[Guide] DPS Janna: Screw Tornados, I Can Crit
EDIT: With the advent of changes to Janna and the shifting of the metagame towards support healer heroes (even in solo queue games), it is my belief that this is no longer one of the best ways to play Janna. It is still playable and can be effective, however, so try it out if you wish.
First, this guide owes a significant debt to the example of agip33 especially, and Zeekji (who I recently spoke to about his methods, and also follows agip33's general style). However, I felt that people ought to be educated on an alternative way of playing Janna, since I wasn't sure if these two were going to post a formal guide.
The primary thing to understand is that Janna blows. No wait. That's not right, lets start over.
. . .
The primary thing to understand is that Janna's spells do not scale in damage. Their AP ratios are crappy, such that you are better off ignoring AP entirely. The AP ratios would be workable if she had a third, easy-to-use nuke, but she does not. Annie, for example, has roughly .65 AP ratios on her two non-ult nukes, but because she has three easy-to-land and high-base-damage nukes, AP has much more value on her than Janna for nuking. Also, someone at riot decided that a 4-second channeled healing spell (her ult) should have an AP ratio somewhere in the neighborhood of .35 to 1, and well, who am I to judge? It's just frustrating when you compare it to the ratio of, say, Crowstorm.
This leaves you with two logical options. A tanky, mana-emphasizing build that allows her to stick around using abilities indefinitely for their various side-effects which are FAR more useful than their damage components. . . and live through six volleys of Twitch's spray and pray instead of five.
That build is for weenies.
The other logical option would be a cooldown reduction centered build, forgoing tank-y-ness in favor of the ability to use the abilities practically every time they are up. I have had this build work in the past when my team was doing well; being able to launch a knock-up tornado and slow someone every couple of seconds can guarantee a win in a long back-and-forth team fight struggle. However, there is absolutely nothing about this build that allows you to change whether your team is going to win or lose. If your team has a failure or two, your presence makes it worse.
That build is also for weenies.
The build that we are going to talk about today puts Ashe to shame and makes Tristana wish she were half as cool as Janna. (EDIT: Going by comments, some people take this entirely seriously. No, DPS Janna does not fill the exact same role as those two, but she can still dish out the damage.)
So let us begin our walk-through of why this can actually work, and work well.
SPELLS: (Look up the description for the numbers or what they do, or do a practice game or something, I'm not gonna paste most likely incorrect database info here)
Howling Gale ("the tornado"): This ability is useful because of the knockup. The damage is negligible, even at rank 5, and even fully charged. I have seriously considered in the past keeping it at rank 1 as I approach lvl 18 so I can stay around longer before going out of mana. That's how meaningless the damage tends to be. That said, the short-cooldown knockup aspect is incredibly useful.
Here's the biggest thing you need to remember about Gale: DO NOT CHARGE IT UP FOR MOAR DAMAGE. It's not useful for this. As long as the opponent is close enough, release it immediately and get the cooldown started for the next cast. Hit Q, target, hit Q again. You'll get used to immediately compensating for the tornado's delay.
Zephyr: This is a crucial ability, despite the awful damage this deals as well. It is a slow, it deals that little bit of extra damage when you need it for almost no mana cost, and most importantly, the passive on this gives you such a movement speed boost that the only time you should ever die early on as Janna should involve horrible gang rape, diving for the sake of a kill, or chained crowd control abilities.
Eye of the Storm: This shield is the muscle, the absolute crux, of making this build work. With this on yourself, you become a harassing machine at the beginning of the game. You can attack someone in your lane a few times, and as they back out to get the minions to attack you, you can keep chasing and harass further. The minions will beat fruitlessly on your shield. You can use this to dive into a tower for one or two auto attacks to kill someone at nearly no health remaining, as even at lower ranks a fresh shield can absorb an entire tower shot. This gives you the potency to really threaten everyone and everything throughout the game when necessary, and the flexibility to cast it on others can create some real difficult situations for opponents and save your teammates.
Monsoon: This ult is difficult to use and not very powerful. It does have uses, however. Sometimes you and a few teammates are all just at half and feeling like going back. A monsoon can freshen you all up and make you ready to go again. Monsoon makes a good "OH ****" Button when you get jumped by two melee for example; cast it, knock them back, and blow everything you've got to get away. Done properly, you'll pretty much always live. My favorite maneuver is the grand slam: Howling Gale someone close to you, then while they're still in the air hit them with monsoon. They will go flying way while up in the air. You can use this to send people over forests and thoroughly split up an opposing team with enough skill.
EDIT: Since this guide was written, there have been some changes to her abilities. Namely, her shield has a shorter CD, her tornado does more damage, and her ult slows those inside of it, giving it SIGNIFICANTLY more team-fight and escape utility. Executioner's calling has been brought down from ridiculousness as well (When this guide was written, it applied the healing debuff automatically on any auto attack. That, as you can imagine, made monsoon pretty bad).
Anyway. . .
