Jarvan IV Build Guide by Chickenuggs
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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.
Notes on this Guide
I'm not so hot at embedding pictures and whatnot so this isn't going to be the flashiest guide you've ever seen, and it's going to be very easy to write off this guide as the ramblings of some n00b. That's fine. I understand this. But if you're going to bother reading it, you should know that I've been playing League since Season 1, I've been maining Jarvan since halfway through season 2 or so. Hopefully what I've written can be beneficial.
I also plan to update and improve this guide with time so if you have constructive criticism, want me to include any more information or have any success/problems with my guide I'd love to hear it.
I'll write a match-ups section eventually. It's just gonna take some time considering the wide variety of champs that can go mid lane. In the mean time, there's a small guide in this build. There's a lot of good information in there, but I've been playing Mid J4 for a long time and I tend to disagree with his defensive choices and his dedication to Blade of the Ruined King.
Jarvan IV: Prince of Demacia and Lord of the Midlane
J4s played in the jungle typically under the current meta. While this is functional and all and is actually my main role, the jungle doesn't provide enough gold to really capitalize on J4's wonderful kit. I've played Jarvan top, jungle, Mid, support, and in kill lanes with champs like Pantheon and Rengar. I have to say though, mid is an almost guaranteed win that allows you to snowball and really carry games.
Easy to gank for
Hard to gank
Good Base Damage
AS Buff Aura for team
Not magic damage
Often raged at for "trolling"
Struggles with high health mids
Falls off Late Game
melee damage can make farming harder
There's nothing too flashy going on with runes and masteries, but I'll do my best to explain what I've chosen.
I'm a firm believer that runes should really be designed to get a lead early game (that's why their impact is minuscule compared to lategame items). That's why I don't use, for instance, scaling mr blues or armor pen reds. Both of these options are totally viable, especially the armor pen reds, but I find that I have an easier time in lane with this set up.
Life Steal Quints vs. AD Quints
Jarvan's passive, Martial Cadence, makes last hitting super easy, as it adds additional percent health damage to targets on the first hit. This means that once you get The Brutalizer, you should be able to last hit most minions from half health. Honestly, if you struggle to farm with J4, that's pretty sad. He's, IMO, one of the easiest champs to last hit with in the game. For this reason, you really shouldn't need the extra bit of damage from AD quints to farm.
That being said, life steal quints don't give you much from farming either. Because Martial Cadence is an on hit effect, it does not proc life steal. The amount of healing you get from life steal quints, for this reason is pretty neglible.
Where the difference really comes, is your late game vs early game strength. With life steal quints, you have an additional 6% life steal for late game which is huge. With AD quints you have an additional 7 AD early game which is also huge for those early trades. I've run both. You can run any combination of them. They're both viable but I'd advise AD quints in the current meta.
Throw 21 into offense. But you do not want any points in Lethality or Frenzy because you're not going to build any crit chance. Instead you can throw those points into Summoner's Wrath and Destruction . This leaves 1 point. I put mine in Sorcery for CDR to get my ult a whole 1 second earlier before I hit max CDR. You can put it in Butcher because 1 extra damage on minions is just so overwhelming. Honestly, just put it anywhere and so that you can get down to Executioner which is what really matters.
Then of throw the remaining 9 into the defense tree.
You can put 9 into the utility tree and get some good stuff from Summoner's Insight , Meditation , and Runic Affinity but I find the extra bulk is better.
Now you may ask; why would anyone really need to jump 3 times? This is a good question and my only real response without game footage is this...
Other Viable Options
Less Viable Options
Revive/ Garrison Trolling is fun and all... but these are just bad.
Martial Cadence is considered an on hit effect and resets every 6 seconds for each target. The cool-down is target specific so if J4 auto attacks multiple targets, the damage will proc multiple times. As an on hit effect, life steal does not proc based on damage from martial cadence.
This skill is J4's bread and butter. It has a low cooldown (6 seconds at max level with 0% cdr). It shreds armor like butter for your future auto attacks/ult/adc. It does absurd amounts of poke damage. It's excellent for pushing. AND BEST OF ALL, when comboed with your E, Demacian Standard, creates a wicked aoe knock up. A well placed EQ Jarvan combo can be more effective than a Malphite Ultimate.
I max this first.
The slow is, at most, 35% which isn't awful but it only lasts for 2 seconds. It's nice, but pretty insignificant.
The shield adds, at max level, 210 effective health. It doesn't increase your own armor or mr stats. It gets stronger with more surrounding enemy champions.
