Jarvan IV Build Guide by Sinjustice
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.
So, you want to kick some *** with the Badass Prince of Demacia? Well, look no further than this here guide. The best place for the Prince is alone, far from the reaches of mid lane or bottom lane, all by himself in top lane. There he will sit, a cold glare seemingly fixed upon his opponent, aggression building up until his goal is attained. No, his goal is not the destruction of his enemy, nor even his turret, though these are indeed steps on the path he must take... His true goal is the piece that holds his enemies together... The reason for his summoning... The all-powerful Nexus, and it shall be his to destroy... No one takes the glory of victory away from Jarvan IV.
This is my first guide, though I'm not really a newbie. I've been avoiding the sun and pouring many hours of my life into League of Legends since Fall '10, so I'm quite familiar with the metagame by now. I watch a lot of streams, read a lot of guides, and save my own builds for champions I play very often (unpublished, of course).
I'm not going to lie and tell you I'm the greatest, because I know I'm not. However low Elo I might be at right now, I'm confident that I'm an above average player now. I made the mistake of jumping into ranked play before I was truly ready, and as such, my Elo sunk down the toilet. Since then I've kicked it into high gear, and I've risen about 300 points in solo queue in the past two months, and I'm still climbing. The turnaround point was finding what I was good at, which I feel happens to be solo top, and then just plain playing more often. I play a lot of Irelia and Teemo, among other things, and that's my favorite spot for most champions.
Recently I picked up Jarvan IV and fell in love with his kit. I've done so well with him, in fact, that I decided to write this guide. I took a lot of my own knowledge, some advice, and research done from other builds, as well as watching High Elo streams and the Season One Championships at Dreamhack.
With all that said, this is a guide intended for all levels of play on Summoner's Rift. By that, I mean it's intended for Ranked games, High Elo matches, tournament games, and if you're feeling really mean, for normal 5's. I have not tested this build on Twisted Treeline, though I have heard that Jarvan does well in 3's.
I snagged my guide format from Searz, changing it up a bit to fit my own style. It was a great stepping stone for me to produce my own guide with. You can find it here. It's very helpful, so he deserves some credit.
I'm not going to coddle you, if you need to know exactly what an item or ability does, scroll over it, you lazy bastard.
Why should you play Jarvan IV?
- He can hold top lane for a very long time by himself.
- He can farm relatively safely against a lot of common solo top opponents.
- Isn't very susceptible to ganks.
- Has above average ganking ability. Not amazing, but solid.
- His passive makes for above average burst damage, even without offensive items.
- Every one of his skills adds some form of utility to the team.
- He can build almost full tank and still be very lethal.
- He is one of the most versatile champions in the game, able to fit into any team composition and fulfill a variety of roles.
- Though not the point of this guide, he can jungle fairly effectively.
- He yells "DEMACIA!"
What are people saying about this guide?
Solid guide, and solid build of mixed DPS and Tankyness!
Aaah, cool to see a good guide with my format :)
+1 Very nice description, and the itembuild is superb. Play him the exact same way now that gold per second items have a unique passive.
Went 11/0/8 my first time playing Jarvan using this guide. Will continue to use and spread this awesomeness around. :)
Looks pretty strong, I liked the section about laning opponents. I also like the item build... ...I am always a fan of gp10 items and love the 21 utility setup.
Wow, I absolutely enjoyed reading your guide. It encouraged me to play Jarvan. It is not only very well explained but also perfectly structured.
Disregard the Cho'Gath game. They wouldn't let me J4. :(
All of these games were in solo queue, and all of them were me soloing top.
With the advent of the revamped mastery trees I was forced to re-evaluate my choice of masteries. After some deliberation and testing, I chose to run these 21/09/00 masteries. Sustainability is still key to my Jarvan playstyle, however, the new masteries allow for about the same amount of sustainability through the health regen in the defensive tree, the lifesteal in the offensive tree, and the mana regen runes. The new masteries really shine at making my sustainable offtank Jarvan dish out a lot more damage than before.
I usually level in the order given in the table on the top of the guide.
As usual, take Cataclysm at levels 6, 11, and 16 when it become available. Dragon Strike is maxed before anything else to increase your damage output. I used to run Standard over this, but since the masteries change, this build's change from 00/09/21 to 21/09/00, and the even older changing of his passive to deal physical damage instead of magic damage, this is just fairly superior to Standard's early game. Golden Aegis and Demacian Standard are maxed almost evenly to scale into mid and late game. Neither of them really demands to be maxed before the other, so I keep them pretty even. You can max your shield earlier if you're getting harassed a lot, or max Demacian Standard earlier if you're able to bully your lane a lot or even if you need the armor bonus versus an AD top. Honestly, with Jarvan, it's kind of a jack of all trades thing. Pick what fits the situation, there is no cut and dry law for this section.
