Ultimate Tahm Kench guide: Best League of Legends build, runes, tips & tricks - Dexerto
League of Legends

Ultimate Tahm Kench guide: Best League of Legends build, runes, tips & tricks

Published: 27/Sep/2021 8:45

by Andrew Amos

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Tahm Kench’s recent rework in League of Legends has shifted the River King from support to top lane. We’ve got the best builds, runes, and some tips and tricks to master him since the change.

Since Tahm Kench’s release in 2015, he’s primarily been a support in League of Legends. His Devour ability was too good to save squishy carries, nullifying even the most perfect enemy engage.

However, now in Season 11, he’s firmly a top laner. His rework changed his kit drastically, forcing River King mains to set up camp on the other side of Summoner’s Rift.

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Wanting to pick up Tahm Kench in his new role? We’ve got the ultimate guide to the River King, including his best builds and runes, so you can master him from game one.

Riot admits the River King is hard to balance around solo queue and pro play at the same time.
Riot Games
Riot admits the River King is hard to balance around solo queue and pro play at the same time.

Who is Tahm Kench?

The River King himself, Tahm Kench trawls the waters of Valoran looking for new victims to torment. Promising eternal wealth with that big mouth of his, he can deceive even the most strong-willed to give in to their deepest desires.

On Summoner’s Rift, the once ally-eating support is now firmly a top laner, choosing to devour his enemies instead while being a beefy frontliner.’

Tahm Kench abilities & gameplay

Tahm Kench is no longer a support in League of Legends after his mini-rework in Season 11. However, he has certainly become one of the game’s best top lakers with plenty of tankiness and sustain.

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That doesn’t mean he’s a slouch in trades either. In fact, early in lane that’s where Kench thrives ⁠— he can heal with his Q, and the slow lasts long enough to jump on top of enemies with W if they don’t react. He can also shield damage in bursts thanks to his E, and these health advantages he gains slowly whittles down enemies.

Come later in the game, he can Devour enemies to deal massive damage, or soak it all up for an ally. Since the rework it’s become way more beneficial to use Devour aggressively, but in late game team fights, it’s still insanely powerful to save allies thanks to the huge shield they get on the way out.

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You want to max his Q first to take advantage of his lane trading power, but W or E max second is dependent on how things are going. If you need the extra heals, E second is better. If you want more damage and engage potential, W second is better (this is the case most of the time).

  • Passive: An Acquired Taste ⁠— Tahm Kench puts the heft of his immense body behind his attacks, gaining extra damage based on his total health. Damaging enemy champions builds stacks of An Acquired Taste. At three stacks, he can use Devour on an enemy champion.
  • Q: Tongue Lash ⁠— Tahm Kench lashes out with his tongue, damaging and slowing the first unit hit and healing himself it he strikes an enemy champion. Applies a stack of An Acquired Taste to enemy champions. If the champion already has 3 stacks of An Acquired Taste, they are stunned and the stacks are consumed.
  • W: Abyssal Dive ⁠— Dive down and then re-appear at target location, damaging and knocking up all enemies in an area.
  • E: Thick Skin
    • Passive: Tahm Kench stores a percent of the damage he takes and heals based on it while out of combat.
    • Active: Convert all stored damage into a temporary shield.
  • R: Devour ⁠— Tahm Kench devours a champion for a few seconds, dealing magic damage if they are an enemy, or shielding them if they are an ally.

Best Tahm Kench builds

Tahm Kench loves building one stat, and it’s health. The more health he has, the bigger his shields, and also the more damage he deals. His passive scales off his bonus health, giving him a tone of bonus magic damage later into the game.

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However, it’s not just raw health. Sure, Warmog’s Armor is great on Tahm Kench, but items like Frostfire Gauntlet as a mythic, Thornmail, and Anathema’s Chains give him great utility with slows, healing cut, and tenacity reduction on enemies. Respectively.

Spirit Visage helps Tahm Kench get big heals and shields from his Thick Skin, but if you need more, Gargoyle Stoneplate is potentially an option. Just be careful to check if your enemies have built Serpent’s Fang ⁠— it’s a great counter to the River King.

Top meta Tahm Kench build in Season 11

  • Mythic: Frostfire Gauntlet / Sunfire Aegis
  • Boots: Plated Steelcaps (if against AD) / Mercury’s Treads (if against AP)
  • Thornmail
  • Spirit Visage (boosts his healing significantly)
  • Anathema’s Chains (great for locking down enemies)
  • Titanic Hydra (gives him a bit of extra damage late)
  • Randuin’s Omen (great against auto-attackers)
  • Warmog’s Armor (for even more health)
  • Gargoyle Stoneplate (if you need more shields, and enemy doesn’t have Serpent’s Fang)
Tahm kench rework lol failure
Riot Games
Tahm Kench has firmly found his place as a top laner since his rework. Sorry support mains.

Best Tahm Kench runes

Tahm Kench has a variety of keystones he could run, but one stands out as distinctly his best since his rework: Grasp of the Undying. Because he’s played in the top lane now, Grasp allows him to further scale with health, and also win trades in lane.

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Combined with Shield Bash (and spamming E) and Legend: Alacrity, he hits like a truck without taking much damage back thanks to Second Wind and Unflinching.

You can still opt to run some cheese keystones on Tahm Kench though: Phase Rush for the movement speed after ulting and Hail of Blades to quickly get passive stacks are two popular options, but they are definitely worse than Grasp.

Top meta Tahm Kench runes in Season 11

  • Grasp of the Undying
  • Shield Bash
  • Second Wind
  • Unflinching / Revitalize
  • Triumph
  • Legend: Alacrity

Tahm Kench best runes League of legends

Tahm Kench skins in League of Legends


Tahm Kench might not be a support any more, but he’s still a massive threat on the Rift. If you love being practically unkillable as enemies try their best to cleave through your massive HP bar, he’s definitely a pick for you.

Be sure to dominate the lane and river (after all, it’s your kingdom) with his insane early trades, and go from there.