INTRODUCTION TO SKARNER GUIDE
Hi my name is Goji and I’ll be teaching you how to become one of the best skarner players in the game. I’ve been playing this champ since release and I’ve climbed multiple ranks, playing him up to diamond 1 with a 80-20W/L winrate. I’ve been the top 4 skarner in the world last season when I played him and consider myself to be one of the greatest to ever play him. I find him to be one of the best champions in the game because he’s tanky, can deal a ton of damage, and able to split push with his fast speed as well as his good wave clear. Also he’s just a really cool and fun champ to play. Here are the following pros and cons to Skarner:
PROS OF SKARNER:
- Can 1v1 ANYBODY in the game excluding Fiora
- Very fast with his W and able to clear waves with his E and Q
- Great crowd control with his slow/stun and ultimate
- Good split pusher
- Not many people know exactly what he does so this gives you an advantage
- Can straight up finish games by flash ulting the carry late game
- He’s a goddamn scorpion rock lobster crab monster
CONS OF SKARNER:
- Somewhat hard to play effectively if you’re new with him
- Weak against champs with hard cc that can kite him such as Ahri, Morgana, TF, Tahm Kench
- QSS is an item in this game and shuts down his ultimate if the enemy is smart
Due to these reasons Skarner can be the powerful pick for lol elo boosting.
PLAY-STYLES AND SET UPS OF SKARNER
There are two ways of playing Skarner. One is the CARRY build and the other is the TANK/UTILITY build. The carry set up is very good to boost in LoL lower elos up to Diamond 5. The tanky utility set up is something I use when I’m playing in the higher elos and can rely on my teammates to do the damage for me. I’ll go over the set ups in a moment but I’ll talk about why I use the runes/masteries/items I use.
RUNES FOR SKARNER
- Yellow runes: Armor yellows are standard on junglers for the camps and you won’t die in the jungle because of them.
- Red runes: Attack damage marks is great because of his ad ratios.
- Blue runes: 9 CDR blues is good because it gives you a flat 5% CDR throughout the game and works because he has high cooldowns on his abilities excluding his Q.
- Quintessences: Attack speed quints are good because it allows him to quickly proc the stun on his E in 1v1s as well as being good on clearing camps.
These runes are fairly standard and should ALWAYS be used when playing him.
BEST ITEM FOR SKARNER
- The best item for skarner is definitely TRINITY FORCE. I use this item on both of my set ups and has a great build path, gives him damage while being tanky and allows him to scale with his sheen procs.
SUMMONER SPELLS FOR SKARNER
- Flash is the best summoner on him because it allows him to close the distance as well as flash ulting the carries in the game. Blue smite is the best on him because it will allow you to slow them then hit them with your E while they’re slowed. You’ll have a better chance of landing your stun this way. I’ll now be going over the 2 different set ups in detail.
SKARNER’S CARRY BUILD
The carry build is the set up I use in lower elos up to diamond 5. With this set up you want to basically think of yourself as an assassin and should play him with that play style in mind. Because of this, you’re going to be doing a ton of damage and should be looking to fight 1v1 duels and split push to carry wins. You shouldn’t really look to group and teamfight often because you’re more squishy with this build and should be grouping with the tanky/utility set up instead. Use 18-12-0 masteries, getting all the masteries that give you most damage in duels. The build you want to use for this set up goes like this: Start with standard jungle items lvl 1.
ITEM BUILD AND STRATEGY FOR “CARRY” SKARNER
Rush Devourer > CDR boots > Tiamat > Titanic Hydra > Trinity > Frozen Heart > Banshees in that order. When you’re using this set up you want to slowly farm up your Devourer stacks while ganking people who are overextended. Ignore people who are begging for ganks as you’ll be able to carry them once you pick up your Sheen. Getting Devourer ASAP will allow you to hit 30 stacks quickly so get it fast. I’ve gotten 30 stacks at 12 minutes plenty of times with this and usually hit an average of 16-18 minutes with 30 stacks. Once you finish hydra you are now a monster and hit like a truck. Look for ganks whenever you can and transition from being a farmer in the jungler to a fighter who can counter jungle and duel the enemy jungler. Once you finish Frozen Heart, look to transition from a fighter who counter jungles into a split pusher who applies pressure anywhere on the map. Take every single buff you can, don’t share them because YOU are the true carry. Try and get a blue buff and push the lane by yourself while your team is doing an objective like dragon/baron/towers. You can 1v1 anyone so once the enemy sends someone down to try and stop you, simply drag them away from their tower with your ult and stun lock them and 1 shot them. They will say “OMG your damage is too much, report my team for feeding skarner, MY TEAM WONT SURRENDER” or something like that. Spam your laugh after you 1v1 them and take their towers. Keep splitting to the enemy nexus and enjoy your EASY LP (league points)!
