Skarner Build Guide by Tydrian
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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.
First of all, hello and welcome to my Skarner guide.
I'll start saying that Skarner is not a "well developed" character imho. His skills make players attempt to build him as a hybrid-dps most of the times. I've seen many tanky-AD Skarner and AP Skarner too. I don't think any of these builds is "wrong" for him, I just think they don't pull off the best of him.
The deal with Skarner is that his damage output is too low. Even by building him as hybrid-dps, you will never be feared as other characters.
So, how should Skarner be built?
This question is a hard one. I have found, according to my playstyle, an unconventional way to build him and get good results. Let me explain.
By playing Skarner I noticed a "similarity" with Blitzcrank. Blitzcrank can be played in many ways too, but he shines as a support-tank. Certainly Skarner has no grab nor knocked airbone, but he has a powerful and continuous slow, along with a shield which gives him AS and MS, a damaging/healing skillshot and, of course, his feared ult.
So, the build I will now show you is for a support-tank Skarner.
Ok, here we go.
First of all, if you use Exhaust as summoner spell, you should put 1 point in Cripple.
As a Support-Tank, what do you need is a mix of utility and defense. I put 21 points in the utility tree, so you get health and mana regen improved, more exp gained, more mana regen and gold, more duration on your jungle buffs (1 point here is enough, most of the times there will be someone who needs the buffs more than you do) and most important you get additional MS, cdr and your summoner spells will be up more frequently. Imho, it's almost all you need.
Then, to improve Skarner tankiness, you need those 8 points in defense. What you want are 3 points in Hardiness and at least 1 point in Resistance . It depends on the runes you have or the ones you prefer to use. If you run the rune page I put in this guide, then put 3 points in Resistance and the remaining 2 in Strenght of Spirit.
If you decide to use Dodge runes for yellows, don't spend a point on Cripple, so you can max Evasion and take Nimbleness too. Quite standard.
The rune page I run with my Support-Tank Skarner is:
For reds: Greater Marks of Resilience. These ones give you additional armor to have a stronger lane phase. For "stronger" I mean you won't need to recall every time that Ashe] hits you with crit and [[Volley or you get harassed by Gangplank Parrrley. They just give you more survivability, which is essential. They give you 0.91 additional armor each, for a total of 8.19.
Other options you can consider, just in case you feel pretty confident you won't get killed that easily, are the classic Armor Penetration or Magic Penetration Marks.
For Yeallows: Greater Seals of Resilience. The point for these ones is the same as above. They give you 1.41 additional armor each, for a total of 12.69.
Other viable options are Dodge runes. In that case you should modify your masteries as explained in the previous chapter.
For blues: Greater Glyphs of Warding. I find these ones to be the most effective blue runes for Skarner, even if built hybrid. They give you 13 additional magic resist, which is quite essential for your early game and is still good throughout the entire game.
Just in case you don't have these ones, you should be using the magic resist per level ones.
For quintessences: Greater Quintessences of Swiftness. These runes give you MUCH MORE CHASING POWER. You can chase everything you want by having these, your masteries and by popping up your Crystalline Exoskeleton . Also, they allow you to run away from Rammus almost everything. Maybe just a who chases you with a Powerball can hope t reach you. See that Udyr with his Bear Stance? He will bite your dust. 4.5% extra MS is amazing on Skarner.
Another very strong, viable option for quintessences are Greater Quintessences of Vitality. They give you 2.7 health regen/5 seconds, which means 8.1 more HP regenerated every 5 seconds. Combined with your Regrowth Pendant , your masteries and your base stats, you will regenerate for more than 30 HP/5 seconds. This is an incredible boost to your early game.
Well, I think I covered every aspect I could in this chapter. Let's move the following one.
As a Support-Tank you will take almost always bot lane with another character. Your role will be the one to zone-out your enemies and take control of your lane and the upper bush. Plus, you will have to initiate fights early in the game. This guide provides you a way to stay in lane forever, you just need to avoid mistakes and always keep an eye on the mini-map.
