Jarvan IV Build Guide by H4xDefender
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.
Hi, I'm H4xDefender, a diamond 1 jungle main on the NA server. Through many many games with Jarvan IV in tournaments, solo queue, and normals, I've come to love the champion and all he's capable of doing. (no **** i sware) I don't claim to be a god or the best player around, but I've maintained one of the highest win rates with Jarvan IV with as many games as I've played, and at a high level as well. (80% of my J4 games came after I hit diamond). Now lets get into the guide shall we?
I'm not known for pretty guides. I'm known for readable and effective guides that advertise information that is tried and true through rigorous testing at my elo, higher elo through teammates and friends, as well as tournament play and lane tests. If you don't like "ugly" guides, go find another one now. If you want to get better, read on.
This guide will assume you have basic knowledge of jungling and will use terminology such as "ganks," "pressuring lanes," "farming," "counterganking," and "holding."
I DID NOT CODE THIS GUIDE OR MAKE ANY OF THE BANNERS. ALL OF THE VISUALS ARE THANKS TO THE TWO INDIVIDUALS MENTIONED ABOVE, SO THANK THEM FOR MAKING MY USUALLY SUPER TEXT HEAVY GUIDES PRETTY.
Version one of this guide found here. (No coding essentially)
My soloq elo at the time of writing this, along with a good week of Jarvan in ranked.
My J4 winrate at diamond. (Peaked at ~65.3% through ~220 games)
CUZ DUNKS (bonus points if you get the reference)
Jarvan IV is a champion that can completely turn a game around. His ultimate, Cataclysm is like no ability in the game, in the sense that if you don't have an escape and your team gets trapped in AoE, you can get aced for free and lose.
Not only does he have an exceptional teamfight, his early pressure is ridiculous with his Dragon Strike Demacian Standard ganks coupled with Golden Aegis and his respectable damage. Although this isn't a Jarvan IV laning guide, Jarvan IV's solo laning is quite strong as well if that tickles your fancy.
Now for the actual guide.
|Armor. Nothing else. Not health regen, not mana regen, not ad, not MR, not anything. Just armor. Without it the jungle will shred you. You aren't fiddlesticks.|
inb4 ***germeister downvotes because of my runes h4h4.
: Some extra attack speed to help out clear time a little bit. This build caps CDR so you don't need the CDR, and this also helps to alleviate the fact that you max E last with my build.
Butcher : More clear speed.
Deadliness : Some extra AD, not too noticeable but its there.
Weapon Expertise : Free armor pen on top of Dragon Strike, and it amplifies Martial Cadence as well. Great mastery.
: Extra gold on smite adds up.
Durability : Extra health is a godsend considering Jarvan IV has average/below average tanky stats for a tankish champion.
Tough Skin : Reduces damage taken from jungle creeps, pretty straightforward.
Hardiness : More armor more tankiness.
Resistance : More MR more tankiness.
Unyielding : Very underrated in trades, that extra 2 damage applies to EVERYTHING, DoTs, auto attacks, spells EVERYTHING. (No longer reduces damage from creeps though)
Veteran's Scars : More health, yes plz.
Block : Since you'll be diving in a LOT this often mitigates a lot of damage throughout a games duration, and for only 1 point too.
Juggernaut : Even MORE health, even MORE tankiness.
Defender : Extra 5 mr and armor lategame for 1 point? Sign me up.
Reinforced Armor : Very underrated mastery, every ADC in the game except blue Ezreal relies on shredding through tanks lategame with crits, the damage this blocks is very huge.
Honor Guard : A bit overrated but blocks a good amount of damage neverthless.
Always max Dragon Strike first on Jarvan IV. There is no argument. Demacian Standard's extra attack speed and armor pales in usefulness compared to the ridiculous amount of damage you do with Dragon Strike if you utilize it correctly in ganks, not to mention the fact that maxing Dragon Strike first lowers the cooldown so you can dash to one Demacian Standard twice off one cast. Knowing your flag placement and ult radius is what separates a good Jarvan IV from a great Jarvan IV.
There is no alternate to Flash and Smite as a jungler. Ghost is super inferior to Flash on Jarvan IV, Exhaust doesn't outweigh the benefits of Flash, and neither does Ignite, as Jarvan IV isn't really a counterjungler. I hate to have such a short section, but there is really no argument.
AS SECOND SUMMONER SPELL ( Smite IS MANDATORY)
Exhaust: Exhaust is a pretty straightforward summoner spell. It makes it a bit easier for you to stick to targets in ganks and teamfights, cripples somebody in a fight for a little bit, and maybe even the whole fight if you use it on an AP carry, but limits what you can do with Cataclysm a lot more. It means if you commit to using your Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike combo into Cataclysm to trap people, you can't get back out until your cooldowns come back up, which is actually a big loss.
Flash: As you should know, Flash is the best summoner spell in the game. It opens up so many possible combos, i.e. Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike into Flash into Cataclysm, Flash into Cataclysm, and then Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike to get out, and you can use it to simply escape as well. All these benefits are why I take Flash over Exhaust every game, and you should too.
