This article is the second chapter in the series of my first impressions of the new cards from the Fates Voyage: Onward expansion.
Let's access and comment on each card in Janna's package, and also some variety cards as well! We'll grade them from ★☆☆☆☆ (One Star) to ★★★★★ (Five Stars), considering that:
★★★★★ = Very strong card, which can appear in many different decks, and define the metagame.
★★★★☆ = Strong card, which can appear frequently in meta decks.
★★★☆☆ = Good card, which can complement a list well, and show up in certain meta decks.
★★☆☆☆ = Bad card, which can perform badly in meta decks, and should appear only in very specific lists.
★☆☆☆☆ = Very bad card. This card doesn't make any sense in any deck, and can even make a list worse in case it is included in an archetype.
Remember that my review is based on my 3-year experience competing and casting LoR grassroots tournaments and official Riot tournaments.
Janna's Package of Cards
Janna - ★★★★★
Janna has arrived in Runeterra carrying with herself a strong and very wide mechanic which practically matches all strategies in all decks in the game. This reinforces Piltover&Zaun's region identity in LoR, and boosts many strategies in the game which bring this region as a pair.
Janna can be one of the most versatile champions in the entire game. The idea with this champion is to prepare a combo, spreading cost reduction to your cards with her aura effect.
But Janna's real strength is in her Play effect, which Updrafts two cards to draw two additional cards at your next Round Start. That means that even if Janna is removed from the board, you'll still draw extra cards in your next round.
The archetypes in which Janna can play are very diverse, and she might just be one of the most competitive champions in this next tournament season. It will be quite fun to test out new combos and lists with the new champion, as she will allow us to cook many playable lists, due to her nature, which is very welcoming in competitive strategies.
Eye Of The Storm - ★★★★★
This is Janna's signature spell, and it is an extremely strong card. The standard cost for spells which draw two cards and have any additional effect is 5 mana. This one costs 4 and still gives +2 attack to an allied unit, which is extremely strong.
Considering that card draw effects are necessary resources in many strategies, it is very easy to find a deck that benefits from this card's additional attack effect. This spell might be played in many diverse archetypes outside Janna decks.
Windborne Mariner - ★★★☆☆
This follower is strong, but only in Janna's archetype.
Now we know drawing 3 cards in one turn is a relatively easy mechanic to do. For that reason, it will be very common to see this card being played on board for 0 cost. Her grade is relatively small, only three stars, but it is fair, because this card forces a game style which is similar to Aggro, to make the pair Janna + Nilah make sense.
Maryam, Temple Caretaker - ★★★★★
Maryam is an incredible unit which alone steals the spot of most 2-cost cards in current Control/Combo decks in the game.
The Updraft keyword is very strong. Drawing an additional card, besides Updrafting when playing this unit, brings to your deck a very strong competitive potential of being able to fix your hand if it's bricked. This play matches basically any kind of strategy, so hope to see this card present in many meta decks.
Sunken Temple - ★★★★★
This landmark can potentially be the new engine in Jinx decks. Remember that Updraft isn't a mechanic which discards cards, but if you Updraft your whole hand, you also run out of cards. That levels Jinx up automatically every turn, without the need to discard cards. If you're playing an Aggro Burn discard list, you'll always have a resource as long as this landmark is on board, as it draws you one card more than the number of cards you previously had before Updrafting.
Galesong Call - ★★★☆☆
This card comes in Janna decks as a cheap development option, so you can have units to block in the first few turns. Galesong Call is interesting, but it is a resource which loses to other card summoning spells in Piltover&Zaun, such as Jury-Rig.
Galesong Flock - ★★☆☆☆
Unfortunately, this card is quite weak, for many reasons. The first one is that Galesong Flock doesn't have any keywords. And the second reason is that Targon is a region which responds metas in which Piltover&Zaun is strong really well, because you can hold off the damage this region deals against your units and Nexus.
Targon is a region which brings cards that silence and Stun, making Galesong Flock a card which will probably only work in matches in which this spell is the last finisher option, after your opponent has removed all of your cards, and you have played many Elemental spells already.
Considering games will most likely not be that slow, due to the boosted card draw speed this expansion is bringing us, it will be difficult for Galesong Flock to be played at a competitive level.
Howling Gale - ★★★★☆
This is a great removal spell, which can reach up to 5 points of damage dealt to a unit. This card is a spell that promises "to seal" matches. That means, if you're already in the middle of your combo, and winning the game, this spell will win you even more matches with an even bigger margin. In case you aren't, it is still a solid removal which can deal with most low-cost units i the game, in case it is played only at 2 damage.
