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Thresh Build Guide by Meteorskies

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.


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League of Legends Build Guide Author Meteorskies

[Thresh] In-depth guide to support

Meteorskies Last updated on February 21, 2013
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Ability Sequence

1
13
15
17
18
Ability Key Q
2
4
5
7
9
Ability Key W
3
8
10
12
14
Ability Key E
6
11
16
Ability Key R





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.



Masteries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Executioner
 
 

Offense: 0

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honor Guard
 
 

Defense: 9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1/
Nimble
 
 

Utility: 21


Guide Top

Introduction

Greetings summoners!

This is my second guide, and again I would like to analyse a support with you: Thresh The Chain Warden. If you are interested you can also check my previous guide on Nami The Tidecaller. I used the same structure here and you will find some identical paragraphs between those guides since some of my remarks stand for both.
As for any guide, what I say here is not absolute and only reflects my opinion and my play style. You are free to tweak, change, add or discard whatever you find wrong or missing. I am always open to critics and I will gladly discuss with you. That being said, let us begin, shall we?


Guide Top

Pros and Cons

Let us start with what characterizes Thresh. Thresh is mainly intended as a tanky support, with a potential as a very sturdy solo laner. He posesses a very strong and versatile kit of crowd control abilities which can be used both offensively and defensively, provides a strong engagement and has the unique ability in the game to move an ally. Overall, Thresh is a strong addition to any composition, especially to aggressive ones. In this guide I will mainly focus on the support role, but I will cover briefly the solo lane role.

Pros Cons
+ Ranged champion
+ Versatile kit
+ Great engagement
+ Useful at any phase of the game
+ Extremely strong defensive power
- Long cooldowns
- Teammates not yet used to Thresh
- No real escape
- Hard to master
- Requires to be agressive in lane


Guide Top

Abilities overview



Let us go into the details of his skills kit now. The variety of Thresh's abilities allows him to engage from long distance or to help an ally disengage instantly and safely, but he lacks this disengagement ability himself save his ultimate. Either you go into the fray and stay in, or you don't go and protect your allies. This is one of the reason why I find Thresh hazardous on a solo lane: against bruisers or assassins, you don't have the damage output to duel with them, nor do you have any escape should you be ganked or in danger. Moreover, you mostly tank physical damages, not magic damages, so going against an AP can backfire. Nonetheless, if played safely, Thresh can be extremely strong in solo lane past a certain level of farming. Now, let us review the abilities.



Damnation (Passive)
Thresh, unlike other champions, doesn't gain any armor by leveling up. Instead, he can collect souls of dead ennemies which grant him a permanent bonus armor and AP, capping at 500 armor and AP. Only enemy champions and large minions drop a soul 100% of the time. Smaller creeps drop a soul with a variable probability, roughly once every 3 minions killed.


The first soul grants 1 AP and 1 armor. The next souls will grant 0.005 less bonus until the 0.5 cap is reached, meaning at 101 souls you have reached the cap (for a 75 bonus). Note that at 95 souls you have more armor than any other champion without considering their other abilities or items, and that at 182 souls you have more armor than Taric with Shatter at rank 5. Damnation also increases the base damage of Death Sentence.

Obviously, collecting souls becomes one of your other priority as support, but don't overextend just to collect one. Damnation has the potential to make you one of the strongest tank in the game and gives you one of the highest damage output for a support, but it isn't worth a death.


Tips
  • You can collect souls with the lantern of Dark Passage. All the souls in landing the area (the area that will proc the shield) will be collected at the same time, allowing you to collect souls from safety.
  • Souls are invisible to enemies. They only appear to them if Thresh was visible when it spawned or if Thresh is visible, so souls won't reveal your presence if you stay hidden.
  • Souls spawn within a 1900 range, which is a very long range, so you can consider changing your route to collect additional souls from other lanes or the jungle.



Death Sentence
A passive and an active hook ability that can work in two times. It provides a scaling damage output on your auto-attacks for the passive part, has a significant range for the active part and is your main tool of engagement or counter-engagement.


The passive part grants you a bonus damage on each auto-attack equal to the number of souls you have collected plus a percentage of your current AD, this percentage building up the longer you have waited since your last auto-attack. As a support, this gives you a great harass potential. As a solo laner, this will help you to last hit for the early levels.

The first part of the hook stuns the target for 1.5s and brings it closer to you in two short pulls. This won't pull the target over non-passable elements such as walls, unlike Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab. While the target is bound, you can move to change the direction of the pull.
The second part allows Thresh to pull himself towards the target, and this will pull him over non-passable elements. Note that even if the target is not stunned (because of Cleanse for example), you can still reactivate this ability to pull you to the ennemy's position.
The cast time requires some practice to aim correctly at a moving target, and since Thresh swings his scythe before throwing it, it is rather easy to spot when he will hook, so try to stay hidden when using it.


Tips:
  • The range of the hook is higher than any other hook.
  • You cannot auto-attack while you pull your target. You have to reactivate Death Sentence to be able to attack again.
  • Try to pull you over to the target after you have pulled it twice to you, there is a short window between the last pull and the end of the ability.



Dark Passage
A one-of-its-kind ability and the first of that type in the game, it allows you to proc a shield to allies and provides a sort of friendly hook. Hard to master and requires a good reactivity from your teammates, but an invaluable tool for defense.


Basically, you put your lantern at a location and every ally (including yourself) that comes close to the lantern gains a shield. If an ally click on the lantern, Thresh will pull the ally back to him with his lantern. This can be used to pass over walls. However, if an enemy is standing directly on top of the lantern, it cannot be clicked on, so keep this in mind when you use it.
Dark Passage has a long range already, but once the lantern is on the ground you can move much farther than the initial range (up to 1500), which opens interesting gameplay possibilities. If the leash range is broken, the lantern goes back to Thresh and shield him (if he has not been shielded yet this cast).

