Jarvan IV Build Guide by nexttoradio
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.
Jarvan IV is an incredibly powerful, and often underrated, support champion. He brings with him bush control, a linear knockup, an AOE slow, armor shred, AOE attack speed/armor buff, and his awesome ultimate which can make (or possibly break) anything from a simple gank or lane skirmish to the game-deciding team fight.
The big thing you need to know about Jarvan IV is that he is a very niche support champion. He isn't like your Sona or Lulu that will benefit your team almost regardless of the team compositions. You need to pick him with a very specific goal in mind. I will describe some guidelines for when to pick Jarvan IV a little later.
I played him with my friends (a group I didn't play Jarvan IV support with as I got my build down with him) and got a lot of flak, but 15-20 minutes in I was told "I'm actually really surprised. I thought Jarvan IV support was just going to be bad. It's actually really good." To me this and the other praise I have received from random players more than justifies this guide. Pls enjoy.
Pros / Cons
+ strong mobility
+ strong disable
+ flashy ult makes the team attack together
- Has to go all-in with his ultimate
- People may not take you seriously
-> -> ->
- Like most Ultimates you max Cataclysm as soon as possible in order to get a shorter cool down for more DEMACIA!!
- Demacian Standard is your primary laning skill. It's bonuses to attack speed and armor benefit the bottom lane so well that maxing this any later than level 9 should make you worthy of being reported for assisting enemy team.
- Golden Aegis is maxed next for 2 reasons. Firstly, the shield it gives you helps you stay alive when you dive into people. Secondly, leveling Golden Aegis makes the slow more potent which allows better chasing or escaping.
- Dragon Strike is maxed last simply because it has to be. The armor shred early game is not as potent as it is later when everyone is building armor and the benefits of Demacian Standard and Golden Aegis simply outweigh Dragon Strike's early game.
- Martial Cadence is not a huge passive for a support Jarvan IV but it does give a bit of extra damage when you jump in on the enemy, so it's nice, even if it's not a game-breaking reason to play Jarvan IV support
- Dragon Strike has a primary goal and a secondary goal. The primary goal of using Dragon Strike is to dash to your Demacian Standard and knock up baddies on the way there. The second goal is to shred the enemy armor for your team to kill the enemy more easily. Fortunately the primary and secondary goals commonly overlap as you will generally hit people with Dragon Strike as you dash to your Demacian Standard.
- Like Dragon Strike, Golden Aegis has two goals. Again like Dragon Strike the two goal generally overlap. Unlike Dragon Strike I do not think one goal is more primary than the other, but instead both goals are important at different times. One goal is to slow enemies to allow engagement or escape. The second goal is to gain a shield to help you live.
Since the slow is an AOE centered on yourself, more often than not having the shield makes slowing many enemies lest costly to your health pool. On the flip side, escaping from enemies that are trying to kill you is made easier by the fact that your shield conveniently slows the people you want protection from.
- Demacian Standard deserves an entire section all its own. But to keep it simple, Demacian Standard is such a versatile spell that gives so many benefits if used properly. For starters, while it is active it gives an attack speed and armor aura increasing both damage output for your team as well as durability. It is also a useful scouting tool and can allow Jarvan IV to control both lane bushes as well has having the safest bush checking in the game except for possibly Lux and Orianna. ( Twisted Fate's ultimate doesn't count). Demacian Standard is also a decent poking tool that does a respectable amount of damage and is difficult to dodge. Finally, and most importantly, it is a position to which you can quickly dash with the use of Dragon Strike allowing for either gap closing or escaping. A player that can effectively combine all of these uses into deciding each toss of Demacian Standard will be the most effective Jarvan IV players.
- This is Jarvan IV's hallmark spell. He jumps on a target enemy and surrounds them with a wall. Many people scoff at this ability saying that Flash counters it and that there are many escape champions that make Cataclysm into little more than a jump. And it's true, but lets look as the cooldown timer of Flash vs. Cataclysm. 300 seconds for Flash and 90 seconds for Cataclysm. You can use Cataclysm 3 times as often as someone can use Flash, ignoring cool down reduction. Even a full Flash CDR build with Summoner's Insight Enchantment: Distortion and Mastermind you can still get off 2 Cataclysm for each Flash.
All of that **** aside, your ultimate has 2 basic uses. You can either use it on a high-priority target to lock them down (not recommended on people that have escapes available unless you are ok with simply burning their Flash) or as a form of peel which you use to lock an down an assailant to your ADC. It is up to you to decide what your team needs most at any given time. Just remember that even if your target(s) Flash out, you have burned a very valuable resource of theirs for something that is as common as a 90 second ultimate.
