Janna Build Guide by cwgordon7
Mastery Tree Is Outdated
WARNING: These masteries are still using the old tree and have not been updated to the new tree by the guide author. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Janna is a well-known support champion who brings tons of utility to a team even without farm. I've had a lot of success playing Janna as an AP carry, either in mid or in a solo lane. In this guide, I'll explain when to choose AP Janna, how to play Janna in that role, and why Janna is such a powerful AP champion.
Credits to 4Not Zekent for inspiring me to try AP Janna by showing it on his stream, and to his ideas for item builds.
Credits to jhoijhoi for the template, which you can find here.
When to play AP Janna
AP Janna is a situational champion. It requires significant damage output from the rest of your team, since you do only mediocre damage. Do NOT play AP Janna if your team composition is lacking in damage output - for example, you have a tank top lane ( Malphite) and a low-damage tank/utility jungler ( Maokai, Alistar).
AP Janna is great with high-damage champions who need to jump in the middle of the enemy team ( Jax, Irelia, since the huge shield allows them to perform their anti-carry role very effectively. AP Janna is also great with hyper-carry AD carries such as Kog'Maw and Vayne, since her shield and high-damage CC abilities allow her to do a superb job protecting the hyper-carry.
AP Janna is also a good choice if your team is lacking in CC - for example, you have a Soraka support, and a Gangplank jungle.
AP Janna is weak in lane against anyone who does burst damage through her shield, such as Annie, Brand, or Veigar, although these match-ups are winnable depending on your relative skill levels. AP Janna is also a bad choice against a weak early game champion who needs free farm to be strong, such as Nasus or Veigar, since Janna cannot do much to stop them from farming early-mid game.
AP Janna is very strong in lane against champions with weak pushing potential, such as Ryze or Fiddlesticks. Janna's Howling Gale will force these heroes to farm under their tower all game.
AP Janna is also a strong counter to a melee-heavy enemy team, since they will be powerless against her kiting.
Pros / Cons
+ Great wave clearing ability
+ Great roaming ability
+ Good ganking potential
+ Good mid/late game burst
+ Can handle 2v1s in laneb
+ Lots of utility
+ Unparalleled kiting ability
+ Amazing counter-ganker
+ Easy to stack Mejai's
+ 1000hp shields late game
- Very weak early game
- Mediocre damage output
- Hard to stop lane opponents from free farming
- Relatively long cooldowns
I choose 21-0-9 masteries, filling up the AP side of the offense tree, and grabbing Runic Affinity in the utility tree, since your jungler should be giving you blue buffs starting midgame; the mana replenishment is also helpful for sustain early game.
- Greater Quintessence of Ability Power: Flat AP helps out your early game tremendously, making you less weak and better able to farm early game.
- Greater Mark of Magic Penetration: Magic penetration helps you hit harder, especially on squishier champions who should be the targets of your burst.
- Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power: AP per level allows you to clear creep waves with your level-4 Howling Gale at level 7.
- Greater Seal of Scaling Ability Power: Likewise, AP per level allows you to clear creep waves with your level-4 Howling Gale at level 7.
Flash: Flash is a great choice on any champion, since it allows you to escape from sticky situations. On Janna, it's especially good for chasing down enemies with a flash to get you in range for your combo; in addition, you can flash + ult to knock enemies away from their tower in a gank.
Teleport: I like taking teleport on Janna because she is an incredibly powerful counter-ganker. If you notice another lane being ganked, you can easily teleport in, shield whoever is in danger, ult to knock the enemies back, or turn the tide of a fight and secure kills.
Ignite: If you want to be more aggressive in lane, this spell is a great choice for AP champions. This will allow you to secure kills, and get out that little bit of extra damage that you need. I don't think this is the best spell on Janna because it is most effective early game, when Janna will usually not be in a position to get kills in lane without a gank.
