Thresh Build Guide by Jovy
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+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Hey to all! I'm Jovy, an admin here, and I've been playing League since preseason 2. I began playing Thresh as soon as he was released, after getting hyped from seeing his creepy teasers. At the time, he was completely unique and differed entirely from the support play-style that players back then were used to - supports were just heal-bots or ward-bots (think Soraka, Janna, old Nunu). Thresh is still, to my mind, one of the best designed and most fun to play champions. Or, at the very least, he's easily my favourite champion.
With that out of the way, let's leap right into what makes Thresh a good champion, followed by some pre-game stuff (runes, spells) and then some more detailed advice, suggestions and etc. Happy reading!
Thresh has always been an extremely popular support in both low and high elo. He's a very well balanced champion with a unique and enjoyable kit. His signature move is Death Sentence, a hook that drags enemies towards him. Once an enemy is caught by it, Thresh has the crowd control and the damage to secure many kills for his ADC and team. He's a great laner due to the fact that he is ranged (and capable of potently poking the enemy) but still reasonably tanky (with his armor-granting passive and shield) and due to the fact that his engages are very powerful, especially when you are ahead. Further, he is a very strong roamer and a good Thresh will absolutely tilt the enemy mid laner. He also does quite a bit of damage with his auto-attacks due to the passive on his Flay Outside of laning phase he is still very powerful due to his catch potential and teamfighting prowess. His kit enables excellent peel, engage and disengage. Lastly, his Dark Passage, which is capable of pulling allies out of bad situations and is very useful in ranked solo queue.
There aren't many negatives to Thresh. Some problems you might have would be hitting your Death Sentence, which will improve with practice. He can have some mana issues during laning phase if you are constantly engaging (due to the mana cost of your Death Sentence). Furthermore, your Death Sentence also has a pretty long CD (20 seconds) which means you can get punished very easily by the enemy if you throw it and miss.
|Demolish is a good choice right now because it'll help you take down turret platings more easily, which means a lot of extra cash.|
|Font of Life tags enemies whose movement you've impaired and allies who then attack this target get slighly healed. It works well with your Q, E and R!|
|Makes you take less damage after each consecutive attack. Works really well against sustained poke and even in whole fights. An invaluable rune.|
|Unflinching will give you a burst of tenacity (CC resistance) upon using a spell. You usually use spells in teamfights or escaping, in both cases CC would be annoying and tenacity helps. You can also opt for Revitalize to increase healing and shielding from your W and items such as Locket of the Iron Solari.|
|This will help negate some poke during laning phase. By having these biscuits delivered to you for free, you will be saving some money on pots which you can instead spend on Control Wards!|
|Thresh benefits a lot from CDR because his Q, and main engage tool, has a very long cooldown.|
|With this rune every ward of yours that expires will be replaced to a Zombie ward; akin to a blue trinket ward. This new ward will stay where it is forever until it is killed, which means you'll have a lot of vision throughout the game.|
In terms of stats, there are a number of ways to go about it. I like getting adaptive force or CDR in the first tier, then focusing on defense. Depending on what you face in the enemy team, I would get armour + health or armour + armour or some MR if they have double AP carries or a scary burst mage.
|Grab Flash every game so you have some sort of escape mechanism if you get into some bad situation. Also good for engaging/getting range of your Death Sentence or Flay when chasing enemies and can be used to lantern your teammates out with Dark Passage|
|Ignite is the best second spell because it'll increase your kill potential bot lane by a lot. It's also a good pick against heavy healing supports because it'll cut their healing in fights by half and render their heals near useless for the duration of Ignite.|
|Less common second spell that I like to pick up against assassins like Talon or Zed or against unfavourable match-ups.|
|Thresh does not gain armor per level. Instead, Thresh collects the souls of dead enemies by approaching them or by placing Dark Passage's lantern nearby. Souls permanently grant 0.75 armor and ability power. Champions and large minions always drop a harvest-able soul. Small minions only sometimes drop a soul. Epic minions drop two souls.|
Thresh can collect souls that are dropped by enemies that die. Minor minions sporadically drop souls and cannon minions, as well as champions, will always drop one. Souls grant AP and armour, and Thresh does not get any armour per level like regular champions do, so you have to rely on collecting a good amount of souls, and of course your items, to have any armor at all.
