Disclosure - I want Tahm to be playable, but not overbearing because I am a one trick and do not want my frog to be banned, which will happen if he is too strong. In my mind, these proposed changes don’t change him too much damage wise, but will seek to reduce his overreliance on saving his ally with his W. By all means, please share your ideas or thoughts about this matter down below. I’d love to hear some counterarguments beyond “Kench is a shit champion and you should be in Iron 4 for playing him.
Due to Tahm’s repeated presence in the LCK, LCS, Worlds, there have been multiple nerfs in Season 8 alone to try to cripple the poor frog, but have vastly failed, as the frog is still being picked for his W in competitive play, but his solo queue win rate is 43% for Support and remains at 48% for One Trick Top Laners.
**As a reference, here are all of the direct Tahm Kench nerfs that has gone through and indirect nerfs:**
1. 8.19 - Loss of 70 health. This nerf was rather extreme since the underlying reasoning as that Braum got nerfed in the previous patch. However, Braum only lost 40 health (577 -> 540), which should’ve been the same for Tahm. Although Tahm was given 56 more health at Lv18, as a support or a tank, Kench should be one of the last players to hit Lv18 and 56 health is minimal for the loss of his early-mid game tankiness, as he doesn’t even out the loss until Lv9/10.
2. 8.16 - Devour Duration nerfed for both ally and enemies. CD massively increased early on and is not compensated enough by decrease in mana cost.
3. 8.8 - Loss of move speed when running at enemies with an ally in your stomach. Thick Skin loses 7% of passive healing power, which increases emphasis on using gray health as a shield, but damage to gray health conversion didn’t increase to incentivize more shielding. Unlike Pyke who essentially gains most of his grey health back and has a much easier time getting kills and picks off, Tahm shouldn’t have had his grey health crippled so hard.
4. 9.2 (Expected) - Tahm’s allies can’t jump into Abyssal Voyage if they’re in combat.
**So Why Is Tahm Kench Suddenly Picked So Often?**
1. Two Buffs/Changes on his W - His W is the core of why he’s still picked as a support. In Patch 7.20, Tahm Kench’s W received two bugfixes - Regurgitation Lock-In Timer and Abyssal Voyage’s Interaction with W.
Originally, devouring an ally locked them into your stomach for 2 seconds. This was terrifying in late game because devouring an ally and preventing them from doing damage for two seconds could very well throw the game and still punished the ally for getting caught out by a CC.
Abyssal Voyage initially put W on a 1 second cooldown after teleporting to that location. This buff was a QoL buff that was fixed and made teleporting to an ally that was caught out much easier to save them because you could devour them upon arrival.
In Competitive Play, W is primarily used to save allies, not damage and suppress the enemy carry. For every 10 Tahm W, only 1 is used offensively, if not by accident on a minion.
2. 20 Armor Buff - In Patch 7.22, Tahm also received a buff of 20 Armor at Lv1, same as Braum and other Tank Supports. And since this was before the bot lane was largely thrown into chaos, ADCs had a much harder time to dent Tahm through this armor. While this armor is nice, every Tahm main would have preferred a mix of Armor/Health or pure health (150 health is equal to 20 armor in terms of gold efficiency). At the same time, 150 health would be far easier to cut through both in the mid-late game, balancing Tahm out.
**Tahm Kench’s Weaknesses**
The nerfs so far only exacerbated Tahm Kench’s existing weaknesses, hoping to make them worse to a point that they outweigh his W. This is not a smart way of nerfing a champion, as you should target the problem, not other parts in hope that it'll make it more bearable to play against if you poke more weaknesses.
1. Late Game - As mentioned previously, devouring an enemy is unlikely at mid-late game because you need the three stacks, which is hard to get without any base AS. Essentially, his W is crippled when it comes to offensive purposes. His E is only useful if he runs in 1v5, which he shouldn’t because he should be peeling for his carries. His R can’t be used to ult in 1v5, because that would be suicide if they CC him before he can E.
Kiting - the general weakness for an immobile melee champion. Slows and hard CC are nightmares for Kench, even with Merc Threads and Legend: Tenacity (which he shouldn’t be taking as support).
2. Damage Stagnates after Lv13 - Even though his AAs scale with his health, Tahm needs to get Armor/MR soon to maximize the effectiveness of his tank status. This limits the amount of health he can get to 4K, which affects his “damage.”
