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Build Guide by RainDance

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League of Legends Build Guide Author RainDance

I, Exemplar

RainDance Last updated on March 4, 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: 22

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

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

Utility: 8

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Though he is still young and fresh, I have already been able to play around with Jarvan and get a feel for him. He is, in my opinion, the most natural champion for my own play-style; fast, hard-hitting, and very tricky!

You will notice, playing Jarvan, that you are not the crazy one-vs-one champion that they built him up to be. He is decent in a 1 vs 1 setting, his skills are exceptional for crowd control, allowing unprecedented harass, however building him requires a focus.

In this guide, I will explain how I build Jarvan, his possible gear, and some tactics and strategy.

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v0.1 - 03/03/2011: Published
v0.2 - 03/04/2011: Added 'Alternate Items' and 'Changelog'

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Pros / Cons

+Excellent survivability
+Very fast, hard to juke
+Very good crowd control
+One badass dude

-Slightly on the support side, needs a good team to shine
-Weak to ranges harass in the early game
-Really needs a solo lane to do well late game

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Masteries & Runes & Summoner Spells


At heart, Jarvan is an offensive champion. He deals incredible damage when he is all geared up. As such, this concept is reflected in masteries, rocking a 22/0/8 build.

Key Talents:
  • Cripple: This buffs one of your most important Summoner Spell. Since this ability is key, buffing it will be very important.
  • Havoc: Extra damage is necessary! You need to pull your own weight.
  • Awareness: Leveling faster is important for Jarvan as a carry. This will give you 5% extra experience.


Try to primary your runes. These are my choices, from personal preference, but so long as you use the primary stats on each rune, you'll be fine.

Greater Mark of Attack Speedx9
Greater Seal of Armorx9
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reductionx9
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speedx3

On a note, the Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed are AWESOME on Jarvan. It will boost your base speed to 330, giving you a great speed advantage early game. By buying Boost of Speed early, you'll jump to 380 speed. Very nice!

Summoner Spells

I find these are the best to use with Jarvan. I will substitute in some scenarios, especially based on my team combination.

These are my primaries. They both increase mobility for Jarvan, which is very useful for escaping and pursuing enemies. Both can be used offensively and defensively.

I will usually replace Ghost with this in 5v5 matches. Generally, it is pretty useless in 3v3 matches because of your speed and the small map. Either way, your choice.

This is nice in some matches as it allows another escape/pursue mechanic without using you Demacian Standard/ Dragon Strike combo.

I will take this ONLY when I think I might face an enemy Tryndamere(such as free Trynd weeks). That is the only time I take it. When you see endless rage, wait about 4 seconds then put it on him as he runs away. Guaranteed kill!

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Items & Build Order

Like any champion, your role is determined by your items. I build Jarvan as a hybrid off-tank/assassin. He has high damage capability, but at the same time his abilities and base stats lend him well to light tanking. As such, I focus on Attack, Health, and Utility, in that order.

Core Items

These items are, imo, the core build for Jarvan. It incorporates the holy trinity of Crowd Control( Frozen Mallet), Health and Tanking( Warmog's Armor), and Attack Damage( Frozen Mallet & Atma's Impaler directly, Warmog's Armor indirectly via Atma's Impaler).


These items are finisher, but not compulsory to the build like the Core items. I prefer Berserker's Greaves over anything, but melee heavy games I'd take the Ninja Tabi and enemy teams with lots of crowd control and stuns/snares/etc take Mercury's Treads. Still, most game the Berserker's Greaves will benefit you most as Attack Speed is king!

Zeal is the first item I build after my boots and usually hold on to it for a while while I build my Atma's Impaler and Warmog's Armor. Building into a full Phantom Dancer usually happens late game as my last or next to last item.

Wit's End is completely imba against casters, primarily support mages. Many champions, such as mana based carries that use mana, but don't rely on it like a full mage, will be devastated by this item. For instance, if I see a Xin Zhao and engage, I'll strip away his entire mana bare in about 20 hits. Late game you hit for about 1.5-2 hits/second depending on items, meaning you can strip away his entire mana bar in about 10 seconds. That's assuming he doesn't even use any abilities. A very useful item!

