Tahm Kench, the River King
As one of my favorite champions and a stand-out example for how strong a design can be when its mechanics, playstyle, and strategic niche are tied together with a clear and resonant theme, ol' Kench has stayed under my radar until very recently. Maybe I'm just a glutton for needlessly expansive workloads, but I think even something as...profoundly substantial as the River King himself can be improved upon.
An Acquired Taste is such a rich and thematic mechanic that I'm taken aback by the fact that it only interacts with half of his kit. Thick Skin and Abyssal Voyage are functions that are powerful enough to not feel like lost potential, but bringing them in-line with Tahm's gameplay identity would go a long way towards making him feel more whole.
As these changes mostly focus around cleaning up the decision-making around An Acquired Taste, this unique debuff has been given distinct interactions with Tahm's abilities - with Q sacrificing stun duration to be a weaker option that no longer consumes it, W and E becoming the main AAT-consuming options, and his Ult helping him keep it active on multiple targets at once.
Double-Deal and End of the River also serve as means to deepen Tahm's thematic gameplay, allowing him to strike shady bargains with his foes, and bring the legend of the River King to life with the ability to lurk within his murky domain. Thick Skin and Abyssal Voyage are still distinct abilities that add flavor to the game, so expect to see them in more fitting homes once the next batch of redesigns rolls out.
All values in blue are meant to give a general idea of the ability's properties, and are subject to change.
Recommended Positions: Duo Sidelane (Support), Solo Sidelane
Innate: An Acquired Taste
Tahm Kench's basic attacks deal (4% total HP) bonus magic damage. Against enemy champions, they also apply An Acquired Taste stack for 5 seconds, stacking up to 3 times. The stacks decay once every 0.67 seconds after the stacks reach the full duration.
Q: Tongue Lash
After a 0.35 second delay, Tahm Kench lashes his tongue in the target direction, dealing 80/130/180/230/280 + (70% AP) magic damage to the first enemy hit and slowing them by 30/40/50/60/70% for 3 seconds.
Tongue Lash refreshes An Acquired Taste's duration against enemy champions, but does not apply it. If an enemy champion is struck while at full An Acquired Taste stacks, they are additionally pulled 350 units towards Tahm Kench and stunned for 1 second.
During Tongue Lash, Devour can be cast for no mana expenditure to devour the minion or non-epic monster struck at the cost of dealing Tongue Lash's damage. Devour's mana refund does not apply in this case.
Targeting Type: Skill Shot - Line
Cost: 50 mana
DEVOUR: Tahm Kench swallows an enemy minion, non-epic monster, or allied champion, making them untargetable and unable to take any actions for 4 seconds.
Tahm Kench can swallow an enemy champion if they have full An Acquired Taste stacks. If Tahm Kench swallows an ally or enemy champion, he is grounded and slowed by 95% for the duration. Swallowing a targeted champion only lasts for half the duration, down to 2 seconds, and consumes all their An Acquired Taste stacks, suppresses them, and makes them untargetable.
Swallowing an enemy refunds 50% of the cooldown and 50% of the mana cost.
After 1 second, Devour can be re-cast into Regurgitate while Tahm Kench's belly is full. Allied champions can exit at will after the same delay, unless they're immobilized.
REGURGITATE: Tahm Kench regurgitates the swallowed target. If they are an enemy, they also take 60/105/150/195/240 + 11% + (2 per 100 AP)% of their maximum health as magic damage, capped at 500 against monsters.
Minions and non-epic monsters that are spat forth can collide with an enemy or terrain to deal 100/135/170/205/240 + (60% AP) magic damage to all enemies 150 units around them and themselves before taking Regurgitate's main damage.
Range: 250 (Devour range), 150/250/650 (enemy/ally/non-champ Regurgitate range)
Targeting Type: Targeted (Devour), Skill Shot - Line (Regurgitate)
Cost: 100 mana
Tahm Kench makes a bargain with the target enemy champion, reducing their attack speed by 50% for 2/2.25/2.5/2.75/3 seconds and healing himself for 60/88/116/144/172 + (6% total HP).
If the target has full An Acquired Taste stacks, Tahm Kench will remove them as leverage for a harder bargain, disarming them for 2/2.25/2.5/2.75/3 seconds and healing himself for an additional 60/88/116/144/172 + (6% total HP) over 3 seconds.
Targeting Type: Targeted
Cost: 40/45/50/55/60 mana
R: End of the River
Tahm Kench creates a River's End at the target location that lasts for 10/14/18 seconds and refreshes the duration of An Acquired Taste on all enemies standing within it.
While within the River's End, Tahm Kench is ghosted and invisible, but his current location is revealed to enemies within 1100 units as a murky silhouette. Performing a basic attack or using an ability will break the invisibility for 2 seconds.
Additionally, while within the River's End, Tahm Kench cannot be slowed by enemies, and his movement speed is only reduced by 50% while Devouring a champion.
Range: 300 (range), 700/900/1100 (effect radius)
Targeting Type: Skill Shot - Circle
Cost: 100 mana