When in lane it is pretty simple to collect souls. It's very similar to the Ancient Coin mechanic, except you can also collect them with your lantern. When collecting souls, keep in mind that the enemy can see them as well. Usually a good enemy bot lane will try to poke you if you go into their zone to collect a soul. It's not worth taking a few AAs from the enemy for a single soul.
|Thresh throws his scythe, dealing 80/120/160/200/240 (+50% of ability power) magic damage to the first unit hit and dragging them towards him for 1.5 seconds. Additionally, he may reactivate the ability to leap to his chained enemy. If Thresh hits a target, Death Sentence's cooldown is reduced by 3 seconds.|
Death Sentence is Thresh's bread and butter, and his signature ability. It's similar to Blitzcrank's Rocket Grab, except it will not fully drag the enemy to you, but only a few "steps" so to say. Instead, you can reactivate your Q to drag yourself to them, getting you in range for your other abilities and auto-attacks. Remember to wait until the end of your Death Sentence to reactivate it in order to maximize the pull. Further, if the enemy has a dash (such as Lucian), is hooked, and is in Flay range, use Flay around 0.5 seconds after the hook ends to cancel the dash.
Death Sentence is a very reliable engage tool because it's long ranged and relatively fast moving. Most of the time you will want to aim your hook slightly to the left or to the right to stop your enemies from trying to side-step the skillshot. With practice it isn't a very hard ability to hit.
Thresh players can be famous for going in with their Q at inappropriate time. It's kind of like the Lee Syndrome but for Thresh Q. Keep in mind that even when you hit a good hook, it still might not be a good idea to go in. Keep your finger on the Q for re-activation, but take half a second to think about whether or not it's favourable for you to go in.
Thresh's lantern is a unique ability with the capability to reposition your ally, usually to safety. It's also a shield, though not a very strong one. You should only be using it as a shield during skirmishes (2v2s) if you're not going to try to escape, to prevent DoT abilities (such as Ignite) from killing your allies and helping your allies tank turret shots or epic monsters.
It's far more useful used as a free gap-closer for your allies. You can use it to save them from tight spots (and from long range & over walls too) or you can use it to bring your allies closer to you when you make a catch with your Death Sentence or Flay. This is especially useful when you are being ganked by your jungler, it's possible to lantern him into the lane from the fog of war and surprise the enemy laners.
When getting ganked, it's better to leave your ADC behind. Usually the enemy will go after your ADC instead of you, allowing you to gain some distance and then saving him with a long range Dark Passage.
Passive: After a few seconds of not auto-attacking, your next auto attack will deal bonus magic damage on hit. As a ranged support it's very important that you utilize your auto attacks during laning phase to poke the enemy laners, and with Thresh this is even more important, considering the amount of damage your auto attacks due to the Flay passive. In fact, Flay's passive is one of the primary reasons why Thresh is so strong in lane.
Active: Flay's active can either drag enemies to you or push them away or to the side. All depending of course on whether you are engaging or disengaging. Aside from that it'll also do a good bit of damage (early game) and it'll slow the enemy, making it easier for you to hit your Death Sentence if you cast it after Flay. Although the active may be hard to aim at first, you will quickly get the hang of it with experience.
|Creates a prison of walls around Thresh, dealing 250/400/550 (+100% AP) magic damage and slows any champion that collides with a wall by 99% for 2 seconds. Once a champion collides with a wall, the wall is destroyed. Any other walls struck by any other enemy champion slow for half the duration.|
The Box surrounds Thresh with 5 walls that damage and slow enemies which hit them. Only the first wall that is collided with will slow for 99% and the others only about 50%. The Box can be extremely powerful during teamfights as disengage, since you can slow several enemies at the same time and stop them from advancing to your team or ADC.
It's also powerful for locking down an enemy that you might've hit Death Sentence or Flay on, as it can potentially stop them from being able to escape.
|This increases the shield power and lowers the CD, meaning you will be able to save people more often during mid game.|
|You take your first point in E for level 1 pressure but max it last. The damage is nice but isn't worthwhile after laning phase, which is why we don't max it second or third. And we don't max it first because Q is more valuable.|
|As with all ultimate abilities, you rank it up whenever possible - on levels 6, 11 and 16.|
|In terms of synergy, Steel Shoulderguards are the best starting item for Thresh because it grants you the best stats. Remember that you must last hit the enemy minions in order to proc the passive, so be sure to save Flay's passive damage to make sure you don't miss a minion and tilt your ADC.|
|You will want to quickly pick up these boots to give you more pressure in lane. They're also useful for roaming mid lane or quickly going to ward river or the enemy jungle.|
|Knight's Vow is a great item when playing with hypercarries such as Twitch, Kog'Maw, Vayne, or Tristana as a percentage of damage dealt to your ADC will be redirected to you. This allows your ADC to stay alive just a bit longer in fights, giving them the opportunity to finish off kills and clean up the fight. Good stat wise as well, especially if you need more armor.|
|Great item for catching enemies out. If you see an enemy unguarded, pop the active to catch up to them and initiate a scuffle.|
What you build next can vary from game to game. Against teams with high magic damage, you will want to look into getting some more health or magic resistance. If their ADC is fed, or any other AD champion, look into buying more armour. Some games may also require highly situational items such as Mikael's Crucible.
