Jarvan IV Build Guide by EZYoDa
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.
|Jarvan IV is currently the best all-around jungler in the game. He brings everything you want to the table: Multiple forms of CC, great teamfighting, great ganks, an escape, good dueling, EVERYTHING. That said, a lot of these things are tagged onto the same skill, so pretty much the whole game is figuring how to use your skills to their maximum potential. Every decision you make, every attack, every skill you throw usually determines how the fight will go, so make sure you're on point when you play.||SPACE|
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- % damage on Martial Cadence = fast clear on large monsters
- Demacian Standard -> Dragon Strike is the most versatile combo in the game, offering escapes, CC, and even armor/armor pen.
- Has 3 forms of CC
- Cataclysm is one of the most awesome ultimates in the game. There are few things more satisfying than landing a GG Cataclysm and watching your team decimate the enemy.
- % armor pen on Dragon Strike keeps our damage relevant going into late-game.
- Dragon Strike and Demacian Standard are both skillshots, as is the combo
- Improper use of Cataclysm can result in funny "I'm helping!!!" moments.
- Demacian Standard has relatively large cooldown
- Bugs can result in Dragon Strike not comboing properly with Demacian Standard, and random skills escaping Cataclysm which shouldn't
- Missing your combo leaves you at the enemy's feet with no cooldowns, so be careful!
|...|| greater mark of armor penetration
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
Jarvan IV has really high base damage on his Dragon Strike, Cataclysm, and Martial Cadence. To take full advantage of this, we will be taking a lot of armor pen marks, leaving only quints for attack damage, helping our clear speed. Yellows/Blues are standard for any melee champion. You can mix up your blues with scaling MR if you want to.
Your masteries are actually pretty flexible on Jarvan IV. I put the 21/9/0 set as that is what I run in solo queue, but you can also do 9/21/0, or 9/12/9, or even 0/21/9. The reason there are so many possible builds is that Jarvan IV is so well-rounded, meaning you can basically fill any role your team needs with him.
21/9/0: Early game aggression. Take this tree if you see yourself counter-jungling hard, or if you see yourself getting many chances for ganks and you need that extra damage to pull through.
9/21/0: This build is better than the builds that include 9 utility in the early-game, but worse in the late-game. You get the most stats out of it, but you miss out on Flash cooldown, which is actually really important on Jarvan IV.
9/12/9: This build includes the reduced Flash cooldown, some offense, and some defense. The best all-around build.
0/21/9: If you seriously know you won't need to do any damage (for example, you're the only tank, and you won't be counter-jungling), you can take this build. It offers the best defensive stats late-game, and even reduces your Flash cd!
As stated earlier, Jarvan IV is a flexible champion. As such, your builds should change with the game. Use this section more for recommendations than as a guide you must stick to.
Machete/5 is the standard jungle start. I would never do anything different.
Your first 3 items are Crystalline Flask, Boots of Speed, and Spirit Stone. You can skip the Crystalline Flask and instead go for pots, but I find the flask pays off quickly, unless you're just farming (which you shouldn't be). From there, you get to pick what upgrade you want.
You will have to decide on which Spirit Stone upgrade you need based on your team comp. Obviously Spirit of the Elder Lizard brings the pain, while Spirit of the Ancient Golem brings the tankiness, so decide what your team needs and choose accordingly!
Locket of the Iron Solari is our go-to first item. It provides much-needed CDR, tankiness, and the shield can break early fights wide open if you finish it early.
The rest of the items you honestly complete based on two factors:
1) What your team needs
2) How much gold you have when you shop
The standard progression is Sunfire Cape -> Randuin's Omen. Also, if you got Spirit of the Ancient Golem you may want to consider a DPS item such as Last Whisper or The Black Cleaver. Spectre's Cowl also offers other MR choices, if needed.
Smite is a necessity for all junglers. Helps you kill buffs, secure objectives, etc etc.
Flash is at its most necessary on Jarvan IV. Not only is it required for engages, you also need it to escape Cataclysm. On top of that, Flash -> Cataclysm is a valid route to free kills when ganking an enemy without Flash. More on Flash ganks later, but definitely take Flash on Jarvan IV every game.
