Skirmisher Guide for Set 5

Skirmisher Guide

Receiving several buffs, this composition is a very good top 4 comp and has a variety of units you can carry. This guide will walk you through the items, positioning, and transitions for this composition

Sample Level 8 Comp:

These are the two preferred endgame variants of the composition. The Rell variant is stronger into AD lobbies, whereas the 4 Dragonslayer version is better into AP lobbies.

Leveling Pattern:

A typical game would look something like:

  • Level 4 => 2-1 or 2-2 if you are strong and want to winstreak. Unless super weak, it is advisable to push levels so you have better odds to hit key 3 costs.
  • Level 5 => 2-5 with 10 gold or on 3-1 if loss streaking.
  • Level 6 => 3-2 with 30+ gold, and roll if needed to stabilize from loss streak or to maintain winstreak. 
  • Level 7 => 4-1 and then roll down for a stable board. If you are low hp coming into stage 4 or low roll the rolldown, you may consider staying level 7 for the majority of the game
  • Level 8 => 4-5 if winstreaking and did not have to roll much on 4-1 (stay above 30); otherwise, 5-1 and evaluate if you need to roll down or can slow roll for 3 star units.
  • Level 9 => usually you will not go lvl 9 with this composition, preferring to roll for 3 stars if you have an econ lead with this composition.

Strengths

  1. Extremely strong early and mid game, allowing you to win streak with an HP lead
  2. Utilizes Defensive Items very well
  3. Simple to play 6 synergy comp (not many variations)
  4. Able to roll at level 6 and 7

Weaknesses 

  1. Falls off late game compared to other meta comps
  2. Top 4 comp and not a 1st place comp

Item Guide

Notes on Shadow Items

In this set, shadow items are here, and with them, the amount of items we can potentially make have now doubled. I will denote shadow items with a [S] in front for clarity in this guide. When taking shadow components, do so with caution because poorly used shadow items may bring more harm than good to your team.

No shadow item is needed in this build, but these are some beneficial ones:

  • Shadow Cloak
  • Shadow
  • Bow Shadow Glove

Jax Items

Best in Slot Items:

  • [S] Runaan’s Untamed Hurricane | Runaan’s Hurricane [Cloak + Bow]: This item is extremely strong on Skirmishers, scaling extremely well with the extra AD all the units gain from the trait. Also helps Jax to not get stuck on a single unit the entire fight.
    The shadow variant is a strict upgrade here.
  • Bloodthirster | [S] Riskthirster [Sword + Cloak]: This item gives Jax sustain to stay alive and scale into the later stages of the fight. The Shadow variant, while serviceable, does not have the shield which can help jax survive getting burst down.
  • Quicksilver | [S] Caustic Quicksilver [Cloak + Glove]: This item gives Jax CC immunity so he can scale without being interrupted by endgame CC. The shadow variant, while lasting for the whole fight, does come with a downside of lowering his max HP and making him more susceptible to being burst down.

Substitute Items:

  • [S] Hand of Vengeance | Hand of Justice [Tear + Glove]: The damage and healing from this item are both utilized well by Jax. Can be used to substitute Bloodthirster. The Shadow Version of this item is generally strictly better than the normal.

Worst Case Scenario:

  • [S] Evil Giant Slayer | Giant Slayer [Sword + Bow]: With the current favor toward units with Warmogs, Giant Slayer becomes high value into killing large tanks. However, this comp runs Trundle, who also serves as a tank killer, making this item merely serviceable. The Shadow variant of this item is a generic 50% damage increase making it acceptable if you cannot hit the other items.            

Non-Jax Items:

