Tahm Kench Guide

Tahm Kench Guide

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Riot Games’ old Champs are known for a reason; their charisma. You can have a half-turtle half-hedgehog beast that only says “OK” or creatures with wings and big claws from another dimension. While also having small badger-like explorers or scientists with hammers or small turrets. 

One of those fabulous creatures is Tahm Kench. A demon that you’ll love as soon as you know his sophisticated and trickster-like personality combined with his great moveset. 

Key Info Up Front

  • Price: 4800 of Blue Essence, or 2880 of Blue Essence and a Champion Shard. 880 RP. 
  • Role: Tank. 
  • Difficulty: Moderate. 

Overview and Background Story

Tahm Kench, “The River King” 

Tahm Kench is as old as the same Runeterra. As well as other demons like Evelynn, Tahm’s way to live is by eating the emotions that come from the hopes and dreams of the people in the world. Tahm Kench attacks people by knowing their hopes and changing into anything depending on his objectives. Then he absorbs the emotions that come from having a dream to accomplish.

As he is a demon, he can’t be damaged with any weapon (unless the weapon is magical). In addition, he’s immortal and can travel through many places quickly, thanks to his underwater abilities. 

Tahm Kench is the most famous demon in Runeterra. From immemorial times, the people have warned others about the significant fish-like being that attracts people by pledging the most desired things to his objectives that are unsatisfied with their lives only to absorb their hopes. He loves gambling and the games of chance, and that’s how he convinces his objectives. 

Key Relationships and Quotes

  • Aatrox: Tahm Kench calls himself Aatrox’s brother as both have the same objective, getting fed by humans. One with their greed and the other with their will to fight and kill. On the other side, Aatrox respects Tahm Kench and feels him as his friend.  
  • Evelynn: Tahm Kench and Evelynn have a friendly rivalry as they eat people. In this case, Evelynn uses the same tricks as Tahm Kench but manipulates her objectives by using lust and getting pleasure with the pain she inflicts. 
  • Kalista: Kalista has always tried to kill Tahm Kench unsuccessfully. She’s constantly chasing him, but the demon is very skillful, but he can’t eat Kalista as she doesn’t fall for his tricks.
  • All Runeterra knows the tricks of the greedy demon. Some Champions have even talked and have fought against Tahm Kench. This is confirmed because he has interaction dialogues with 48 different Champions, being the Champion with the most interactions in the game. 

“All the world is a river, and I’m its king.” 

“Everyone ends downriver, eventually.”

“From suffering, my banquet is born.”

Key Features

Tahm Kench’s best attribute is the Tankyness he has. He’s great for protecting his ADC and being in the frontline receiving damage. He doesn’t hesitate to use his significant amount of shields when running low on HP to give him extra protection in the team fights. Also, he’s excellent for 1v1 if built with some additional damage, thanks to his ability kit.

Continuing with his ability kit, he’s excellent in the early game, thanks to his CC hazards. Still, his Early Game needs to be perfect to get to the Late Game without being useless. We can’t forget his offensiveness, excellent support for entirely offensive ADCs, or perfect for fighting against Top Laners that live under the turret. Thanks to his moveset, he can perform very well in several positions, even as a Jungler, as he has excellent Mana management. 

Lastly, he’s not a usual pick in low elos. Countering him will be hard for Bronze/Silver players as they don’t know his mechanics perfectly as the Diamond and higher players could. 

But Tahm Kench has some disadvantages that play against him. First, he’s very chunky. That means two things: His hitbox is massive (so you have more chances to get hit by enemy abilities), and he’s very slow, so he relies on using Phase Rush or some good boots. 

Also, Tahm Kench is very hard to master as all his combo. Therefore, all his gameplay depends on landing his Q, Tongue Lash. If he doesn’t, he would not be able to stack his passive and therefore do all the damage he can do, risking his life. At least he’s very tanky and can handle a lot of damage. 

Another thing to mention is his slow minion cleaning performance; in both the Jungle and in the Top Lane, he struggles a lot when cleaning because of his slow basic attack speed, so sometimes he has to rely on his abilities to clean bigger minion waves. 

