**UPDATED FOR NEW SEASON**
*UPDATE 4/4/13* Currently on a seven game winning streak on normal single entry as Jarvan.
*UPDATE 4/12/13* Started ranked play, currently on two game winning streak as Jarvan.
*UPDATE 5/5/13* Been running jungle jarvan in some eighteen straight ranked matches. Unfortunately i'm not doing that well, but it hasn't caused me to question the build even once. Still feel this build rocks, he's just awesome in the jungle.
Jarvan became my main some time a go. I learned that he offers an amazing suite of abilities with extremely high overall utility. He really doesn't have much of a counterpick, although malphite kinda qualifies. I began to claw my way outta elo hell with jarvan and eventually got a six win streak going in single entry ranked. I also got to a 65 percent overall win rate with him. Then ran into a tough section, then started winning again. This guide reflects all of that learning. I currently have a 60 percent single entry win rate playing jarvan in ranked.
Best Teammates: Obviously you want a balanced team. Jarvan is almost always either top lane or jungle. Both are very solid. I have also run him as support a few times and felt he did well. But, he specifically does well with other champs that have a decent amount of cc. It is much easier to land an E, Q combo onto an already stunned, stopped, or slowed opponent, and quite easy to extend an already existing stun right into a pop-up. A full stop immobilize champion like morgana, etc make landing that combo a breeze. Cho'Gath is basically the ideal partner bringing complementary cc, solid magic damage, and tanking.
- strong teamfighter w/ aura's, cc, damage, and tanking
- versatile, top lane, jungle lane, strong pusher
- escape moves, initiate moves, can leap barriers
- early mana problems can lead to issues against high sustain opponents
**UPDATE** I really think Jarvan has benefitted immensely from the recent changes, the following build is very powerful.
With the new changes machete plus 5 health pots is very powerful. I prefer to finish the philo stone prior to getting boots. Start at blue, clear everything, then back clear wraiths and wolves. Dont exit until you have 700 gold or 1050 is even better if you can get a gank or some clearing, buy boots and a philo stone. I've recently decided to immediately build wriggle's in almost all cases now. It mega dramastically improves clear time and works ridiculously well with the attack speed glyphs. Phage might be a bit better for ganks, and merc treads help with a cc'ing counter jungler. In the final build you replace wriggles with blade of the fallen king. I've left the build purposely open so you can build it as you like. Its nice to not have to sell your dorans shield relatively early and the whole build progession tends to go very smoothly. With that added bit of armor from wriggles its generally better to build aegis.
General Item Discussion
Merc Treads/alacrity: You can suspend them if you are going against an ad non cc champ, but they just build really well into his item needs. I have included alacrity as the boot enchant in this guide. I really have no strong opinion on which is best, most fundamentally I think its important to upgrade your boots before the relatively expensive trinity purchase.
*EDIT* I've moved this item out since the support seems to be building them every time. Aegis/Runic Bulwark: Extremely good item, I've bought it countless times, generally as third item. Really flushes out your armor and magic resist to solid lategame levels. Plus it generally adds to team cohesiveness given the amount of buffs you are giving to your team. Runic bulwark is pretty much a must have late game item for any team. I tend to buy the healthstone early and finish this item later.
Vamp Sceptre/Cutlass/Blade of the Ruined King: The scepter is a solid early damage/sustain purchase with a very cheap upgrade to cutlass. The blade itself was absolutely made for Jarvan, with its nasty on hit proc is improved by ranks in E and the runes in this build. I have started building this item later in the progression. Its annoying how much its passive falls off on low health opponents. Good item, just not great.
Brutalizer/The Black Cleaver: I tend to buy brutalizer when its time to add some offense. Its really a fairly expensive item with almost zero defensive merit. I tend to always like items with a bit of both and tend to build this fairly late, although I have recently moved black cleaver to an earlier spot in the purchase order. It gives a nice combo of everything you need and didn't have yet. I suppose you could suspend it if you really wanted to go tanky, but your damage output really falls off without some armor pen with its very nice on hit effect to the entire team. The new stats on this item were just built for Jarvan. I would definitely not buy this without at least a vamp scepter for some lifesteal.