  • [S] Trickster’s Gloves | Thieves gloves [Glove + Glove]: This item is good to make when you come across an excess of gloves. Be sure to pay attention to the items you roll and adjust your unit accordingly (especially with Trickster’s gloves)
  • Redemption [Belt + Tear] => Pantheon: This item is a great use of tear in the comp, and helps to reduce aoe damage from Vel’koz and karma along with getting high value from the large amounts of melee units in this comp.
  • Morellonomicon | [S] Mor-evil-lonomicon [Rod + Belt] => Kennen: Kennen is one of the best morello users in the game, so having an early morello can winstreak your early game as well as serving as a source of late source damage.
  • Warmog’s Armor [Belt + Belt] => Pantheon | Trundle | Mordekaiser: Gives a large chunk of flat hp. This item works very well on Pantheon, Trundle, and Mordekaiser.
  • Frozen Heart [Chain + Tear] => Kennen | Veigo | Diana: Good use of two relatively bad components in the comp; Kennen delivers the slow into their backline. Diana and Veigo are good users of it, as well, if gotten at later stages of the game.
  • Titan’s Resolve | [S] Titan’s Vengeance [Bow + Chain] => Pantheon: This item gives both resistances and scaling damage that makes it a really good fit for Pantheon, using both parts of the item. The shadow version is also decent on Pantheon; the damage reduction from his ability allows him to one shot units with the stored up true damage.
  • Locket of the Iron Solari [Rod + Chain]: While not amazing, this comp gets good value from the locket, and it uses lower priority components, making this item a decent slam with high rod and chain games.
  • ZZrot Portal [Belt + Bow]: While the item itself is not bad, it uses two very useful components, so this item will be rarely seen in this comp.
  • [S] Gargoyle Stoneplate of Immortality | Gargoyle Stoneplate [Cloak + Chain] => Pantheon: This item is pretty good on Pantheon, enabling him to be even more tanky, However, it uses up a Cloak for Jax, making it rarely built.

Support Items

These positioning-reliant items should be taken off of later carousels or built from the last components you get after your core carry items are built.

  • Zephyr [Tear + Cloak] => Nidalee | Diana: Disables the unit mirrored from the holder of the item from the fight for 5 seconds. [ignores QSS]
  • Shroud of Stillness [Glove + Chain] => Nidalee | Diana: Increases the mana of the first cast by 35% of enemies in a two hex line from the holder.
  • Trap Claw [Glove + Belt]: This item is a very useful tech into Vel’Koz.

Spatula Items

  • Ironclad Spat [Spat + Chain]: Good tech into AD heavy lobbies. Does not matter who carries.
  • [S] Cavalier Spat [Spat + Chain]: Pairs well with rell and is decent on Pantheon.
  • Skirmisher Spat [Spat + Sword]: Allows you to drop Lee Sin and play skirmisher Darius.

Carousel Priority

Early Game (Stage 1 and 2)

This is a top 4 composition, so we will want to play our strongest board and try and preserve hp. Do not over focus Jax items at the start, the components for him (Cloaks) are generally unwanted so you can pick them up later.

Skirmisher Opener:

The preferred opener for this comp is obviously 3 Skirmishers. You can play any combination of 3 Skirms and then fill the extra unit spaces with unit pairings you find that pair with Skirmishers on your board. If you don’t have other units to play, don’t be afraid to play more Skirmishers. Here are some examples, but you are not limited to these combinations.

If you don’t find a Skirmisher opener, that’s fine. Continue to hold Skirmisher units and play the strongest board you can in meantime. You can swap to a Skirmisher board once you hit three. Udyr or Nidalee typically carry your Jax items.

Substitute Opener: Hellion

Hellions are a cheap opener that incorporates a Skirmisher within the comp, making the transition very smooth. Ziggs can hold your Jax items.

Substitute Opener: Kalista

Kalista Aatrox is a strong duo that can carry your stage 2. Abominations can substitute the Redeemed units if you find them. Yasuo or Riven can replace kalista and you would play around Nightbringers or Dawnbreakers.

Substitute Opener: Brawler Sins

Kha’zix can hold your Jax items here, and you can simply drop the Sins once you hit your Skirms and run them with the Brawler frontline.

Remember to hold the Skirmisher units you find to pivot into later. Leveling aggressively is acceptable with this comp as well because many of the Skirmisher units are two or three cost.

Mid Game (Stage 3 and 4)

Stage 3:

By Stage 3-2 you want to stabilize your board if you haven’t already. If you don’t have 3 Skirmishers yet, you can roll for them. If you are 1 Skirmisher off of 6 and have decent econ (30+ gold) or are winstreaking, feel free to roll to hit it.

Board if you hit 6 Skirms:

If you don’t hit 6 Skirms, your board will widely vary in terms of units. Look to play a core of 3 Skirmishers and then usually a Nightbringer/Dawnbringer plus the extra trait of that unit. Don’t be afraid to simply play another skirmisher as the last unit as well.

Stage 4

On stage 4-1, if you haven’t hit 6 Skirmishers and 1 Jax, roll down for them here. If you have 6 Skirms but are sitting on 3+ pairs, you can go ahead and roll for them here as well. Don’t be afraid to hold extra Skirmisher units because your win con will likely arise from 3 starring one of them.

