WARNING: This is a long post. Take a cup of tea, have a seat, read it completely. I tossed in a TL DR at the end but it really does not express everything that I put into this post. I'm trying to get a red to discuss Janna with me but of course, in the meantime, feel free to agree, disagree, bump, upvote or downvote. I'm hoping to get a red soon (TM) to discuss the state of Janna because I think it's way past time we do that.
Seriously, can we talk about Janna for a bit? Will I get something else than Morello just coming in and saying "lol Janna is fine guys!" or will I actually get to discuss the state of Janna with somebody at Riot? I guess I'll give it a try.
First let me introduce myself. I'm a support player at heart. I joined this game in November 2010, and it took only a few months before I got my hands on Janna and fell in love with her entire design. I love Janna. I bought her in January 2011, she's the champion that really got me into playing support the way it's played now, she's the champion who taught me how important vision was, she's the champion who taught me that a support's job is (among other things) to protect the carry at all cost, etc. I bought Tempest Janna in May/June 2011, then when Frost Queen was released I threw my money at the computer, then I got RP for being a nice summoner and I figured I might as well buy Hextech. I never care for ranked but when I learned that the season 2 gold + elo reward was a flippin' Janna skin, I went "oh mah gawd" and I played my way up to 1600 elo so I would get it. I'm not the best support or the best Janna player ever but I'm (or I used to be) a very dedicated Janna player, and my Janna has earned me a lot of praise and quite a good part of my friend list. To put things into perspective:
> I played Janna back when her ult still slowed enemies who re-entered the AoE
> I played her AP, AD, aura wh*re, a mix of AP and auras, tank, ward b*tch, I went solo lane (1v1, 1v2, whatever), I duo laned (with all kind of lane buddies - - 2v2 and 2v1 all the same), I roamed, I play her top in Dominion, I play her bot in Dominion, I squeal like a fan girl when I get her in ARAM, I even freaking jungled. You name it, I've Janna'd it.
> I tried too many rune setups to count
> I didn't give a single damn when they changed Tailwind to make it inactive after Janna dies
> It was near impossible for you to find a match history of me without Janna
> I once considered her to be virtually impossible to crush with the nerf bat no matter what Riot would do (okay, good job, you proved me wrong, now can we please make her playable again?)
> I'm still playing her regardless of what people on my team have to say about it, but even I, a die-hard Janna player, am perfectly aware that she is never an optimal pick nowadays
I'm not a FOTM Janna player who stopped playing her altogether when she got nerfed and moved out to the new strongest champion available. I'm a dedicated Janna player who's defended her cause on the forums multiple times saying she was still strong, but now, I... seriously, now even I cannot justify her anymore.
It's been about a year since the last round of Janna nerfs - probably the harshest nerfs she ever received - so I think we, the player base, had enough time to actually discuss about what it did to her without needing to "wait and see". I waited and I saw, thank you very much.
@Morello and other reds working on the balance team, can you honestly look at me in the eye and tell me that you believe that Janna is in a decent spot right now?
@Brackhar, you designed Janna. If anybody in Riot should know her it's you - are you sincerely happy with the state of your champion right now? Is it how you intended her to be?
Seriously, anybody in Riot, don't you think Janna needs some love?
It's not #500eloproblems anymore - back in the days of her glory mediocre players thought she was a mediocre support because a) they only saw her being played by mediocre players and b) they didn't see her potential. Her skillcap remains unchanged and it still probably the highest (or at least among the highest) among supports, but it's not the issue with her anymore. Janna is FORGOTTEN at every possible elo and isn't getting picked in competitive play EVER. I've watched the qualifications quite a lot - I have yet to see ONE Janna, ONE - unless she was picked in one of those very few games I didn't watch but I doubt it. I have seen EVERY other supports, I have seen non-support champions (at COMPETITIVE level) being picked over her.