You can use it for chasing. I typically use it right after the targets of my EQ combo land. This makes sure that you get both the slow and the shield out before they're able to come back at you or run away. The other time I use it is when I have ignite on me. It does an excellent job of soaking up any sort of DOT spell. Overall, the high mana cost and CD makes it less significant and useful.
I max this skill last.
This skill has so many uses that it's ridiculous. I put a point in this level 1 for the scouting potential. It gives vision and the attack speed buff is huge in level 1 fights. This skill can be used to initiate J4's EQ combo. Whenever you're taking an objective like a tower or a buff, always throw down your e because it buffs your and your allies attack speeds when out, thus helping you take to the tower quicker.
I used to max this first in Season 2 and I still sometimes max it first, especially when jungling. Mid lane, the provided armor and attack speed just don't compare the to armor shred of Dragon Strike. Most of the time, I max this second. If you're up against an AD mid or you're losing your lane to auto attack harass, it can sometimes be worth it to max this first.
That's pretty much how it goes. EQ combo. Auto attack them until they flash or use their escape. Then ult and go for the finish. You can also use your ult to dunk unsuspecting targets and as a large source of damage in 1 v 1s. Another use is separating your enemy from your team.
REMEMBER TO CANCEL YOUR ULTI IF YOU MESS UP. You cannot cancel your ult when silenced so be careful around champions like Soraka, Malzahar, Garen, and Fiddlesticks.
Also, remember that you don't have to cancel your ulti to leave. You can EQ combo out of your ult thus isolating an enemy without risking yourself.
Anyways, take points in this at 6, 11, and 16 just like every other champion with a useful ultimate.
Choosing Mid Jarvan in Champion Select
Communicate with your team! Jarvan does not deal magic damage except on his E. This means that you're probably going to need some sort of magic damage elsewhere on your team. If you can convince your team to play an AP top or jungler, you're going to be in a lot better position come mid to late game.
Another thing, having a toxic team can really mess up your teamwork and ability to win. If you're team starts raging at you the second you even try to suggest J4 Mid. It may be best to just hold off and try it in a different game. It's viable, but it's not meta and some people really hate breaking the meta.
In terms of strategic team comp, Jarvan can be a crucial part of several standard team comps. His ulti makes him amazing for poke, aoe and hard engage team comps. But understand that in these comps, you may not get to build the way you want, and going mid lane might not be the best choice.
You've got to analyze your matchup. This is massive. Against most traditional mids, I take a Long Sword and 2 Health Potions. This is going to give you a lot of early lane dominance and the longsword builds into items you're going to need later. If you're dealing with an AP mid that's strong early game like Kennen, Kayle, or Diana I might consider going Null-Magic Mantle or Crystalline Flask and pots. Against AD mids like Pantheon or Zed, it's sometimes worth it to start Cloth Armor and 5 pots.
You might notice that I don't pick up wards in any of my starting items and here's why: I love wards. Wards are excellent. But to be safe of ganks, you have to drop 150 of your starting 475 gold on wards. That's not a small amount. Especially when there are a few tricks to keep you safe.
- It's the start of the game, your flash is up. It's far better to flash than to die.
- You're going to put a lot of damage on the enemy mid laner at level 2. At this point, the enemy mid should start playing pretty passive. If you see the enemy getting more aggressive, even with lower health, for instance trying to flank you, RUN. This means you're getting ganked. It's that simple.
- If you do get ganked, the natural move for junglers is to come in behind you and cut off your escape. Aim you EQ combo over the jungler so as to get back towards your tower and knock him up in the process. This will buy you a little time.
- Don't be stupid in lane. Understand that you have no wards so do your best not to push the lane, then if it does push, go do your wraiths or something. Don't go try to farm under the enemy tower.
I like to stay in lane for as long as possible, usually until I hit 6 or 7. At this point, you should have plenty of cash. BUY TWO WARDS. Right off the bat. If it means you can't buy the item you wanted to buy, then you should have stayed in lane a little longer. Next, if you can afford a B. F. Sword, get it. If not, grab a The Brutalizer. And if you can't afford that, get a Vampiric Scepter. With any extra gold grab boots and pots.