- Tailwind: Not a bad passive to have, and really helps your team out - extra movement speed can be especially helpful to teammates who require extra movement speed to pull off ganks, such as Udyr, Singed, or Skarner.
- Howling Gale (Q): This is Janna's signature move, and what makes AP Janna so powerful. By level 4 of this ability (at level 7), Janna should be able to clear the ranged minions, and with some more AP, can clear entire waves. Note that while this ability does more damage the longer it charges up, it can also be fired immediately by recasting the ability. You should let this charge up in its entirety for clearing creep waves, so plan in advance and start it up before the creep wave arrives! When attacking champions, however, you should usually fire this ability immediately without letting it charge, since enemies will easily dodge it if given time. It is much easier to land this ability on enemy champions after using Zephyr on them. Note
Zephyr (W): The single-target damage on Zephyr is higher than on Howling Gale, so max at first after gaining enough points in Howling Gale to be able to clear creep waves. The slow is very good, and this is not a skillshot, so it can be used to land your Howling Gale more easily. This ability's passive is also a great speed buff and allows you to ignore unit collision, which is very handy and allows you to chase down an enemy or run away easily.
- Eye of the Storm (E): Janna's shield is what makes her so powerful late-game. With a high AP ratio, this shields for a very large chunk of HP. I take one point at level one to help me win trades in lane, but max it last because it does not contribute to my burst. Feel free to put a few more points into it early if you feel it would help you win trades in your lane.
- Monsoon (R): On support Janna, this is an AOE knockback that should be cast briefly before cancelling the channel and moving. On AP Janna, however, the healing amount becomes very significant, and can be used as an AOE heal, either in or out of a fight. If the enemy tries to initiate on your team, you can cast this to halt the initiation; if they try to keep going on your team, they will almost certainly lose because your team is regaining a large amount of health while fighting. If you start taking damage, however, you should break the channel to avoid dying. This can also be used to help your team do Baron, since you will bring your team back to health.
A quick note on combos
Early in the game, you can harass your lane opponent with
+ , making sure to throw on yourself to negate any counterattack.
Once you get your , you will be doing quite a bit of burst damage. Being a support champion, the enemy will typically underestimate the amount of burst damage you do, so will stay in lane longer at lower health than if they were facing Annie or Veigar. Whittle the opponent down with harass until you feel like you can 1-shot their remaining health. Then, your combo looks like: + + .
If you decide to get a Lich Bane, adding an auto-attack at the end will add a little extra burst to your combo to finish off anyone who might have managed to survive.
Starting off with boots and potions is almost always the best start - the extra movement is really powerful, and the potions give you some sustain in lane. Starting with a Doran's Ring or an Amplifying Tome or a Faerie Charm are also viable; the Doran's ring will make you stronger in lane, and the other two allow you to build into a gold item more quickly.
Early game: + +
Stacking gold items is very powerful on Janna because she can free-farm against pretty much anyone after level 7. With Kage's Lucky Pick and 4 levels into [Howling gale], you can clear the ranged minions with a single q at level 7, and it will clear the melee minions too if they take a small amount of damage from your own minions. Taking more AP at this point will not significantly affect your ability to farm, and your goal at this point in the game should be to acquire as much farm as you possibly can. While I find these items help significantly, you can get by with just a Kage's Lucky Pick if you want to rush another item instead of going for more gold items.
As soon as you start roaming:
Mejai's Soulstealer is a very situational item on most casters - it helps them snowball very hard if they gain an early advantage. Although Janna does not snowball incredibly hard, this item is absolutely core on her because it is incredibly easy to build up stacks without putting yourself at serious risk. This is what makes AP Janna so strong - the ability to stack Mejai's beyond any other champion. If a teammate is about to get a kill, pop a shield on your teammate to secure an assist, even if they don't need it. If you use Monsoon during a teamfight, you'll get assists for every enemy champion who dies in that fight. It is not uncommon for me to reach 20 stacks on Mejai's in a game, racking up a few kills and many assists early on, then getting more kills when the stacks make my AP much higher.
