Jarvan IV Build Guide by Knight of Demacia

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Knight of Demacia

The Fortress of Annihilation v1.0

Knight of Demacia Last updated on February 15, 2012
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Ability Sequence

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

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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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After playing well over 100 games with Jarvan IV, and having a great deal of success, I am writing this guide to record my build. J4 has been weakened quite a bit since his release, although semi recent buffs have increased his viability.

All that being said, a lot of the build advice in this guide is subjective. This will be my personal off tank dps build, but sometimes adjustments are needed. If you build this way in lane every single time, it just won't work every time. A lot of being a successful LoL player is being able to make adjustments quickly. For example, do you build a Thornmail in lane or a Banshee's Veil? Well it depends. What is the other teams make-up? Do I build my Atma's Impaler right away? What items work best with the Atma's?

What is Jarvan IV? More importantly, what is he not? He is NOT a tank. Many champs out tank him. He is not a straight DPS. Although he's a punisher, he gets out DPSd by many of the champs in play today. He's a combination of the two, elite at neither but very good enough at both Tankyness and DPS that if you build him right, he becomes a force in every lane, and increasingly menacing towards the late game when his HP goes through the roof and the Atma's Impaler makes him a Fortress of Annihilation. (There will be a section specific to this item, as it's one of the keys to this build.) His skills are such that using his E->Q or his Ult often place you right smack in the middle of the enemy team. His kit places you at the heart of the group fight, and just looking at this champ, it's obvious that's where he belongs, not in a jungle. So how do we do this and survive? Over 4k health for starters.

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High base stats
Can carry
Great initiator
Can be end game beast
Screams like a raging maniac and looks cool

Item dependent
Slow moving, slowish attacking
Bad early game can snowball
Can die a lot, as he initiates

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I run Ghost and Flash. You can make a case for Exhaust and or Ignite as well, but since you so often find yourself in the dead center of enemy teams, I like to be able to use my spells to escape.

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Skills and their practical applications

Martial Cadence(Innate): Jarvan IV's first attack on a target deals 6 / 8 / 10 % of their current health as bonus physical damage. This caps at 400 damage. This effect cannot occur on the same target for 6 seconds.
Helps last hitting minions. Late game, when the damages are scaled, make sure you remember to auto attack after your E->Q combo before Ulting. This also gives you a bit of help against opposing tanks, as it can tack on up to 400 damage if they're built really beefy.

Dragon Strike: Jarvan IV extends his lance, dealing physical damage in a straight line and lowering the Armor of all enemies hit for 3 seconds. Additionally, if it encounters his Demacian Standard, it will pull Jarvan to it, knocking up enemies along his path. Range: 770
Cost: 45 / 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 mana
Cooldown: 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 seconds
Physical Damage: 70 / 115 / 160 / 205 / 250 (+1.1 per bonus attack damage)
Armor Reduction: 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 / 26%

Excellent early game poke for lane harassment. This is the 2nd half of the E->Q combo that is one of the best initiators in the game currently. I max this first, as the damage is very good, and it also degrades the armor of the champ struck. Strikes right though targets, and has a range that surprises many aggressive opponents in the lane.

Golden Aegis (Active): Jarvan IV shields himself for 5 seconds, which, upon activation, also slows surrounding enemies for 2 seconds. The shield gains strength for every nearby enemy champion upon activation.
Cost: 65 mana
Radius of AoE: 600
Cooldown: 20 / 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 seconds
Shield Strength: 50 / 90 / 130 / 170 / 210
Extra Shield Strength: 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 per nearby enemy champion
Slow: 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35%

This shield is the weak part of this kit. It's pretty useless throughout the first part of the game, especially at such a high mana cost. At no point in the game does it all for damage absorption to make it an actual "shield." What it is, is a slow. Towards the end of the game a 30-35% slow for 2 seconds is pretty good. Use it after the E->Q combo or in the middle of your Ult.

Demacian Standard (Passive): Permanently grants Jarvan IV bonus attack speed and armor.

(Active): Jarvan IV throws a Demacian flag to a nearby area, dealing magic damage to enemies at the landing point. The flag will stay on the location for 8 seconds granting armor and attack speed to all nearby allies as an aura.

Cost: 55 mana
Cooldown: 13 seconds
Range: 830
Damage Radius: 150 (estimate)
Aura Radius: 1200 (estimate)
Sight Radius: 870 (estimate)
Attack Speed: 10 / 13 / 16 / 19 / 22%
Armor: 10 / 13 / 16 / 19 / 22
Magic Damage: 60 / 105 / 150 / 195 / 240 (+0.8 per ability power)
Attack Speed Aura: 10 / 13 / 16 / 19 / 22%
Armor Aura: 10 / 13 / 16 / 19 / 22

One of the neatest parts of this champs kit, this skill is many things. It's a superb buff to team mates. It deals a small amount of damage, perfect for kill shots on escaping foes (a flag kill is a very sexy coup de grace), it will help you break down turrets quickly, it helps mow down creep waves it's a sight ward. This is the beginning of the E->Q combo that I won't stop referencing. Use this skill in just about any situation.

