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Jarvan IV Build Guide by Vapora Dark


Vapora Dark In-Depth Jungle Jarvan IV Guide 9.20 Season 9

By Vapora Dark | Updated on October 9, 2019
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Sudden Impact
Eyeball Collection
Relentless Hunter

Coup de Grace


LoL Summoner Spell: Flash


LoL Summoner Spell: Smite


LeagueSpy Logo
Jungle Role
Ranked #35 in
Jungle Role
Win 51%
Get More Stats

-Table of Contents-

Hi, I'm Vapora Dark, a veteran player that's been playing since season 1. During that time I've hit Master tier as a mid lane main in season 5, as an ADC main in season 7, again as a jungle main in season 8, and once more in season 9 playing a mix of all those roles including mid and Fizz. I can play every role to a very high level and have a very good understanding of the general aspects of the game on top of that.

I've been writing guides on MOBAFire since 2011, among which my achievements include winning the MOBAFire guide contest multiple times, achieving the highest score on the site multiple times with multiple guides, achieving the most comments on a single guide of all time by a very large amount which hasn't come even close to being surpassed in the 3 years that it's been archived, and having the most collective guide views on the site by a very hefty amount. I've also written some champion guides for Riot Games on the Lolesports site.

Jarvan IV is a strong early-game jungler that has a variety of different builds right now depending on how you want to play him and how fed you are, and my guide will be covering all 3. He can be built as either a tanky bruiser, an assassin or a pure tank. Pure tank is the most used built in competitive play but for solo queue I recommend using a build with more damage since it makes it easier to carry if you're better than the opposing players.

I hope you enjoy reading the guide as much as I enjoyed writing it, and most importantly, that you take everything you can from it!

Domination & Precision

Electrocute: This is the rune that best helps you make the most use out of your strong early-game, making you deadlier in ganks and increasing your burst later on should you snowball.

Sudden Impact
Sudden Impact: Jarvan IV has a dash that he often leads with when he gets into fights, making him have good synergy with this rune.

Eyeball Collection
Eyeball Collection: Neither of the other runes in this branch are very good, and Eyeball Collection increases your AD a little once you've stacked it up, making it a nice little bonus to your damage.

Relentless Hunter
Relentless Hunter: This is the best Hunter rune for Jarvan IV. Ravenous Hunter is also viable but slightly worse.



Triumph: This can be a lifesaver in close fights, and the 25g per takedown actually adds up to quite a bit in bloody games.

Coup de Grace: Jarvan IV can do pretty high burst and this rune helps him finish off low targets, potentially increasing his damage by a lot.

Flash has been the standard summoner spell to take on almost every single champion since forever. It's always been indisputably the best summoner spell in the game, so there's nothing you can replace it with.
Smite is likewise irreplaceable on junglers, even more so than Flash. It immensely helps your clear speeds and the health of your clears, and more importantly it helps secure camps and objectives like Dragon and Baron Nashor. Even if you were playing a jungler that could healthily clear the jungle without Smite, not taking Smite would still be out of the question. And Jarvan IV isn't even one of those junglers to begin with.

-Skill Order-

> >
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Passive: Martial Cadence

Martial Cadence: This is just a small increase to your clear speed, and can be the difference between securing or missing a kill.
Q: Dragon Strike

Dragon Strike: This spell is AoE so it's a massive help while clearing jungle camps. It also does very high damage to champions, especially if you're building damage, and is part of the "flag and drag" combo.
W: Golden Aegis

Golden Aegis: This spell shields Jarvan IV for a small base damage and a % of his max HP, making HP a very valuable stat on him and greatly increasing his tankiness when he builds tank stats. The % of his max HP gets multiplied by the amount of nearby enemies when he casts the spell, so rather than instantly casting it as soon as you get into a fight by default make sure to cast it when you have as many enemies nearby as possible to get the most use out of it. And if you have Gargoyle Stoneplate then make sure to cast Golden Aegis after it since you'll get a bigger shield that way.
E: Demacian Standard

Demacian Standard: This spell drops a flag in the target location, dealing magic damage to enemies and giving all nearby allies the passive attack speed that it gives Jarvan IV. Jarvan himself also receives the extra attack speed on top of having the bonus AS from the passive, so he too gains attack speed while the flag is in effect.