The main downside of this ability is that players are not yet used to this ability. Most of the time they tend to run for their life and forget to click on the lantern. In most of the games I have played so far, players tend to use the lantern to be pulled when they are not in danger and never use it when they are. It can be hard to know where to put the lantern when running since you have to keep the short delay in mind during which the lantern is in the air, but as a rule never throw it the melee if it is to pull an ally back, always aim at out of it.


Tips:
  • The lantern gives you vision.
  • You can teleport on the lantern, or use abilities such as Katarina's Shunpo or Jax's Leap Strike.
  • The shield only works once per cast per ally.



Flay
An interesting ability that can be really hard to master and to use correctly in the thrill of the fight. The range is not very long, but it is easy to land if you are in the melee.


Basically, it is a knock up plus a slow that works like a travelator. It knocks up and pull the enemies in the direction it was cast. It means that if you want to bring the enemy closer to you, you have to cast Flay backward, in the opposite direction of the enemy. If you want to push the enemy away, you have to cast Flay in front of you in the direction of the enemy. Again, it knocks up so you can use it to cancel enemies abilities. Since it hit all the enemies in the area of effect, it is really easy to land on your target, provided you are close enough. The slow is also a nice addition, be it for defense or offense.


Tips
  • Casting Flay in the right direction in the middle of a fight require some practice. Don't panic and position yourself adequately.
  • The range is rather small, 400 on each side, so you have to be fairly close to hit your target.



The Box
A powerful ultimate overall. It creates a pentagon around Thresh that stays at the casting position. Strong defensive ultimate that can be used to isolate enemies as well. It has good enough damages and a great slow.


The first wall deals the most damage and applies the highest slow, reducing the enemy movement speed down to 110 (the lowest movement speed possible), while the remaining walls apply a 50% slow and deals half the damage. The pentagon takes about half a second to come out of the ground and you need to cast it right away if you want to trap an enemy inside or he will have time to move out of it before the walls have appeared. Although it is a very good way to secure a kill on an isolated target you have hooked with Death Sentence, it is in my opinion an invaluable tool of defense as it shuts down instantly any rush, gank or tower dive attempt. It is also a deadly ability in the jungle, where you can block choke points and isolate a part of the enemy team.


Tips
  • You can use Flay to push an enemy into one of the wall. On the contrary, you can use Death Sentence to pull one into The Box.
  • Don't use The Box on a target that you know has a Flash or a similar ability up and ready.
  • Any type of dash, even if it allows to pass through terrain, will break a wall, hence dealing the damages and applying the slow.


Guide Top

Abilities sequence

Support
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18


This sequence is for when your carry won't be engaging much and focus on farming. You will aim at sustaining your lane with Dark Passage and collect souls while applying pressure on the enemy carry (and possibly the enemy support) by attempting to hook with Death Sentence. Having Dark Passage at a high rank will give a tremendous bonus when you engage or are being engaged (at least 440 virtual HP for your carry and you at level 9). Although not impossible, you will notice it is difficult to put the lantern on your carry quickly enough to absorb harass damage thanks to the shield, so you should be the one applying the pressure. I then max Flay for the following reason: although Death Sentence gives a huge harass potential, by the time you reach the point where it is indeed great, you are level 10 or more, and at that time you probably have destroyed a tower or lost yours, meaning you can't harass much on the lane now since people start to roam. Having Flay at a higher level allows to slow much better for the roaming. However, if you know that you will stay in lane much longer, take Death Sentence to increase your harass potential.



Harass solo lane
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18


This sequence is for agressive solo laning as an AD or hybrid AP/AD. Having Death Sentence maxed gives a huge harass if you build AD. However, you don't have any real sustain and you aim at dealing the maximum amount of damage. I am not very fond of this sequence since you don't have the sustain you would need to be on par with other solo laners since you won't deal as much damage as them in the early game. Your key to success is to farm safely until you are tanky enough or to wait for a gank. You have many tools to help your jungler gank much more easily, use them. I choose this sequence when I know I don't risk too much by harassing and when I know my jungler will help me in the first levels.



Sustain solo lane
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18


This sequence is for solo laning as an AD or hybrid AP/AD against an enemy with much more harass potential than you, or with a strong gap closer. You get some points in Dark Passage early to absorb the damage and balance your sustain with your damage output. You won't have maxed any ability at lvl 9 and you aim at a more late game approach. In my experience you need some time to be able to fight against other bruisers as you don't deal as much damage as, say, Irelia, Jax or Olaf, since you need to collect enough souls. Don't overextend and don't try to engage the opponent alone.


Guide Top

Summoner's spells

After this analysis, let's get more into what you need during the game. Let's review the summoner spells first.

Recommended as support

Flash
Flash is vital to you as you don't have any instant escape. I wouldn't consider playing Thresh without a Flash, whatever the matchup.

Heal
Now viable on the support with the season 3 patch, Heal is interesting when the enemy team has a lot of AOE. Not the best summoner spell in lane, it will still give you some sustain and shouldn't be neglected.

Exhaust
Multi-purpose spell to secure a kill, rescue an ally or save yourself. Exhaust is my second favourite choice after Flash.

Clairvoyance
Viable spell, but aimed more at helping all of your team by providing vision where it is necessary. Helping your carry should be your priority, but if your team somehow really needs it, Clairvoyance can be a good choice.

Recommended as solo laner

Flash
Same reason as detailed previously.

Ignite
One of the most used spell for solo laning, it can help you even the odds against opponents who have more damages than you. Only consider it if you want to take an early kill.

Barrier
A good defensive spell to use against champions who can go all in and dive you under your tower. It will mostly help you early since you will become very sturdy later in the game.

Heal
An alternative to Barrier in case you are likely to be under heavy harass. It will give you a little more time to stay in lane.

Teleport
Potentially very good to help for ganks or to protect an ally on another lane. Not my first choice, it is a very situational spell to choose when you can communicate a lot with your teammates.