How badly did she get messed up that professional players - if someone should know when a champion is viable and when it's not, it's them - prefer to pick AP carries, tanks or bruisers bot lane over her? How can Riot accept that a mage like Zyra, a tank like Leona, a jungler like Nunu or a bruiser like Blitz (yes people, he's designed to be a bruiser), sees competitive play in the support role while one of the game's core support has been forgotten and ignored by pretty much every player for such a long time? I've seen a variety of supports and "supports":
I've seen Lulu
I've seen Taric
I've seen Leona
I've seen Sona
've seen Blitzcrank
I've seen ALISTAR
I've seen Zyra
I've seen Nunu
I'm pretty sure I've seen some Soraka
Don't make me believe that it's normal that I have not seen Janna when I've seen everyone else. Don't make me believe Janna is balanced. Please.
At this point I'm not even dreaming of her being picked more than her fellow core supports. I'd just like her to be tweaked in a way that AT LEAST she would get picked over champions that aren't actually designed to support. I'm fine with other classes being able to support, really, I am, but that they do Janna's job better than she does without even being designed for it makes no sense to me. It seem only normal to me that Janna should support better than Zyra (an AP carry) or Nunu (a flippin' jungler), just like it's normal, for me, that Zyra can AP carry harder than Janna and Nunu can jungle more efficiently than her.
Some proposed changes (since I believe it'd be easier to have a discussion with suggestions than just "She needs help yo!"):
Her auto attack. In the last patch it was made more responsive; I'm glad, it had a pretty long windup animation and it does feel more fluid now. However, is there a legit reason why she should have such a low auto attack range? It's the shortest it can possibly be while still being ranged. This is a problem for Janna because her spells aren't very good at poking so you'd want to harass with your autos a little but the range not only means you're easily punishable even for a quick AA > gtfo, it's also very obvious to see that Janna wants to toss in an AA. Also it makes it damn impossible for her to CS when her carry leaves/is dead and her enemies are still there. I don't know about you guys, but harassing with my auto attack is actually something I do a lot with my ranged supports (hell, even two of those ranged supports, Sona and Lulu, have PASSIVES designed around AA poking!) - except for Janna because her range is very short for no reason that I can see. Normalize it at 550 range (where she would match Sona, MF, and most ranged champions). It would buff her laning phase by making her able to harass a little.
Tailwind - her passive. It's honestly fine. Decent but not OP, always present as long as she lives, fits her design very well. Leave it as it is.
Howling Gale - her Q. When RIot changed the knock up time to scale with the charging time, I legit thought it was a good idea. I thought it added some depth/choice to her gameplay. Well it turns out, it was what I'd say in French a FBI - fausse bonne idée ("false good idea"). The reason being that most of Janna's most clutch/important tornadoes are going to be instantly released. So it was a straight out nerf in 90% of the situations. WIth the League of gap closers and uber tankiness prancing around, Howling Gale is often merely a disturbance in its current state. Buff double-tap Q's pop up time a little so that it ACTUALLY feels rewarding to clutch-nado.
Also, let it be known that there has been a bug on it for the LONGEST time, when Janna makes a tornado that leaves her with less mana than she needs to cast it (for instance if it cost 105 mana and she's left with 80 mana after casting it), if you attempt to quick release this Howling Gale, you will get first the sound + notification that you lack the mana for that spell, THEN you Q again and it goes off. This creates a delay that, due to the clutch nature of the Gale, will often cause the spell to miss. This should never happen because Janna does not need to pay any more mana once she drops the tornado. Fix this ASAP, it's not even a buff, it's a bug fix.
Zephyr - her W. I'm actually fine with this skill in its current state. I don't think the nerf on the AP ratio, slow duration and selfish % MS at early ranks were necessary nerfs, however I can live with those without problem.
Eye of the Storm - her E. Or how Riot proved me that even Janna could be destroyed by nerfs. I've addressed this issue in multiple support and Janna threads, but for the sake of clarity I'll toss it here again. It is ridiculous. The AD being removed when the shield is broken made a Janna lane COMPLETELY unable to trade (which is ironic because that nerf happened during Riot's crusade to encourage aggressive support play over defensive/passive support play) unless the enemy really is stupid enough to not toss ANY damage towards the ADC during said trade (and if they're that stupid, you win the lane regardless of who you are playing). The shield is too easily broken even with long-ranged pokes (Ez or Cait's Q, Lux's E/Q, etc), even most supports are able to break the shield quickly to weakened your carry and make the mana you spent essentially go to waste.