This build is tried and true in the rigors of Diamond ELO and tournament play. There are obviously times where I will deviate as there is a situational item section, but this is a very strong build for 90% of games.
|This is pretty self-explanatory to start with. Doran's Blade start is alright, but because of Jarvan IV's shaky self-sustain, you may still lose duels invading, and you won't be able to get off as many ganks as a well played Hunter's Machete start would.|
|This item is cost efficient heaven. Not only does it provide the rare and coveted tenacity stat, it also gives a ton of health and regen, has an easy build path, and is cheap as well. ALWAYS BUILD THIS OVER Spirit of the Elder Lizard.|
|The bane of all auto attackers and ad carries. This item makes them not want to focus you... but if they don't they get cc'd by you all fight, which makes it a win-win situation for you. Always build the Giant's Belt portion first.|
|The superior of the two big magic resist items for tank champions on Jarvan IV. The reason for this being the massive amount of CDR it gives you which caps you out at 40% with the rest of the build. It is very cost efficient as well. (seeing a trend? :P)|
|This item is very cheap and easy to build, and you dont need Mercury's Treads because Spirit of the Ancient Golem already gives tenacity. This item's passive is super underrated, 10% is an enormous amount, and it also scales up as the enemy champions get stronger, which is huge. Buy this 99% of games.|
|Without a doubt, the best standalone damage item on Jarvan IV. Not only does he make great use of every single stat, his tankiness and longevity in fights help him stack up the cleaver on many targets which destroys in conjunction with Dragon Strike and Martial Cadence. Buy this if your team is all AD and does not have one yet.|
|Sunfire Cape is what I like to call the "carry tank item" because of the huge amounts of damage it actually puts out in fights and the tankiness it gives you as well. Generally you only buy this item if you are really fed and the other team is full ad because otherwise Randuin's Omen is better.|
|This would replace Guardian Angel against double AP teams that have critical abilities that need to be blocked by the veil's passive. Other then that, guardian angel is still superior.|
|Buy this item if you plan on counterganking a strong ad jungler, or want to resist their invades and counterganks. Some of these junglers are Lee Sin and Nocturne. If you fall behind and need to transition into a tanky aura bot quickly, this is a good buy as well, especially vs full AD teams. Do not ever uprade this into Wriggle's Lantern however. IF YOU BUY THIS ITEM YOU WILL STILL BE BUYING Spirit of the Ancient Golem. If you buy a Doran's Blade do not buy this, it is too much earlygame investment for little return later if you buy both, and you only need one of them for passable sustain.|
|Buy this against full AD teams that that auto attack a lot after you already have some hp investment, (i.e. you have Spirit of the Ancient Golem and Randuin's Omen finished already) and your team is having problems killing the champions in question. Don't buy this if you are dying to champions that burst or don't rely too much on auto attacks, i.e. Zed and Ezreal.|
|Buy this in the same situations as Thornmail, except your team has the damage to kill the champions in question but just die too quickly.|
|zeke's herald||Buy this if you are decently fed and your ad carry/top/mid benefit from the stats it gives. A good example would be if your ad carry went a build like Trinity Force, Last Whisper, and Infinity Edge and needs lifesteal, and your mid/top would also benefit from the AD.|
|Buy this if there is no way your team will win lategame and you have gold to invest to get more ganks off and you know the extra movespeed will help you out. Be wary this drops your diving potential a lot because you will not have the extra armor from Ninja Tabi.|
|I almost always pick up an early Doran's Blade on my first or second back, it gives a lot of extra sustain and damage early on in the game and you can hold onto it for a long time as well because of how easy many of the items in the standard build are to build. If you fall behind early do not build one though, and always make sure to sell it lategame. If you are forced into Madred's Razors do not buy this, it is too much earlygame investment for little return later if you buy both, and you only need one of them for passable sustain.|
|I usually buy this if I am preparing for a dragon fight and have some gold to spare, all of its stats are actually very helpful midgame, but other then that this item is inferior to Doran's Blade.|
|Actually does more damage then The Black Cleaver if your team has armor pen on targets lategame or you land an amaZing Dragon Strike. If this is your only damage item it is very gold inefficient however.|
|Good as a standalone damage item lategame as a 6th item if your team is incompetent and or all AP.|
DO NOT BUILD:
|Inferior to Banshee's Veil, Spirit Visage, Locket of the Iron Solari and Guardian Angel. If you want damage and mr Hexdrinker is better. If you want damage The Brutalizer is way better.|
|Better than Wit's End but still is not worth it to build. It delays your important items too much and doesn't provide enough of a damage boost to compensate, and also doesn't make you much tankier.|
|Too expensive and inferior to The Black Cleaver as a damage item overall, especially as targets pick up armor.|
|Makes you way too squishy for way too long because of the amounts of gold junglers receive, and the damage boost isn't significant enough to compensate, and also means you lose out on tenacity. Stay far away from this item, it is a noob trap.|
You will usually want to start the buff that is bottom side of the map so you can get an easy smiteless pull from your bottom lane and then run immediately to your other buff and clear it with smite. Always start with Demacian Standard for the extra attackspeed and armor, and then pick up Dragon Strike second. Once you clear both buffs you should have all your abilities skilled and you will be level 3.
