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LCS and the late Adoption of Tahm Kench

Tamh Kench has been a staple in the international meta since the start of the summer split in all regions. He started as a flex between support and top, mostly being played as a support. Now with his recent nerfs he has been exclusively seen in the support role.

So far, the catfish man has a 29.9 percent presence over all regions with a win rate of 54.6 percent. He is also a decent counter to mage supports, more specifically Lux, who has seen a higher pick rate after a few item and champion buffs.

With all these positive statistics and his popularity across the world, why has he only recently been picked up by LCS teams?


Courtesy Riot Games

Olleh played it before it was cool

Much like those who listened to Billie Eilish before 2019, Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung played Tahm Kench before it was cool in the LCS. To be more specific, he played it before week 3. Olleh is currently undefeated on the champion and has been drawing bans and having it picked away from him.

So, were Golden Guardians watching the rest of the world, deciding to adopt it earlier, or was it something else?

It looks like something else.

With Olleh playing the catfish man, the Guardians look more polished and decisive than when he is not. It seems like a pocket pick that works well with how they play the game, safe siege and early aggression away from the bottom lane.

Tahm Kench stats in North America

Tahm Kench has been in champion select 16 times in the LCS, being picked 10 times and banned six. He has a 50 percent win rate, with three wins from Olleh and two from Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in. The only other player to pick him more than once has been Kim “Wadid” Bae-in, who’s yet to record a win on him.

The catfish man has also seen some decent play in Academy, being picked six times with three wins. The Golden Guardians academy support Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun has played him the most with two games on the champion, one win and one loss.

Courtesy LCK

The rest of the world

Tahm Kench has been picked the most in LCK, being picked or banned 41 times. He is picked most by SANDBOX Gaming and DAWON gaming. The catfish man has a 63.5 percent win rate in Korea and has only seen an uptick in play since his nerfs.

The LPL, LEC and LMS have picked the champion 14, 9 and 11 times respectively. The LPL and LEC have an above 50 percent win rate on the champion while the LMS have an abysmal win rate at 27.3 percent.

Why hasn’t Tahm Kench been seen earlier?

The North American LCS scene has always been a late adopter of other regions’ meta picks and has always been slow to adapt. With the rise of the Sona and Taric bot lane, teams have also been shy to try and experiment with other combos that have been prevalent in other regions, like Tahm Kench and Sona.

With the rise of Lux and other mage supports, the champion has seen a lull in priority. Teams would rather play what’s strong in the meta than what could fit well with their playstyle.

In the future, expect to see more Tahm Kench picks, not only to pair with Sona but because of his increasing popularity in other regions and Rift Rivals. Also, teams are going to be picking the catfish man away from Olleh even more now.

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