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Skarner Build Guide by

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Sustaining Skarner, AS/AD

Last updated on December 27, 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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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This is a quick build for the Skarner I've been playing lately. It focuses on incredible AS for synergy with his passive and sustainability through early game Magic Resist, and mid game Armor and Health. With this build, Skarner becomes an offtank capable of jumping into the fray and coming out alive. While you can't take the full force of the enemy team, This build allows you to get in close and bring the enemies down in melee range. Because of the synergy of AS with his passive, this means that a well played Skarner can permaslow one or more champions with his crystal slash. More on that later. Please note that I have had the most success with this build on Dominion, however it seems to be viable on the Summoners Rift as well.

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Pros / Cons


  • Amazing Attack Speed
  • Can perma-slow an enemy with a 45% move speed reduction with Crystal Slash.
  • Can Shield Himself from some damage, make him faster, and attack more.
  • All autoattacks lower his cooldowns.
  • Sticks to enemies and doesn't let go.
  • His ult can win a teamfight before they even start.
  • Lacks a true distance closing move.
  • Needs to be in melee range to deal any damage.
  • Gangplank and Allistar can completely negate his ultimate.
  • Some ranged carries like Vayne can continuously do damage to skarner and keep him out of melee range.

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For masteries, I go 21/9/0, focusing on attack speed, critical strikes, and life steal in offense, while rounding out the rune setup with some early game magic resist in defense.

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About the Skills:

  • Energise-
    "Using autoattacks against champions lowers the cooldowns of Skarner's abilities by 1 second and by 0.5 seconds when used against non-champion units. Autoattacks on towers won't reduce cooldowns at all."
    This is, by many accounts, one of the most useful passives in the game. With a high enough attack speed, Skarner's cooldowns are negligable on everything but his ult, and his ult can come up in a third the time it should normally take. Instead of building CDR on Skarner, you can get more cooldown reduction from simply building attack speed. In a situation where you just used your ult, you can shave 10-25 off your cooldown by fighting some minions, depending on the size of the push. Additionally, when fighting enemy champions, This passive allows you to stick onto them, with repetitive crystal slashes, and allows you to keep crystalline exoskeleton on nearly indefinitely.
  • Crystal Slash
    "Skarner receives a shield for up to 6 seconds. While the shield is still active his movement speed and attack speed are boosted.
    If he casts Crystal Slash again while empowered by Crystal Energy, the ability deals bonus magic damage and slows all targets hit for 2 seconds. "
    This is Skarner's bread and butter, and you should put a point into it every chance you get, unless you need more shielding from Crystalline Exoskeleton. the 80% AD ratio is excellent, the cooldown is fast, it's mana cost is negligible, and the 2 second slow is excellent for sticking to enemies and bringing them down. With the high AS in this build, coupled with Skarner's passive, if Skarner gets into melee range of a retreating champion, there is very little they can do to escape. At level 5, Crystal Slash has a 45% slow that becomes nearly permanent with Energize.
  • Crystalline Exoskeleton-
    "Skarner receives a shield for up to 6 seconds. While the shield is still active his movement speed and attack speed are boosted. "
    This move pulls double duty. In addition to shielding Skarner, it boosts his attack speed and movement speed by a healthy margin. The shield component can take some damage, and possibly even save your life, but the part we're interested in is the movement speed and attack speed. The movement speed of crystalline exoskeleton allows for faster map traversal, catching up to fleeing enemies, and running for your life. Skarner lacks a true gap closing ability, so the movement speed on Crystalline Exoskeleton serves this function. In adddition to the movement speed, the attack speed component is excellent for bringing down enemy champions, The AS bonus allows more autoattacks, which charge Energize, which means more damage from Crystal Slash. Couple all this together, and a well built Skarner attempting to take down an enemy has an effective cooldown on Crystal Slash of about .5 seconds. Not bad for a 2 second slow ability.
  • Fracture -
    "Skarner summons a blast of crystalline energy in a line which deals magic damage to enemies struck and marks them for 6 seconds. If any marked targets receive further damage from Skarner, or if they die when struck by Fracture, Skarner will consume the mark to heal himself. Subsequent marks consumed and unit kills will heal for 50% of the last. "
    This move can restore a small portion of skarner's health, but since fracture works on AP, this build does not rely on it. Instead, use it only as a small bit of added damage, or to return some health when fighting a creep wave. Use fracture on the creep wave, then crystal slash them all down for extra health and money.
  • Impale -
    "Skarner suppresses an enemy champion for 1.75 seconds and deals magic damage to it. During this time, Skarner can move freely and will drag his victim around with him. When the effect ends, Skarner's target will be dealt the same amount of magic damage again. "
    This can be a big game changer, and has many uses. the most important use is at the start of teamfights. When the two teams have gathered, but have not engaged yet, a well timed Impale can drag the enemy carry right into your team for a quick and untimely death. This can win your team the fight right from the beginning. Alternatively, if a teamfight has already started, you can use the suppress from Impale to reduce the damage of the enemy carry, giving your teammates time to finish someone off. It is also possible to Impale an enemy either to your turret, or away from theirs.

    Finally, some quick things to remember about Impale. While you can't flash or autoattack while using Impale, you can move, use ghost, and use your other abilities. After Impaling, you should use your Crystalline Exoskeleton to move the enemy as far into your zone of control as possible. then, right before the Impale wears off, flip around to the other side so they will have to run through you to escape. If you have done this, they should be deep into your team's area of control. If you have been Crystal Slashing while pulling them, then they will also be greatly slowed, already in melee range, and have taken a great deal of damage.

    One final thing to note, many players seem to forget about the power of Impale if they haven't seen it that game. By saving it for an opportune time, you can take the enemy by surprise and turn a gank around in your favor, or take a defended turret.