SKARNER’S TANKY/UTILITY BUILD
This tank build is the set up I use in higher elos where I can rely on my team to carry and do the damage. When you’re using this build you want to take advantage of your ability to flash ult carries, apply a ton of CC in teamfights, and tank for your team when you’re grouped. The early game plays exactly like the carry build however you want to transition into a ganker/teamfighter once you finish your cinderhulk. Use 0-12-18 masteries, getting the masteries that will give you the most tankiness in teamfights. The item build is as follows: Start with standard jungle items lvl 1.
ITEM BUILD AND STRATEGY FOR “TANKY/UTILITY” SKARNER
Rush Cinderhulk > Swiftness boots > Sheen > Finish Trinity > Frozen Heart > Solari Locket > Sterak’s Gage in that order. When you’re using this play style, you want to farm conservatively early game and look for ganks when the enemy laner is pushed up to your tower. You start to be extremely tanky once you finish Cinderhulk so don’t ever be afraid to walk in and slow a bunch of people while absorbing damage. Again, this playstyle is mostly focusing on ulting enemy champs when they’re out of position so use that to your advantage. Remember to give your laners their buffs at around 13/25 minutes. Because you’re not focusing on carrying hard and mainly supporting your team with assists, you want to share the buffs. Late game when you’re grouped up, focus on flash ulting the carry and end the game off that because chances are, you straight up won the game for your team when you force a 4v5 teamfight like that. Enjoy the EASY LP!
HOW TO PLAY SKARNER
In this section of the guide, I’ll be going over the intricacies and details of this champion. Let’s talk about his abilities first and foremost.
SKARNER ABILITIES RECAP
- Skarner’s Q is an AoE damage ability and his main skill to use. Simply put – it’s his bread and butter. This helps make him a really fast jungler in the game and does a lot of damage when it’s charged up. Use this when you’re dueling, clearing waves and jungling. Because they lowered his mana costs on this ability, he will never run oom if he spams it in the jungle so use it whenever it’s off cooldown. You want to grab this at level 1 but max it second.
- Skarner’s W is a shield with a fairly decent cooldown. It makes him ramp up in speed overtime if it’s not broken and allows him to stay healthy in the jungle. This ability you max last because it scales with hit points. Skarner’s W is great for baiting enemies so feel free to tank towers and fight in 1v1s where the enemy thinks you’re low hp.
- Skarner’s E is a very long range slow that is AoE. When hit on an enemy or minion, it will slow down on the next hit meaning if you’re using this to chase someone on a minion wave, make sure you have the range to do it or the ability won’t come out fast enough to hit them. This ability you max first because it does a lot of damage when you stun them. When you hit someone with your E you apply a stack. On the next auto you will stun them so it’s great to use on jungle camps because you take less damage and it’s also good in teamfights where you can apply your stun on multiple champions. When you proc your stun, your E lowers its cooldown by one second. Try to hit your E on multiple enemies and proc your stun on each champion so it goes off cooldown again. Think of it like Udyr where you’re stunning multiple enemies to disrupt them in teamfights.
- Finally, Skarner’s R is his ultimate and suppresses an enemy champion for a short while. It does a moderate amount of damage and his main tool for ganking enemies in lane. Flash ulting is when this ability really shines so try and use it in combination when they’re both available to use.
SKARNER BASIC NOTES
- One very good tip when you’re playing Skarner is to walk in between your autos. So for example, you stun them with your E. Instead of autoing, try and walk in front of them after they’re stunned so they have less chance of walking away with you. Start your ganks with blue smite, E, Auto, walk in front of them, auto, Q, auto, Q, repeat, etc. This will ensure that even if they flash after they take damage, you can still slow them with your E and repeat the process again.
