League of Legends


League of Legends: First Impressions on the New Skarner

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After two years of waiting since Skarner's Rework was first announced, we can finally see the new and improved League players' favorite scorpion in his brand-new form - and review its improvements!

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translated by Meline Hoch

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Released on August 9th, 2011, Skarner was the eighty-first champion to make it to the playable characters list in League of Legends.

After so much time on the Rift, he ended up forgotten by the public, becoming one of the least played champions for several seasons and his kit became outdated as the years went by, especially if compared to other, more modern, versatile and visually pleasing champions. During the 2022 season, Riot put him in a poll alongside other heroes who have been suffering from the same problem and, after winning the dispute, it finally came the time for his 2.0 version release.


Result of the poll made by Riot Games in which Skarner got his Rework | Image: Riot Games
Result of the poll made by Riot Games in which Skarner got his Rework | Image: Riot Games

Let’s take a look at many aspects of the reworked version of Skarner and evaluate how the character turned into an improved and more interesting version of its past self. We will discuss key points, from his visuals to his gameplay, even though this article is not a guide, but an overlook/review of the general design aspects of the champion.


To analyze his new gameplay, we can compare his old skills to the ones Skarner has now, post-rework.


Old:Crystal Spires

Every match with a Skarner in it generated specific points throughout the map containing small crystal spires which could be captured by either allies or enemies. Spires captured by the allied team gave Skarner a boost in Move Speed, Attack Speed and Mana Regen.

New: Threads of Vibration

Each basic attack, Q or Ultimate that lands on one enemy will give it Stacks of Vibration. With 3 stacks, the victim takes magic damage based on their max HP for a short period of time (which can be extended with further stacks).


Old: Crystal Slash

Skarner caused a small hybrid damage (physical + magic) to all foes around him, with a short cooldown which got slightly stronger with consecutive strikes.

New: Shattered Earth/Upheaval

Skarner picks up a rock and carries it for a few seconds. The first three attacks dealt while he carries it will cause bonus damage, or he can opt to throw the rock in a straight line, causing damage to any champions hit by it, on top of slowing them down and stopping their further basic attack effects.


Old: Crystalline Exoskeleton

Skarner got a shield based on his max HP and Ability Power, in addition to a high move speed bonus.

New: Seismic Bastion

Skarner still gets a shield, but now it’s only based on his max HP. When the shield is active, it also slows down and deals magic damage (based on his Ability Power) to all enemies around him.


Old: Fracture

Skarner threw a slow projectile which caused magic damage to all adversaries it went through. The hit enemies then stay marked for a few seconds, and Skarner’s basic attacks would stun them by consuming the mark. Passively, it gave the Crystal spires bonus for a small duration each time he stunned or suppressed an enemy with his E + Basic Attack or Ultimate.

New: Ixtal's Impact

Skarner gets a move speed bonus for a set duration, and can go through terrains during that time. Any foes caught in his way will be taken alongside Skarner until the ability ends or, if they hit a wall, they are stunned against it.


Old: Impale

Skarner selected an enemy within his short reach and captured them, suppressing and taking the champion wherever he wanted for a short duration.

New: Impale

Even though the name and concept of his ultimate didn't change, now Skarner can take up to three enemies at once, and its casting is now a skillshot, instead of the old point-and-click.


Skarner’s old kit was simple, but confusing all at once. His passive needed him to be at specific points on the map to work, and many times ended up being “clunky” or useless, even during the short periods in which it was activated by crystallizing enemies with his E or R.

The basic combo consisted in increasing his move speed with the W, hitting someone with E, getting that person with the R, bringing them back to your team, and stunning them at the end of the ultimate by consuming the Fracture mark. All of that while spamming your Q to cause any possible damage, since the kit had very little of that.

His new kit, on the other hand, can still seem clunky to some, coming from a place of controlling an entirely new character for the first time. Damage distribution is more reliable, and the addition of more abilities which stack up with his max HP makes Skarner become a full tank considerably more durable and consistent throughout the match than the older one. His Q also deals damage based on the enemy’s max HP when used as basic attacks (Shattered Earth), making him more solid in fights at any point in the game, especially to defend himself or invade the jungle.

