Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard Guide

Enryuu here to bring you another League of Legends champion guide.  This time around I will be telling you how I play Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard as both a laner and a jungler.  Personally I prefer Skarner as a laner because I consider his ganks kind of sloppy compared to other junglers, but all a matter of play style and preference.

Champion Spotlight by Phreak:


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

3.5 22

Skarner deals (20/35/50/65/80) (+(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 (20/32/44/56/68) (+(0.4 per ability power point)) bonus magic damage and slows by (25/30/35/40/45)% for (2) seconds.

Crystalline Exoskeleton

14 60

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.


10 50

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.)


110 100

Skarner suppresses an enemy champion for (1.5) 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.



These are the runes for laning as Skarner.  Magic Penetration Marks, Magic Resist Glyphs and Quintessences, and Armor Seals.  I choose to go with these runes as to allow Skarner to be as tanky as possible in lane.  The main reason is because Skarner is a melee champion so he will be easily harassed in a lane with a ranged DPS.  Skarner also doesn’t do as much damage as other melee champions do in comparison, so mitigating as much damage as possible is the best choice of runes for Skarner.  Magic Penetration Marks allows you to deal more damage magically as Skarner for the most part deals magical damage on his abilities.  So Armor Penetration Marks isn’t very useful despite Skarner being a melee auto attack champion.  Skarner benefits more from attack damage and ability power instead from items as a hyrbid champion.


These are the runes that I use on Skarner for jungling.  Physical Damage Quintessences, 3 Physical Damage Marks and 6 Attack Speed Marks, Armor Seals, and Magic Resist Glyphs.  I use these runes for jungling because the attack damage runes helps speed up Skarner’s jungling with the attack speed runes by increasing his base damage.  This allows Skarner to auto attack minions for a bit more causing them to die quicker along with the extra damage from Skarner’s Q while jungling.  The rest of the runes are for tankiness in the early and mid game, as well as for mitigating damage in the jungle.



I use the standard caster mastery set up with Skarner, going 9/0/21 when laning.  This allows Skarner to have increased buff duration, as well as increased movement speed for catching up to people.  You have reduced cool downs on your summoner spells such as flash and ignite as well.  This helps greatly for Skarner in order to close gaps and be able to keep either the enemy slowed or grab someone with your ultimate.


My masteries for jungling are 1/12/17, which is a bit unorthodox, but it works quite well for Skarner.  You grab Plentiful Bounty in the Offense tree for improved Smite to make some extra gold.  You grab Strength of Spirit for regeneration in the Defense tree and put the rest of the points into damage mitigation so you take the least amount of damage possible while jungling.  This allows you to gank very quickly as Skarner, since you will be clearing the jungle and ganking at nearly full health.  The rest of the points in the Utility tree are pretty standard points for jungling, but also some standard points you would grab while laning as well as a caster.  The increased movement speed, for example allows you to gank a bit easier and move around the map at the early levels quicker then the opposing jungler without boots.

Summoner Spells:





These are the summoner spells I use for Skarner.  I use Flash and Ignite for the ability to catch up to people and initiate with Skarner’s ultimate or to get away after initiating without Flash.  Same theory applies for the jungling summoner spells, but replacing Ignite with Smite as that is a necessary summoner spell for jungling.

Skill Order/Priority:

Laning 1-6:


Jungling 1-6:


Skill Priority:




When laning as Skarner it is best to start off with boots and 3 health potions.  This allows Skarner to quickly move around and dodge any abilities that the enemy throws at you such as skill shots.  The 3 Health Potions also give you some lane sustainability, so you can farm and then recall and grab a Philosopher Stone and a Catalyst.  The Philosopher Stone allows you to get gold passively and sustain in lane along with the passive of Catalyst, which nets you both health and mana.  Skarner is a pretty mana intensive champion despite some low mana costs on his abilities.  Your first main item should be Rod of Ages as quickly as possible so that you can build a fair amount of health and ability power, which will help increase the damage and defensive properties of your abilities.  Before buying Sheen you want to finish off your boots and in most cases you want to build Mercury Treads so as to reduce the duration of most Crowd Control effects cast on you.  Afterwards, you want to start building Sheen and finish turning that into Trinity Force.  During which if needed you want to grab a Chain Vest and Negatron Cloak for more mitigation if you are truly being melted down quickly.  You want to then build Atmas Impaler and Force of Nature with your already bought Chain Vest and Negatron Cloak.  Your last item if the game keeps going on for awhile is to build Hextech Gunblade, as this nets you both a slow, but also physical damage and ability power.  Those stats are great for Skarner as a hybrid champion, not to mention the life steal and spell vamp from Hextech Gunblade for sustainability.


