AP MID TAHM KENCH SEASON 12 Patch 12.19
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+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+15-140 HP (lvls 1-18)
Threats & Synergies
Nunu & Willump
Nunu & Willump
Champion Build Guide
Hail of Blades is key to bringing our core item Imperial Mandate together with our Tongue Lash and Abyssal Dive combo. We'll get to that later though. Hail of Blades is awesome for winning early duals at level 2, by which time you should have both your Tongue Lash and Abyssal Dive. Below is a video where I demonstrate a combo with Hail of Blades at level 4. The key is not to rush this, Tahm Kenchs combos have a quite a bit of leeway when it comes to timing.
Cheap Shot is where a lot of your burst damage comes from. By running Hail of Blades and Cheap Shot we can smash squishies very easily. Below is a video demonstrating how powerful cheap shot is early game with TK's Abyssal Dive and Tongue Lash combo.
Eyeball Collection is great for extra boosts in AP.
Ultimate Hunter is key to getting your ult down to less than one minute with this build. Thats right, munch away cause by the time your done, youre gonna be a fat boy.
Transcendence plays a crucial role in making sure we have abilities up in time. Since we are running Hail of Blades you may realize early game you have to time your Tongue Lash just right. Transcendence takes care of this in the long run for us so you wont have to focus so much on timing and more on the fight.
Gathering Storm is pretty straight forward, the longer the game goes the stronger you get. It's a pretty solid pick for our AP Tahm Kench.
Corrupting Potion is essential as your starting item since most champs mid lane are ranged and you're gonna need the extra early sustain.
Imperial Mandate is the thing that most players will see and a major red flag pops up in their head. Don't be fooled, although this is traditionally a support mythic item, the synergy with TK's kit allows for insane damage and guarenteed ganks for your jungler. Lets break down the items passive.
UNIQUE Passive: Abilities that slow or immobilize enemy champions deal 45-75 bonus magic damage and mark them for 4 seconds (depending on level). Allied champions that damage marked enemies consume the mark to deal 90−150 bonus magic damage (depending on target's level) and grant you and the triggering ally 20% bonus movement speed for 2 seconds (6 second cooldown per enemy champion, starts upon applying the mark).
Mythic Passive: Empowers your other Legendary items with 15 ability power.
So here we see that all 3 of TKs damaging abilties; Tongue Lash, Abyssal Dive, and Devour will proc the bonus damage buff from Imperial Mandate. Not only will your Tongue slap them so hard their children feel it, but any ganks you get will also proc the movement speed buff for both you and your jungler and allow your jungler to do increased burst damage. Below is a video demonstrating the movenment speed and extra burst. You can see that I use Tongue Lash to setup Imperial Mandates passive, which the Brand procs and allows him to do extra damage from just one auto attack.
Horizon Focus is our second item. If you are doing well in lane and manage to get this, its pretty much GG for the mid game. Lets break down Horizon Focus passive and see why its absolutely necessary for making AP Kench work mid lane.
UNIQUE Passive: Dealing ability damage to a champion with an ability that is neither unit-targeted nor auto-targeted at more than 700 units away or slowing, immobilizing or polymorphing, one reveals them and increases your damage dealt to them by 10% for 6 seconds.
So, already you can see why we're going with this item. Not only do all 3 of your damaging abilities proc Horizon Focuss passive, but the 10% damage on top of Cheap Shots true damage, AND Imperial Mandates bonus magic damge make Tahm Kench an AP assassin. Below is a video demonstrating the destructive power or Imperial Mandate and Horizon Focus together.
So another major difference you'll see in our AP build is that there are no boots. To be honest, they just aren't needed for this build. TK's mobility is already top notch and with our next item it just seems like a waste of space.
Cosmic Drive is where this build really starts to become something unique. It's passive has amazing synergy with our Hail of Blades rune.
UNIQUE Passive: After damaging a champion with 3 separate basic attacks or abilities, gain 15% bonus movement speed, decaying to 5% over 2 seconds, and 40 ability power until exiting champion combat (5 seconds).
Again, after reading our passive we know that we will get a major movement speed buff with not only our Hail of Blades but our other abilities Tongue Lash, Abyssal Dive and Devour. In fact setting up Cosmic Drive and then using Devour will allow you to travel even greater distances faster while carrying an enemy. Below is a video demonstrating TK's mobility without having boots in a fight against a fed nasus with a yuumi attached.
And the video shown here shows Cosmic Drive in action. Notice that I proc it off Caitlin and even though I'm CC'd by Wukong I'm still fast enough to eat Caitlin.
Demonic Embrace is a solid pick against tanks and fighters. It has 2 passives which both work in your favor.
UNIQUE Passive: Gain ability power equal to 2% bonus health.
UNIQUE Passive: Dealing ability damage curses enemies, causing them to take (7.2% for Melee / 4% for Ranged) of their maximum health as total magic damage over 4 seconds.
