Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard was one of three champions teased for League of Legends at E3 back in June. Without further adieu, the abilities of the final of three champions has been revealed. Skarner has the capabilities to built semi-tanky thanks to his shield and health regen via one of his abilities. Thanks to the cooldown reduction gained based upon attack speed, a hybrid build may be the most rewarding approach for players.
Energize (Passive): Basic attacks lower the cooldowns of Skarner’s abilities by 1 second against champions and 0.5 seconds against non-champions.
This passive is a very useful one. Cooldowns are always a major factor in any battle. If a skill you need isn’t up, you can’t use it. It’s as simple as that and is sometimes the difference between winning and losing. Having cooldowns based on auto-attacks means he’ll also be encouraged to build attack speed in some form or another to help maximize his dps. Since developers also will factor in his passive with base ability cooldowns, Scarner may be more micromanagement reliant when on the offensive, much like Udyr is when changing stances.
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 he casts Crystal Slash again while empowered by Crystal Energy, he deals bonus magic damage and slows all targets hit.
Since his passive already naturally reduces cooldowns through attacking, this makes his aoe slow that much more handy. In theory, and depending on its base cooldown, it should allow him to chase single targets and keep them fairly well slowed. Not only does this create gank potential, but it also a decent ability for team fights by helping keep the squishier stragglers from pulling back as easily.
Crystalline Exoskeleton: Skarner gains a shield and while the shield persists his movement speed and attack speed are both increased.
Although it’s a fairly straightforward ability, the benefits it offers works well with his other abilities. The movement speed allows him to take better advantage of his above mentioned slow, which in turn means more hits on them. The higher attack speed allows for more cooldown reduction when on the offensive, which benefits his entire skill lineup.
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.
This ability will give Skarner some amount of jungling capabilities. Any champion with a self heal generally makes a better jungler, but the amount of health gained is still the difference between a good jungler and a poor one. Again keeping his passive in mind, he should be able to pop this up more often, which in turn allows him to keep up his health better. Keeping in mind Crystalline Exoskeleton, which offers a shield and attack speed plus movement speed, and he starts sounding a lot more jungle capable.
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.
It’s tough to say anything negative about a single target hard cc like that. It may be comparable to Rammus’s infamous lengthy single target taunt, which can also drag enemies, but this also deals damage. The length of his ultimate is one of two major factors on how useful it is. The second is whether the dragged victim can still attack or if they’re essentially stun taunted, which is also an unknown based on the ability description alone.
At the end of all of this, I’m most intrigued by Skarner’s ultimate. Combining Blitzcrank and Skarner would likely be a deadly combination for any opponent, for example, so expect a lot of unique new ways for him to interact with the rest of the League. We’ll have to see in live how this really works out. Expect to see a full champion review following the release of Skarner.
Editors note: Keep in mind the exact stats on each ability have not been finalized or revealed yet, so we can’t offer much insight into potential viable or just-for-fun builds until the champion goes live in-game.