New 3D model for Skarner | Image: Riot Games
New 3D model for Skarner | Image: Riot Games

It can still take a certain time until new Skarner players get used to the movement of his new E or hit the sharp skillshot with Impale. Ixtal's Impact is one of those skills which reduces the champion’s possible movements when running, just like Sion’s ultimate or Nunu & Willump’s snowball, and the Ultimate cast time can leave a small open window for enemies with more tenacity to run away, even after being stunned against a wall.

This hasn’t made Skarner worse - In fact, it touched on balancing points which not only made him stronger, but made him more versatile and efficient within the team, in exchange for the necessity of, now, being more complex and taking longer to learn and master.

Point-and-click suppression were always a debate point due to being overpowered and inescapable, as was the case with Warwick’s old ultimate, which went through a drastic change, but keeping the same function, and now Riot did the same with Skarner. The best way to play him so far (few days after his rework) is going for a full tank build, with high move speed to be able to get in and out of fights, be it alone or taking half of the enemy team with him.


The old Skarner was basically a giant scorpion made of blue and purple crystals. There was nothing beyond that to his design, matching most of the more generic and stereotyped characters which were common in League’s first years. Most of these simple and outdated champions have either gone through or are in line to receive some kind of update and, just like our titanic scorpion, eventually become more current and match the modern roster better.


The new Skarner, though, brought more unique aspects beyond the classic “elemental scorpion”. The marks on his exoskeleton show more of his story and region within the universe, his now mighty and animalistic face makes the fans of monster champions happy and, of course, we must mention the three stingers instead of only one, giving him an even further bestial aspect, less “common scorpion”-like.

Skarner’s old Splash Art | Image: Riot Games
Skarner’s old Splash Art | Image: Riot Games

Keeping Skarner’s monstrous looks is a huge plus to Riot’s character design team, which has been releasing monster champions with a lot less of a “monster face”, such as Yuumi, Bel’Veth or Smolder - A little bit redeemed by Naafiri, but even she is still a lot closer to an animal like (a dog, in her case) than the drastic changes made on top of old Skarner’s simple concept, very similar to simple scorpions and having as its only truly distinguishing feature the fact that he was made of crystalline material which was his trademark in the old model.

The champion model was also made bigger, in addition to reworked, and his standard size in game is already way bigger than we were used to. That, on top of influencing gameplay directly, places him even further in the archetype/position of an engaging tank or of the scary jungler which forces enemies to protect themselves twice as much, so as not to be dragged to the other side of the map.

Some Skarner skins post-Rework | Image: Riot Games
Some Skarner skins post-Rework | Image: Riot Games

His animations are not as fluid, and except for his Seismic Bastion (W), all abilities have a short casting time to stop the player from spamming a full combo at once, as it is possible with other characters who move faster, such as Ezreal or Lee Sin. This is not a downside, but just a factor which will rely on their player’s experience to get the timing right and not letting these short periods of time get in the way of a decisive move, for example.

Despite the new complexity and all the changes still feeling quite aliens to most players due to the short time we’ve had to get used to them since his release, the new Skarner brought interesting visuals which fit right into the Rift, the entire Runeterra universe, and even got significant improvement in quality of life to his summoners, from his gameplay to his new appearance.


Before the rework, Skarner had his lore completely set around the famous Hextech crystals, stones containing great magic power due to being basically the “husks” of the other Brackern, crystallized with their souls inside. That entire storyline caused great commotion within the community, both due to Arcane’s huge success which left players and spectators shocked by the fact that humans were harvesting imprisoned souls and stealing their powers, but also left fans of characters such as Seraphine confused as to how could a morally good champion make use of such resources considered so cruel in her career as a musician.


Recently, Riot Games retconned their entire lore, announcing that every League universe would be unified into just one canon, that being the Arcane one. So, it is to be expected that there will still be some connection between Hextech crystals and something controversial to be discussed in the future of the acclaimed animation produced by Fortiche Studios and released on Netflix in 2022.

For now, we still need to know whether it will be directly connected to the Brackern or not - since the subject hasn’t even been touched on in the new biography page for the reworked champion.

Image: Riot Games
Image: Riot Games

While we were accustomed to a lore filled with emotional pain from an entire species suffering with the harvesting of their crystallized souls, we now have a very different view of a character who carries a lot more importance to their entire region and to Runeterra overall. While we don't know the exact origin of Hextech crystals, we can state for sure that the new character story has given us an entirely better overview and concept regarding the Brackern.

