League of Legends

Taking Solo Queue by Storm: Janna's Prominence in the Current Meta

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Recently, a certain champion's name has been frequently mentioned in debates regarding "overpowered" champions. This champion had seen little to no play in the competitive scene for a while, and yet, she boasts an astounding winrate of over 55% in solo queue. If we consider the fact that the average winrate among league's many champions is about 50%, there is no doubt in anyone's mind that Janna is currently quite OP.

Starting from about a year ago, since July, Janna was hit consecutively with nerf after nerf. Even in March of this year, Eye of the Storm's AD buff was nerfed along with Monsoon's skill duration. So how did Janna come to see the light again after so many unfavorable changes? What made her so "hot" again?



The Return of Janna


Starting from last year's 'World Championship', the most popular picks for the support role were ranged such as Zyra and Miss Fortune. By fully utilizing their "harassing" capabilities, ranged supports were able to completely push the wave to their advantage; allowing them to quickly take down turrets and snowball. Because of this, champions such as Jhin, Varus, and Ashe were utilized far more often than their counterparts, so that ADC players can be more "useful" even when under constant pressure. 

However, in patch 7.9, 'Doran's Shield' was granted buffs while the opposite was granted for ranged supports. Due to these changes, the duration of botlane's 'laning phase' increased dramatically; giving more time for auto-attack based champions such as Tristana, Kalista, and Kog'maw to grow and thrive in a much safer environment.

The patch also added diversity to the support role. Along with Thresh, Alistar, Lulu, Nami, Karma, Braum, Taric, and Rakan, Janna was granted an opportunity to make it back into the meta-game. 



A coin in one hand and a censer in the other

If the previously mentioned patch opened the gates for Janna's return, the items 'Ardent Censer' and 'Ancient Coin' gave Janna wings to fly through those gates. 

Along with Doran's Shield, Ancient Coin also saw positive changes. When a minion is slain, either a gold or mana coin can spawn; allowing Janna to quickly save up gold to purchase her core items early on. But we also can't leave out the changes that were implemented in patch 7.14.

Upon completing the item's quest, nearby allies moving towards the item holder receive 8% bonus movement speed; effectively doubling the MS buff of Janna's passive in certain situations. For example, if a champion has a movement speed of 320, Janna can grant a total of 52 MS to him or her, which is about equivalent to purchasing 'Boots of Swiftness'. Due to the fact that kiting is the most important factor for an ADC to survive and dish out damage in teamfights, this change was considered by many to be an immense buff. 

Then comes the notorious Ardent Censer...

Despite the fact that the item was added in patch 4.10, it never really caught the attention of players until very recently. And although it fits well into most support champions' core build, it's especially effective when held by Janna. With the item, Janna's 'E- Eye of the Storm' grants 10% extra shield on top of the original amount while also granting extra movement speed, attack speed, and life on hit. The synergy between Janna and this item is almost too astounding.

To an ADC that has finished his or her item build, Janna's E can grant stats that can match the gold cost of a fully built item... and it's refreshed every 6 seconds.

In order to buy it as fast as possible on Janna, some players have been utilizing "odd" and "unconventional" gold runes on their pages. But it's worth noting that the winrate of Janna when utilizing these runes sits at 57%; providing another piece of evidence on how effective the Censer really is when Janna grabs ahold of it.



Will Janna make an appearance during the playoffs?

There are still some reasons to be uneasy when picking Janna. Her biggest weakness is her "passive" laning phase. In the professional stage, this "trivial" weakness can really affect the game as a whole. As her kit is completely based around being defensive, Janna and her ADC are, more often than not, caught in situations where they are being harassed and can't actively retaliate. 

Her 2nd weakness is vision control. Although Janna is fast on her feet, her kit lacks the ability to put vision down on unwarded bushes(Contrary to Miss Fortune's E or Zyra's plants). Her squishy nature does not help at all with these situations, as she will need to get close to bushes in order to ward them. This can result in her being caught out and killed unexpectedly in the late-game.

If a team is fully aware of these weaknesses and can play around them, it's possible for Janna to see frequent play in the pro scene - especially with teams like CLG that rely heavily on their ADC in the late game, or teams like IMT who are sensitive to the changes in the meta. 

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