Tahm Kench Build Guide by MTaur
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Tahm Kench Build
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Hey everyone, just throwing out some thoughts here. I may update this later if I have more to say. I am planning on putting this champion into my collection of mains as I get more practice, since tanky supports are more or less my style. (I might update to include jungling advice and builds once I practice that some as well)
After basic support items ( Sightstone, Targon's Brace and Boots of Speed), the most important stats are tank stats. After that, his best luxury stats are CDR, tenacity, and attack speed. This is because Tahm Kench wants to stay in a fight for a long time, and he wants to land multiple attacks on a single target.
There are lots of good options for CDR, and they will depend on team composition. Face of the Mountain isn't mandatory, but it can be good if you want low-hanging CDR. Frozen Heart is always welcome if your top/jungle aren't going for it. Spirit Visage is a core item. Zephyr is even a reasonable late luxury item. There are so many options that you probably won't need CDR boots as long as you take whatever runes/masteries make up the difference, if any remains.
With max CDR, Tongue Lash will be a safer way to apply passive stacks, but AS always helps.
Other than that, read the notes for more thoughts, and use your judgment, and react to team comps and gold distribution as the game progresses.
AS marks are definitely ideal. Nothing in the Marks category competes with some AS to apply more passive stacks.
Seals should likely be flat armor, if you anticipate a standard 2v2 bot lane. You could argue for %health marks to scale up your grey health and ult passive.
Glyphs depend on your items. Either CDR or scaling MR are the most reasonable. Magic penetration for Devour isn't crazy either.
Quints should probably be move quints.
For masteries, heavy defense is a must. You could put a few points into Offense or Utility for better recalls, warding range, CDR, and/or AS.
This guy's tricky, and we'll all be learning from mistakes for a long time.
Tongue Lash is maybe the least tricky. The most important thing is knowing when to spam it, and when to try to get a stun. The cooldown is base 6 seconds, so it's almost always fine to lead with it before going into autos. It's often ok if you have to use it for the slow more than once, though.
If you can Devour your ADC while a projectile is mid-flight, then that's a cool clutch play. Things like a Karthus or Caitlynn ult are a little easier. Still, it's very easy to eat a minion by mistake. In less clear-cut situations, deciding when your ADC is about to score a kill vs when they're about to die can be tricky. For escapes, being able to Flash after devouring can make a huge difference. On the offensive side, don't Devour an enemy who would've easily died to a stun from Q instead. Other than that... yeah, dumb minions want to ruin your life.
Your shield/heal on E is really nice, and not super complicated. You take the shield if you anticipate taking more damage than you would've healed, or if you'll die without it. There's a lot of counterplay, though. If you take the shield, then the other team can either try to blow you up, try to disengage, or switch targets - these can all be losing ventures if you keep licking and you aren't flat-out caught and blowing up.
Abyssal Voyage is the real great power with great responsibility. Some cases are clear-cut, like a quick hop to a secure Dragon or a post-teamfight chase. Using it as a duo TP back to lane is another vanilla use with little risk. Other times it can be used for hero plays or suicides. You can also try to use it for 3-2 split pushing, but this might not be an optimal split. In a 4-1, you can bring two teammates to the solo lane, which would definitely fit the meta better. Typically you'll be trying to flank, so bringing top or jungle with you should be best. If you want to blast an exposed inhibitor with only 20 seconds to do it, then bringing the ADC is the thing to do.
But mostly, you'll just have to live and learn with the global ults. Even LCS Pantheon serves up some derps. Double the stakes, double the glory.
For now I'm promoting Q > E > W. Q has the most range and it is a scaling slow, so it's important even if the cooldown fails to scale. E could be taken last, but the regeneration scales extremely well and it really shines at max level as soon as you get Spirit Visage. If you aren't forced to shield, then the regeneration functions more or less like 50% damage mitigation at this point. All you have to do is not get blown up. Finally, W does have some damage that scales pretty well, and arguably W can be taken sooner. However, this does not enhance your tanking much, and IMO it's more of a greedy pick for a "carry support" who doesn't trust their team very much.
Flash is mandatory on everyone, just about.
Exhaust is also mandatory. It is the best way to build passive stacks in a clutch situation, hands down. I like Heal, but Tahm Kench needs Flash/Exhaust. It's non-negotiable IMO.