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Skarner Build Guide by Merthos1123

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Skarner Top - Challenger Guide

By Merthos1123 | Updated on August 19, 2020
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Runes: Omnistone

1 2 3
Inspiration
Prototype: Omnistone
Magical Footwear
Biscuit Delivery
Cosmic Insight

Resolve
Bone Plating
Unflinching
Bonus:

+10% Attack Speed
+6 Armor
+6 Armor

Spells:

1 2
Ghost Teleport
LoL Summoner Spell: Ghost

Ghost

LoL Summoner Spell: Teleport

Teleport

LeagueSpy Logo
Jungle Role
Ranked #9 in
Jungle Role
Win 55%
Get More Stats

Ability Order 1 Point R (E W Q MAX)

Threats & Synergies

Threats Synergies
Extreme Major Even Minor Tiny
Show All
None Low Ok Strong Ideal
Extreme Threats
Ideal Synergies
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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 his massive amounts of cc at capped cdr.
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Skarner is a juggernaut that excels at crowd controlling his target for a insane amount of time. Skarner's most iconic ability for crowd control is Impale, Skarner rears his stinger and suppresses his target for 1.75 seconds. With Impale Skarner can setup free kills for his teammates. Overall Skarner is a champion that can be used to effectively shut a person out of a fight and potentially make it a 4v5.
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Pros

+ Strong when ahead
+ Easy roams with Crystal Spires
+ Great setup for junglers
+ Good pick potential with Flash Impale
+ Tanky
Skarner is a tanky juggernaut that excels at locking down champions with insane crowd control. Skarner has a rough early game but if he gets going he is a very snowbally champion. Roaming with Skarner is also very effective due to his Crystal Spires giving him over 70 movement speed throughout most of the river and jungle quadrants. Skarner's strongest when he is able to setup his junglers with his insane cc allowing for essentially free kills.

Cons

- Weak early game
- No Crystal Spires in lane
- Low mobility
- Crystal Spires can be captured by enemy team
Skarner has an extremely weak early game usually having mana issues and has a hard time surviving against strong early game opponents. Crystal Spires do not spawn in lane so you basically have no passive aside from your e proc or r duration. Skarner has no mobility aside from his W speed up, making him vulnerable to ganks. Skarner's passive Crystal Spires can be captured by the enemy team making you have essentially no passive if the enemy controls the map.
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Summoner Spells
For Skarner top you can take Ghost Teleport or Flash Teleport both are great for Skarner as he has no gap closer, and both summoner spells can help you get near priority targets with ease.
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Rune Choices

Keystones

In my almost 6000 games of Skarner top there was a lot of experimentation with which keystones work the best and what were sub optimal. As of patch 10.14 Skarner's best keystones are from the Inspiration, Resolve, and Sorcery tree's and that includes Prototype: Omnistone, Phase Rush, and Aftershock.

Prototype: Omnistone allows Skarner to have the versatility of being able to use all keystones.

Phase Rush allows Skarner to better escape potential and being able to pull targets further with Impale

Aftershock allows Skarner to be a frontline threat in a team fight with lower risk of dying due to the extra resists.

Secondary Runes

For the secondary runes Skarner you should always have Bone Plating Unflinching as secondary if not running Resolve tree.

Resolve Choices

Unflinching gives Skarner a lot of needed crowd control reduction in big team fights so that he can reliably land his cc.

Bone Plating enables Skarner to have much needed burst reduction as he is very vulnerable early without items.

Shield Bash enables Skarner when using Crystalline Exoskeleton to gain 10 armor and magic resist, in addition to extra on hit damage depending on the size of his shield.

Inspiration Choices

Biscuit Delivery gives Skarner much needed mana and health sustain for the early game.

Cosmic Insight gives Skarner extra cdr for the early game and can help smooth out the 35% cdr spike with the cdr core.

Magical Footwear free boots on Skarner is insanely good on him, it also gives an extra 10 movement speed on top of it.

Sorcery Choices

Manaflow Band gives Skarner greater mana control in lane.

Transcendence gives Skarner 10% cdr at level 10 that can be capped out with the cdr core.

Gathering Storm a good scaling rune on Skarner as it gives him extra adaptive force the longer the game goes on.