- In teamfights, it’s very important to slow as many targets as you can with your E. Try and walk in front and tank as many damage as you can while stunning them. Don’t focus on hitting one target because you’re an AoE monster. Just try to do as much AoE damage as you can and focus on stunning many targets.
- A really neat trick to do while you’re ulting them is to drag them away from their tower as much as possible then turn around for maximum distance. Many people will try and drag them but it’s very important to turn around at the last possible second to ensure you’re getting them as far away as possible from their team.
GUIDE FOR SKARNER MATCH UPS
LEE SIN: Easy/Medium. One of the true skill match ups vs Skarner. He will try and invade you early so be aware of that and ward your jungle. You can always 1v1 at every point in the game so don’t be afraid to duel him when he invades you. He’s a relatively slow clearer in the jungle so you can outpace him by farming your camps and counter jungling him when he ganks. The only problem to deal with is when he is out-pressuring you early game because he’s so mobile. He will try to gank every lane so get ready to set up counter ganks at level 6. When you hit him with a slow, it doesn’t always mean death for him because he can escape with ward jump. When he’s low HP and you’re fighting him, try and suppress Lee Sin when you believe he’s going to ulti you away at around 1/4 HP. Your team will cry for ganks when he’s out-pressuring you but stay calm and maybe even mute your team. Even if he’s fed you can still fight him and he’ll fall off in the game eventually. Overall this match up is very dependent on the Lee Sin’s skill level, so be afraid if he’s constantly invading your jungle and stealing your buffs.
FIDDLESTICKS: Easy. Get Mercury Treads because his fear will ruin your day. He’s squishy so you can always kill him at any point in the game. Try and save your E stun while he’s using his life drain on you so you can interrupt it. Use a lot of wards because you will need vision of him later on in the game. Once his CC is no problem for you and you have vision of him, he’s not so scary. You can also ultimate him away from your team when he uses crowstorm so that only you will be absorbing damage.
VI: Easy. This champ is terrible. You can outpace her with your fast clears and 1 shot her at all times because she’s usually no match for you in duels. Always side step her Q because it’s her main source of damage.
AMUMU: Easy. He’s fairly slow so just out farm and out gank him. Don’t be afraid to fight him in his jungle, he’s pretty tanky but Amumu does no damage to you.
ELISE: Medium. She’s only scary if she manages to succeed in a lot of ganks. Don’t be afraid to fight her throughout the game (except late game because she can stun you hard) and just out farm her. Be careful when you’re ganking because usually if she’s there to counter gank you’re donezo.
HECARIM: Easy. He’s pretty much a worse version of skarner so just kill at him at every point in the game. He’s pretty annoying because he’s faster than you are but save your suppress when he’s about to dash away with his ultimate.
KHAZIX: Medium. He does a TON of damage and can escape from you with his mobility. If he snowballs throughout the mid game you can’t duel him. Try to out farm him instead of ganking because he’s slow at clearing camps.
MASTER YI: Easy. Just stun him and ultimate him. He’s squishy. Even in late game you can kill him in a 1v1.
NIDALEE: Hard. This champ can stop you easily with her pressure early game and invade you early on when you’re low hp. She’s mobile and does a ton of damage if she’s fed. Avoid at all costs!
OLAF: Medium. He’s not too difficult but his ultimate directly counters you and his true damage means you’re going to have a hard time in the early/mid game. Once you have a few items and you’re farmed up, you can fight him whenever.
QUINN: Hard. She blinds you, kites you hard with her E and does a ton of damage to you early/mid game. Once it’s late game focus on ulting her in teamfights and you’ll have a good chance at winning. Keep in mind you won’t be able to stun her with your E if she blinds you.
RENGAR: Easy. Just fight him, Rengar is squishy. Ultimate him in teamfights.
REKSAI: Medium. He’s a strong champ and can apply pressure on the map through out the game. Keep in mind that he can escape from you with his gap closer. REKSAI can’t 1v1 you at all so try and fight him when possible. He will try and counter jungle you a lot so fight him when you catch him. Be careful for the counter ganks before level 6 because you will lose the 2v2 most of the time.
SHACO: Medium. He’s a cheese champ and will invade you pre 6. Stay healthy and out farm him while he ganks. You will out-scale him so try and play safe early game. Make sure you use your sweeper when you’re fighting him so you have vision when he goes stealth.
