Janna Top Guide /w Smite
League of Legends occasionally has meta changes, however, some seek to push to meta with downright weird and whacky builds and play styles. Another meta breaking build has once again emerged, now currently terrorizing high elo and making its way down.
Why did this emerge?
With the nerfs to the top lane and the shifts away from the reliance on ultra tanky picks, the impact of the top lane LoL role has been on a decline. Furthermore, this season’s changes to teleport made it less viable for laning, another step Riot took which negatively impacted top laners. This prompted players to search for a new way to utilize the role, hence the emergence of Janna top with Smite.
Does this strategy work with others?
This strategy works with a few other champions, however, Janna top with Smite has seen the most success. It has been reported to reach an astounding 60% win rate in high elo ranks. This is mainly due to Janna’s high movement speed, and recent buffs to her abilities, resulting in stronger slows and better ganks. Ultimately, any support type character will work with the strategy as it centers on funneling and aiding the rest of your team.
How does it work?
Janna top with Smite is a funneling strategy, similar to the infamous Taric & Yi jungle strategy more than two years ago. However, unlike the Taric & Yi strategy, Janna top with Smite works by continuously roaming around the map instead of funneling a single champion. This prevents the hotfix defuff aim at the Taric & Yi jungle funnel strategy from kicking in, allowing Janna and her teammates to receive the full amount of gold despite the funnel (albeit a subtler one).
Overall, the strategy involves voluntarily giving up your top lane, instead, banking on the fact your roams and jungle invades will bring a greater net benefit to your overall team. It also aims to push your teammates ahead in the laning phase, allowing them to snowball and carry you later in the game. In the case your team is down gold, Smite allows your team to secure the highly valuable objective bounties like Rift Herald or Dragon throughout the game. This will overall prevent your team from falling too far behind. Such control of objectives will also lead to non-gold related benefits, and being a support, your constant utility throughout the game will almost certainly outweigh an enemy top lane.
What do the pros think?
Overall, while meta innovations are interesting for the game, keeping this specific strategy as a viable pick is unhealthy. This pick and play style devalues the importance of individual skill and the laning phase. Spamming ganks, while largely effective, is considered to be a “no brain” strategy and simply hated amongst the pro and high elo LoL players.
Build – items
Starting – Shard of True Ice + Control ward
The AP support item will allow you to earn some extra gold when ganking lanes. Giving the strategy entails constant ganks, you will get near full utility of the gold passive. It is also important to rush this first, as it allows you to gain access to wards quicker to control vision.
First back – Boots of Swiftness or Boots of Mobility
Either one of these boots will give you the maximum speed to roam the map to establish vision, gank and invade the enemy jungle.
Mythic item – Moonstone Renewer
The best item for Janna as it further increases her ability to keep allies alive with the unique heal passive.
Build – Runes
- Glacial Augment – Even more slows which is highly effective when ganking
- Perfect Timing – Free stopwatch which you will lose when inevitably targeted in the late game
- Future’s market – Get an item you need to snowball other lanes
- Cosmic Insight – Maximizes your utility
- Zombie ward – Grant additional vision. With the large amount of roaming and ability to clear wards, Zombie ward gives great stat value late game.
- Relentless Hunter – Move faster between ganks / camps.
Rengar – Rengar has the ability to instantly assassinate Janna if she poorly positions. This is due to Rengar’s high burst damage and Edge of Night items likely being built, allowing him to kill Janna despite an instant cast of Monsoon.
Malphite – Malphite is unable to be crowd control while in Unstoppable Force, preventing Janna from stopping an engage on herself of the team during poor positioning especially in the jungle. If Malphite successfully hits multiple targets with his ult, which Janna can try to disengage, your team is already in a disadvantageous position.
Pantheon – Pantheon can match some of Janna’s roam once he is level 6 with his global ultimate. The “new” Axiom Arc item further allows Pantheon to match Janna, thus reducing her effectiveness.
Kassadin – Strong scaling champions like Kassadin can counter a Janna pick as they can freely scale if they stay under turret due to Janna’s lack of diving potential.