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Thresh Build Guide by Manefisto

AD Offtank AD Thresh - Chain the Toplane

AD Offtank AD Thresh - Chain the Toplane

Updated on April 8, 2013
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Manefisto Build Guide By Manefisto 6 3 37,270 Views 18 Comments
6 3 37,270 Views 18 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Manefisto Thresh Build Guide By Manefisto Updated on April 8, 2013
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Choose Champion Build:

  • LoL Champion: Thresh
  • LoL Champion: Thresh


I'm Manefisto, Welcome to my AD Thresh guide!
This is a guide for people who enjoy arguably viable but suboptimal builds, similar to AP Master Yi, AD Sion and AD Kennen.
There are already a couple others out there but I hope you will appreciate the time I have put into this guide through research and formatting. As this is my first guide I would welcome any and all feedback.
Special thanks to jhoijhoi for his "guide guide" which you can find here.

Thresh is a tanky, aggressive, mixed damage, support champion, who scales amazingly well off of Attack Damage when given adequate farm. He is at home on the back line protecting your ADC, in the thick of battle controlling enemy positioning, or even leaping through to assassinate high threat targets. Everything in this guide also applies to a bottom lane ADC Thresh if your team composition allows for it, he fits anywhere an Urgot would.

When played as support, Thresh exceeds at making aggressive plays and protecting allies. When played as an AD Bruiser Thresh exceeds at making aggressive plays and protecting allies... while killing all your enemies in the process.

If you love Thresh and like trying new and unorthodox builds, maybe you'll enjoy Chaining the Toplane.
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Pros / Cons


+ Easy Last Hitting
+ Naturally Tanky
+ High Mixed Damage
+ Utility and CC
+ Ranged Attack

Thresh is a ranged champion with a Melee skillset, this means he can last hit from safety and auto attack the enemy for free harass. His mixed damage is deceptively high and difficult to itemize against.

- Needs High Farm
- Must Collect Souls
- Poor Wave Clear
- Early Mana Issues
- Shorter Than Average Range (475)

Thresh needs expensive items to be effective and must go out of his way to collect souls. Although it is incredibly easy to last hit, it is mana intensive to clear minion waves quickly.
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  • greater quintessence of Hybrid Penetration: Thresh deals mixed damage, hybrid penetration runes maximize damage from Death Sentence's passive on auto attacks. If you don't have them already, flat attack damage runes work great too.
  • greater mark of Hybrid Penetration: As above, if you don't have a full set of hybrid marks you can replace these with flat attack damage.
  • Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist: These break even with flat magic resist runes at level 9, about the time you're going to start encountering the enemy AP.
  • Greater Seal of Armor: You need some extra armor to minimize damage sustained in lane from the enemy champion and minions.
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There are many ways you can spec Thresh so make sure you experiment, I prefer 14/16/0.
It isn't viable to itemize for Armor or Magic Penetration, in conjunction with your runes, Weapon Expertise and Arcane Knowledge allow you to shred through enemy defenses. Block and Veteran's Scars keep you beefy enough to trade with the enemy champion in lane.
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Mixed Damage

I wanted to make a point of highlighting the strength in Thresh's mixed damage and how it differs from actual hybrid champions. The passive from Death Sentence applies 200% of your Attack Damage as additional magic damage to your attacks. You get hybrid damage without having to itemize for it at all, some suboptimal Runes and Masteries are a small price to pay.
Your high cooldowns make for a poor Ability Power build, but you will receive around 100 AP just from collecting souls in most games, for free. If the enemy stacks Armor they will be vulnerable to your Magic Damage attacks and abilities, if they stack Magic Resist your AD build will still shred them. Most will go for extra health to try and counter both at once, but then your Hybrid Runes and Masteries will really pay off.
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Summoner Spells

Flash: is a great escape option, Thresh can also use it offensively to close distance to place The Box or land an important Death Sentence.

Ignite: adds extra damage for your kill combo, burns down fleeing enemies and reduces healing. A good choice for aggressive play.

Teleport: if you anticipate the lane being particularly difficult then take teleport to return to lane quickly and join team fights from a distance.
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Start with Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions if your opponent deals primarily physical damage. This will help you when you trade damage with each other and generally slow down the lane so you can build an advantage with your superior farm potential. 5 Health pots should keep you in lane long enough that you can purchase some decent items on your first return to base.

If you're against an AP champion or someone with abilities you need to dodge, Boots and 3 Health Potions is a better option. You need to pay attention to avoiding damage as your 3 Health pots won't last as long, especially if you're against an opponent who starts all consumables.

