Jarvan IV has been a top-tier jungler since the beginning, mostly owing to his amazing ganking abilities in the early game. The recipient of the World’s 2021 skin is almost always played using a physical damage build path. But those adept at using him know he can also be played as an AP champion. That is if you’re okay with getting flamed all game long.
There are two basic build paths for AP Jarvan IV. The first one is a Summon Aery rune setup with Moonstone Renewer as your mythic. This build can only play the support role and cannot be flexed around meaning only Summoner’s Rift has seen it thus far. The second AP path you can take is the ‘nuclear-flag’ option. You can run either Summon Aery or Phase Rush depending on whether you want to poke down the opponent or take short trades.
A basic fundamental piece of League knowledge is knowing the two major damage types (excluding true damage) and which of them is best suited for the champion you are playing. Ability Power (AP) is for spell-based champions while Attack Damage (AD) is for champions that rely on auto-attacks.
If you are confused about how to play AP Jarvan, don’t fret. I will give you a complete breakdown of the rune setup, item build path, lane, and mechanics you should take care of while playing AP Jarvan IV. Just don’t test it out in ranked!
Also check out: Thresh’s Lantern
Role Selection – How Not To Int
AP Jarvan isn’t the hottest pick in the meta so you will have to pick your role carefully. The Summon Aery setup is best used as a support’s runes while the Phase Rush setup might work better in the top lane. It can be flexed down into the Jungle but I am not sure how well that will work.
You should switch up your runes to the ones that provide movement speed boosts for better ganks. Waterwalking would also be helpful in those river skirmishes against the enemy jungler.
It goes without saying that these experiments should not be conducted in ranked. But even in normal draft matches, playing AP Jarvan IV in the middle lane or as an ADC won’t provide fruitful results.
Picking Your Runes – Think About Your Playstyle
As I mentioned above, there are two completely different rune setups you can go to when you are playing AP Jarvan IV.
The first, Summon Aery setup, is built primarily for the support role and it may be difficult to get damage done using it.
The second, Phase Rush setup, can be played in either solo lanes or even jungle (if you know what you are doing). Let’s talk about them separately so you have a better understanding.
Summon Aery Setup – The Ideal Support
For the Summon Aery setup, you will want to pick Summon Aery and Manaflow Band from the Sorcery tree as your primary. Follow it up with Perfect Timing and Biscuit Delivery from the Inspiration Tree as your secondary.
These are essential runes and can’t be switched out. The Summon Aery allows you to poke down the enemies with long-range Qs and the Manaflow Band helps balance mana usages as Jarvan IV is very many-heavy. Jarvan IV relies a lot on his diving abilities to get to the backline. Perfect Timing grants you a free stopwatch so you can dive without hesitation. Biscuit Delivery is also useful for sustaining yourself in the lane in case you cannot recall.
If you want to poke the enemies down in the lane, choose Scorch for that sizzling burn damage otherwise Waterwalking is a great option for supports with roaming playstyles.
Phase Rush Setup – In & Out!
You may not be up for supporting an inting ADC or maybe you are just bad at playing the support role. It might be better to opt for the Phase Rush Setup. The main runes for this setup are Phase Rush as your primary from the sorcery tree and Presence of Mind from the Precision tree as your secondary.
Phase Rush grants you a movement speed boost once you damage an enemy with 3 damaging effects in a short span of time. You can use this to engage, chip away at the enemy’s health bar, and disengage before they can retaliate. The Presence of Mind restores some portion of your mana every time you strike an enemy.
You can play around with your other rune slots. Nimbus Cloak, Celerity, and Gathering Storm work well for the sorcery tree while Legend: Alacrity or Legend: Bloodline are good choices in the precision tree.
Effective Item Build Paths – ‘Nuclear Flag’ or ‘Eternal Shield’?
Just like the rune setups, there are two different build paths. The first is called Nuclear Flag. This is based on a full AP-damage build with Void Staff and Rabadon’s Deathcap. The second is called the Eternal Shield which uses Moonstone Renewer and cooldown-reduction items to provide beneficial effects to your Attack Damage Carry (ADC).
