League of Legends

Tahm Kench set for League of Legends rework in Season 10

by Isaac McIntyre
Riot Games

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Tahm Kench is set to have his 'acquired taste' adjusted slightly in Season 10. The River King will be receiving a mini-rework targeting Devour and Abyssal Voyage following the 2020 World Championship, Riot devs have revealed — and it looks like it will soon be time to unbench the Kench again in Season 10.

Riot unveiled their plans for the notorious support in a dev blog over the weekend. Their idea to “carefully balance” the River King, game designer Kevin ‘Captain’ Huang said, was to target his two most iconic abilities: his deep-diving ultimate, and his ‘Devour’ mechanic.

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“It’s no secret [Tahm Kench] is one of the champions most famous for being weak for a vast majority of players because his kit is strong for pros,” Huang said. “Tahm has a lot of power that specifically requires the highest degree of coordinated play.”

The main issue with these kinds of champions ⁠— a category other famous picks like Kalista and Ryze also fall into ⁠— is “if they ever rise about 44-45% win rate [in their roles], they simply take over the professional scene,” Huang explained.

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Riot’s aim, then, is to tweak his two “high skill cap” moves in the Season 10 mini-rework. TK’s ultimate, Abyssal Voyage, will be switched to his ‘W’ ability, while Devour/Regurgitate will be the River King’s ultimate heading into Season 11.

Tahm Kench could see his iconic kit shuffled around slightly in a Season 10 mini-rework.
Tahm Kench could see his iconic kit shuffled around slightly in a Season 10 mini-rework.
Tahm Kench is set to see his iconic kit shuffled around slightly in a Season 10 mini-rework.

There’s a few smaller tweaks the devs have already tabled for these two abilities too. Kench’s Abyssal Voyage would become the support’s “new engage tool,” would be “faster” and have a “shorter range.” It would also deal damage, and knock up enemies on arrival.

His Devour ability, which would be headed to the premiere “R” slot, would come with damage (for enemies) or a shield (for allies) depending on targets. On top of that, its cooldown would be stretched, and obviously it would be locked behind a level 6 experience barrier.

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“We have moved Devour to his ultimate slot, where it gets to be significantly more powerful as a spell cast, and therefore less dependent on allies playing around it,” Huang said. “With a longer cooldown and no access to the ability before [level] 6, opponents should also be able to capitalize on its downtimes [in better ways.]”

Finally, Tahm Kench may be getting a bit more self-healing in his reworked kit, with his Q ability Tongue Lash currently giving the River King a little HP top-up on-hit.

The last time Tahm Kench was handed a balance update outside of minor bug fixes was in League Patch 9.19, last season. His Thick Skin passive had its ‘Grey Health’ bonus changed from 30-100% (based on levels) to 75% at all levels.

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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.

These new changes are already in the testing chamber in Riot’s dev halls, but there may be a bit of a wait for new Tahm Kench to actually arrive. The timeline for the River King update is “after the usual Worlds patch,” Riot confirmed.

This is “to avoid a potential upheaval to Summer Split and Worlds” and to give Riot “the most time possible” to fine-tune the changes. Expect the new Tahm Kench to land on the PBE for testing around League Patch 10.21.