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Skarner Build Guide by HenshinM

Not Updated For Current Season

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League of Legends Build Guide Author HenshinM

Skarner SKAR skar

HenshinM Last updated on September 11, 2011
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Team 1

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Jungle Role
Ranked #22 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: 1

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

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

Utility: 8

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Skarner is my favorite champion for a number of reasons so when I heard a lot of talk about whether or not he's a "worthless" champion I was inspired to write this guide. I'm going to show not only those interested in Skarner - but also his critics - that he is an awesome asset to any team due to his survivability, his strong harassment potential, and shed some light on exactly what makes him a frustrating champion to find yourself up against.

To those who say he's not a jungler, I'll be explaining a great deal about how to play a viable jungler build, but also discussing some 3v3 and how to implement yourself well in team fights. This is primarily a jungling build and I will be addressing everything as though it were meant for a jungler first. But don't stop reading if you just want general information. Its there.

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Pros / Cons

The Pros:

  • This build focuses on improving the swiftness of your auto attacks which is both a pro and a con. As a result it requires you to be in the fray auto attacking. If you're not comfortable knowing when to run this will only be a Con. Don't uninstall the game, just play Caitlyn :)
  • You're going to have no trouble fighting enemies in the jungle.
  • If you're focusing on offense you'll be doing a lot of damage (pro), but you can at times be squishier than necessary (con). Don't be tempted into being a dedicated tank as Skarner. There are more obvious choices.

The Cons:
  • The staying power you'll receive from the runes will not lend itself well to early game ganking. You're not a Warwick or a Nunu, so don't pretend to be. You're going to have difficulty ganking anyone if you're below level 6, and as a result you have to be very choosy about when you reveal yourself and attempt to gank.
  • Skarner in general requires strategic placement. His Impale is an awesome ability and should always be used as a drag, and not simply a suppression, but REQUIRES you to be on top of where you're standing. You can't sit on the sidelines with Skarner.

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For runes I want to emphasize the importance of survivability when it comes to Skarner. Not only are you going to find yourself in the thick of it most of the time, but you WANT to be. Contrary to what you would expect from many champions, you don't always want to play it safe as Skarner. In fact, his ganking abilities derive from his ability to chase and slow his enemies effectively. If you're sitting on the outside of the fray using "Fracture" you're not doing anybody any favors, and you're going to find yourself out of mana pretty quick.

Instead we want to be in their face, and for that we're going to need Greater Seals of Resilience and Greater Glyphs of Warding Now, not only are you a pain in the *** to kill, but as a result of ignoring you in favor of squishier targets, your opponents are actually hurting themselves in the long term if they need to run away. Nothing escapes Skarner.

I choose Greater Marks of Desolation Greater Mark of Desolation because Armor Pen would be a pain in the *** to receive from most other sources. A few of the Quintessences you may consider are Attack Speed, Attack Damage, or Swiftness. However - while all of these may look good on paper - in reality, if you're closely following my guide they are NOT worth taking. You'll receive more than enough of these from other sources. Instead I would strongly advise you to focus on Armor Pen to really maximize its capability.

Lastly, if you're thinking to yourself, "Skarner's strength comes from CD reductions, maybe I should maximize those..." Don't waste your time. Your passive lends itself well to this, and you will just be wasting your runes.

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In the beginning I threw out any preconceived notions on how to play Skarner and decided to try out maximizing all three masteries. See, I thought as a jungler the utility tree would lend itself well to Skarner. It does NOT. You'll find yourself dying pretty quick in a team fight and your team will be cursing you. So then I thought because I mostly play Skarner as a damage dealer maybe the offense tree would help boost my damage capability. It did, and yet I found myself dying even in 1v1 situations. That's why I like to play Skarner as a mostly defense mastery champion. He's suddenly a lot harder to kill, and you're still doing a lot of damage.

Don't expect to be the mvp for your team every game as Skarner. Likely you won't be. Your assists and kills will likely be close to even, but if you're playing him correctly your deaths should be close to 0. Stay at the front line of battle, but know when to retreat. If you see an opportunity to take a death for the greater good of killing the enemy team, do so. Don't be afraid of dying with Skarner if you've slowed their entire team on their retreat. This can easily lead to a victory.

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Easy reference

  • For a Jungler:
    Berserker's Greaves
    Madred's Razors (*I know its one too many)
    Wit's End
    Sheen/Trinity Force
    The Black Cleaver
    Guinsoo's Rageblade
    Hextech Gunblade
  • Non-Jungler
    Berserker's Greaves
    Wit's End
    Sheen/Trinity Force
    Force of Nature
    Hextech Gunblade
At the end of this build you may decide its not for you. Maybe you'll try it out and its not making sense to you. That's fine. However, if you read any other build and it does not contain Wit's End, then you are 100% wasting your time. This one item is the key to what most are missing with Skarner. Its the reason they feel like they aren't doing ANYTHING. With this you'll be attacking VERY quickly, and as a result your abilities will almost never be on CD. People will be very scared of you when they can't escape and they'll start thinking in a much more defensive manner, which lends itself well to your team winning.