Lastly, his abilities have long cooldown times in the early game. If you don’t land your abilities properly, you will not have chance to survive. Tahm Kench suffers a lot when he’s against some champions, primarily because of some reasons, so let’s see Tahm Kench’s weaknesses:

  • Full-mobility Champs: As Tahm Kench harshly depends on landing his combos, he can struggle a lot when facing a champ with a lot of mobility. Akali, Ekko, or Fizz are great examples of champs you don’t want to see in your matches.  
  • Heavy-CC threats: Tahm Kench doesn’t have many options to get rid of CC besides his HP and Armor, and if he gets stopped just when he’s doing his combo, Tahm Kench will get useless in that play. Champs like Lulu or Thresh are big problems for Tahm; Lulu is a serious problem as she is, in my opinion, the best Support in the game. She can use some silences and transformations on Tahm, making him very sensitive to high-damage sources. 
  • Vayne and Fiora: Vayne and Fiora are exceptional cases against Tahm because of their True Damage based on their objective’s Max HP. Vayne can quickly get rid of Tahm because of her R’s invisibility, mobility capacities, and damage inflictions. On the other hand, Fiora has parries that can block Tahm Kench’s abilities, making it difficult for him to land his combo correctly. 

But not all is bad on Tahm; he has some significant synergies to exploit, making him a good Support. 

  • Traps Setters: Champs like Caitlyn or Teemo is Tahm Kench’s great companions. Tahm can get an enemy and throw him into a trap, creating a tremendous 2v1 opportunity. 
  • Heavy-CC threats: Yes, they can be great allies for Tahm Kench. It’s effortless to land an ability on an immobile objective, so the Champs with heavy CC can help Tahm Kench with his abilities. 
  • ADCs: Tahm Kench can also provide CC and move Champs, so he’s excellent as a Support. Those ADCs with some CC are great companions as they can make it easier for Tahm to land his combo and eat his objectives easily. 

Related Perks & Special Abilities

An Acquired Taste (Passive)

Tahm Kench’s passive is very simple and common as it is a triple-stack passive. Tahm Kench’s basic attacks and abilities will apply a stack of An Acquired Taste, up to three, also dealing extra magic damage depending on Tahm’s Max HP. Still, the damage isn’t the best thing ever, and you’ll not notice it until you get a serious amount of HP. 

The important thing about this passive is that when it is stacked on three times, it’ll give Tahm’s Q and R new effects. So let’s check his abilities to see how they work with the passive. 

Tongue Lash (Q)

Tahm will attack by extending his tongue in a direction. Dealing magic damage to all the enemies hit, applying a stack of An Acquired Taste, and slowing the first objective hit. Tahm Kench will also get healed if he lands the ability on his objective.

Tongue Lash will stun for 1.5 seconds if the objective has three stacks of An Acquired Taste. 

This one is the ability you’ll use the most with Tahm Kench in the Lane Phase because it is his main poke tool and will help him maintain distances with the enemies. Also, its stun will work a lot in the Team Fight Phase. However, it is a skill shot, and it’s fairly hard to land, so you have to practice it a lot.

The healing of this ability is very good, and that, combined with the shields provided by Thick Skin, makes Tahm Kench a great 1v1 fighter. Also, the slowness is very good for running away from sketchy situations or engaging in battles. 

Abyssal Dive (W)

This is Tahm Kench’s ability to engage in team fights and roams as he dives into a water portal and emerges from it after a while in the desired place. If he hits an enemy while emerging, the enemies will get knocked up and stunned for a second. 

The only downside of this ability is that the enemies can know where will Tahm Kench emerge. But it’ll be effortless to use if you know how to target it appropriately or the enemies are slowed down or stunned. Also, it doesn’t work to stack An Acquired Taste, so it’s better to use as a combat engagement. 

Last thing to mention; if Tahm Kench lands the ability into an enemy champion, he will get a 30% of the Mana spent on this ability back. So, this ability is fundamental. It works perfectly for getting into battles, engaging in duels, and using it to gank or roam into lanes. Tahm Kench can play in the Jungle or as a support thanks to this ability. 