Now, the colossal scorpions have existed for over 10 thousand years and were responsible for developing Archology (a mixture of Architecture and Ecology, basically the capacity to build using nature itself) and they were responsible for “molding” how Runeterra currently looks like. Unlike his companions from the same species, Skarner has kept close to his mother and learned from her the secrets to manipulating the earth as an element and to master the detection of any vibrations through the ground.

It was only when the region currently known as Ixtal started to be inhabited by people coming from the east that Skarner found something that truly fascinated him. Humans captured his interest in culture, history and architecture and, after saving them from a disaster, Skarner became a leader and counselor for the Ixtali people. He was also one of the pillars to the construction of Yun-Tal in the glorious city of Ixaocan.

The most interesting aspect about Skarner’s biography starts exactly from this almost symbiotic relationship with the jungle people because he observes the way the outside world is deteriorating in war and moral conflicts - such as the Shuriman expansion, the Icathian disaster after the Void invasion, the conquering wars started by Noxus and, of course, the Rune Wars. After such events, Ixtal (with Skarner’s endorsement) completely closed itself off from the rest of the world, becoming completely isolated and believing that everything outside its jungles and walls had been consumed by the void and/or reduced to ruins.

Image: Riot Games
Image: Riot Games

While Skarner is currently, to the Ixtali, a myth told throughout generations, Yun-Tal’s royal family still knows about his existence, and frequently visits him in his underground chambers, where he remains isolated, only feeling the earth vibrations and the whispers from the city people.


The key point is precisely in this isolation, both the nation’s and the own Brackern’s, who as the time passed became more and more paranoid with the possibility of Ixtal eventually opening its doors to the outside world and new disasters and tragedies happen such as he has observed happening in all of Runeterra. This paranoia leaves Skarner not only afraid, but it’s important to remember that he is, after all, a gigantic scorpion with an immense destructive force and powers way beyond people’s ability to handle it, going through panic episodes caused by past horrors.

His biography ends stating that ”The only one Skarner can trust is himself, and he'll do anything it takes to protect Ixtal and its people. Even if that means becoming the root of their destruction, himself.”. This moral dilemma places him in an interesting gray area and opens up many possibilities to be explored, in which he is still a protector to the Ixtali and the nature around them, but inserts in it some cosmic horror aspects, with colossal creatures completely moved by a past and emotions beyond mere human’s comprehension. If Ixtal does open its doors to the exterior, could the millennial hero and counselor become the destructor of his own land?

These dual aspects in the moral perception of a character are not new or introduced with Skarner, and actually have been a well-explored concept at points throughout the development of Runeterra’s universe. The new aspect here are the horror elements and the anxiety generated by the possibility of a catastrophe which would destroy the Ixtaly jungle and even Ixaocan as we know it, and coming from within the nation itself.

Even though their alignments are entirely different, Skarner ends up being similar to great villains such as Mordekaiser or Xerath, champions whose returns to the mortal plane of existence could mean incomparable disasters all over the world - something already set in motion, in a way, with Bel’Veth’s plot presented to us at the time of her release, around two years ago.

Image: Riot Games
Image: Riot Games


Skarner’s rework arrived at a good moment for the fans who have been enjoying a series of news within the game with the first part of the 2024 season being stuffed full of new items, mechanics and even unique champions being released during the last few years. No longer being the Crystal Vanguard and becoming the Primordial Sovereign, he has not only gotten more depth to him and visibility in-game, but has brought a larger and more meaningful importance to his part in Runeterra’s lore.

Something many fans complain about when it comes to characters - especially older ones - is that many times they have biographies, short stories and lore which do not affect many other champions and regions, but the new Skarner has it all and much more.

With a complete kit, basically reworked from zero - keeping only his ultimate as the same ability, just modified for the new kind of game League has been turning into - Skarner brought some much-needed fresh air which fans of the Runeterra universe longed for.


The drastic changes of the retcon/unification of the canon universe has caused new articles and short stories to stop being published in the League Universe page (which was, so far, the main source of information about the universe in question) and left players missing new stories, important in this crucial point of worldbuilding. It’s safe to say that the champion’s popularity is going to rise, as will his fanbase and, obviously, important appearances in the competitive scenario.

Meanwhile, we will keep awaiting new stories, characters and players to bring us more and more unique experiences with this now crucial and necessary champion in League of Legends.