|Champion||Background||Strategy||Skins & Trivia|
|"Submit to my designs."
Tahm Kench is a tough solo lane or support tank with a taste for... well, pretty much everything. He’ll happily munch down on an enemy champion once he’s slathered them up, stowing them in his sizeable belly - and out of a fight - while the River King’s allies leverage their advantage. But Tahm Kench’s stomach isn’t reserved solely for his enemies: after swallowing an ally, the tanky fish-man can dive into one of his signature whirlpools before throwing himself towards the enemy team.
Tahm Kench makes for a fine support thanks to his unrivalled ability to save his marksman from otherwise impending death. Once he’s wobbled into lane, his main role is to stick with his lane buddy, making sure they’re safe and able to farm at will. If the enemy manages to slow or stun his ally, Tahm Kench simply Devours them before heading to safety. The effect lasts longer than most crowd control abilities, so even if the enemy team manages to land a perfect catch on the River King’s marksman, Tahm Kench effectively cleanses it before repositioning somewhere safer. What’s more, should he end up on the receiving end of enemy attacks as he waddles away, Thick Skin’s passive offers the River King plenty of regenerative support. Finally, even if the enemy team commits to trading in lane, Tahm Kench can turn his attention to the enemy damage dealer, slathering them up with his passive before Devouring them to create a super powerful - albeit temporary - two vs one scenario.
His versatility really shines in ganks, too. Aside from offering his ally the same unmatched protection during enemy ganks, he can get pretty mouthy in allied ganks, too. Meandering out of lane under the pretense of warding, Tahm Kench can meet up with his jungler before using Abyssal Voyage to set up a gank.
- Solo Lane
Tahm Kench is tanky enough to take a licking as well as give one, so he’s best positioned amongst his minions when he heads to a solo lane. From there the River King’s free to last hit and trade with his opponent as he sees fit. The thing to remember with Tahm Kench is that even when he goes even in trades, he wins thanks to Thick Skin’s passive, which regenerates enough of the River King’s health to make otherwise questionable trades more palatable. If it looks like the enemy’s trying to all-in him, Tahm Kench can Devour his enemy for a burst of damage and some uninhibited healing, or, if he hasn’t applied enough stacks of his passive, activate Thick Skin for a life-saving shield.
But how does the velvet-voiced monstrosity actually fight? Well, most of his early poke and harass comes from Tongue Lash. Fishing for direct hits on enemy champions, or better still, pulling off the stun, should give Tahm Kench the edge in most of his tank battles. But once he’s fully applied An Acquired Taste to his snakebit target, he has far more tricks to show them than a measly stun. Devour is a deeply versatile ability that gives the River King options aplenty, even during the early stages of the game. He can munch down on his lane opponent as they push up to the tower, then, with clever timing, spit them out behind his tower just as it obliterates the last of the minions. Better still, Tahm Kench can Devour his enemy as his jungler comes in for a gank. His hapless victim won’t see their approaching death thanks to the greatly reduced vision they suffer from while inside, and once they slip back out of the monster’s maw, they’ll struggle to do anything other than… well, die.
Even as early as level six, Tahm Kench can start freely roaming, using Abyssal Voyage to quite literally dive behind unsuspecting enemies. Thanks to his expansive gut, Abyssal Voyage also gives the River King the option to bring the party with him as he ults around. He can, for instance, buddy up with his nearby jungler and ult over to mid, setting up a quick three versus one scenario. Even if their target es to their tower, Tahm Kench can lead the tower diving incursion, using Thick Skin to absorb the tower’s shots while his allies secure the kill.
These tactics have legs around neutral objectives, too. By ulting with his own jungler, Tahm Kench can quickly reposition to Baron or Dragon to stall or steal the enemy team’s kill. Once they arrive, the River King’s role is to annoy his enemies with Tongue Lash while keeping Devour at hand if his allies get dangerously low. Thick Skin plays its part here, shielding Tahm Kench’s muculent form from excessive heat should he draw it. When the time comes, all he has to do is Devour the enemy jungler and lurch away from the objective - even though they can still theoretically inside the River King’s belly, junglers can’t ever the things they can’t see.
