League of Legends

The Closest Riot EVER got to Skarner’s Champioin Fantasy

LeagueofLegends2 - The Closest Riot EVER got to Skarner's Champioin Fantasy
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Ah, the old "3-hit passive" meme. While it was kind of meme-ish at the time, this passive REALLY worked for Skarner. It rewarded Skarner with a stun if he could stick to an opponent long enough to apply 3 spell stacks and an auto attack.

This was the bread-and-butter Skill of Skarner: Spell weaving with auto attacks was/is/should always be his combat pattern, stacking the dps as the battle goes on. This skill gave a clear window for Skarner to fight with, his opponents could see that he was ready to go, and it allowed Skarner to remain sticky without enabling 4 other players. It had good counter play too, since the skill costs mana, Skarner cant keep it up forever, especially early game, so managing your resources and holding your stacks for the right times was important (unless you ran tear builds, but that's a trade off for actual stats)

The Shield having a base value that scaled with rank was fantastic because it meant that your ability to have your speed buff wasn't dependent on your build choice. You could make adjustments to allow the build choices to matter more without crippling the shield like current W, but this one at least allows for more flexibility and is in a good spot to be maxed out second.

This was Skarner's one point wonder. Its primary benefit was just giving him a better shot at closing the gap against ranged targets. Important since he has no instant moves/dashes and his W speed is broken with the shield. While the instant stun of current E is nice, the overall change has left Skarner in a place where his entire kit/success depends on landing E. Having fracture as the utility spell feels right for Skarner as a champion. Claws first, lasers second.

This is the same skill that its always been, but it has more actual dueling power since it ACTUALLY deals damage. The interaction with the passive was also a fun option (for me at least) since you could choose between a stun chain (stun into Ultimate) or choose more damage in the 1v1/1v2 by consuming the stacks for damage and then reapplying them after for the stun. This decision could sometimes be the difference in winning a fight or a target escaping with a scrap of health.

This Kit is known as Crystal Venom Skarner (for the passive) by the Skarner mains community. While there are some that may disagree, in my experience, the larger majority of Skarner mains still believe this to be his BEST incarnation, and for a lot of reasons. In this post I specifically wanted to address the champion fantasy of Skarner.

Skarner is an angry, emotionally charged (and crystal charged XD) Crystalline Scorpion on the hunt for the stolen life stones of his people. He will chase these thieves to the ends of the earth, and that is what I want to focus on: the chase.

Skarner has always been this kind of "ramp up" champion in fights. It started from the very beginning with his Q charging after the first hit. While perma slow was a bit mean (especially in an age with so few dashes and blinks) since it enabled Skarner's entire team to be sticky so long as he didnt die, perma-speed was the replacement thematic here, that allowed Skarner, if he is able to take an extended fight, to now stick to opponents without also fully enabling his entire team. At least, that was the reasoning we gave in the discussions leading up to the change.

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Skarner is an AA champion. This makes him some what of a stat check champion (having some champs like this is ok btw) but he is not the only one like this. The skill expression with Skarner has always been "can I get close to you" and "how long can I stay there" without the aid of cc shielding, blinks or instant movement skills. This version of Skarner supported those ideas, and still had good amounts of counterplay for his opponents. Beneath each of the photos, I include a caption outlining how this kit supported Skarner's playstyle/fantasy, but one of the things I want to point out in general:

BASE DAMAGE and SCALING

This has been a MAJOR pain point for me with Skarner's current kit. The way his skills are set up and just his passive alone is more restricting than any other kit in the game. His passive is only available around neutral objectives, and had Skarner players not spoke up during the juggernaut change, we wouldn't have even had the passive proc on E. The passive (and more recently the Q change) is basically riot screaming that Skarner should ONLY be played in the jungle. Recent Q changes have also added to the other thing that SEEMS to be pushed by riot, and that is that Skarner should just build tank.

Currently, Skarner has in ratios:
15%(30%) tAD on Q and 60% tAD on ultimate (120% if both procs hit). The first ratio is laughably small, making AD items truely inefficient on him, and while on paper the ult seems like a nice ratio, there is next to no base damage to back it up.
10-14% Max HP scaling on W: With the lack of ANY base values on the shield, Riot has basically told us, we need to build tank items.
30% AP ratio on charged Q, 80% AP on W, 20% AP on shield and 50%(100%) AP on Ultimate. Ok, this sounds promising, except that the Skarner is still very slow outside of spires, and time has shown that AP Skarner builds are anything but optimal. His Kit just doesn't support building AP items, and likely wont unless those ratios are insane.

In summary: Fight jungle monsters, not champions (until mid to late game, vs tanks) UNLESS your ultimate is up, than gank a lane and try to get your carry a kill. This is the playstyle that Riot, intentionally or no, is supporting, and its a shame since the goal of the juggernaut changes was to give Skarner something to play around when ult was on cooldown. All they succeeded in doing was making him what we have seen in the pro scene: A full tank, predator, ult-bot. The opposite of what they stated. This playstyle isnt even optimal in pro play as other champions can perform engage and pick as good or better than Skarner and dont require near as much settup. And from a viewer perspective, its just boring AF to watch. "Skarner is farming, avoiding everyone, but thats all about to change here for a few seconds as his ult comes off cooldown… … … and back to farming for Skarner"

I think we need to revert Skarner to the above kit and start re-balancing from there. The kit supports the scrappy fighter playstyle of Skarner, has plenty of counter play and also some skill expression and choices within the kit that make Skarner feel like more than just an "ult the carry" champ, as well as allows him to play more positions than just jungle at full power. The best part? You can STILL play Tanky-support-ult bot Skarner, and it works just fine! The 40% AP ratio on his E makes AP builds slightly better as well. you can build AD and its good for you! The kit is versatile, which has always been one of my favorite aspects of Skarner as a champion. He wasnt the best at any one thing, but he had a level of adaptability that was unmatched imho.

TLDR: Old version of Skarner supported a wider variety of viable playstyles and positions on the team. Revert and balance from there for a better, and healthier Skarner.

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