Skarner’s jungling end-game items are similar to Skarner’s laning items however, instead of Rod of Ages, it is replaced by Rylai’s Crystal Scepter.  When jungling as Skarner you want to start off with Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions.  After clearing the jungle and hopefully a successful gank, you should have enough money to buy boots and some other parts for Wriggle’s Lantern.  Finish Wriggle’s Lantern and finish off building Mercury Treads as that will mostly be the best boots to upgrade to.  Start building Trinity Force at this point starting with Sheen for the extra burst damage and mana.  Upon finishing Trinity Force or during the building of, you want to grab a Chain Vest and Negatron Cloak for damage mitigation purposes.  Start building Rylai’s Crystal Scepter, and once that is finished, you want to finish building Atmas Impaler and Force of Nature.  This brings you to the last item in the build, which is once again Hextech Gunblade for the extra damage from its hybrid oriented stats.


When laning as Skarner you want to try and last hit as much as possible and harass while doing so with your ability Fracture.  It won’t do a lot of damage, but it will allow you to harass and heal a bit if you take any harassment damage.  Keep farming and farming until you hit level 6 and have your ultimate.  With luck the opposing champion may get greedy and go for a kill on your tower or nearby to harass you.  This is where you strike and use your ultimate, Impale and drag them back to your tower for more damage.  Keep them slowed with Crystal Slash and you will be sure to pick up a kill or waste their summoner spell.  Before hitting level 6, you can try and harass with Fracture, followed by attacking them with Crystal Slash and Crystalline Exoskeleton for attack speed and extra damage.  This should cause the enemy champion depending on whether melee or ranged to either back off or try to kill you in response.  This is a good way to set up ganks if you perform this task early.  But of course staying alive while doing so, this will cause you to bait the opposing champion for your jungler.  Overall you want to basically use your Crystal Slash and Crystalline Exoskeleton to their utmost potential during the laning phase and team fight phase.  This will net you some kills or at least some breathing room, because the opposing champion will have to resort to using some kind of escape skill to get away from you.


Jungling as Skarner is relatively easy and quick if done correctly.  As Skarner, one can clear the jungle before 4 minutes into the game.  In most cases a good time to shoot for is 3:45-3:50.  This around the time I normally hit level 4 and am going to gank with double buffs.  Now for jungling you want to start at Golemn for your blue buff.  Ask your team for a strong leash on blue buff and get Golemn down to around 600-700 health before leaving.  This will speed up your jungle significantly, and is the basis for a quick jungle as Skarner.  If a strong leash is not given then Skarner will lose out on early ganks, because it will slow him down another 10-20 seconds.  After Golemn, proceed with the normal jungling path, Wolves, Wraths, Lizard, and Mini Golemns.  After clearing all these camps, you should be level 4 and should be looking for ganks.  Now when Skarner is going for a gank try to use your Crystal Slash early on either a minion or the other lane partner in the lane for a bottom lane gank.  This will initiate your slow effect on Crystal Slash for your initial target.  Be sure to auto attack and try to keep Crystal Slash rolling while you have access to your Crystalline Exoskelton shield and effects.  This with the aid of your teammates in the lane you are ganking should net you first blood or at least a kill.  As for counter jungling I suggest only keeping times on neutral buffs and grabbing those when possible from the enemy jungler.  This will keep your mana pool full allowing for more successive ganks and faster jungling.  Skarner is pretty dependent on blue buff for mana and cool downs, so if you feel you no longer require it, then pass it off to a team member that could benefit greatly from it.  Also if ganking as Skarner with your ultimate, be sure to use Impale and spam Crystal Slash so that when the enemy is released from your ultimate, they will be slowed.  A tactic to use when ganking as Skarner is to gank repetitively, once to waste summoner spells and another time when they think you left for the kill.


About adrelion

League of Legends player, Minecrafter, overall gamer, music enthusiast, nerd, paintballer, anime watcher, manage reader, and overall nice guy. View all posts by adrelion

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