Tahm Kench Build Guide by Urf Kench
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Tahm Kench Build
+30-270 Health (at levels 1-18)
Mid Game Build
Threats to Tahm Kench with this build
|Janna||Janna is the easiest matchup you will get. Do nothing and wait the end of the laning phase... (BORING)|
Opinion about Patch 8.16
The Patch 8.16 has greatly affected (negatively) Tahm Kench for the following reasons:
Tongue Last (Q):
Slow Duration lowered from 2 to 1.5
Cooldown lowered from 6 to 5
Devour (W) :
Devour Duration changed from 4/4.5/5/5.5/6 to 4 at all ranks
- Ennemy champion duration still halved
Cooldown increase from 14/13/12/11/10 to 28/25/22/19/16
Cost lowered from 90 to 60
NEW : Triggers half its normal cooldown on ennemy cast
First of all, lets look at Tahm Kench overall performance on Patch 8.15:
Win rate : 35/43 (48.01%)
Play rate : 20/43 (2.23%)
Playerbase Average Games Played : 42/43 (4.49)
Overall placement : 35/43
With very little analysis, it is easy to say that Tahm Kench was far from being an all-star choice by players and that his performance was weak given its winrate of around 48% for nearly a year.
The change of the Q is not so important considering the major nerf of the W, but it is still worth mentioning that the reduction of the slow duration will make it harder to engage and to accumulate stacks on ennemies.
The real problem comes from the W nerf since the cooldown has simply been doubled, without compensation. On the contrary, the duration of the effect has even been reduced to 4 seconds at all ranks for allies and 2 seconds for enemies.
The only effect that has been added is the following: Half the cooldown is refunded if Devour is used on an enemy. However, this effect only gets the current cooldown (8.15), which is totally ridiculous in my opinion.
I hope that Tahm Kench will be adjusted during patch 8.17, since I am convinced that its win rate and play rate will be negatively affected and that Tahm Kench will find itself even more at the bottom of the ladder.
Hey guys ! My summoner name is Urf Kench and I am playing Tahm Kench since his release. I didn't play much in season 6 but was able to climb from Silver 3 to Plat 3 playing Tahm Kench only.
I peaked at Plat 1 in season 7 but I failed my promo to diamond #RIPERINO
Season 8 : Actually Plat 5
I am not English native, so please be kind. There will be for sure grammatical and stupids mistakes in this guide. Do not hesitate to point out my errors and correct them.
Tahm Kench is a really hard champion to master and I am not talking about the mechanical aspect of the champ. Tahm Kench involves a lot of decision-making (with your W and R ability)
Be ready to get flame a lot of times for not saving a teammate or worse for saving a teammate who, in his mind, would have PentaKill the enemy team (I.E Yasuo). You will make mistakes like ulting your ADC in the enemy team. Sh*ts happens and you will get better overtime. You will probably eat a minion instead of your ADC a couple of times too.
You can look some of my best plays in this video :
I am in love with the role of support since it allows me to concentrate on macroplay while being essential during the fights. I particularly appreciate Tahm Kench for his carry potential, mainly with his Devour (W) which can completely change the outcome of a match (positively or negatively). Moreover, its ult makes it possible to influence the other lanes and to acquire objectives!
I can't repeat it enough: Map control should be your priority #1! This means you have to ward, but also control the objectives and rotate at the right times to keep control of the game.
Here are my 3 tips to control the map:
1 - Buy control wards! I permanently have 3 wards controls in my inventory after 15 minutes. Don't hesitate to use them and move them to set up ganks and acquire objectives.
2 - Keep control of the river in lane. I prefer to ward near the dragon than in the bush of the river since it is more versatile. It protects the dragon, the river and possibly the enemy jungler's deplacement to his camps.
3 - Roam a lot! Feel free to go for a walk in the middle if it is possible (i.e. your ADC must backe but you are full life and have nothing to buy). Come back with your ult just in time for a nice double kill botlane when your ADC is back.
Flash: Well, I don't think I need to explain why Flash is so important on Tahm Kench, but I will explain later in this guide (Devour Section) how to properly use your Flash to save your carries.
