Jarvan IV Build Guide by Mobastorm
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Jarvan IV Build
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
This is my first guide, and it will probably not be my last :). I've played Jarvan IV since his release, and play him consistently well at 1800+ solo queue elo and 1700+ Arranged 5v5 elo. This guide will be relevant at any level of play, in normal games, solo queue ranked games, or even ranked 5v5 games. The first thing you may have noticed is that the item build order is incomplete, which is something I will address in the "Items" section below. Jarvan is a champion that can have a very large variety of builds, and pigeon-holing someone into just one build path is a very bad thing to do and will overall hurt the effectiveness of your Jarvan play.
Jarvan is currently one of the most powerful tank/tanky dps champions in the game, as well as one of the strongest solo laners that you can pick, and playing him well is extremely rewarding for both you and your teammates.
This guide is focused on Jarvan's ability to be played as a full tank for your team, with emphasis on his high early game base damage and general beefiness throughout the entire game. I am also assuming that you reading this means that you have a general knowledge of his kit, so I will not be describing it in a very in-depth way.
*This guide will be updated as regularly as I see fit
*I may add an FAQ section if there is any sort of demand for one
***Haha, not even out for 5 minutes and I already found one glaring error, hopefully I won't see any more :P
Jarvan IV has many choices when it comes to runes, and this setup can be changed around to suit your playstyle, but it is what I have found to work the best in the top lane.
For Reds I take 9x
For Seals I take 9x
For Blues I take 9x
For Quints I take 2x Greater Quintessence of Vigor and 1x
The reason I take so much flat armor from runes is that Jarvan essentially needs it to effectively solo the top lane. Since he has no self-sustain, to compete with other popular top lane champions like Irelia, Warwick, Udyr, and Yorick he needs to rely on his enormous resistance values and HP Regen. The low amount of damage taken from harass coupled with the high amount of HP Regen makes it nearly impossible to harass Jarvan out of the lane.
Alternative Rune Builds:
Greater Mark of Desolation These can be used to capitalize on early damage from your Q ability, but I find them unnecessary and hate to lose on the extra armor. If you are jungling, which Jarvan can do but will not be described in this guide, then these are definitely a better choice.
Another type of rune that is much more useful in the jungle rather than in a lane.
More jungle runes.
These are good seals that can be used over the armor ones if you have them and like them. The only reason I don't use a full page of them is because Dodge is RNG, and Armor is something you can always rely on. That being said, I currently use 1 dodge seal on every rune page now, just because of the way that RNG can save your life, and because you take a bit less damage when you are forced to tank creep waves in your lane. I like to not completely rely on RNG, but having that little chance is very nice.
These are taken by some people, but they are not the best choice. To effectively play Jarvan in the top lane you must play passively and not spam your spells to push the lane and harass. I'm not saying that you shouldn't harass, just that you need to know how much harass you can give before you run low on mana. A general rule of thumb is to always make sure you have enough mana for your Q + E combo, to be used as an escape if necessary. If you do take these yellows, though, go ahead and spam your spells to farm and harass, but be aware that you will push your lane very hard and will be open to a gank from the enemy jungler.
I strongly, strongly recommend flat armor seals.
/Greater Seal of Vitality These are taken by some other Jarvan players that I know, but to me they just don't stack up against the flat armor. Feel free to experiment, but armor will probably come out to be the best choice in the yellow slots.
These can be taken over the per-level ones if you know you will be laning against an AP damage solo (eg. Cho'gath, Gragas).
CDR runes are pretty popular, but not really recommended by me. Again, feel free to experiment, but I think you will find, as I did, that magic resist runes are the best available for the glyph slots.
The Quints I use are what work best for me. The single movespeed quint combined with the mastery makes you fast enough to outrun most champions without them when you have your full boots. It is also strong for early game where you will have that slight extra amount of speed to dodge barrels, ruptures, or to outrun ghouls. HP Regen quints are very underrated, but I think they are some of the strongest in the game for many champions.
With two HP Regen quints and a regrowth pendant at level 1, you will have ~32 HP/5, which is absolutely insane. That is a free health potion every 32 seconds.
That being said, here are some others that I have used in the past that you may find to fit your playstyle a bit more:
x3 It is very strong to have 3 movespeed quints, especially in the early game. If you wish to go this route I would not discourage you.
Greater Quintessence of Desolationx3 These are also strong to use in combination with ArP reds, but they fit more into a jungle build than into a laning one.
x3 Very commonly used by new level 30s and by some specific champions, but I think they are unnecessary on Jarvan with his massive base armor and health regeneration provided by the item build.
x1-3 I feel that everyone should have 3 of these quints, for when they know for a fact that they will be laning against a strong AP top lane. The amount you use is totally up to you.
I'd like to note that when I started this section of the guide I didn't think I would type so much, sorry if it is a little long, but I want people to be able to make their own choices and give things for people to try if they don't want to follow this guide word for word (something I would never recommend)
The Masteries are very straightforward, use the ones that you see at the top of the guide. The only viable changes I could see are switching 3 points from Perseverance to Good Hands. Each is a little underwhelming, so in all reality it doesn't matter which one you take, it is completely based on personal preference.