Jarvan IV has extremely good ganks since he has double CC. You should generally look to do the "standard" start, which is to start on the bottom side of the map (blue buff on purple side, red buff on blue side), get a smiteless leash from your support, then do the other buff, then look for a gank. So, to sum it up, "standard" is:
Red -> Blue -> Gank
Blue -> Red -> Gank
This puts you at lvl 3 when you first meet the enemy, so you have your optimal skill-set. If the enemy jungler is a strong skirmisher like Shyvana or Lee Sin, be careful for counter-ganks. And one VERY IMPORTANT thing to remember in the early game as Jarvan IV: keep track of enemy flashes. I cannot stress this enough - you play ganks completely differently based on whether or not the enemy has flash and you MUST KNOW at all times.
Ganking with Jarvan IV
Ganking with Jarvan IV is pretty complicated (though not as complicated as Elise, so we'll make a section for it here.
This is the classical mistake - someone is pushed up in their lane and not backing. There are two ways to punish this - flanking and lane gank. If you want to flank, make sure you check their inventory to see if they bought a ward. Check with your laner to see if they know where the opposing ward is. If they do have a ward and you don't know where it is, you'll have to go from lane. However if you do know, be sure to take advantage of Demacian Standard -> Dragon Strike to go around the ward. When doing this maneuver, make sure your laner knows that you don't want to go in until Demacian Standard's cooldown is up.
1a) Flank gank
This is the standard gank that everyone pictures when they think of ganking. The important thing here is to hit your Demacian Standard -> Dragon Strike combo. To ensure a hit, walk up behind them first to apply red buff and Golden Aegis. Wait a couple seconds to see if they Flash (in which case, follow up with Demacian Standard -> Dragon Strike for an easy kill). If they don't, just keep following and hitting them until they do - if they were truly overextended, they'll just die without you using a spell. If they're about to escape, just pop your combo and pray they don't flash it - if they don't, that's great and they're probably dead. One mistake NOT to do is to try to hit your combo from vision when you're behind them - if you get juked or flashed, you will not be getting that kill. Instead remember to walk behind them and apply your slows first.
1b) Lane gank
I generally don't like lane ganking with Jarvan IV since it's so easy for him to get around wards. If you do indeed have to do it, make sure either the enemy doesn't have Flash, or your laner has a stun. If they have no flash, simply do Flash -> Demacian Standard -> Dragon Strike as soon as you're in vision for a kill. If your laner has a stun and the enemy has flash, you will need extreme coordination, and may need to use Flash to make sure you can follow up on the stun BEFORE the enemy can use Flash. If you hit your burst and apply slows, you should be able to kill through Flash most of the time. Again, this is a pretty iffy situation so don't force lane ganks when you don't have to.
2) Being dive-able
Dives are not Jarvan IV's specialty either - flank ganks are his main strength. However, when it becomes available a kill is a kill. Make sure the enemy has half or less HP, then just act like it's a flank gank. Walk up and apply slows first to see if they blow Flash or other spells, or make your Demacian Standard -> Dragon Strike easy to land. Once they've cornered themselves, pop your combo and it should be an easy kill. Again, be sure not to use your combo too early as if it gets dodged your damage is really low, and the tower will punish you.
You can only counter-gank if you see it coming, via either wards or incredible game-sense. If you do get this chance, wait for the enemy to engage on your laner and then focus the enemy jungler. You almost always want to focus the enemy jungler, for two reasons. First of all, their death is worth double buffs, and second of all, junglers generally have much less kiting potential as they are usually melee. So try not to get focused, and focus the enemy jungler. Don't bait it too hard, however, or your laner will die and you will die after him/her.
Note that all of these pretty much apply to the pre-6 game. Once you have Cataclysm, it tends to dominate the gank so you will be focusing on how best to use that spell. Basically apply the concepts in this section, but keep in mind that proper use of Cataclysm is what is going to make or break the gank.
Mid game is where Jarvan IV shines. Look for lanes without Flash, and there should be free kills galore with Cataclysm. Obviously wait for decent chances, but most of the time, unless they have Flash you can just use Demacian Standard -> Dragon Strike for distance and Cataclysm for the kill. Look to get a kill with this OP spell, and then force objectives such as dragon and/or towers. In general, mid and bot are easier kills since they are squishier and your burst damage is more effective there. When they have Flash, it becomes slightly more difficult. You basically have to apply the concepts used in the last section to force them to flash by landing your Demacian Standard -> Dragon Strike combo. When they use Flash to escape that, then you Cataclysm for the easy kill.