Phage/Trinity: Phage is an extremely good early purchase. I generally build trinity after the first giant belt is purchased depending on how the gold income is coming in and the makeup of the team. The initial e,q plus passive, plus trinity bonus, then ult, then ignite!! Wow, thats serious burst! Its an expensive item that saves inventory space and everything about it has utility. The move speed is extremely useful as is the burst damage and general offensive upgrades, but ghost/alacrity replace the early need for movement speed.
Giants Belt/Sunfire Cape/Warmogs: I've gotten into the habit of buying a lot of giants belts. I tend to watch how the support is building. If he builds Aegis I build my first one into a sunfire cape. Just really like the item, this build has a lot of health which tends to make magic damage not a factor, esp with an aegis around, so the 45 armor is really sexy with Jarvan's innates. I really like the magic damage, just.. solid, esp for a guy in the middle of it. I have moved Warmogs to last in the purchase order but you are certainly welcome to build it earlier if needed. I like Warmogs/Runic Bulwark far more than any two mr/armor specific items combined. Jarvan already comes with a bunch of armor and aegis/merc treads just falls perfectly into his defensive needs. Health is pretty much always a good thing to buy with Jarvan given the benefit of his on-hit passive and desire to make fights last a long time.
Runes / Masteries / Skills / Spells
Runes: I have put a huge amount of thought into this. I currently believe that all attack speed is the way to go. why? well... you really get a lot of it per rune, it scales well through EVERY part of the game, AND on Jarvan he is the most able to benefit from attack speed, since... his ult contains people, and you are almost always going to have a slow going with either blade/cutlass, trinity, or your w. Most importantly Jarvan has two maybe three/four on hit items that benefit from attack speed (blade of the ruined king, trinity, the black cleaver, wriggles.) I've also made up for not adding any armor pen via a relatively early purchase of brutalizer for a very nice 10 arp to go with a 10% reduction via masteries. Yeah I know a lot of people like ad quints, but... they really fall off into lategame. Attack speed is forever, and when you are stuck in a circle of raised earth, YOU HAD BETTER WIN.
Masteries: I've converted to 9/21/0. Took me a while to figure it out. A more offense related build isn't bad, but Jarvan tends to spend a lot of time in the middle of the action, he needs defense. The extra health, armor/mr, health regen, damage resistance, and tenacity are just invaluable. I've also modified that same build for jungling. It works well.
Skill Sequence: E is for jungling, Q is for laning. Level the appropriate one early depending on your role. E is fine for laning, but Q is significantly easier to hit and the short cooldown is extremely valuable in the poke game. If you all in with an e,q,Ult combo you will definitely benefit from having some ranks in E. Its all situational. Q is also a very solid killer of escaping opponents who think their 700 range makes them safe, WRONG. I think W should pretty much definitely be maxxed last as its really a teamfighting move. You want a rank early for general utility purposes, ie ganking and escaping. And obviously you max your ult first.
Ghost - I have replaced flash with ghost, its just more useful despite the couple of tricks you can do with flash, plus Jarvan already has a wall jumping move. I've also started building trinity later in sequence, and ghost fills the missing movement speed very nicely.
Flash - good, just not as good as ghost.
Ignite - Extremey useful since your nemesis are high sustain opponents anyways
Smite - I is for jungle. My biggest comment is that Jarvan is slightly diminished in pc fighting without ignite and real masteries. But you gotta do what you gotta do.
Laning first: Jarvan is a very solid top lane. I have tried a lot of different stuff. He does well against everyone except high sustain champs. Sure he has a solid poke out to 800 with two different abilities, but he simply runs out of mana then starts getting bullied. I currently like dorans shield. Other opponents he should be able to wear down with pokes then all in with an e,q combo for the kill or flee.
It really doesn't end there against high sustain opponents. Your first return to base is still critical. You need movement and sustain pretty badly. Generally you dont have enough money for both. Its really lots of mana that helps you stay in the poke game, while health keeps you going under harassment. Getting an early philo stone is generally best. The good news is that jarvan has a very strong late game, and thats what yer building for.
