When Riot released its latest patch for League of Legends, it nerfed one of the game’s most powerful champions: Skarner. But because that patch wasn’t on schedule for the Chinese Pro League finals, fans got to see exactly what happened when Skarner played in a competitive match. And it was predictably dominant.
EDward Gaming jungler Ming “ClearLove” Kai debuted the first professional Skarner pick of 2015 in the finals of the Chinese League Pro League Regional Qualifiers earlier today. The champion was recently reworked in the League of Legends 5.16 patch, which gave him significant health, movement speed, and mana buffs. Once Skarner’s overbearing power became obvious, Riot was forced to release a hotfix to nerf some of the changes.
The LPL Regional Qualifiers are the only tournament to feature the 5.16 patch across the world. The North American, European, and Korean counterparts all featured the previous patch, so the changes that made Skarner so powerful weren’t available.
ClearLove played the jungle champion twice in his team’s series versus Invictus Gaming, winning both games. With the series win, EDward Gaming qualified for the 2015 Riot Games World Championship in Europe this October.
A significant change for Skarner in 5.16 was a completely new passive, entitled Crystal Spires. The skill causes multiple points to spawn on the map. When Skarner walks over one, he gains 100 movement speed, 48-150 percent (depending on champion level) bonus attack speed, and restores 3 percent of his maximum mana per second.
Today was the first day users got to see Crystal Spires live in a competitive, professional setting. The passive gave ClearLove a blatant advantage, allowing him to chase down and slow his enemies. Comboed with mid laner Heo “PawN” Won-seok’s Lulu and her Whimsy speed ups, he was able to lockdown his opponents with Skarner’s ultimate, Impale.
The champion is part of a new League champion group, along with Garen, Darius, and Mordekaiser, called the “Juggernauts.” Riot’s plan with the group is to expand the game’s pool of tanky melee champions. As a result, Skarner received a massive amount of changes to sculpt him into the new role.
The game’s most recent patch 5.17 was released only days ago, with Skarner receiving multiple adjustments to his “Crystal Spires” passive. But many still think the champion is slightly overpowered, and he’ll like receive another round of nerfs in the next patch before World Championships.