To accomplish this task you have many options for your summoner spells, but what I suggest is to take Exhaust and Flash .
These to spells have many, many uses on every character, but in this case they make Skarner shine.
can be used to take down very easily any AD carry, but you can use it even just for its slow. You already have a continuos slow, but you can be afar from your enemy in the exact moment you need to slow him to get that kill. If you take a point in "Cripple", it will also reduce the armor and the magic resistance of your target by 10, which is really much in early game.
This spell can provide you many kills.
Also, it is a great "desperate flight device": Exhaust your chaser, so you can make it in time to pop up your Crystalline Exoskeleton and leave no track of you.
Another possible use consists in use Exhaust on a target, only after activating your Crystalline Exoskeleton and then Impale him.
The reason for Flash is quite obvious: it's the best escape spell in the game; it can save you from bad, bad situations. Also, it is a great spell in combo with your Impale to initiate a teamfight or it can be a good chasing spell to use. It's a precious tool that you should never, NEVER waste. Don't rely just on this spell to escape, it will serve you in many more other ways, so you must use it wisely. If you want to use it to chase, I have only one advice for you: be sure you'll get the kill and not be killed. It's NEVER worth it to die in order to get a kill, neither it is to waste essential resources if you have no certainty.
Ohter viable options are:
This spell is very nice on Skarner, it can help you chasing an enemy or escape ganks quite easily, especially if combined with your Crystalline Exoskeleton. If you decide to take this, be sure to set the correct masteries.
Clairvoyance on Skarner?!?! WTF?!?!
You can't imagine how many times this spell can save your life or the ones of your team mates. Plus, it can be used to extend your presence/control over the map every 40 seconds (more or less), which means you can check bushes, buffs, dragon and baron. Remember, with this guide you're a Support-Tank!
Always change your masteries if you use it.
Teleport is a nice spell to have, especially if for some reasons you're going solo top or if your team has a jungler. It allows you to have a bigger gank potential if your allies are good.
NOTE: For "good" allies I mean they buy wards and that they are reactive, helping you in a gank attempt.
Spend a point in Spatial Accuracy for improved Teleport.
Spell that can be good, but just occasionally:
As a Support-Tank you won't need this most of the times, but if you find out that the enemy team (I'm talking about ranked games, especially in solo queue) has too much healing power and no one on your team seems to have common sense, you can try to convince them to take it or you can take it to help your lane partner's burst.
Anyway, I don't think it's worth it most of the times, there are way much better options.
Since you can find yourself suffering too much from CC (especially if you take instead of ), Cleanse can be a good choice. The deal with it is that you won't know the enemy team line up unless it's a ranked game, so it's more a "coin flip" choice in normal games.
Spells that are just useless:
You shouldn't have any issues with your mana.
This spell is just pretty useless in any case, on every character.
WOW! HEAL!! NICE! ... Or maybe not.
Worst summoner spell ever.
Yeah, nice, you revive and then..?
Jungle Skarner is not really an option with this build.
Energize Passive: Energize
Basic attacks lower the cooldowns of Skarner's abilities by 1 second against champions and 0.5 seconds against non-champions.
Well, I think this passive is really useful. It allows you to have often (if not always) your ready to fear your enemies. Plus, you're going AD Support-Tank, that means you're going to auto-attack sooner or later. At least you'll attack minions.
It's this passive that makes Skarner good as Support-Tank
Q: Crystal Slash
Skarner lashes out with his claws, dealing 20 / 35 / 50 / 65 / 80 (+30% of attack damage) 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 (0.4 per AP) bonus magic damage and slows all targets hit by 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 / 45% for 2 seconds.
