Skarner has always been a odd champion in the League of Legends roster. At best he’s been mildly overpowered and still under-picked. At worst, he’s been completely useless. He’s one of those champions that’s been made into a laughing stock, made fun of for how old he looks and feels.
But where does he come from? What’s been his story since he first launched? Let us show you.
Skarner’s Release History
Skarner was first birthed onto Summoner’s Rift almost seven years ago, on August 9, 2011. This was, of course, before we had the sensible and modern patch naming conventions of today. As a result, Skarner’s release patch was V.18.104.22.168. He was released alongside other fun things like Bloodstone Taric, Rugged Garen, and Obsidian Malphite.
Skarner was first teased with a comic page on the Riot forums. A few days later, the team dropped a serious breakdown of his abilities. This was also hosted on the forums. And years later, Skarner would be included in the Juggernaut revamp focused on fixing Garen, Darius, Mordekaiser, and our crystal scorpion.
Believe it or not, Skarner actually does have a story.
He’s part of an ancient Shuriman race called the Brackern. These crystal scorpions are almost mystical when it comes to Shurima and they’re well known for their connection to the very land itself. This is all thanks to their soul crystals, which are crystals that house the souls of all Brackern, living and dead. The rest of the Brackern are hibernating, protecting themselves from evil magic.
But Skarner has awoken all on his own, like that movie Passengers but if Chris Pratt was replaced with a scorpion made of shiny rocks.
His bio tells of the Brackern rite of passage. When a Brackern perishes they hide a stone in the sand, filled with their soul and mind. Young Brackern must find these and fuse with them. Skarner took ages to find his, but dug deep into Shurima for days to eventually uncover his destiny.
Skarner’s crystal was older than any he’d ever seen. He bonded with it by digging himself into the earth for weeks. When it fused with him, he was finally complete and erupted with power. When Skarner went down for the great slumber, he was positioned closest to the entrance due to his incredible power.
He awoke alone to find bandits stealing crystals from his family. He defeated them but many Brackern had been damaged beyond repair. The stolen crystals tugged at his mind, so Skarner went on a pilgrimage to return what was stolen.
How Skarner has changed
Skarner has been through a few iterations in his lifetime, but he hasn’t been changed as much as you might think. Instead, Skarner’s base kit has remained largely the same. His passive, on the other hand, has changed quite a bit.
When Skarner was first released he had what we like to call an “old League passive.” Basically, it was extremely boring and did basically nothing. The passive was called Energize and caused Skarner’s basic attacks to reduce his ability cooldowns by 0.5 seconds. This effect was doubled on enemy champions.
This passive was eventually scrapped for something a little more familiar to most Skarner players: the always potent Crystallizing Sting. Whenever Skarner hits an enemy with his damaging basic abilities, they are infected with Crystal Venom. Once they reach three stacks, Skarner can auto the target, stunning them, and dealing extra magic damage.
Crystallizing Sting was a good passive, but not good enough to make Skarner a viable pick. So Riot shifted things around and gave him the passive we know today: Crystal Spires. Whenever Skarner is present in a game, Summoner’s Rift houses six crystal spires, four by each side’s major buffs and two on either side of the river. Capturing these spires grants some gold and vision to all but considerably buffs Skarner himself. And of course, Crystallizing Sting was rolled into Skarner’s Fracture ability.
Aside from usual number tuning and maybe some interaction changes, Skarner hasn’t changed much outside of his passive.
Skarner currently has four skins.
- Battlecast Alpha Skarner
- Sandscourge Skarner
- Earthrune Skarner
- Guardian of the Sands Skarner
Sandscourge Skarner is essentially garbage, so let’s get it out of the way first. This has no real lore meaning and it looks really not good.
Moving along to Earthrune Skarner, this skin is actually very cool. Skarner is all about earth crystals and this skin basically just transforms him into a giant crystal warden tied together by vines. It may be old, but it feels as though it’s rooted in Skarner’s crystal based lore.
Battlecast Alpha Skarner is on the other spectrum of cool from Earthrune. Rather than making a cool skin that fits with Skarner thematically, we have an alternate universe skin. This thing gives Skarner’s Q one of the coolest animations in the game, which is saying something. It also turns his ultimate into a harpoon gun, which is also pretty cool.
While we’re currently at two of three skins being cool, Guardian of the Sands Skarner blows the others out of the water. This turns Skarner into a almost deified version of his actual self. Skarner and his people are protectors of magic in Shurima. Making him a Guardian of Shurima is perfect.
What’s unfortunate about that skin and all of Skarner’s skins is that his model is pretty rough across the board. He looks extremely crusty. This is a shame and pretty frustrating. Skarner is a scorpion made out of crystals, he should look cooler than he does.
Maybe someday he’ll get the VGU he deserves.