Riot Games is taking a break from Shurima and heading to Demacia for the latest card reveals from Legends of Runeterra’s Empires of the Ascended expansion. Jarvan IV was unveiled today—and fans will finally get to see his father in action too.
Jarvan IV is a four-mana Elite champion unit with 5/3 combat stats and the Barrier keyword. He also has a unique ability that automatically summons him if you can pay his cost while you declare an attack. If you’re able to pay the mana, Jarvan will enter the board immediately while Challenging the strongest enemy. Jarvan IV will reach his second level when allies you control have survived four strikes from enemy blockers.
When Jarvan IV levels up, he gains +1/+1 in combat stats, retains his ability to summon himself from his hand by paying his cost when attacking, and gains Barrier each time he Challenges an enemy. In addition, he also gains a Round Start ability that gives him a Fleeting Cataclysm in hand. The spell mirrored after his ultimate ability is a rare three-mana Slow spell that has an ally start a free attack where they Challenge an enemy.
In addition to showing off Jarvan IV, his father Jarvan III is making an appearance as an LoR card. King Jarvan III is a seven-mana Epic Elite unit with 3/6 combat stats and the Tough keyword. In addition, King Jarvan III has two different summon abilities depending on if you have Jarvan IV in play. If the prince isn’t in play, you’ll draw him. If Jarvan IV is already on the board, then all allies will gain Challenger and Scout for the round—a deadly pair of keywords if you have the ability to attack.
Jarvan IV exemplifies Demacia’s identity to reign over board control through combat by setting up favorable trades thanks to Barrier. While leveling up Jarvan IV may be difficult to set up without combat tricks, he doesn’t need to be on the board to reach level two.
Jarvan’s unique summon ability, a first in the game, will be difficult for opponents to play around. This is due to the fact that if it’s your sixth turn, you won’t need to play him and you can just open swing, which gives your opponent one less slow action to react to. Once Jarvan is summoned like this, he’ll either destroy a strong enemy or deal five direct damage if the opponent’s board is empty.
Once Jarvan does level up and reach the board, it’ll be difficult for the opponent to retain any semblance of a board since Jarvan’s constant Cataclysm attacks will let him get six free damage against an enemy unit. This means that the opponent will either need combat spells or damage effects to survive or trade evenly in this interaction.
If you choose to run Jarvan IV, Jarvan III will be a near auto-include to consider within your deck because he can either reliably draw Jarvan IV by turn seven or set up a potential finish on the opponent if you already control his son.
All of these Challenge effects can give the recently revealed Renekton a chance to potentially shine in a Demacia/Shurima region pairing deck. While Renekton may never reach his third level if you forego restoring the Sun Disc, the fact that Cataclysm is a forced combat that has Renekton Challenge opponents means that you can help level up both Jarvan IV and Renekton with the same spell.
Aside from being his champion spell, Cataclysm also has varying uses outside of helping Jarvan IV activate his ability and has benefits that alternate from Single Combat. It activates Overwhelm and Quick Attack keywords through a spell, units can activate their on attack triggers, and it also helps Quinn and Miss Fortune level up.
Aside from Challenger-based synergies, the fact that Jarvan IV and King Jarvan III are both Elites adds to the Elite archetype that saw fringe play on the ranked ladder. With both the king and the prince coming to the game, this gives Elites another champion to put into their deck aside from Garen.
Jarvan IV will join the champion roster when LoR: Empires of the Ascended goes live on March 3.