Cooldown 3.5 seconds
Cost 22 / 24 / 26 / 28 / 30 mana
Crystal Slash is the second skill you're going to max. Why? While it provides a bit of damage (which is never ****) it is a powerful and continuous slow. It's simple: Q -> Auto-attack -> Slow. And thanks to its short cooldown and to your Energize(maybe thanks to Crystalline Exoskeleton too, 'cause it grants you more AS) you can really spam this skill. It has low mana cost too, so it's just wonderful.
W: Crystalline Exoskeleton
Skarner receives a shield of 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+60% of ability power) for up to 6 seconds. While the shield persists his 15 / 17 / 19 / 21 / 23% movement speed and 30 / 35 / 40 / 45 / 50% attack speed are increased.
Cooldown 14 seconds
Cost 60 mana
This skill is just to love. It provides you a nice shield, an incredible boost on your MS and a very useful boost on your AS. It really has lots and lots of uses. You should use it everytime you can, but always keep an eye on your mana pool, 'cause you don't want to get caught out of mana in a gank or to be overwhelmed by your enemies and forced to press that damned "B" button.
It is great for chasing your enemies or to escape at anytime. You can initiate by activating your Crystalline Exoskeleton and grabbing an enemy to your team mates with Impale. While chasing an enemy with this skill on, be sure to spam your Crystal Slash as said before, it will help you by a lot.
Note that by use it you will have your AS improved, which means more attacks, which means less cooldown on your spell (this one included).
Skarner summons a blast of crystalline energy which deals 80 / 120 / 160 / 200 / 240 (+70% of ability power) 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 for 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 (+30% of ability power). Subsequent marks consumed will heal for 50% of the last.
Cooldown 10 seconds
Cost 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 / 70 mana
I find this skill pretty useless early game, because to maximize its damage output you should be building AP and level this skill at 5 within your 9th level. The reason why i take 1 point of this at level 4 is you can stay in lane even longer because of its healing power. It's not much, I know, but you can use it on a minion wave and then Crystal Slash them, so you'll get a high amount of HP back. Basically, with this you don't need to spend too much money on Health Potion, which means more money for your equip.
Max this for last.
Skarner suppresses an enemy champion for 1.5 seconds and deals 100 / 150 / 200 (+50% of ability power) 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 100 / 150 / 200 (+50% per ability power) additional damage.
Cooldown 110 / 100 / 90 seconds
Cost 100 / 125 / 150 mana
Finally, Skarner's final. Excuse me for the pun :3
This skill makes your enemy fear you, whether you're fed or not. At level 6, you can Impale your victim under your turret and they will have few chances to escape. The later you get, the better your equip is, the more efficient will this skill be.
Well, you still have to know when, how and on who use it. Let me explain:
WHEN TO USE IT
You should use Impale when your enemy has no more minions under your turret and they're out of position. Not that hard to see, this game is full of "bad players". Also, you should use this skill whenever a teamfight occurs to grab away the enemy carry and try to 1v1 him (remember you have Exhaust) or to let your team mates finish off the job. Another good use you can find for this skill is to save one (or even more, if you're good at it) team mate by his (or one of his) chaser by grabbing him away, in another direction. Don't do this at the cost of your life, just in a few cases (e.g. the team mate you're gonna save has stack-based items and he needs them at full potential to carry you to victory; or the team mate you're gonna save has a long killing spree: 200-300 gold from you is better than 500 or more from another).
HOW TO USE IT
Well, this is more intuitive. You should not for any reason use Impale
around enemy turrets, especially if you're alone or outnumbered; nor use it and then move in a direction that can not be reached immediately by your team mates; nor use this skill in a 1v1 one fight UNLESS your enemy has used ALL of his escape tools. You should use this with wisdom, it's the skill that makes the difference in teamfights, you need to make it work. ALWAYS. Practice with it.
ON WHO TO USE IT
Impale is a skill that allows you to drag your victim around, into the fray of a battle or out of it. If your purpose is to fight your enemies and take the less damage you can, you should drag the enemy carry into your team mates' arms. He needs love. Much love.
On the other hand, if your purpose is to prevent the enemy team to heal/CC you too much, you should drag the enemy support.
