An Analysis of Janna's Viability in the Current Meta
Wed 12th Feb 2014 - 9:38am
In lieu of the support changes in Season 4, Leona, Thresh and Annie have risen to the top of the tier lists of support players. How does Janna fare in this new burst heavy meta game?
Tailwind: Increases movement speed of nearby allied champions by 5%.
Though not as powerful as her old passive which gave a 3% global movespeed buff, this passive is still very relevant, especially in solo queue where people tend to be out of position. The extra movespeed usually catches people off guard and works well with Talisman of Ascension to pick someone off before making a push for objectives.
Howling Gale: Summons a whirlwind, which deals 60/85/110/135/160 (+35% Ability Power) magic damage to all enemies in its path and knocks them into the air. The whirlwind travels farther, deals 15/20/25/30/35 (+10% Ability Power) bonus damage, and knocks enemies higher, for each second it charges (up to a maximum of 3 seconds). Activate again to release the whirlwind early.
Janna’s bread and butter CC. While it doesn’t disable for long, its AOE is massive and if charged, is like a knockoff Sona ultimate. This is very strong against some popular champions like Vi and Shyvana, as it can interrupt their gap closers.
Zephyr: Passive: Increases Movement Speed by 4/6/8/10/12% (+2%/100 AP) and allows movement through units. Active: Deals 60/115/170/225/280 (+50% Ability Power) magic damage to an enemy and slows their Movement Speed by 24/28/32/36/40% (+6%/100 AP) for 3 seconds. Passive benefit is lost while Zephyr is on cooldown.
Janna’s only selfish skill. This gives Janna her unmatched mobility, and combined with her passive and Talisman, allows her to catch unsuspecting enemies while making sure her team is close enough to follow up.
Eye of the Storm: Shields an allied Champion or turret for 5 seconds. The shield absorbs up to 80/120/160/200/240 (+70% Ability Power) damage and grants 14/23/32/41/50 (+10% Ability Power) Attack Damage until it breaks.
This is decent sustain in lane, and makes any AD based champion a beast once Janna picks up some AP. A 500 HP shield on Shyvana, Renekton, Vi or Mundo is not very fun for the enemy team. With 40% CDR, the shield will only have a 1 second downtime.
Monsoon: Summons forth the might of the wind to knock surrounding enemies back and restores 100/150/200 (+60% Ability Power) Health to nearby allies each second for 3 seconds.
Before Riot’s slew of buffs, Janna’s ultimate was generally relegated to peeling for the ADC. With both duration and number buffs to the heal, Monsoon can now drastically turn the tides of a fight. Proper usage of this skill makes or breaks Janna. Personally, I think Riot went the right direction with the changes to Janna’s ult. Now that the channeled portion of the ultimate actually matters, Janna is more relevant, and more rewarding to play.
A quick look tells us that Janna is more defensively oriented than the popular supports. This isn't to say she is tanky, it's actually the opposite. She favors passivity and denying kills on her carries over making aggressive plays. In a sense, Janna is the opposite of the popular trinity. She has strong reactive plays against most of the meta as well as amplifying the strengths of the very same champions. Her toolbox of supportive CC is a powerful follow up to the dive heavy junglers popular in the current meta. Her AOE heal negates the AOE burst of popular mid laners like Ziggs or Gragas. Her shield and tornado are strong defenses against the all-in nature of bot lane.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though.
Janna is a very fragile champion that relies on allies. She has a weaker laning phase than most supports and has relatively low kill potential regardless of the ADC pairing. She is a jack-of-all-trades support but in being so, her skills are weaker than their direct counterparts. Her shield provides less sustain than Soraka’s, Sona’s and even Nami’s heal in lane and Howling Gale/Zephyr disable for anemic durations compared to Death Sentence/Flay from Thresh or Zenith Blade/Shield of Daybreak from Leona.
While "reliance on allies" and "solo queue viable" sounds contradictory, Janna actually thrives in the chaotic nature of solo queue games. Janna’s presence amplifies her teammates’ strength rather than being a wall of meat or doing a massive chunk of damage. She punishes greed like none other, a phenomenon very common in solo queue. She also gives more leeway for your teammates to be greedy, saving games that may have been thrown.
Janna’s strengths lie in her mobility and teamfight presence which is why she should be considered a “carry support”. Janna shines in mid-game skirmishes and her mobility allows her to be present whenever a fight breaks out. All four of her skills peel for the carries, a feat not many other supports can boast. Most people don’t realize how well Janna scales with CDR and AP, but come late-game, she is more relevant than any other support. Especially in such a tank and dive heavy metagame, the combination of shield, heal, mobility and CC that Janna’s kit provides is backbreaking.