Build Order

I start my games with a Boots of Speed and a combination of Health Potions and Mana Potions. In heavy damage enemy teams, I take more health than mana and against tankier teams, I get more Mana Potions. It's your preference, you can afford three of them in any combination. Build you boots, whatever your choice, as soon as you have the gold for it.

Regardless of my enemies, I build a Zeal next. One reason is the nice boost in Crit and Attack Speed, but the primary reason is the Speed Boost. With just these and your Berserker's Greaves you will have a run speed of around 435, which is very fast. Pop your Ghost and you are un-jukable.

After your Zeal, build what you need; against heavy DPS teams, I will sometimes get my Warmog's Armor earlier to give me better survivability. In less dangerous games you can get away with building Frozen Mallet. In games where it seems we will easily overpower them, I will build Atma's Impaler before working on Frozen Mallet. Gauge your game and team and see where you are at.

Once all of your core items are build, your inventory should look like this;

I like to finish out my build by getting a Wit's End, which is the finishing item against any mana-based champions, before building my Phantom Dancer. The Phantom Dancer is just an upgraded Zeal, so don't rush it. Get the utility of Wit's End first. Some games I won't even get to the upgrade!

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Alternate Items

While the above build is fine and dandy, you will always have to adjust your play style and build items to combat the specific threat to your team. For instance, would you build a Wit's End if you are facing Tryndamere and Garen? Of course not!

Heavy Melee Teams

I have played a few games where the enemy carries are getting too scary for me. Master Yi and Xin Zhao, not to mention enemy Jarvan IV, can become a serious problem for you as an initiator.

In these games I will adjust my build to fit in a Thornmail or even a Guardian Angel if I'm feeling ballsy. Both of these items are a bit spendy, but you can safely replace your Wit's End and your Phantom Dancer with these.

Additionally, it might not be a bad idea to get Ninja Tabi.

There is an alternate philosophy to the heavy melee carry problem!

Some players choose to instead focus on vastly increasing their hitting power over defenses. I frown on this approach, primarily because it will fail in fights with two enemies or more. Whereas a Jarvan IV carrying a Thornmail, Guardian Angel, and Warmog's Armor would be able to, at the minimum, escape a gank by two melee carries, a fully fitted DPS build would be killed by it. In one vs one scenarios, the offensive type build would work, but in higher level games there are rarely one vs one games.

Heavy Mage Team

I played a game a little while ago against a Blitzcrank, Evelynn, and Kassadin. Let me tell you about pain! My initiation was countered by Blitz' Rocket Grab which put me far enough away form my team to be dominated by spells!

In these type scenarios, I always, always, ALWAYS buy Mercury's Treads first! Follow up with your Zeal for the run speed, then build a Banshee's Veil. This should be enough to prevent ganks as Blitz' Rocket Grab is a spell! If you are being pounded by more sustained magic, get Force of Nature or Spirit Visage which is a lot cheaper.

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Strategy & Tactics

Skills & Uses

Jarvan has some very unique skills at his disposal that lead to excellent game mechanics. They interweave more than any champion I know of, causing excellent synergy.

Your passive skill. The way it works is when you first hit a target with your auto attack, you deal extra magic damage 10% of their current health. If you attack someone with 1000 health, you'll deal an extra 100. Attack someone with 100, and you deal 10.

This effect only happens every 6 seconds on a single target, so when farming spread the love and attack all the minions nearby.

PRO TIP! This works exceptionally well on neutral monsters; hitting the Dragon in 3v3 causes an extra 400 damage, while the Baron in 5v5 causes over 1000 extra damage!

Your bread and butter damage move, as well as a utility move with Demacian Standard. It has considerable range and width, causing it to hit alot of targets. Very useful when farming and fairly cheap on the mana.

When you hit your Demacian Standard with it, you shoot towards the flag, knocking all the enemies in-between up in the air. Use this preemptively; if you think an enemy will run, throw a flag behind them to be ready to knock them up!

Simultaneously a chase, escape, and defensive skill! You shield yourself, increasing the shield strength depending on how many enemy champs are nearby, and slow any nearby enemy units for a few seconds. You can use this to attack, slowing enemies after poping them up, help you escape a gank, or just use it when farming for the shield.

The shield lasts for 5 seconds while the slow only lasts for 2, so be sure to get the hell outta' dodge if you need to!