Rune Explanation

Skarner to explain why Prototype: Omnistone, Aftershock, and Phase Rush are the best for Skarner there is one way to explain it. What Skarner wants in a rune is instant power, what that means is that you can proc these runes with out much effort such as landing 3 abilities, immobilizing, and auto attacking.
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Items

Skarner's best stat is Cooldown Reduction by far and allows Skarner to accomplish his stun combo that rotates his Fracture twice and gives him his massive cc time.

First Back
For the first back you should be looking to complete Skarner's most important item which is Sheen, This item allows Skarner to make use of his high base ad and gives him mana and cooldown reduction both stats that can help Skarner immensely early. If you have enough gold after early laning then you should also pick up Refillable Potion and Boots of Speed as Skarner can be a bit sluggish early and easily pushed out of lane with his low sustain.

Core CDR
In order for Skarner to accomplish his cc "combo" he needs to reach a minimum of 35% cdr in order for the Fracture cool-down to become low enough to perform it. With this information Skarner works best when he is paired with 3 CDR components for the early game that includes Sheen. This makes Skarner a very versatile champion as he can build many different cdr combinations which includes ap, ad, and tank builds.

Boots
Boots on Skarner are just as important as items because Skarner has no gap closer and getting into melee range will be incredibly difficult without boots. Mercury's Treads should be taken in the majority of games with a balanced compositions and Ninja Tabi being taken into a full ad compositions.
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Skarner Early
Skarner should not be looking to make plays before level 6 unless the jungler shows up. Before the match starts, I would look at the enemy top and jungle and look at their combined diving and ganking pressure, and play accordingly to not lose lane to the enemy jungler. An example for a dangerous combo would be Elise and Renekton both are very aggressive early on and elise can repeatedly gank making you useless for most of the early game.

Laning Phase Early
Start by finding out how aggressive your top lane opponent is, and make a gameplan from there. If the enemy is playing aggressive and trying to trade constantly there's a good chance that that the lane will shove towards your side of the map levels 1 through 3, and that's how most lanes will go for Skarner top. An example would be the Jayce lane which will most likely start with him trying to chase you level one and harassing to get your hp low, in which case you should back up wait for experience and the first wave to shove into your tower.

Short Trades
While Skarner has a weak early game it does not mean you need to concede everything in lane. Look for short trades when going for cs to not completely give up the lane. To short trade on Skarner you will use Fracture to mark and stun the target, then use Crystal Slash as you are exiting the stun to complete the short trade.

Level 6
When Skarner gets level six he gains access to his ultimate ability Impale, what this allows you to do is pull enemies towards your jungler or into your tower for a kill opportunity. This is when Skarner is allowed to make aggressive plays with the team and on his own as he can reposition the enemy for 1.75 seconds and make a disadvantage for the enemy team by pulling priority targets.

CDR Combo
When Skarner gets 35% cooldown reduction he can use his Fracture Impale combo to crowd control enemies for insane duration's up to 4.5 seconds of hard crowd control. To do this combo first you throw out Fracture and make sure the mark lands on the enemy, it lasts 5 seconds, then use Impale on the target triggering the 1 second cooldown reduction on Fracture, after that auto attack the target applying Fracture's stun and gain another 1 second cooldown reduction on Fracture, when this is done fracture should be coming up within 1 to 2 seconds, allowing you to stun the target again with Fracture giving you damage to finish your target, or your team to follow up.

After Laning Phase
As top lane Skarner you should be farming and holding lane for the majority of the early game and roaming or using Teleport when it is optimal, as when dragon spawns or teleporting to match your top lane opponents teleport or roaming to a different lane as Skarner can be a bit slow in the early game. When roaming and teleporting look for priority targets to Fracture and Impale which would be targets with the highest damage threat, or secondary damage threat depending on who is closest to your team.
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Start
Every laning phase with Skarner should start with Doran's Ring as it gives Skarner mana sustain that he desperately needs as Skarner has mana issues outside of Crystal Spires.