XIN ZHAO: Easy. Fight him. Ulti him whenever possible. You can win duels easily. Since he automatically all-ins you with his E+Q combo he will be put in melee range. Punish him because of this.
ZAC: Easy. The same kind of match up as Amumu, he’s tanky but he does no damage to you. You can win every fight even if he counter ganks. It will be a problem if he counter ganks and he auto CC’s your teammate in lane. He can force 1v2s easily but you can still counter jungle him with ease.
AHRI: Hard. Not a jungler but she can ruin your day with her mobility and taunt while you’re ganking her. She can burst you for half your health so try not to gank her and ult her while she dashes away. Avoid at all costs!
FIORA: Hard. Not a jungler but she will pwn you in every 1v1s if you’re not careful. Try to time your ult after she reflects because if she reflects your ultimate you’re going to lose a ton of pressure in fights. A good tip is to walk towards her after you slow and wait a few seconds in melee range to make it look like you’ll proc your stun. She’ll mistime her reflection and that will give you a good advantage in the fight. Avoid at all costs!
WUKONG: Easy. Very squishy and you can easily kill him when he E‘s into you in melee range. Punish him and slow him down. Follow him where you think he will go when he goes invisible. You can also use sweeper so you can track him down.
GRAGAS: Easy/Medium. Basically the same kind of match up as Lee Sin, you shouldn’t be afraid of him throughout the game but he’s good at counter ganking and applying pressure on the map early game. He’s pretty easy to 1v1 but if your team starts to fall behind from his constant ganks you might be in trouble. Match up is dependent on Gragas’ skill level.
Nunu: Medium. Not much to say. He’s just extremely annoying and will look to steal all your camps throughout the game. Don’t be afraid to fight him but it will be hard to catch him to him considering his slows and movement speed buffs. Overall if you end up farming well early game then you won’t have too much of a problem dealing with him.
JUNGLE ROUTE FOR SKARNER
Now I will go over the jungle route skarner should be doing every game. This will allow you to get lvl 6 in around 6 minutes.
- First thing to do when the game starts whether you’re blue or red side is to head over to your gromp. You always want to start gromp every single game. You want to start by smiting your gromp when it spawns, autoing it a bit then dragging it back towards to the spire buff so you can get more attack speed while finishing off the gromp.
- Then take your blue.
- Finish off your wolves after taking blue then start recalling.
- You’ll have enough gold for a machete so buy that.
- Head over to your wraiths from base then finish them off, along with your red buff.
- It’s optional to smite your red buff.
- After taking your red buff, take your golems and smite them.
- From there you can either gank bot if the enemy is at your tower or you can take the scuttle.
- After taking the scuttle head over to the enemy’s wolves. Take them as well as the enemy gromp.
- Sometimes the enemy jungler will be here but don’t be afraid to fight him 1v1 because you’ll always win the duel. Remember to take the spire buff in the enemy jungle so you will be at an advantage. After taking the enemy jungler’s camps you should start heading back to your wraiths since they will spawn right as you walk towards them. Take the wraiths then your wolves then your gromp in that order. Take the scuttle crab in the river after taking your gromp. Right now you should have exactly 1300 gold, enough for a recurve bow and blue smite upgrade (or Cinderhulk if you’re going tank build). I’ve put up an image to help demonstrate the jungle route in its order.
Now you should also pick up a sweeper and start clearing out wards whenever. You can head to golems to wraiths to wolves to gromp from base if you want to farm hard, otherwise start looking for ganks. Immediately pick up Devourer when you have 450 gold because you want to start stacking it as soon as possible. After you have Devourer you should start looking to solo dragon for an easy 5 stacks. Remember the earlier the better because it’ll respawn sooner and you’ll get your sated devourer quick that way. Once you have Devourer and CDR boots you can solo rift herald but beware of the enemy jungler crossing river because he could try and kill you if you’re low enough taking damage from rift herald. Try to farm fast and efficiently, going around the jungle whenever the camps spawn to take advantage of your devourer stacks. Only gank if the enemy laner is at your tower and pushed up.
SKARNER: TIPS AND TRICKS
- Pay attention to your spires throughout the game because they will give away the enemy position when they capture it.
- When you’re split pushing with carry build, sit in a brush for a little while so you can ambush the enemy laner when he farms next to you.