As it moves Champs, I always recommend calculating the ability to make the Champs get into the desired position as you can accidentally use it to save your enemies. 

Thick Skin (E) 

This ability has a passive and an active effect. The passive one makes Tahm Kench store a percentage of damage received as grey health on his HP bar. The more damage he gets, the bigger the grey HP bar gets. If Tahm Kench doesn’t use the ability and he doesn’t get more damage for four seconds, Tahm Kench will quickly restore the HP that got converted into grey health. 

But, if Tahm Kench uses the active effect of Thick Skin, then he will get a shield that will be as big as the grey health bar is for 2.5 seconds. Both the shield and the grey health bar will disappear when the 2.5 seconds end.

Thanks to this ability, Tahm Kench is a great 1v1 fighter. He can last for a long time as the shield given by the grey health bar is very strong, sometimes giving Tahm Kench a full HP bar as a shield and saving him from adverse situations. If you don’t use the active effect, it is also a great sustain tool for the early game, thanks to the post-fight healing, but you have to remember that it won’t heal you completely in lower levels.  

I recommend keeping it until you are running low on HP. No matter the situation, as it is a lifesaver that can make you last longer in the field, you can also constantly use it when in Team Fights to get the best usage of the shield given by the grey health bar. 

Devour (R) 

You can use Devour on allies and enemies, but it has different effects (obviously) depending on your target. 

If used on allies, Tahm Kench can carry them for up to 3 seconds (or until they decide to move to get out of Tahm’s belly), making them invincible during that time. But Tahm Kench will get slowed and rooted during that time too. At least he can use Abyssal Dive while having an ally on his belly.

It works perfectly to take your teammates out of bad situations, as it also grants your teammates a shield for 2.5 seconds. 

It can also be used with enemies, but only the ones with three An Acquired Taste stacks. If Tahm Kench eats an enemy, they will be suppressed for 3 seconds while Tahm Kench will get grounded (so he can’t use flash or movement skills) and slowed down. 

After devouring, Tahm Kench can voluntarily regurgitate a target after 1 second. 

Devour is a wonderful ability to focus on a specific target or get a target out of the fight for three seconds, which means a great advantage on Team Fights. Of course, moving an enemy to wherever you want is an excellent advantage as you can send them into a turret or your teammates. 

As for combos, Tahm Kench doesn’t have any critical combo besides Basic Attack + Q + Basic Attack to stack An Acquired Taste and then use his R or his Q again (depending on which one benefits you more, but remember, his Q has a low cooldown time so you can use it plenty of times on the late game). In other words, Tahm Kench’s abilities are more dependent on the situation and what is more convenient for the play than just having a combo to engage in a duel. 

Now that we have seen Tahm’s abilities and understood how they work, it’s time to check on his playstyle to know which runes, items, and spells work better for Tahm. 

Character Playstyle


Of course, I will give you two recommendations based on which suits Tahm better. But he has a lot of options; I have seen professional Tahm Kench players using Phase Rush and more offensive-wise Runes, so my advice is to play the Champ and try Runes in Normal games to see if there are Runes that you feel like they suit Tahm better. It’s always a feeling thing! 

Usual Tanky Runes

These are the most common Runes we can find for Tahm Kench in the Top and Jungle roles, as they give a lot of Tankyness and severe after-CC damage. Let’s see it: 

Grasp of Undying is the best sustain-wise option for Tahm Kench because of all the benefits it gives by being constantly fighting. Every 4 seconds when fighting, Tahm Kench’s next basic attack will heal him, deal extra damage to Tahm’s objective, based on 4% of Tahm’s Max HP, and increase his Max HP by 5. In short words, there’s no better Rune for The River King.

Shield Bash does a great combo with Tahm’s E as it gives Tahm bonus Armor and Magic Resistance. At the same time, being shielded, and considering that Tahm’s shield lasts 2.5 seconds, that’s a lot of time with extra defenses. Also, Shield Bash buffs the Tahm Kench’s next basic attack by giving it a bonus adaptative damage based on the amount of shield received. Tahm’s shield can be massive if appropriately timed, meaning that the bonus adaptative damage can be severe.

