In my experiences of playing J4 top he can take away a game if he dominates his lane within the first 6 levels.
His top match ups are a bit hit or miss but with some of the new items he is able to build a bit tanky while dishing out some damage. For example the new Black Cleaver, Iceborn Gauntlets and Ravenous Hydra. Granted if you are building in this way he becomes more of a dunk master rather than an initiator.
Just my 2 cents.
I, in no way claim to be a master of Jarvan the IV, but he is definitely one of my favorite champions to play. I love his mobility and of course the feeling of crushing low armor targets.
It depends on your definition of carrying the game. J4 can definitely make plays in a large amount of situations that can/will swing the outcome of the fight, with proper use of his abilities; linear knock-up, aoe slow, well placed cataclysm. Fortunately, regardless of how you build J4, tank or damage, these tools provide a large impact to a fight.
If you are strictly talking about carrying the game as a major source of killing power for your team, he can definitely do this, but it isn't very consistent as a missed combo (q + e) will likely lead to your death and the loss of the team fight; you will basically be jumping into a fight with two active abilities put into cool down. However, when you do land your E + Q on the enemy carry of your choice, two things usually happen: you drop their health to a point where they must exit a team fight or you kill them before they hit the ground from your knock-up. This build in general is pretty binary, but the results are completely based on your ability to land combos on the right people.
Jarvan can compete with quite a few of the popular tops in my opinion, but this will come down to your ability to land combos and map awareness. One thing to keep in mind is that Jarvan has a 175 attack range, which is 50 longer than most other melee champions in the game; you may want to abuse this very early on. A very important thing to practice on J4 is ‘hit-confirming’ your combo; if your flag is not going to deal damage or land in the position that you want it to, you must resist the temptation of throwing out your Q. I’m not going to really go into specific detail about lane match-ups here as the concept of laning with him is generally the same against everyone; hit without getting hit. Instead what I’d like to do is let you guys in on some small things I do to win/survive my laning phase:
• Try your best to pin point your E to land directly on top of your target or slightly in front of them. Although, throwing your E behind the target is more likely to help you land your knock-up combo, pin-pointing will allow you to deal massive damage to your lane opponent without taking a hit back in many cases, as they will still be landing after you have comboed, basic attacked, and already started walking away from them. As Jarvan has no sustain this is the most important thing to practice if you want to win your lane.
• Do not think of your combo as useable in only one way. When feeling pressured I generally reverse the order in which I throw my combo (Q > E); this is so that I can deal the same amount damage per mana spent while not committing myself to jumping towards them. This is pretty decent damage even without the Martial Cadence proc, while not losing your current position. There is one more benefit of doing this, your opponents are generally estimating your cooldowns, while you can clearly see what they are. Your Q will come off of cooldown before your E standard disappears, allowing you to jump in after a few seconds anyway; you can catch quite a people off guard.
• E > Q > R is a great way to close distance and ensure kills. Although, you are losing two abilities to close distance, you shouldn’t really mind doing this as the only time it should be done is on low targets or to help your team catch up to that target. *If you have been building damage and you land all 3 of these abilities on a carry you can generally kill them before they hit the ground.
• This isn’t very manly, but it is something that needs to talked about: escaping with Jarvan. E > Q is a great escape as well as initiate. I don’t really think about this much unless the enemy jungler is on his way. There isn’t much to think about here unless you get flanked and they have CC. When in the toughest of situations I use the following escape:
o Run to the double brush along the wall
o Run towards the enemy side brush and throw my E into the brush closest to my own tower while in the other brush so they do not see it being planted
o Continue to run towards their tower while in brush
o Use R on the player flanking you and while in the air spam your Q towards the E you planted earlier. This will help you shave off some time in casting, as most cast times in the game are about .25 seconds
• I generally avoid getting W until level 8, as I find that if I am landing my combos the slow seems unnecessary and causes me to run into mana issues. This is a great tool in team fights, but not as helpful in lane.
• J4 is pretty beasty when getting tower dove, if you have flash up you can generally get a kill or two when they commit to the dive. In this situation, I try to Ult the player/s that are diving me then immediately E > Q out. From here I wait to see if they flash out of my ult, so that I can flash back into it for continued protection. Your Q will be back up soon, so try lining up your knock-up if they have stuck around.
If you are crushing your lane as DPS J4 push to the tower then start walking towards mid. As mid is not likely building health or armor, I generally try sniping kills there on R cooldown, as you can kill them before they hit the ground from your E > Q cooldown.
Late game you can pretty much move freely if you have been building tanky, but have to be very careful if you are glass cannon. Missing an E > Q with either build is brutal, but as a tank it doesn’t mean you are dead unlike when you build damage. Try flanking your opponents to either surprise them with your combo or to completely avoid having to open with it. Something I like to do is to flank, ult a group of enemy players then E > Q out, letting my team follow up without risking much myself.
I’d like to write more, but I don’t really have the time at the moment. I hope that this is helpful to those that want to learn J4. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
To be quite honest, I am unsure of what to get for J4 this season with the item overhaul, but I highly suggest looking at the following guide:
I actually used this when I first started playing J4 in S2 and it goes into quite a bit of detail.
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To be honest, it's hard to say, we have a ton of new itemization and jungle changes that ultimately effects every match-up top lane. As much as I'd like to see the situation where he is behind less painful, I think that waiting to see how top lane as a whole adjusts to the S3 changes is much more important at this time.
If you'd like, you can continue to update this thread with your thoughts as you play him and I'd love to share my thoughts here while I continue to play J4 as well.
I had a really hard time winning with J4 when spending my early money on any form of gp10. Like others here have mentioned before it can get a bit painful when behind; in general you to be aggressive with J4 and the gp10s in no way allow you to do so. Also the overall cost of AD items are cheaper now, so you really want to take advantage of that.