Gangplank
Gangplank can be one of the most oppressive lanes early, who can also remove suppression and stuns from Impale and Fracture with Remove Scurvy. That being said the lane is not unwinnable, early game you should be looking to play as passive as possible while farming under turret to avoid his Grasp of the Undying stacks with Parrrley, and not getting hit by his barrels. When you are six do not be alarmed that he can Remove Scurvy your Impale but instead use this against him. To do this throw out Fracture first to make sure the mark lasts then Impale Gangplank knowing that he will use his Remove Scurvy, then Fracture mark him as the mark does not leave the champion until 5 seconds which is more than enough time to get Fracture's stun out to set Gangplank up for a kill.

Darius
Darius can be difficult early on, but the majority of his power lies in the early game, and bullying opponents out of cs. Early game you should be focusing on getting any cs that comes your way without getting to close to him, as he will Apprehend and Decimate to heal himself leaving you with a big chunk of health missing. At level 6 you can coordinate with your jungler for a gank. The only thing you need to do is Fracture Impale Darius so that his Decimate does not hit your jungler or yourself. Around 3 items is when Skarner has enough power to fight back and should play cautiously around Darius before that, especially if he is ahead.

Fiora
Fiora can be annoying to deal with early on with her true damage output and sustain with Duelist's Dance, add this to the fact that she can also block spells or attacks with Riposte, Fiora becomes one of the strongest laners in the game in a solo lane. While all this is true Fiora is not unbeatable for Skarner, to win this lane you have to bait the Riposte, to do this first land Fracture and as your walking up use Crystal Slash to make it look like your auto attacking and that will more than likely make her use Riposte allowing you to stun her with Fracture. The key to this lane is being patient with your Fracture and Impale and baiting her Riposte out first to make sure you do not get stunned.
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Crystal Spires is Skarner's passive. Skarner spawns a 1600 radius zone on both sides of the river and all jungle quadrants. In these zones you gain 70-120 movement speed, 43-160% attack speed, and restoring 2% of his maximum mana per second. This is great on Skarner if you can effectively use it to roam and get to places in the map extremely quickly.

Crystal Slash is Skarner's Q. Skarner attacks with his claws, dealing 0.33/0.36/0.39/0.42/0.45% physical damage in a radius. This ability also becomes empowered if a unit is struck, dealing bonus magic damage equal to 0.33/0.36/0.39/0.42/0.45% physical damage with 20% ability power scaling. It also resets its cool down by 0.25 seconds when hitting any unit and by 1 second when hitting an enemy champion. This is useful on Skarner as it can be used as a Sheen proc and add extra damage in between other abilities.

Crystalline Exoskeleton is Skarner's W. Skarner summons a shield for 6 seconds, shielding him for 10/11/12/13/14% of his maximum health and scaling off 80% of your ability power. While the shield persists Skarner gains 16/20/24/28/32% movement speed. This is good on Skarner for combat to block burst damage and skill shots. It is also effective as a escape tool due to the movement speed ramp up.

Fracture is Skarner's E. Skarner summons a blast of crystalline energy that deals 40/65/90/115/140 magic damage in a line, scaling with 40% ability power. When a unit or enemy champion is struck they are slowed by 30/35/40/45/50% and are afflicted with crystal venom for 5 seconds. When Skarner basic attacks a unit or champion that is afflicted with crystal venom he deals 30/50/70/90/110 additional physical damage, stunning them for 1.25 seconds, with its cool-down reducing by 1 second. Additionally when Skarner basic attacks a unit or champion he gains crystal charge for the duration of the stun, gaining his Crystal Spires bonus. This skill is the most important ability on Skarner because it is his way of short trading with a Sheen proc and gaining a nice burst of speed thanks to crystal charge.

Impale is Skarner's ultimate. Skarner rears his stinger and suppresses his target for 1.75 seconds, dealing 60% of his total attack damage and 20/60/100 magic damage, scaling with 50% of his ability power. For the entire duration of the suppression Skarner can drag his victim around with him. After the effect ends they are dealt the same damage, effectively making it have 100% ability power scaling. This ability is good on Skarner as it is his main tool in picking off priority targets such as marksmen or mages.
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Thank you for reading my Skarner top lane guide!
If you would like to see more Skarner gameplay check me out here:

Twitch - https://twitch.tv/merthos_
Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/user/lXertixl
League of Legends Build Guide Author Merthos1123
Merthos1123 Skarner Guide
Skarner Top - Challenger Guide
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