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Skarner Build Guide by LOLSAURUS

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League of Legends Build Guide Author LOLSAURUS

Skarner, Walking Sunfire Cape [Offtank/Sustained DPS] Laning

LOLSAURUS Last updated on August 13, 2011
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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: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 21

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Hello, Mobafire community!
I've played 15+ games with Skarner already, all with multiple builds.
Phreak may play him as a jungler, but I believe that Skarner is better in lane.
He does not have extremely powerful lane control, but he does considerably well with a meager one point on Fracture.

Ultimately, I believe he plays the role of a offtank extremely well. He is able to tank a lot of damage for his team, and is able to melt the entire enemy team over the course of the team fight due to his crazy aoe sustained damage. His ultimate also is an extremely versatile spell, and is almost always off cooldown due to his passive. Even though he cannot give you the satisfaction of burst damage, his utility is definitely a good pick for the team, due to his constant damage, perma slow, and an ult that will save your teammates as much it will allow you to really snag off that enemy carry, or make that gank succesful.

This guide does not have a lot of fancy dps,ap,or as items, and may not give you many kills, but I ASSURE you it will give you success while playing as Skarner for both you and your team.


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-extremely durable
-an underrated amount of sustained aoe damage
-ultimate works wonders, defensively or offensively
-survives in lane more than you would expect from Fracture


-slight mana problems early game
- Crystalline Exoskeleton will only last while shield is unbroken
-outclassed by other solo tops, like Jarvan IV

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This guide is short and simple, based on the fact that you are experienced and know how to play league of legends. If not this will be extremely long to you. This is not meant for noobs. As long as you have common sense, and know the core basics of the game (last hitting, not overextending, zoning, map awareness, and not being a crybaby, etc.) this guide will allow you to be successful.

Now a few important things you should know:
-Skarner is not an attack speed champion, even when his passive may scale off of it. Those other guides with AS/DPS/AP are completely wrong. If you want to play dps carry or an ap nuker, Skarner is not the champion for you.
-Skarner can jungle, but I believe his ganking potential is not the greatest. Laning with Skarner I believe is much more sustainable. Skarner is a very nice solo top, and even though he is a little outclassed than jarvan, irelia, etc, he does well in his lane. However, don't expect total lane dominance, you will need to play defensively, if so you will not get ****ted on.

-This **********er eats enemy tower dives for breakfast.

Why is Skarner a walking pre-nerf stackable sunfire cape?

It's simply because within a teamfight, you deal an incredible amount of sustained damage to the entire other team. Your Crystal Slash is not a nuke, but with a 2 second cooldown and a sunfire cape you will be surprised at the amount of damage you do without seeing those satisfying and abrupt chunks of red appear in you enemies' health bars.

I believe that Skarner is best played as an offtank/sustained damage dealer. And what I say is true.

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Skill Overview

Crystal Slash:

Remember to spam your 'q' in team fights. Not only is the sustained aoe damage incredible but you offer your team an invaluable perma-slow. And remember, this procs your sheen like a fool on crack, so while you are taking down that tower, 'q' before every hit to maximize your damage output. Also, this is extremely useful in escapes, for once they get near you you can slow them and they will stay slowed unless it's Olaf or Master Yii.

This is the first skill that is maxed. Once you get onto somebody, that ain't ever getting away from you. It has no charge time at all, so you can walk and q without being delayed.

Crystalline Exoskeleton:

This shield is your means of escaping and chasing when you are not under heavy focus. Do not ever initiate with this shield. Your enemies will pop it in a matter of nano seconds.

Max this second for durability, and that movement speed that you really need to close in on your foes.


One point on it at level one will allow you to lane forever. This will help you replenish health when you are against that mordekaiser, and is the only reason why lane skarner is viable. Whenever you are low, or missing hp in general, just 'e' that juicy minion wave, walk in there, and 'q'. Your 9/0/21 masteries will allow you to use this spell freely early game even with slight mana problems.

Max it last, but don't underestimate it in a teamfight. Your Crystal Slash procs multiple marks from this skill, and it will save you in those clutch circumstances.


