Skarner Build Guide

  • Views: 20,690
  • Rating: 100% ( Unknown )
  • Last Updated v1.0.0.129

Skarner, the Crystal AP Atk Spd Tank

written by Xcelerator

Skarner Build

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Hi guys, this is my first guide on Leagurecraft, and I hope to make it good. I decided to create a guide because I've been doing pretty well with the build I was using, and I wanted to share it with you guys.

    The first time I played Skarner, I was pretty amazed at how good he could be. Many people have tried many different builds on him, such as AD, AP, Tank, and, Hybrid. I believe he is what the title says. An AP Atk Spd Tank.

    I might plan on adding some videos later. If I can figure out an easy way that doesn't lag my computer and I can get for free.

    LAST EDITED: 11/19/11 12:19 AM

    I'm going to experiment with the new changes, I will update it later.

  • Important Patch Note Changes

    Release Notes v1.0.0.129
    Masteries have been remade
    Summoner spell changes

    Biggest patch for a while, there was sooo much changes to masteries and summoner spells as you all know by now.

    Release Notes v1.0.0.128

    Nothing changed here for Skarner

    Release Notes v1.0.0.127
    Attack Speed per level increased to 2.1% from 1.44%
    Energize will no longer activate when attacking Towers.
    Crystal Slash Mana cost decreased to 15 at all ranks from 22/24/26/28/30
    Fracture will now heal Skarner if Fracture kills its target.
    Impale duration increased to 1.75 from 1.5 seconds

    Hextech Gunblade
    Attack Damage reduced to 40 from 60
    Ability Power reduced to 70 from 75
    Life Steal reduced to 15% from 20%
    Spell Vamp reduced to 20% from 25% and is now UNIQUE

    Wow these buffs are great for the way I play him. It will definately improve his laning phase. I think the most important buff was that Fracture heals when it kills minions. Now I can farm without worring about killing the minion with it. All the other buffs are nice too though :).

    Forgot to add Hextech Gunblade here. It makes to item less attractive, but it's still really good

    Release Notes v1.0.0.126

    Nothing changed here for Skarner.

    Release Notes v1.0.0.125
    Crystal Slash
    Physical Damage increased to 25/40/55/70/85 from 20/35/50/65/80
    Magic Damage increased to 24/36/48/60/72 from 20/32/44/56/68
    Missile Speed increased to 1800 from 1600

    Yess finally some buffs, but I think he could've lived without them.

    Release Notes v1.0.0.124

    Nothing changed here for Skarner.

    Release Notes v1.0.0.123
    Crystal Slash: Skarner lashes out with his claws, dealing physical damage to all nearby enemies and charging himself with Crystal Energy for several seconds if a unit is struck. If he casts Crystal Slash again while empowered by Crystal Energy, he deals bonus Magic Damage and slows all targets hit.
    Crystalline Exoskeleton: Skarner gains a shield and while the shield persists his movement speed and attack speed are both increased.
    Fracture: Skarner summons a blast of crystalline energy which deals damage to enemies struck and marks them. Any further damage dealt to marked targets by Skarner will allow him to consume the mark to heal himself.
    Impale (Ultimate): Skarner suppresses an enemy champion and deals 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 additional damage.
    Energize (Passive): Basic attacks lower the cooldowns of Skarner's abilities by 1 second against champions and 0.5 seconds against non-champions.

    In other words, Skarner was added to the game.

  • The Good Things and The Bad Things

    The Good Things

    -Great lane sustain

    -Good harassment

    -Great defenses

    -Low coolddowns

    -Can initiate team fights

    -Can pull off enemies from your carry

    - Ghost + Crystalline Exoskeleton + Impale + Exhaust + Tower = PROFIT

    The Bad Things

    -Has early mana problems

    -Generally squishy if you can't get enough gold for tankiness

    -Low attack speed

    -Low early damage from Crystal Slash

    -Item dependent

    -Limited amount of time to pull an enemy with Impale (1.5 seconds)

  • Abilities

    Basic attacks lower the cooldowns of Skarner's abilities by 1 second against champions and 0.5 seconds against non-champions.