Exhaust: I take exhaust 95% of the time on Tahm Kench. Exhaust has a big influence on your early game stage. As Tahm Kench, you do not have an all-in level 2 or 3 engage like BlitzCrank, Leona, Thresh, Nami or Nautilus. Exhaust will save you from many situations and will, most of the case, let you win a 1vs1 against a carry or even win an epic battle against the Support and Enemy Carry. ( I will explain my favorite battles strategies later in the guide on the section : Lanning Phase)
Ignite: I only take Igite if the enemy team has a Soraka. I am not a fan of ignite on Tahm Kench and you should never take it if they have a big late game carry like Vayne or GangPlank for example.
Since 8.13, I personally prefer using Hail of Blades, but it is a risky runes set and you need to be comfortable on the champion before attempting to use it ! (See Build #2)
Urf Kench - Resolve Path
Keystone : Guardian
The 3 options are very interesting (pretty much the goal of those new runes to be honest), but I prefer Guardian. Tahm Kench needs to stay close to his carry to be effective! This keystone allows you to give a shield, which is impossible with Tahm Kench kit without buying any active items. Furthermore, the movement speed bonus of 20% feels so important to be ignore. In fact, if your carry is in trouble, you can run to him, eat him and get out. Isn't the reason why you play the magnificent Kench?
Artifact : Bone Plating
A must for the laning phase
Artifact : Second Wind
Stacks with your Thick Skin (E)
Artifact : Overgrowth
Gaining permanent max life for staying close to your carry
Secondary Path : Inspiration (Nice +30-270 health btw)
Artifact : Approach Velocity
Gaining 10% movement speed towards an ally in trouble ! This is insane... But this is not over, you gain 10% MS towards enemy champions that you impair. Let's hit them with our Tongue Lash and Devour them ! No escape possible :)
Arfifact : Biscuit Delivery
Patch 8.15 changed the cost of support items at the beginning of the game (400 gold instead of 350). This implies less substain in lane since it is now impossible to buy 3 potions or Refilable Potions. Biscuit is now a really good choice!
R > Q > W > E
Abyssal Voyage: Your ultimate is a real game changer ability, but it can be a positive or negative change !
A real challenge on Tahm Kench is how to effectively use your ult. Most of the time, new Tahm Kench players will never use their ult, because they do not really know what to do with it except to engage a teamfight. You should not use quickcast on your ult otherwise, you will not be able to see your potential range.
Always remember : Do not wait the perfect occasion, create it !
The range of your ult is pretty weak until level 2 ! You should use it for :
1) Return to lane faster (With or without your Carry)
2) Hide yourself behind your turret and ult your jungler behind the enemy botlane
3) Deploy the jungler or your ADC on the drake after a good turret push.
4) Roam mid (most of the time alone) to save/help your midlaner or take a minion wave when your midlaner is not here. Take note that you cannot ult from botlane to midlane with your level 1 ult. You will need to be at the Red or close to the dragon pit.
After level 2 :
I strongly suggest you to stay most of the times mid with your ADC. I love to run 1-3-1 when I play Tahm Kench. This way, you can join any fight happening top or bot really fast. Your ult is so much faster than Teleport and bring 2 players instead of one.
Be careful when ulting with your ADC. You do not want to be in the middle of the fight like you would do if you ult alone of with the toplaner or any other tanks.
Do not forget that anyone can join you ! So sometimes, you will ult in the enemy team to tank and your ADC will come with you. This will probably result in a lost teamfight. This is why it is important to ping when you are about to ult.
First, always ping On My Way before ulting even if your ult already does it. Do not hesitate to ping 2 or 3 times if need to be sure that your team understands that you are about to ult in.
Second,you should always Ping the player who should come with you in your ult. You can do that by pinging your Abyssal Voyage and the player. Most of them will understand the meaning of this combination and will run by you.
If you want to go in alone, ping everyone to Fall Back before ulting.
Finally, do not forget that you can cancel your ult anytime by clicking elsewhere or by taking any damage.
Tongue Lash : Tongue Last is a really good ability because it is multipurpose. First, you should use it to poke. Careful though, because you ALWAYS want to have at least 90 mana to devour someone in case a fight happens.
I encourage you to engage a fight with your Q. The slow will let you be in range for 1 or 2 basic attacks and Q another time. Now the enemy has 3 stacks on him and you can devour him. Hold him in your mouth while your ADC is attacking the support. This way, the support will need to run away while you spit the enemy ADC.