Farming and Laning
Jarvan's number 1 job in the top lane is to get farmed enough to get to a stage where he is nearly unkillable. He is very, very good at farming and the rune/item setup allows him to last hit with auto attacks with very little risk. Because of this, you should try to simply last hit with your auto attacks whenever possible. It is definitely okay to use your E or Q to kill minions you would have missed, but remember that each of these spells can push the lane to the enemy side of the map fairly quickly if used every time they are off cooldown.
The best thing you can do is to farm until you have enough gold for both boots 1 and a Philosopher's Stonephilo stone (715 gold if I remember correctly), and then base to pick them up. It is okay to push your lane to the enemy tower before you base so you can return without missing out on much exp or gold. Once you return, you must farm 825 more gold, and then buy your turtle shell. Continue laning, and don't leave unless you need to help an early teamfight at dragon or are pushed out of the lane (which should only happen with a gank from the opposing jungler). The next item you purchase should be your boots, which will be 9/10 times be
It is important to note that from here on out you should buy 1-2 wards each time you base, and ward the river leading to your lane, the river leading from top side to mid lane, or even possibly their blue/red (depending on which side you are on).
Jarvan needs to farm a lot to reach his full potential, so you really need to try to not miss last hits. Like I said before, it is okay to use your spells to last hit, just try not to run yourself OOM and push the lane doing so. Also, don't worry if you miss a few, because not even the pros can hit them all.
Here we go, the section everyone's been waiting for (or skipped immediately to :P) the item builds. The reason I put so few items at the top of the page is that they are the only items that you will buy every single game. Very rarely will you need to deviate early on from those 3 items. Your next items, however, will vary greatly depending on the opposing team composition. Ill outline a few of the possible scenarios and what items you should build to react to them. There will be a small quick reference section at the end of the guide.
Double AP (Gragas, Rumble, Cho'gath, etc. Top)
This has become very popular since Dreamhack, where this strategy was played successfully by most of the European teams. This is a team you would want to use your flat MR runes for.
After your initial G/10 items, you are going to want to pick up a . This almost halves the damage you take from AP champions early game when they have little magic penetration, and if they can't harass you away they will have trouble farming. Afterwards I would pick up a , because early game health + the large amount of MR from the cloak makes you pretty much unkillable in a 1v1 situation, as long as you are playing smart. After that, you want to buy either a or a . You will no doubt end up with both by the end of the game, but which you get first depends on how well you are doing in the lane (FoN first if you are fine and want to shut them out almost completely, or B Veil if you are having trouble farming and laning against them). Once you complete your big MR item, you will want to upgrade your into either a or . If fighting has started early and you will have to be moving around a lot, the is a better choice, but if the laning phase is dragging on (as it tends to do) then buy the . When that is finished, build whichever MR item you didn't build before, and then pick up an for the armor and damage. can be bought before your Atma's/second MR item, but you need to use your judgement to decide whether or not you will be able to effectively tank while you are farming for it.
Tanky Top Lane (Irelia, Yorick, Udyr, Warwick, etc.)
These lanes will be harder to win than those against the AP top laners, but it is not impossible. The problem is that most of the other tanky top laners have very high self sustain, and will be able to push you out of the lane if you don't play smart against them.
After your initial items, you will want to pick up a Catalyst the Protector to help you keep up with the sustain that your opponent has. Your next items should be a and a . The visage along with catalyst will give you enough regen to stay in lane almost indefinitely, as long as you are careful with your mana and are sure not to overextend. Depending on the length of the laning phase, you should upgrade your into either a or a , if you remember from before which to get in which situation. The next items I recommend are both a and a to be eventually built into a . You can use your own judgement as to which to build first and when to combine them. Upgrade your catalyst of the protector into when you need to (eg. the enemy AP carry is fed or very farmed, or you are facing a Poppy/Singed/Karthus, etc). is always an item you can pick up for extra endgame damage and armor.
These are the two most common scenarios you will encounter as a Jarvan solo laner, but the quick-reference guide at the end will contain more alternate builds for other situations.
This is what I use 90% of the time on Jarvan.
Very good summoner spell, I even take it sometimes, but the utility of having a teleport on your top lane offers so much more to your team that I can rarely justify taking Exhaust over it.
Not a bad spell, but I rarely, if ever, use it because it is just overshadowed by flash.
I don't jungle Jarvan very often, but it is viable to do so. I will not be explaining Jungle Jarvan in this guide, but there is a very good Jungle Jarvan guide on solomid.net of you are interested in learning more about him.
All of the others, most of them aren't bad, just they aren't good for Jarvan.
Quick-Reference Item Guide
All of these assume the previously stated starting items for Jarvan IV
Can be built early (after first MR item) or later (before second MR item)
Tanky Top Lane:
Catalyst the Protector
Use your judgement on when to upgrade Catalyst into and when to combine your Sheen/Phage into
Alternate Heavy AP:
can be used depending on your lane (ex. Tryndamere, Gangplank, Xin Zhao)
(not recommended for ranked play)
Forgo the G/10 items at the start and:
Please note that items such as , , and can be put into ANY of these builds at your discretion.
Jarvan IV is a very versatile and dependable champion, and because of this he is one of the strongest picks in the game at the time that I am writing this. Do not follow item builds word for word, and always use your judgement when picking what items to build and when. Sometimes I end up walking around with a Negatron Cloak, Chain Vest, and Giant's Belt because I had to switch up what I was building to counter an enemy build or playstyle. Jarvan is easy to play, but difficult to play well, and I hope that by reading this guide you can start to play Jarvan to his fullest potential at every point in the game.