How To Play Skarner In League Of Legends
Last Updated: April 14, 2022
Out of all the champions affected in the Juggernaut rework, Skarner is often the most understated. A lot of players tend to overlook how good he really is. In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know to get you started playing the Crystal Vanguard.
While his playstyle is often misunderstood as situational, we like to think that Skarner is more unconventional. He certainly has his strengths and if you put in the work, you’ll be met with a very strong champion that can dominate if you understand his limitations. Skarner is at his best when he is dishing out AoE damage and his reliable lockdown crowd control. Additionally, he is quite durable and can handle his own in a 1v1, or even a 2v1, duel. He is usually played in the Jungle and his camp clears are really good.
Skarner’s kit is a unique mix of crowd control, durability, and AoE damage.
Passive – Crystal Spires
Skarner’s presence causes crystals to spawn in set locations around the map. Crystals can be captured by either team by standing close to them. Capturing them prevents them from being captured by the opposing team for 15 seconds. While near crystals his team owns, Skarner gains Crystal Charge.
Crystal Charge: Grants flat Movement Speed, Attack Speed, and restores (+2% max) per second.
Skarner’s passive is what makes people think he is a weak champion when not around a Crystal Spire his team owns. This is true to an extent but it doesn’t mean that Skarner suffers from any sort of debuff when they don’t completely own his spires. Think of them as bonuses and not the core part of what makes Skarner truly strong.
Q – Crystal Slash
Skarner deals physical damage to all nearby enemies. If a unit is struck, he charges himself with Crystal Energy for 4 seconds. While Skarner is charged, Crystal Slash deals bonus magic damage. Basic Attacks lower Crystal Slash’s cooldown by 0.25 seconds (Quadrupled against champions).
Crystal Slash is Skarner’s bread and butter. It is a very spammable ability that you’ll use, mostly when trading against the target enemy or when clearing camps in the Jungle.
W – Crystalline Exoskeleton
Skarner is shielded for 6 seconds. While the shield persists, Skarner gains Movement Speed that ramps up over 3 seconds.
Crystalline Exoskeleton increases Skarner’s durability and dueling power. It’s a fairly simple ability that gives you a shield and a movement speed boost.
E – Fracture
Passive: Crystallizing enemies with Fracture and Impale grants Crystal Charge for the disable duration and reduces the cooldown of Fracture by the same amount.
Active: Skarner summons a blast of crystalline energy dealing magic damage, slowing targets hit for 2.5 seconds. Enemies hit by Fracture are afflicted with Crystal Venom for 5 seconds, causing Skarner’s next basic attack against them to deal additional physical damage and stun the target for 1.25 second.
Fracture is a two part ability with a passive and an active. The passive lets Skarner crystallize enemies afflicted with Crystal Venom. The active, on the other hand, lets Skarner shoot a ray of crystalline energy that deals damage.
R – Impale
Skarner suppresses an enemy champion for 1.75 seconds, dealing (+60% total) physical damage plus magic damage up front. Skarner can move freely during this time, and will drag his helpless victim around with him. When the effect ends, Skarner’s target will be dealt the same damage again.
Impale is one of the best crowd control abilities in the game. It’s a single target CC that allows you to capture and single out a high priority target from the enemy team. While it is strong, be aware that it only takes the summoner spell Cleanse or the Quicksilver Sash to remove its effects.
Runes and Item Builds
When it comes to items, you should only focus on increasing Skarner’s dueling power and his durability.
Since Skarner is a Jungler, he’ll need to start with the Jungle specific starting items. The best choice is Hailblade. This will turn your Smite into Chilling Smite after five uses. Chilling Smite will slow your target when you Smite them which will make it easier for you to stick to them.
For your Mythic item, you have three good options. The best option is Turbocharged Chemtank. This gives you all the stats you need and severely increases your durability and ganking power. If you’re looking to be more of a duelist or a damage dealer, go with Divine Sunderer instead. If you want the best of both worlds, go for Frostfire Gauntlet as it can address all the things you could want like durability and damage. However, Turbocharged Chemtank is still the superior option for the sheer utility it provides.
After purchasing your desired Mythic item, it’s time to upgrade into your tier 2 boots. In this case, you’ll go for Ionian Boots of Lucidity since it increases your ability haste. Next, go for Dead Man’s Plate for the health, armor, and the bonus damage. Right after that, you’ll need Thornmail for the stats and the return damage it provides. At this point, you’ll need resistance against magic damage dealers which is why you’ll go for Force of Nature. Finish off your build with Guardian Angel for the damage and survivability it can give you.
Other Viable Items
While the full build we’ve shown above is generally considered the standard for Skarner, it is not set in stone. There are plenty of other items that you can purchase depending on your preference or what your situation currently needs. Items like Black Cleaver, Maw of Malmortius, Sterak’s Gage, Gargoyle Stoneplate, and Death’s Dance are all good items to have especially if you’re looking for a balance between damage and durability. Try to mix and match these item sets to see what works best for you. Doing so will help you develop a better understanding of the game’s deeper mechanics.
For your runes, go with the Sorcery tree and take Phase Rush as your keystone. This will drastically increase your dueling power. Next, take Nimbus Cloak for the bonus movement speed when you use a summoner spell, Celerity to increase the potency of the Movement Speed bonuses you receive, and Waterwalking for even more movement speed when you are in the river. For your secondaries, take Shield Bash and Revitalize from the Resolve tree. These runes will increase the effectiveness of the shields you use or receive. For rune shards, take Attack Speed, Adaptive Force, and Armor.
- Your Basic Attacks reduce the cooldown of Crystal Slash. Try your best to weave them in and out of your combos so that you can spam the ability for maximum damage.
- Skarner is countered by champions like Nidalee, Graves, Kindred, Rek’Sai, and Poppy. If you match up against these champions, it’s better to play it safe than risk and let them get ahead of you.
- For summoner spells, always take Flash and Smite. Flash gives you another layer of mobility while Smite lets you clear Jungle camps faster while additionally helping you secure objectives like Baron or Dragon.
So there you have it! That’s all you need to know about playing Skarner in League of Legends. Be sure to check back with us again for more awesome guides on your favorite games. Have fun and we’ll see you on the Rift!