Whenever Dragon Strike hits Demacian Standard Jarvan IV will pull himself towards his flag, so cast Demacian Standard immediately followed by Dragon Strike onto an enemy for the "flag and drag" combo whenever you want to dash towards an enemy. Any enemies Jarvan IV hits while dashing will be knocked up, giving him decent CC for his ganks if you can land it.
R: Cataclysm

Cataclysm: Jarvan IV leaps to an enemy champion, creating a circle of terrain around them for 3.5 seconds and dealing a large amount of damage. The terrain acts as any other thin wall, enemies can dash over it if their dash has a long enough range, but they can't simply walk through it.

Cataclysm does AoE damage to everyone caught in it, so look out for situations where you can get the highest possible damage out of it. Trapping multiple enemy champions inside the terrain also has massive synergy with other AoE spells, so watch out for opportunities to set up great AoE bombs for your allies.

Remember that Jarvan IV is immune to CC while jumping into his Cataclysm, so if you're about to get hit by a hard CC in a fight try to time your Cataclysm well enough to "dodge" the CC, though you'll still take the damage.

And finally, one small trick that may come in handy at times: when you want to trap someone in Cataclysm but not trap yourself in with them because you know they can kill you, if you can walk up to them without using your EQ, you can use Cataclysm to trap them inside and then use EQ to get out of the terrain while leaving your target trapped inside. Alternatively you could simply Flash out if saving EQ for it isn't possible.

