Jarvan IV Build Guide by extradelicious

League of Legends Build Guide Author extradelicious

Jarvan IV Top Lane Guide

extradelicious Last updated on January 1, 2016
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R


Natural Talent
Bounty Hunter
Battering Blows
Piercing Thoughts

Ferocity: 0

Dangerous Game

Cunning: 18

Tough Skin
Runic Armor
Veteran's Scars
Legendary Guardian

Resolve: 12

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Check out my blog, youtube, and facebook page!

Hello everyone, this is my first guide in my new series "Carry Yourself out of Elo Hell".

Just a reminder: This is a Jarvan Top lane guide. While he has a lot of carry potential in top lane, he is also useful to his team as a jungler and is even viable as a damage source from mid lane. If you want to learn how to play jungle Jarvan, perhaps his most versatile role, check out H4xDefender's guide on how to jungle with Jarvan.

Constructive criticism is much appreciated.

Basically, I carried myself out of Elo Hell with this build and play style. I have recently mostly stopped playing League of Legends, but I currently help friends carry themselves to higher divisions, through the occasional duo queue. (Extra Delicious is not my main)I have played successfully with this build/play style over many leagues. Jarvan IV is a champion who can snowball hard, but does not have to in order to be successful.

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Pros / Cons


    -Lots of early damage.
    -Disruptive in team fights.
    -Good at trading.
    -Good getaway/chasing skills.
    -Is a Prince.
    -Passive Procs Percent Health Damage
    -Champions who are able to easily escape your EQ combo will be able to outplay you easily.
    -With this you are not actually directly carrying the game. You are carrying your team to carry the game. It's like carry-ception.
    -Bad against champs like Riven, Zed, etc in lane because they can dodge his EQ combo easily.
    -Scales well into mid, not so well into late game.

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I like to go Greater Mark of Attack Damage for the good early damage and to help with csing.
The Greater Seal of Armors help you survive in lane against what you are most likely to face: Ad bruisers.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resists are better than flat MR Glyphs in my opinion because early game for just about all ap champs, they just don't do enough damage from their spells and the cooldowns are too high to warrant sacrificing such a large amount of MR later on in the game.
Get Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage for the same reason as the marks.

Runes I recommend:
Greater Mark of Attack Damage x9
Greater Seal of Armor x9
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist x9
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage x3

Other Options:
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration - More late game strength. Goes well with your armor shred from your Q.
Greater Seal of Scaling Armor If you are going against an AP top laner, you can choose to take these... if you are confident he wont be able to outtrade you with autos.
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist If you are vs ap top laner, take these instead of the scaling ones.
Greater Quintessence of Life Steal Since Jarvan IV has no innate sustain, you can put in some of these to make life easier.
Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration More late game strength. With these and the marks of armor penetration, you will be a late game monster. Just not as strong early.

Of course, it is always worth if to add in that Greater Mark of Critical Chance for that one crit in laning phase that could win you the lane if it procs early.

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Summoner Spells

Summoners you should usually take.

Teleport is the current go-to mastery on top lane bruisers. Helps you get back to lane or helps you affect the map. Enemy ganking bot? Teleport! Need to go back to lane faster for a wave crashing into your turret? Teleport!

I feel like this is a must need on 90% of the champs out there. Good for escaping, engaging, and just good in general. Strong summoner spell unless it is ever nerfed which it probably won't be.

Ignite If you want to play completely for lane, then grab this to help you in the 1 vs 1 scenarios. Gives you more damage. More kill pressure.

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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Max Dragon Strike First. This is your best damaging spell. Armor Pen. Low cooldown. Why not? It deals damage in a straight line and shreds the armor of people it hits.
Max Demacian Standard Second. Combos with Q. Also gives you and any nearby allies some buffs. This skill places a standard down at a location. If you use Dragon Strike and your lance makes contact with the standard, you are dragged toward it and you knock stuff up along the way.
Max Golden Aegis last. This is good for a little trading power, a little bonus tankiness, it also has a bit of a slow. It gives a shield varying in power depending on the amount of enemy champions close to you. However, your other skills are better in 80% of all situations. Only max second if you are completely getting wrecked.
Max your ultimate, Cataclysm at level 6, 11 and 16 like just about every other champion.

I will add a video showing how the skills work in a few days.

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Skill Sequence: Max E or W second?

There are a lot of people who support maxing Demacian Standard second, and there are a lot of people who support maxing Golden Aegis Second.

I believe that if you are playing an aggressive Jarvan IV as recommended by my guide, against an opponent who is weaker than you, you should max Demacian Standard second.

However, if you are in a situation where you are against someone who is simply too strong for you to trade against or bully, such as Renekton, Riven, or someone else of that caliber, it is wiser to max Golden Aegis second, as it will make you much tankier and much less vulnerable in trades.