In the case where you successfully landed 2 basics, between your first Q and your second, the enemy will be stun. Your stun last 1.5 seconds, do not devour him to early. You have enough time to basic attack him with your ADC. Afterwards, you have 2 choices :
1) Devour him
2) Continue to chase him and stun him another time
Important note : Stunning an enemy does not consume your stacks on him ! This way, you can stun him multiple time in a row.
You should always try to keep your stacks on enemies and stun them with your Q multiple times in a row. You should only devour the enemy if he could possibly escape (Close to turret or has flash) or if you have no information about the enemy jungler or laners position.
Devour : Devour is without any doubt, the best ability on Tahm Kench. It really is multipurpose and can transform an awful teamfight to an ace for your team. But you will need a lot of practice to be able to use Devour effectively.
See Laning Phase section
See TeamFight section
Saving an ally:
See Devour an Ally section
Thick Skin : The less you use it, the better it is ! Thick Skin passive is really powerful and will give you a lot of sustain. As Tahm Kench, you have no heals in laning phase except your relic shield. So Thick Skin will let you take some pokes without having to back every 2 minutes.
Thick Skin offers you a lot of possibility. I will give you guys a short list of my frequent use:
1) Take 2-3 towers shot and activate Thick Skin to take 2 mores
2) Dodge a turret shot after trading or killing an enemy
3) Eat an ally under turret and take the turret shot while you have low HP
4) Activate it to deny a powerfull poke like Varus arrow (Be sure to not activate it for nothing or you will lose a lot of regen)
5) Activate it before being hard CC, this way, the damage you get while CC is greatly reduce
6) Wait to the last minute before activating it to finish off an enemy of to run away without taking damage from potential poke
In conclusion, there is much more potential uses to this ability than just wait to the last minute before activating it.
Tahm Kench is definitively not the best support in lane : Especially before level 3 !
Level 1: You just need to poke with your Tongue Lash(Q) and avoid as much damage as possible.
If you are lanning against a Blitzcrank and you do not duo with your ADC, you should start with your Devour(W).
If you are playing against Thresh, Nautilus or Leona, you really need to get level 2 before them. I often do not pick any spell before my own level 2. In the case where you do not get level 2 before them, you can always level up your W and save your ADC from a bad positioning.
Level 2: You should always get your Devour(W) except if you are getting poke a lot. By example, if they run an Miss Fortune and Karma, I often go Thick Skin(E) second to regen myself. Otherwise, you will leave lane earlier and your ADC will probably die or lose a tons of minions.
Level 3: Your level 3 is pretty important because from this point, you can start to play way more aggressive. Your kit is complete : You can poke with your Tongue Lash(Q), save your ADC or eat an enemy and you have a lot of regen from your Thick Skin(E).
Level 4: Your Tongue Lash(Q) is now level 2 and the damage is really high considering the enemy HP. This is your moment to shine. Do not force any plays, but you can probably easily kill or even double kill the enemy botlane if they are trying to engage on you.
My favorite strategy as Tahm Kench is always to separate the support from the ADC. By example, if you have 3 stacks on an enemy, just eat him and run by your own turret. The other enemy will have 2 choices : Risk his life to save his partner or just fall back and hope flash and heal will be enough.
If you have the ADC in your mouth: The support will probably go all-in because it is his role to save his carry. Good thing for you because your ADC can just poke him down pretty easily and force him to back or flash.
Do not spit out the enemy after the minimum delay. Keep him as long as you can so your ADC will be able to poke down the enemy support.
If you have the Support in your mouth: Majority of time, the enemy ADC will abandon his support and expect him to flash. If he engages you, do must attack him. Do not forget that you can attack and Tongue Lash(Q) with an enemy in your mouth. Just exhaust him and take the trade with your ADC. Most of the time, you will be able to kill him before the support get out of your mouth. This is now an easy kill and you just got a double kill.
Level 6 : Use your ult ! You can do many plays with your ult, just be imaginative and follow the enemy team movement around the map. I really like to go mid and wait for the enemy support to join me, as soon as he gets mid, I ult bottom lane and kill the enemy ADC with my own ADC.
If the support does not follow you around the map, you can always bring the midlaner to the botlane.