Thus, the skill order we will use is:
Eye of the Storm
Eye (don't remember if you can do this; but eye is priority over zephyr, essentially)
Monsoon (only if using the heal aspect)
Gale and monsoon to max level.
As has been shown mathematically, armor pen runes are now the way to go on any physical DPS champion, period. Even though this build emphasizes crit, armor pen is still better than crit damage runes. Don't question it, you'll just make life harder for yourself. Be happy, armor pen runes cost less IP and work for all champions, all the time!
Oh, the items. Everyone loves item builds. Here it is:
Start game with:
+Crit% Gauntlets and 2x Health Potions
Moving forward, do the following:
Avarice Blade (Second one only if it's still early, such as before 10 minutes in)
Upgrade to Phantom Dancer
Upgrade to Infinity Edge
At this point, the game should probably be almost over. If it isn't, I typically replace the Avarice Blades with Phantom Dancers as income allows.
I was recommended to use Exhaust and Rally myself, and I am a pretty big fan of them overall. However, I find that Exhaust doesn't pack quite the punch it would on some other heroes unless you have a friend to help you out on the kill. With Janna, the Exhaust is important as a filler between Gale knockups and zephyr slow. I personally feel that it is pretty replaceable with whatever you feel most comfortable with, and that since Rally is going to be nerfed in the patch following this Guide's creation, that too will be tougher to justify. It's still really, really good however.
If you find yourself leaning more towards Janna's support role throughout games, nobody would complain if you replaced something with Clarity. Just don't think it's an excuse to go nuts with tornados, because you'll be in the same situation you were in before.
Edit: since this was written, rally has been nerfed, and I have not played Janna much since that nerf. I cannot give accurate advice, but in theory cleanse is always a solid choice, as is ignite for early game kills and late game heal stopping utility. Just use your best judgment.
21/0/9 is how I do it. This works particularly well with the above suggested summoner spells as you are able to grab both improving-talents for exhaust and rally. Honestly filling out the offense tree is fairly self-explanatory. Max everything related to damage and critting, and put your leftover points into that cooldown reduction talent. Having these masteries is actually pretty important, especially for the 10% bonus to crit damage at the end. Then slap the last 9 into Utility, where I generally go for regen/mana stuff and the "greed" talent.
Janna's strength comes from her speed and her incredible utility. You can get away with doing this strategy without losing much of her spell-based punch because she gains so much mana simply from leveling up. Remember while playing this strategy that as tempting as it might be to go around farming wraiths and trying to solo-gank people because "you can crit", you are not Warwick nor are you Udyr or Yi. You are most valuable to your team as a player who can intelligently use tornados and zephyr to swing team fights and stop chasers or runners, as a player who knows when Eye of the Storm belongs on someone besides herself, and as someone who, most importantly, knows when Monsoon will hurt more than it helps. Only when you make sure you meet the criteria for a good "caster" Janna can you grow beyond that and auto attack some fools to death. Between casts, of course.
Hope this guide was helpful. Please leave comments and criticism.
Shameless bump, + edit to clarify in the title that this is a guide.
Edit: apparently you can't edit titles. Awesome.
Alright. Is my only option to delete and re-post this with the proper title? That seems kind of stupid and circuitous.
I'm honestly very surprised at this guide. I think I might go buy Janna now and play her, if only just to see people freak out at my awesome auto-attack skillz on what I, at least, once thought was a heavy support caster.
You need Masteries.
Else a nice guide - good job!
Can't believe I Forgot those. Edit inc.
Really fun; incredibly situational.
Incredibly useless against a high-ish elo bracket. You end up failing to do anything useful at all points of the game.
No ap means no dmg on nukes, no health on shield, and uselessness of spells all around.
Early game...and dps character just messes you up.
Please do not use this strategy :|
just imagine Janna with 4 seconds casting ultimate and ap ratio of 0.35,
now imagine Janna with an ultimate casted for the whole duration bam that is ap ratio of 1.4 ... TOO IMBA IMO.
Also dps janna = fail
Thanks for the guide! I've been using it and it's very effective. :]
I've tried making AP work. You just don't make a significant difference in the game that way. The tornado hits for ****. Zephyr hits for ****. Monsoon never gets to heal the full duration in a real fight anyway. The difference between a shield blocking 300 and a shield blocking 500 can matter, but often does not by any means decide whether you win or lose a fight, let alone a match.
If you want to use a character with AP to nuke people and support, play a real nuker like Annie or Anivia, or play a more able support like Soraka or Taric.
The spells do not become useless by any means because you don't have AP. All of their power is concentrated in their secondary effects, with increase in the "number" aspects as an afterthought. With this build, your auto attacks will do much more than an AP stacked Zephyr cast, and you will be able to chain-gun many of them in only two or three seconds.
I would argue that you have never tried this strategy, nor have you ever seen it done properly and are criticizing it without any real knowledge. Janna's value does not come from doing 100 more damage with a tornado, it comes from the knockup that tornado provides. This is what makes her a support character. Being able to deal significantly more damage in the interim by using a few auto attacks is far more valuable.
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