After you get Mejai's, it is important to start roaming to your other lanes to build up your stacks. You can essentially farm your lane without being there by setting up a tornado and then going off to gank another lane without missing that wave of CS. The passive of Zephyr makes it faster to get to those other lanes to gank.
Core build: +
Deathfire Grasp is the key to your burst damage, and allows you to burst down squishy targets with low magic resist. Once you get some more ability power, you will be able to one-shot squishy opponents from full health.
Rabadon's Deathcap is a core item on most casters; it gives a huge boost to your ability power, and after getting this item your ability power will be high enough that you will be hitting hard and posing a serious threat to enemies.
Pick up at any time:
Pick this item up before an important teamfight, or anytime late game. The AP is nice, and having extra AP never hurts, but the real value in this item is the 10% cooldown reduction. This can easily turn the tide of a teamfight - a shield up a second faster can easily be enough to save a teammate, and a w+q combo up a second faster can easily secure additional kills.
Good finishing offensive items: and/or and/or and/or
The magic penetration on Void Staff allows you to hit enemies with magic resist harder; Lich Bane adds significantly to your burst, and gives you good split-pushing potential, especially if you've taken Teleport. Zhonya's Hourglass provides a nice amount of AP, and the active can allow you to wait out your cooldowns if you're being focused down. Abyssal Scepter can be a good alternative to Void Staff if the enemy is not building magic resist, and will also help out any other dealers of magic damage on your team.
Good defensive items: or or
Quicksilver Sash is a cheap, effective way to escape chained CC, and is particularly effective against CC-heavy enemy teams. Late game, it's possible to be CC'ed for long enough that you die without being able to use Monsoon, so using this item is a good way to escape chained CC. Banshee's Veil is a good item if the enemy has a few particularly devestating skillshots, such as Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab, and also provides a little extra health and mana. While I feel that Guardian Angel is overrated in general, I think it's better on AP Janna than on most heroes, since after reviving her abilities will be off cooldown and she can shield herself to survive at least long enough to do some more damage to the enemy team.
Items that are ok, but not that great on Janna: , , ,
Rod of Ages, Frozen Heart, and Athene's Unholy Grail are less useful on Janna than your average AP carry since Janna is not incredibly mana-hungry. They are by no means bad items, though. While Will of the Ancients is a good choice if you have another AP caster on your team, this item isn't the best on Janna because her shield gives her some sustain anyway, and she is NOT a DPS caster who will benefit significantly from the spell vamp in team fights.
With Howling Gale, getting CS with AP Janna is incredibly easy, and you don't even have to stay in lane the whole time. After level 7, just set up a tornado so that it'll hit all the creeps; it'll 1-shot the ranged creeps from full health, and you should time it so that the melee creeps have already taken damage from your own minions. You can use Zephyr or auto attacks to pick up any creeps that survive.
Since you are very weak early game, if you feel you will be punished very heavily for attempting to take some CS, do not go for it. It is more important that you stay in lane and gain levels, so you can reach level 7 more quickly, at which point you can free-farm to make up for it. Just use the earlier levels of Howling Gale with good timing to pick up what CS you can from a safe range.
After level 7, just set up a tornado in lane to kill all the minions, then look to roam. If one of the enemy's other lanes is pushed all the way to your tower, go for a gank. If no lanes look gankable, then go take your wraiths or wolves if your jungler is not nearby, or steal the enemy wraiths.
You have great lane sustain with your shield, and after your jungler gives you blue buff, you can stay in lane for a very long time. The best time to return to base is after you've pushed your creep wave to the enemy tower, to guarantee that your opponent is losing CS while you're gone.
When your jungler ganks
When your jungler comes to gank, it is often best for you to initiate with your Zephyr + Howling Gale combo, to ensure your enemy is locked down for enough time for your jungler to get in range. Continue auto-attacking your enemy, and if your jungler is tanking the enemy tower, shield your jungler to help secure the kill.
