Skarner is one of the least played champions in League of Legends. He isn’t a popular jungler and most people have forgotten about him.

But some high elo Korean players climb insanely fast with AP Skarner in the top lane!

AP Skarner is an incredibly off-meta top laner in LoL. The playstyle is all about stunning and slowing your opponents with the help of a few particular runes and items.

Skarner’s magic damage is decent, so he can even carry games alone.

I’ll admit it, playing AP Skarner is definitely strange. It takes a bit of time to get used to the playstyle and learn how the build works exactly. And this is especially true if you’re used to playing Skarner with the regular build.

But in this post, I’ll do everything in my power to explain to you how AP Skarner actually works. I’ll talk about this damage and abilities, as well as the runes and items you’ll need.

So without further ado, let’s talk about AP Skarner in greater detail.

Is Skarner AP or AD in LoL?


Even though most LoL players build Skarner as an AD bruiser, he’s actually a hybrid champion. Skarner’s abilities have AP and AD ratios and deal both physical and magic damage, usually in turn.

For example, his Q does AoE AD damage and charges him to deal AP damage with auto-attacks.

And Skarner’s E works the other way around. First, it allows you to deal magic damage to all enemies in a line and mark them. Subsequent auto-attacks against the marked targets cause stun and deal physical damage instead.

When it comes to Skarner’s ultimate ability – Impale, both the physical and the magic damage are dealt two times, at the beginning and at the end of the duration.

Of course, Skarner’s shield (W) scales with AP and his own maximum HP. But the AP ratio is 80%, so by building ability power items on Skarner you’re going to have huge shields every couple of seconds.

Despite seeming a little weird, Skarner’s champion design is actually pretty simple. And if you’re new to playing him, it only takes a game or two to really figure these things out.

For now, just remember which part of Skarner’s spells is magic damage and AP ratios. This can improve your gameplay with the AP build right away.

Read Also: Volibear Full AP Build Guide

AP Skarner Build – Runes

AP Skarner rune page
  • Glacial Augment
  • Magical Footwear
  • Future’s Market
  • Apprach Velocity
  • Bone Plating
  • Unflinching

Glacial Augment

You don’t see Glacial Augment on too many champions nowadays in League of Legends but the keystone works extremely well on AP Skarner.

What Glacial Augment does is that it allows you to apply heavy slow effects when you immobilize a target to all nearby enemies.

The rune shoots rays in multiple directions, greatly reducing the movement speed of anyone affected.

For example, Skarner can activate Glacial Augment by stunning enemies with his E, suppressing them with R, or rooting them with Everfrost. And this allows him to chain-CC them!

Glacial Augment makes it really difficult for the enemy players to run away from Skarner, even if they have Flash.

Magical Footwear

Instead of spending early game gold on boots, I recommend running the Magical Footwear rune which gives you free boots after 12 minutes.

With this AP build, Skarner’s early game is really passive and you likely won’t fight outside of your turret. So, it’s worth saving your gold for your mythic item which gives you a huge boost in power.

Read Also: Full AP Ivern Build Guide

Future’s Market

Speaking of gold, Future’s Market is the perfect rune for saving it and scaling for the mid and late game.

What Future’s Market offers is that it lets you buy items even when you don’t have enough gold for them. You’re allowed to enter debt in the shop and complete your items way faster.

This strategy is incredibly powerful in LoL, especially as an off-meta top laner or off-meta mid laner such as AP Skarner that depends on items like Evefrost to really perform.

Approach Velocity

Approach Velocity is another unpopular rune that improves Skarner’s performance as an AP bruiser.

If you’re not aware, Approach Velocity increases your movement speed when you’re moving towards stunned or slowed enemy champions.

This is perfect for Skarner because he needs to grab someone with his R, so this rune increases his chances of doing so.

Bone Plating

Bone Plating is an excellent defensive tool when you’re playing AP Skarner in lane. This is due to the fact that Skarner is a weak melee champion and often gets bullied by stronger picks.

With Bone Plating, you’ll block a lot of incoming damage. And when the rune is off cooldown, it’s practically impossible for you to get one-shot.

So, always go for Bone Plating, especially against an aggressive opponent.