|Locket of the Iron Solari is a really powerful support item that grants you good tank stats and an area of effect (AoE) shield for your team. It's a great pick against AoE damage heavy teams, but you'll usually just want to pick it up every game.|
|A strong item if you're looking for some armour. Playing against bruisers and assassins, the active can be very helpful while you're attempting to peel for your ADC.|
|Counters attack speed-reliant champions like most ADCs and bruisers.|
|This item can be strong against teams with full AD comps, but they are rarer and rarer in the current meta. If you do find yourself against a team like that, this is a good buy.|
|A great item that grants a burst of speed to you and nearby allies, allowing you to suddenly and powerfully engage, or disengage, from a teamfight.|
|Zeke's is a bit tricky to explain. Once you use your ultimate, a storm conjures around you which slows and damages enemies. Enemies in the storm will also take extra damage from the AAs of the ally you tagged with Zeke's (your ADC). I personally like it on Thresh because your ultimate is often used offensively, as an engage, and the extra damage will come in handy in fights. However, in practice, the storm radius is really small and won't always hit the enemy target, making this item situational rather than core.|
|In my opinion, not a great item on Thresh because the stats don't compliment him much at all. It can still be a good buy if your ADC needs it however. Crucible will cleanse one CC ability off your ADC so it's a good buy against, say, Morgana, Ashe or Varus, as these three are examples of champions with long-lasting CC that will kill your ADC in teamfights.|
Laning Phase Video
In case you missed it (it's linked at the top too) I've filmed a video of a Thresh laning phase I played. I wanted to add some commentary and talk about what I did well, what I did wrong; explain some in-game decisions... and that's about it. I hope you'll find it helpful.
As mentioned before, Thresh has a fairly good laning phase. Immediately upon starting the game, you'll be leashing for your jungler in most cases, as will the enemy. However, as soon as you step onto the lane, you will want to help your ADC kill minions. Sporadically attack minions, making sure not to mess up a last-hit for your ADC (generally easier to focus on ranged minions since they will not be under attack), and slightly push the wave towards the enemy tower. By the time your ADC kills 9 minions (6 melee minions and 3 ranged ones) you will get level 2.
As Thresh, this is an easy opportunity for you to either kill the enemy or waste their spells. This is why you want to push the wave early on, so you can get level 2 first and get a massive advantage. At level 2 you will have your Death Sentence and Flay, and you can engage with either. If you're positive it will land in a kill, such as if the enemies don't have Flash (due to an invade) or if they've previously been poked down, you can also initiate with your own Flash to catch them off guard.
Poking and Pressure
As an aggressive support it's important that you are constantly putting pressure on the enemy ADC, making it hard for him to trade with your ADC or get last hits. When you're ahead, you should be able to zone him away from the wave entirely just by being there, since they will be too scared to get in range of your Death Sentence.
When the enemy ADC goes for a last-hit, you should attempt to AA him to apply some light pressure. With Flay, especially after getting a few ranks in it, your AAs do a lot of damage. You should consistently keep punishing him for trying to last hit, and eventually once he gets low enough you can probably pull off an easy kill with E and Q.
As for the enemy support, if they're playing an enchanter (a squishy utility support) such as Soraka or Lulu, it might be a better idea to pressure them instead, as they will be easier to kill. When against a melee support, it's wise to pressure them with auto attacks because they can't easily trade back without going for a full-blown engage. By keeping aggressive tanks like Leona and Alistar under pressure and low, it makes it very difficult for them to engage.
To avoid getting poked down yourself, make sure to utilize the bot lane side bushes and keep a couple of Health Potions on you every time you get into lane if you can afford it.
Thresh is one of the best roaming supports because of his Death Sentence and Flay. His ganks are especially potent when joined by your jungler. Since mid lane is the closest lane to bot lane, you can easily traverse the river with your mobility boots and gank mid lane whenever it's convenient for your mid laner.
Good times to roam:
- You just recalled and you are supposed to go bot lane. This is a good time to roam because the enemy won't notice your disappearance, they'll assume you are still buying or just haven't arrived in lane yet for some reason, and the enemy mid laner won't see you coming because he won't get pinged back most of the time.
- The enemy mid laner is pushing and in your laner's zone. This makes it hard for him to retreat because his base is so far away.
- When bot lane is shoved into the enemy tower. While the enemy bot lane duo is forced to last hit under tower, you can roam (and even bring your ADC) mid and surprise the enemy mid laner with a gank.