3. Early Game - Tahm lost 70 health at Lv1, which makes it difficult to duel anyone top lane Lv1 and before Lv4, especially if they have Ignite. Jax has 60 health more than Tahm, Tryndamere has 70 health more. Bruisers should not have more health than tanks-juggernauts, especially if they don’t build any, since tanks like Tahm fall off hard late game due to their lack of immediate CC (all of Tahm's CC needs 3 stacks and no one is going to give you time to apply them).
**How To Fix Tahm Kench**
1. BUFF - Increase Tahm’s Base Health by 30 - As mentioned earlier, the reason why Tahm’s health at Lv1 was lowered by 70 was to reflect Braum’s decrease in health, but Braum only lost 40 health, so Tahm should’ve dropped to those levels as well. Ornn recently got back 30-40 health as well in 9.2 due to his poor performance. **As an immobile catfish, he shouldn’t have less health than 10 ADCs and equal or less health than most mages, especially when he scales so poorly. 58 health more at Lv18 is not an adequate reward for having less health for the first 10 levels.**
2. NERF - Increase Regurgitation Lock-In Time to 1.5 seconds or make it so you can only swallow an ally one second after CC or can’t be devoured during CC altogether - The original regurgitation lock-in time was 2 seconds. Patch 7.20 lowered this to one second. I’m a firm believer that if you do something stupid, you deserve to be punished, which is why 1.5 seconds should give the carry time to reflect on his poor decisions and rewards the enemy team for catching them out better.
It's either this or making Tahm forcefully spit out his allies if you hit him with a hard CC. With so many CC options in game, this would make W more counterable.
3. NERF - Add a static cooldown to allies devoured, with an indicator like Udyr’s stun. This is an existing mechanic so it would only involve bringing over several lines of code from Udyr’s Bear stun mechanic over. I do agree that it is infuriating to see a target get away because Tahm Kench exists, which is why I propose a debuff called “I Ate This Recently,” which is a 80-20s timer based on the Rank of your Devour or your Champion’s Level on each ally that you devour. This makes it more fair in lane since Tahm can’t repeatedly W the ADC whenever he or she is caught out. And of course, since the static cooldown exist, reduce the CD back to pre-adjustment levels because its current state is very buggy with Bug #1 mentioned down below. In the very extreme case, completely remove W for allies until rank 3/5 because it’s an extremely difficult to balance ability and you’re forced to use it offensively, so buff the minion projectile damage.
This makes the most sense since you should be forced to decide if this is best time to save an ally and saving an ally should equate to the same or slightly lesser amount of time as a summoner spell.
4. ADJUSTMENT - a way to get people to stop holding devour is to reward players for using W offensively. I suggest that Tahm’s W should do slightly more damage when throwing minions at them, instead of the actual devour. This way, people will stop blindly screaming at Tahm’s % damage, even though it’s difficult as hell to get off. Unlike Sion’s E, it doesn’t have any crowd control and if you use W to shoot projectiles, Tahm loses his ability to CC someone, since his W is on CD and his Q only stuns if they have 3 stacks already, which you won’t be able to get, unless you use your Q, which means you can’t stun as it’ll also be on cooldown. If it poses an issue, I would also lower the splash damage’s radii so it’s not too oppressive. This would also give reason to level W first instead of Q, as it gives Tahm a way to fight back against mages/enchanter. After all, Tahm isn’t Leona or Alistar and doesn’t have an ability to dash in with.
5. BUFF (Optional) - Add an Ivern-explosion effect to Tahm’s E if the shield isn’t depleted, dependent on how much the shield has left. If that’s annoying, the explosion can be stopped by damaging 25-50% of the shield, based on rank. So often that people will just chunk Tahm to 20% so that he’ll E and then completely ignore him because the shield falls off in 3 seconds and he’s useless at 20% health. Tahm shouldn’t just be a passive laning support, he should be more aggressive.
6. BUFF (Optional) - Increase Damage to Grey Health Conversion from 70% to 80% to compensate for the 25% to 15% grey health to health conversion loss in Patch 8.8. If people poke him down over time, they deserve to be rewarded with less health regen, but if Tahm utilizes his shield properly, he should also be rewarded, or at least, not punished. At the very least, please revert the E nerf in 8.8 because it did not have any lasting impact on Tahm as it was intended.
7. ADJUSTMENT (Optional) - Tank Item Stats Adjustment. This will be mentioned in a following post, but I believe there’s too much Armor in game and not enough MR, especially with the general trend that everyone has more Armor than MR at Lv18. For the more part, tank items sit at 80% gold efficiency, without counting for their passive. Unlike ADC, Mages, and Bruiser Items, these passive don’t nearly make as much of a difference to justify their low gold efficiency rate, as IE does by doubling crit or Luden’s with its 10% CDR. As a result, I’m suggesting that tank items be readjusted so more emphasis is placed on health, which makes them easier to kill late game once Conqueror is adjusted or removed AND still tanky nonetheless. After all, a 4200 health Nunu (for those that remember) with 250 Armor is much easier to kill late game than a 3500 health tank with 350 Armor and would also restore some purpose to Blade of the Ruined King (BORK into 400 Armor alone is like throwing eggs at a steel wall).