If you hit your 6 Skirmisher power spike with decent econ and have good HP, you can econ back up and look to 2 star your board on lvl 8 on 4-5 or 5-1, depending on the game.

If you loss streaked into 4-1, you will likely need to play for top 4 and roll on 7 until you two star your entire board or hit Jax 2 before you can consider going 8.

Level 7 with Jax:

If you cannot find a Rell, Nautilus is acceptable for ironclad as well or any Nightbringer or Dawnbringer you were running prior. If you don’t hit Jax, 2 star Nidalee is acceptable to use as a transition to lvl 8 if you 2 starred everything else. If you hit a lot of extra Skirmishers of one unit and are low on HP and/or econ, you can also look to stay level 7 and 3 star it.

Late Game (Stage 5 and beyond)

Late game, look to try and position your comp well; you will rarely go level 9. However, you can look to roll down and 3 star almost any Skirmisher in your composition.

In order of impact of 3 starring, Pantheon > Jax > Trundle > Lee Sin > Kennen > Nidalee.

As noted at the start of the guide, your level 8 composition will likely be one of the two following boards:

Sample Level 8 Comp:

If you went directly to level 8, you’re more likely to want to run Diana and Mordekaiser because 4 Dragonslayer is very strong atm. This variant is also stronger if your Jax items are not as good. The extra AP from 4 Dragonslayers serve to make the units all good secondaries, making up for the lack of BIS Jax.

This board is generally better if you have BIS Jax because both Darius and Rell serve more to enable your Jax rather than being carries on their own. This variant can also look to go level 9 and add in Nautilus for 3 Ironclad and Knights.

If you’re in a contested Jax lobby or heavy Draven lobby, this build is the preferred variant.

Positioning Considerations

  • Pantheon: Position your Pantheon in front of their AD carry (usually Draven) to buy time for the rest of your team.
  • Trundle: Look to place your Trundle in front of their tankiest unit so he’ll steal their resistances and effectively kill them for the rest of your team. In a Jax vs Jax matchup, look to try and Trundle their Jax or Pantheon.
  • Kennen: Look to place him on the far side from their carries so he’ll dash over and stun them and won’t be baited by far side units.
  • Lee Sin: If you’re fighting an assassin player, look to backline the Lee Sin so he’ll apply the attack speed nerf to them, buying time for the rest of your team.
  • Viego: Look to try and take over important carries. If the carries are protected, however, it is better to jump and take over the support units rather than attempting to take the carry but fail due to CC. 

Matchups

  • Vel’Koz: There are two variants of Vel’koz: 4 Spellweaver, Abomination and a more frontline “flex” Vel’Koz build. The 4 Spellweaver version usually will have too much damage for Jax to handle. However, the flex version is easier for Jax to sustain through with his triple cloak itemization.
  • 4 Invoker: This is one of the strongest comps in the game; you will almost always lose to this if someone manages to hit this board. However, it is extremely hard to bring online.
  • Draven: This matchup is Draven favoured until you hit Veigo. With good Pantheon and Trundle Positioning, however, you can win if your Pantheon tanks Draven, and Trundle eats Mordekaiser/Hecarim. With Veigo you can usually force Draven into hitting Pantheon or getting taken over by Veigo.
  • Assassins: As long as your Jax does not get one shot at the start of the fight, Assassins are a very favorable matchup for Jax.
  • Dawnbringer Karma: This build has built-in anti heal with Pantheon combined with Jax itemization, bringing lots of innate MR and making Skirmishers favored in the Karma matchup.  As long as Karma players do not get to the 4 Invoker state where the damage becomes too much for Jax to handle, you are favored.
  • Aphelios: Not very prevalent in the meta currently, but Jax has a very favourable matchup into Aphelios.
  • Nightbringer Yasuo: This matchup is pretty evenly matched. Mostly decided by itemization and positioning.

What to do when Contested and how should I Pivot?

You can pivot this comp to Draven fairly easily, keeping the 4 Dragonslayers as the shared core units for the transition. Indicators to pivot are if Jax is heavily contested and if you aren’t getting Jax items because Draven is generally more flexible to itemize. 

Example Draven Pivot Board:

Tips

  • Don’t underestimate what Trundle brings to this comp.
  • Jax is not the sole carry of this comp; all of the units are very solid on their own as well, do not neglect them.

About the Author

Hey, I’m Re;Chaos, a NA player who has played on other servers and has been challenger every set since set 3.

I love to think about builds and the reasoning behind why and how units/comps became/are strong.

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