Hunter's Machete
Hunter's Machete + Refillable Potion: The starting item for any jungler is between Hunter's Machete and Hunter's Talisman. Jarvan IV should opt for Hunter's Machete as it synergizes with his high attack speed while clearing. You'll want to go for Refillable Potion instead of 3 Health Potions as he doesn't strictly need the extra sustain, so you'll save yourself some gold in the long run, as well as having the option of a cheap upgrade to Hunter's Potion during one of your first backs.
Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior
Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior: This is an excellent item for Jarvan IV due to his great AD ratios. Skirmisher's Sabre is the best Smite upgrade for Jarvan IV as it improves his dueling power and damage.
Skirmisher's Sabre - Cinderhulk
Skirmisher's Sabre - Cinderhulk: This is also a viable option for Jarvan IV if he wants to be a tankier frontline, but I don't recommend this build as much in solo queue since less damage means less carry potential. It's the kind of build you run if you're not too confident in your ability to carry and you just want to enable your team as much as possible, which fair enough might be the kind of approach that works best for you.
Mercury's Treads
Mercury's Treads: These are the recommended boots to build when vs high CC comps or when you're facing a lot of magic damage.
Ninja Tabi
Ninja Tabi: These are the best boots to buy against high AD comps, especially when most of their damage comes from auto-attacks. They're also usually the default best boots to build when the enemy team just doesn't have enough CC or magic damage to make Mercury's Treads worth it.
Boots of Mobility
Boots of Mobility: These are the riskiest boots, but also those with the highest reward. Buying these boots very early into the game makes it much easier to gank, and are the best boots if you play a very gank-heavy playstyle. They scale much worse than the other 2 alternatives though.
The Black Cleaver
Black Cleaver: This should be your followup item to Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior if you're ahead and looking to snowball your lead with more damage. It'll also give you some tankiness and some CDR, all of which are great stats for a Jarvan IV.
Dead Man's Plate
Dead Man's Plate: After Tracker's Knife - Warrior or after Black Cleaver you'll want to get some real tank stats going. Build Dead Man's Plate for a good mix of armor and HP, and the passive that'll make you do slightly more damage and make you more mobile as you move across the map.
Randuin's Omen
Randuin's Omen: This can act as a replacement for Dead Man's Plate against high crit/AS comps.
Maw of Malmortius
Maw of Malmortius: This item helps you greatly against high AP threats like Syndra, as it'll prevent you from being taken out of the fight extremely quickly by AP burst. It's also a good general item for Jarvan IV against any amounts of magic damage as it gives AD and CDR as well as some tankiness, all great stats for him.
Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel: If you're really ahead, you can use this item to push your lead even further, as it'll make you harder to kill by causing you to revive after your first death, and give you even more damage to work with while also acting as a defensive item. You can also just use it as a 6th item to finish off your build.
Duskblade of Draktharr
Duskblade of Draktharr: This is a good item when you want to play an extremely damage oriented version of Jarvan IV; best used either when you're snowballing hard or just really better than your enemies. You can build it either after Black Cleaver or after Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior depending on when you start snowballing. If you know from the start of the game that you want to build Jarvan IV this style, then build it after Skirmisher's Sabre - Warrior.
Youmuu's Ghostblade
Youmuu's Ghostblade: This makes a good followup to Duskblade of Draktharr if you want more damage and your team doesn't need you to be tanky. The MS boost from the active will greatly aid you in reaching your desired targets and making plays.
Locket of the Iron Solari
Locket of the Iron Solari: If you're building tank Jarvan IV this item will be a huge benefit to your team, since you'll be building a lot of HP to increase the strength of the shield for your team-mates. If you combine it with Gargoyle Stoneplate then be sure to activate Stoneplate before it to gain as big a shield as possible.
Gargoyle Stoneplate
Gargoyle Stoneplate: This is a great item to build once you have 2-3 other tank items built, especially since it synergises so well with Golden Aegis.
Knight's Vow
Knight's Vow: This is an excellent item for tank Jarvan IV if your team has a hypercarry or a carry you really want to focus on protecting. Hypercarries like Twitch or Kog'Maw are the best to bind it to as they do the most damage, meaning not only are they more valuable to help keep alive, but the more damage they do the more healing you get.
Adaptive Helm
Adaptive Helm: This is good for tank Jarvan IV when you're facing a comp with high AP DPS, such as vs Cassiopeia, Ryze or Karthus.
Warmog's Armor
Warmog's Armor: This is a decent item for tank Jarvan IV when you need the sustain, such as when facing vs extremely poke heavy comps.

Blue Start





Red ( Smite)

Standard start if you're on red side since you get to have your bot lane help you with it, and if you have a melee support they'll usually tank most of it for you so you can move onto your next camp with almost no damage taken. Move onto wolves before taking your 3rd buff. From there on you can either look to gank, take scuttle, or keep clearing.

Red Start





Blue ( Smite)

Standard start if you're blue side so your bot lane can help you as you do it. You can also start it even if you're red side if you want to let your bot lane get an advantage by being in lane quicker than the enemy bot lane, or if you want to avoid losing your red to an early invade by the enemy jungler, such as Ivern.

If you're not ganking, you should be farming. You want to get yourself as fed as possible so take as many jungle camps as you can, as well as take lane CS whenever the opportunity arises (explained further down).

As with any jungler you should be ganking, but don't go out of your way to force ganks that seem unlikely to succeed. But on the flip side, go for any ganks that seem likely to succeed, since whether it results in a kill for you or for your laner, you'll still be getting free gold and XP, and then get to tax some gold/XP from the lane CS as you help your laner shove the wave into the tower to make the enemy miss out on CS.

When ganking, try your luck at hitting a long-distance flag and drag if you need it to close the gap, but this isn't always the case, and oftentimes it's better to simply walk up to your enemy and slow them with Golden Aegis, auto-attack them a bit and just use a point blank melee range flag and drag once you feel is optimal. Trying to use Sonic Wave from a distance at the start of a gank will often result in a miss and a loss in damage, especially if the enemy just Flashes it. If you wait until you can cast it from point blank range, enemies will often not react in time to Flash to dodge it; or will have to Flash before you've cast it, giving you a chance to aim it towards where they've flashed and catch them with the knockup.