To avoid

  • Revive: taking a spell impacting your death is not as wise choice, as you would have to die to use it.
  • Ghost: it doesn't provide that much of an escape with Thresh ; not as much as Flash does in any case.
  • Clarity: after early game, you just don't need it because you have enough mana regeneration, and I've found that Thresh is not mana hungry enough to justify taking Clarity.
  • Smite: if you need it, either you are in the jungle and you are reading the wrong guide, or you are trying to farm as support while you shouldn't, or you don't know how to last hit as a solo laner.
  • Cleanse: you have enough defensive potential not to need it.


Guide Top

Runes

Runes

Greater Quintessence of Gold
3

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
9

Greater Seal of Armor
9

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
9
Quintessences
Gold generation for support, unless you are planning to take all the kills and take them early. Pretty standard since you won't have any other income beside the natural gold generation (now increased to 16 per 10s since the season 3) until you get your gold generating items. If you go solo lane, AD quintessence is your best option.


Seals
The main threat to you will come from either the jungler or the AD carry if you support, meaning physical damage most of the time. I prefer flat armor over scaling armor since you are more likely to take more damages early game (proportionally to your health), but scaling armor is also a good option provided you don't take damage early. You will end up having a lot of armor anyway thanks to your passive, so I prefer having more armor early. For solo laning, the same choice is good if your opponent is AD. I wouldn't consider playing Thresh against an AP since you would lose the advantage of Damnation.


Glyphs
I used to go with 7 Glyphs of Mana Regeneration and 2 Glyphs of Scaling Magic Resistance, but I am in the process of testing if going for 9 Glyphs of Scaling Magic Resistance doesn't hurt my ability to cast Death Sentence enough to apply heavy pressure on the enemy team. Still in test, but you can't go wrong with it.


Marks
Either you go for armor penetration or magic penetration, it all depends on what you want to use to deal your maximum damage. I personally think magic penetration is best since The Box deals a lot of base damage. Death Sentence deals magical damages, and proportionally you will deal more magical damages as the game goes one than physical damage. However, if you feel like you want to rely on your early harass in the first levels, armor penetration can be your preference.


Guide Top

Masteries

Masteries
4/1
3/1
1/5
1/1
3/5
3/1
2/5
4/1
1/5
2/1
1/
1/
3/
1/

As a support I will of course focus on the Utility tree. I go very standard with a 0/9/21. As far as I am concerned, I never take Biscuiteer + Explorer when I am not with 4 teammates I know I can communicate with easily or when there is little chance of invade. In that case I replace those two by 2 points in Strength of Spirit . You are welcome to go with Biscuiteer + Explorer , but I notice that the ward is most of the time misused or wasted when you are not with people you are used to play, or people who don't play at high level.
Defense
Durability : some health scaling on level not to fall too far behind later on.
Hardiness : some early armor to survive against earl agression.
Resistance : one point just to reach the next mastery
Veteran's Scar: 30hp to tank early.

Utilty
Here I aim at my mana regeneration, my gold generation and my cooldowns reduction.
Wanderer : movement speed early to keep up with your carry without boots.
Meditation : you will need some mana regeneration during the whole game.
Expanded Mind : some more mana in your mana pool.
Greed : gold generation for support.
Wealth : a small gold bonus early game for the wards and potions
Biscuiteer + Explorer : 1min ward for defense against an invade and a small bonus for early sustain in lane.
Pickpocket : harass is now worth 3 golds for you if you land an auto-attack
Intelligence : just to help a bit with your cooldowns.
Nimble : with this you don't need boots early as you have roughly the same speed as a carry with boots.

Just in case you want to know what I don't take in the Utility tree, here are the details:
Spoiler: Click to view


Guide Top

Synergies

So far I have found that Thresh works rather well with most AD carries, especially with those with high burst damage. He is a mix between Leona and Blitzcrank that I find very versatile. I noticed in the commentaries that people interpreted the low synergy as "Thresh doesn't work well with...". It is not what it means; it means the AD carry doesn't have a strong synergy with you, that is to say you don't have a real combo together, that your abilities don't complement themselves. Again, Thresh works well with most carries, if not with all, since he is such a versatile champion, but some AD carries are much better paired with him.

Synergy level: high
Graves offers a very high burst damage but lacks the sustained damage of other carries such as Kog'Maw. If you grab an enemy with Death Sentence he can dash quickly and burst the hell out of it, but he then remains vulnerable. This is where you provide a strong bonus thanks to your Dark Passage shield for both of you. The Box also provides a safe way for him to use his Collateral Damage. Otherwise, focus on protecting him and harass the enemy as much as possible.



Synergy level: high
Ezreal's mobility, thanks to his Arcane Shift, added to his high burst makes him a good choice to pair with Thresh. He can close the gap to the enemy instantly and take any opportunity you give him to deal damage. I would play with him like I would play with Graves, but he is less tanky (although he makes up with mobility and range) so if he flashes to come in range he will need to be protected at all cost.



Synergy level: high
Corki is a dangerous carry with a high burst, good poke and significant mobility. Before his level 6, his focus won't be to poke but to burst. Once he reaches level 6, he will poke as much as he can with his Missile Barrage, but during fights it will be the same as with other AD carries based on burst such as Graves or Ezreal. As far as you are concerned, you play as you would play with Graves or Ezreal Keep in mind that he needs to stay at a relatively close range to get the most out of his Gatling Gun, so using The Box well is key for a maximum burst.



Synergy level: high
Miss Fortune is a very good farmer, with a good amount of HP for an AD carry, and overall a strong kit. You synergize well with her because of your ability to keep the target in the area of her abilities, namely Make it Rain and Bullet Time. With her, The Box is deadly as it allows her to land her full combo. She is hard to catch, but some Miss Fortune players tend to overextend, feeling confident of their mobility, so keep an eye open to shield her just in case. As usual, harass a lot and you should be able to zone out the enemy duo.



Synergy level: medium
Varus is a carry with absoluetly no escape (beside his Chain of Corruption) or gap closer. He is mixing mild burst with poke which can result in a surprisingly high amount of damage. Thresh doesn't have any real synergy with him. You provide crowd control and sustain as you would for any other carry. For him to land one of his ability to proc his Blighted Quiver is key, so communicate with him when you intend to engage so you are able to immobilize an enemy long enough.