Cataclysm (Active): Jarvan IV leaps to an enemy champion, dealing physical damage and creating a circle of impassable terrain around them for a 3.5 second duration. Jarvan IV can destroy the impassable terrain by activating this ability again.
Range: 650
Radius of Wall AoE: 300
Radius of Sight: 1650
Cost: 100 / 125 / 150 mana
Cooldown: 120 / 105 / 90 seconds
Physical Damage: 200 / 325 / 450 (+1.5 per bonus attack damage)

J4's controversial Ult. A lot of people say that it can hurt your team as much as help them, because you sometimes trap team members within it. Try not to do this. It's really not that big a deal. Some enemy champs can escape with with dashes and such, and it's always escapable with Flash. Other than this, use it to trap a solo champ during early/mid game to chop them down from 1/2 their health, and late game go ahead and trap 2-3 enemy champs in it during the late game to allow your team to focus them with nukes and CC. It has a larger range than you suspect, try it out. You can also jump from the bushes in the jungle, which is hilarious. From time to time you may trap too many enemies in it and die. But according to Jarvan IV himself: "ours is but to do, and die". The way I feel about that is, if you die, but your team kills two or more champs, or takes a turret and inhibitor, or Baron, then your death was relevant.

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Looking at ArPen reds and Quints, because teams will stack armor vs a build like this. Attack speed yellows will allow you not to get married to Berserker's Greaves. Mercury's Treads are often the best way to go, because you're going to be CCd a lot, and the extra magic resistance is a key point as well. Pick up the extra Magic Resist blues, so you can wait until late game to buy your Banshee's Veil. It's expensive.

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The Build, lane phase

You want to start off with Regrowth Pendant and a health pot for some sustain. Jarvan IV has solid base attack damage and armor, making Doran's items unnecessary. Sustain is better than life steal, because you're really supposed to be just last hitting creeps, not banging away in the middle of the lane like a lowbie. Concentrate on just farming. Don't over extend past the middle of the river if you can help it, as it leaves your backside open to ganks. You absolutely must harass the opposing champs, and the Dragon Strike is just the way to do it. Using it twice will often have the opponent around half life, and that's not in their comfort zone. If they continue to push at half life, you could take a shot at and E->Q knock-up combo and if you have good synergy with your lane mate you might get a few easy early kills. Don't go out of your way for these however, since minion farming is absolutely the best method to build your champ. There will be plenty of action later in the game for you, I promise.
First trip back to the base? You're going to want to pick up Boots of Speed. Also, if you're soloing top, I'll turn my Regrowth Pendant into the philosopher's stone. Buy it also if you're getting starved in your lane, or zoned out. Otherwise proceed directly to Long Sword.

Second trip you turn your Long Sword into a Phage. You aren't going AD heavy early, you're going to build health. At this point in the game, no one is building armor yet. In subsequent trips, you're going to want to also pick up the Giant's Belt and as the laning phase ends, you really want to have your Chain Vest ready to go. Finish your Mercury's Treads as the laning phase draws to a close somewhere around the 15 minute mark. You're looking for creep kill tallies of 75+. Jarvan IV is item dependent, and getting behind can be the easiest way for you to be a non-factor in the mid game. If you kill an enemy champ or two, it's fine, but don't push the issue. If you have died more than 4-5 times by now, then you're either playing way too aggressively or you're flat out over your head in the lane (bad lane matchups, more skilled players). Adjust accordingly. Ask your jungle or the mid laner for assistance. Don't just give a lane away. It's debatable as to whether or not you can win a game in the laning phase. You can certainly lose it there.

As the laning phase draws to a close, be mindful of a few things. Check out the other teams champions. Who is fed? Who is dominating their lanes? Which of their team mates look like the biggest threats? Are they building AP or AD? This will give you the information you need to begin your late game adjustments.

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The Build, mid game

As the lanes begin to empty out and the action starts to move freely around the map, you're going to find yourself in certain situations. Several turrets will be down, your mid may be pushed and will need to be defended. Perhaps bottom lane is broken and you'll need to get into some team fights down there. Be aware of the state of your team at this point in the game. Also, as I mentioned above, you will need to be aware of which enemy champs are building what. If there is a fed Master Yi, stacking his usual Phantom Dancer The Bloodthirster combo, then you will need to rush a Thornmail. This will negate much of his fury. Late in the game you will be able to stand toe to toe vs a fed Master Yi and take him down with this build. Is there an AP caster nuking everyone? An OP Ziggs dominating? Try a quick Hexdrinker for nice AD and a great magic resist bonus and begin to think about your Banshee's Veil in the next 10 mins or so. In this phase you will see 3v3s to 5v5s start to happen in mid lane, around Dragon, around outlying turrets. What is your role in these fights?

The Atma's Impaler will give you the key.

About Atma's Impaler: Atma's Impaler adds directly to attack damage, it is not an "on-hit" effect.
The amount of health required to be as cost effective as the B. F. Sword is 1125, when taking both armor and crit hit chance into account.
For every 1000 health, you will gain 20 attack damage, so this item is best served on champions who can accumulate vast amounts of health.