- When your jungler is ganking mid. The best support roams will often be in conjunction with your jungler. When both you and your jungler gank a lane, it’s an almost certain kill even if the enemy laner has Flash. Imagine playing mid lane and a Maokai and Thresh suddenly appear in your lane. You’re dead.
Bad times to roam:
- Enemy mid laner is at their tower and cannot be dove. Unless you're decently high level and accompanied by your jungle, it'll be hard to kill him. If he's low health though, it might be possible to hook him from behind a wall and kill him.
- When the bot lane wave is pushed towards you. If you leave your ADC to 1v2 as a wave is pushing to your tower, it is very likely that your ADC will either not be able to last-hit under tower without taking a lot of damage or will die under tower. Either way, your ADC will be mad and tilted, which is a bad thing.
- From Bot River: Usually the inferior roaming route, but the most convenient. It's the fastest route but the river is usually warded all over so you might be seen and thus unable to pull off a successful gank. Further, often mid laners will notice a bot lane missing ping and ward bot side in case you gank them.
- From Top River: This is often the more successful gank rout. Usually the enemy mid will be completely caught off guard if they see a Thresh ganking from top lane, making it much easier to land your CC and secure a kill.
What to do when you get there:
Usually you want to start your gank by walking up to Flay rather than to immediately use Death Sentence. If you have Flash or your ally mid laner has some sort of hard or soft CC, this is often the time to use it. You want to get into Flay range by either walking up or Flashing in rather than try to Death Sentence an enemy from long range, since this is often easily Flash-able.
As a support with CC, there are multiple ways to approach a teamfight. However, we must consider several factors when deciding which approach to take.
In some cases, you will end up being the primary engager. Usually I don't recommend this because you will always be less tanky than your tank (jungler or top laner), but more importantly because you will want to focus on protecting your ADC as opposed to trying to kill theirs. However, if you hit a good Q or E (if you catch someone out), this is when you end up being the engager.
In a lot of cases though, you will want to focus on peeling for your ADC rather than being the engager. Peeling means, well, peeling enemies off of your ADC. This is especially important when you're playing an immobile ADC, or playing versus highly mobile champions; especially assassins. ADCs in general are very vulnerable, even if they are ahead, because assassins and bursty mages, bruisers and etc are all capable of killing them in the right scenario. Your entire kit is suited for peeling; your Q can drag people away from your ADC (useful when you are not nearby), your E can shove them away, your ult will slow them for a great amount. Your lantern can reposition your ADC to safety, which is again useful when you're not necessarily next to your ADC, or when he gets caught out.
Thresh is also a great disengager, with his ultimate and E primarily. Keep in mind that you can interrupt many gap closers with E, like Lee Sin Q or Zac E, and thus stop an engage entirely. Your ult takes up a large portion of space, and in tight locations like the jungle, can stop the enemy team from being able to advance to your team.
You start with your Flay rather than your Death Sentence because 1) it makes it harder for them to dodge your Death Sentence after they've been slowed by Flay and 2) it gives your opponent to waste Flash before you've thrown out your Death Sentence. If necessary to close the gap, you can use Flash before E. Also make sure to AA a lot during your Combo, especially at early levels when your AA damage is very high.
This gives them a chance to Flash out of your box, but then get dragged back into it by your Q.
But you can also start with your Q if you're sure you can hit it. If the enemy has a gap closer like Rocket Jump, once you've Q'd them in you can wait a second or two before using your Flay and then interrupt their gap-closer with it.
The lantern combo entails dragging your ally into the enemy with your W, having hit your Q first. Your ally can either be your ADC or your jungler, usually they'll either be in the fog of war or just far away. Once your ally is in and you've Q'd them close, you reactivate your Q quickly and flay them towards you and your ally.
There aren't many combos Thresh won't thrive in, considering that he compliments every variation of Marksmans! If they're looking for CC, Thresh has that covered. Engage? Burst? Poke? Safety? All check check check!
|Morgana is perhaps the most annoying match-up to play because of her Black Shield. It lasts a long time and can completely stop your engage. Even if she has slow reaction and doesn't shield your Q, she can still stop your Flay from hitting by shielding the target after the Q, and still negate your entire engage. To combat this you can try to wait until her E is off CD or until after she's cast it on her ADC/herself then attack whomever didn't get the shield.|
← Click here to check out my general guide on Warding to learn all about it!
In conclusion, Thresh is a fun and unique support champion who can bring a lot to your team. His fun, risky and challenging playstyle hooks players in and never let's them go, much like his victims!
And if you're interested in reading any more of mine, this is the link you wanna click. Thanks for reading and good luck on the rift!