Synergy level: medium
Draven is a very strong carry with a powerful kit. However, there is a world between a good Draven and an average one. With him as partner, your duo has a very strong engagement potential and very high damage output. You provide everything he needs to land his Whirling Death and to stay in range for his Spinning Axe. There is no synergy strictly speaking between you, but your combined kit offers an overall good lane.



Synergy level: medium
Twitch is a carry who is extremely strong against packed up teams. In lane, the best way to engage is to have him cloack with his Ambush from inside a bush, then use Death Sentence to come in range for The Box. He will most likely stay outside of it, throw a Venom Cask and then Expunge after 3 auto-attacks. If you manage to imprison 2 or more opponents in The Box, he will most likely use Spray and Pray. Thresh's ability to keep the enemies packed and slowed goes very well with Twitch at any stage of the game.



Synergy level: medium
Ashe is a good AD carry, with a good range, a good utility ability, a slow and a stun. Overall she is pretty versatile and she works well with all the supports, Thresh not being an exception. With her, play as usual, harass when possible, try to engage, protect her with your shield, etc. She can initiate the fight with her Enchanted Crystal Arrow, which can help you a lot to land The Box. You don't have a very strong burst, but overall you are a strong duo lane.



Synergy level: low
Caitlyn posesses the highest range of all AD carries without taking into account abilities. She is one of the few AD carries who can lane solo. What you will provide her is a strong defense, a bit more harass and the possibility to engage brutaly after she has poked enough. She will rarely be exposed, so when you engage shield yourself in priority. You don't have any real synergy with her, but your duo is a very safe one, hard to engage and hard to counter.




Synergy level: low
Kog'Maw relies almost entirely on sustained damage via auto-attacks and his Bio-Arcane Barrage that grants him a tremendous range and a huge bonus damage. He is extremely squishy and needs to be protected until he reaches his full potential and gets his max range. Draw the enemy fire on you if a fight occurs on the lane, shield yourself and try to stun the enemy AD carry with your Death Sentence. You don't have any real synergy with Kog'Maw, but compared to Caitlyn your carry is much more vulnerable.



Synergy level: low
Vayne is a late game carry who needs a lot of farming to become dangerous, and she is too squishy to engage a fight herself. You don't provide any bonus to her and shielding her in time against harass is all but easy. However, you make her very difficult to engage and apply a lot of pressure on the enemy duo since a Death Sentence landed succesfully can turn quickly into a kill with Vayne. Not the best partner for Thresh but still viable.



Synergy level: [pending]
Kayle has regained some popularity recently, mostly as AP but as a jungler as well. However, we see very few hybrid Kayle on duo lane and I think this option is underrated. Her damage output as hybrid is extremely high, but she needs pricy items. However, she provides more sustain to your lane thanks to her Divine Blessing, and her Intervention makes you a very potent turret diver.



Synergy level: [pending]
Tristana is rarely played, and I must admit I've never played with a Tristana as Thresh, so synergy pending. However I don't think they synergize that much since Tristana shines most in late game, and her burst early game comes from her Rocket Jump.


Guide Top

Gameplay

Early game


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Your early game is similar to most aggressive supports. Keep an eye on the map for potential gank, let your carry farm, and watch for openings. Play safe, you are a ranged champion with enough CC and sustain not to give any kill to the enemy if you position yourself well enough. Once in every while, come in range to land an auto-attack charged with Death Sentence passive. Don't forget to collect the souls, and use Dark Passage if the souls are to risky to be collected directly. Buy at least a ward each time you back to base until you have your Sightstoneand work on building your gold item. With only your masteries and the base gold generation, you should be able to buy your Philosopher's Stone around 4min10s. If possible, grab it as soon as you can. If you manage to get it at that time, you can stay in lane for a long time. After that, get the Sightstone and then your Boots of Speed.

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When you see a safe opportunity, land Death Sentence and pull your target to you. Wait for the second pull and then, if you find it safe enough, pull yourself to them by quickly reactivating the ability. Immediately Flay your target, preferably in your direction to keep him close, then watch what happens. If you are focused or your carry jumps in, Dark Passage is to be put on you (and your carry). If the focus goes on your carry, immediately put the lantern on him or behind him so that he can get the shield if he runs away. It also offers an almost instant repositionning possibilty to your carry by clicking on the lantern. If you have The Box up and ready, try to imprison the enemy carry just after your Death Sentence. In case of gank or turret dive, never hesitate to use The Box to block the way, it shuts down most attempts and can turn such attempts into easy kills if you shield yourself and your carry and manage to land a hook. You can also use Dark Passage to help your jungler come quickly and close (there is a very good example in the Champion Spotlight).
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Always start with Death Sentence. It is a hard CC, which is always a must have early game. It can secure a first blood or save an ally. It also applies a lot of pressure on the lane even at lvl 1. Your next ability should be Dark Passage. At level 3, you must have your 3 abilities. I would suggest to max Dark Passage, no matter what happens. It gives a very high sustain in fights, and maxing another ability first won't be that much of a use as a support since the damages you add to your carry's will never equal the virtual health you provide with your shield. Of course, get a point in The Box as soon as possible.
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Mid game


