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Jarvan IV Build Guide by DuffTime

REAL Off-Tank Jarvan

By DuffTime | Updated on June 30, 2011
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LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Ghost


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Jungle Role
Ranked #35 in
Jungle Role
Win 51%
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Hai it's Duff again.


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Don't like my build?

Not enough damage for you?

Trinity force is bad on Jarvan?

*Insert any random complain you might have here*

Then, go read my guide about OFF-TANKING, and once you're completely pissed off and bored with my play style, go back and read some more of your exciting full DMG builds out there.

I'll be expecting your down-vote shortly.

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All about the Jarvan.

Here we are going to Detail one of the best Off-tanks in the game.

The combination of his skills just make him the perfect candidate for this kind of build, and, he uses Trinity Force fairly well.

You won't need any more damage than this.
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Yes! It's exactly the same!

The guide is item for item, mastery for mastery, and skill for skill the same as the one in my "Meta-game" guide... But people have wanted to know more specifics, so I'm going to give a quick outline of how this champion with this build specifically works, in more detail.
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In regards to the build.

DON'T follow it item for item!!

IF the enemy team is stacking armor, Jarvan has natural penetration, and we all know penetration is good.


BUT, if you need you can scrap Atma's, and get a Last Whisper as well. Me and my brother were debating whether you get diminishing returns on this with Jarvan or not, but at the end of the day it's irrelevant... You will either have roughly 50% or 60% ARP with Jarvan if you build Last Whisper and land your spear.

This is just here to tell you you don't have to follow the guide item for item.

BUT I WOULD, TO BE HONEST, LOL! This build is just monster! The only exception is if a team has perhaps 3 AP champs, and their AD champs have Magic damage skills... You're gonna wanna stack MR items.

If they have 4 physical damage champs, you want more armor.

Sounds obvious guys, but all of us were new at one point or another.
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You are the solo top lane.

If you can't get that spot, play another champion.

Blitz is a great "trinity using" champ who can bot lane or roam. He tanks well also.

There are plenty of alternatives.

Jarvan is a champion who scales -very- well with fast levels and lots of farm. Because of this, in my head, he's a solo lane champ. None of this Jungle Jarv ****. Alternatively, Jarvan and Soraka is a mind numbingly powerful bottom lane. My opinion of him being a solo lane only champ is relative, and whatever will win you the game works.

Play styles, my friends, do whatever you need to do to win. For me, that's solo top with Jarvan.
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Situational gear...

This is the part where I list every single item in the game that any melee champion could ever use under any circumstance, why to use it, at what time to get it, etc...

Right? RIGHT!?


Honestly, against 75% of teams, this build works best for Off-Tanking, and the only thing you might really need to swap out is Atma's for Last Whisper.

100% of games I go Trinity Randuin's Banshee's. I have yet to play a game where I don't build that on Jarvan. It's just that good, banshees even protects you from AD champs.
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Jarvan = CC monster??

Yes, Jarvan is one of currently just 6 champions in the game with 3 CC's. Every other champion in the game has less CC than Jarvan. (The Six champs currently in LoL with 3 CC's are: Malphite, Jarvan, Janna, Blitz, Gragas, Blitz. If I missed one, let me know, but I believe I have not.)

He has a great AoE slow (Which is kinda OP)

He has his line pop up (Which is strong)

And, he has a cage for an ultimate.

Did I mention 2/3 of his CC's do great damage? =3
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Level 1 Jarvan.

Because of my recommended start items, you should be able to (CAREFULLY) last hit minions with either your auto attack if you can win the lane, or, with your spear if you're losing the lane.

Ideally, you want to use your spear to harass. With all the armor pen runes you have, at the early levels you're going to essentially be dealing true damage. Your spear is going to HURT. If you can learn to land it well, predict where your enemy is going to be, and poke them a few times... You'll be in great shape to take control of the lane early.