Second Wind will give Tahm Kench a lot of HP Regeneration after receiving damage. You can combine it with Tahm Kench E’s passive effect and get quickly healed, so you don’t have to constantly go back in the Early Game.  Revitalize will only get activated if Tahm is at 40% of his Max HP or less, and it will buff all the shields received or applied to himself. Of course, it can combine perfectly with Shield Bash and Tahm’s E.

I usually go with Inspiration as the secondary Runes to get some more Movement Speed for Tahm Kench. The first one is Magical Footwear, as it gives Tahm bonus Movement Speed and freeboots at minute 12, with the downside that you can’t buy boots before the 12 minutes. 

And the second one is one of my favorite Runes for Tahm Kench. Approach Velocity will give him a lot of Movement Speed when moving toward a Champion enemy affected by CC. Furthermore, you can combine it with Tahm Kench Q’s Stun to have mobility, which is a tremendous advantage in duels. 

I will also recommend some alternatives to the secondary Runes depending on if you want to have other options: 

  • Damage: If you want Tahm Kench to have more damage, you can go with Cheap Shot and Ravenous Hunter. Cheap Shot makes Tahm Kench deals some True Damage to stunned Champions, so it’s a great option to combine it with Tahm’s Q. 

Meanwhile, Ravenous Hunter will give Tahm Kench up to 6% of Omnivampirism, which is excellent to combine with Second Wind. 

  • Tenacity: You can also use the secondary Runes to get some Tenacity and avoid being constantly grounded. The best options are Legend: Tenacity and Coup de Grace or Triumph. 

So, Legend: Tenacity will give Tahm up to 50% of Tenacity (plus some bonus) when getting a stack of Legend. You get stacks of Legend by killing, assisting in kills, or farming. 

By discarding, Coup de Grace and Triumph are the best options for the other secondary Rune. Coup de Grace will give Tahm more damage when fighting against champs below 40% of their max HP. At the same time, Triumph will heal Tahm and give him extra Gold after killing an enemy Champion. 

Lastly, I recommend using an Attack Speed and two Armor ones as bonus Runes. Still, these can vary depending on your rivals in the match. 

Summoner Spells  

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  • Smite: If you play Jungle, you need to have Smite. 
  • Flash: This spell is a must on Tahm Kench because of his poor base mobility and its utility in the game. 
  • Ignite: If you are going for an aggressive Support or Top Tahm Kench, Ignite can help you a lot when dueling. 
  • Ghost: This spell isn’t typical for Tahm, but I like it because of the extra mobility. Don’t use it if you are going for Approach Velocity as Tahm Kench’s secondary Rune. 
  • Exhaust: This one is a great spell to play Support as you can combine it with all the CC Tahm Kench has available. 

Recommended Build  

Tahm Kench has many options for builds, and the build will hardly depend on the Main Runes Tahm uses. So, I’ll recommend a build for a Tanky Tahm Kench. Let’s go! 

Sunfire Aegis

This has to be Tahm’s Mythic item, no matter the situation, because this item is very OP. It gives a lot of Armor, HP, Magic Resistance, and Ability Haste. Also, it can burn every enemy around Tahm Kench when using basic attacks. So the amount of benefits is very high. 

Mercury Threads

The Tenacity given by these boots is very high, and it has to be your option when fighting against heavy-CC Champs. If you want some extra Armor, go for Plated Steelcaps, and if you want extra Movement Speed, go for the Boots of Mobility (I like to use these when Jungling with Tahm).


Another essential item for Tahm Kench because of the Grievous Wounds it applies, which is a great thing to have when being in 1v1 fights. 

Spirit Visage

Spirit Visage + Grasp of the Undying is a perfect combo because of the Spirit Visage’s passive that will buff both Shields and Healings received by Tahm Kench. 


This one is for granting Mana and more shields that can combine with Shield Bash. This is a must for Tahm Kench.