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At that time, towers start to fall and some champions start roaming. Now you should always go where you are needed, but stay with your carry all the time. A particularity with Thresh is that you also farm in some way since you have to collect souls, so following a teammate who will farm is a necessity. Ward the dragon and Nashor and keep an eye on the jungle. Be in as many teamfights as possible. Your priority is to protect your carry and watch the map all the time for incoming ganks or ambushes. Keep buying wards and work your way to your core items. You need to adapt to the composition. Grab a Kage's Lucky Pick at some point. I almost always buy the Boots of Mobility to be able to reposition easily, go save an ally with Dark Passage or land an easy Death Sentence. Upgrade your Sightstone to Ruby Sightstone, grab an Aegis of the Legion if there are 2 or more AP, as it is still a good choice with the new patch (although not as good as before), or work your way toward a Sunfire Cape or Warmog's Armor. I tend to favor the Sunfire Cape in most cases, but against a highly poke oriented composition the Warmog's Armor health regeneration comes in handy. I also prefer the Warmog's Armor when there is a very high burst AP enemy champion.
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When a fight occurs, watch who is focused and shield the main target in your team in priority. It is highly unlikely that a teammate will be able to use the Dark Passage to move to you since, in the middle of the fray, it is almost impossible to click on the lantern. Try to shield as many teammates as possible. At the same time, protect the carries and use Death Sentence on the bruiser or the jungler who will probably try to get to them. Flay any enemy chaneling a spell to interrupt them. If you manage to get into the fray, either by positioning or thanks to an engagement with Death Sentence, The Box must be used to imprison as many enemies as possible.
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Now you should have Dark Passage maxed. The next ability to max doesn't really matter in my opinion. Flay doesn't have its cooldown reduced, but the slow and the damage do increase, while Death Sentence has a cooldown reduction by level as well as an increase in the damage (passive and active). I think you mostly benefit from maxing up Flay next since I see Death Sentence more like an ability to engage, although it has its use in teamfights to stun an enemy but it is much more difficult to land accurately. The base damage bonus from Death Sentence comes from the number of souls you have collected, so except for the first attack you don't really benefit from the increase in base damage.
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Late game


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Your transition into late game marks where you no longer are a reliable source of damage and rely more than ever on your utility abilities. Always have a ward on Nashor, watch the usual paths in the jungle, and stay with your team. If you have to go ward a spot and an enemy is missing, don't go alone or simply don't go. It is crucial not to be isolated. At this point it becomes very hard to ward enough, so this task should at least be shared with your jungler.
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In late game, teamfights can mean instant defeat or victory. A well-timed ace and one can rush to the nexus, so it is absolutely crucial that you keep one of you alive. As Thresh, you should be in the melee at some point, whether it is to engage or to disturb the melee with The Box. The problem is that you also have to protect the carries and as so keep an eye on them all the time. If an enemy tries to reach one, Flay him away or stun him with Death Sentence. The Box can also serve to avoid an engagement or to disengage from a bad teamfight. Again, shield as many allies as possible with Dark Passage.
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Nothing particular to say at this stage regarding abilities, max Flay second then Death Sentence. Of course, get a point in The Box when possible.
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Matchups

Obviously, the duo lane matchups are numerous since it's 2vs2 combinations. There are too many of them to be covered with accuracy, so I will focus only on the most common compositions, those you are more likely to face. You will notice that most of the time it is the enemy support who dictates your course of actions, so I will dedicate a section specifically to summarize how to act against each support.




Threat level: high
Taric - Graves
The tankiest of all duo you will encounter, with an incredible burst at level 6. The key to win against them is to watch Taric all the time, as he is the one who will most likely engage the fight by stunning one of you with Dazzle. If he comes too close, back a few steps. If they manage to engage you, shield yourself immediately with Dark Passage to survive their burst. Depending on how it went, back away or counter engage on Graves with a combo of Death Sentence, Flay and possibly The Box. The Box and Flay are also a good way to disengage. Watch for their positionning: if Taric is far away enough from Graves then the latter won't be able to engage even if Taric stuns you, so you should take this opportunity to harass Taric with your auto-attacks since he doesn't have much innate resistance against the magic damages of Death Sentence. You are not likely to be their priority target, so position yourself so as to disturb them when they intend to engage.

Strengths Weaknesses
+ Extreme burst damage
+ Tankyness and sustain
+ Most reliable stun in the game
- Short range
- Limited mobility
- Mana dependent




Threat level: high
Blitzcrank - Ezreal
A duo which puts a lot of pressure on your lane. This matchup is very tensed because both duo can hook. You have a longer range than Blitzcrank for your hook and you provide more sustain, but he has a stun and a higher burst. Also, Ezreal is the only carry who can escape The Box without Flash thanks to his Arcane Shift. He is also a pain to catch with Death Sentence for the same reason. The key against them is to ward the bushes so as to know all the time where Blitzcrank is. Ideally you hook Ezreal, but you can bait both his Arcane Shift and Blitzcrank's Power Fist by hooking the latter and pulling yourself to him. This will most likely make Blitzcrank stun you and Ezreal engage you by closing the distance with Arcane Shift. Shield yourself, Flay them close and cast The Box. Defending will be easy if you manage to apply enough pressure on Blitzcrank in his bush.

Strengths Weaknesses
+ Constant pressure
+ High mobility
+ High burst
- No sustain
- Countered with good positioning
- Mana dependent




Threat level:
high
Leona - Corki
This lane is also a very dangerous lane with a little less burst damage than the previous two, but they make it up with much more control and a stronger engagement potential. Leona provides one of the most dangerous engagement early game, and she is the most dangerous when she reaches level 6. Unlike with Blitzcrank or Nidalee, hiding behind minions won't help as her Zenith Blade is not stopped by creeps. Your best friends are a ward in her bush and keeping a safe distance from her. If she manages to engage, instantly shield yourself and wait for Corki to close in. When he comes in range with his Valkyrie counter engage with your usual combo Death Sentence, The Box and Flay. If you manage to take down the carry, Leona won't be able to do much and will have to back. Do not try to engage the enemy carry without knowing where Leona is as she can counter-engage and turn the tide in their favor.

Strengths Weaknesses
+ Constant pressure
+ Turret divers
+ Strong CC
- Natural pushers
- Limited mobility
- Limited range




Threat level:
medium
Nunu - Miss Fortune / Vayne
These lanes can play very aggressively or very pasively. Nunu mitigates your possibility of coming too close to his carry, while they synergize very well with their movement speed boosts to engage you. You can interrupt both of Miss Fortune's and Nunu's ultimates with Flay or Death Sentence, so wait for them to use them. Beside that, follow the same pattern as with Nunu - Kog'Maw (see below). As for Vayne, even if she is squishy and is a late-game champion, she can quickly kill you if she manages to land a Condemn, so watch for her positioning. Do not hesitate to use The Box to disengage as it is extremely hard to outrun them. When harassing, focus on the carry as they don't have as much range as others, but do it preferably when their abilities are on cooldown.