Because your lvl 1 spear with ARP does so much dmg, IF YOU CAN SAFELY take control of the lane AND KEEP UP ON LAST HITTING MINIONS, you should try.

Your HP regen beads can allow you 1-2 TRADES, I.E. take a hit to land a spear. But don't go crazy, you only have 1 potion and if you lose too much life you WILL lose control of the lane. Jarvan has no magical ability like Irelia that will bring him back to full HP at 6.
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Lvl 2 -5 Jarvan.

Last hit. Poke. Last hit. Poke.

Just farm effectively, and try to harass your opponent. Don't take unnecessary risks, BUT keep in mind vrs melee opponents every 6 seconds you can deal 10% of their HP in magic dmg with an auto attack, in addition to your high damage auto attack with the ARP runes.

It hurts.
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Lvl 6.

The whole dynamic has changed.

You now have a 200 dmg nuke, and a cage. Your armor pen has that 200 dmg dealing close to true damage unless your opponent bought cloth armor 5 hp pots.

Keep in mind your passive, and try to measure if your opponent is closer to dead than they realize. A good flag into a spear, with your auto attack and an ult can often kill a lvl 6 champion from around half health. (Depending on runes mastery's and gear of course, and what champ they're using.)
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At some time, you'll need to pick up your philo stone.

It makes A HUGE difference in your lane with Jarvan. Your HP regen and mana regen will allow you to out-lane almost any champion. I've out-laned (Some very good players at a 1800 ELO level) who were playing Teemo, when I was Jarvan. I just bought 2 philo stones to counter his poke, and out poked and regen'd him.


It's an example of how you need to build to counter your opponent in this game. I didn't follow my own guide item for item, because the situation called for something else.

Each time you town, you need to evaluate what items you need to buy to win, and buy those.

Anyway, around level 6 is when you ideally go and get a philo stone and maybe even boots or a Ruby crystal so you can come back for a quick kill.
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Lvl 7-11

More farming and last hitting.

Once your spear is lvl 5, and your ult is level 2, the enemy is facing another possible death. lvl 5 spear = 270 dmg, lvl 2 ult = 350. In combo with your auto attack, and your flag, with the 10% hp damage passive... That's a whole lot of damage. If they aren't careful and ready with their flashes, again, any time they get around half HP at this point, assuming you're equally leveled and geared, they are in danger of death.

I recommend not attempting to land a kill if you don't have your flash ready, but if it's a sure thing and you know you can escape, go for it.

With Jarvan's ult, you can ult them, and if you get scared to die, just flash out and walk away while they're stuck in the cage. There are champs who break this option with blinky flashy moves, but most champs will be trapped inside and you can simply escape. (Granted they have no flash.)

Personally, I won't blow the combo if I'm not sure I'll get a kill (And sometimes I cut it reaaaal close), but if you're not that comfortable with the moves, you can use this method at first as a safety net while you get to understand how the combo works and how to time abilities to land that 100% pro kill.
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Lvl 11-15 (With general gameplay advice)

This is where I can't give you simple advice on what to do.

I prefer to lane and farm trinity force and as much as I possibly can before fighting. Ideally I will get my warden's mail and a negatron cloak, or even in some games finish banshee's veil.

I -will- say this, DON'T BOTHER team fighting without trinity force, unless you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO!! Jarvan with a philo stone, boots, and a HoG IS HARDLY going to make a devastating impact. Granted, your skills do massive damage because you solo'd

Here's the interesting dynamic. By now, there will have been some team fighting, probably early in the bottom lane, and also by this point even in mid as well.

You can go mid to help, and leave top lane. A popular technique is to trade out your top carry with someone when your solo top is ready to fight and put in work. Once you have a philo, HoG, trinity, merc treads, and a warden's mail, you are ready. Anything else is extra for now. A Jarvan with those items at this level is going to wreak serious havoc in mid.

But you want some lower level guy, maybe 1 guy from bot, to take top lane.

