It’s hard to tell whether the top hat-wearing monstrosity is a fat catfish or some kind of whiskered frog, but the new champion’s wide mouth filled with sharp teeth certainly isn’t for show—his kit revolves around eating minions, enemies, and allies alike.
The massive champion—fit for top lane and support duties—features a kit that should make him a brutal tank. All of his attacks and damaging abilities apply a stack of An Acquired Taste, his passive, which gives his Q and W greater interactions when used on enemy champions.
His Q, Tongue Lash, deals damage and slows enemy champions unless they have three stacks of his passive, in which case it stuns instead of just a slow. Thick Skin, his E, provides a ton of innate tankiness for the champion by healing a portion of the damage he took in combat when he leaves it, and by allowing him to turn that damage taken into a shield while in combat.
But the more interesting ability is his W, devour. It allows him to swallow up minions, allied champions, and enemy champions (if they have three stacks of An Acquired Taste) and carry them around. He can spit out the minions to do area damage around the spot it hits. He can protect the allies from damage while gaining a movement speed bonus toward enemy champions, allowing him to bring them safely into the battle while protected by Tahm Kench’s own bulk. Devouring enemy champions, however, provides the most interesting possibilities.
Once he lands three stacks of An Acquired Taste on an enemy champion, he can Devour them and reposition them to great effect. In the top lane, for example, he could bring the enemy behind his tower, leaving them in an incredibly dangerous position. As a support, Devour can instantly turn a fight into a two-on-one advantage for a couple seconds.
His ultimate, Abyssal Voyage, opens up even more playmaking opportunities. Tahm King opens his big mouth wide, inviting an ally to take a ride inside, before diving into a whirlpool and appearing at a target location with teammate in tow. The Voyage has a “huge range,” which opens up the possibility for all kinds of crazy ganks. In the preview video, Tahm takes Lucian from the top lane tri bush to the mid lane in a couple seconds. The only saving grace for the foes is this: It has a length cast time and a telegraph similar to Twisted Fate’s global teleport, allowing them to at least prepare for arrival of the River King and his lunch.
Even better: The ultimate makes all of his damage scale with max health, meaning that his stomach won’t be the only meaty thing about Tahm Kench.
Overall it’s a kit that builds off a lot of recent mechanics, like Kalista’s ultimate or Bard’s Mystical Journey, which open up new and interesting interactions between both enemies and teammates. Tahm Kench’s power won’t be fully unlocked without a team capable of taking advantage of it. But when one does, he should be a dangerous weapon indeed.
He looks like a solid support tank, but his viability in the top lane will be dependent on how much damage he can really do with his health scaling. His kit may be filled with disruption, but he has no way to really put the hurt on a foe by himself.
Still, the River King certainly looks like he’ll be a terror when he hits the Summoner’s Rift, no matter where he’s most viable.
Image via Riot Games