Tahm Kench becomes quite the champion connoisseur as the two teams come together, with a role that revolves around one fundamental culinary question: who does he eat? As the fight starts breaking out, he needs to carefully watch as the health bars begin dropping, smacking approaching enemy damage-dealers with Tongue Lash to slow or, if he’s been busy with his basic attacks, stun them. Positioning’s key here, too: if he situates himself in the enemy team, Tahm Kench is perfectly placed to disrupt and otherwise annoy the enemy team’s most powerful champions. Using Thick Skin’s shield to absorb damage should keep the River King ticking for long enough to fully stack An Acquired Taste, after which he can lunch. Pulling a powerful enemy out of a closely-contested fight, even for a few seconds, will often completely turn the tide, allowing Tahm Kench’s allies to take down - or mop up - the enemy team before the loquacious amphibian vomits out the final vestige of the enemy team. It’s not pretty, but it’s pretty damn effective.
Alternatively, Tahm Kench can stick to his backline and peel for his allies while aiming his ingestive instincts closer to home. Tongue Lash’s slow will buy his backline seconds against approaching killers, but if even that fails, Tahm Kench still has a trick up his sleeve… scales… whatever. See, once most marksman get caught by the enemy team, it’s curtains for them, but not with the River King on their team. By sidling up and Devouring his ailing ally, Tahm Kench can quickly reposition and deposit them somewhere safer. Immediately back in the fight - and with the enemy assassins and fighters rid of their precious gap closers - Tahm Kench and his ally should be safely squared away to wreak havoc from afar.
|Works well with:||Struggles against:|
|Swain - the Master Tactician
The bird may be the word, but teamfight initiation is the key when Swain and Tahm Kench buddy up for fights. The Master Tactician is an absolute nightmare when he gets into the heart of the enemy team, but traditionally lacks the means to actually get there. That’s where Tahm Kench comes in. By taking an Abyssal Voyage directly behind the enemy team, Swain just has to jump out, hit his buttons, and watch his enemies die.
|Vayne - the Night Hunter
While Tahm Kench’s Devour makes meals out of most marksmen, Vayne’s a slippery old fish thanks to Tumble. Worse still, her Silver Bolts devastate high health champions like the River King, who struggles to even eat his allies when Vayne’s in the picture. She can Condemn Tahm Kench away from his ally, and even if he does manage to Devour his marksman, Vayne can chase with Night Hunter before firing off her low-cooldown abilities once again.
|Kog'Maw - the Mouth of the Abyss
Tahm Kench sloshes around perfectly inside a “Protect The Kog” team comp. As the enemy attacks come pouring in to take down League’s cutest void puppy, Tahm Kench can just Devour the little guy and spit him out at safe distance. Essentially, Tahm Kench has exactly the tool - or mouth - needed to cover Kog’Maw’s glaring lack of escapes.
|Janna - the Storm's Fury
Flanking the enemy team becomes a lot less enticing when the enemy team boasts Janna among its champions. Cast Abyssal Voyage behind the enemy team and Janna just has to cast Monsoon, turning a favourable five vs five into a tragic two vs five. Even if the remainder of Tahm Kench’s team try to engage, Janna has plenty of speed boosts, slows and knock-ups to ensure the fight stays favorable for her team.
|Sejuani - the Winter's Wrath
Sejuani and Tahm Kench come into their own during the later stages of the game, particularly whenever sieges start forming. If his team’s struggling to defend a tower, the River King can take Sejuani on an Abyssal Voyage behind the enemy team, instantly flanking them and setting up an easy teamfight for Sejuani to toss a Glacial Prison into.
|Gnar - the Missing Link
Tahm Kench can take a beating in solo lanes, sure, but not the kind of beating that Gnar dishes out. In mini form, he has all the range, mobility, and percent health damage to boomerang down the River King from range. And once he goes mega, he still brings literal tons of damage while rocking enough health to withstand Tahm Kench’s retaliations.
- Champion Spotlight
- Recommended Items
- Playing As Tahm Kench
- Your most important function as a support is to keep fragile allies safe. Keep Devour's range and cooldown in mind and position accordingly!
- Consider carefully when to use Thick Skin's active. Sometimes shielding early to avoid further damage is good, but sometimes the healing is more beneficial.
- Playing Against Tahm Kench
- When you see Tahm Kench use the shield from Thick Skin, remember that he just opted out of a good deal of healing. He will also not accumulate new gray health until Thick Skin comes off cooldown. Use this to your advantage!