Once you have achieved this you can go looking for a gank in any lanes, but generally not bottom since you will be on the top side of the map. If the lanes have warded or are too pushed, just keep farming your jungle. As soon as the opposing jungler makes a move you will want to countergank or go steal a camp they are not close to if you are not in a position to countergank. i.e. if they gank top on blue side go steal wraiths, and if they gank top as purple steal their wolves.
If lanes cannot be ganked feasibly, powerfarm and play reactively until level 6, where you can Dragon Strike Demacian Standard into Cataclysm to burn flashes or pick up kills easily. If you kill middle or bottom lane champions always be looking to turn it into a dragon pickup.
NOTE: If you are against a jungler who can invade your blue or red buff after they take their first buff, i.e. Lee Sin, then start the buff you suspect they will invade in, or have your support ward the entrance to that buff so you do not get counterjungled and killed.
This is where Jarvan IV can really shine. He is usually incredibly difficult to kill at this point of the game, and still does very very respectable damage. Always try to land your knockup on as many targets as possible and zone the enemy threats as well as you can with Cataclysm until your team can cleanup. It is fine if you die zoning enemy threats as long as your team can finish of the enemy's divers before you go down. Once you have used your cooldowns it is fine to back up a little bit and get your Locket of the Iron Solari shield on as many members of your team as possible.
By this time of the game you should have Spirit of the Ancient Golem and Locket of the Iron Solari finished, and hopefully a Giant's Belt and Ninja Tabi as well. Don't be afraid to go hard, you are absurdly tanky, especially if you have Golden Aegis maxed and land it on multiple champions.
Refer to the video section on how to zone and ult effectively.
This is the part of the game where you aren't as big of a damage threat, but can still put the hurt down on squishy mids and ad carries if they don't respect your damage. At this point you should just be disrupting as much as you can with your CC and Randuin's Omen, as well as your ult. Make sure you still make use of your Locket of the Iron Solari shield as well.
Once again, refer to the video section of the guide on how to ult effectively in fights.
Will update these continually once I have more time/experience, obviously these won't/can't be as detailed as matchups in lanes. No matchup is so bad that you should not pick Jarvan IV.
You have to be very careful against a Lee Sin. Always start your red buff against this guy no matter what side you are on so you won't have to deal with him invading you and ****ing you up. If you get counterganked by this guy you will always lose, so be wary when you go gank. You can't duel him either, so dont try unless you are super ahead or hes low, and don't go for his camps unless hes showing somewhere else on the map.
Be wary that even full tank Lee Sins do a lot of damage, and that he can easily get out of your ult, especially if he has a Sightstone. Since you are immune from crowd control when casting Cataclysm, try to time it at the same time he uses Dragon's Rage on you if you are trying to chase him down and kill him.
Nocturne is a lot like Lee Sin, but isn't quite as deadly. He can put a lot of hurt down on you with red buff, especially if he gets a fear from Unspeakable Horror down on you, but his counterjungling generally isn't as deadly as he isn't as slippery as lee. Don't duel him unless you have a buff and or level advantage. He is relatively easy to countergank, but be careful because he is quite strong with no damage items, much like you. If he counterganks you run immediately, but know he has little sticking power, and no hard CC at all if you get out of the range of his fear tether on Unspeakable Horror.
Lategame he is nowhere near as useful as you as a tank, but if he goes full ad he may be able to kill squishies on your team who position poorly, so peel him off as he will be exceptionally squishy and try to turn the fight into an immediate 4v5. He cannot escape Cataclysm unless he uses Flash or has a target to use Paranoia on. Know that his spellshield, Shroud of Darkness will only block either your Dragon Strike or Demacian Standard's DAMAGE when comboed together, IT WILL NOT BLOCK THE KNOCK-UP PORTION.
Elise vs Jarvan IV is an incredibly snowbally matchup. When one gets ahead, the other struggles mightily to create impact on a game. While your ganks are better then Elise's, she is one of the few junglers who outdamages you with a tank build, due to her massive amounts of %damage. Due to how tanky you are compared to her, you can duel her pretty easily if you get the jump on her, but the same can be said the other way around as well.
Remember you can "phase" through her cocoon stun with a well timed Cataclysm, so take that into mind when dueling her. Also take into mind she can rappel the damage from your Cataclysm if she times it well.
These scores are all from the mid-diamond and high diamond range. If you try out the guide and get a nice score, throw it up on tinypic and pm me the link and I will add it in.
Version 1.0: Guide released, many small tweaks made.
Version 2.0: Coding added courtesy of Hogopogo and Janitsu! (Thanks a ton guys).
Jarvan IV is one of the hardest snowballing junglers in the game and is absolutely game breaking if used correctly. While he does fine in a lane whether it be support, top, or mid, his potential isn't used to its fullest in those roles, which is why I prefer to jungle him. I will be adding in more things to this guide as time goes on, at the time of release I just wanted to get it out before the end of S3. Thanks for reading and good luck!
Once again, I want to give a huge shoutout to Janitsu and Hogopogo for all the hard work they put into making this guide pretty for me. This would not be possible without them!