The main reason I go for Unflinching here is for the bonus tenacity. Since this whole playstyle depends on Skarner being free to move and slow/stun/snare enemies all day long, you need as much tenacity as possible.

So, Unflinching grants you up to 25% tenacity and slow resist if you have high enough HP. Besides the base numbers, this build includes max HP items, so you’ll likely take the whole benefit from Unflinching.

Read Also: Full AP Nocturne Build Guide

AP Skarner Build – Items

AP Skarner item build
  • Ionian Boots of Lucidity
  • Everfrost
  • Winter’s Approach
  • Lich Bane
  • Demonic Embrace
  • Rabadon’s Deathcap

Ionian Boots of Lucidity

If you didn’t realize by now, cooldown reduction is another thing AP Skarner depends on. This is because his best ability is E – Fracture and he needs to use it as often as possible.

Ionian Boots of Lucidity grant you 20 ability haste for a price of 700 gold. Remember, you’ll get your magical boots from Magical Footwear, so you’ll only need to spend gold on the completion.


I already mentioned it above but Evefrost is the best mythic item for AP Skarner.

Everfrost offers key stats such as ability power, ability haste, mana, mana regeneration, and even health. However, Everfrost’s active allows you to root enemies in place or slow them down. It has a short cooldown and can be used in every fight.

With Everfrost, Skarner’s ability to crowd control enemies improves even more. And if you synergize his abilities the right way, you can keep a target immobilized for over 5 seconds.

That’s why you need Everfrost in your inventory!

Read Also: AP Warwick Build Guide

Winter’s Approach

Winter’s Approach is the best Tear upgrade for a melee champion such as Skarner. Remember, you should either start the game with Tear of the Goddess or at least buy it early on.

Skarner can be a very mana-hungry champion, so you definitely need Tear.

What Winter’s Approach offers is a lot of bonus health based on your maximum mana. And once completed, you’ll never run out of these two stats!

Winter’s Approach will help you deal even more damage with Demonic Embrace because of the bonus HP.

Lich Bane

In my opinion, Lich Bane isn’t a core item for AP Skarner. And if you’re not a fan of it, you may skip it and go straight for Demonic Embrace.

However, Lich Bane can significantly improve your damage as AP Skarner, especially if you utilize it fully. 

Lich Bane makes your auto-attacks deal bonus magic damage after using an ability that perfectly synergizes with Skarner’s E.

Read Also: Full AP Trundle Build Guide

Demonic Embrace

Demonic Embrace is one of the strongest AP items in League of Legends.

What Demonic Embrace does is that it adds a burn effect on your abilities based on your own maximum HP. In other words, the tankier you are the more damage this item is going to deal.

Besides this amazing passive, Demonic Embrace also grants tons of AP and health, so it fits incredibly well in this whole build.

Rabadon’s Deathcap

And lastly, we have Rabadon’s Deathcap!

Rabadon’s Deathcap is the best ability power item in LoL. It massively boosts the damage of any AP champion, including Skarner. 

I recommend buying RA in the late game or at least when you have your core items built first.

Read Also: Full AP Rammus Build Guide

Situational and Optional Items for AP Skarner

Some games will be tougher than others so you’ll likely need to switch things up.

For example, always go for Mercury’s Treads instead of Ionian Boots if you’re up against a heavy CC team. Similarly, always buy Zhonya’s Hourglass against a heavy AD team or assassins. 

You can also try to play AP Skarner with Hextech Rocketbelt for easier grabs with Impale. Riftmaker and Nashor’s Tooth can be a great combo too, but remember that you’ll lose a bit of CC power and mana.


When it comes to skill order, AP Skarner should go for E > W > Q. Maxing out your Q first is great for both dealing damage and providing stuns. And since Skarner’s shield has an 80% AP ratio, you want to max it second.

And that is all the introduction you need to play AP Skarner in LoL. Believe me, this build is stronger than it seems at first. However, it’s true that you need to practice it a bit in order to take full advantage of it.

But I hope my guide helped you out! And if you’re interested, you can check similar guides on my website such as AP Xin Zhao and AP Sejuani.

And definitely check this YouTube video of the best AP Skarner player!

Read Also: AP Rengar One-Shot Build Guide

Last Update: March 2, 2024