This is a great skill to level quickly, both for it's attack speed and armor, but the active component can change the course of battles. At max level, toss this down to give nearby allies a +25% attack speed and some extra armor. It also deals damage when it lands!

PRO TIP! This has a HUGE range, so it can be used to harass. Even if you have to leave a fight, toss it behind you to let your minions kick some extra ***!

The ultimate of ultimates. The unreasonably awesome pewpew crowd control ability, [{Cataclysm]] will win fights by itself! It is targeted with a decent range. When you pick your target, you leap at them, clearing any obstacles in the way, and deal some damage to them. Around you, terrain will be formed, locking you and the target, as well as any unfortunate minions or other champs around, inside the arena for 3.5 seconds.

Inside, Jarvan does terrible, terrible things to the enemy. Terrible...*shudder*...unspeakable things! The poor blighter is forced to sit there and watch himself die, or he can Flash/ Arcane Shift/ Riftwalk out(which is really annoying!).

PRO TIP! After setting up the arena, you can use your Demacian Standard/ Dragon Strike combo to get out of it, leaving the enemy trapped!

Tactics & Strategy

This champion require alot of planning and good timing to be truly effective. In the hands of a noob, just a-clicking and building brute force he won't be that great. In the hands of a twitchy player, he can be devastating.

Early Game
When you start, buy some Boots of Speed and some Health Potions and Mana Potions as needed. Do your gank as usual, but try to get the solo lane, either mid in 5v5 or top in 3v3. You need to level quickly and you'll get more gold playing solo. Play as usual, recall back and buy your chosen boots as soon as you have the gold!

You'll be tricksy and hard to kill as early as level 2 when you have both Dragon Strike and Demacian Standard. Use it if needbe to escape a gank, but be aware it does take a lot of mana to do.

You'll notice throughout the game you should always have some Mana Potions at hand, you will be oom alot!

Mid Game
Around levels 6-12, mid game will begin. You'll have settled in, hopefully scored some unrequited kills and be well on your way to building your core items. Since Jarvan is so fast, feel free to run in between the lanes and hop in for a gank if you can; it's great to get fed early!

You can farm in the off-time between waves and jungle freely; while you don't have any vamp gear, feel free to buy just a Vampiric Scepter to jungle with, then resell when you're done with it. You probably won't need it, but if you find yourself jungling more than a little, grab it!

Again, keep some Mana Potions at hand! They will save you from having to warp back!

End Game
**** just got real! About now you won't be as reliant on mana as you were earlier. You can stop buying potions and fill your inventory with awesome gear. In 3v3, you will probably be your team's carry champion, so you need to start dishing out the pain!

Have your team lock enemies down so you can get to them. You are an initiator at heart! Leap in and kill, have your team follow up and finish them off. If needbe, run back; most players cannot let a kill escape and will foolishly run through minions, friendly champions, and even turrets to kill you. Better run and live to fight another day!

Special Tactics

Jarvan has some nasty combos up his sleave. Some of these are basic, but combos are important!

This is your bread and butter initiator; it deals damage with both the Flag and Strike as well as knocks them up in the air to allow your team to get into position. Follow up with an Exhaust to keep them under control. When the Exhaust wears off, use your Cataclysm to finish them off.

-> ->
This combo can damage and snare an enemy for a few seconds to allow team members to escape. Very useful if an entire team is in hot pursuit after your Xin Zhao kicked the hornet's nest! You can trap a few champs as well as block the others, including minions.

It is best to pop your Golden Aegis before you use Cataclysm to mitigate some of the damage you are bound to receive!

Wall Hopping

With your Demacian Standard/ Dragon Strike combo, you can hop over any wall in the game! The just make sure you drop the flag as close to the end of the wall as possible to make sure your Dragon Strike will hit it!

This is very useful, especially when doubled with [{Flash]], you can become literally un-catchable!

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Jarvan is a very fun champion to play and fits well in any team combination! He is complex and rich to learn and rewarding to play. You will usually be the carry for your team, so expect a lot of assists in the early game and a TON of killing blows in the late game!

Please, feel free to drop a note with some comments or tell me if you do something differently! I am still learning Jarvan as he is still very young and am open to new ideas!