League of Legends Skarner Guide

The Crystal Vanguard awakens to take on the task of protecting his kind from the terrors that humanity has befallen on the world. This champion has been considered one of the strongest Junglers because of his incredible clear speed, gank potential, and hard CC. In this Skarner guide, we’ll be learning how to use this champion to its fullest potential at the highest level. Let’s take a look at an overview of what makes this champion so good and how you can use these features at your disposal.

Scorpion with a crystal body - Skarner Default skin | Skarner Guide
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The Crystal Vanguard Awakens

Skarner hails from an ancient Runeterran Race called the Brackern. His people have fused with magical crystals that resonate with their souls and have given them wisdom. Because of humanity’s foolishness, the Brackern have decided to undergo a deep state of hibernation. However, humanity’s greed has once again found itself endangering the Brackern. Skarner awakes to protect his people from the greedy people that want to exploit the Brackern’s magical crystals whilst they slumber.

Skarner has been a favorite Jungle pick because he exemplifies everything that a Jungler should be. His very existence, once reaching level 6, becomes a threat to the enemy team because he is able to take control of a fight’s flow by delivering a high-priority target on a silver platter to an allied champion. He is also capable of threatening the enemy’s jungle because of how quickly he can move around the map and take camps with ease. Let’s discuss that further in our Skarner guide.

Skarner General Gameplay

Skarner is the ultimate ganking champion. His main purpose in the game is delivering enemies to his teammates as offerings. On his own, Skarner doesn’t have a lot of kill pressure, especially if he’s outside his spires. However, he is considered the ultimate teammate because he works well when trying to engage in plays that would turn a fight around. He has a lot of things he needs to consider before making a play which we’ll be shedding more light on in this Skarner guide.

Skarner Guide – Skills and Abilities

In this Skarner guide, we’ll be learning how this champion fairs as a Jungler. As one of the most important roles in League of Legends, the jungle has a lot of things they need to achieve. Skarner has a unique way to clear his jungle and is the only champion in the game that completely affects the structure of Summoner’s Rift. He is extremely reliant on his teammates in more ways than one. This champion is most successful when he’s able to ask the team to do some stuff for him.

Passive: Crystal Spires

Skarner Passive Ability - Crystal Spires icon Innate – Skarner causes Summoner’s Rift to erupt 6 Crystal Spires around the map.

  • 1 nearby each Blue Sentinel and Red Brambleback camps.
  • 1 on the river near Baron Nashor’s pit
  • 1 on the river near the Elemental Drake pit

Once minions have appeared, Champions may capture Skarner Passive Ability - Crystal Spires icon Crystal Spires by standing on top of the crystal for 2 seconds. Once a Skarner Passive Ability - Crystal Spires icon Crystal Spire has been captured, that team will own the Spire until it is recaptured. Spires cannot be captured until 15 seconds have passed since another player has captured the spire.

Skarner Passive Ability - Crystal Spires icon Crystal Spires award 30 gold, split between all players standing on top of the spire once it has been captured. If only one player is capturing the spire, it will only grant 15 gold. The spire cannot be captured if another player from the team that owns that spire is standing on top of it.

Crystal Charge – Skarner gains bonus movement speed, bonus attack speed, and gains 1% mana every 0.5 seconds while standing on top of a Skarner Passive Ability - Crystal Spires icon Crystal Spire that his team has captured.

Skarner is strongest while fighting on top of a spire he controls. Try to pull jungle camps near the area of effect that are influenced by the spires so that you benefit from Crystal Charge. Ask your team to capture spires in advance when traveling for a gank so that you are able to fight more efficiently. When moving around the map, travel through spires so that you’ll move quicker and be able to conquer the map. Try to contest as many spires as possible. At the very least, you gain 15 gold for your troubles.

Q: Crystal Slash

Skarner Q ability - Crystal Slash icon Active – Skarner slashes the area around himself, dealing physical damage to all nearby enemies. Subsequent hits on enemies hit by Skarner Q ability - Crystal Slash icon Crystal Slash will deal bonus magic damage.

Basic Attacks reduce the cooldown of Skarner Q ability - Crystal Slash icon Crystal Slash by 0.25 seconds. If an enemy champion is hit, the cooldown is reduced by 1 second instead.

Crystal Slash is Skarner’s fastest wave-clearing ability. Add this ability first so that you will deal as much AoE damage as possible on jungle camps. Try to fight enemies inside Crystal Spires so that you gain bonus attack speed which will cause you to reset Crystal Slash’s cooldown a lot faster. Spamming this ability is the key to your damage since it will deal magic damage if proc’ed twice on an enemy unit. Don’t be stingy about using this ability!

W: Crystalline Exoskeleton

Skarner W ability - Crystalline Exoskeleton icon Active – Skarner crystallizes himself, gaining a shield for 6 seconds. While shielded, Skarner gains bonus movement speed which increases in effectiveness over 3 seconds up to 100%

This ability helps Skarner close gaps which is necessary for a majority of his abilities. Use this ability while walking towards an enemy rather than activating it in the middle of the fight itself so that you maximize the use of the movement speed. This is true whether you are ganking or moving towards a jungle camp. Speed is Skarner’s best friend as it helps him catch enemies. The shield also gives a bit of survivability.

E: Fracture

Skarner E Bonus Ability - Crystal Venom icon Passive – Every time Skarner triggers Skarner E Bonus Ability - Crystal Venom icon Crystal Venom or stings an enemy with Skarner ultimate ability - Impale icon Impale, the cooldown of Skarner E ability - Fracture icon Fracture is reduced by the duration of the disabling ability.

