The Tahm Kench top meta has been seen very frequently in recent times, and for good reason — he is a nightmare to deal with in a 1v1 situation and he typically does well enough even against pressure that players often resort to simply banning the champion rather than face against him.
But, while difficult to play against an experience Tahm Kench top player, it’s not necessarily impossible.
Below, we rounded up a couple of tips that should help you immensely in dealing with the River King during the laning phase.
Stay Behind Your Minions
The amount of pressure that Tahm Kench top can put early in the game and in a 1v1 situation is scary.
If you don’t know to deal with it, Tahm Kench can just completely take over the lane, and even, the entire game. This is why it’s important that you try to play it safe and stay behind your minions, even at level 1.
You need to respect the amount of damage Tahm Kench can deal early in the game, even without any items.
By staying behind your minions, you minimize the kill potential of his Tongue Lash (Q), which does great damage, has a slow and has great range. But, if you stay behind your minions, Tahm Kench won’t be able to hit you with Tongue Lash quite easily, allowing you to trade hits more effectively and walk out of the laning phase with as few deaths as possible.
Never Fight Tahm Kench Alone
Tahm Kench is the quintessential lane bully. If you’re not careful, he will completely decimate you in the lane.
This is why it’s incredibly important that you stay behind your minions and avoid going for the kill on Tahm Kench, even when he’s low on health unless you are sure that you can guarantee the kill. Because, if Tahm Kench can turn things around on you and get a kill on you instead, he can snowball quite fast by simply buying a Sunfire Cap.
If Tahm Kench gets an early lead, you can pretty much say goodbye to your chances of coming back from an awful start.
Only Gank Tahm Kench When It’s a Sure Kill
Early on, Tahm Kench is unfairly durable as well.
For this very reason, we mentioned earlier that you should try to avoid going for the kill on your own unless you can guarantee it without dying yourself. The same goes if you’re going for the gank, because so many players have come to learn the hard way just how quickly Tahm Kench can kill two champions even when he has relatively low health.
Abuse Tongue Lash’s Cooldown
Tahm Kench’s most dangerous ability is his Tongue Lash (Q), which is why you should try and avoid being a target of it at all costs.
In theory, a ranged champion should work well against Tahm Kench. You can kite him out or attack him from afar, and you should have yourself a good time in the lane, right? Not exactly. The thing is, most ranged champions are squishy and just can’t deal with Tahm Kench once he manages to close the distance. Considering how easy it is for Tahm Kench to close in on enemy champions using Tongue Lash, using a squishy, ranged champion is not always a good idea.
Regardless of who you decide to play against Tahm Kench, it’s important that you try to keep in mind the cooldown of his Tongue Lash.
Every time it’s down is a window of opportunity for you to try and deal some damage.
Don’t Be Too Overconfident
So, you’ve won most of the early game against a Tahm Kench top. Congratulations.
Now, don’t go squandering your lead by being too aggressive and overextending yourself, okay? This is a very common mistake that a lot of players make against Tahm Kench. They think that, because they reached Level 6 first, they can solo kill Tahm Kench already.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
One of the biggest strengths of Tahm Kench is that he’s still quite annoying to deal with even when he’s playing from behind.
So, no matter what happens in the lane, whether you win or not, always avoid going in for the kill on a Tahm Kench unless you have your jungler with you ready to gank him.
Watch Out for His Level 11 Ultimate Upgrade
Once Tahm Kench reaches Level 11, he’ll be able to upgrade his ultimate for the second time, and that’s when the nightmare starts.
You see, as much as he is a lane bully, Tahm Kench is always great at ganking and initiating on unwary champions, making him an even bigger of a nuisance to deal with if he managed to level up his ultimate for the second time.
Tahm Kench is near-impossible to outrun when you’re alone, and even when you ward the lane properly, he can stay out of range and still be able to jump in to catch you off guard.
For this very reason, try to keep the minions in the middle of the lane every time Tahm Kench goes off of the map.
Focus on Tenacity and Movement Speed
Two words: Mercury Treads.
Mercury Treads are perfecting for surviving against a good Tahm Kench top laner. The item gives you a chance to survive his initiations because it significantly lowers the Tongue Lash’s stun time while also increasing your move speed, allowing you to avoid Tongue Lash better.
Don’t Play a Physical Damage Champion
By virtue of Tahm Kench being a tank, he is meant to be played in the top lane. The River King has the highest base armor in the game. Add his shield, and you’ve got one tough nut to crack, both literally and figuratively.
If you have to deal with a Tahm Kench top, go for a champion that doesn’t rely on physical damage.
Make Him Focus On You
If you can’t win your lane against a Tahm Kench top, then at least try to make sure that his attention is focused exclusively on you.
This way, he can’t affect the other lanes with his ultimate once he gets his ultimate. Otherwise, you’ll essentially be ending up giving Tahm Kench a free game if you let him with the lane and affect other lanes, especially mid, at the same time.
The gigantic man-eating catfish is one of the most annoying champions in League of Legends to deal with. But, the Tahm Kench is not necessarily as overpowered as most people would like the champion to appear.
Yes, he’s hard to play against, but, there are ways to make life against Tahm Kench in the top lane easier.
By following our tips and tricks, you should be able to survive better against Tahm Kench easier and make his impact on the game a lot less felt.
Do you agree with our tips and tricks on how to deal with Tahm Kench top? What are other things that you’d like to suggest to help those that have been plagued by the River King in the top lane in recent days? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.