- If Tahm Kench harrasses you by spitting minions at you, try going in for a trade right after he spits. His Devour will be on cooldown and you should be able to trade favourably if he can't eat you.
- Ability Usage
- While laning, Tahm should always be looking for opportunities to harass with Tongue Lash. He can also harass by using Tongue Lash on a minion immediately followed by Devour, allowing him to swallow and launch a minion as a projectile. While this does give Tahm some AoE damage, it also eats away a large portion of his mana and prevents him from using Devour defensively until it comes off cooldown, rendering the combo too expensive to be worth executing unless it is being used to clear a wave.
- Players should be cautious about choosing when to use Devour as a support because of its long cooldown early on. Generally speaking, using Devour offensively or on a minion creates a window of opportunity for opponents to engage without safe escape for the ADC, so use it sparingly in a duo lane. Devour is best used offensively when opponents are fleeing or an allied jungler is preparing to gank your lane. When using Devour defensively, be sure to use it only when necessary or try to keep track of enemy cooldowns. By disrupting an ally's combo you run the risk of reducing their overall DPS or allowing opponents time to bring their skill rotation off cooldown in time to re-engage, effectively losing the trade or giving up a kill. Try to refrain from Devouring an ally until you see them fleeing from danger or know they would otherwise die to oncoming damage.
- Players should also be cautious about choosing when to use Thick Skin, as well. In most cases, it's best to use his grey health as a shield rather than a regen tool when tanking turret fire or being focused by burst champions. Tahm players can put themselves in dangerous situations or get caught off guard by choosing to hoard their grey health for regen rather than shielding. It is best to use grey health for regen while clearing jungle camps or following short trades; in most other circumstances, a shield would be more beneficial.
- Thick Skin makes Tahm very effective at diving turrets due to his high health values and his ability to bring allies safely into turret range using Devour or Abyssal Voyage without subjecting them to turret aggro. When he gets low on health, Tahm can activate Thick Skin while under turret to effectively double his health bar, providing a much longer than normal attack window for allies to operate in before being forced out of turret range. Be careful to avoid eating unnecessary damage while using Thick Skin to tank turret aggro because a large amount of unexpected damage or hard cc can lead to death before your shield can be activated.
- Abyssal Voyage is a very powerful re-positioning tool due to its ability to bring allied champions with you. A well-timed ult can turn 1v1 or 2v1 situations into advantageous encounters across the map, providing high amounts of global pressure while Tahm is roaming or not visible on the map. Though Tahm is unable to carry multiple enemy champions through Abyssal Voyage alone, he is able to carry more than one ally if used in conjunction with Kalista's Fate's Call. Try to travel to and from locations in the fog of war while using Abyssal Voyage to prevent enemies from predicting the gank or interrupting the channel. Remember that the skill indicator is larger than most brush patches, and will therefore still be visible to the opposing team when cast to or from a brush. The skill also emits a loud sound upon travel that can be heard by the opposing team; therefore, it is best to strike quickly following an ult if you are attempting to surprise the enemy team.
- Mastery Usage
- Item Usage
- Tahm Kench synergizes best with items that provide health and resistances, such as Thick Skin, and should be considered due to the Tahm's high bonus health scaling and overall utility. is a worthwhile pickup during the early game phase that can later provide a large amount of damage or utility when built into or . , , and . is especially useful to Tahm due to its synergy with
- An offensive item to consider would be Tongue Lash and naturally seeks to auto attack in attempt to proc An Acquired Taste more quickly. Building additional CDR with also gives Tahm permaslow potential, helping him close in on enemies before using Devour. While doesn't provide any health, it dramatically increases his spammability and provides a decent amount of armor for solo lane play. Players should not build both and in a single match though, because the passive slows from each item do not stack. , which gives him the sticking power that he lacks while growing out his health pool. should also be considered as an alternative because Tahm Kench can proc it often following
- Tongue Lash, allowing him to burn a whopping 12% of an opponent's health every 6 seconds, in addition to the increased offensive capabilities granted to him through its additional bonus health and Tongue Lash's high base damage. is a very powerful item on Tahm because of the low cooldown and slow on
- While Tahm can effectively utilize any support item while in that role, he best utilizes Tongue Lash and Devour. Because of Tahm also likely possessing a large amount of health, the 10% of said health being converted into a shield for a squishy ally will be tremendous in proportion to their health. Support Tahm should also seek to invest in early to increase his tankiness and vision control. because of its high health gains and his ability to safely farm siege minions using
- While Tahm has great map mobility with Abyssal Voyage, he lacks an easy way to get into teamfights outside of it, and it's hugely telegraphed. An early investment in a or a can allow Tahm to engage on the enemy team while slowing down a crucial target for several hits, allowing him to build up stacks of An Acquired Taste and take an enemy out of a fight with Devour.