Strengths Weaknesses
+ Very high mobility
+ Dangerous at short range
+ No strong CC
- Short range
- Not much sustain
- No good escape




Threat level:
high
Sona - Ezreal
A strong poke lane with a significant burst at level 6, a good sustain and high mobility. Fortunately, you have more CC earlier, and Sona is the squishiest of all champions. To poke you she has to come rather close and she gets in range of your Death Sentence. Sona's movement pattern is easily readable, so use it against her: when she moves toward you with her Power Chord up, back away or shield yourself or your carry (be careful, Sona deals a lot of damage early game). If she doesn't have her Power Chord up, make sure she doesn't have 2 stacks on it. If not, then stun her with Death Sentence, cast Dark Passage and try to kill her. After level 6, don't regroup with your carry to avoid Sona's Crescendo. As for Ezreal, his skills shots Essence Flux and Mystic Shot are relatively easy to dodge, but he has a lot of range, so don't try to harass him if his abilities are not on cooldown, otherwise you expose yourself to his burst. At their level 6, being too close to your carry can be deadly if you take both of their ultimate, so watch for your positioning.

Strengths Weaknesses
+ Good sustain
+ Strong poke
+ High mobility
- Squishy
- Mana hungry
- Easily readable




Threat level: medium
Nunu - Kog'Maw
This pair is a real pain to deal with. Nunu is tanky enough to come close and poke you with his Ice Blast, while Kog'Maw has enough range to poke from behind. However, you have a significant advantage regarding Nunu: he has only one attack spell beside his ultimate, and you have 2 abilities to interrupt his Absolute Zero. Do not focus Nunu unless his is really low on health. Save Flay to interrupt his ultimate then return your attention to Kog'Maw. He is not very tanky ; should you manage to engage him and land The Box he has little chance to escape alive. It is unlikely that you will manage to harass Kog'Maw, so grab some early points in Dark Passage to sustain their poke and watch for an opening.

Strengths Weaknesses
+ Very safe farming
+ Strong poke
+ High sustained damage
- No engagement
- Not much sustain
- No good escape




Threat level: medium
Sona - Varus
A duo with a very strong early game, with high poke and good sustain. At level 6 they gain two AOE stuns and become a real pain to kill. I would advise to play passively and use Dark Passage as much as possible to absorb their poke. Varus' abilities are costly in mana, so bait them as much as you can. Making yourself at home in a bush should apply enough pressure on Sona to prevent her from harassing too much. Again, focus Sona before level 6, and Varus after that. Due to their stuns it will be extremely dangerous to engage them if they have both their ultimates up and ready, so try to bait one if possible.

Strengths Weaknesses
+ Double AOE stun
+ Strong poke
+ High sustain
- No good escape
- Easily readable
- Squishy




Threat level: medium
Sona - Ashe
A duo similar to Sona - Ezreal, with no real burst though, but a much more difficult pair to run away from as they have more CC with Ashe's Frost Shot and Enchanted Crystal Arrow. Before level 6, your priority target is Sona as it is an easy target, but after level 6 your priority target becomes Ashe as Sona is likely to land a Crescendo on at least one of you should a fight happen, so you want to kill the champion who deals the most damages first. Also remember that at level 6 they can engage you very easily thanks to Ashe's ultimate, and they get a double stun. Beside that, follow the same pattern as with Sona - Ezreal and you should be okay.

Strengths Weaknesses
+ Good CC
+ Strong poke
+ High sustain
- No good escape
- Easily readable
- Squishy




Threat level:
low
Nidalee - Caitlyn
An extremely hard lane to counter as their poke potential is the highest of all. They are also almost impossible to gank due to their traps. They apply a constant pressure, and 2 seconds of inattention is immediately punished, but beside poking with Nidalee's Javelin Toss and Caitlyn's Piltover Peacemaker they rarely engage a fight and will aim at keeping you low on health and outfarming you. In my opinion you have only 2 solutions: either you manage to get to Caitlyn with enough health on you and your carry, or you play passively until this happens. If you manage to get to Caitlyn, quickly engage her, but don't go in the bushes as there will be traps there. Nidalee, before level 6, can't do much should you engage her carry, but she can surprise you in her cougar form. However, like with Blitzcrank, you and your carry should stay behind the minions all the time to avoid being hit by Nidalee's Javelin Toss. If you have to recall, do it from a bit farther than your tower, you have no idea how many champions die to Nidalee, thinking they are safe under their tower.

Strengths Weaknesses
+ Extreme poke
+ Long range
+ Hard to gank
- No sustain
- No engagement
- Mana hungry




Threat level:
low
Janna - Ashe / Caitlyn
These pairs are based on poke and the bonus damages Janna gives thanks to her shield. A non-defensive shield is a signal, it means the carry will come to poke. Janna offers a strong engagement/disengagement with her Howling Gale and Monsoon, but she is very squishy, so landing a Death Sentence on her is a good way to engage. These lanes don't have any real sustain, it will all depend on Janna's ability to use her shield at the right time. Watch for her cooldowns and attack just after a shield. After level 6, focus your attention on the carry, but move so as not be to pushed in a bad position by Monsoon. Your carry is more suscpetible to be targeted by their poke with Ashe's Volley and Caitlyn's Piltover Peacemaker, but there is hardly anything you can do to prevent it. Get some points in Dark Passage if their poke becomes overwhelming, and have your jungler gank your lane.

