His named is Tahm Kench, and he attacks enemies solely with his tongue. Ew?
After releasing a stylish trailer for a character known as “The River King” last week, Riot Games revealed the next champion coming to its ludicrously popular online multiplayer game League of Legends today with a characteristically detailed breakdown of the guy’s abilities published on its website. Riot describes him as a support-friendly tank, which would put him in a similar class to the lovable beefcake Braum.
Kench is a big fat catfish, so staying true to his character, most of the champion’s abilities revolve around using his gigantic mouth and very long tongue in creative ways. His Q move “Tongue Lash,” roots him in place while launching his tongue at a target. “Devour,” his W move, lets Kench swallow a target whole and hold them inside his belly for a few seconds before spitting them back out. That’s kinda similar to Stitches’ heroic ability in Heroes of the Storm—a move that lets the zombie grab opponents, swallow them whole, and thus immobilize them for a few seconds. The twist with League’s upcoming catfish is that he can also use this ability on allies, effectively shielding them and damaging any bad guys hit when he spits them back out. That makes Kench’s swallowing ability an interesting defensive move as well—I can see him using it to help his teammates escape from an ugly fight, for instance.
Speaking of strategic swallowing, Kench’s ultimate ability (“ult” for short, the most powerful move a League character unlocks when they hit level 6), meanwhile, lets him ingest an ally before teleporting to a target location. This sounds like it’ll be very useful for making a hasty retreat...or surprising opponents by dropping in unannounced with two champions who are ready to fight.
To top all this tongue-based activity off, Kench’s passive slightly alters how all his abilities work on an individual target after he’s hit them three times with a basic attack. So if he’s already smacked someone with his tongue three times, his Q will stun them rather than just slowing them—to give one example.
In its champion reveal for Kench, Riot said that the versatility of the part-defensive, part-offensive ability make him well-suited for a support role (emphasis added):
Tahm Kench makes for a fine support thanks to his unrivalled ability to save his marksman from otherwise impending death. Once he’s wobbled into lane, his main role is to stick with his lane buddy, making sure they’re safe and able to farm at will. If the enemy manages to slow or stun his ally, Tahm Kench simply Devours them before heading to safety. The effect lasts longer than most crowd control abilities, so even if the enemy team manages to land a perfect catch on the River King’s marksman, Tahm Kench effectively cleanses it before repositioning somewhere safer. What’s more, should he end up on the receiving end of enemy attacks as he waddles away, Thick Skin’s passive offers the River King plenty of regenerative support. Finally, even if the enemy team commits to trading in lane, Tahm Kench can turn his attention to the enemy damage dealer, slathering them up with his passive before Devouring them to create a super powerful - albeit temporary - two vs one scenario.
His versatility really shines in ganks, too. Aside from offering his ally the same unmatched protection during enemy ganks, he can get pretty mouthy in allied ganks, too. Meandering out of lane under the pretense of warding, Tahm Kench can meet up with his jungler before using Abyssal Voyage to set up a gank.
During late-game team fights, meanwhile, the Catfish’s champion-eating-and-stunning abilities mean that he’ll be able to turn the tide of battle quickly and decisively by, say, taking an enemy damage-dealer out of the equation for a few precious seconds (emphasis added again):
Tahm Kench becomes quite the champion connoisseur as the two teams come together, with a role that revolves around one fundamental culinary question: who does he eat? As the fight starts breaking out, he needs to carefully watch as the health bars begin dropping, smacking approaching enemy damage-dealers with Tongue Lash to slow or, if he’s been busy with his basic attacks, stun them. Positioning’s key here, too: if he situates himself in the enemy team, Tahm Kench is perfectly placed to disrupt and otherwise annoy the enemy team’s most powerful champions. Using Thick Skin’s shield to absorb damage should keep the River King ticking for long enough to fully stack An Acquired Taste, after which he can lunch. Pulling a powerful enemy out of a closely-contested fight, even for a few seconds, will often completely turn the tide, allowing Tahm Kench’s allies to take down - or mop up - the enemy team before the loquacious amphibian vomits out the final vestige of the enemy team. It’s not pretty, but it’s pretty damn effective.
...though, once again, he can also use his devour power to pull a struggling ally away from the fight (emphasis still mine):
Alternatively, Tahm Kench can stick to his backline and peel for his allies while aiming his ingestive instincts closer to home. Tongue Lash’s slow will buy his backline seconds against approaching killers, but if even that fails, Tahm Kench still has a trick up his sleeve… scales… whatever. See, once most marksman get caught by the enemy team, it’s curtains for them, but not with the River King on their team. By sidling up and Devouring his ailing ally, Tahm Kench can quickly reposition and deposit them somewhere safer. Immediately back in the fight - and with the enemy assassins and fighters rid of their precious gap closers - Tahm Kench and his ally should be safely squared away to wreak havoc from afar.
Positioning is everything in League of Legends once team fights start to break out. If a squishy (read: easy to kill) champion is caught on the front lines of a pitched battle, their death is all but certain. I’m guessing that being able to pluck someone out and deposit them a safe distance away will make this new Catfish a highly contested pick once he arrives in the game.
Kench was only just announced, so we’ll have to see how the League of Legends community takes to the guy. Early impressions indicate that some fans aren’t thrilled to see yet another champion with a three-hit passive. That, and players have already come up with some great (read: not actually great at all) puns:
All I can say is: they better fucking make a Kirby skin for a champion who has mostly swallowing-centric powers.