Jarvan IV Build Guide by Ifria

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 Ifria

Truth at the Tip of a Lance - Initiating with Jarvan

Ifria Last updated on June 16, 2011
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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.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 9

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 21

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 0

Chapter 1

Hello, and welcome to my Guide for JARVAN IV - The Exemplar of Demacia
As this is my first guide, I'd really appreciate comments, criticism, and advice--especially if you vote. Thank you!
Published: 14 June 2011 Last Updated: 16 June 2011
Yes, the build only contains 3 core items. You are a tank--I cannot give you a build that will work in every game. Read the whole guide, especially this.

I. Preface
This guide assumes you are reasonably familiar with the game (i.e. you know standard abbreviations, are familiar with common tactics like backdooring, leashing, and ganking, and are comfortable playing as a coordinated team, both in teamfights and securing the "big" neutrals).

This build excels in early-game laning, survivability (of course!), and is considerably strong in late-game damage. If played properly (in my opinion), it falls short only during the mid-game, as most of your non-base damage comes from Trinity Force. I strive to present to you a strong, general-purpose Jarvan build.

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II. Pros and Cons

Very high early game survivability
Strong harass through and
Higher melee range than most others--easier to poke
Last hits are easier with
Insane initiator
3 multi-target CC options
Among the strongest 1v1 champs
Have you seen his shoulderplates?

Damage potential drops after level 9 until is complete.
Expect to get focused and possibly die. But hey, it is your job!
Ult can be misused. Don't trap teammates at low health, and remember you can bring your mountain down by pressing "R" again!

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III. Skills and Skill Sequence

Martial Cadence - (Innate): Jarvan IV's first attack on a target deals 10% of their current health as bonus magic damage (max 400 damage). This effect cannot occur on the same target for 6 seconds.

Your easy last hits, your initiation burst, your melee harass. Poke, poke, poke :3

Dragon Strike - (Active): Jarvan IV extends his lance, dealing physical damage and lowering the Armor of all enemies in its path. Additionally, this will pull Jarvan to his Demacian Standard, knocking up enemies in his path.
Range: 770
Cost: 45 / 50 / 55 / 60 / 65 mana
Cooldown: 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 seconds
Physical Damage: 70 / 120 / 170 / 220 / 270 (+1.1 per bonus attack damage)

Armor Reduction: 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 / 26 %

General advice: *never* ignore secondary components on abilities. Damage on a stun, perhaps, or Armor reduction on a damaging active. Max this first, use it to poke the squishy ranged who dares defy your will, or just get last hits you can't otherwise reach. A more powerful, but expensive, harass, is a skillful Standard drop followed by a Dragon Strike to knock them up and put yourself in melee range, and finishing with one or two autoattacks, thereby proccing your innate.

Golden Aegis - (Active): Jarvan IV forges a shield for 5 seconds, which slows surrounding enemies for 2 seconds upon activation. The shield has more health for every enemy champion nearby when activating.
Cost: 75 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 %

Jarvan's a pretty mana hungry champ, so be smart in your use of Golden Aegis. In a teamfight, use its per-enemy bonus to shield yourself up to 410 health (a lot more raw damage when you consider your high resistances). In a gank, use it to chase. Do not, however, use it because you don't like small pokes in the laning phase, or you'll be running on fumes in no time.

Demacian Standard - (Passive): Grants Jarvan bonus attack speed and armor.
(Active): Jarvan IV throws a Demacian flag to a nearby area, dealing magic damage to enemies in the area and granting his passive bonus to nearby allies and again to himself for 8 seconds.
Cost: 60 mana Cooldown: 12 seconds Range to Center: 830
Attack Speed Bonus: 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 / 26%
Armor Bonus: 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 / 26
Magic Damage: 60 / 110 / 160 / 210 / 260 (+0.8 per ability power)

Whoa. Up to 52 armor and 52% attack speed without a single item. The other half of your knockup, Standard is amazing in teamfights since it grants your passive to yourself (stacking) and your allies, giving you assists just for the buff. Max this second.

Cataclysm - (Active): Jarvan IV heroically 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 again.
Range: 650 Radius of Wall AoE: 300
Cost: 100 / 125 / 150 mana
Cooldown: 120 / 105 / 90 seconds
Physical Damage: 200 / 325 / 450 (+1.5 per bonus attack damage)

Accompanied by a terrifying war-cry, Cataclysm is the coolest, albeit trickiest to use, of Jarvan's abilities. Use it to trap runners (even a Master Yi in Highlander can't run!), suddenly finish off an enemy for a gank-less lane kill, or initiate a teamfight or gank. Why use Cataclysm at the start, you ask? Forcing them one choice of target protects your carries and mages so they can mop up.

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IV. Summoner Spells
:I find the versatility of this spell absolutely astounding--cripple an AD carry for just long enough in a teamfight. Save a teammate being chased. Condemn an enemy being chased. Make that insane AoE burst you know is coming manageable. I wouldn't leave home without Exhaust.