As Jarvan IV you have a significant number of options available to you so long as your spells are not on cool down. This section will go over some common combos that you will use.
Your Basic Dash
This dash is how you close with people, escape from things, and knock people up. It is your most basic and most common combo. You will need to master both the mechanics (which is easy) and the uses (which is a bit more difficult). It is hard to explain both of these since I found the mechanics to be really easy and assume that anyone can shoot Dragon Strike at Demacian Standard no sweat. The real question is when to use it. I primarily use it as a gap closer, but you have to use it like any other gap closer (think Ezreal's Arcane Shift). You need to understand that you generally will not be able to run away if things go bad once you have expended the combo. Your Golden Aegis and Flash will give you some escapability, but wasting Flash always makes me feel bad and Golden Aegis isn't the most reliable.
Jarvan's Glorious Dash to Victory
-> -> (optional) -> ->
This is how you make someone that felt safe 1 moment before feel like they are the world's worst player in terms of positioning and map awareness. You can cover so much ground with this combo and lock people down. This is a great combo to use if you want to engage or force something. If you know the enemy can't escape your Cataclysm, wait until it crumbles to use your Golden Aegis otherwise pop your Golden Aegis early so that even if your target does Flash he will be slowed.
Instant DEMACIA!! Prison
-> + (out of Cataclysm)
-> -> -> (out of Cataclysm)
You can use this to lock someone that has no escapes available, yet that you really don't want to spend time with, into place for a short time. If you need to close some distance first then the second option is for you.
-> -> ->
Simply put, this combo saves your biggest move for the end just in case it is not necessary. Additionally you might bait out Flash with the earlier parts of the combo making your Cataclysm super effective. On the flip side, if you use Cataclysm early you will cause the enemy to instantly Flash and get the most benefit from it (distance and negating your ultimate).
+ - You will be jumping face-first into the enemy often and will be taking auto attacks commonly. Armor really helps your survivability.
- Magic resistance will help you stay tanky late game when you will be dealing with mixed damage types.
- An extra 3gp10 helps get your items just a bit more quickly.
- The extra health from having heal (90 at 18) helps with your survivability. IF you are not bringing heal, put 1 point into Safeguard instead. (The safeguard option is featured in the overview due to exhaust's popularity over heal)
- 15 seconds off of your Flash is always useful.
- similar to the reason we take armor runes, these masteries allow you to shrug off extra hits in lane.
- increasing your health is always useful, but it is even more useful to someone that will be jumping into danger over and over again.
- Stacking health is nice, getting more health when you stack is nicer. This helps a lot in the later stages of the game granting upward of 80-100 health or more if you grab some extra health items.
- Similarly to Summoner's Insight , CDR on summoner spells is very useful. They are already on a long cool down, it's nice to have them 30 seconds sooner.
- Greed allows you to pick up the items you need quicker. This is a fairly common support mastery.
- Wealth allows us to start with a Vision Ward in the place of a sight ward. This will be very important in order to survive against a heavy harasser like Sona or Lulu who commonly will ward the opposing bush to get sight for harassment.
- Jarvan IV doesn't need much mana to use his abilities, but the slight increase in mana regeneration really adds up over the course of a laning phase.
- Flash is a staple for most champions. [jarvan iv] benefits from it since he can use it to leave his own ultimate (to trap someone inside) or to close the gap to use Cataclysm
- Heal is my personal favorite summoner spell as it frees up your ADC to bring either Exhaust or Cleanse. I could go on with why I choose Heal and think that Ignite doesn't belong in the bottom lane anymore, but that is for a different guide and anything I say here will most likely not change your mind. You know what you like, take what makes sense to you. (Note that I feature exhaust in the overview because it is more preferred by players)
- While Exhaust can sway all-in attacks, it really only will lower the damage since normally you will be CCing the enemy lane like crazy anyway. If you want to stay with the old Season 2 convention of Ignite/ Exhaust bot lane then you will be taking this, otherwise you may notice that if the enemy ADC brings Cleanse you will most likely be wasting your time. Again this is not a guide to discuss all of the possibilities of the bottom lane summoner spells. You know what you like, take what you feel works.
- I don't see this spell being useful at all. If you like it and the extra jungler knowlege it gives you then feel free to take it. Otherwise I reccommend leaving this one at home. With the nerfing of Oracle's Elixir and advent of Sightstone, warding and information gathering has never been easier. This spell would need to be drastically buffed in order to be good in the current state of the game.
The other summoner spells are not really worth mentioning as none of them should even be considered on supports. I really don't want to explain why, but if you really must know ask in the comments section please.