The ability power increase based on our bonus health will definitely be relevant once we start building our tanky items. Yes, even though we are AP Mid we still need some survivability and since we are playing Tahm Kench any defensive items we build will be huge. Also since we are not building boots our mythic passive grants us additional ability power per legendary item. At full build we get a whopping 90 extra AP regardless of what we build. The second passive allows for us to be able to dual fighters easily. Below is a demonstration of Demonic Embrace giving us the extra beefiness we need to be able to take on and outsustain some champs that are meant to kill TK. Vayne and Fizz.
That wraps it up for our core AP items, now its time for our defensive items. Usually this comes down to a case by case basis. You should always adapt the build for the game but I've found the most success with Thornmail and Force of Nature.
Thornmail allows us to gain armor defense without sacrificing damage. Its passive is perfect for our damage increasing our damage output. Your defense should hit as hard as your offense.
UNIQUE Passive: When struck by an attack, deal 10 (+20% bonus armor) magic damage to the attacker and inflict them with 25% Grievous Wounds for 3 seconds if they are a champion. Immobilizing enemy champions also applies 40% Grievous Wounds for 3 seconds.
So hitting our Tongue Lash after we've gotten our An Acquired Taste stacks off, Abyssal Dive, and our Devour will all proc grievous wounds, in addition to having any attacks we take also applying grievous wounds.
Force of Nature is another item that I love simply due to its synergy with Cosmic Drive.
UNIQUE Passive: Taking magic damage from enemy champions grants a stack of Steadfast for 7 seconds, up to a maximum of 6. Becoming immobilized by an enemy champion grants 2 additional stacks. Spells can only grant 1 stack of Steadfast every 1 second.
UNIQUE Passive: While at 6 stacks of Steadfast, gain 10% bonus movement speed and reduce all incoming magic damage by 25%
In a duel with against another AP champ, force of nature will grant you the eztra movement speed to run down an escaping enemy
Some other honorable mentions are Dead Man's Plate and Banshee's Veil, in place of Thornmail and Force of Nature. These are both really good picks and also have great synergy with your core build.
Dead Man's Plate further reduces the need for boots by granting a ton of movement speed, which will be further buffed by your Cosmic Drive.
UNIQUE Passive: While moving, generates 7 stacks of Momentum each 0.25 seconds, granting up to 40 bonus movement speed at 100 stacks after 3.75 seconds of moving. Momentum decays by 15 every 0.25 seconds while immobilized. Basic attacks consume all stacks on-hit to deal 0−40 (+0−100% base attack damage) bonus physical damage per stack (depending on Momentum). At maximum stacks, the target is also slowed by 50% for 1 second.
On top of movement speed, at full stacks your be able to slow your opponent giving Tahm Kench a tilting amount of crowd control. It's one of my favorite alternate items to use, especially against a full AD team.
There are 3 main combos you should learn as an AP Tahm Kench Mid.
This first combo uses Hail of Blades to quickly apply stacks of An Acquired Taste. You auto attack three times, followed by Tongue Lash to stun your opponent. You auto attack once more, then use Abyssal Dive directly under them to knock them in the air for further cc. Immediately autoattack 2 more times and once again stun them with your Tongue Lash, alternately you can finish the combo with Devour. You can potentially get this combo off indefinitely.
The second combo is used primarilly for catching fleeing opponents. If an enemy team member is attemptin to flee a fight or duel this combo is used to ensure they cannot escape. Start by slowing them using Tongue Lash, walk up and auto attack, slow them again with Tongue Lash, you can now eat them with Devour and bring them back to your team mates. After spitting them out follow up with an auto attack, another Tongue Lash to slow them and give yourself more than enough time to dive directly under them with Abyssal Dive. Auto attack again, then stun with Tongue Lash.
The third combo is specifically used when you are dueling opponents in a 1v1. First, you engage the opponent using Abyssal Dive. Immediately follow it up with an auto attack, slow with Tongue Lash and simultaneously use Ignite on your enemy. Auto attack one more time then consume them with Devour. Upon spitting them out slow them again with Tongue Lash.
AP Tahm Kench Mid really shines in the mid game. Your roaming capabilities are top notch and river fights are optimal for you and your jungler since you are running Imperial Mandate. In fact you should be paying close attention to your jungler in the early to mid game, since your basically an AP support mid. I've also run this build in the bot lane as a support and it works incredibly well. Instead of starting Corrupting Potion I start with a Relic Shield. The playstyle is exactly the same, although your laning partner may not expect you to do so much damage or be so squishy early so make sure you let them know ahead of time what your strengths and weaknesses are early game.
If your late game is falling off consider what your team needs, if they need you to be a little more tanky then dont be afraid to switch up your items. This build definitely allows for a lot of freedom and You really cant go wrong in any direction you choose. The hardest challenges you'll face are people trolling you because they think you're the troll and have a poor mental. Unfrtunately it happens and more frequently in my games that I played this, but its about you and how you choose to play. Don't give up and master this playstyle because it really is fun. This build should let you dominate the laning phase and in the games that I played this in the jungler was always my best bud by the end of the game. Winning lane and sticking with your jungler will be key to winning your games as AP Tahm Kench Mid. If you've found my In-Depth guide to AP Tahm Kench Mid useful, please UpVote! Thank you!