Skarner is a rather interesting proposition. Before I started playing him a few weeks ago, I'd never seen anyone using the cuddly little critter, but since then he's been cropping up a bit - he even appeared in the ESL final between Moscow 5 and SoloMid.
Anyway, if you cast your memory back a bit, you should remember that I was testing him out over the Christmas period, only to find that I didn't really understand him that well. However, after a more extensive play-session, I've determined that perhaps Skarner just isn't the champion for me - at least, he isn't the champion for me when playing a certain way, with certain people.
Throughout the last two weeks, I've tried playing Skarner as a laning phase harasser, but in the last week I also tried playing Skarner as a jungler. I've never been a huge fan of jungling, but I went up against a jungling Skarner who proceeded to call me a complete n00b because I wasn't playing jungle Skarner. That, made me at least check it out.
What I found, was that jungling is rather tricky if there's little coordination between team members. When I was playing with at least one or two people I knew, it worked out ok. They could let me know their lane situation, and if I was coming down, I didn't have to try and guess that people would be paying attention. Despite pings and hovering around for some time, I played with some people who just didn't get the concept of a gank - rather annoying.
You'll see from my statistics later on, that I had some really awesome games and a few terrible games. Most of the time though, my stats were pretty low, aside from in the assist column. But that's the way Skarner should be really - he's an off-tank who's there to help other people pick up the kills.
Anyway, for laning harassment, I levelled up Fracture as quickly as possible. By around level 5, I tried to have three level-ups on this skill, which allowed it to provide around 160 points of burst damage. Doing this allowed some good damage against the more squishy champions, and also provided some last-hit potential. It was a nice little earner, but it's not a sure-fire way to succeed.
For jungling, it's the opposite. You want to level up Fracture last, and pump all your points into Crystal Slash and Crystalline Exoskeleton. Crystal Slash can start to provide quite high damage at low levels due its quick cooldown, but also has a nice slow attached to it. This makes it great for ganks, when combined with Impale as champions who aren't using Flash (or at least don't have it cooled down yet) and have no escape move, are pretty screwed.
For items, it was a similar build in both instances. It's only the starting items that really change. When laning, I went for a Regrowth Pendant, when jungling I went for Wriggle's Lantern. After that, I went for Mercury's Treads and built for a Trinity Force.
Throughout the two weeks, I played 34 different matches as Skarner. Annoyingly, I didn't note down which were jungling games and which were laning games. If you've read my past blogs, you'll know that I quite often end up with a good k/d and kda ratio, but with Skarner this time that wasn't the case.
When looking back, I managed to score 154 kills, but got killed 148 times. This brought my k/d ratio to 1.04, considerably lower than my last blog about Skarner. However, when looking at kda, things are a lot better. In the 34 games, I managed to procure 295 assists (8.67 per game), which made my kda 3.03.
The other good stat, is that despite having some pretty bad games (0/7, for example), my win ratio was pretty good. I won more games than I lost throughout the week, and you can't ask for more than that when playing with randomers and a champion you're experimenting with.
So, that's my take on Skarner. If you're playing with some people you know, and there's a good level of coordination, then he works pretty well in the jungle. He can speed in rather fast and grab people - much like Blitzcrank.
As for next week, I'm not entirely sure what I should do. It's been suggested that I try out Ahri and that could be rather interesting. Despite playing for quite a while, I've never really played an AP champion - there's always a first time for everything right?