Author: MMOsite Writer Alexander Hinkley
Skarner is one of two champions to get reworked in the League of Legends 4.10 patch. He was a champion that was underperforming and apparently picked less frequently than Riot would have liked so they attempted to fix this by moving him “closer to his old role as a sticky crowd-control focused tank-bug and less of a damage-dealing scorpion duelist.” But did they nerf his damage dealing abilities a little too much?
The first major difference in the reworked Skarner is he got a brand new passive called Crystallizing Sting. The way it works is that whenever Skarner hits an enemy champion with a damaging spell (Fracture or Crystal Slash), it applies a stack of “Crystal Venom” to them for five seconds. The venom stacks up to three times and then if Skarner is able to land a basic attack on an enemy who has three stacks on them, he deals up to 105 bonus magic damage and stuns them up for up to one second. One second may not seem like long but as Braum’s passive has already proven, even a short stun can completely disrupt an enemy’s escape attempt and get them killed.
Crystal Slash’s damage unfortunately got nerfed pretty heavily with decreases to both physical and magic damage. The base damage was reduced significantly and the AD and AP ratios were reduced by half which Riot might have gone a little too far with. In order to make up for this, they added Skarner’s old passive as an extra utility to Crystal Slash so whenever Skarner lands a basic attack, Crystal Slash’s cooldown is reduced by 0.5 seconds. In addition to granting Skarner bonus attack speed, Crystal Slash now also gives him extra movement speed. This helps Skarner keep up with an enemy champion that he is currently attacking who is trying to flee. The attack speed/movement speed bonuses stack up to three times. The new stacking effect is called Crystal Energy and at three stacks, Skarner can receive up to 48% bonus attack speed and up to 21% bonus movement speed based on the ability’s level. This is pretty nice and despite the heavy nerf to Crystal Slash’s damage, this spell remains the ability you want to level up first and max out as soon as possible.
Skarner’s W, Crystalline Exoskeleton as well as his E, Fracture, didn’t get changed in the way they work but they were tweaked slightly. The cooldown for Crystalline Exoskeleton has been decreased for all levels and it also now continues to get lower as you level up the ability. Whereas before it had a 16 second cooldown timer at all levels, the cooldown now gets as low as 11 seconds when the ability is maxed out. Keep in mind that Crystalline Exoskeleton not only shields Skarner, but also gives him increased movement speed. Combined with Crystal Slash’s new utility, Skarner can now get a movement speed boost of up to 53% off those two abilities alone (21% + 32%). That’s pretty scary.
Like Crystal Slash, Fracture got a damage nerf with reductions to both base damage and AP ratios. It also had its cooldown timer reduced by two seconds at all levels. Most people use Fracture for the slowing effect it has on enemy champions but the damage reduction clearly makes this spell worse overall post-rework.
His ultimate ability, Impale, also works pretty much the same way but now has the added utility of consuming and dealing damage for each stack of Crystal Venom that is on the target enemy champion. It deals up to 100 magic damage per stack so considering the fact a champion can have up to three stacks on them, this is potentially an extra 300 magic damage. Not really a huge change, but a nice added bonus to help offset some of the damage reductions to Crystal Slash and Fracture. The biggest issue here is that since Skarner’s passive got changed, his basic attacks no longer reduce the cooldown on Impale. The overall cooldown for Impale was reduced by 20 seconds for each level but this comes nowhere near to how low it used to be with his old passive affecting it.