Remember: if you're fed or simply good enough (or, as you can see, your target is a feeder or simply a bad player) you can and SHOULD try to 1v1 them and then go back to teamfight to score that ****ing ace.
As said before, the first skill we're gonna max is . It is too much useful for you, you need it at level 5 as soon as possible.
The second skill we're gonna take to level 5 is : it's our chain-slow damaging skill. You need it to let your team mates reach your enemy and kill him or to ensure the kill to you. Plus, it's really annoying for your enemies, you'll weaken them in game but mostly on their minds.
Take a level of this one everytime you can't level Crystalline Exoskeleton or Impale(except for level 4, when you're actually going to take a point in Fracture).
is pretty useless early game, max it last. Just take a point in it at level 4, as I mentioned before.
And, of course, level up your anytime you can.
Ok, we made it: here I show you the Item Build!
First off, you have manu options for your starting items, but these ones are those I found to be more effective.
This one is the best one imo. It grants you HUGE HP regen/5 seconds, which is really greato to improve your early game. You will be poking/zoning out your enemies if you'll do your job right, so this is a great start with your runes and masteries.
These items are good as you will find your MS to be pretty high, which grants you to be more aggressive in lane. You should grab these items only if you have as a partner a very aggressive player/character, so that you can do the same and zone out your enemies in a blink of an eye.
This option is good just in the case you know for sure that your lane enemies will be both AD or they'll hit you with physical damage the most (e.g. they have a ranged AD-dps and a support). Although it provides you really good stats, it slows your item build, so be careful.
Your core will be made of the following items: Philosopher's Stone Sight Ward and one between and .
Philosopher's Stone gives you both HP and Mana regen, which you need pretty much for your role, and it also gives you 5 gold every ten seconds (6 with your point in "Greed"), so as it can slow your build in the beginning, it will be very helpful throughout the whole game and will provide you a constant gold flow. End game you can sell this or turn it into Shurelya's Reverie.
The Sheen will give you a good damage boost in your early-mid game. It procs well with both Crystal Slash and Crystalline Exoskeleton It also allows you to be much more effective at bringing down enemy turrets. Plus, you can turn it into a Trinity Force later on.
Then, some Sight Ward are nice to have if you can afford them. You'll need them especially if you take Teleport.
For your boots you can choose between Boots of Swiftness and Mercury's Treads.. While Mercs are really nice to counter enemy CCs and give you also extra MR, BoS give you much more chasing/escaping power. It's up to you and your common sense. If you feel you're being focused and/or the enemies have tons of CCs get Mercs; if not and/or the enemies fed you and/or your allies for any reason, you should take BoS.
Mid to Late Game Items
What you should always have are these two:
Your other items depend on what your team needs and what threats does the enemy team have.
If they have a fed/strong AD carry, you should take a
The same here for an AP carry, you should take a or a
Basically, the enemy team will be mixed most of the times, so you should take both the Frozen Heart and one between Force of Nature and Banshee's Veil
Other items you should consider if the game goes on for very long are and . GA improves your resistances and the passive is nice, since you already won't be so easy to kill; Shurelya's is good both for its passive bonuses and ofr its active ability, it's great to improve your whole team chase/escape.
Your final build should look like this (assuming you take Mercs):
and a final item you can choose between , and
Anyway, if you fight against a Heavy AD team, you should build these items:
and or as final item.
On the other hand, if the enemy team is Heavy AP, you should grab these ones:
I hope you enjoyed my guide and that you will enjoy playing
this way. I'd be thankful for any feedback, this is my first guide and I need experience (both mine and yours) to improve it and my future guides. Plus, I will add Early, Mid and Late Game sections, as well as "Team Fights" one.
If you found this guide useful and the build worked for you, I'd appreciate if you "Like" it.
Also, before disliking it, I would recommend to try it out.
In any case, leave your feedback and your opinions with a comment below.
Thank you and.. good luck! :)