    One of the best passives. With 40% cooldown reduction your ultimate will be ready in no time.

    Crystal Slash
    Skarner deals (25/40/55/70/85) (+(0.8 per attack damage point)) physical damage to all nearby enemies and charges himself with Crystal Energy for (5) seconds if a unit is struck.

    While Skarner is charged, Crystal Slash deals (24/36/48/60/72) (+(0.4 per ability power point)) bonus magic damage and slows by (25/30/35/40/45)% for (2) seconds.

    A great skill for chasing the enemy. Its damage is low early game, so try not to spam it too much unless your fighting. The damage from this is really consistent late game, and really adds on with Sheen/ Trinity Force. Use it as much as you can when fighting for the slow/extra damage.

    Crystalline Exoskeleton
    Skarner is shielded for (70/115/160/205/250) (+(0.6 per ability power point)) damage for (6) seconds. While the shield persists, Skarner gains (30/35/40/45/50)% Attack Speed and (15/17/19/21/23)% increased Movement Speed.

    Great utility from this. Gives him plenty of useful stats to improve his defense. Try to wait to use this until you get close to the enemy unless you know it won't break too fast, if you think you'll be fine then open up fights with this. You can also use this to dodge skill shots and run away. He does really well with the extra speed from this skill.

    Skarner deals (80/120/160/200/240) (+(0.7 per ability power point)) magic damage to enemies in a line and marks them for (6) seconds.

    Any further damage Skarner deals to those targets will consume the mark to heal Skarner for (30/45/60/75/90) (+(0.3 per ability power point)). (Each charge absorbed heals for (50)% less.)

    This skill is his lane sustain and harassment tool. It's really useful throughout the game. You can also use this to last hit. To gain back a lot of health, try to hit as many minions as you can. Then run up to them and use Crystal Slash. You can also last hit with this if you're getting zoned out, which is why I usually level this skill up instead.

    Skarner suppresses an enemy champion for (1.75) seconds and deals (100/150/200) (+(0.5 per ability power point)) magic damage. 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 an additional (100/150/200) (+(0.5 per ability power point)) magic damage.

    My new favorite ultimate. It's very useful to the team and can be used to initiate fights. It can also be used to pull of that one assassin or carry off of your own carry.

    A good way to use this is right before an enemy flashes away. If you can get it off right as they use Flash or similar spell, it will just pull them right back.

    Initiating fights with this is an amazing way to catch the enemy off guard. They usually don't expect it. They think they're safe by that tower, and you pull them out with Ghost, and now you have a free tower.

    Note: Suppressions aren't affected by tenacity

  • Skilling Order

    I max out Fracture for the lane sustain and to harass. You can't do the same if you max out Crystal Slash first. Next I max out Crystalline Exoskeleton for the utility. Finally, I end with Crystal Slash. And of course, don't forget to get your ultimate Impale when its available.

    Smart Casting
    I find it easier to use Fracture and Impale when they're on smart cast. It lets me use them much faster than usual. I also don't find it hard to aim Fracture as the range isn't that long. This way I don't have to click as much and i won't have to worry about getting the skill off in time.

  • Summoner Abilities

    The Best

    Ghost + Exhaust

    The Good

    Ignite - Great for those early kills and "WTF OMG YOU LIVED WITH 20 HP" *Uses Ignite*
    Cleanse - This combined with a Quicksilver Sash lets you ignore at least 2 hard CC's in a fight.
    Clarity - If you don't have enough IP for the mana runes, this could work as well.
    Flash - I don't think Skarner needs this, but if you think you can't live without it, then fine take it.

    The Bad

    Revive - The days where you use this spell are over.
    Heal - You already have a heal...
    [spell=Fortify] - This only prolongs the inevitable.
    [spell=Rally] - Really?

    Ghost and Exhaust allow you to pull the enemy pretty far and to slow their escape. you can also use it for yourself to escape. These spells have great synergy for Skarner, and thus are what I think is best for him.

