Support: Unsung Heroes of Clutch Play + Janna, the Queen of Them All?

Posted: September 20, 2011 by atenthirtyone in Champions

Support heroes have always been a mainstay of League of Legends for the longest time now. They are champions that specifically do not need much farm to be extremely effective. Yet, how they have been played has changed significantly within the last few months. Previously before the massive changes to the AP ratios of healing abilities and sustainability, support became a roadblock in skirmishes and team fights that was often seen as stale and boring. What I mean is champions like Soraka and Sona, whom can keep their duo lane in lane for a disgusting amount of time (Soraka especially). Now, this by itself is not a problem because all this would have done is power up the AD carries to get their items faster and thus lane pushing and team fighting would occur faster. However, this is compounded by the fact that support was building a great deal of AP themselves when possible (assists and gold per 10 seconds items). This meant that heals from these support champions would heal as hard if not harder than multiple “nuke” abilities in the game. But, now things have changed quite a bit.

With a few tweaks and number changes, support champions are now commonly seen with only tier 2 boots (of their choice), a Heart of Gold, and a Philosopher’s Stone during the laning phase and mid game. As the game progresses, they generally spend a significant portion of their gold income on wards and oracles. Occasionally, if they managed to acquire extra gold, they would invest in support items such as Aegis of the Legion, Shurelya’s Reverie, or some other support and/or defensive item. Uncommonly, sometimes an AP item is brought every once and while. Now, this is all fine and dandy because it helps the team, but how does support play exactly with a lot of AP? Well, exactly how they sound, support. There’s a reason people decided that a low damage champion would be good in 5 v 5 Summoner’s Rift. It is that their abilities can be good without needing items. Look at Taric’s stun, Soraka’s silence, Sona’s wtf speed boooost, or Janna’s cyclone knockups. All of these are effective, not because of their damage but for their status effects, whether it is to hinder an enemy or aid an ally. However, there is one support that I believe does these abilities better than any of them, Janna.

A few of the authors might here me say this for a while, but I believe that Janna has the highest skill ceiling and potential out of any support since I started to play League of Legends. Why? Look at her abilities, they are all “clutch” support abilities. What I mean by clutch is that they are abilities that only truly shine when you activate them at the right time. In addition, they can be just as effective regardless of how much gold or levels your character has. This means that they cannot be healing abilities, which while no longer enjoying a ridiculous AP ratio still want some sort of AP behind it. Now, I think that Taric is a very close second to Janna as the Queen of Clutch Play, however there’s one problem. Taric needs items, more specifically he needs “not dying as fast” or defensive items. For Taric to get the maximize potential out of his abilities, he needs to be close to his enemies. Shatter’s debuff is amazing but has short range, and his Imbue healing abilities requires him to autoattack to reduce the cooldown to a reasonable state for team fights. Janna needs none of this. Janna only has one ability that needs items, Eye of the Storm. Eye of the Storm is your basic “health points” shield that also gives Attack Damage. It also has a really high AP ratio like most of all shield abilities, but that is not what we are focusing on here. Let’s look at Janna’s other abilities.

Tailwind (Passive) – 3% movement speed for everyone as long Janna’s alive? Nothing amazing, but it helps a lot more than people think.

Howling Gale – What’s better than knock up abilities? How about an Eiffel Tower range long one that’s also area-of-effect, and not an ultimate. Seriously, this ability is ridiculously good, and blows away any other similar abilities in competition.

Zephyr – Okay, this is a two part ability, kinda. When the ability is not used, Janna gains more movement speed and avoids friendly unit collision, essentially meaning that it’s really hard to kill Janna in lane unless you flank and catch her off guard. The activation ability is your generic single target slowing ability. It’s nice, simple, and no non-sense ifs or buts. You click on that target, and that bastard is slowed down so your team can maul them.

Monsoon (Ultimate) – I do not think there is a more frustrating/awesome ultimate from a pure support champion in the game depending if the Janna is on your team or not. Janna pushes all enemies around her away, which leads to both effective and lulzy results. Did the enemy team get the better positioning and jump on your team? Simply press R, and bam. All of those range-closing abilities they used have been countered and now your team can fight with them not having it. Did one of your not so intelligent carries overextend? Flash in, and Monsoon the enemies away and feel like a hero. Need to lane gank someone with one or two members of your team? Get in between that silly Ashe and her tower and push her towards your side of the lane, meaning which will once again feed your team. The possibilities are endless with this amazing ultimate. Oh, right. It also heals for a fuck ton over time.

Oh, Janna’s not finished. She also has:
Eye of the Storm – Your standard shielding spell that adds attack damage. Also, affects towers for some reason. Also, the 0.9 AP ratio is pretty neat if your team keeps getting you global and assist gold and you actually buy AP.

Overall, Janna is just plain strong in how much control and defense she can give to her team. Like I said previously, she does not really need AP at all to be good, nor she need too many items since she is generally in the back (unless you Flash + Ultimate for hilarious results). That said, AP does not hurt on her. Monsoon ticks 4 times, which time for a 0.35 AP ratio which is pretty solid. Eye of the Storm has a very solid 0.9 AP ratio. And… I guess the 0.75 from Howling Gate and 0.8 from Zephyr can lead to some comedy Janna burst damage as well. That said, Janna is a clutch and timing play character. She cannot allow her duo partner to last longer in the lane beyond well-timed shields and keeping the enemy away. Once your carry has taken damage, there’s no way for you to heal them back. Furthermore, you cannot just spam Janna’s abilities. All of her abilities can either be completely useless, or save and win a team fight. If any of you, readers are interesting in being a superhero and carrying your team as a support, I recommend Janna. Remember, while you can pubstar all you want, League of Legends is a team game. And no one is a better force multiplier than Janna.




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