Getting the Damages
Before laning phase is over, you ideally want to have your main damage item, Mercury's Treads, and a The Brutalizer. This is assuming you're not losing horribly, at which point you should be building your defensive items first. Anyways, I provided 3 options for main damage items and here's how you choose between them:
Blade of the Ruined King
For tank items, I almost always build Spirit Visage and either Randuin's Omen or Frozen Heart. But other options include Guardian Angel, Frozen Mallet, and Locket of the Iron Solari
Randuin's Omen/ Frozen Heart
Locket of the Iron Solari
As soon as team fighting starts, finish whatever tank item you're building then build The Black Cleaver. It's huge to have that armor shred in team fights and the other ADs on your team will thank you.
Once you've built your second tank item, you've got your BC, and you're looking to win the game. I highly suggest a Last Whisper. It gives damage and armor pen. What more could you want.
Finally, you've got a choice. It's super late game. I rarely ever get to this point in my build, but you've got to make a choice. If you're winning sell your boots for a Zephyr if not, make sure you have that homeguard and start buying elixers.
Why not Hexdrinker?
Hexdrinker is by no means a bad item to build, and Maw of Malmortius can be very good in certain situations, but its just too gold inefficient for me personally to consider. If you want to buy early magic resist, pick up a Null-Magic Mantle and build it into Mercury's Treads or a Locket of the Iron Solari later. Or, if you can afford it, rushing Spectre's Cowl is a really good way to get an early resistance advantage on their APC. Plus it builds into Spirit Visage which is hands down, my favorite magic resist item.
Let's talk about gold efficiency though, because that's my biggest issue with Maw of Malmortius and its daughter item Hexdrinker. Here's a quick description of Maw's gold efficiency:
This video suggests that (shield aside) this item is overpriced by 280 gold at max HP (which you're going to have when you initiate). You have to lose 17.5% of their health for this to even break gold efficiency. Now compare that to Ravenous Hydra which is 720 gold over gold efficient not considering its AMAZING Passive and Active. Beyond this, let's consider what you'd have to give up in your final build in order to incorporate Maw of Malmortius. My final build has 1 massive damage item, 2 defensive items, The Black Cleaver, Last Whisper and a movement speed item. I've already established that Ravenous Hydra is far more gold efficient than Maw of Malmortius so sacrificing one for the other would seem silly. Taking maw as your MR item would mean sacrificing Spirit Visage which gives you health, more mr, and synergizes with the life steal and health regen of Ravenous Hydra, plus you lose 20% CDR (only 10 really because of The Brutalizer and a 40% cap, but still)... I don't suggest this. You could flip Maw of Malmortius in for one of your armor shred items but then, you're sacrificing damage on your abilities and auto attacks. That 450 base damage on Cataclysm wouldn't be nearly as strong. Maw of Malmortius just doesn't have a place in this final build.
But what if you just bought Hexdrinker then sold it later? Good question. Doing this would mean throwing away 405 gold. That's ridiculous considering you could have just rushed Spectre's Cowl in the first place and kept it as part of your final build. This is just a guide. If you loooove Hexdrinker that much, then by all means, pick it up. I personally don't and I dont suggest it.
Your First Engage
1. Recieving a Gank
2. Being Ganked
3. Ganking other Lanes
4. When your Opponent goes to Roam
Do destroy squishies, and you can go through their entire team without even blinking... what does this mean. It means kill those back line, high priority targets. Their adc should be no problem for you, and even if you can't kill him, you can make him run so he's not dishing out absurd amounts of damage in the team fight. An EQ Combo, auto attack, ult, auto attack, should be more than enough to burst most ADCs and APCs in less than a 1.5 seconds. If it's not, be sure to proc ignite earlier so as to cut their healing.
As an ADC when you're getting focused and bursted, your inclination is to stay further back away from the fight and be more cautious. This is great for you. Surprisingly, it's easier to kill carries when they're further back away from their team as Jarvan because of his triple jump gap closer that doesn't just pass through enemies, but knocks them up as he goes. Plus, when the adc is so far back, there are fewer people to peel for him. Anyways, it should be easy to get the ADC.
Once that's done turn and look for your next target. If you have anyone else trapped in your ult with you, kill them. If an enemy is channeling an ability, for instance Malzahar or Warwick ulting, use your combo to knock them up. Otherwise, just focus the APC and support and let the rest of your team finish of their tanks.
Other important objectives are to peel for your carries and stay alive. If it looks like you're going to lose a team fight, get away! Do not die if you can't win the team fight. Being alive to defend is so much more important. Similarly, do not let your ADC die if you can help it. If you can win the fight with just you and your adc alive, you can easily take objectives like dragon, towers and inhibs.