

I find that in team fights a lot of Skarners will try to drag around carries to put them out of position. I think that in a lot of situation that's a mistake because you essentially make the fight 4v4 for a short time while you and your target are out of combat.

Instead, you should neutralize their best damage dealer WHILE bursting another carry down. The two damage skills of Skarner are aoe so put them to good use and stay in the fight :)

If you do this correctly you essentially make the fight a 5v4 for a short time, often enough to secure a win.

One more thing to note is that build that way, Skarner is an amazing demolisher! With all his mobility, attack speed and burst from Trinity Force you should always take the opportunity to back door or sneak a fast turret kill. With only Trinity Force and the boots, you should be able to keep Crystalline Exoskeleton running endlessly.

I hope you enjoyed the guide and don't hesitate to post your thoughts on the new bug in town!