When it comes to Support items, there is no lack of Armor Items (Solari, Knight’s Vow, RG, etc.) but only very few MR and Health options, despite the overabundance of Magic Pen from Void Staff. Most support items leave Tahm and other Tank Support super squishy. Warmogs is just too wasteful of a slot and its passive is virtually useless while in a teamfight.
This can be applied to tanks overall.
1. Tahm Kench W does 32% Max Health Damage - At Lv1, Ornn does 24% max health damage. Brand’s combo does 24% max health damage at 0 AP. Tahm’s W doesn’t scale and it’s not spammable. It’s maxed second, regardless of Support or Top, so it sits on 20% Max Health Damage until Lv8. Tahm Kench doesn’t build any magic pen so base Magic Resist reduces the damage by 25% to 15% Max Health Damage. It requires 3 stacks, which is hard to apply in teamfights and bot lane without losing 60% of your health to do so.
This is why in NA LCS/EU LCS/LCK/LPL, Tahm’s W is used on allies far more often than on enemies. It’s too difficult to devour someone with W if you’re not top lane and devouring someone with 1 MR item results in them taking 12% Max Health Damage. In many cases, you only get an offensive devour by flashing at the target or if they get in melee range.
**PLEASE READ THIS - If you ask any Tahm main, they will gladly nerf W’s damage by 50%, down to 12% Max Health Damage, if it means Tahm gets the CD cut by half. The damage isn’t so important as the displacement and suppress is. We’ll gladly take being able to shoot minions at the enemy laners more frequently.**
Tahm is a shit champ to lane against - so is Brand and 90% of counterpicks, but that’s not a reason to logically nerf a champion, especially with my proposed changes that would kill off his W save mechanic. Tahm’s an immobile melee champion, he’s not going to be able to stick onto you in mid-late game team fights. League of Legends will always have annoying matchups for one champion, the purpose is to adapt and learn how to deal with those matchups. Tahm was never a 1v5 champion, not even a 1v4, not even a 1v3. The moment 3 people show up, Tahm should be dead unless he’s extremely ahead (20-0 ahead).
Bugs that are still affecting Tahm Kench
1. Devouring a low health minion that gets hit by sunfire’s burn or minion shots can bug W and Tahm doesn’t get the ½ CD from devouring an enemy if the minion or enemy champion dies mid-devour. As a result, you don’t get gold, EXP, or your cooldown halved for devouring a minion.
1. Increase Tahm’s W Lock-In Timer so carries are stuck inside Tahm longer before being allowed to exit - this massively decreases their damage output and punishes them for being caught out.
You can also make it so Tahm forcefully spits out the carry at the direction of the enemy nexus if he gets CC'd, allowing for counterplay.
Or add a static CD per ally devoured, similar to Udyr's stun or Sylas's ult stealing, based on rank, where Tahm can't devour them for 75-15 seconds. This far better serves the purpose than simply doubling the CD at Rank 1.
2. Add back 30 health to Tahm - bringing Tahm’s health down to Braum level for the reason that Braum was recently nerfed isn’t fair when Braum lost 37 and Tahm lost nearly twice of that (70 health).
3. Revert E Nerf from Patch 8.8 - It didn’t serve its purpose of nerfing Tahm Support fairly, which my recommended changes should.
4. Add more projectile damage, possibly nerf devour damage on enemies if necessary (not really necessary though). Give a reason to use W offensively and max it first over Q.
5. Tank Item Adjustments - start killing the overabundance of armor and replace with health, which is easier to shred through. Tanks want Health/CDR. We have way too much Armor.
6. Additional: Tahm’s proposed ult change in 9.2 should not go through. It’s an ingenious use of Tahm’s ult and is incredibly rare to find yourself in that type of situation. It will also remove the mechanic where an ally can cancel turret aggro by jumping into Tahm’s belly.
**PLEASE ADJUST TAHM’S DEVOUR, AS IT IS THE PROBLEM CHILD, NOT CHIP AWAY AT HIS OTHER ABILITIES UNTIL HE’S EVEN MORE WORTHLESS.**
Tahm Mains. We’re big butts.