Thresh Build Guide by Silvertwister
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Howdy all, I'm Silvertwister and this is my first guide, which happens to be on Thresh the Chain Warden. Thresh himself inspired me to write this guide; since he's so capable of helping his team, I felt like helping others too. I plan to update this guide as I learn more with him (and with BBCode), so any and all feedback is welcome (but please remember that constructive criticism is supported by reasoning.)
Getting to know Thresh
Beyond just pros and cons I think it's important to understand the nature of a champ before you play them. This should allow you to form realistic expectations of your role in the battle.
- A support with tanky potential
- A powerful crowd controller
- A capable initiator
Thresh is not:
- A carry
- An AP nuker
- A one ghost army
Essentially, Thresh is at his best when he is working for other players. Racking up assists, securing kills for your teammates, and protecting your teammates should be your priorities. Between his passive ( Damnation) and the rest of his kit, he can be extremely effective with far less gold than other champs. Be proud that you have a low kill score. Even if your K/D ratio goes negative, as long as you have plenty of assists, you're doing your job (this doesn't give you license to feed though, you still want to keep your death number down, just don't worry so much about the kill score).
So how do I do all of that, you say? It's time to inspect Thresh's skillset, and what a great one it is.
PASSIVE - Damnation
Souls are collected by moving within melee range of them or using Dark Passage (more on that later.) As souls add up, they provide Armor and AP with each soul you collect being worth .01 less than the previous one down to .5 per soul at 50 souls. Souls also increase the base passive damage from your Death Sentence by one each.
Q - Death Sentence
As a passive effect it adds magic damage to Thresh's auto-attacks with the minimum based on the number of souls he's collected, and the maximum adding in a % of his his AD based on how long it's been since his last attack. This does maximum damage after 10 seconds.
The most common use I've found for this skill is obviously snagging enemies and pulling them so your team can secure a kill. If the pull isn't going to be enough, you can get a little extra CC out of it by using the dash and then knocking them further back with your Flay. It also functions as a good stun to end a channeled spell (such as Kat's Death Lotus, Nunu's Absolute Zero, or Miss Fortune's Bullet Time) when your Flay is on CD.
W - Dark Passage
During that six seconds, there is a large radius in which Thresh can move without recalling the lamp. If he leaves this radius before 6 seconds is up, the lamp will jump to him and provide it's regular benefits in a radius around him until the 6 seconds is up. If a teammate right clicks the lantern while Thresh is in range, they and the lantern will be pulled to him.
While this can be used to collect souls, it's best not to use it just for that purpose unless you are being heavily zoned away from souls. It's better to miss a couple souls and have your shield (and mana) when you need it than to use it out of laziness and wish you had it later.
One of my favorite tricks with the lantern (if your lane mate knows how to use it) is to toss it at the base of a turret to help them dive. If timed right, they can dive in, the shield will protect them from a turret shot (maybe two at higher ranks), and they can right click it to fly to safety. Even if they don't make the kill, they will have survived. It can be used much the same way as a lifeline to rescue a teammate being chased without putting yourself in harm's way.
E - Flay
While the range and movement of the skill is underwhelming at first, the low cooldown (just under 6 seconds with the build in this guide) will allow you to use it several times in a single teamfight. It is best used specifically for the knockaround as the damage is never impressive.
Use it to interrupt channeled spells (saves you from putting Death Sentence on cooldown and it's AoE). Use it to pull in an escaping group of enemies or push away pursuing enemies. The couple yards of movement may well be the difference between life and death. Use it in conjunction with Death Sentence to pull them that much closer (as previously mentioned). If nothing else, the AoE knockaround briefly interrupts the other team's abilities and attacks. An extra half second with no actions by the enemy could make or break that fight.
E - Flay
With this build it has a cooldown of about 85 seconds at max rank. Thats enough to have it ready for pretty much every teamfight. I find it's best used at the very beginning of a fight to mess with the other team if they initiate, or at the very end to prevent their escape or help your escape. If you use it in the middle of the battle, when people aren't moving so much, they may not run into it. You can help them run into it with a gentle push from Flay.
Materies, Runes, and Summoner Spells
I like to use a 0/10/20 build as shown in the cheat sheet. The defensive masteries provide a small but very helpful boost to Thresh's early lane sustain. Please note that I took 3/3 in Resistance and only 1/3 in Hardiness . This is due to Thresh's passive and his lack of MR. Two or three minion waves should provide enough extra armor to outweigh the need for Hardiness .