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Purpose of the Build

The build shown in this guide is very interchangeable. Ravenous Hydra is the only item I would keep in there just about every time. Its bonus damage works so very well with your ult, and also works very well in lane as extra damage in trades. I would only take it out if you are falling behind in which case buy the almost as good but cheaper The Black Cleaver.

Generally speaking, the purpose of the build is to be a threat to the backline that forces people to concentrate on peeling you off of their damage dealers, while being tanky and disruptive enough to give the rest of your team the maximum amount of time to kill the enemy team. Hopefully you wont die either.

You can also build him a little more damage and less tanky if you already have a tanky jungler and a tanky support. (Think like Volibear/ Leona level).

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Starting Items/Early Game Build

Starting items:

Doran's Blade + Health Potion I love to start with these items. Health, damage, and life steal.
Long Sword + 3 Health Potion is also a possibility, but I don't really like it.
Doran's Shield + Health Potion for a more defensive start.

On your first back, depending on how much gold you have, grab an optional second Doran's Blade and a Vampiric Scepter. This will give you sustain in lane. I like grabbing a second Doran's Blade because it gives you a little more early strength.

Rush the Ravenous Hydra or Titanic Hydra, and then do the rest of the build from there.

Trinket: Warding Totem is going to be the better trinket to start out with in just about scenario.

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Recommended Items Depending On Situation

Ninja Tabi These boots are underrated by a lot of players. If they have a mostly AD team, getting these boots could massively decrease the amount of damage you take in lane and in team fights.
Mercury's Treads These boots give tenacity. Wonderful. Also give magic resist. What is not to like? Good against duo AP comps.

Enchantment: Homeguard For getting out of your base faster so that you can reach your lane and objectives faster.

Enchantment: Furor and Enchantment: Alacrity More chasing power, very useful if your team is in the lead.

Offensive Items
Ravenous Hydra This item works really well with Cataclysm. You will deal many times more damage than you normally would do in a teamfight if you manage to get the passive and active procs on the multiple people you trap. It's not really money-effective but if you are doing decently well in lane, it's usually worth the investment.

The Black Cleaver Getting many Hydra procs on enemies aside, The Black Cleaver is an all around solid item for Jarvan IV. It gives armor penetration on top of the armor penetration you get from Dragon Strike. It gives a good amount of damage and even gives a bit of health to go with it.

Last Whisper Armor penetration, goes along with your Dragon Strike just like The Black Cleaver but I would only get this if you already have 2 tankies on your team and you are going with a damage-based Jarvan IV build.

Trinity Force This item isn't necessarily GREAT on Jarvan IV but is an effective item nonetheless. This item does give a good amount of damage, health and utility, but is just too dang expensive. I would only get if you feel that you need the unique blend of damage, health, and utility that it offers.

Youmuu's Ghostblade This item is an acceptable pick-up if you are doing very well in lane. Armor penetration is always great on Jarvan, and the active synergizes well with his burst.

Defensive Items against High AD Comps
Randuin's Omen This item gives a load of Health, Armor, and wrecks those AD carries from the attack speed slow. Also, the active works really well with your ultimate in that even if they Flash out of your Cataclysm they will still be slowed.

Sunfire Cape This item is comparable to Randuin's Omen, except instead of slowing the attack speed of people who attack you it does AOE magic damage to enemies around you. In a long fight the amount of damage it gives could be very influential.

Thornmail This item is great against high AD comps for pretty obvious reasons. Huge amount of armor, deals 30% of the damage from auto attacks back to people who attack you.

Frozen Heart Armor. Mana. Attack speed reduction. Another item that completely wrecks teams or champions who scale well off of attack speed.

Defensive Items against High AP comps
Banshee's Veil Gives a ton of magic resist, also blocks the first spell that hits you every so often. Gives health regeneration when that happens. Very solid item. Can also block those pesky spells that stop you from properly initiating fights. (Dang Thresh flays)

Spirit Visage Gives a ton of magic resist and gives you more cooldown and life steal. Very effective item that should be bought before Banshee's Veil if you deem it necessary to go for both.
Support Defensive Item
Locket of the Iron Solari Gives stats to yourself and the rest of the team, along with a decent shield to your entire team. Good item against just about anything, but only buy if you are in a support role.


Warding Totem This gives you a free sight ward. Very useful if you are shoving. No real need to upgrade unless your team is having trouble keeping map vision and you need to get the most time out of your wards.

Sweeping Lens Useful if your opponent is pushing and you don't want them to see your jungler heading over for a gank. Also useful because without vision the enemy jungler will be more hesitant to gank.

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Skill Combos

Jarvan has some skill combos unique to himself:

Demacian Standard+ Dragon Strike combo.
Demacian Standard places his standard at a location.
Dragon Strike thrusts his lance toward a location.
If you thrust the Dragon Strike lance toward the standard and it makes contact, it will drag you to it, knocking people up along the way.