Conclusion: I rarely lose a lane as Tahm Kench even if his early game is pretty weak. If you are facing an heavy poke lane, just be patient. If you get some kills or assist in the early stage, capitalize on it. Roam around the map, take turrets, objectives, etc.
Tahm Kench's best Winrates are before 25 minutes and after 40-45 minutes. You should never surrender a game ! Your abilities are game changer and if you practice your macroplay, there is always (or almost always) a way to come back in the game.
Tahm Kench can have many roles in a teamfight, depending of your actual team situation (Team Comp, Gold, Drakes, Items, etc.) and the positioning.
First, let's talk about positioning :
Most of your teamfight should start with your ult. Abyssal Voyage can be use to cut an enemy out of position by bringing yourself and someone behind him while your team catch him the other side (if needed). Otherwise, it can be use to collapse on the enemy team by bringing someone in their backline and kill their carries. Always be careful about who you bring with you. You do not want to bring your ADC right in their mouth.
It is really important to use this strategy to force a teamfight (4 vs 5) in the baron pith afterwards. The enemy team will have the choice to let you baron or try to contest it.
Important note : If the enemy jungler is trying to steal a baron or a drake, I suggest you to go on him and eat him while your team kill the objective. You do not want to risk a 50-50 smite, especially in the late game.
The enemy team should fear your ultimate. You need to capitalize on it and catch them everytime they try to splitpush of if a carry is isolated in the jungler by example. Be sure to have complete vision before attempting any ultimate.
Most of new Tahm Kench player will stay close to their ADC, ready to eat him up in case of problem. It is a good strategy, but most of the time, you can do so much more by being a frontline.
By example : The enemy ADC is really strong and you are not able to win any teamfight,You have the ability to turn around any teamfight by eating and holding the enemy ADC while your team attacks the other members. Otherwise, you could just put pressure on him and forcing him to run away from the fight while you tank 8000 damage (considering your Thick Skin, maximum health and Locket)
You should always try to peel your carries as much as possible, but sometimes, it is better to play offensive than defensive. Always keep an eye on your carries and flash to save them if needed. Remember to use your Locket before eating a member of your team except if they are being CC.
1) Your carry get ult by Amumu. Do not waste your shields on him, simply eat him.
2) Your carry does a lot of damage to the enemy team, but Viktor's laser is going to touch him. Do not eat him, just put him a good amount of shield and let him continue to attack the enemy team.
You should always try to body-block and use your shields before eating your carry. Eating him means that you cannot use your Devour aggressively and your carry cannot do any damage for at least 2 seconds.
Randuin's Omen: Randuin's Omen WAS one of the best items on Tahm Kench. First of all, it does give a lot of health, which is really good for your Thick Skin and your passive. The armor bonus is really good and the 10% crit reduction and attack speed reduction for the enemy are really efficient against Jhin, Ashe, Miss Fortune, Vayne, etc.
Do not forget the active who slows all enemies around you and let you chase them or more precisely eat them ! Furthermore, it does proc your keystone mastery!
7.14 Update : I rarely build Randuin's anymore except against a Vayne and still, in most scenario, I would rush the new Thornmail before Randuin's.
Dead Man's Plate: Before the nerf of Dead Man's Plate, I preferred it to Randuin's. It is still a really good item on Tahm Kench. The armor and health bonus are really good and the movement speed bonus is pretty interesting.
If you play Tahm Kench Top, you should considerer this item as your first or second item. But as a support, it does depend of the enemy team comp. I don't have a magic formula for you that could let you decide between Randuin's or DeadMan, but I considerer DeadMan a really good item if you did not build Boots of Swiftness.
Thornmail: The new Thormail is a really good item for Tahm Kench. I rarely picked it before because there was no bonus health. But now, with the 250 health, 75 armor and GRIEVIOUS WOUNDS (1 sec), it is probably the best item against an heavy AD comp. The grievious wounds on a tank item is absolutely insane and you should consider buying Thormail after your Core Build. (Patch 7.14 Update)
Knight's Vow: This item is really good on Tahm Kench. I mean, 400 health, 100% base regen and 60 armor (40 base and 20 from close partner) feel very good. Furthermore, you have 15% bonus speed while moving toward your partner and it does heal you for 12% of the damage your partner deals. So where is the probleme?