Damaged-Based – Nuclear Flag
If you are playing AP Jarvan IV in the top lane, or even ARAMs, you should go for this damage build with the Phase Rush rune setup.
You can start off with either a Doran’s Ring or Cull. Mana expenditure is not too high in the early game so you can sustain yourself in-game and get last hits. Your mythic will be either Liandry’s Anguish, Luden’s Tempest, or Hextech Rocketbelt, whatever you are most comfortable with.
Follow it up with Lichbane second, for the spell blade passive, and Rabadon’s Deathcap third. This build will vary depending on the enemy laner. Remember to get Sorcerer’s Shoes for that added magic penetration as it will all add up if you are using Luden’s Tempest or Hextech Rocketbelt.
Utility-Based – Eternal Shield
You may like to try out the AP Jarvan IV support played by Afreeca Freecs in the 2019 LCK season. It uses the Summon Aery rune setup with cooldown reduction runes.
Your first item will always be Spellthief’s edge, there is no replacement. Poke the enemy support or ADC to gain gold from your passive to build up to your mythic. Your first item will be Moonstone Renewer, followed by Ionian Boots of Lucidity. Moonstone Renwer will heal your ADC every time a champion is affected by your ability and the Ionian Boots will help you spam abilities faster, getting your ADC to full in no time
Buy Zhonya’s Hourglass after that for some dive potential and Chemtech Purifier for team fights. The Chemtech Purifier will grant your entire team healing reduction effects which can be vital in team fights.
Depending on your ADC and team’s composition, Ardent Sensor or Staff of Flowing Water can be extremely beneficial later on.
Also check: Is Jarvan IV AP or AD? The Ultimate Season 12 LoL Guide
The skill order for both setups is slightly different. The Phase Rush setup can be played with the usual Q max first into E max second. This is switched in the Summon Aery setup where you will want to max out E first and Q second. W is always maxed last in every Jarvan IV build, be it ability power, attack damage, or pure tank.
Summoner Spells – A Champion’s Best Friend
Summoner spells can vary drastically depending on what you want to play and your playstyle. If you are a support, you should probably opt for Ignite while those playing solo lanes can select heal or teleport.
Flash is the best summoner spell in 99% of games. But in the rare instance, you are comfortable enough to play without it, you can pick Barrier for some extra sustain while going in. Junglers will always choose Smite for easy clearing of jungle camps.
Playstyle – What Is Your Win Condition?
Every champion has its own win condition. Whether it’s scaling up to be a beast in the late game or healing their teammates from 2% to full health with one ability, it is essential to play towards it.
Jarvan IV’s win condition, if played as a support, will be to dive the backline, creating chaos in the team fight. Your main role will be to reach the ADC using the basic E>Q combo while also knocking up their front line. Throw out your R on the ADC to limit their escape options and force them to use their flash to get out.
In close-combat team fights, spam your W and E abilities to buff your teammates and debuff your enemies. Your items should be Moonstone Renewer and Chemtech Purifier to get the most out of this playstyle.
If you have chosen the damage build with Phase Rush setup, your job is to chip away at the opponent using your E. You can also chip at them using your Q if they are within range but make sure not to waste your cooldowns or mana. Once they are low enough, go in and press R to trap them inside small proximity. Your teammates should be able to clean them up afterward.
Champions To Watch Out For
As a support champion, avoid playing AP Jarvan IV into heavy-engage compositions such as Leona and Kalista. They will dive onto your backline and escape your counter engage with ease, rendering you useless, and possibly prompting a mass report after the match.
As a solo laner, ban out champions such as Aatrox, who have insane self-healing, and tanks such as Tahm Kench. They will nullify your chip damage and won’t allow you to farm.
Other than that, play it right and you should be able to win most matchups.
Also check: Is Aatrox AP or AD? – The Ultimate Season 12 LoL Guide
The Bottom Line
AP Jarvan IV is a very niche pick and most wouldn’t dare try it. If you are someone bored of playing the meta builds and have an adequate amount of experience with Jarvan IV under your belt, you can definitely check it out. One thing is for sure. An AP Jarvan IV support is bound to throw off the enemy team and scramble their game plan.
For more LoL builds, check out this lethality Ashe build.