This is useful for disrupting enemies in team fights by knocking them up, and helps clear a path for yourself toward the enemy back line to the squishier, damage-dealing targets. Also, Dragon Strike's cooldown is about half of Demacian Standard's cooldown so you can chain 2 Dragon Strikes to a single Demacian Standard if you are able to position and conduct the fight well enough.

Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike combo into Cataclysm
This combo means you can initiate from a very far starting position.

Cataclysm and then Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike combo out of Cataclysm
This way you can trap enemies into your ult and then get back out to disrupt the rest of their team.

Remember to try and keep your Cataclysm to trap multiple people. If you only trap one person, it will be a waste.

Keep in mind that with EQ flash, and your ult, you have insane closing potential. Just be careful to not leave your team behind in your attempt to close distance.

Heres some videos showing you how to do this stuff

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Laning Phase

Play aggressively unless it's one of those early game gods. (Riven/Renekton)
Poke the enemy with Dragon Strike and/or Demacian Standard when they are in range. Keep in mind that it is safe to shove a little because you have the great getaway tool of your Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike combo, but don't shove it too much or you'll become a gold mine for the enemy jungler.

Try and get a subtle level 2 advantage and once you hit level 2 immediately level Demacian Standard or Dragon Strike basically the one you didn't get at level 1. (I recommend using Control + E/Q to do it quickly) and use your Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike combo along with an auto attack.

If it seems that you may be able to kill the enemy champion, blow ignite. (If you are planning to go all in, blow it early but not so early as to warn him of the all-in before it happens) At this point, your enemy has to either flash away (Jarvan has pretty good base movement speed to keep up with most champs) or die. If he flashes away, he will likely have to back and you should take the opportunity to shove the creeps into his tower so that he loses cs and experience.

If he doesn't back, call your jungler over and take advantage of the no-flash champ to secure a kill.


Later on, you will be able to instakill the caster minions with EQ (or Q then E, same damage output and you wont drag yourself over if you dont want to) combo, so if the enemy top lane gets close to the caster minions, you can take the advantage to get some free damage while killing minions. Also, very helpful for shoving lane effectively as the caster minions do a lot more damage than the melee minions so less of your minions will die.


If you are on purple side and your lane is shoved, ask your jungler if you can do golems. If he says yes, take golems. If he doesnt respond, just take them, especially if hes off ganking bot lane or something.

If you are on blue side and your lane is shoved, you can
1. Opt to pressure him under his turret so he has trouble csing or
2. Take his golems. For both of these, you need good wards to do safely. Fortunately, Jarvan IV is pretty good at running away due to his Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike combo.


If you are having trouble in lane, try to farm up. You have a pretty decent farm range with your Q (and E) and Q needs a relatively low amount of mana to use on its own. If you are having trouble csing even with that, call your jungler or mid over for a gank.

I have also found that even if you are behind, you can help your team by going mid for some ganks, since Jarvan IV has such great ganking potential. That could also help you get back into the game. If you are winning, you can also just go mid for a gank to grab some extra cash and help a teammate out.

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Team Work

You are the person who engages teamfights, unless you have a fairly tanky jungler who is able to do so. This is why I build my Jarvan mostly tanky, as you need to be able to survive enemy damage while your team fights as long as possible.

You should look for opportunities to trap multiple people in your ult, and for opportunities to knock up multiple people with EQ combo. At the very least, try and get your Dragon Strike armor pen debuff (26% at level 5!!!!) to proc on multiple targets to make life easier for your ADC.

Remember to use Randuin's Omen.

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I'm going to be very general with matchups, as my philosophy with matchups is to see how they work out for oneself. I can tell you if a matchup is hard or not, even tell you how to play it better, but in the end you still need the experience of the matchup yourself.

