Tahm Kench is set to have his ‘acquired taste’ adjusted slightly in early 2021. The River King will be receiving a mini-rework targeting Devour and Abyssal Voyage during the Season 11 preseason, Riot devs have revealed — and it looks like it will soon be time to unbench the Kench again.
Riot unveiled their plans for the notorious support in a dev blog in late June. 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.
“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.
Riot’s aim, then, is to tweak his two “high skill cap” moves in the Season 11 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.
Abyssal Voyage, Devour being reworked
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.
“We have moved Devour to his ult slot, where it gets to be significantly more powerful as a spell cast, and therefore less dependent on allies,” 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.]”
River King gets more self-healing
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.
When will Tahm Kench be updated?
These new changes have been in Riot’s testing chambers for more than half a year now, but it looks like we may have to wait just a little bit longer before the new Tahm Kench actually arrives.
Originally, Riot said the River King’s ability update would arrive “after the Worlds patch [10.19].” That expected release date has rolled up in the distance, arrived, and now is weeks in the rearview mirror; Season 11’s preseason has begun.
The Tahm Kench rework will land after that, Riot Phlox confirmed on Nov. 25.
He said, “The TK rework is coming once preseason is more settled, and we have time to finish up the work and allocate the resources. Really would prefer to have it out before pro starts again, but I sadly can’t just slap a timeline here.”
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The plan was originally to “avoid upheaval” around the pro scene, but that appears to have fallen by the wayside, at least for the time being.
Tahm Kench “thicc” changes, as Phlox called them, aren’t the only ones planned champion-wise in League of Legends’ huge Season 11 shakeup either.
Support Pantheon is being targeted in patch 10.25, in an attempt to shift the Artisan of War top lane again, while Amumu has just been whacked with a hefty chunk of nerfs after the new item reworks fired his win rate into the clouds.