Phreak admits he ‘failed’ with Skarner kidnap ability in LoL rework—so it’s getting binned

As Skarner’s League of Legends win and ban rates continue to spike, Riot Games developer Phreak has been forced to step in and dig out the root of the problem—a busted exploit built around the scorpion’s iconic kidnap skill.

Skarner’s rework, which finally went live at the start of 2024, transformed the lovable Crystal Scorpion into a behemoth on Summoner’s Rift capable of slamming players into walls and dragging enemies around with his ultimate. After playing, League top laners found ways to break the scorpion’s most iconic ability, which has now led to Phreak squashing the mechanic and speak on the overall success of the champion’s rework.

Sandscourge Skarner splash art in League of Legends
Don’t mess with this scorpion. Image via Riot Games

Phreak, who leads League‘s live balance team and helmed Skarner’s rework, has today admitted he wished he’d “done a better job” with the champion as he previewed Patch 14.14 on YouTube. In the same video, Phreak delved into all Skarner’s balance changes and warned he’ll be “going on a balance rollercoaster” this update.

The most anticipated change is the removal of the backwards casting on Skarner’s E ability, which lets the scorpion grab opponents from behind and slam them into walls. Now, Skarner will have to face his enemies head-on if he wants to grapple with them, which was how the ability was originally intended to be used.

Before the changes go live, you can still chain Skarner’s ultimate and his E to drag enemies into turret range, all but guaranteeing a free kill in lane.

As for reasons, Phreak explained he doesn’t think Skarner should have over 50 percent win rates for most players, with the busted mechanic spiking the Crystal Scorpion’s wins (and therefore ban rates) a lot these past few months.

Now that the playmaking Skarner mechanic is being removed, Phreak is hopeful that players can finally warm up the scorpion’s rework and stop banning him in high levels of play. Phreak also briefly mentioned the team is brainstorming ideas for other changes that could be made to Skarner’s kit, but didn’t share anything concrete.

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