Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Janna top makes its first appearance in the LCS on opening weekend

On day one of the League of Legends Championship Series spring regular season on Saturday, FlyQuest became the first team in a major region to showcase the controversial Janna top lane strategy that’s been taking the League of Legends community by storm. Recently, Barça eSports top laner Jakub “Dreedy” Viceník played it against Giants in La Liga de Videojuegos Profesional (LVP) Superliga

Since its ideation, Janna top lane with Smite has become the scourge of Season 12 solo queue for many players of all levels. Since Feb. 1, Janna, who is most typically played bot lane in the support role, has held the highest winrate of all “top laners” at a staggering 57.03% at Platinum and above. As of today, her winrate has dropped to 54.58% within the same sample group and still remains higher than all other champions played in the role.

While it seems like a troll pick, Janna top is way more beneficial to teams than the uninitiated might think at first glance. Here’s how the strategy works when executed properly. For starters, Janna top doesn’t really lane. Instead, she purchases her support item and spends most of her time roaming and affecting the map while enabling ganks, helping lanes and even stealing camps from the enemy jungle. Because of the gold deficit created by Janna’s sacked lane, her team can use the individual leads she helped them gain to cash in on enemy bounties later on in the game.

Normally, a champion with such a high winrate is an easy target for Riot’s balance team to tackle with nerfs in a hotfix or upcoming patch, but according to Riot Games’ Summoner’s Rift Team Design Leag Matt “Riot Phroxzon” Leung-Harrison, it’s not that simple.

“It’s something we’ve been prioritizing trying to solve,” said Riot Phroxzon. “If we’re able to gain confidence in a solution, then our priority will be to try to get it out, but no plans as of yet.”

It’s hard to trace exactly who first popularized this tactic, but people like UK League of Legends content creator HappyChimeNoises, Cloud9 coach Veigarv2 and former League of Legends pro Samson “Lourlo” Jackson were driving forces behind getting this strategy out in the public. Now, Janna top may become the new scourge of the LCS.

Nobody knows when Riot will take a good hard look at Janna’s performance in the top lane, but as FlyQuest walks away with a win over CLG today, that’s a fact that FLY top laner Colin “Kumo” Zhao can be happy about.

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