Skarner E ability - Fracture icon Active – Skarner shoots crystalline energy in a direction, dealing magic damage to all enemies hit and slowing them by 2.5 seconds. It will also mark the enemy unit with Skarner E Bonus Ability - Crystal Venom icon Crystal Venom for 5 seconds.

Skarner’s basic attacks on a target afflicted by Skarner E Bonus Ability - Crystal Venom icon Crystal Venom consume the mark to deal bonus physical damage to the target and stun them for 1.25 seconds.

Fracture is an excellent CC ability that you can use to layer on top of the several other CCs that you have. Before triggering Crystal Venom, try to hit them with Crystal Slash to maximize your damage output. In addition, proc Crystal Venom (if you’ve applied it) before stinging the enemy with Impale. This will help you increase the duration of the CC and will cause you to reset Fracture faster after Impale ends so that you can use this ability again on the another target.

R: Impale

Skarner ultimate ability - Impale icon Active – Skarner attempts to stab the target with his stinger, rooting them for a short duration. Once Skarner successfully impales the target, he deals physical damage to the enemy and bonus magic damage. The target is also suppressed for 1.75 seconds which Skarner can drag around for the duration of this effect. Once the effect ends, the target will suffer the same damage again.

While Skarner has a target impaled, he is unable to use basic attacks, Skarner E ability - Fracture icon Fracture, nor can he use Flash - Win Hard with Rengar - League of Legends Flash.

Impale is Skarner’s signature ability. The most effective way to use this ability is to dash at the highest priority target on the enemy team and drag them towards a turret or your enemy team. Never try to drag unimportant targets like Tanks or Supports because there’s a chance your team might not be able to kill these champions or they can turn the fight against you since they are in a favorable distance to land CC. Try to determine if the enemy champion you’re targeting has Quicksilver items ready.

Skarner Guide – Items and Builds

As mentioned in our Skarner guide, as a Jungler, Skarner builds more towards tanky items since his role is purely facilitative rather than other junglers who like to carry the game. Skarner also likes items that give him movement speed and prevent him from being CC’ed.

Starting Items

Jungler's Starting Item - Hailblade icon Hailblade – Skarner likes to spam his Q ability to clear camps quickly. This item will help him keep his mana pool from being drained quickly in addition to the bonus mana regen he gains from standing inside his spires.

Core Items

Mythic Item - Turbo Chemtank icon Turbo Chemtank (Mythic) – Skarner’s most important item as it helps him gain a large burst of movement speed so that he can use his Impale ability at a priority target. It also slows the surrounding enemy on collision to make it easier to start a pursuit or prevent others from catching up to you.

Dead Mans Plate League of Legends Item Icon Deadman’s Plate – Another tank item that gives movement speed. Deadman’s plate helps Skarner deal a bit of damage by charging energy as he moves.

Legendary Item - Force of Nature icon Force of Nature – The final item on this list that gives Skarner a boost on his movement speed, this item provides tankiness and MR which will help ensure that he isn’t running towards certain death when attempting to use Impale.

Recommended Items

Thornmail – A great defensive option for when the enemy team either has a lot of AD-based champions or has a lot of healing. Grievous Wounds is a must during an era where there are a ridiculous amount of sources of healing.

Legendary Item - Randuins Omen icon Randuin’s Omen – This item is great when trying to dive into the middle of an enemy team because it helps reduce the enemies’ offensive stats and give you a way to survive more punishment.

Legendary Item - Gargoyle Stoneplate icon Gargoyle’s Stoneplate – Great item for when you’re the main tank in the game. This will give you more time to take more damage from the enemy which should buy enough time for your team to cut through the enemy’s frontline.

Sterak's Gage icon, a claw-like glove Sterak’s Gage – A more offensive item in the mix. It also gives a decent amount of defensive stats and a Lifeline shield that will prove to be crucial in teamfights.

Skarner Guide – Runes

Primary – Sorcery Rune Icon Sorcery

Keystone: Wings - Phase Rush keystone icon Phase Rush – If you think you’ve see everything that gives you movement speed in this Skarner guide, you thought wrong. This keystone is perfect for disengaging as it let’s you gain 25-40% bonus MS after hitting three abilities or auto attacks (Smite > E > Q > Auto-attack combo).

Cloud wings - Nimbus Cloak rune icon Nimbus Cloak – Allows you to gain bonus movement speed after casting a Summoner Spell. Since you run smite as a jungler, you’ll be able to proc this often. It also allows you to pass through units so you can gank more efficiently through thick minion waves.

Man Dashing Forward - Celerity rune icon Celerity – As the icing on the cake, every movement speed bonus you gain is 7% more effective. You’ll literally be zooming through the map.

Man walking on water - Waterwalking icon Waterwalking – Gives you bonus MS, AD while on the river. Allows you to gank more often.

Secondary – Inspiration Rune Icon Inspiration

Magical Footwear rune icon Magical Footwear – Boots are the most important source of movement speed. This is why you should get them for free!

cosmic insight rune icon Cosmic Insight – Skarner’s ultimate has a relatively long cooldown so this rune should help you reduce it so that you can attempt to catch out enemies more often throughout the game.

Skarner General Overview

In this Skarner guide, we’ve discussed how important it is for this champion to build as much movement speed as possible. He is in charge of trying to catch enemies out so that the team will be able to eliminate the threat immediately. He is a champion that needs players that have quick reflexes and is able to determine when it’s a good time to go in. It also requires full coordination from your team which might prove to be the biggest struggle in playing this champion.

Cyborg version of Skarner
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How to counter Skarner?

Skarner is heavily reliant on using his Impale. Try to build Quicksilver items as soon as possible so that you can counter his heavy engage. Never try to fight Skarner on his spires and try to counter him by having your team attempt to capture spires on the river sides.

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