Strengths Weaknesses
+ Strong poke
+ Hard to engage
+ Punish bad positioning
- Limited sustain
- Squishy
- Long cooldowns





As you can see, most of your strategy during the lane phase is dictated by the enemy support as he is the one who will most likely take the initiative to engage. This is exactly the same for your duo. This is not a rule, however, and you wil have to adapt to the enemy. In general, you are at a disadvantage against a pair based on poke and magic damage since you can't shield that easily and don't have a heal, you are on par with a duo based on burst because you have a strong engagement/counter-engagement, and finally you have the upper hand against defensive composition. There are basic rules you can follow against specific supports.

Alistar
  • don't let him come close to you.
  • don't focus him unless he is particularly low on health.

Blitzcrank
  • ward his bush.
  • always stay behind your minions.
  • don't harass him unless he has just missed a hook (then you have a 15s window).
  • don't focus him unless he is particularly low on health.

Janna
  • harass her when her shield is on cooldown.
  • don't let her position herself between you and your carry after her level 6 to avoid Monsoon splitting your duo.

Leona
  • ward her bush and stay out of range of her Zenith Blade.
  • if she engages, don't focus her. Stun her carry with Death Sentence as soon as possible.
  • don't harass or focus her when she has her Eclipse on.

Lulu
  • keep in mind she is an anti-burst support, her carry can suddenly gain hundreds of HP with Wild Growth.
  • force her ultimate on her carry with harass and fake engage, then focus Lulu.

Nami
  • focus her as much as you can.
  • don't regroup with your carry when a fight occurs.
  • never stay close to your carry once she reaches level 6 to make her Tidal Wave more difficult to land.
  • be careful of the potential engagement she provides to her carry.

Nidalee
  • ward her bush.
  • always stay behind your minions.
  • don't enter the bush if unecessary.
  • if you step on her trap, you are very vulnerable for a short duration, so move to safety.

Nunu
  • always keep Flay up after his level 6 to interrupt his Absolute Zero.
  • don't harass him in priority, he can heal himself with Consume very easily.
  • don't focus him unless he is particularly low on health.

Sona
  • focus her before her level 6.
  • watch for her moves and her Power Chord charges, and engage her when her passive is not up.
  • never stay close to your carry once she reaches level 6 to make her Crescendo more difficult to land.
  • be careful of her strong poke early game, she has a short range but deals a fair amount of damage.

Soraka
  • harass as much as possible to force her heal and deplete her mana.
  • if she comes in range, target her, she is squishy it is a mistake from her to come too close.

Taric
  • watch for when he comes at you to stun you with Dazzle and move out of reach.
  • try not to be in both his and his carry ranges at the same time.
  • Taric players rarely stack magic resistance, so you can surprise him with magic damage.

Zilean/ Zyra
  • both of them will harass you all the time from afar, so keep your distances and stay in the bushes.
  • they are squishy and will quickly fall behind in terms of damages without farm or kills, keep that in mind.


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Items

Suggested builds


Standard
Shurelya's Reverie

Tank
Shurelya's Reverie

Anti-poke
Shurelya's Reverie

Anti-AD
Shurelya's Reverie

Anti-AP
Shurelya's Reverie


The above builds are only suggestions and you are welcome to adpat it and try some alternative builds. You just have to keep in mind that your role as support is to provide your team with utility abilities and items. You already have many utility abilities, so you will try to get very tanky while still getting items to help your team. I have tweaked my build a little bit in perspective of the commentaries I read.

The reason why I don't build an Aegis of the Legion just after my first items is that the metagame has evolved and HP has become more interesting than armor. Since Thresh already has a good amount of armor and must at some point go into the fray, I build a Sunfire Cape and/or a Warmog's Armor most of the time.
I only add Aegis of the Legion early in my build (and Runic Bulwark afterwards) when there are at least 2 AP in the opponent team, when I am constantly focused by the AP carry, or when there is a fed AP carry.
Against poke, I take a Warmog's Armor first for the regeneration. It is also my choice when there is a dangerous enemy early in the game who will fall off later, such as LeBlanc.
Now let us get into the details of the items.



Boots


Boots of Mobility
I see Thresh as a champion who engages the fight, or at least dive on an enemy. Chasing, positioning, all of this is key. Sometimes, you even have to run back to an ally just to save him with Dark Passage. Your mobility is your best weapon in my opinion.

Mercury's Treads
If the enemy team has a lot of AP (like 3 or more) or a lot of CC, these boots can offer a good alternative to the mobility. You are so much better with Boots of Mobility that I hesitated to even mention Mercury's Treads, but I reconsidered in case you solo lane against an enemy with strong CC or against a CC heavy team.


The other boots don't offer any viable bonus for you as support. I have never felt the necessity to have shorter cooldowns on Thresh (exit Ionian Boots of Lucidity) or more armor (exit Ninja Tabi).


Enchantments




Enchantment: Alacrity the best enchantment for Thresh, since what matters the most for you is your presence with your team and your positioning, so getting more movement speed always help.


Enchantment: Homeguard another possible option for your boots, in case just regularly need to back and regroup with your team quickly. It is better on a champion who can defend a pushed line, but it is better than the rest of the enchantments nonetheless.[/columns]



Core items


Philosopher's Stone

Philosopher's Stone
Philosopher's Stone
The new Philosopher's Stone has been nerfed: health and mana regeneration have been reduced by 50%. However, it is now 100 gold cheaper and has become the item with the highest gold generation rate, so it is still a vital item to get, the earlier the better. It should be the first item you buy at your first back.

Sightstone
This new item offers a good way for support not to spend thousand golds in ward throughout the whole game. Sightstone buffs you a bit with health and allows you to use 2 wards at the same time out of 4 stocked, the stock repleneshing each time you back to base. You can consider it worth the money after using a total of 8 wards. For whatever reason, if you didn't have to ward much when you have around 800 gold at your second back and you still have 1 or 2 wards, don't buy the Sightstone immediately and grab your Boots of Speed. Otherwise, this item is your second priority.

