First, I’ve got this guide up on LoLKing, as well as something similar up on LoLPro (they updated this one for S4 without asking me, so it’s got some inaccuracies), so feel free to check them out there.
Basically, you’ve got 5 phases when playing Skarner
- Stupidly strong duels, so fight people. But watch your mana or you’ll OOM and be useless
- Early ganks are based on overextended laners; don’t force them if you can just power to level 6. But don’t fear them either; if you can get behind the enemy laner, they WILL blow flash or die.
- Once you hit 6, gank whenever your ult is up, and flash if it will lead to a successful gank. Get Distortion boots relatively early.
- In the mid-game, make picks, then take objectives. Your priorities should be ADC>APC>Support unless somebody else is super fed. Jungler can be a good pick if you want to force a dragon, and APC is more important if their wave clear is too strong to push into (Lux/Anivia).
- In team fights, ult the same priority targets, but ignore anybody with a QSS or a Guardian Angel. Once the ADC/APC both have QSS or GA, use your ult to peel — not initiate, peel — for your carries.
Tips and Tricks for the whole game
- Max CDR first, then get tanky. Only build Trinity Force for damage, and only if you get stupidly fed early. Start with a Phage, and if you keep snowballing, get a Sheen, and if you keep snowballing, get a Tri-Force. But if you can’t have it built by 16 minutes or so, start getting TANKY.
- With 9 points in Utility and Distortion Boots your flash is on a short cooldown and your opponents won’t expect it. Couple that with the obscenely low timer on your ultimate — due to your passive and 40% CDR — you can catch people by surprise all game!
- Orb-walk. If you aren’t constantly moving in between attack animations, you are going to get kited hard.
- Don’t always attack. If your slow is about to come up, just keep running alongside your opponents until you can proc it again. Stopping to attack may just let them out of range, and it isn’t going to add that much damage.
- If you gank from behind, save your shield for when they start to run away, not to close the gap.
- Don’t use your E unless you have Frozen Heart and Frozen Fist or Blue Buff or something. You will OOM so fast.
- Try for sneaky gank angles. Push a lane out after they leave and camp in their lane bushes, for example. Be patient; your conservation stacks won’t fill up for almost 2 minutes!