It also gives you a nice little 18% crit chance buff. As you will have a great deal of health at this point due to your items, your Atma's will be equivalent to a B. F. Sword on a Jax.

During mid game you will act as the initiator of fights for your group. When a team fight begins, you will E->Q into the enemy group, and knock as many up as possible.

You should never focus an enemy tank. They have a lot of health, but their damage output is generally not as threatening. Most of them will have CC instead of high damage ability. You and your team should be looking to specifically target the other teams AD carries ( Master Yi, Xin Zhao, Ashe, etc) as well as their squishy AP casters ( Ryze, Ziggs, Brand etc.) The tank is not going to nuke you or your group, but any of the listed champs can dole out a lot of damage, making them the highest priority. Many of these characters do not make it a priority to build armor either. Make them pay.

Once you have knocked up one more more of their carrys/casters, you want to pop your slow/shield. Take a quick auto attack shot or two with your Martial Cadence and then decide who you're going to empty your Cataclysm onto. Pick their high damage output caster or their carry that's near half life. Target them with the Cataclysm and whack away. If they die quickly, hit "R" again to bring the walls down, so as not to impeded the progress of your team.

You may also pop your Cataclysm onto a small group of enemy champs, if your team can nuke well. A Cataclysm combined with Gangplank's Cannon Barrage or Vladimir's Hemoplague can wipe out an entire group of champs in short order.

Feel free to solo dragon for your team (use Demacian Standard to drop him quick), and also help yourself to red buff if you plan on initiating. It's always good to add some of that extra CC the red buff gives you. Do NOT focus the tank. Do NOT initiate without a couple team members behind you. Both bad ideas. Do continue to farm creeps when there is a break in the action, you will need the gold as you're about to really blossom into a speeding freight train of decimation.

As the mid game phase turns into late game, you will have turned your Giant's Belt and Regrowth Pendant into a Warmog's Armor and your Phage will turn into the Frozen Mallet pushing you to over 3500 health. At this point your Atma's Impaler will be providing you with over 70AD thanks to its passive bonus.

Core Build:

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The Build, end game

So you have the core build done, and matters still aren't settled between these two teams? Your role remains the same: you are the initiator. You will continually catapult yourself into the middle of the enemy team, creating CC with your knock-up and havoc. You will stand menacingly in front of your mid lane base entrance, with your turret, ranged casters and carrys behind you, daring the other champions to attack. Maybe the fight has taken its toll on your base, and you have to mow Super Minions down in front of your Nexus. Maybe you take a trip to the other end of the map and back door a turret using your massive amount of health and your Demacian Standard buff. You should be doing all these things. But in the mean time, you will be gaining gold a great deal faster than early/mid game. What to spend it on?

Situational Items to add to the core build:

Banshee's Veil- if there are a number of very fed, very dangerous AP casters who know what they're doing. You're jumping into the middle of them. Award yourself some more health (which translates back to AD) and some magic resist.

Thornmail- their Master Yi or Jax thinks he's pro because he bought 2 Phantom Dancer and 2 The Bloodthirster and can melt carries. Show him that you are his master by adding 100 armor and 30% of his damage back onto him. You will crush these types of "ez mode" players.

Randuin's Omen- for when you want some health to go with your armor bonus. I would buy this item if there's no super OP melee carry, and I want to bolster my health, damage and armor. An all around item.

The Black Cleaver- so they bought some armor to counter you. Some LoL players are thinking players. Show them you're better by building this item, as it will decrease their armor, as well as giving you a freakish AD and attack speed bonus. Turns Jarvan IV into a walking slaughterhouse.

The Bloodthirster- If the other team is built a bit tanky, with not a lot of damage output, and you find yourself just slugging it out, some lifesteal could help. Not a highly recommended item, but you could do worse.

Infinity Edge- With the amount of health and AD you already have, if you manage to have time to farm this, you can literally clear a screen in 10 seconds. It's expensive, though, and your team mates need to have a good deal of CC, because generally your attack speed is average at best. It just makes you impossible to trade auto attacks with. Anyone trapped inside your Cataclysm dies almost instantly.

A word about Trinity Force: Some people love it, some people don't. I don't choose to add it into this build. It's a a devastating offensive item, but it doesn't fit the overall idea of this build which is to tank and be an effective carry and initiator as well. I believe this item is better suited for true AD carrys. It would not detract from this build, but I feel that the high HP items in synergy with Atma's Impaler should be the emphasis here. If you want to build it as your last item, go ahead if you have time.

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Thanks to user "Hahano" for coining the name "Fortress of Annihilation," I think it's not only very humorous and fitting, its the best way to describe this build. Thanks to my in game buddies for making solo queue tolerable. Occasionally you do wind up with some good friends and team mates. Most of all thanks to my real life friends who encouraged me when i got pwned and showed me the ropes in the game. You guys know who u are.

There will be no jungling section. Although J4 is a decent jungler, I don't feel like it fits the spirit of his character. He should be kicking *** in a lane, at least that's how i interpret him. There are a few good jungling guides out anyway. Feel free to rate, comment and critique. I will update.

Thanks- AtraCrux