That nerf, very sadly, made Janna the owner of the ONLY supportive buff that can be removed by the enemy team. You can hit MF out of her Strut, that's HER passive and it costs her no mana. You can't hit an enemy who's been buffed by Lulu's W hard enough to remove the bonus MS + AP. You can't hit Sona's carry hard enough to destroy her Q aura - it will vanish when SHE decides to switch to another aura. You can't hit an enemy that Soraka just used W on to make the armor buff last shorter. Etc. But you can remove the AD steroid from Janna's ADC with a single Headshot, Q+ Power Chord, etc. My suggestion is simple, fully revert that nerf. This change is imo the most important of all and I'd honestly settle with EVERYTHING ELSE I SAID AND WILL SAY being completely and utterly IGNORED for this change to happen.
Monsoon - her ultimate. That's one of the strongest "judgement call" in the game and certainly the biggest among supports. However, it does not feel nearly as rewarding as it once did. The reason? The pushback range was nerfed down to 1000 to 875. To put things into perspective;
> Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab: 925 range
> Sona's Crescendo: 1000 range
> Nami's Aqua Prison: 875 range, her Tidal Wave: 2550 range
> Leona's Solar Flare: 1200 range, her Zenith Blade: 700 range
> Lulu's Glitterlance: 950 (not counting the possibility of shielded ally being closer to you than Lulu)
> Tresh's Death Sentence: 1075 range
> Miss Fortune's Bullet Time: 1400 range
> Graves' Buckshot: 950 range, his Collateral Damage: 1000 range
> Zyra's Grasping Roots: 1100 range, her Stranglethorn: 700 range
> Urgot's Hyper-Kinetic Position Reverser: scales with levels from 550 range to 600 then 850 (so late game Janna's ult is basically useless to prevent that; funnily enough Janna is supposed to be the late game support)
> Lux's Light Binding: 1175 range
> Katarina's Shunpo: 700 range
> Akali's Shadow Dance: 800 range (x3 dashes)
> Diana's Lunar Rush: 825 range (x2 dashes if marked with her Q)
> Kha'Zix's Leap: 600 base range, 900 with Evolved Wings
> Jarvan's Dragon Strike + Demacian Standard combo: 770 range on Dragon Strike, 830 range on Demacian Standard
> Amumu's Bandage Toss: 1100 range
> Vi's Vault Breaker: up to 725 range, her Assault and Battery: 700 range
> Morgana's Dark BInding: 1300 range, the max leash range on her Soul Shackle: 1050 (so you don't actually counter her like Janna like you used to)
> Malphite's Unstoppable Force: 1000 range
> LeBlanc's Etheral Chains: 950 range, her Sigil of Silence: 700, her Distortion: 600 (all of which can be Mimicked, of course)
> Nautilus' Dredge Line: 950 range, his Depth Charge: 850 range
> Fizz's Chum the Waters: 1250 range
> Riven's Broken Wings: 260 (x3 dashes), her Valor: 325 range (so if she QQQEs to someone, a total of 1150 range), her ult: 900 range
> Flash (as a general reference and since it can easily be used in combinaison with every engage or gap closer previously mentioned): 400 range, Ignite: 600 range, Exhaust: 550 range (against mostly for references because those are the most common spells bot lane).
So what do we notice?
1) It's extremely easy for most bot lanes to re-engage after you've used Monsoon (which, for the record, cost a TON of mana to cast). In some cases like Nami or Sona, they don't even need to move in to immediately re-engage so your ult, whose sole purpose is to DISENGAGE, is effectively useless except that you may have messed up your carry's AoE.
