Hello! I started playing almost exclusively Skarner since the frst day i bought him, in late s3, played through all his reworks, and now i got more than 900k mastery points on him.
Straight to the point, here's why Skarner *needs* a vgu.
- Spires passive needs to go.
A VGU is the only way the spires passive will be tackled. Skarner's kit and base stats have been nerfed harshly to justify such passive, and yet the spires retain too much power for being so contestable. All while failing to achieve their goal: we got no lane agency, no premier objective control, more feast/famine than ever, no other way to be relevant when ult is on cd.
His gameplay looks literally like a relic from past times when confronted with the most recent releases/reworks, a ticking bomb that keeps getting near complete unviability for every new champ/rework that gets released: Skarner always thrived by punishing his enemies mistakes, but now that champions have so many options to overcome their weaknesses and mistakes, Skarner got less and less options/agency to overcome his weaknesses/misplays, and relies more and more on his team to succeed, few examples: at only 1300g, QSS can reliably shut down his ult, and his main teamfight/peeling/picking/dueling tool; the ever increasing cc and mobility makes it harder and harder for him to get close; no base values on Q and shield means he desperately needs items to deal damage and survive fights.
This led him to build more as a tanky cc bot, which is a lower income build and gets online faster. However the gameplay is one of the most boring, and sure doesn't accomplish his original fantasy of being an "inescapable predator that sticks to you and never lets go". However even that build fell off, as more and more people learnt to play around it, and it was clear that other picks could just do the same thing, without needing the same infrastructure and team effort and that skarner needs. Prime example is this year's Worlds, where you could see him always getting picked with a dedicated pick champ (such as nautilus) that could assist him in making picks, and then being suddenly phased out in groups, in favor of more capable junglers that could to the same, if not better, without all the infrastructure and team effort that Skarner needs.
This leads to another point: He also sits in this weird spot between a tank, and a bruiser, with some niche ap builds: Skarner literally can scale off of everything, and can work with most keystones. This huge build diversity was previously this was one of his most regarded traits, but in the LoL where every champion exceeds at doing a unique task, it looks like sharing traits of both vanguards and juggernauts is causing confusion, and makes it hard to determine what skarner is, and what to balance:
spires give a huge 160% AS at lvl18, MS, and mana regen, but the he got the cc-chain of a tank, but his Q is an AoE that scales with 90% tAD and deals hybrid damage, but his ult is one of the most powerful ccs in the game, etc.
This leads to his ult. Another big topic when discussing Skarner. To cite one f my past threads:
AS IT IS RIGHT NOW, HIS ULT CANNOT BE NERFED/BUFFED WITHOUT BREAKING IT.
First of all, it literally defines skarner, it's healthy, creates high moments in playing skarner, and us skarner players are literally attached to it. It's also cool, and even riot recognizes it.
"You might think it's really too powerful, but with how much power has creeped (especially mobility/cc) recently, it actually has become the only thing that keeps skarner afloat. Just look at new releases can do, you think skarner got picked because of the spires? He got picked because of predator+ult, spires could go away in the next ten minutes and none would bat an eye. Take away/nerf Skarner's ult and he'd be neutered. He already has to go in melee range to cast it, and with mobility and cc ever increasing, it's risky, and requires your team to follow-up, as you got no ways to retaliate; Qss reliably counters It, and it's easily accessible if you're ahead.
But let's say we want to work on his ult, what would you do? Put a condition to it? Which one? Let's say you can only ult marked targets. Well good luck because E slows itself the more units it crosses, on top of being quite dodgeable.
The only thing that you could possibly nerf to it would be the damage, the ability to suppress and drag away people is what really counts. But it's low damage compared to other ults, where would you put it in a way it would be meaningful? The point i'm trying to make above is that."
TL;DR: Skarner's kit is outdated and out of place, and as it is, it offers not much options for tweaks. This scares off potential players, and alienates his older payerbase, and this increases as new releases happen, leading to having consistently the smallest playerbase of the roster over several seasons (important to keep in mind when thinking about skarner not getting a skin for more than 4.5 years). Sharing traits of both vanguards and juggernauts may now keep him from having a consistent/appealing gameplay.
Conclusion: a VGU could finally set a solid direction for skarner, leaving behind the less popular tank build, and allowing him to achieve his original fantasy of inescapable predator, while having an up to date and appealing kit, with tools to fare in the newer game scenarios, to fall back, and skill expression, which he lacks. Live E is a good example of this: it requires skill to land and follow up, but it rewards good execution.
- He currently doesn't fulfill his fantasy at being a giant crystal scorpion.
As he is right now, Skarner's kit doesn't really reflect the feeling of playing as a giant scorpion, except for proccing the stun and crit animations.
There are some cool scorpion moves that his kit should execute:
his massive claws actually grasping at someone, or shielding skaner;
his massive tail slamming on the enemies;
his venom actually having effects over time;
sensing the environment around him;
just to name a few.
Crystal magic also could be so much more part of Skarner's gameplay, as right now it doesn't look like the case: except for the faulty spire passive, and his W, Skarner doesn't feel as connected to his gemstone as he is in the lore, and crystals are more of an eyecandy, than anything else. We don't really know the possibilities that this interaction between skarner and his crystal can achieve, and how skarner can manipulate its magic. There's so much more the crystals could be for skarner:
skarner may create walls, or use them as an extension of his attacks (think of crystal wristblades), into him spawning crystals near him and making his crystal domain, just to name a few. Possibilities are endless!
Conclusion: The VGU should address these thematic leakages, and making skarner more of an actual giant scorpion that uses crystal magic as a major tool to achieve his goals.
Let me know what do you think of this, thank you.