Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard is one of the newest champions released to join the League of Legends champion roster. Skarner has been out for over a week now, and is a jungler melee fighter. Skarner is one of the few champions that is truly hybrid and needs to be built that way to take advantage of all his abilities. However, like with most hybrid champions, can also be built as a full AD or AP champion. Skarner in my opinion isn’t the best jungler in terms of ganking potential as his ganks are usually pretty sloppy. However, he excels at clearing the jungle quickly with a good leash on Golemn at the start for the standard jungle route. Skarner needs certain runes and masteries to effectively complete this route under 4 minutes. On most occasions Skarner can clear the jungle by 3:50 and be healthy enough to gank unlike many other junglers. Skarner’s abilities are good overall, however there are some abilities that I feel are questionable. The first being the damage and range on Skarner’s Q ability, because the range is a very small radius around Skarner that is barely outside of melee range. I believe the radius is around 200-250 at most, which means you need to be on top of the opponent to slow them. This leads into my second complaint about Skarner, which is that is a relatively slow champion, and despite low mana costs, mana inefficient because his utility abilities cost a fair amount of mana. This causes Skarner to run out of mana fairly quickly laning and in need of Golemn buff to jungle efficiently and effectively. Therefore, it is quite difficult for Skarner to continually slow and attack his opponent, which is supposed to be remedied by his second ability. His second ability gives him a shield that absorbs damage and while the shield is on Skarner, he gains attack speed and movement speed. This shield would be great if it could absorb a bit more damage, as this ability can easily be taken off in one hit by most champions at rank 1 of this ability leaving, you slow and vulnerable early on. This hurts his main purpose of feeling like a predator champion, that is chasing and constantly attacking you if following the monster theme that Riot Games was going for with Skarner. Now he does fill this role well if he can get on an enemy champion and can stick to them, by reapplying the slow and being able to auto attack them. But this can be considered rare against champions that have slows or stuns. Skarner is similar to Udyr with his weakness for slows as he is a melee champion that needs to be constantly on top of you in order to do any form of damage. Skarner unlike Udyr is an auto attack champion at his core. Skarner has one ranged ability, which is his third ability and is a skill shot that has a range a little bit further then Maokai’s first ability. Skarner’s ultimate is the main ability everyone was looking forward to as it impales the enemy champion, then is able to drag them around with him. Now this ability is good for grabbing enemy champions that are out of position. However, my only gripe with this ability is the range of it once again, which is small similar to Skarner’s first ability in range, meaning you need to get in melee range and then drag them out. This wouldn’t be so bad if you had a way to absorb a lot of the damage and use this ability as a utility ability for your team. Skarner’s ultimate is a utility ability at its core, but with its small range, the chance of successfully pulling a squishy opponent from his team mates to your own is slim as you will most likely die before then. Skarner is by no means a tanky DPS, but needs and can be built that way, which seems to be the best way to build him. Skarner has a fairly good early game and can lane fairly well against most champions in a solo lane. However, after the mid to late game hits, Skarner turns from a predatory hunter champion, to a utility champion that is only on the team for the ultimate. This conclusion comes after playing many games with Skarner since his release in both the lane and jungle. Skarner, lacks damage in both sustain and burst, especially in the current meta game. Skarner can definitely like most tanky DPS, kill the enemy carry since they are fragile if he is able to get on top of them, but this is where the problem starts as he can easily be killed and CCed to the point where he is ignorable and useless. Skarner doesn’t do much damage in forms of burst or sustained compared to other tanky DPS, this includes fighting the enemy carry. This is mainly because the base damage and ratios on his abilities are a bit on the low side as well as the range on his abilities.
Overall, the abilities and kit go well with Skarner in my honest opinion as it fits his role well as a predatory hunting monster champion. The champion concept is solid and well made and employed. But, the overall execution in the numbers of the abilities and ratios on these abilities seem to be lacking from my personal experience as in most cases I have run into and many others, are unable to kill champions. For a predatory monster champion this seems contradictory that instead you are helping your team kill champions like a support champion instead of getting the kill yourself. Now, I know Skarner is not a carry or anything of the sort and deserves all the kills to further carry your team to victory with the farm, but as a predator and fighter champion, you should be able to pick up some kills throughout the game whether as clean up, a gank, or team fight. This just isn’t the case however, since your damage output is fairly ignorable even after grabbing a lot of damage as it approaches the late game. I believe Skarner needs a few tweaks to be just perfect in the numbers range and a small boost in his range for his abilities to allow it to be easier to fill that predatory chasing role effectively. All in all, Skarner is a good champion, that may meet some people’s tastes, but others may think that same as myself and believe he is on the borderline of balanced and underpowered in the current meta game. This is one of those champions that can fill a role well, but is by no means the best in those roles and is overshadowed by other champions that can fill these roles better.