Madred's Razor is an important second item because its going to boost your damage capability against minions by quite a bit. However, after you get Wit's End, feel free to sell it back. Further boost your attack speed with Berserker Greaves and take Sheen. There's a reason this is on your recommended list. The next item is going to depend a lot on if you're playing a 3v3 or a 5v5. If you're playing Skarner as a jungler (which I highly recommend for a 5v5) then you should constantly have the blue buff, and you won't be hurting for mana. In this case you can choose to either take The Black Cleaver or Tiamat as your next item. Either one is awesome for Skarner. However, in a 3v3 you're going to want to get Manamune. This is important so remember it.

If you're fighting a heavy magic oriented team, and you find Wit's End just isn't giving you the staying power you need, go for Force of Nature next. Remember: We want to frustrate the enemy team into not attacking us. If the other team doesn't have much magic, its better to go for Trinity Force at this point. Either Guinsoo's Rageblade or Hextech Gunblade make for a nice last item. I would lean more towards Guinsoo's Rageblade personally if you don't have much gold.

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Skill Sequence

Our first priority is maximizing Crystalline Exoskeleton . It boosts your attack speed (lowering your CDs), it raises your damage intake (remember: staying power is important) and gives you the ability to very effectively chase. Next we're going to maximize Crystal Slash to slow down our enemies, and then Impale , and finally Fracture . You don't need to follow my skill sequence exactly, just remember to follow that order and you'll be fine.

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Summoner Spells


Flash is one of the more effective Summoner Spells for Skarner because you're better able to chase or escape, you can flash to a surprise Impale and pull your enemies into your turret or allies, or flash your way out of a dragon kill if the enemy team tries to gank you while you're jungling.

Smite is imperative for any jungling build. Always take this and the mastery provided for it and don't be afraid to use it any time its not on CD. That will maximize your gold intake.

If you decide not to jungle, (I personally do not like to jungle in a 3v3 situation), go for Exhaust as your second Summoner Spell, and take the 1 talent point from Smite and place it in Exhaust. Simple.

Finally, the only other Summoner Spell I really recommend is Clarity. I know many people consider it worthless, but its one of my favorites for staying in the jungle when I'm jungling. After about level five its not really worth it for you anymore because you have the blue buff, however its still an important ability for team fights. I recommend using it as a jungler.

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Creeping / Jungling

Finally, the moment we've all been waiting for. (Or at least I was waiting for.) People say Skarner isn't a jungler, and many may question what you're doing in the jungle. They'll likely curse you when you lose an early tower, and if you haven't ganked someone by 8:00 minutes, you've lost all their respect. Take a breath, because you've been doing the right thing all along and now they're going to notice.

Here's a few helpful hints to be an effective jungler.
1) Take Clarity and Smite.
2) Fight the golems first and begin by Fracturing both, and Smiting one of your choice. Focus him down, use a health potion, and finish the other.
3) Move on to the wolves. They are easy and require next to no effort. Focus the biggest wolf down first. Then move on to the "wraiths". By now Smite is off CD and you can easily Smite one-shot-kill the biggest wraith. Finish the rest off and now look at your mini-map for an opportunity to gank.
4) For the teammate who is soloing, if he's a fail he will likely be losing and you may be tempted to assist him. This is not always the best idea. Any offensive action you take towards an enemy lane will likely cause the enemy team to re-adjust their strategy. For instance, if you have two Champions at the bottom, they may have already got the opposing champions close to death. This is the perfect opportunity to finish them off and thus the enemy team has to rethink their strategy.

Repeat these conditions until level 5, and now you're ready to kill the giant golem for the blue buff. With that you're never going to need to leave the jungle unless you want to gank or pick up an item. In a 5v5 you should always have this buff. Period.

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Team Work

When fighting as a team with Skarner, spam "Q" or Crystal Slash for the uninitiated, use Fracture whenever its not on CD, and keep your Exoskeleton up. Most importantly: Impale has a long cooldown normally, so I recommend you either use it to pull a retreating enemy back into your allies, or as a method for suppressing an enemy champion, such as a nuke.

Your main focus as Skarner should be to harass the enemy team. They'll be forced to attack you, and as long as your team is paying attention, you'll do fine. Better yet, if they don't attack you, they'll be in for a surprise when they try to escape.

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Thank you for reading my guide. I hope its helpful for you. Please let me know if you have any suggestions on how I could improve this build, or my guide.

"My stinger brings ugly death!"