League of Legends: Hail to the Prince, Baby!
By Jason (Hhean) Harper, OnRPG Journalist
Patch v188.8.131.52, Jarvan IV, Stronger minions, Better towers, Faster respawns, not enough Daft Punk.
Greetings fellow summoners! This is the patch v184.108.40.206 article for League of Legends, the game in which even the lowliest of minion can get a Rocky training montage. This patch includes some significant changes to the overall pacing of Summoner’s Rift, some PvP.net reworks, and Jarvan IV, the Exemplar of Damacia.
Jarvan IV is a tough as nails melee carry, capable of taking a heavy beating while he wades into the enemy team, cracking skulls as he goes. Gameplay wise, he fits in nicely as a half-way house between his fellow Demacians, Garen and Xin Zhou. He makes a great initiator when making use of his leaping abilities, and has good synergy with ranged and area of effect characters.
Jarvan IV’s main mechanic is placing a Demacian Standard [E] just behind an enemy, then using quick cast to perform a Dragon Strike [Q] towards it, knocking everything in his path airborne. This is usually finished up with his Golden Aegis [W] to protect himself while also slowing the enemy as they desperately try to get away from him. A variation on this is using his ultimate, Cataclysm [R], to close distance before using Golden Aegis to stop the incoming onslaught.
It’s worth noting that this allows Jarvan to double jump, a feat only able to be performed by a few other characters in the game. He can hop to one place using the Standard+Strike combo, then lock a champion (usually a mage or ranged carry) down with his ultimate as he jumps past his previous target into them. Wail on them for a bit, then to plough into someone else or make an escape using his Standard+Strike combo once again. Given the Standard grants vision around its location, you can use it to jump through walls to safety, or catch people in surprise ganks as he ploughs through walls towards them.
Jarvan has to be conservative with how he uses his abilities though, as his mana bar can go from full to empty in the time it takes for Evelyn to gank a Teemo. In order to be fully effective, he needs to make use of all three of his standard abilities in a short space of time, so he needs to pick and choose when he’s going to let off this burst. Harassing with his Dragon Strike (AKA Extendo Lance) during laning is fine, but afterwards he needs to keep his mana high (at over 205) just to land his standard combo in the late game. This is even more so if you want to actually use his ultimate with the combo (355 mana) or, you know, actually use this combo more than once in a prolonged fight. This is why using his Demacian Standard, while great for scouting, shouldn’t be used too often for that purpose, since it puts him in danger of not being able to use the combo at a critical time.
If he’s sitting in a lane, solo or duo, he’s best levelling his Dragon Strike first, due to it being an incredible harass during the laning phase, dishing out both a good measure of damage, and reducing the armor of anyone caught in it. Take a rank in Demacian Standard at level 1, Dragon Strike at 2, and Golden Aegis at 4. Your priority order should be Cataclysm > Strike > Aegis > Standard.
When jungling, and he’s a fairly good jungler, Demacian Standard is a better choice to max first due to it aiding his attack speed while taking on spawn camps. So, while the levels where you pick up the skills remains the same, changing the priority order to Cataclysm > Standard > Aegis > Strike works better for faster jungling. That said, once you’ve picked up both of his buffs, it’s not worth him keeping to the jungle. You should go to a lane and try to kill someone rather than continuing to farm spawn camps.
Start out with cloth armour and health potions, regardless of if you’re heading into the jungle or sticking to a lane. The armour will give him some protection, and will build into some useful items, while the potions will help with sustainability. Don’t bother touching a single Doran’s item these days (unless you’re stacking Blades on a ranged carry, which Jarvan isn’t).
Build a Heart of Gold and level 1 boots on your first trip back to the shop if you’re laning. If you’re jungling, turn the cloth armour into a Mandred’s Razors, to be upgraded into a Wriggle’s Lantern later. His core items are Randuin’s Omen, Youmou’s Ghostblade and Banshee’s Veil. The previously mentioned Wriggle’s Lantern is a good early item if you’re jungling or your team has poor map control. Late pick, or situational, items on him include Infinity Edge, Force of Nature, Guardian Angel, Frozen Mallet and Hexdrinker.
I have been playing around between a 0/21/9 build on Jarvan and a 0/9/21. The former gives him a lot more tankiness, but the latter gives him more mobility and increased mana sustainability, while also helping him to keep hold of his jungle buffs for longer. Both seem viable, the former leading to more conservative play, the latter allowing a bit more of an aggressive playstyle.
Overall, Jarvan won’t make a significant impact on a match, one way or another. He is very much a jack of all trades, but a master of none when it comes to fighting, his damage of okay, but not great, and he can take more of a beating than others, but a lot less than some. His Standard + Strike combo can be a bit fiddly at times, and botching it in the heat of the moment will almost always lead to either him dying, or a target escaping. His ultimate is as much a blessing as a curse. When it goes well, it goes very well, but if you misjudge the radius on it, you can accidentally lock allies down, and actually assist the enemy in ganks. It should be used with a good deal of caution. Overall, he’s good at what he does, but what he does isn’t very flashy, and often requires a large amount of caution.
For runes, you need to juggle survivability and damage, while also picking up some mana regeneration on the side. I personally use flat health Quints, armour penetration Marks, and then vary my last two dependant on if I’m jungling or not. When jungling, you will absolutely need armour runes, so use them in your Seals, and put mana regeneration per level in Glyphs. For laning, you’re more likely to be hit by magical damage harassing you, so grab mana regeneration per level in Seals, and magic resist in Glyphs. The mana regeneration is very important, since it means you won’t have to invest any gold in buying items that will detract from Jarvan’s main build focus of survivability and damage.
The minion, respawn and tower changes are undoubtedly going to shift the game back into a pushing and backdooring metagame. Long skirmishing periods leading into team fights aren’t viable when minion waves can bring down a tower in seconds, and the lanes can shift back and forth with a great degree of speed. Harassing and poking to gain an edge on levelling during the laning phase (usually leading to early ganks) isn’t as effective now too, due to the reduced early game respawn timers. Alistar is going to become more common, as his ability to enhance large packs of minions that are already good at quickly bringing down towers is going to be very effective.
From personal experience, the game now becomes a lot shorter due to pushes being much more effective or far, far longer as both teams spend their time just trying to fend off minion waves. The middle ground seems to have been almost erased, and teams without a least a single decent pusher will find themselves severely handicapped after this patch.
To discuss some of the changes yourselves, visit the League of Legends section of our forums, or post in the massive League of Legends thread in the free to play MMOs section. If you haven’t tried League of Legends yet. Now is the perfect time.