Jarvan IV is great in the late game as well. One key point to remember is that you generally do not want to be stuck in your own Cataclysm if the team fight is going to be close at all. Generally this means using Cataclysm to initiate, then using Flash or Demacian Standard -> Dragon Strike to escape it. If you have Flash up, you can initiate with your combo instead and follow it up with cataclysm, then Flash out if needed - this is the best way to engage, but it does require Flash. Keep in mind that your purpose is usually to peel - Cataclysm usually ensures that your team can safely kill the enemy front-line, so there's no reason to sacrifice yourself when there's already free damage happening from your team. Your armor shred / attack-speed aura also happen to work really well with your AD carry when you're near him.
While Jarvan IV does not require insane mechanical skill like some other junglers ( Elise and Lee Sin come to mind), he is pretty tricky so understanding all your possible plays is important.
1) Demacian Standard -> Dragon Strike
This is your bread and butter. It's been mentioned throughout the entire guide, and it's really important that you master this. It's pretty simple, you just use Demacian Standard and then use Dragon Strike on top of it. Ideally aim it just slightly past your target, so they get hit by both parts of the damage. If you slightly miss, they usually still get knocked up so it's not too bad, but hitting is obviously way better. We can also use this to escape, obviously. And, as mentioned before, be sure not to use it in the wrong direction - instead apply your slows first and then use it to chase or in melee range.
2) Flash - > Demacian Standard -> Dragon Strike -> Cataclysm
Post 6, this is the easiest way to kill an enemy with Flash. Lead with this combo so they will have to Flash dodge it, then use Cataclysm to trap them. Obviously do not attempt if the enemy has non- Flash escape spells (ex: do not burn Flash + Cataclysm on a Zed unless you're very sure his escapes are on cooldown).
3) Sneaking around wards
Jarvan IV is uniquely positioned to do this, with a really long-range jump. Be sure to watch and ask about enemy ward positions, and hug walls / jump over walls as necessary to get around them. One great spot in particular is the small brush right next to bottom/top lane. You can throw Demacian Standard into the small brush then Dragon Strike to it, and unless there's a trap or ward in it you will almost always get in undetected. Be sure you notify your team that you do NOT want to engage until your Demacian Standard cooldown is back up!
4) Escaping Cataclysm
We mentioned this earlier, but it's really important so I'll mention it again. The true strength of Jarvan IV is the ability to force enemy tanks to take damage while you yourself are safe. Being safe means not being stuck in your own Cataclysm. So, if possible always try to make sure you have a way out - either Flash or your combo. If you're super tanky, you can force engages without a way out, but make sure it's for the right cause or you will find yourself dead.
5) Proper application of Martial Cadence
Just a small tip to maximize your DPS - Martial Cadence only procs every 6 seconds on the same target, so you'll want to hit different people in the team fight if you can, to maximize your DPS.
6) Smite stealing
Jarvan IV is a great candidate for sneaky Smite steals. Since you have a natural jump without Flash, if your Flash is up you can use one ability to hop the dragon/baron wall and smite, then use the other one to hop back over to safety. Generally it's better if you use Demacian Standard on the safe side first, then Flash over, Smite, and Dragon Strike to safety. You can also use your combo for extra burst on your Smite steal, but that is a lot more dangerous and could result in your death for nothing, so be careful!
Conclusion / About the Author
I hope you all have enjoyed my Jarvan IV guide! Jarvan IV is considered a top 3 jungler in the game at the moment, and is very rounded so he's definitely worth it to learn. Learning Jarvan IV will help train your mechanics as well, as he relies on a lot of generic concepts to do well (using slows to hit skillshots, playing around Flash, kiting back as a bruiser, etc). I hope this guide will help you in your endeavors!
About me: I'm currently on team FXO, a challenger team, with ROBERTxLEE, Zekent, TrickZ, and Westrice. I like to stream and give advice while streaming / complain about my team and point out their errors, so be sure to check it out regardless of role!
Here's an embed of my stream! www.twitch.tv/yodatv