When you gank
Ping to make sure your teammate knows you are ganking. Wait for the enemy to start skirmishing with your teammate, or for your teammate to initiate if your teammate has CC. Use your combo to deal burst damage and lock the opponent down, and feel free to use Monsoon to knock the enemy back to secure the kill.
It's also possible to use Teleport, if you take it, to gank. Tell your support to place a ward in the bush behind the enemies in bottom lane. Then, either teleport to it to gank on your own, or coordinate with your jungler for sure kills.
Janna's role in a teamfight is to burst down any exposed squishy champion, and to protect the AD carry. If a squishy enemy with no MR is within range, don't hesitate to use your combo to burst them down! Even if you don't one-shot them, you will often bring them to below half health, and they will be locked down by your CC so your team can follow up.
If a teammate jumps at the enemy carry, shield them so they can finish their job. Shield anyone who is low on health to prevent the enemy from finishing them off. If the enemy team jumps on your carry, shield your carry, use Howling Gale to help your carry escape, or use Monsoon to knock them back. Late game, your shield will be for almost 1000hp, and can make it very, very difficult for the enemy to kill your carry; in addition, the AD steroid on the shield is the equivalent of a free BF sword on the carry, and won't be broken immediately like with support Janna.
If the enemy tries to initiate on your team with any AOE damage, such as Fiddlesticks, Kennen, or Amumu, use Monsoon to knockback the enemies, saving your team. You should channel Monsoon for as long as you reasonably can, since the enemy will be forced to either stop your channel, or continue engaging on your team while your team is receiving a massive AOE heal. Use your Zephyr and Howling Gale to help secure kills from running enemies, or use Howling Gale to kite enemies if you or your teammates are being chased.
If you have won a teamfight and want to do Baron, but your team is low on health, use your ultimate to heal them back up. Use your shield on whoever is tanking Baron.
If you have lost a teamfight and the enemy is trying to do Baron, harass at range with your Howling Gale to buy time, or try to position Howling Gale to steal Baron.
Janna excels at defending towers and holding off the enemy team's push. Anticipating every creep wave, you can charge up Howling Gale so that the enemy waves is instantly annihilated, giving the enemy team no time to damage your tower. Like Anivia, she can clear entire waves, but she is even better than Anivia because her range is longer and she doesn't require a blue buff to clear waves indefinitely. In addition, she can throw her huge shield on the tower to prevent it from being whittled down by enemy poke.
This is actually a huge reason why AP Janna is so powerful - it's very, very hard to push against her. This allows her team time to make plays for global objectives, such as Baron or Dragon, and means that in a close game, the enemy will be less able to capitalize on small victories in skirmishes, which can give your team the advantage.
If Janna gets Lich Bane, she is an extremely powerful split pusher. Her shield means that she doesn't require a creep wave to damage a tower: she can throw a shield on herself and auto-attack the tower, then cast q into nowhere and auto attack again, doing damage equal to twice her ability power (this could easily be 1200 damage) to a tower without taking any damage. She can easily repeat this process and take down towers very quickly. If the enemy comes to try to stop you, you can kite them with Howling Gale and run away very fast with the passive on Zephyr. If the enemy tries to take objectives elsewhere on the map, you can use your Teleport, if you took it, to rejoin your team.
AP Janna is one of the most fun champions to play, because her toolkit is incredibly versatile, she's useful even if completely shutdown, it's fun to make your stack count go up, and you get to watch enemies go "WTF?!?" when they get bursted from full HP to 0 by a Janna.
This is my first guide so I'll appreciate any constructive feedback! I know there are already some AP Janna guides, but I felt that none of them were both correct and complete. Thank you for reading!
Credits to 4Not Zekent for inspiring me to try AP Janna by showing it on his stream, and to his ideas for item builds.
Credits to jhoijhoi for the template, which you can find here.
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