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Skarner Build Guide by Merthos1123

Top grandmaster

Skarner Top - Challenger Guide

By Merthos1123 | Updated on February 22, 2021
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Runes: Skarner (Grasp)

1 2 3 4
Grasp of the Undying
Shield Bash
Second Wind

Biscuit Delivery
Approach Velocity

+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+6 Armor


1 2
Flash Ignite
LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ignite


LeagueSpy Logo
Jungle Role
Ranked #9 in
Jungle Role
Win 54%
Get More Stats


Skarner Top (Start Item + Mythics)
Start (D shield + Health Potion)
First Back (Sheen + Refill + Control Ward))
Build Order (Sunderer/Tri) (Carry)
Build Order (Chemtank) (Ult-Bot)
Moonplate Core

Champion Build Guide

Skarner Top - Challenger Guide

By Merthos1123
Introduction Back to Top

Hey, my name is Merthos and I main Skarner Top and have managed to peak Challenger 734 LP, I have over 6000 Skarner games and I have played him almost exclusively top in season 9. I think playing Skarner top is more effective than in the jungle because your jungle slot is not wasted on a champion that has to wait until level 6 to be effective, as playing jungle Skarner is reliant on the enemy team to misposition. Overall Skarner is a champion that excels at crowd controlling enemies with Impale and Fracture
Why Skarner? Back to Top
Skarner is an immense crystalline scorpion from a hidden valley in Shurima. Part of the ancient Brackern race, Skarner and his kin are known for their great wisdom and deep connection to the land, as their souls are fused with powerful life crystals which hold the living thoughts and memories of their ancestors.

"We are one. We cannot be shattered." - Skarner
Skarner is a champion that excels in crowd controlling his opponents allowing him or his team to secure kills and objectives, due to the massive pressure Impale puts on his enemies.

Why Play Skarner?

- Giant Crystal Scorpion
- Unique Ultimate
- Up to five seconds of hard cc.
- Played in Top and Jungle
- Snowballs
- Versatile
Abilities Back to Top

Crystal Spires
- Skarner's presence spawns six crystal zones on the map located in both rivers and all jungle quadrants. When the zone is captured you gain brief vision around the zone and gold. While in the zone Skarner gains a massive increase to his movement speed, attack speed, and mana regeneration.

- While Skarner is in the top lane there are no zones that increase your power, effectively leaving you with no passive. However there is a way to activate the passive in short bursts using Impale and Fracture. When Skarner Fracture stuns or uses Impale, Skarner gains Crystal Charge which gives Skarner his spire bonus for the duration of the crowd control. This is crucial for top lane as Skarner needs all the power he can get in the early game.

Crystal Slash
- Skarner slashes in a aoe circle dealing maximum health physical damage on the first charge, and on the second charge dealing maximum health magic damage.

- This ability is Skarner's dps tool that allows him to access his q auto combo and gives him a edge in skirmishes, due to the ability reducing its cool down on auto attacks. This is crucial for top lane because Skarner has low damage after his Fracture and Impale are used. Therefore Crystal Slash can give you a huge boost in damage that no one expects.

Crystalline Exoskeleton
- When cast Skarner gains a shield equal to his maximum health, and gives him ramping movement speed.

- For top lane Crystalline Exoskeleton is a great tool in mitigating damage and gaining extra movement speed. This is crucial for top lane as Skarner has no innate sustain and low mobility.

- Skarner launches a blast of crystal energy that slows enemies and marks them with Crystal Venom. When auto attacking the marked enemy, Skarner stuns the target, reducing its cool down and gaining Crystal Charge for the duration of the stun.

- For the top lane Fracture gives Skarner access to his short trade combo and Crystal Charge for the duration of the stun. This is crucial for top lane, because Skarner needs this to get uncontested trades, and can be used for his most powerful crowd control setup which uses Impale.

- Skarner attacks with his stinger dealing physical and magic damage on the cast and end, also supressing the target allowing Skarner to move the target freely. Skarner is also affected by Crystal Charge for the duration of the suppress and reduces the cool down of Fracture.

- Impale is what makes Skarner a very powerful champion as hes the only one who can freely move someone with their ultimate. It allows Skarner to gain cool down reduction on his Fracture and gives Skarner his five seconds of crowd control. This can make your opponents unable to move or react. This is crucial for top lane as Skarner needs this to setup kills and can be used to peel enemies. This can also be used to setup the tower fracture combo, which allows Skarner to make the enemy champion get hit by tower shots for the duration of all your crowd control.
Summoner Spells Back to Top
Summoner Spells

Skarner is most effective in my opinion with Flash Ignite. This is due to Skarner having a weak early game, and needing extra power to win against his opponents. It allows Skarner to play more aggressive and snowball further into a giant scorpion monster that runs down his enemies. That being said, if you like teleport you can opt for it, but just remember that his early game might feel a lot weaker, due to his low damage output during this stage.