Mid/Late: The build order here is fairly situational. For jungling its hard to beat Wriggles. Same with an AD top. Opponents with lots of cc require merc treads. Heavy ap teams/lanes ya might rush hexdrinker. Phage is a good universal choice as is an early health stone. Phage definitely helps with ganks. I definitely prefer just building phage rather than buying doran's blades that you will later sell. Frankly I think the overall stats are just better, the slow and large amounts of health are really solid, plus jarvan really excels at lategame anyways (although he can still be really strong early). Aegis is generally next followed by brutalizer, then giants belt and blade of the fallen king. If you haven't won yet you start finishing things. If you felt your team had plenty of offense and needed you to initiate and be more tanky you should certainly focus on building defensive items earlier. Quite frankly tho I almost never deviate from the basic build order.
I am not a randuins omen/force of nature fan. Randuins slow isn't really necessary and yes the movement boost of force of nature is nice. I guess you could build them if you were main tank AND your support was just dying to build aegis. Frankly they are just not worth the money. This build gives you about 4.7k health and an even 200 armor/mr. This is huge defense combined with devastating offense. I guess this also bears into the discussion of whether Jarvan is really main tank material or not. Rather questionable. Seems like a true tank has at least two stuns and some major aoe move. Jarvan is just more focused and imo does better in a offtank or two tank setup.
E,Q combo is just amazing. Its probably the best initiation/ganking move in the game. You can move over walls, quick start into an npc camp, or change the course of an entire teamfight. jarvan seems to do really well with a two tank combo and does exceptionally well when paired with someone like alistair or chogath.
The Poke Game: e and q both have like 800 range, this is absolutely outstanding. You generally want to hover in the magic space between 600 and 800 range where almost no one can get to you, yet you can drop e's and q's on them. Best when you are quite certain someone is gonna be in a specific place. Last hitting? --- BAM. Bumrushing one of my teamates? --- KA-BAM. Doing the pre-all-out teamfight dance dropping your flag also has an intimidation factor since no one wants to stand next to it for fear of getting a painful popup. If you have enough mana you should be able to win or tie every long range poking contest. Thats a big if though since its basically all skillshots. Blue buff is very sweet early, and so is philo stone. Later on mana is much less critical.
The all in game: e then q, then.... he flashes, and...ULT. Absolutely devastating. You should NEVER initiate with ult unless you have to because e,q are on cooldown. You can also cover absolutely ridiculous amounts of ground with the flash, e,q, then ult combo. Nobody else can do it. and almost no one expects it. Just rules against fleeing or distant opponents.
Target Switching: In a big teamfight you might get tempted to constantly switch targets in order to maximize your passive. This is good, but it isn't great. I always felt like the best thing is to get kills, it just seems like the best target is generally the one most likely to die. Too, it seems like the game makes a slight pause after you tell it to switch targets. Thats a long time in an unpredictable teamfight. Just a thought.
Advanced: Once q is sufficiently leveled it can actually be used twice for a single e. This is two aoe stuns plus damage in about a 5-6 second period. Just devastating. So, you e,q into a big teamfight, popping everyone up, doing lots of damage, breaking morale, then immediately ult onto a caster or adc near the back of the enemy force. Well after beating on them and maybe getting a kill, you can recast q onto the flag you already dropped, and get another aoe stun damage in. If its done right your ult may even trap the enemy team to fighting around the original e,q location. Obviously you want to e,q into as many opponents as possible and you ARE the main tank. So yeah. Actually I think he can either main or offtank with this build. Really up to your team comp. Like i say, Jarvan has amazing utility.
Advanced2: Your team is getting its butt kicked, you ult to put a wall between the enemy and your fleeing teammates, then flash/E,Q from your own ult. Obviously you dont want to trap anyone inside the ult. This makes your team very unhappy.
I have since dropped flash and almost always get ghost now. Both it and ignite are improved by the level one masteries and it just has more escape/chase power than the relatively short distanced flash.
I welcome your comments and am committed to being the best Jarvan possible.