In the Utility tree, Meditation improves sustain. Summoner's Insight and Mastermind improve the cooldowns of Ghost and Flash (my preferred summoner spells.) Artificer helps with cooldowns on items like Randuin's Omen or Shurelya's Reverie. Greed , Wealth , and Pickpocket help earn you gold since you shouldn't be doing much last hitting or direct killing (Feed your carry!) Pickpocket can be replaced with Summoner's Wrath to further improve your Ghost if you don't feel the extra gold from it is worth the point.
My rune choices are pretty straightforward. I use flat HP Quints, flat armor seals, and flat MR glyphs for the early lane durability. The MPen marks boost early damage from skills and the passive on Death Sentence. I encourage people to adjust runes to suit their playstyle. These make up for me being slightly aggressive tendency to overextend.
My sugesstions are Flash and Ghost.
I generally choose these because Thresh is all about mobility and positioning. Much like my approach to runes, I find that everybody has preferred summoner spells as well. As an example I used to be horrible with flash so I never used it.
Teleport is useful for quick trips to and from base.
Exhaust synergize well with his skill set.
Ignite doesn't provide much synergy but can help against healing champs or in securing a kill.
So now you have your pre-game stuff handled, after only three re-queues you made it to champ select, you've actually managed to pick Thresh before that other guy, nobody insta-locked and demanded you change champs because you don't fit the team, the countdown finished, and the guy playing on the wireless toaster underneath a mountain finally loaded. It's time to buy your first items.
Rejuvenation Bead and Faerie Charm are the base components for your Philosopher's Stone and provide a great deal of sustain for not too much gold.
As a support, having at least one Sight ward is a good idea. If you want more, you can sub the Rejuvenation Bead or the Faerie Charm for a couple more or to afford a Vision Ward against a stealth champ.
2x Health Potion will allow you to hang out in the lane longer or recover from a bad opener or an attempt on your life.
On your first trip back, hopefully you will have enough for your Philosopher's Stone and Boots of Speed.
If you managed to hang out a bit longer than that and you can afford a Sightstone it will help a lot with gank prevention, or you may be able to upgrade to Ionian Boots of Lucidity.
If you can't do either of those, or just prefer not to, go ahead and get one of the components of your Aegis of the Legion. I would reccommend the Null-Magic Mantle if you're laning against magic damage champs or doing especially well on soul farming. If you need extra armor or health at that time, you can get the Ruby Crystal or Emblem of valor
Philosopher's StoneIn addtion to providing more hp/5 and mp/5, this item will give you 5 gold/10. If you have it for 23 minutes, it will have paid for itself in full. Aegis of the Legion should be your next priority. Not only will it improve your tankiness, but also that of your lane partner.
Ionian Boots of Lucidity provide a huge boost to your cc and damage through cooldown reduction, but the composition of the other team may necessitate more defensive boots. Mercury's Treads boost your limited MR and provide Tenacity . Ninja Tabi is excellent against AD/Auto attack champs.
I like to upgrade to a Ruby Sightstone so that I can maintain wards without feeling that the slot is useless. If you find yourself in greater need of other items and not needing wards, then I'd go ahead and get the Giant's Belt which can later become a Rylai's Crystal Scepter
With enchantments for boots, I reccommend Enchantment: Captain. It gives your team speed boosts to catch up to you whether you're advancing on the enemy or advancing in reverse.
Shurelya's Reverie Shurelya's Reverie - This is an alternative option for your Philosopher's stone which will give you some CDR as well as a move speed buff on active use. If you are not getting the Ionian Boots of Lucidity this is a good option.
Runic Bulwark - This is your best tank/support item and should be finished relatively early every game. It has the most magic resist of any one item and you will need it.
Banshee's Veil - This gives you more MR, as well as health and mana, plus a bubble that protects you from one ability every 25 seconds. This can save your life several times over.
Frozen Heart - This gives you a great armor boost and some mana, but the most important part of it is the passive 20% attack speed reduction on enemy champs around you. Against an AD heavy team, this will sway the direction of teamfights in your favor.
Randuin's Omen - This is a good alternative to the Frozen Heart which a great armor boost and a ton of health. It also has a similar passive but it only affects those who attack you.
Rylai's Crystal Scepter - This gives you a rather large amount of HP and some additional AP, but it also adds a slow effect to your abilities. This is very useful with Death Sentence as it makes it more difficult for them to run after being pulled.
Other Good Items
If you are in a long game or had great farm, these are some good additional/alternative items. If a game is running long I will usually sell my Ruby Sightstone for something with a bit more oomph.
Guardian Angel - The only thing more annoying than killing a very tanky character is having to do it twice. This hot little number gives you armor, MR, and a passive ressurection on a 5m cooldown.
