Remember how a few days ago Riot were teasing their new League of Legends [official site] champion and being all “He’s a catfiiiiish. A catfish from the deep sooooooooouth. Maybe a bit of an evil catfiiiiiiiish.” There are now some actual details. OBSERVE:
1. His name is Tahm Kench, The River King. I will get this wrong for the next six months and call him Tahm Tench because a tench is a type of fish.
2. In terms of game function you’re looking at support tank or perhaps a solo laner. He seems to be in the Braum line of thinking.
3. What his abilities do can depend on whether he’s landed a set of three basic right click attacks. If that’s happened some of his abilities are slightly changed or augmented.
And what even are those abilities anyway?
His passive is An Acquired Taste which is the thing which converts the first ability to a stun instead of a slow. That ability is Tongue Lash which roots the catfish in place while his tongue heads in whatever direction you’ve chosen. It damages and slows what it hits or, like I say, stuns a champion who has a triple dose of An Acquired Taste.
Fun fact: I looked up whether catfish really have tongues and found out that they’re sometimes called “swimming tongues” as the bodies of some species are covered in tastebuds. I was thinking about whether I would like to be covered in taste buds but it would probably make getting dressed really difficult because you’d have to consider literal taste as well as style. Also it would make me super reluctant to go on the underground. Gross.
The ability bound to W is Devour which lets you eat other units, keeping them in your belly for a while before spitting them out, dealing a portion of their max health as damage. This is how I approach lunch, swallowing sandwiches and enjoying the tasty magic damage. If you use the ability on creeps you can spit them out as projectiles, damaging what you hit. If you’ve triple stacked An Acquired Taste you can use it on enemy champs, taking them out of a fight or repositioning them a bit so you can better attack. If you play HotS there’s a bit of the Stitches tummy taxi here. You can also use it for allied champions as a delivery system or an escape route. On that front it’s kiiiiiiiiiinda like a Lifestealer infest bomb from Dota 2.
The E ability is Thick Skin. Damage gets turned into grey health on the health bar and when you leave combat a portion of that grey is returned to you as healing. It’s part of the support tank-oriented toolkit and should allow Kench to absorb lane harass better than other champs. I’m also imagining some daring escapes using the tummy taxi on an ally to protect them as Kench takes a bit of a pummelling. You can also activate the ability to get a short duration shield.
Then there’s the ultimate: Abyssal Voyage. This one’s a riff on various tunnelling abilities. You choose whether to swallow an ally, then you channel a whirlpool beneath you, diving into it and resurfacing via another whirlpool at a target location. There’s a long cast time on this one so I’m assuming it’ll be used for ganking and initiating rather than escaping or repositioning in a fight.
And that’s it for Kench. I’m a little disappointed that, as the River King, none of his abilities allowed him to manipulate the river which runs across the map, but I guess that would have been hard to make useful or relevant except very situationally.
Oh, also I checked the internet and real catfish can’t manipulate space time.
That we know of.