- Always try to take Baron Nashor at 20 minutes if you’re slightly ahead, you can take it with your mid and top laners.
- If your team is taking a tier 2 tower, you can walk around and go behind the enemy while they’re defending tower to ambush them and get a good ultimate.
- Always walk in between your autos and walk in front of them while they’re stunned from your E. This will allow you to position yourself better and get more damage off.
- Try to take rift herald and Dragon as early as possible when you have devourer to get sated fast.
- Flash ulting the squishy carries late game will allow you to auto win the teamfight
- Split pushing with the carry build in lower elos will allow you to carry really hard.
- Always drag the enemy backwards when you’re ulting then immediately turn around near the end of the ultimate so you can get maximum distance.
SKARNER ITEM BUILD RECAP
Devourer: One of the best items on Skarner as it synergizes with his Q and allows him to get maximum DPS in fights. It’s very scary when it’s upgraded to sated to try and get it as early as possible.
Trinity: A very good item on skarner because of his high base ad synergizing with Sheen, gives him a good amount of movement speed with phage and zeal to close the gap and stick on to targets, as well as allowing him to crit. Once you can crit champions as skarner you can do insane DPS. I suggest to get this as the second or third item.
CDR Boots: Cheap and gives him one of the most desirable stats on Skarner: Cooldown Reduction. This item along with Devourer will give you a huge power spike in the early and mid game.
Titanic Hydra: Gives you a good amount of HP and allows you to become the final raid boss in LoL. Devourer + CDR boots + Titanic is his most ridiculous power spike and will allow you to 1v3 champions on the spire if you’re fed enough.
Frozen Heart: Has always been a good item on him regardless of the amount of nerfs received to this item. Gives him teamfight utility, tankiness and has a fairly good build path. CDR is a big factor in making you stronger so that is a plus.
Banshees: You don’t really need the extra CDR from Spirit Visage so this item will do fine against mages that can burst you down. Build this as your final item in the game. Good for rushing towards targets because the spell shield will block a CC most of the time.
Swiftness Boots: Pretty decent to build when you’re using the tanky build. Although it got nerfed it can still be useful for closing the gap and reduces slows so you won’t get kited as much. I would recommend defensive boots if you’re behind.
Guinsoos Rageblade: Not a bad item but I’ve tried it a lot of times and most of the time titanic hydra is just better. It doesn’t give you the defensive options you need and most of the time you don’t need the extra damage considering you already have a lot. Wouldn’t recommend unless you’re extremely fed.
Blade of the Ruined King: Bad item because you don’t need the active and don’t need the attack speed it gives you. Wouldn’t recommend.
Wits End: Not a bad item, similar to guinsoos though because it’s not defensive enough and you don’t need the extra damage if you’re going titanic hydra. Wouldn’t recommend unless you’re extremely fed.
Thornmail: Got nerfed and it’s pretty much useless. Doesn’t give you any valuable stats you need. Wouldn’t recommend unless you’re vsing ad carry comp.
QSS: Great item vs champions like TF and Morgana who can ruin your day with their constant CC. Would recommend it as a last item if you’re fed and trying to carry.
Solari Locket: Good item if you’re going a tanky utility based skarner build. Gives you decent stats but not as good compared to Banshees. Good in higher elos.
Iceborn Gauntlet: Not a bad item, allows him to stick on to targets but it’s not needed since he already has a slow on his E. Good but not as good compared to Trinity Force. Wouldn’t recommend most of the time.
Sterak’s Gage: I’m kind of torn between this item, it can be alright most of the time but I don’t notice the power spike often. I’d recommend it as a last item.
Spirit Visage: Don’t need the extra CDR and you’re not a heal based champ so you don’t need it. Wouldn’t recommend.
Randuin’s Omen: People still build this? Hmm… Haven’t seen it in a while. Wouldn’t recommend.
Dead Man’s Plate: Just bad. I don’t notice the power spike in this item at all and it’s not needed. Wouldn’t recommend unless you’re very behind.
Guardian’s Angel: Good as a last item. That’s about it.
Hextech Gunblade: Don’t notice the power spike, don’t notice the spell vamp or life steal when using this item. Wouldn’t recommend even if you were really ahead.
Black Cleaver: Haven’t tried it but Titanic Hydra just seems so much better. The CDR you don’t really need if you’re getting other items.
THANKS FOR READING!
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