Divine Whirlwind - ★★★★☆
This spell can even be a support card for Burn lists, with discard elements. But, unquestionably, it is a very simple spell which forces out Janna's aggressive nature in her lists, which is something Riot is apparently trying to bring to us. Though I firmly believe the champion won't show her best version in fast decks, I still think that, unlike this new champion's aggressive followers, this spell will be played in her lists.
Iascylla, Figurehead of the Deep - ★★★☆☆
Though this card is present in Janna's support package, it is possible that Iascylla's value is best extracted in Combo/Burn archetypes in Noxus, as we know this is probably that region's new identity.
This card's grade is low because 6 mana is a bit too expensive for a follower which has no impact on the board as soon as it hits the board. Four health is relatively low for a card at that cost, and usually that type of deck struggles with protecting its units, so it is possible that Iascylla is easily removed.
Not to mention that so far it hasn't become clear how these Noxus combo decks will work, and, for that reason, for now, this card doesn't really awaken my curiosity, despite being a follower with a lot of potential.
Exalted Cloudwinder - ★★★★☆
This card reinforces again Janna's closed archetype's aggressive identity, but it is the best card in that game style so far. Exalted Cloudwinder can speed up the deck's card draw rhythm, and allows the player to always have resources available every turn to keep the combo going with the deck.
This card can carry Janna's aggressive lists on its back for the first few days, but I think after a while we'll start using this card in lists which are a bit more retroactive. Its effect is very valuable and can be abused in many combo decks.
Headmistress Telsi - ★★★★☆
This unit alone can be responsible for putting Taric back again in Eternal's competitive map. As for Standard, it is still possible to have many strong interactions and combos with this card, mostly in Annie archetypes. If Ravenbloom Conservatory lists come back into the meta, this card will certainly see play competitively.
Lonely Chimeslime - ★★★★☆
This unit isn't aligned with the region identity stated by Riot for Shadow Isles in 2023. But it is a follower which might be the new face of the region. Unlike the opinion of many players in the community, I believe Lonely Chimelisme can bring new airs to Shadow Isles Midrange lists, and, in case we get new cards which support that archetype, it is possible that Bard Shadow Isles becomes a real deck, full of removals.
Watery Grave - ★★☆☆☆
Despite this card supporting one of my favorite game styles, Mill, it is only good in very specific cases, in Maokai decks which will probably not see any play.
This spell will only be good in a deck which can, consistently, win games by running your opponent out of cards. In an extremely high number of matches, this spell won't do absolutely anything.
General of the Dunes - ★★★☆☆
This card brings a new identity to Shurima, Daybreak with Elite. Obviously, this unit is a card which is trying to bring support to Neeko and Warden of the Tribes archetypes. But I can't see this follower as a very strong addition for those game styles, and I also can't see space for the strategy it creates in Leona lists. Only time will tell where General of the Dunes will play.
Defenders of the Sun Disc - ★★★☆☆
This unit might be slightly better than General of the Dunes, as it draws more of itself, reducing your deck and increasing your odds of drawing your key-cards. Other than that, I still think early game Targon Daybreak followers are much better.
Skip, The “King of the Reef” - ★★★★★
This unit is extremely strong. This follower reinforces Bandle City's intended identity of "breaking strategies". This card can capture cards which remove it, or even combo units or pieces that could turn the game in your opponent's favor.
Even if your opponent comes prepared to deal with Skip, it might not be enough. This card alone will force competitive lists to have a certain removal redundancy, as you might have to have two Mystic Shots in your hand at all times.
Bursting Backpack - ★★★★★
This card enhances the most played archetype in all of Runeterra: shroom decks. It is incredible how this list is popular among players.
Bursting Backpack can recycle itself, and plants 4 shuffled shrooms each time you play this spell. Which means, unlike other strategies which rely on playing the same card over and over, which needed spells such as Counterfeit Copies to combo, now you don't need it anymore. Because Bursting Backpack makes its own copies of itself for you.
Gentlemen's Duel - ★★★★☆
This spell is direct support to Galio's archetypes, and Formidable units. Despite Demacia already having many Strike spells, we didn't have yet one which gave health to an ally. This card might bring back Udyr Galio decks to the competitive radar, but only time will tell.
Capsize - ★★★★☆
Ionia converses really well with a game style that "locks down" the opponent. Increasing the cost of your opponent's cards, even if just for one turn, will always be an extremely strong effect. For that reason, it is possible that this spell will be added to many competitive decks, but it might not be a resource which is as thoroughly explored early in the new season, as Ionia isn't a very beloved region, and that type of gameplay is also not very fun.
Only when we're reaching the dates of big tournaments that we'll probably see this card played at a high level.
If you read this far, now you know everything about my first impressions of Janna's package, and the variety pack.
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