: You are, after all, a tank. You're the one that shouts "Hey, over here!". You take 5 champs to the face and ask for more. You want to be focused--too many DoTs and debuffs and you laugh them off, perhaps even denying your enemies the satisfaction of a face-down Prince for the ace you just helped score.

Other Viable Summoner Spells
: Excellent for negating healing on those that rely on it, or getting that last bit of damage on a fleeing foe.
: Similar reasoning on Exhaust: chase, flee, get to a damsel in distress a bit faster. Plus, Jarvan isn't a very fast champ (this build grants a mediocre 385 MS); Ghost helps that for a short burst.
: Like Ghost, this can make an otherwise sluggish champ surprisingly mobile. Good for a surprise Cataclysm, getting just within reach of a knockup, or escaping over a wall when your dash is on cooldown. I recommend this as almost interchangeable as your secondary summoner spell with Cleanse.
: Sometimes useful, and often taken by the tank (when taken). Considerable if you have the map awareness and good judgement to use it.

: Also useful in granting yourself a bit more time when being focused, but I prefer Cleanse.
: Like the other yellow spells, there are merits to taking these, but better options exist. If you believe you are mana-starved enough to warrant Clarity, see if you can snag Golem buff.

: These spells are either meant for a role other than your own or are simply bad spells in general.

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V. Runes
Greater Mark of Desolation: A fantastic mark both for deceptively strong early-games and the best end-game dps.
: Again, these make Jarvan a deceptively strong early-game player, granting an easy first blood against *really* aggressive players and keeping him, well, resilient to harasses.

Also consider: Greater Seal of Vitality
: Jarvan is naturally resistant to physical damage, topping 130 armor, itemless, with his Standard maxed and active. These serve to get Jarvan close to 100 MR with nothing but Mercury's Treads, an amount widely considered bare minimum for every character.

Also consider:
Greater Quintessence of Desolation: Same reasoning as Marks. Other options are available if you wish to lean even *more* tanky, but I've found this build suffices.

Also consider:

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VI. Masteries
9/21/0 is very standard for most tanks, but a second viable build would be 0/21/9, with points placed in Good Hands, Expanded Mind, and Meditation. I chose the Offense Tree as a secondary focus to both buff Exhaust and your already-powerful innate damage, something I consider more valuable than both Good Hands and the five mastery points dedicated to assuaging Jarvan's mana hunger by choosing the Utility Tree.

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VII. The Build Sequence and Beyond
Start with Doran's Shield, which gives you plenty of staying power as long as you're prudent with mana, as poking you becomes either expensive for the enemy or laughable. Another option for the more passive laning phase is a Regrowth Pendant and a Health Potion, which helps you rush your Philosopher's Stone faster.

Philosopher's Stone Especially with an early kill or two, getting these items by your first bluepill isn't unreasonable. If you find yourself recalling with smaller pockets, build these component-by-component, spending a reasonable amount on wards (trust me, 75g is worth a failed gank) and health pots. The stone complements your strong last-hitting with some free gold, and addresses some of your mana-hunger.

Next on the shopping list, this make you surprisingly tanky while retaining a moderate amount of damage as you prepare to enter your weakest phase: the mid-game. Just keep trucking through it--farming, fighting, and sitting on a cool gold per second as you flesh your build out.

Beyond that, you're a tank--nearly every item you get is situational. Aegis of the Legion provides a little survivability to all of your teammates at a reasonable cost (<2000 gold!), and I love the item more and more with every game. Frozen Mallet makes chasing a bit easier on someone who, despite all his crowd control and other mobility, has trouble chasing. The list goes on and on. Learn the tank items, watch what everyone is building.

Remember, though, you want to be focused. You have to give the enemy team a reason to focus you, and sometimes your Cataclysm and CC just aren't enough. After your initiation, the they may turn and simply ignore you; I see it all the time. "He tickles, and his CC is all on cooldown now. What threat does he pose?" This is why you build a Trinity Force]. With it, you're generating a lot of burst damage through your initiation and the [[Sheen effect. This, combined with everything else you innately posses, should make you public enemy #1.

Build order largely falls to good judgement--remember you are a tank first!

Situational Items

As you are a tank, you'll spend literally every game picking the best three items from this list for your scenario for your remaining slots. This section attempts to give you a general outline for the scenarios in which you'll find each item useful. Assess the enemy team, watch how they build, and react accordingly.

Bulk health really adds up with your resistances. The damage certainly helps, but it's passive is where it's at. Be it cleaning up a successful teamfight without lifting a finger, or keeping a gank-ee in range just that much longer, this hammer is your friend. Be careful, though, as it's invalidating one of your Trinity passives. Decide whether the surefire slow is worth it or not before you build it.
Remember how you need to give them a reason to focus you? They'll laugh your damage off if they're all (or mostly) tanky types. In that case, Madred's is the reason you need.
Excellent for more damage, all around--with crit and armor to boot!
A damaging item that is anti-mage in the sense that Atma's is anti-melee. Provides Magic Resistance and more sustained damage, but be aware: Since its damage and a lot of its MR come from actually hitting opponents 4+ times, you need to either be a very artful initiator or know you'll live un-CC'd long enough to get its full benefit.