Kage's Lucky Pick
Kage's Lucky Pick
This item was nothing compared to the now removed Heart of Gold, but with the new season it has become the item with the second highest gold generation rate. Moreover, it has now interesting upgrades which make the Kage's Lucky Pick a must have on a support. Buy it before the Sightstone if you are safe and still have wards. Otherwise, it is your third priority.

Boots of Speed
When you have those 2 items, grab your Boots of Speed as soon as possible. Once it's done, you are ready for the next phase of the game. Without any kill or assist, you should reach that point around 15min.



Mid game builds


Shurelya's Reverie


For mid game you first priority is to get a bit tankier. The most interesting and first step toward that is to upgrade your Sightstone into Ruby Sightstone. Health and wards, two things you need, and the earlier the better. This season 3 item has become a must have for all supports since it saves you a lot of money in wards. A must have, no question asked.
Then you need to be able to roam with your carry and move quickly where you are needed. Choose the Boots of Mobility, except against an AP heavy or CC heavy enemy team, against which you will prefer Mercury's Treads. Then multiple choices are open to you.


Must-haves:

Sunfire Cape
I like to go with the Sunfire Cape as first major item in my build. I build it with the Giant's Belt first in case I realize I need the Warmog's Armor instead. If I am late in farming souls, I buy the Chain Vest first. The Sunfire Cape should make you tanky enough to jump into the melee to add some damages and cast your spells then get out alive.

Shurelya's Reverie
Shurelya's Reverie
Signature item of most supports, invaluable to engage or disengage. With your Boots of Mobility you can position yourself quickly and easily to land a Death Sentence on a running or isolated enemy. If required, upgrade your Philosopher's Stone early, but I prefer to keep the gold generation for as long as I reasonably can.

Oracle's Elixir
Vital for map control, you should always get one when planning to get an objective such as the Drake. If you have one, don't use it if you return in lane, save it for when you will roam (even if you are tanky, there is no need to make yourself a target of choice on the lane).


Viable options:
Aegis of the Legion
This item has been nerfed with the new season, it is more expensive and gives less tankyness. However, it is still a vital item to face against 2 or more AP enemy champions, and it now can be upgraded for late game. I have already explained above why I don't take this item earlier.

Locket of the Iron Solari
During season 2, I didn't like this item as Randuin's Omen offered a much better alternative as it was built off of Heart of Gold, but in season 3 Randuin's Omen isn't part of the evolution of your core build. Locket of the Iron Solari is now a good option if you feel that you lack armor and health, and for a rather cheap price. Its active can be very useful during mid game, but the shield it provides is not so powerful late game.

Mikael's Crucible
New item from season 3, it offers a rather cheap upgrade from Chalice of Harmony. It is a good option in case there are a lot of AP champions in the enemy team or a lot of crowd control. Its passive will give you the opportunity to spam your abilities while its active will make it very hard to immobilize one of your ally as it is a Cleanse with an integrated heal.



Late game builds



When you enter late game, you need to be tanky enough to survive teamfights and provide map control with wards and Oracle's Elixir. At this stage you should have your tier 2 boots, a Sunfire Cape or a Warmog's Armor, the Shurelya's Reverie and a Ruby Sightstone.

If your team doesn't have much problem surviving during teamfights, go for the Twin Shadows magic resistance. On the contrary, if you notice that your team has a hard time, take an Aegis of the Legion (later you can upgrade it to Runic Bulwark if needed).


Viable options:
Frozen Heart
If enemies are AD oriented and one or more of them uses a lot of attack speed, this item is a must have as it will drastically reduce their efficiency. You benefit from every stats, so don't hesitate.

Warmog's Armor
The ultimate tank item in season 3, now used by all roles, even carries. At first I favored this item over Twin Shadows, but it has been brough to my attention that even if the Warmog gives you much more durability, it is extremely costly and your team may already have a full tank. I now consider the item as an end game item, except against poke or extreme burst.

Will of the Ancients
If you have 2 or more AP in your team, this will give them a fair amount of bonus AP and spell vamp. Most of the time there will already be one Will of the Ancients if you have 2 or more AP champions, but having more of them benefits every mage who has one already, as you can stack up to 2 auras on champions who have a Will of the Ancients. Choosing this itme doesn't benefit you that much, so weight the potential benefits for your team with care.

Guardian Angel
Although nerfed since the season 3, it is still a good late game item which will give you more survivabilty.

Banshee's Veil
If you happen to have a lot of magic damages in the opponent team, Banshee Veil can provide you with everything you need to survive. It is also a very good choice against team based on poke and harass.

Randuin's Omen
A must have in season 2, not clearly aimed at supports since there is no logical route to build this item except if you aim at it. It is still strong on melee tanks/supports, and you will certainly be able to use the active efficiently if you manage to land a Death Sentence.


Uncertain options:
Some items offer interesting options, but I am not convinced by them. They might be of some use, but I won't consider them at first except for very specific situations.
Spirit of the Ancient Golem
Intended for junglers, it is a very strong item overall and will make you much tankier against AD. Only consider this item if you have bought the Boots of Mobility, as Tenacity will not stack. Build it from Giant's Belt since you won't benefit that much from Spirit Stone.

Zeke's Herald
Zeke's Herald
It has been nerfed a lot in the recent patch. The bonus AD is not significant once you are in mid game or late game, and it clearly won't replace the former attack speed bonus. Furthermore it is interesting in rare situations where you have bruisers and carries based on attack speed. No longer viable in my opinion.


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Conclusion

So, this closes my second guide. I tried to give you an in-depth analysis of Thresh and how you can enjoy playing him as a dynamic support. I put in here as much of my experience as support as possible, and hopefully I am not too far from your own experience in this role. Please feel free to drop a comment to give a constructive critic, a feedback or anything useful to help me improve that guide.

Some thanks to jhoijhoi are required, her guide Making A Guide helped me with the specificity of mobafire, and I probably wouldn't have been able to create mine without hers.


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Logs

Feb 21 2013 : updated the guide according to the critics I received, completed the list of carries, changed the runes and masteries, tweaked the items, clarified some points