Well taking 12% of TRUE damage is kinda damaging for Tahm Kench. If you are too low, you cannot really save any teammate. Take this item carefully, I usually take it when my ADC is already fed, otherwise, you will take true damage for nothing.
Sunfire Cape: I do not have much to say about SunfireCape. It is a must on Tahm Kench Top for the wave clear, but the effect is not that good on a support. Do not think again that it is not a good item, but I think there is more essentials utility items you can build before Sunfire.
Still, it depends of the game. If your team lacks of split pushing, you can go Zz'Rot Portal and Sunfire. It will allow you to split push and join any potential fight with your Abyssal Voyage ult.
Locket of the Iron Solari: At first, I didn't like the new Locket because it doesn't give any health or any AOE magic damage reduction. Like I said before, stacking health is really good on Tahm Kench because of his passive and his E (Shield).
But I have to admit that Locket became a must really quickly for 2 reasons. First of all, last season, pretty much every game, I was building 1 or 0 magic resistance item, I preferred to focus on armor due to the meta. At the moment, you really need both armor and magic resistance so Locket is a really good item who gives who a good amount of both.
Secondly, the active of the new Locket is so powerful. The shield is so much better than before for tanks like Tahm Kench! (Patch 7.12 Update)
Shield strength reduced to 60 - 434 (based on target's level) from 70 - 665 (based on target's level).
NEW EFFECT: Active shield strength now scales with 2% - 36% (based on level) of caster's bonus health.
Zz'Rot Portal: ZZ'Rot does give your team a lot of split pushing potentiel. I like to build it with Sunfire Cape to push even more. This item gives you a lot of armor and magic resistance, which is really good in the meta. Unfortunately, it does not give you any health.
Spirit Visage: Spirit Visage gives you a lot of magic resistance, health and regeneration. It was one of my favorite item before the new Locket of the Iron Solari. Last season, I used to go Deadman's plate and Spirit Visage. I now prefer to go Randuin's and Locket, but again, it really depends of the enemy team comp.
Warmog's Armor: Warmog's is a really good item for Tahm Kench passive. Unfortunately, it doesn't give any armor or magic resistance. I usually go Warmog's if I built 2 doubles-stats items like Locket and Zz'Rot who both give no health at all. The best splitpush build I could recommand you would be : Eye of the Equinox, SunfireCape, ZzRot and Warmog with Swiftness Boots.
Phase Rush Build
I added a funny AP/Bruiser Kench build to my guide (See Build Option #2)
This build is extremely funny to play with because of the mastery phase rush.
When Tahm Kench devour an enemy, he is slow by 95%. BUT with phase rush, you gain slow resist. So you can eat an enemy and run approximately to the same speed you would run with an ally in your mouth.
But there is a restriction : You need to use 2 different attacks or abilities before using W on an enemy. I recommend you to use your Q to slow the enemy, basic attack and Q again (or basic attack if it is still on cooldown) before using W.
As soon you use W, run into your teammates of under tower to surprise everyone. It is now time to use Ghost, Righteous Glory, Protobelt, etc.
If you like this build and want more tips or items explanation for example, leave me a comment :)
By the way, Phase Rush could be use on a more regular (Full Tanky Support) build. Again, I can give you some tips if you want !
New chapter : Opinion about 8.16 changes
Gameplay description adjustement incoming soon
Starting items updated
July 22 2018
Now playing with Hail of Blades runes set (Build #2)
June 28 2018
May 31 2018
Testing new runes sets
April 25 2018
April 4 2018
March 23 2018
March 12 2018
February 28 2018
January 30 2018
Updates on Description
December 7 2017
Funny Phase Rush Build and tips
October 2 2017
September 21 2017
July 28 2017: Patch 7.15
Must see : Update Items Section
July 19 2017: Patch 7.14
Must see : Thornmail update
June 29 2017: Patch 7.13
June 16 2017: Patch 7.12
Must see : Locket's update
May 19 2017 : Patch 7.6 to 7.10 update
March 8 2017 : Patch 7.5 update
February 22th 2017 : Patch 7.4 update
February 24th 2017 : Teamfight section
February 16th 2017 : Creation of the guide
February 17th 2017 : Masteries and Runes section
February 18th 2017 : Skill Sequence section
February 19th 2017 : Lanning Phase section
February 21th 2017 : Armor Items section
February 22th 2017 : Magic Resistance Items section