The reason is, your pressure will be split and they will probably lose a tower. You need to be aware once they see a weaker champion in the top lane they might 3 man gank him or pull any number of silly shenanigans. That's why you and your team need to be ready to COUNTER that.

If three enemy champions go top to get a kill, you need to get a kill or two in middle or bot. You need to get a free dragon. You need to get a tower. You need to do something that counters their over commitment, and you need to do it the same moment that you see them doing it.

That is referred to as punishing the play. If a team makes a move and goes unpunished for it, they have succeeded, and they have a slight advantage.

You, being the solo off-tank/carry, are going to be more able to punish these kinds of plays, you'll be more able to tank a tower than the AP who was solo mid on your team to land the kill, more able to kill their carry who came to gank afterwards as well.

You want to take what you can around these levels without giving back.

Sometimes all you can do is farm and farm and farm and you just sit in a lane farming forever. The good news is, that's ok with Jarvan because he scales well with gear.

Other champions might not scale well, and then to farm forever is a bad idea, and you need to make something happen, but Jarvan can play the Farm game too.
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End game.

Do you have at least Trinity, Banshee's, Merc treads, and Randuin's?

The moment you finish these three items, it's time to fight. JUST DO IT!

Get it in, don't forget you have your ability as an AoE slow and spell shield, AND Rnduins again to AoE slow later. Jarvan, of all the Off-tanks I know, has the most built in damage. It's incredible how much damage he can deal. He just comes crushing into your comp and with this build you can't get him out. His cage separates and ruins team comps, and your AP casters are generally safe to just bomb away with their big heavy spells. Even your AD carry should be safe and in range to attack something.

This is your job and your function as this type of Jarvan. Trinity force is going to give you more damage output than you expected. If you need more, like the build notes, Atma's and/or Last Whisper provide more than enough.

Try not to get caught up in wanting your auto attacks to hit for 700+... With this build you can hit for 500+ at times (Trinity proc with an auto attack crit), but that's not the main goal, really. Your goal is to ruin their team comp and crash into them.

Just try it, it's like nobody expects it to happen. Your damage is always surprising for some reason, thanks to trinity force and your built in 1k Damage + from skills, and your tanky-ness is going to be the real nail in the coffin. If you do your job right, you will have a bigger impact with this build than you would have with an AD carry. People can flame away and hate on me all they want, but that's just my opinion and I think the logic and how it works in practice is undeniable.
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A note in regards to resistances.

The way resistances work in League of legends, is sort of a "Diminishing returns effect" ... Allow me to try to explain in a simple way.

Go into a custom game, and buy 5 Thornmails. You will find that as you get higher armor and higher, the % of damage reduction begins to scale up more and more SLOWLY.

Amazing LOL left a comment on how the actual process works and I'll leave a few examples using the same math to show the progression and how it tops out.


It's simple math. Take your armor, for example, and divide it 100 times + your armor, then multiply by 100.

I've got 20 armor. So 20 / (100+20) = 0.17 x 100 = 17% reduction.

On higher armor values, like... 350: 350 / (100+350) x 100 = 78% reduction.


So, I'll leave some example using that math now, to show the progression and how you get less and less reduction the higher you go.

20 / (100+20) = 0.17 x 100 = 17% reduction...


20 / (100+20) = 17%

(The next 20 armor provides 11% more reduction.)

40 / (100+40) = 28%

(The next 20 armor provides 9% more reduction.)

60 / (100+60) = 37%

(The next 20 armor provides 7% more reduction.)

80 / (100+80) = 44%

(The next 20 armor provides 6% more reduction.)

100 / (100+100) = 50%

(The next 20 armor provides 4% more reduction.)

120 / (100+120) = 54%

(The next 20 armor provides 4% more reduction.)

140 / (100+140) = 58%

(The next 20 armor provides 3% more reduction.)

160 / (100+160) = 61%


350 / (100+350) = 78% reduction.