These items give you good bush control as well as the mana to allow you to be a bit more aggressive with Demacian Standard. The Vision Ward is very useful against champions like Sona or Lulu who will try to ward your lane bush and harass you.
-> philosopher's stone -> /
Sightstone is simply the best gp10 item is the game. philosopher's stone gives you regen that will make you never have to worry about mana ever again, unless you spam like crazy. After that the Boots of Speed and Aegis of the Legion will give you some speed and durability.
Picking your boots is very simple. If you will be dealing with primarily physical damage, pick Ninja Tabi. If there is a lot of magic damage or CC on the enemy team Mercury's Treads.
If the enemy is dealing a significant amount of physical damage you will want to build one of these. Picking up the right item is the big decision. You generally don't want to stack any of these on your team, so if there are any other people building these items you are better off building a different item. The list has been arranged in order of priority with Frozen Heart most often being the best and Sunfire Cape generally being the worst. In reality these are all good on Jarvan IV because when you jump in, people will start attacking you making Randuin's Omen useful. Sunfire Cape works well because you will be in close proximity to the enemy a lot so the damage will get done. Frozen Heart is just always good to have because it will slow peoples' attacks even if nobody targets you.
Like the armor items, these items are good to pick up if the enemy is dealing significant amounts of magic damage. Also like the armor items, these items are listed in descending order of recommendation. I would say your first MR item considered should always be Runic Bulwark because you already have the makings for it. That being said I do not recommend upgrading to Runic Bulwark if the enemy is not dealing significant magic damage unless you are already full build since it only adds some health to you and a bit of MR to the aura, no armor. Mikael's Crucible is a really strong item that makes your mana issues (if you are still having them...weirdo) disappear completely. Above all though, it is a Quicksilver Sash that you can give to people along with a little additional health. It is so strong on your ADC if someone dives him or on your tank if the enemy is focusing him. All of that with some MR make this a good MR item to build. Finally Twin Shadows makes the scene. It gives some good MR as well as a 2-target slow and free scouting. It's a very strong item. If you suspect that you are going to be buying this, it may pay to grab a kage's lucky pick early, if you have the gold for it.
- Eleisa's Miracle is an item that I have warmed up to. I originally thought it was wasted gold, but the extra cooldown on my new favorite support summoner spell, Heal, comes in handy very often. That being said I still think that overall shurelya's reverie is a stronger item. The way that I have come to look at this item is as such. If I get a small good lead, say I pick up a kill or 2 by mistake. Or maybe we get 2 tripple kills bottom (6 assists). I will pick this up and then another philosopher's stone for my shurelya's reverie The increased health regen (almost 3 health every second) helps a bit and so does the CDR on Heal. If the game is close or I am behind, I generally ignore this item. Think of this item as an investment toward late game. It's a free effect that won't take up an inventory slot, but it's going to slow down your build by about 1000 gold. So think it through.
During the laning phase your goal is to poke the enemy adc or support with your Demacian Standard. You if your lane partner is strong and healthy enough for an engagement, try to keep your eyes open for an opportunity to jump onto the enemy adc. Generally you can safely jump on the enemy adc when he is far from his support.
Bush control is a very important part to playing Jarvan IV support. Your Demacian Standard is a free ward you can place to help give vision to any bush from relative safety. You want to be the controller of your entire bush and the near edge of the enemy bush. If you can achieve this you can create a small zoning effect on the enemy since his support will have to back off a little bit.
When you want to jump on the enemy for harassment, dash in with your Demacian Standard+ Dragon Strike combo, hit the enemy carry and/or support to proc your Martial Cadence for some significant damage, activate your Golden Aegis to slow the enemy and shield yourself, and simply walk away. No sweat.
When you get the opportunity to try to force a kill you do pretty much exactly the same. Just remember to try to save Cataclysm for after they flash, unless you want to force the Flash.
Midgame/ Late Game
Jarvan IV's mid and late game is fairly basic. You are a cc champion. You job is to disable the enemy team while enabling your team with Demacian Standard. A huge advantage you have as Jarvan IV is that you ultimate is incredibly flashy. Similar to Enchanted Crystal Arrow or Dragon's Descent, people generally know it's go time when they see the ultimate come out.
With all of that influence over your team, it's very important that you initiate at proper times. Namely when your team is in a position to fight well and the enemy (especially their dash-less melee champions) is grouped together or in a poor formation. How you initiate is up to you. I personally prefer to only use Cataclysm and save my combo for any channeled spells I need to disrupt ( Death Lotus Absolute Zero etc.) or if I see people getting on to my squishies. At the very least it makes for good repositioning in a fight. Also do not forget to use your Golden Aegis when you have enemies nearby for the slow and to make your shield even more durable.
