Janna Top with Smite – an unconventional pick in League of Legends is causing havoc in solo queue and has the whole community talking about it right now.
But why is this happening? And what does the UK content creator who helped popularize it, HappyChimeNoises, think of all the chaos? Esports News UK spoke to him to find out.
What is Janna Top? How to play it and why it works
First of all, why Janna is being picked in the top lane instead of her conventional support role, and how it’s working so well.
Cloud9 coach Veigarv2 first identified this strategy last month, with a tweet highlighting it on January 10th 2022.
But it was HappyChimeNoises who went into greater detail and explained why in his video posted a few weeks ago (which currently has almost half a million views and is titled ‘Why this Master is playing Smite Janna Top’).
He talked about players like HappyHappy2 (whom HappyChimeNoises believes may be a smurf of AP0CALYPSE) and LordBastionIII began playing Janna Top as a roaming smite enchanter pick.
The playstyle for Janna Top is generally to leave the lane right away, be a nuisance around the map, make ganks and steal camps from the enemy jungler. Janna’s passive gives her and her allies bonus movement speed, helping her to roam.
Players can max W to slow enemies too, making them easier for allies to kill.
The Janna Top build tends to be Spellthief’s Edge, Mobility Boots, Shurelya’s Battlesong, Redemption, Deadman’s Plate and lots of control wards.
Sure, while Janna is roaming, the enemy top-laner has freedom in their lane to take farm and towers. But by doing so, this puts Janna behind on cs, giving the enemy top-laner a gold bounty, which Janna’s team can take later on by killing them.
This strategy has put Janna at the top of the win-rate charts on several stat-tracking platforms.
For Master-tier player HappyHappy2 specifically, he has achieved a win-rate of around 70% with Janna Top – on two separate accounts.
HappyChimeNoises wants to make it clear that the two players – HappyHappy2 and LordBastionIII – “are the ones that deserve credit for the invention”.
“Many sites have credited Challenger players who started playing it after my video came out, which is a shame,” he added.
Since more players became aware of Janna top, pro players also had success with it in solo queue, including the likes of Lourlo, Send0o and Reflect, as pointed out in this InvenGlobal article.
‘Why Janna Top is a good thing’ – UK LoL content creator HappyChimeNoises explains
HappyChimeNoises, who has played League since season 4, shared his views on the chaos his video has caused bringing Janna Top to light, with many players taking it into solo queue now.
Several personalities and players of LoL are talking about it, and some are getting frustrated with it (see the section at the bottom of the article for more).
But HappyChimeNoises thinks the strategy is fine.
“In my opinion Janna top is a good thing, as I believe LoL is best when people can play their favorite champion whenever they want, in whatever role they want,” he told Esports News UK.
“The worst thing about League is being forced to play a meta pick that you dislike just for the sake of it being OP (overpowered). In terms of nerfs, the first change that is needed is Janna nerfs – she is way way too strong in support and that is just transferring to top lane to make this even stronger. I would leave it at that and see what happens.
“In my opinion, these strategies do not need to be removed, they are as ‘toxic’ as split pushers which everyone is accepting of.
“Split push requires a strong top laner to match it, if they die four people are punished and can lose a game off it.”
Could Janna top be nerfed by Riot?
Riot has attempted to remove or discourage some strategies considered unconventional or unfair in the past – for example the Yi and Taric funnel strategy.
While there’s nothing concrete right now, Riot is looking into making changes around Janna top.
Matt Leung-Harrison aka Riot Phroxzon, design lead on the Summoner’s Rift team, game balance and pre-season, said “it’s something we’ve been prioritizing trying to solve”:
So we’ll await to see if or how Riot will respond to Janna top, but in the meantime…
How can Janna top be countered?
HappyChimeNoises says: “Janna top requires the enemy jungler, mid and bot laners to not overextend and give up kills while their top laner gets incredibly far ahead. They can lose a game if bot side messes up. So it’s just top laners complaining that they have to rely on others rather than being 1v9.
“I personally do not want to play against many champs, and something like support top laners shouldn’t be removed just because people don’t want to play against it – or all of the champs from the past three years would be removed.
“Objective bounties, however, need to be adjusted to fix the 2x support style – if one side is incredibly far ahead but top lane has got plates and two towers – Janna’s team is actually very far ahead, but her team still gets bounties. Stopping her taking Smite does nothing, as in many games Ignite is actually better.”
There’s the argument that Janna top will fall off late-game, but the trick for the opposing team is getting to late game without Janna top wrecking havoc across the rift.
The idea of a jungler teaming up more closely with their top-laner to track an enemy Janna top across the map may help too, but don’t forget about the possibility of being counter-ganked by Janna’s jungler.
Janna top in pro play: Pick helps Barcelona win in the Superliga
Barcelona picked Janna top in the Spanish Superliga yesterday.
Czech Republic top-laner Dreedy, who has previously played with UK organization Barrage (which was acquired by Resolve last year), made the pick in the Superliga against Giants.