Shen is an easy matchup before he gets his Sunfire Cape, but even then, your armor penetration should keep it a simple lane. He shouldn't be able to push you out of lane and his high amount of health means your passive will hit harder on him. If he has ignite, he does have some kill potential if you misplay or if he gets a gank, but if he runs Teleport summoner, he doesn't have any kill potential at all and you can afford to be very aggressive. (But still remember to ward and be careful for jungle ganks)If he dashes to you to engage, autoattack and wait for 2 seconds before using your skills or your damage output on him will be reduced by 50%. After 2 seconds, you should re-engage on him with your full combo.
Lee is a very hard matchup unless you can get an early advantage and keep it, and even then, he can use Safeguard to hop around your Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike combo. You can afford to and should push on him early before he can start mashing together combos, and you are much stronger than him for the first few levels. However, he will soon outscale you in 1 vs 1 fights around level 6. You can opt to either start aggressive with Doran's Blade + Health Potion or safe with Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion but do not get Doran's Shield as Lee Sin usually does not autoattack too much in quick trades, and you should keep them quick, or his passive will be more effective than yours.
This matchup is hard. Do not go Doran's Blade on her, do either Cloth Armor + 5 Health Potion. You should play this lane safely while using E and Q to cs. If you keep the minions just beyond your turret's range, you should be able to survive while giving your jungler an easy target. In this matchup, you might want to rush a quick armor and health item, such as a Sunfire Cape.
This is another hard matchup, especially if the Rengar knows how to use bush play. As with Riven do not start with Doran's Blade and let him push the wave close to the tower and then try and keep it there. However, if you are able to anticipate his moves, do know that you can interrupt his leap with your Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike combo if timed properly.
You should build a lot of sustain and some early magic resist against Dr. Mundo. You'll probably never be able to push him out of lane after level 6 with his low cooldown, massive healing ultimate, so you will need a lot of sustain to be able to stay in the lane with him. Make sure to dodge his cleavers to the best of your ability (walk side to side, not front to back) Luckily, he doesn't really have much solo kill potential, since he has no hard cc and most of his damage will be from his cleavers. Shove the lane early: You shouldn't die to ganks with your E+Q combo, since mundo himself has no hard cc to help out his jungler. Keep him pinned at his tower and make him cs under his tower.
This lane should be really easy. Shove aggressively at level 1 and level 2 jump on her with your E + Q combo. If she ever steps close to the minions, use your Q and make her pay. She should not be able to trade with you especially with Demacian Standard down. However, it is recommended to get an early armor item or she will be able to kill you post-6.
This guy is hell to lane against. Completely dumpsters you post-6 and is a pain to trade with before 6. Also really hard to kill even in a gank because of his aoe E stun and his jump. Start with Doran's Shield + Health Potion and try to poke him out with your Q in safety. If he jumps on you pre-6 and you haven't died to him already, you can afford to trade but make sure to make it a quick trade or his passive and lower cooldown W will give him the upper edge.
This is a very easy lane if you buy some early sustain. You can shove early and then jump on him at level 2, and he should die unless he instantly blows flash. Every time he comes into lane, just jump onto him with your full combo and he won't be able to outtrade you. Also, oranges wont save him from your ultimate.
Renekton is a lane bully. Build defensive and build for being a tank for team fights. Also, if you know before the game starts that you are facing Renekton take a highly defensive 9/21 page. Also, if you are good enough you can cancel his W before he stuns you with a E+Q combo at the last second.
Start Doran's Blade, and do your best to keep him off of the minions. Unfortunately, he's probably too tanky for you to push off continuously, but just do your best to slow him in the process of getting Q stacks. Also, be sure to build a lot of armor. If you decide to still get a damage item, Blade of the Ruined King is probably a better option against Nasus than a Ravenous Hydra
Start Doran Blade, and play aggressively. This is one of the few cases where building Blade of the Ruined King may be a better option than Ravenous Hydra as your damage item. To trade effectively, try to dodge her Flame Breath and do your best to try to minimize the amount of auto attacks she can get on you to minimize Burnout damage.
Start Doran Blade, and play conservatively, poking with Q. Level 2-3 you can EQ combo on him and trade rather evenly. Rush a little mr, and you should be able to win lane. This is actually a good lane to get Blade of the Ruined King in because it counters his shield speed up and also helps you get off of his ult faster if he lands it on you.

This section is not finished... I will be updating it regularly.

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Jarvan IV is a champ that you will have to play yourself to properly assess his early-game damage output and how much damage you can take later on in team fights. He is very good for carrying yourself out of Elo Hell in top lane as he brings a lot to the team and disrupts the other team a lot at the same time.

Thank you for reading my first guide, please vote and give constructive criticism. You can also vote on which champ you want me to write a guide for in the comments.

I'll be continuously updating and improving this guide.

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Random Tips

If you hit your Q on an opponent before you ult them, that will deal more damage than vice versa because of the armor penetration.

Remember that you can chain two Dragon Strike to a single Demacian Standard

A nice trick if you are being ganked is to ult them to trap them inside and E+Q out: You can save your flash.

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Change Log/ Requesting Advice

I want to improve the Teamwork section, but I'm not sure how to. Anyone have any advice?

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Thanks To

The_Nameless_Bard for providing artwork
Crystal (the amazing) for editing out mistakes
KDU for demanding higher quality guides from me
KtFlash96 for letting me use his account to make videos

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Testimonials (send me stats!)

Zlod had played over 1000 ranked games in Bronze 5. yes, even after over a thousand games, he was still in bronze 5. He attributes my Jarvan IV guide to helping him claw out of bronze in season 3, and he has continued his J4 success in season 4!

AKdOFeldt sent me this the other day: thats how you help your team. 18 assists!
This game is from EUW, first time Jarvan IV!