- in particular is valuable to Tahm due to its movement speed being passive, allowing him to get away from enemies he can't deal with by himself and bait them into a trap by his teammates. Be aware that you lose stacks of momentum while slowed, stunned, or otherwise incapacitated, so use your improved speed to dodge incoming crowd control even if it means you might take some damage.
- The Grey Health mechanic on Thick Skin means that, unlike other tank supports, Tahm Kench is very resilient to poke. However, due to the fact that he lacks a means of healing his teammates, other than the passive on and its upgrades, it is recommended that during the lane phase, you harass his ADC instead of Tahm Kench himself.
- Grey Health is not a shield. It only applies a shield when Tahm Kench activates it. You can take advantage of this by using hard CC on Tahm Kench, so that he will not able to activate this ability and survive for a longer time. This and his damage potential makes Tahm Kench more vulnerable to hard CC, when compared to other tanks.
- Tahm Kench excels at countering hard engages and dives, thanks to Devour. Avoid wasting your most valuable single-target abilities such as Death Mark or Assault and Battery before baiting Tahm Kench into using this skill. On other hand, it is a single-target skill that can only really be used to save one ally, so for example, if Tahm Kench is protecting the ADC, just focus their mid laner.
- This can also be countered by using champions with lots of AoE abilities, such as Xerath, Karthus, and AP Kog'Maw.
- Keep in mind that Devour cannot avoid delayed damage. Thus, if Zed has already dealt enough damage to kill an enemy, Tahm Kench cannot save them even with Devour. This also means that other delayed damage skills like Hemoplague can still deal damage to Tahm's devoured allies.
- Because Devour has a short range, players can also try to isolate Tahm from high value targets before engaging them with single target abilities. Hard CC with long durations or skills that displace enemies, such as Skarner's Impale or Gragas' Explosive Cask.
- Tahm Kench lacks an engage of his own. This can be taken advantage by constantly harassing his team with poke. Tahm Kench, as explained above, is difficult to outlast with poke, but it is still a viable way to wear him down as the Grey Health will not regenerate his entire health.
- Because of Abyssal Voyage's passive, Tahm Kench is likely to stack a lot of health, as this will translate into more damage with his abilities. As such, he is vulnerable to abilities that do a percentage of his health in damage, such as Silver Bolts or Null Zone. or can also be purchased to help chunk down his health. He is even more vulnerable than other tanks, due to his lack of mobility.
- Affecting Tahm with Grievous Wounds (for example, Varus' Hail of Arrows) can severely hinder his ability to regenerate with Grey Health, by either delaying his regen or reducing the amount he receives in compensation. This however will not hinder his ability to shield, so players should attempt to apply hard CC or provide ample room to chase should they try to use a delaying tactic. or an ability that inflicts
- Between the bonus damage from Abyssal Voyage, the high shield power of Thick Skin, and Tahm's respectable single target lockdown with Tongue Lash and Devour, Tahm bears the distinction of being quite possibly the best tank duelist in the game. Trying to 1v1 Tahm late game is an exercise in futility, as even if he doesn't have kill potential on you, he can delay the fight for potentially minutes on end, allowing his team to turn the tides. Do your best to fight Tahm with a numbers advantage, as he lacks any real AoE damage or crowd control and, while durable, can only take so much punishment.
- Tahm Kench is not just a support. He is also a top laner, and a good counter to many of other common top laners. He is really difficult to outduel as a melee champion, but he is actually quite vulnerable during the early game, especially because he is mana hungry. A lane bully such as Darius or Renekton can hold their own against Tahm Kench, especially since they have sustain. But keep in mind that they will not be able to combat Tahm for a long time, and he will eventually outscale them in utility.