We're officially playing the new set, Fates Voyage: Onward, for a few days now, and, as it was expected, the new champion, Janna, is in every deck in Standard.
It is still not completely clear which deck is statistically the best choice to play this champion in the ranked queue and tournaments, because this champion's support cards and the game style she brings are quite competitive.
For that reason, I come bring you a bit of my experience with the competitive scene and give you my two cents about this dilemma: after all, which Janna deck is the best?
Janna Samira: Too Much Variety Brings More Confusion
We can divide this archetype into 3 categories: the versions focused on Wildfire, the versions focused on playing Plaza Guardian, and the ones that bring varied Burn elements, besides good cards from both regions.
> Deck focused on Wildfire.
This deck is becoming popular after a great community player, 4LW, posted it on social media and showed everyone his win rate with the list.
This version is centered around finishing matches by playing Wildfire 6 times, dealing 21 points of damage to the enemy Nexus, and, for that reason, it is a deck filled with card draw.
The units in this list are extremely disposable. That means you play them on board, and after they activate their effects, it is common to block them to not take damage later on.
> Deck focused on Plaza Guardian.
This is possible because, as incredible as it sounds, only a few cards in that archetype were rotated. If you closely analyze these cards, you'll realize they are draw tools, such as Legionary Charge, with an effect that can easily be replaced by any card draw effect in Janna's package of cards.
This isn't the most popular strategy, but it might be great for you to test out in competitive tournaments, due to the ban phase. In the ranked queue, this list might not be one of the best, as matchups can be very unfavorable. Decks which already win against this region and champion combination win even more against your list, as it is a much slower deck, which depends a lot more on its champions.
> Most Popular Version.
This is the version you'll face the most, because, besides being the easiest to pilot, it is also the easiest to build. This deck has a wider range of Janna followers with an aggressive theme, which really matches Noxus' game style, and it is very similar to the Plaza Guardian list in terms of goals.
The main difference is that this version has access to Quick Attack units much earlier in the match, and, despite them having smaller stats, this list is faster and more aggressive compared to the previous list.
Another difference is a more intense focus on already-existing combos in this deck, such as card draw and direct Nexus damage, unlike other lists which use Sputtering Songspinner. This forces that version of Plaza Guardian, unlike this one, to play randomly generated cards, which brings an unnecessary complexity to this archetype.
For that reason, I suggest you test out each of these decks, and also build your own version. In the next Runeterra Open, knowing which deck you'll put your Samira and your Janna will be a crucial step towards your success.
Janna Seraphine: Catastrophe them!
The most important part is that, in all of them, win conditions are still the same: you'll always try to deal with your opponent's board until you complete Catastrophe's summon prerequisites through Purrsuit of Perfection. For that reason, the game style doesn't change from one list to another. The only changes are just the cards in the decks.
This deck is quite fun, but, it is very hard to pilot, and it doesn't seem that strong in the current metagame because it is very slow. Janna has consolidated her place in Runeterra as a support champion for faster strategies. And, despite this deck being able to build extremely explosive late game turns, not to mention crazy, it usually can't reach that stage in the game,
Still, this list might be better used in the competitive scene, as you can ban the faster decks which win against your strategy. Note that this type of strategy has an advantage against other slow lists in the meta.
This version is a bit more interesting to bring to the ranked queue, only and exclusively because of the cheap removal spells Shadow Isles bring to your deck. Quietus, Spectral Surveyor and Eradication are quite strong in the meta, and, as a result, this can be a slightly more consistent deck option.
Shadow Isles converses really well with that removal game style, which in turn really matches the strategy of removing everything in sight until you play Catastrophe.
Janna Nilah: Drawing Cards is Never Too Much
Janna Nilah's archetype was the one Riot "created" and sold to us at the beginning of the expansion. For that reason, everyone imagined that this archetype, straight-away, would be strong - but, so far, this list's win rate hasn't been the best, averaging only 48%.
In the last few days, however, a new wave of players in the ranked queue has been reaching masters with this archetype, and out of nowhere the list exploded in popularity. It is possible we have finally found out how to play this deck.
As you can see, it is hard to find a list that draws more cards than this one. For that reason, the consistency in this strategy is phenomenal. It seems you always have exactly what you need at the right time.
This archetype is really similar to Samira Janna lists which are more focused on Burn, alongside Jinx Samira lists with many discard elements. These two game styles, mixed up, make up Nilah Janna's deck, in which you'll rapidly close out matches dealing considerable damage, after drawing more than half of your deck.
This list will probably explode even more in popularity, so be ready to play this deck, or against it, in the next few days.
Janna's archetypes are all very interesting and each has a different game style, besides different goals in LoR's metagame. But I believe Nilah and Samira versions are the most well-rounded for the ranked queue, and more well-prepared for the competitive scene as well.
Seraphine decks, unfortunately, are a bit too hard to play, and also bring an unnecessary complexity. I strongly suggest you only use this list in tournaments, as it is there you'll be able to ban an enemy list, and you'll also be able to build a lineup focused on supporting this strategy.
Have fun with Janna decks. As you've seen, it is possible to build many decks, and in many different styles. Choose yours, and go test it out in the ranked queue!
If you read this far, now you know the main difference in Standard Janna lists.
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