I believe every team needs at least one of these--it's just too good, and I love it more with each passing game. As is the case with a lot of inexpensive items, however, you may care to replace it should you reach very late game.
Good against a team with balanced damage (one of two items that provides both Armor and MR, the other being an inch up).
A very competitive choice, granting you supplementary movement speed, substantial MR for an enemy team strong in sustained magic damage, and ridiculous health regen (expect roughly 100 HP/5 following this build and replacing Randuin's with FoN) considering your massive health pool.
Great for that bit of MR (and the Health and Mana to boot!), and really helps against combo-based casters or nuking mages. For teams with spammable spells, however, consider another option.
Not only do you trap enemies in with the fearsome beast that is Jarvan, you trap them in a blazing inferno, too! >:3 (Okay, maybe I exaggerate...) Fantastic against melee-heavy teams.
An item for rarer situations, but viable nonetheless. Puts you above 4000 health when maxed and makes Atma's Impaler an even greater force!
If the enemy lacks substantial magic damage and relies largely on autoattacks and physical damage for their DPS, this is your go-to!
Shuts down Physical carries like whoa.
Quenches some of Jarvan's mana thirst with a bigger cup, along with punishing those AS-based champs like Tryndamere, Master Yi, and Xin Zhao. The CDR is certainly nice, too.
Quicksilver Sash size-32 I occasionally find myself taking this if the enemy team has too many debuffs or too much CC. Its moderate-to-high MR combined with a low-cooldown Cleanse make it more than worth its low cost, especially if you opted for another summoner spell.

Sight Ward Don't forget these bad boys. Use good judgement to pepper these throughout your build as you can afford and as you find necessary. Health Potions die out late-game, but give incredible staying power during laning. Sight Wards are your standard wards, good for map control in general. Vision Wards for stealthing champions or (if you're attentive or insightful) countering enemies' wards. Oracle's Elixir is powerful for you as a tank, as you can see stealthed units (including wards, Jack In The Boxes and Noxious Traps) and are unlikely to die outside of a teamfight.

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VIII. Laning and Play Style
Early Game Phase
In the current meta-game, you'll usually take the top solo-lane, but it's possible for you to mid-lane against appropriate champions. As a powerful last-hitter, you usually don't want to duo-lane unless it's with a character meant to give last hits to their partner (most support champions come to mind).

Harass with Martial Cadence against melee champions or over-extending ranged, using Dragon Strike to poke champs from afar or to secure some last-hits you would have missed otherwise. If you see an opportunity to use both, use Dragon Strike first, as the Armor Reduction makes your melee hits more devastating. I rarely use Demacian Standard to harass, and if I do, I make sure to utilize the knockup and all my other damaging abilities to ensure I get my mana's worth of harass. Sometimes you can even net a kill.

As a strong damaging character with great survivability, you'll find Jarvan is an excellent pusher. Exercise caution in pushing, however, as doing so leaves you vulnerable to ganks from the enemy jungler or any other MIA character.

Recall as necessary, making sure to leave your lane covered (either by lack of an enemy or presence of an ally), lest you allow a freefarm or some of your tower's health to the enemy.

Mid Game Phase
This phase separates the men-Jarvans from the, uh... boy Jarvans. Jarven? I dunno. That could use some more thought. By this time, laners usually fan out, pushing and ganking in various lanes. Barring the necessity of your presence elsewhere, try to stick to the top lane, continuing to poke and push (this time, however, you'll notice you're not as damaging, as Dragon Strike was maxed long ago).

Should you reach a tower and deem it safe (even if an enemy is there), drop a Standard (not on them! You don't want to piss off the tower :P) and start wailing on it. Assuming you don't die, a couple of your hit points is well worth a couple of a tower's hit points. Use your abilities as outlined in Skills and Skill Sequence to execute ganks, towerdives, and teamfights.

Late Game Phase
Once you've got your build fleshed out, you can take a helluva punishment and still give the reds no choice but to focus you with your gamebreaking CC, artfully executed initiation, and respectable damage, both sustained and burst. Continue using your skills as previously outlined and lead your team's charge to victory!

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IX. Closing
Of course, what's a guide without some help? :)

I'd like to thank the following people:
MOBAFire Staff and Community for helping me through a lot of my noob days and getting me to where I am today!

DuffTime for his Offtank Guide and Jarvan Guide, which inspired me to take up tanking and offtanking in the first place--the roles I now consider my specialties,

SixSonatas for his lovely post concerning guide content and formatting, and

You, for reading and (hopefully) providing feedback!

What, I'm allowed to kiss up, right? >_>

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X. Changelog
14 June 2011: Published
16 June 2011: Revamped build, attempted to make guide much more general purpose.

To be added/Under Construction:
Troubling Champions and Countering Them
Combat Tips, Tricks, and Strategies