Picking Jarvan IV
Knowing when to pick Jarvan IV is an incredibly important part to playing him. He brings a lot of unique benefits to your team, but some of them are a bit odd and need to be properly utilized to make him shine. When you pick Jarvan IV you must do so with an intention in mind.
What to look for
Escapeless ADC - ADC's without escapes ( Varus Miss Fortune Ashe etc.) can make Jarvan IV's laning phase go from good to DEMACIA!! in 0.05 seconds. Without escape spells the enemy ADC is forced to always keep Flash ready in case you Cataclysm them. If their Flash is down and your Cataclysm is up, which is actually easy to do thanks to CD differences, gain the advantage in lane as soon as possible and bring your Demacian justice crashing down on that poor sap's head!
Auto attackers - if your team has a large number of champions that will be auto attacking ( Jax Irelia Olaf Tryndamere Shyvana Fiora etc.) your Demacian Standard will have a greater effect in team fights.
Physical Damage - similar to the above reason, if the enemy team has a lot of physical damage, your Demacian Standard will have a greater effect thanks to its armor aura.
AOE spells - if your team has a lot of AOE spells then Jarvan IV can lock a few enemies in place to get slaughtered by them. This also works very well for hard-to-hit spells like Swain's Nevermove.
High mobility - this isn't a "reason" per se to take Jarvan IV, but if your team has mobility spells like Ezreal's Arcane Shift, they can escape from a bad Cataclysm though doing so will put such important spells on cooldown, still it can be better than being an ADC locked in with an enemy bruiser.
What to avoid
Spellcasters - If your team is primarily made of spellcasters that will not be attacking often, your Demacian Standard drops in overall effectiveness.
Magic Damage - If the enemy team will be doing primarily magic damage, the armor buff from Demacian Standard will be wasted.
Burst Damage Bot Lanes - If the enemy bottom lane is very focused on burst damage ( Graves Sona) Or has strong CC ( Taric Ashe) your ability to harass or force favorable engagements will be reduced significantly.
Basic Lane Matchups
Favorable Lane Partners
- Ashe allows for some pretty sick engagements once you both hit level 6. Until that point it can be a little bit dicey, but make it through that phase and enjoy being able to start a fight whenever you please. Later game, the ammount of CC Jarvan IV has to offer can help keep Ashe safe due to her lack of escape spells.
- Graves compliments Jarvan IV well because he can dash in for a buckshot as you pull off a Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike combo. He also gets a nice, easy Collateral Damage shot if you trap the enemy ADC in Cataclysm. Basically Graves can punish the people you lock down very well. He also become remarkably tanky when near your Demacian Standard
- Laning with Varus is very similar to laning with Ashe. The difference is that Varus benefits from your Demacian Standard attack speed aura a little more but cannot engage from as far of a distance.
- Miss Fortune gets the easiest Bullet Time of her life every time you lock people inside of Cataclysm. Enough said.
Unfavorable Lane Opponents
- Taric is easily one of the bigest counters to Jarvan IV during laning phase. He can Dazzle your carry when you land your Cataclysm and the armor he provides his lane makes all-in engagements much more difficult. He can also Dazzle you when you Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike into the enemy carry, allowing the carry to land a few extra shots on you.
- Ezreal is only a difficult match up because of Arcane Shift. He can easily escape your Cataclysm while it is up meaning that you need to wait until you can force him to burn Arcane Shift before you can jump on him. This limits your ability to engage significantly.
- Caitlyn is very effective against Jarvan IV because she can escape Cataclysm with 90 Caliber Net, poke you with Piltover Peacemaker, and make it difficult for you to stay at the edge of your bush because of Yordle Snap Trap. Against Caitlyn it can be best to simply be content with tossing your flag at her.
Favorable Lane Opponents
- Varus has very little he can do to you outside of Piercing Arrow harass. Neither Hail of Arrows nor Chain of Corruption stops your Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike combo, and Hail of Arrows wont help him keep you from Cataclysming him. The only change you will need to consider when facing Varus is to not bring Heal as his Hail of Arrows is commonly on either you or your carry when you want to Heal.
- Draven can be easily disrupted in his ax-catching by any number of your abilities. Additionally your Demacian Standard really helps your lane's durability. Once you hit level 6 you can be the aggressor since you will easily force him to miss his axes and lose damage when you go all-in.
Jarvan IV support is an incredibly under-rated concept that will commonly gain you disapproval from other players and even from your friends. His early start is a bit rocky but his late-game versatility is invaluable to your team and can easily turn a game into your favor.