  • Masteries + Runes

    I use 9/21/0 for my masteries. It increases his tankiness and damage. You can put 9 in utility if you prefer that over damage.

    Have to get

    [mastery=Cripple] or 1 in [mastery=Deadliness] if you didn't get Exhaust
    [mastery=Archmage's Savvy] - You're going AP, so getting this is self-explanitory :).
    [mastery=Archaic Knowledge] - Again, Magic Pen is for AP users.
    Hardiness +2 - Armor is always a good thing
    Resistance - Same thing as above
    Strength of Spirit - Since Trinity Force, Frozen Heart, and Banshee's Veil give you around 2000 mana, you gain 20 Hp/regen per 5.
    [mastery=Nimbleness] - Extra speed is a must.
    [mastery=Veteran's Scars] - Extra health is great too.
    [mastery=Ardor] -  I swear, this mastery was specifically made for Skarner.
    [mastery=Tenacity] - And of course more tankiness added on to you already being tanky.

    Utility Tree

    [mastery=Ghost] - A must have if you're going into the utility tree instead.
    [mastery=Good Hands] - This is so much better than Perseverance
    [mastery=Awarness] - Again, this is much better than [mastery=Expanded Mind]
    [msastery=Utility Mastery] Great if you don't have a blue hungry AP carry.


    Greater Mark of Alacrity x9
    Greater Seal of Clarity x9
    Greater Glyph of Force x9
    Greater Quintessence of Clarity x9

    I get the attack speed marks so you can get Mercury's Treads instead of Berserker's Greaves

    Skarner has mana problems throughout the game. To fix this I get per level mana regeneration seals and quintessences. Flat runes aren't as useful as the per level ones exceed the flat runes at around level 6.

    The AP glyphs increase his damage a little. You wouldn't really need any other glyphs.

  • Item Build

    Build Order

    I start out with Boots of Speed, Health Potion, and 2 Mana Potion. It gives you a good amount of lane sustain.

    As soon as you have enough gold, go back and grab a Philosopher's Stone. I just tried it recently, and this item is amazing with how much sustain you get combined with your runes.

    Next, I build a Sheen and then Mercury's Treads.

    Zeal next for the attack speed, then finish your Trinity Force. By now you should have a decent amount of health, mana, and damage.

    Now we need to increase your attack speed, so grab a [item=Meki Pendant] and Dagger. Finish the Dagger into a Stinger and finally Nashor's Tooth

    It should be around mid to late game now. So we need to start building our defenses. Start with a Chain Vest and a Negatron Cloak depending on which one you need more (make sure you get both).

    After that, get a Glacial Shroud and finish it into a Frozen Heart.

    Here's where you can go different ways. I generally grab a Banshee's Veil and a Rylai's Crystal Scepter.

    Final Build

    Why did I include these 4 core items?

    Only these very specific items give everything that he needs. He needs attack speed, cooldown reduction, armor, health, mana, ability power, and mana regeneration. These 4 items can give him that. It may be expensive, but I can usually get to my 5th item at around 40-50 minutes.

  • Optional Items

    Sense the core item build is Mercury's Treads, Trinity Force, Nashor's Tooth, and Frozen Heart you won't need any armor, cooldown reduction, or much attack speed.

    Magic Resistance

    [item=Force of Nature]

    If you don't need the health from Banshee's Veil or passive this would be a great choice to get.

    Abyssal Scepter

    Get this item if the other team is building a lot of magic resistance and you have at least 3 AP users. Otherwise it's not as useful.

    Wit's End

    If you think you can survive the first 4 auto attacks to use it's passive, then great use it. It gives a good amount of attack speed too.

    Quicksilver Sash

    Too much CC? Grab this and solve your problems.

    Ability Power

    Rabadon's Deathcap

    Best AP item in the game. Nuff said.


    Need extra attack speed and magic penetration? Here's your item.

    Hextech Gunblade

    Gives you extra survival time in a team fight. Great item to get if your getting killed by those hard AD carries.