Flash on Skarner is very important as he has no gap close. He needs it to perform the flash Impale combo to catch priority targets. He also needs it to escape ganks or finish off targets.
Ignite on Skarner has been something I have recently been using to gain extra power during the early game. This can help Skarner snowball and gain massive advantages in skirmishes and teamfights.
Teleport can be great on Skarner if playing safe is more your playstyle. It gives you a chance to fix waves or teleport to another place on the map to put pressure.
Combos Back to Top

Skarner's combos are easy to pull off, but are still needed to be known in order to make the most out of his kit. Skarner has very high amounts of crowd control due to his Fracture reducing its cooldown when Crystal Venom is consumed. This allows Skarner to get his Fracture up another time to increase the crowd control duration up to five seconds of hard cc.

Short Trade

This combo allows Skarner to do the majority of his damage in lane. Shoot Fracture at the enemy and consume the Crystal Venom mark to activate Crystal Charge while using Crystal Slash to exit the trade.

Five Seconds of CC

This combo allows Skarner to achieve his five seconds of crowd control. Throw Fracture out, then Impale the enemy dragging them into your tower or team. As Impale ends proc the Crystal Venom mark for the stun. Throw Fracture again to increase the crowd control time.

Impale Turn

This mechanic is very important to increase the range on Skarner's Impale by turning your character model at the end of the duration.

Crystal Slash Autos

This combo allows Skarner to Crystal Slash while auto attacking increasing dps dramatically. Use this in conjunction with other combos to get the most out of Skarner's kit.

Runes Back to Top

After extensively testing for a long time with runes reforged. I think I can finally come up with what runes are the best for top lane Skarner. For keystones Skarner should be using Grasp of the Undying, Aftershock, Prototype: Omnistone, and Unsealed Spellbook. For secondary runes you just use the opposite of the keystone that you are using. Examples are if you are running a resolve keystone like Grasp of the Undying, for secondary make sure you are taking Biscuit Delivery, and Approach Velocity. If you are running an inspiration keystone make sure you are running Second Wind or Bone Plating with Overgrowth for your secondary runes.

These are the four main keystones that Skarner top should be using Grasp of the Undying can be used to increase short trade power in lane, and can be used against melee targets that are less mobile. Aftershock can be used to help Skarner's tankiness throughout the game. Prototype: Omnistone offers you versatility in rune choice, because Skarner can use most runes effectively. Finally Unsealed Spellbook can offer you versatility in summoner spell choice changing how you play every fight.

These are the main secondary runes that you should be using for resolve. Shield Bash gives you extra damage and tankiness for building hp and using Crystalline Exoskeleton. Second Wind can offer insane lane sustain. Bone Plating can offer you nice burst reduction against high damage opponents like Renekton. Overgrowth gives you increased health which amplifies Shield Bash and Crystalline Exoskeleton.

These are the main secondary runes you should be using for inspiration. Biscuit Delivery offers you insane lane sustain. Approach Velocity gives extra mobility in lane. Magical Footwear gives you faster boots that are free at 12 minutes offering you extra mobility.
Items Back to Top

During the preseason the items changed drastically introducing new items called mythics which only one can be built. After extensive testing I have found that Divine Sunderer, Trinity Force, and Turbo Chemtank to be the most viable mythics on Skarner. As for legendary items Skarner should be building moonplate items such as Dead Man's Plate or Force of Nature, then going items based on the situation, for example Randuin's Omen or Spirit Visage.

Starting Items

Doran's Shield should always be started on Skarner as it gives him sustain in lane. This makes Skarner last longer in lane gaining more gold and experience.
Health Potion should be always started with Doran's Shield as it offers even more sustain. This lets Skarner use the health pot defensively or offensively, when fighting or retreating from enemy champions.
Sheen should be always built after your first back, as Sheen items are incredibly effective with Skarner's Crystal Slash proccing it constantly.

Mythic Choices

Divine Sunderer is a great mythic for Skarner, because it gives him a maximum health sheen proc. This proc can be used with Fracture to deal massive single target damage to all opponents and heal Skarner. This item is great for bruiser Skarner as it gives him health and attack damage.
Turbo Chemtank is a amazing mythic for Skarner, because it gives him a active that gives him a insane speed boost towards enemy champions. allowing Skarner to get Impale off easily. This item is great for Skarner as it gives him health and resists.
Trinity Force is a amazing alternative for Divine Sunderer, because it gives him a sheen proc that does more damage early. This item is great for Skarner as it gives him stronger 1v1 potential.