Whenever one of your ganks succeeds, look out for an opportunity to get an objective out of it. For example if you double kill the enemy bot lane you can convert that into a dragon since for the enemy mid and jungle to contest that they'd have to 2v4. However, dragon is not always a possibility, especially if your team is low or if you only kill one of the enemy bot lane, and sometimes it's just not even the best objective to take. If you have to choose between taking a dragon or getting the tower first blood, you should pretty much always go for the tower first blood, since it grants a massive gold increase which is more immediately beneficial than that of the buffs given by dragons. And in general I would just always prioritize towers over dragons, since getting more map control by taking down towers makes it easier to take dragons later on, whereas choosing to take a dragon instead is harder to convert into taking towers later.

Additionally make sure to hold lanes whenever possible, e.g. if one of your laners has to recall or dies, the enemy will be shoving that wave into your tower to make your laner miss CS, so you can take advantage of this by taking the wave for yourself since it would die to tower anyway, and thus get yourself ahead since lane CS gives more gold and XP than a jungle camp, and does so without being at the expense of your HP.

Whenever you see the enemy jungler showing up on the opposite side of the map, if there's no plays for you to make on your side then it can be worth going into their jungle to counterjungle them while they're too busy to respond. Whenever you counterjungle, if possible you should take the big monster but leave 1 small monster alive, to delay the camp's spawning as much as possible. When the enemy jungler wants to farm the camp, they won't find it already in the process of respawning soon, but have to kill the last remaining monster for a tiny bit of gold and a tiny bit of XP, and then have to wait the entire 1m40s for it to respawn.

If you find yourself getting significantly ahead of the enemy jungler then you can just start going into their jungle whether you have vision of them or not, provided your lanes are in a position to help you. With a level advantage you have a stronger Smite and can easily steal away camps they're trying to do, and they shouldn't be able to straight up win fights against you. Just don't do this if your nearest laner is getting pushed in since that means they won't be able to come help as they would miss a lot of CS to the tower, but the enemy laner can come help kill you without losing out on anything.

As the game progresses you'll find yourself in many team-fights. How you play team-fights really depends on what style of Jarvan IV you're playing. When you're playing tanky, whether full tank or bruiser, you have the option of going in and disrupting the enemy backline as well as trying to trap mispositioned carries into Cataclysm, or staying at the frontline and peeling for your carries. While it might seem tempting to just always go onto the enemy carries, it's sometimes even more valuable to simply peel for your own carries, using flag and drag and Cataclysm to CC and trap enemies away from your backline. You'll have to use your own judgement to determine what's the correct choice, but it's generally best to peel if you have a great late-game ADC like Jinx, Twitch, Kog'Maw, Vayne, etc.

When you're playing assassin Jarvan IV it's almost always better to just dive into the enemy backline and try and kill someone. This requires patience and timing though, because you'll be squishy and if you get CC chained you might just die uselessly without accomplishing anything. You need to patiently wait for the enemies to use their most important CC cooldowns before going in. If possible it's also best if you can approach the fight from a flank to make it harder for the enemies to peel for you, since the enemy backline won't have their frontline between you and them to protect them. If they notice you in time they'll have to back off and rather than dive in after them to chase, you should just hover around the outskirts of the fight to zone them, ensuring that they can't properly participate in the fight without you bursting them down. When you do get a chance to get onto a carry though, burst them down with Demacian Standard -> Dragon Strike -> Cataclysm -> auto-attack, preceeding it with Flash if necessary. Any squishy carry that gets hit by this entire combo from an assassin Jarvan IV should be taken out of the fight immediately.

Hopper is Bae

That's it for my Jarvan IV guide. I hope you found this helpful and learn to play Jarvan IV as well as you want to.

Special thanks to Hopper for banners and coding.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Vapora Dark
Vapora Dark Jarvan IV Guide