Warmog's Armor - This is the single highest HP item in the game. I find that it's a good alternative to the Rylai's Crystal Scepter if your ability to stay alive is more of a problem than your CC.
Sunfire Cape - So here you are, a champ that specialises in keeping your friends close and your enemies closer, what better way to make use of that than burning them alive? With decent armor and HP, and a constant burning AoE, this is a great way to heat up the battle.
Spirit Visage - In one small and cost efficient item, we have health, MR, CDR, and a passive boost to all of your healing/regen. On Thresh, this is most effective in conjunction with the Warmog's Armor because of the hp regen passive on it.
To deny the enemy, you need to become familiar with zoning. If you need a crash course, check out Shurelia's Zoning Tutorial. If you can get past her voice, it's good information. For Thresh, if you can control the brush in your lane, the enemy will feel your presence and fear your Death Sentence. They'll feel much the same way about you that they feel about Blitzcrank with his Rocket Grab.
Putting up a sight ward in the river and the brush near your lane will help keep you and your partner alive through better map coverage. It will also help you control the brush better because you can harass the enemy champs out of their own brush if you can see them. Popping them with an autoattack every 10s will get you the full bonus from the passive on Death Sentence and net you some gold from Pickpocket . A good hit with that passive can scare a champ pretty good early to mid game.
If you're having trouble and getting pushed on, sometimes you can turn the tide while hugging by using Death Sentence and Flay to hold an enemy under your own turret until it kills them.
So you've done some great laning, secured a few kills, and sent your opposing laners packing. Now you have some time to kill. Why not help out your mid? Thresh's CC can secure kills on even the dodgiest champs if your aim is good. They don't even really need to be overextended. You can even yank them off their own turret iwth Death Sentence and Flay, protect yourself, your carry and your mid with Dark Passage and watch the enemy champ burn. If your opposing laners haven't returned yet, you can even get a few helpful hits in on the turret, but keep a watchful eye. You don't want to lose your lane because you had tunnel vision on another lane.
As a note when ganking, you're still a support. You're there to secure the kill for your carry and your mid. Don't need steal your mid's minion kills or push for them unless they want you to. They don't want to be overextended any more than the poor sap you just helped slaughter.
This is when you move from the minor league to the big league. Instead of securing kills for and protecting one person, you're now doing it for the whole team at one time. If you are the only tanky champ of the bunch, you may be called on to initiate. This is a delicate matter as you don't want to initiate where the other team will have the advantage, but if you avoid it too long, the enemy may jump you or a restless carry might initiate instead.
Some things to consider when initiating:
- Can I see all the members of the other team (near you or anywhere on the map)?
- Is there enough of my team here to win the fight?
- Is there room to help my team escape if this goes bad?
- Is there a carry or other major threat on their team that I can target with my initiation?
- What abilities will they likely break out with first and can I poke them into using them before I initiate?
Once the fight has started, you have to assess the situation and react quickly. If an enemy is performing an ability you can interrupt, you should probably use flay, but if your team doesn't seem to have the upper hand, you should probably Flay the enemy team away from yours. If somebody is running away and you have a clean shot, take aim with Death Sentence. If it's available and you don't need it for escape, you can use your Dark Passage to shield your entire team. This is handy if Flay and Death Sentence are unavailable and a big AoE is about to go off, like Absolute Zero.
Last you need to recognize when the fight is ending. If your team is winning, plan and position to prevent enemies from escaping. If your team is losing, you need to decide if you can hold the enemy long enough for your team to escape at the cost of your own life or would it serve better to escape with them? You may well be able to hold the enemy team then make a swift exit with Flash and Ghost in that order. That way you break free before you kick it into high gear.
Odds and Ends
While Thresh is not an amazing pusher, with decent soul farm and gear, he has enough armor and HP to tank multiple turrets and even champs. If your team is having trouble pushing a lane, thresh and a carry or two can backdoor fairly successfully without minions and Thresh can generally knock around an enemy champ or two without losing the focus of the turret. Thresh can also pull the attention of Baron or the Dragon to protect carries while they kill.
If you're sieged into your own base, his flay may not kill minion waves, but it can literally push them back to keep them off precious turrets.
Closing & Summary
Well, this brings me to the end of my guide until I learn enough to update it. Hopefully what you have gathered from this guide is knowledge of using this wonderful champion to serve others for the better of the whole team; how to protect them and feed them as if they were your spawn. May you go forth and be the biggest pain in the gluteus maximus that your enemies have ever known.