Legendary Choices

Sterak's gage gives Skarner burst reduction through a shield when hit by large amounts of damage. This is important for Skarner because he needs to frontline and without a strong defense he could easily die.
Randuin's Omen gives Skarner armor and an active that slows reducing damage dealt by physical attacks and critical strikes. This is important for Skarner as it gives him a strong defense against marksmen.
Thornmail grants Skarner grevious wounds which decreases the amount of healing enemy champions. This is important on Skarner, because one of his weaknesses is fighting sustained champions as they can outlast him.
Dead Man's plate gives Skarner mobility and armor, as well as access to a passive called momentum that builds up to 100 to unleash a magic damage empowered auto attack. This is important for Skarner because of his low mobility and damage without items.
Spirit visage on Skarner gives him increased magic resist and increases Crystalline Exoskeleton's power. This is important on Skarner as he is frontline champion, and having more shield and health can make him survive a lot longer.
Force of Nature grants Skarner mobility and magic resist, and increased speed when getting hit by magic damage. This is important for Skarner as one of his weaknesses is low mobility and magic damage due to burst.
Abyssal Mask grants Skarner increased damage on immobilized targets, health, and magic resist. This is important on Skarner since both Fracture and Impale are immobilizes.


Plated Steelcaps should be built on Skarner against compositions that use physical damage and auto attacks in their kits.
Mercury's Treads should be built on Skarner against compositions that use magic damage and crowd control in their kits.
Top Lane Skarner Back to Top
Top Lane
I play Skarner in the top lane because I have more games in the role. I believe it can be just as good as jungle Skarner, because Skarner's kit is incredibly strong and versatile in a lot of different situations. Making him a great pick in almost every single game.

Champion Bans
For Skarner top I would always recommend banning champions that make you unable to lane for example, for me in high elo, I usually ban Elise because her tower diving presence can be incredibly dangerous early, and usually shuts you out of the game for a long time. When I get secondary jungle another great option is to ban Olaf because he is one of the only champions that can directly counter your ultimate. These bans are just examples, but I would highly recommend them as these give me the most trouble in the laning phase or when jungling.

This item is what counters Skarner and it is called Quicksilver Sash when built this allows enemy champions to cancel out your ultimate leaving it useless. Fear not as this does not mean Skarner is completely useless, to get around this problem there is a combo that utilizes Impale and Fracture stun to still get a use out of Impale. To pull off this combo you need to first land Fracture without proccing the stun. Then Flash or walk in to Impale, and as soon as they use qss for Impale, stun them with the Crystal Venom mark left on them by Fracture.

Wave Management
Wave management is very important on top Skarner, because wave management can decide if you win or lose the early game due to jungler prescence. For Skarner the most important wave state is resetting the lane by pushing all the minions into the enemy tower, and managing a slow push to give Skarner pressure in lane due to the minions stacking. For early game when you trade on Skarner you should automatically begin to slow push. This allows you to get towards the goal of resetting the lane. After the laning phase is over you want to start to push the lane constantly to roam, or split push depending on how your team is doing. If your team is behind then trying to roam after pushing might be a solid option. If your team is ahead then trying to split push, and putting pressure in the side lane is also another option. This does not mean that you can't roam when ahead, its just a way of thinking about what would be more beneficial for your team, roaming or splitting.

Early Laning Phase
In the early laning on Skarner, you should try your best to cs and land Fracture short trades. The Fracture short trades allow Skarner to get towards his goal of resetting the lane by creating a slow push. By short trading your lane opponent, their minions will die faster due to them gaining aggro on you. This allows you slowly build up a minion advantage to push the lane into the enemy tower resetting the wave. This allows the enemy minions to push back into your tower to repeat this process over again.

Teamfights and Objectives
This is where Skarner shines and can use his insane crowd control to benefit his team. Before a team fight breaks out is where Skarner can be incredibly effective. You should always look if you can Flash or walk in to Impale or Fracture to stun priority targets like carries or junglers. This can instantly turn the fight into a 4v5 gaining a huge advantage for your team, often times outright guaranteeing the objective. For river objectives such as baron or dragon, Skarner is incredibly strong as he has access to Crystal Spires.
Conclusion Back to Top
Thank you for taking time to read my in-depth Skarner guide and hope you learn more about this amazing champion. In order to make this guide code examples from jhoijhoi's Making a Guide were used, and I greatly appreciate this resource. For anyone looking to create a guide on mobafire should use the excellent examples in that guide.

If you would like to see more Skarner gameplay follow me on Twitch or Youtube If you have any questions drop by my twitch stream or discord server, and I will be glad to answer them.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Merthos1123
Merthos1123 Skarner Guide
Skarner Top - Challenger Guide

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