The first build is my usual build. It focuses on survivability early on, being tanky, yet threatening, as well maximizing the purchase of Atma's Impaler to raise survivability late game and still build upon Jarvan's damage output. It does very well in almost any game, as it has enough of a mix of resistances to deal with any problems, as well as dish out enough to damage to give reason to be focused. A tank that you can safely ignore is a bad tank. The GA can be grabbed earlier if you feel you need it/can afford it earlier. Getting fed and then grabbing a GA is a sure way to screw over the other team's attempt at halting your rampage.
The second build is what I resort to when I'm focused more on the tank role or if the rest of the team has plenty of damage, plus it's also smart to get if their AP carry is getting kind of fed earlier. Taking a Banshee's Veil will keep you alive for a long time, plus the prior Catalyst the Protector will help quite a bit around mid-game, especially those mid-fight level ups that can be a life-saver.
Boots of Speed
In the past I always ran Pendant + one pot, always, but recently I've been doing boots and three pots to be more aggressive in top lane and be able to return faster. If you have TP, this probably is unnecessary and you can run the other starting set, but don't disregard the advantages of being really fast and having cheap sustain due to pots. It allows you to play super aggressive and possibly win your lane. Choose wisely.
This item is often necessary for that sustainability solo top requires. With this you can safely venture off into your laning opponent's harassment to gather last hits and gold, then return and regenerate any lost HP. It also builds into the lovely gold fabricating Philosopher's StonePhilopher's Stone, which you'd want to get as early as possible.
Helps in case you happen to take a lot of harassment at once, possibly from an early gank, as well as provide early game sustain for top lane. It's always important to spend excess starting gold on a potion or two, or three, because you never know if you might need them. You probably will.
Other Viable Items
Jarvan IV is a top tier solo top. He's able to take on 1v2 lane fairly well if the enemy forgoes a jungler, but he's an unmovable menace 1v1 at top lane. With the setup this guide offers, you should be able to hold top lane and farm to your hearts content for long periods of time, pushing the lane when appropriate. If you run both Heart of Gold and Philosopher's StonePhilopher's Stone you should be able to farm from in front of your tower and gather large amounts of gold, and all while being at near-full strength. Left to his own devices, Jarvan IV will eventually force his opponent to recall, maybe even slay them, and will probably take the tower.
Your main focus for the first few levels should be last hitting minions with Demacian Standard and your autoattacks. You should try to land your spear on your opponent when possible, but don't forget about your farm. If you aren't farming at solo top, you're blowing one of your primary jobs.
Around level five you should start hitting your opponent with your spear, sometimes knocking him up with Dragon Strike and an autoattack or two, then backing off. At some point he will probably be around half health and maybe low mana, while you should be at near-full strength with all of your sustainability. This is a primary opportunity for your jungler to come in for a gank. Hell, you might even be able to drop a Cataclysm on them and take them out yourself. Whichever the case, play it smart.
Once you have dropped the tower, you should start roaming a little bit and helping where needed, always returning to keep your lane pushed. Constant pressure should be on top lane at all times, because it might allow you to force a 5v4 teamfight on the other half of the map when one of the enemy team members has to safe top from a large minion wave.
I usually try and keep my Demacian Standard on the ground at all times to maximize the time my team is benefiting from its bonus. It's also smart to try and knock up as many enemies in one lunge, because that can be just the setup your team needs to burst half of their team to 0 HP. It's also good to stick your Dragon Strike through as many tanky enemies as possible, which will make it easier for your AD carry to shred them to pieces.
In teamfights you need to try and pick apart their team and separate them from each other. If you can get a carry alone, you should usually be able to kill them 1v1. With Cataclysm you can usually single someone out and pick them off. You can also use it to capture several enemies together for some nice AoE damage out of one of your friends. It also can be used to save a low-HP teammate from a chasing enemy.
In any case, you must always keep in mind that Cataclysm can also screw over your teammates. Unless it will be in your favor, never trap a teammate inside of your ultimate. They will be very, very unhappy with you.
I hope my guide is well-received and useful to those of you who wish to try your hand at solo top Jarvan IV. He's quickly becoming my favorite champion on the Fields of Justice. If even one person benefits from my guide I'll feel good about writing it up.
I'd like to thank RebornKnight for all the help he's given me since I started playing LoL. It was his suggestion that I pick up Jarvan IV and his advice that sparked this guide. He's one of the people who introduced me to this game, so I have a lot of enjoyment (and frustration) to thank him for.
Please vote, comment, and share with your friends. I will try and respond to everyone who comments on my guide to provide guidance on any questions or comments about the build.
Good luck and thanks for reading!
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or in-game on my account, Sinjustice.