2) In team fights or ganks, your ult is not protecting or BARELY protecting your carry from the main threats coming his way. Once upon a time Janna was a very strong carry defender, in fact defending a strong carry was pretty much the only reason you'd pick her; now, as numbers clearly show, she can't even fill her own niche. She does not prevent assassins from jumping her carry, tanks can easily re-engage after being pushed back, etc.
It turns out, even a proper Janna ult isn't doing much for her team and her carry - given the mana cost, the CD, and the overall skill required to use Monsoon, that is unacceptable. Either:
1) Buff the range back to 1000. Maybe one year ago 1000 range AoE pushback was too much. Nowadays it CLEARLY isn't. Everyone and their mother can quickly and easily re-engage.
2) If not, at least give the slow back, so that Janna actually wants to channel it, and the enemy actually thinks twice about re-engaging while Monsoon is channeling.
TL DR; Riot, Janna is not fine. She's not been fine for about a year now. Please let's at least talk about it.
The following part is to try and bait some reds
Tons of damage
Leona is sexy
I don't like the new ranked system
I just got banned and I didn't deserve it!
The tribunal is a jooooke!
Female champions are oversexualized
Female champions need more sexy skins
ARAM real queue
AP Tryndamere is OP
AP Tryndamere wasn't OP what the heck!
Nerf HP stacking
League of Warmogs
I'd like to ask you all, some of our more passionate Janna players, about Tailwind, Janna's passive. I don't see many people mentioning it as something they value highly when they think of Janna.
Objectively... It's quite strong -- making Rumble/Skarner faster than Master Yi/Pantheon doesn't just change matchups, it transforms them.
Subjectively... I'm not sure how easily it can be appreciated. What are your opinions?
Also, don't read too much into this. I'm just up late.
Since there seems to be a lot of confusion about why we made the changes we did to Janna, I'll elaborate a bit.
The bottom line is that we don't believe from an objective viewpoint that Janna is "underpowered." If you look at the numbers and what she potentially brings to the team, Janna holds a unique place in the game and is still a force to be reckoned with.
Is she currently underused and in a weaker point than last season because of the meta shifts around her? Oh most certainly, this cannot be denied. I'll delve deeper into 2 reasons why I believe this is so:
1. AD carries were probably hit the hardest by the Season 3 reduction of high-end item gold premiums effectively reducing their damage at most points in the game. This allows bruisers to dive the ADC with much less risk than before. What was the previous seasons' answer to billions of "unstoppable" diving bruisers? It was the shift to ranged AD carries with defensive Supports defending and peeling for them. This is where Janna shined as a champion who provides strong "burst peeling" in team fights and it is one of her intended strategic strengths.
In essence, the counter to backline divers is to buy your ADC enough time to kill them as they make their way in. With ADC damage down, the burst peeling power that Janna brings for her ADC is simply not as important as it once was since most ADCs are no longer able to outright kill the divers in that amount of time. This can be seen in Season 3 by the rise of diving champions such as Singed who used to be heavily countered by ADCs being able to more quickly out-scale them through damage output.
2. Season 3 from a competitive perspective has recently shifted towards a pushing meta which heavily favors Supports who bring aggressive poke / harass and AoE damage for clearing minions waves. As a more defensive pick, Janna really doesn't fit the bill for the current competitive meta as she is outshined in those categories by champions such as Lulu and Sona.
So it really comes back to this question: given Janna's strengths and weaknesses, should we really be expecting her to be thriving in this current meta? If we tailor her to also perfectly fit this meta, what happens if the game shifts back towards to a meta more similar to when she was dominant? Does she just become the best pick all of the time in all situations?
I admit these are questions even we are not equipped to answer with 100% confidence and it's the kind of stuff we discuss on a daily basis here on the Live Design team.
So all in all, we are taking a slower, more patient approach with Janna as you can see in the 3.04 patch notes. We don't feel like she's severely underpowered or that she needs a big change even though she might not be optimal for the current state of the game. This is why we're opting instead to clean up and enhance her core gameplay such as the charging up of her Q and observing where that goes.