Sterak’s Gage

Sterak’s is an excellent item if you go offensive with Tahm Kench as it constantly heals him when he is in battle. If Tahm has less than 30% of his Max HP, then he will receive a shield that, combined with Tahm Kench E’s Shield and Shield Bash, can give Tahm Kench a lot of damage and protection. 

Force of Nature

Force of Nature is an option I use when facing heavy AP threats. It gives a lot of Magic Resistance and can also help with mobility thanks to its passive. 

Warmog’s Armor

I usually build this one the last because of its passive that will regenerate Tahm’s HP very fast, which is great to have in the Team Fight Phase. Of course, you can also opt to build it as Tahm’s third or fourth item, but I prefer using that chance for more critical items like Thornmail. 

Bulwark of the Mountain

This one is in case you are want to Support Tahm Kench. It gives him Armor and Magic Resistance, plus it will be Tahm’s only gold source. 

Demonic Embrace

I like to use this item when I want to have more damage as it also gives Tahm Kench a lot of HP. Of course, you can also use Mejai’s Soulstealer, but that’s more of an option when you are very fed and have a notable advantage in the match. 

Dead’s Man Plate

Another situational item that I prefer when Tahm Kench is lacking on Movement Speed when I’m playing as a Jungler. The Armor and extra damage are also very helpful. 

Randuin’s Omen

Lastly, this one is a situational item. I use it when I want to play Support with Tahm because of the active effect’s slowness to the enemies around Tahm.

Laning and Teamfighting Tips 

To end with this guide, I want to give some tips to successfully run through the matches stomping with Tahm Kench. 

  • Tahm Kench is very weak in the Early Game because he’s dependent on having all his abilities available to fight. I don’t get into fights in the Early Game unless necessary (like if I get a gank from my Jungler or if I’m the Jungler). My best recommendation for winning in your Lane is to focus on farming or clearing minion waves. 
  • If you are playing Top, don’t get out of the Lane unless necessary because you can’t let your Lane enemy push the Lane; remember that Tahm Kench doesn’t have much mobility in the Early Game.
  • As for the Late Game, Tahm Kench’s labor is to protect your teammates more than engage in battles, as Tahm Kench needs to fight a bit to use his CC utilities. You’ll be the human shield. That’s why Tahm has an ability that gives him a big shield and Shield Bash that gives him a lot of damage when having a Shield (plus the items that also give shields). It’s way better if you act like a wall to take care of your teammates and get into action by focusing on the most dangerous threat when being in a Team Fight.  


Question: Why did Tahm Kench get a rework? 

Answer: Tahm Kench isn’t a common pick in the Ranked matches. His ability kit got very old and impractical, so Riot polished his moveset a lot, giving us a great Champ with a lot of 1v1 fighting potential!

Question: What got changed on Tahm Kench’s rework? 

Answer: The main thing on Tahm’s rework was his R changing into his W and vice-versa. Riot Games did that to give Tahm Kench a bit of mobility and variations to get in a fight. His duel potential back then was reduced to him trying to eat an enemy Champ. So, of course, Riot adapted Devour to being an Ultimate ability by giving Tahm more time to control the eaten enemy Champ and suppressing them and changed his W to make more as his former Ultimate was almost useless as it was like a Teleport with no more effects. 

Question: Can I climb with Tahm Kench? 

Answer: Tahm Kench is a hard Champ. It’s challenging to master it even when Riot says that his difficulty is “Moderate.” There are many things to consider when using Tahm Kench. He can get reduced quickly while also having some counters that can completely mess with Tahm’s strat. If you have enough patience, you can climb with him, but there are many more manageable and more robust options if you want to climb in your Ranked Matches quickly.

Tahm Kench Guide: Conclusion

I love to talk about Champs like Tahm Kench because they are unknown Champions in the game; it’s not common to see a Tahm Kench in a low-elo ranked match. That’s why Tahm Kench got a rework not so long ago that adapted him to the new trends of the game.

If you feel capable of handling one of the hardest Early Games of LoL, then Tahm Kench can be an interesting Champ to play. Give it s try!

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