So, as we can see quite clearly, you're buying the same amount of armor, and getting less in your % of DMG reduction for each point. =)

Because of this, Flat armor or magic pen items in early and mid game are incredibly powerful. They remove the best part of damage reduction, the low numbers give you the highest amount of reduction, and flat pen breaks that early.

That's why when you pick up ARP runes and a Brutalizer you deal about the same damage as if you had AD runes and a BF sword to some targets. The amount of armor pen will have you dealing true damage or perhaps if you pen all their armor, even increased damage.

Against targets with low resistances, AKA, a carry or something like that, the impact is still substantial in the end game, because you might still be cutting through 1/4-1/2 of their resistances with something like 20-40 ARP. (Most carries won't break 80 resistances.)

However, in the same way that flat bonuses have a large effect against carries, their effect gradually over time carries less, and less impact against highly armored and resistant targets.

Flat Mpen or flat ArP eventually begin to have their effect reduced, because of the way resistances "Top out" after a certain point.

For example, if you have so many resistances, that you've begun to "Top out" already, you're not getting the best returns on your investment... Right?

Not necessarily.

Most players will run ArP reds and quints on their AD carries, and Mpen or AP on their AP casters and buy sorc boots for the Mpen later.

This means that most AD carries and AP carries will have between 20-35ish ARP or Mpen, even at very low levels. Some of it is invisible, you simply have to know it's there.

This means, your armor and Magic res is not as high as you think it is. You have to build more to get the full benefit of "The sweet spot" as I call it. You have to build about 20-30 resistances farther at least into the area where you begin to "Top out" and get poor returns on your investment, so that after the opponent's reductions are factored you're still comfortably taking advantage of the high resistances you get early.

I judge that area to be around 130-150 resistances or higher. When a champion buys an item like last whisper, you might need to get up to as high as 170 to make up for the difference, or just build a bit more damage so you can kill them or render them unable to sit and attack you, and force them to run.

The reason people are not succeeding as tanks with "Tanky DPS" champions, is because they're simply building health and a banshee's veil or two, and calling it a day.

But, the amount of resistances they build leave them vulnerable to items like Youmuu's, SotD, Black cleaver, Starks, and others.

However, if a player were to build -more- resistances, and -less- damage items, they would get their resistances to start topping out.

This would cause the other player's armor pen to only lower them back down to "The sweet spot" of resistances, where every point is still making a large difference, and therefore, your resistances will still be very high.

This is the concept behind an Off-Tank, and this is what makes it work.

This is why I tell people so often, don't refer to them as the same thing, you're hurting yourselves and the community. A Tanky DPS is a carry with some HP and some minor resistances. You're building damage, and your intent is to carry.

An Off-Tank is a tank with some damage. Your intent is to tank, and also mix thing up. Their carry's should never feel safe, and your team should feel confident following you into the fight.

Trust me, Last Whisper and Void Staff will help a lot against an Off-Tank, but it's not going to take an Off-Tank out of the game in one item. There is no easy solution to beat a well farmed off-tank, who has planned their resistances and their source of damage well.

Also, another thought. People seem to forget that items like Randuin's and Banshee's veil are both great items in regards to stats, but also in regards to their "utility" effects. Randuin's greatest source of damage reduction, is not the 75 armor it provides, but rather the 35% slowing to attack speed and move speed. Banshee's veil protects you from a spell, which in the end game could be up to 500-1000 damage, or a CC that leaves you exposed to tremendous damage.

Those effects double as resistances to some extent as well, by protecting you in more ways from the incoming damage. When you finally add all the effects together, the result is quite impressive how difficult you are to kill, and both teams will feel the difference.

And all you have to do, is top out your resistances just a little bit, so that you're actually getting the most out of them, and use the utility effects on your items =)
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In summary.

This is a brief guide as to how to play the Jarvan build I listed in my guide. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I may have left out something people want to know more about.

League of Legends Champions:

Teamfight Tactics Guide
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