    Will of the Ancients

    Only get this if none of your other team mates have it. Otherwise grab Hextech Gunblade.

    Guinsoo's Rageblade

    This item would be alright to get. I think [item=Malady] would be a better choice though.

  • Skarner's Early Game

    I recommend taking a solo top lane, as that's what I believe he is best at. Many of you may be thinking, but what if he gets out ranged and can't farm minions? Well that's what Fracture is made for. It provides lane sustain and harassment. If your getting out ranged by someone like Caitlyn, just sit behind your minions and last hit with Fracture. You can also wait for the minions to get to your tower too.

    When you think you can secure a kill, use this combo:

    Ghost + Crystalline Exoskeleton + Impale + Exhaust + Tower = PROFIT

    Get the enemy as close to the tower as you can. If you can get there and the tower starts hitting them, it's an almost guaranteed kill.

    Also if no one else needs the blue buff, go ahead and take it yourself. It really benefits you from the mana regeneration and early cooldown reduction. If you know you're going to have trouble in your lane, start with a Regrowth Pendant instead of Boots of Speed. Turn it into a Philosopher's Stone after so you can still get gold. Skarner's Early game is very important.

  • Laning with a Partner

    Skarner is highly dependent on how well your partner does in a lane. He wouldn't be able to get that Trinity Force that he needs for mid game if your lane partner keeps taking all of the minion kills or he/she starts getting one of you killed or even both of you.

    If you're laning against hard harassing champions Your going to get even less creep kills because your lane partner will most likely be taking some. You're going to want a champion with you that can harass well so you can get those minion kills.

    I've done much worse in a duo lane due to the having to stay in the middle of the lane than a 2v1 lane where you can stay near your tower. Also if your partner can't harass as well as the other champions can, they might be able to score some kills off of you.

    Laning with a support champion can generally be pretty good sense you can get all of the minion kills and you can have even more sustain on top of Crystalline Exoskeleton and Fracture. Just be careful if your laning against another support with heals. Just focus on minions and minor harassment if they have heals too.

  • Enemy Laners

    Note: This is for 1v1 top solo lane

    Skarner can do pretty well against melee champions such as Mundo, Singed, Mordekaiser in a solo lane. I'll add on more to this section as I play Skarner.


    Garen: This guy is really easy to lane against. Your speed boost is superior to his so you can kite him easily. After he uses his abilities hes pretty much defenseless until he gets them back. Watch out for the very early levels though. If he takes his Decisive Strike first it will do quite a bit of damage to you. Don't let him get too close to you. I would highly recommend leveling Crystalline Exoskeleton second in order to kite him. If he grabs Warmog's Armor, you will not be able to kill him without help. If you have someone like Amumu that is jungling with no damage, don't even bother with him.

    Nidalee: You out damage her pre level 6. Harass her as much as you can while being careful about using too much mana/jungler ganks. When she hits level 6, you have to be more careful. Dodge around her when she uses her skills, and go right back to attacking. Repeat, and it should be an easy kill.

    Mundo: He has a lot less sustain then Garen until he hits level 6, but until then you should be able to harass him easily. Even when he hits level 6 and after he uses his ultimate you can harass his health back down. make sure u stay mobile or behind your minions to dodge his cleavers. Using Crystalline Exoskeleton can help you dodge around him.

    Teemo: Since mostly everyone hates this champion, I decided to add him too :). Focus on farming for a Philosopher's Stone, then either push him out of lane or push the lane to recall and grab it. After you get this, laning against him becomes so much easier. Everyone once in a while try and hit him with Fracture, and also try and hit minions with it. Run up and use Crystal Slash for the heal. You can easily block his damage with [spell= Crystalline Exoskeleton], and if u happen to run into a mushroom (or multiple) and Teemo tries to kill you, just run up to him and try to kill him. You have greater damage, are tankier, and have sustain. Oh and be careful of his blind, DO NOT tower dive him without help because of this. You can, but i wouldn't recommend it.


