Jarvan IV Ratings and Elites Deck Theorycraft

Hi everyone, den here to talk about one of the newly revealed champions from the Shurima expansion: Jarvan IV and the cards he brings alongside him.

While highly-costed champions are not really a thing lately in the game, and it is the 3-cost champions that are dominating competitively, Jarvan IV brings a lot to the table with his unique summon mechanic, alongside excellent new cards for the Demacia region.

While the region was in great shape lately, leveraging its ability to force combats, backed up by plenty of Barriers, The Grand Plaza nerf only left Fiora Shen as a playable archetype with Demacia included. That might change with the next expansion with the addition of Jarvan IV, but also the emphasis on combat that Renekton looks to bring for the Shurima region.

In this article, I want to cover three topics specifically. First, we’ll discuss Jarvan IV himself, second, we’ll cover Cataclysm and Golden Aegis, and why these two cards will solidify Demacia as the fighting region for months to come. Lastly, I’ll offer a theorycraft deck that tries to see if the Elite tag can finally shine, as Garen is FINALLY not the only champion to go with it.

Here is our rating scale:

  • 5.0: Meta-defining card, proven itself as a staple in multiple top-tier archetypes.
  • 4.0: Archetype staple, or auto-include in multiple archetypes.
  • 3.0: A solid playable, could serve as a staple for some archetypes.
  • 2.0: Can be used for specific synergies, or to counter some decks
  • 1.0: Doesn’t find its place in the meta.

Ready to roll? Let’s go!



Jarvan IV – 4.0

Something that I feel is extremely important in the game is the meaningful use of the attack token. Demacia as a region doesn’t feature many Burst speed spells, meaning that they can’t really set up the attack without giving back priority to their opponent (unlike Targon or Ionia, for example).

Jarvan IV is an insane addition just for that reason, as it makes any open-attack setup incredibly scarier for the opponent, who will have to plan around having their best blocker out of the equation.

Also, the level-up condition of Jarvan IV is something to consider, as it looks like a fairly easy one to complete by turn 6, where Jarvan could be played on-curve.

Although its high cost might limit the use of the card to midrange and control metagame, Demacia looks like it has the tools to drag games against aggressive strategies which would possibly make Jarvan IV an all-around good champion with the right supporting cast.

I personally love the playstyle that revolves around combat and setting up a great open attack to keep the opponent under pressure and being in control of the tempo. Jarvan IV is a champion that I cannot wait to try, and he also brings with him cards that could shape Demacia as a board-dominating region once and for all.


Golden Aegis and Cataclysm – 3.0

There are already cards doing very similar things in Demacia, Single Combat is basically the same as Cataclysm except it doesn’t actually count as an attack. And Relentless Pursuit is a Golden Aegis for 3 mana without the Barrier added to it.

While these two cards shouldn’t be great or game-breaking in any way, the fact that Demacia keeps getting that kind of cards will make the region more consistent and less predictable as the general effect will be expected but the specifics might be different from a card to another. You have to be extremely careful when your Demacia opponent is at 2 or 3 or 4 mana, and it should disrupt your hand reading quite a bit.

Cataclysm actually triggering an attack makes the card flexible. Units with Overwhelm could be looking to use it to push extra damage and Quick Attack interacts with this card very favorably as well (unlike Single Combat). In addition, some units will also have some special on-attack or strike triggers that will proc, like the ones of Mountain Goat or Jarvan IV.

When it comes to Golden Aegis, the Barrier added to rally for an extra mana point could be a huge deal when we think about it. The problem with Relentless Pursuit is that in LoR the defender gets to pick who blocks what, so you need to be far ahead on the board to make a card like Pursuit work (unless you have a Challenger).

Decks like Scouts could run the card because the deck is completely centered around building up and dominating the board.

Golden Aegis wants to be used in a way that either forces the opponent to block into the Barrier or accept the damage, which makes the card much more flexible that what Pursuit could be.

While additional mana is an investment, the added flexibility of the card is something to consider and could fit in more board-centric rather than aggressive Demacia builds.


Theorycrafting with Elites

With Jarvan IV joining the game, the Elite tag finally gets a second champion alongside Garen. Jarvan IV also allows you to control the trading, which is great for an Elite deck.

Garen should also find a lot of good synergies among the new cards, as Cataclysm and Golden Aegis look like good support to help him level up.

The gameplay of Elite units pushes it to be a bulldozer on the board, constantly developing pressure in order to force our opponent to defend. Even though I didn’t feature them in this review, there are a ton of utility elites coming alongside Jarvan IV and they should add some firepower to the archetype.

The bad news is that the deck still has to rely on units and Slow spells, which gives our opponent a lot of time to react to our actions. Still, all these new tools look too shiny not to try to make something out of it.



This build focuses on building a huge board and then abusing Jarvan IV and Garen. I think the only way for Elites to be competitive is to follow the example of Scouts and be very aggressive with a lot of rally effects. But for now, the two champions are pushing the deck into more midrange gameplay where we want to curve up to turn 5 or 6.

The Demacia-only deck usually wants a splash region for either a huge finisher or draw support. However, we might have to divert from that path and look up to Shurima instead – the new Exhaust card looks way too good in the deck and helps to level up Jarvan. Let’s hope we still draw well enough in order to keep our opponent under pressure. 


Conclusion

I might be hyping myself a bit too much for Jarvan IV, and the fact that he fits exactly the way I like to play the game probably adds to that. But seeing some love for good old-fashioned unit combat is something I am happy about.

The package of cards he brings with him looks really good, but my main concern is how can Demacia really build around those cards considering the region already struggles to keep up the Burst speed gameplay most other regions have access to.

These releases fit the identity of the region and should keep improving Demacia as the fighting gold standard we know and love. And whether this identity will be good enough in the coming month is still up for debate.

Thanks for reading, as always, feel free to drop by my Twitter if you want to talk about all those new toys we are getting with the arrival of Shurima.

den

Den has been in love with strategy games for as long as he can remember, starting with the Heroes of Might and Magic series as a kid. Card games came around the middle school - Yugioh and then Magic. Hearthstone has been his real breakthrough and he has been a coach, writer, and caster on the French scene for many years now. Although it took him a bit to get into Legends or Runeterra, his EU Seasonal Tournament win was the perfect start to get involved in the community. He now coaches aspiring pro players and writes various articles on the game. Find him on Twitter at @den_CCG!

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