Works wonders.
And don't ever feel pressured to waste it, your passive cooldown reduction will mean that you will have it in no time.
Be creative guys.
So far this is how I have utilized this.

-Tell that Kassadin who's in charge when he towerdives you.
-Drag those *****es who flash out of a fiddlestick's ultimate back to where they should belong.
-Don't think you can make it back to your allies before that Xin Zhao right clicks you to death? No problem. Just drag him along with you and watch him helplessly get deleted because of his greed.
-Flash, ult, and feed your cho'gath the enemy ashe.
-In those low HP duels, feel free to do 400 magic damage to somebody while dragging them around in a circle before you get started.

Remember, activate your shield since it will grant you that bonus speed to drag your victim farther.
Remember, unless you are Jesse Perring, don't even attempt to flash.
Remember, spam your Q while you are dragging them around.

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Item Overview

The item build is pretty much self-explanatory up there.


From here, you can either play more





I recommend after finishing your core, you get a magic resistance item to add to your bulkiness, but if you are completely facerolling the opposing team in the face, you may buy items to your liking.

Good Magic Resistance Item picks after Sunfire Cape are:

If your team seriously lacks a substantial tank you can continue to build a:


Upon finishing Sunfire Cape, you can push for significant increase in damage (since Crystal Slash scales with both attack damage and ability power)

By far this is the best offensive item for Skarner if you wish to build him in that direction.

Other good offensive items include:

I feel Rylai's is a little bit redundant since your Crystal Slash already offers your a powerful slow, but nevertheless is still a viable item on Skarner.

Further reasoning on why each item is good:

Mana Crystal and 2 Health Potions to start:

The goal here is to rush your sheen/trinity force, as well as give you an easier time in lane with spells. This will allow you to do more damage, since your 'q' by itself will not be enough. Health potions will help you out in your lane.

Mercury Treads/Boots of Lucidity:

Depending on situation of the game, pick one. Having a hard time? Mercury Treads. Wrecking their team? Boots of Lucidity, please. Overall I feel mercury treads is a better choice, but that cooldown reduction works just fine too. Berserker's Greaves is just ridiculous.

Trinity Force:

A very nice item on Skarner. Gives him everything he needs, and he becomes semi-tanky but still able to dish out good damage.
Trust me, trinity force is a must-have.

Sunfire Cape:

That armor and health will up your tankiness, and the DoT is perfect as your 'q' your way through their team. Adds more to your sustained damage dealer/offtank role for your team.

Force of Nature:

Some nice magic resist will also up your tankiness. Substituting banshee's veil would also work very well here.

Hextech Gunblade:

Scales off very nicely with your 'q', and allows you to stay alive forever with lifesteal/spellvamp, plus the heal on your Fracture.

Noobs will waste less of your time as you kill them with much more ease.

Banshee's Veil:

Prevent those bastards from popping your shield with a nuke, and the magic resistance, health, and mana bonuses are wonderful too.

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Gameplay Overview

Will update tomorrow.

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Pick runes to your liking.
I suggest Attack Speed and Cool Down Reduction, to better spam your Crystal Slash, and Flat Health bonuses to help you in laning phase.

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1 point for improved exhaust, 1 point for improved flash.
21 in utility will fix your mana problems early game, so you don't have to buy that ridiculous tear of the goddess.

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Summoner Spells

-for escapes
-to close in on that ***** for your ultimate
-to accidentally press in the beginning of the game while trying to type "omg morde you f*g"

-so when they tower dive you can seal their fates like a meat packager
-for ganks, allowing you to proc that second 'q' so that poor ashe will be perma-slowed
-for escapes, as necessary

Ghost might work following the rework of flash.
Rally if you are feeling brave.
Fortify if you just really got a thing for killing noobs who tower dive you.
Heal. It saves lives.

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Skarner is a extremely good offtank, and is able to do a amazing amount of damage to the entire enemy team so your team can clean up those low hp scrubs for you. Don't expect to carry however, and don't expect to get a ridiculous amount of kills. Play defensively early game, and be brave mid-late game.

Good Luck!