    Katarina: She has low damage early, but it adds on over time. Just ignore her and focus on minions. Make sure you shield yourself with Crystalline Exoskeleton when needed. Be very careful if she uses her ultimate and your not level 6 with you on low health. If you are level 6 and this happens, counter her with Impale and drag her to the tower for an easy kill. It is very important that you don't use it before she uses her ultimate.

    Mordekaiser: Anyone who has played against this guy knows he is annoying. Early levels he is pretty easy to lane against. After he around hits level 3 try to stay away from the minions and last hit with Fracture and wait for a gank from your jungler, as most Mordekaisers will generally push the lane.



  • Allied Synergy

    I believe champions such as Shen, Rammus, Malzahar, Warwick, or basically anyone that can suppress or pull a champion away from the enemy team would work well with Skarner. I haven't tried any of these, but again I will update this section the more I play Skarner.


    Lee Sin
    This guy is just amazing to work with. Especially if he is your jungler. If you don't have your ultimate, bait the enemy{s} into a fight and take them out with Lee Sin's help. If you do though, grab one and pull him as far as you can. Then Lee Sin will come in and kick the person even farther. Another strategy you could use is that you use [skill=Impale] to drag from the enemy team, then the Lee Sin could kick the person right back into their whole team.

    Have you ever pulled someone from their team, only to have 4 other champions to rush to his aid? Janna can fix this problem, but it will need some skill and timing from the Janna to pull off. As soon as the person you initiate on is far enough have Janna use her ultimate to blow back the remaining champions. BUT the Janna must do that BEFORE your ultimate runs out. Otherwise that champion you worked so hard to pull into your team will have been in vain.

    I think this is self-explanitory. Like Lee Sin, You can do the exact same strategy, pull, then taunt for an easy kill.


    Just Plain Bad

  • Team Fighting

    You have 2 roles here. Initiate fights with Impale, or to grab the highest threat target with Impale and destroy them. You have to decide which enemy is the most important to kill, and go from there. If you for some reason don't have your ultimate, have someone else initiate and attack the most dangerous champion. Hopefully your ultimate will come off cooldown so you can use it again.

    Always try to pull one of them out from their team when they're out of position. Even if it's not the most important target, but please don't pull the tank when he/she has his/her team right behind them.

    Another thing you could do is wait for the initiation and stay near your carries to pull off those annoying assassins that like to get in the back of your team. By choosing to save your carries, the fight will most likely go in your favor, depending on who is playing of course.

    Make sure you spam Crystal Slash, Crystalline Exoskeleton, and Fracture every time you can. You do a lot of DPS this way. Don't worry about losing too much mana. The team fight would be over by the time that happens.

    Also make sure you put Exhaust on carry that does the most damage. It will really lower his/her damage output so you can kill. Even if you know you'll die and you know you can't escape, just keep fighting. You may end up with a kill or 2.

  • Farming

    -If your ultimate is on cooldown
    -Use Crystalline Exoskeleton and just auto attack away

    -If your ultimate is available
    -Use everything you have

    Farming is pretty easy on Skarner, especially if no one is around to put you in danger. Just spam away at those skills for those minion kills.

    It is also very important to farm early game. Focus on last hitting minions. If you're in a solo lane, You should be able to get around 100 minions unless you're really having a hard time in the lane. You should also have Trinity Force around at 20 minutes. If not, you're probably having a bad game and should practice some more.

    After you can grab your tank items ( Frozen Heart and your choice of magic resistance item) you can pretty much sit in the middle of their team and destroy their carries for quite a bit unless they're really fed.

  • Dominion

    When I get more experienced with Skarner on Dominion, I will be adding to this section.

  • Summary

    Skarner is a great, unique champion that can do many things for a team. He can initiate, take out the enemy carry, and secure kills. He has good lane sustain and does pretty well up in the solo top lane. I hope you improve playing as Skarner using this guide. Please comment if you have a question, suggestion, or constructive feedback.

Do you have your own
Build Guide?

Submitted by Xcelerator

Newest Guides for Skarner

Top Guides for Skarner

New Skins for Skarner

Top Skins for Skarner