Mentioning the meta shift to all consumable starts such as 9x Health Potion, 2x Sight Ward or Elixir of Fortitude, Sight Ward, 4x Health Potion. I think a lot of people have been going for these starts lately just to copy the pro players without fully understanding the reasons behind this start option. I consider them great options for organized team play where early warding is key, I wouldn't recommend them when you're just jumping into a normal game or solo queue.

Item Sequence

Ninja Tabi 1100
Bloodthirster 3400
Zephyr 3000
Frozen Mallet 3100
Maw of Malmortius 2800
Atma's Impaler 2300

Every item in this build contains a minor component that you can build to first, this means you have a steady increase in power each time you return to base. With the exception of Bloodthirster (Which you should rush) it is advisable to build up the minor components as required and then upgrade when you can.

These boots are generally your best option, they build out of the Cloth Armor you started with and will help you survive attacks from the enemy AD. If you are dominating your lane or started with Boots due to an AP opponent, then consider Berserker's Greaves instead.

Your most important Item, it provides a massive 110 AD as well as Life Steal for sustain. Start with a Vampiric Scepter in lane and upgrade it as soon as you get some kills.

An underrated item in my opinion, a good spread of stats including some all important tenacity. Rush Stinger in lane for the attack speed and cooldown reduction and then upgrade when enemy CC is likely to be an issue.

The extra health on this item gives you some survivability and synergizes with Atma's Impaler and Maw of Malmortius. The Icy Passive ensures enemies can never escape your grasp! Start with a Phage as soon as possible and upgrade when you get the chance.

A great source of defense against AP enemies, rush Hexdrinker if you're facing an AP opponent, otherwise leave both until more important items are completed.

Build Avarice Blade early if you're behind in farm, or to snowball an early farm lead further. Upgrade only if you have first completed Frozen Mallet or really need the extra armor.

Furor is my preferred boot enchantment if I can afford it, Enchantment: Homeguard is a good option if you're pushed back to inhibitor turrets and need to defend.

It is rare to reach a full 6 item build, in my experience most games end when I have , that's really all you need.

Sight Ward Last of all... Wards. Never return to lane without a ward, don't complete an item if it means you can't afford a ward for your lane. You need the early vision to escape ganks, otherwise you are very vulnerable. Even consider a Vision Ward to deny your enemy their vision.
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  • Damnation: this passive is what makes Thresh unique, it is important to gather as many souls as possible. Souls spawn if you are within 1900 range when the creature dies and are only visible to the enemy if they have vision of Thresh also.
    Each soul initially grants 1 armor and ability power each, scaling down to 0.5 per soul by the time 100 are collected. A good benchmark for soul collection is 50 at 15 minutes, and 100 at 25 minutes.
  • Death Sentence (Q): This is your core ability and contains an important passive as well as an active component.
    Passive: Every auto attack deals additional magic damage scaling off of souls collected and total attack damage. It will wind up to full damage over 10 seconds, but even after consecutive attacks it deals a good amount of bonus damage.
    Active: On activation this ability functions as a versatile grab somewhere between Leona's Zenith Blade, and Blitzcrank's infamous Rocket Grab. However you have the luxury of deciding to jump to the target or not, it also functions as a 1.5 second CC that is not reduced by tenacity.
    There is a long cast time on this ability in which Thresh clearly winds the chain up before tossing it forwards, additionally the chain itself has a slow travel time. This can make it incredibly difficult to land the skillshot, it is important to practice leading targets appropriately and understanding that it will often be dodged.
  • Dark Passage (W): This versatile skill can be used to collect souls, shield yourself and allies or pull them to safety. Make sure to remind your teammates that they can click the lantern to jump to you as they will often forget. As it has no cast time it will not interrupt your movement, so drop it at your feet to apply the shield while attacking or retreating. When an ally (or enemy) are clearing a jungle camp you can toss the lantern in to collect any souls that spawn.
    It's also important to note that the Lantern provides a good area of vision so it can be used to safely scout for enemies.
  • Flay (E): This skill is important for comboing into your other abilities. It does a decent amount of damage and applies a short slow as well as pushing or pulling the enemy. Flay will push or pull enemies in the direction of your cursor when you cast, it is important to judge when you should be pulling an enemy in and when you should be swatting them away. Timed correctly, Flay can even prevent damage from leaping and jumping abilities such as Vi's Vault Breaker or Lee Sin's Resonating Strike.
  • The Box (R): Your ultimate ability can be used both offensively and defensively. It does a good amount of damage with a powerful slow and can lock down an entire enemy team. If you're tanky and ahead in kills, leap into the frey with Death Sentence and drop your ultimate in the middle of the enemy team. If you're functioning more as a back line damage dealer, save The Box to protect yourself and your AD Carry.
    In lane you can use it as part of a kill combo, or drop it behind you while you escape a gank attempt.
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Tips and Tricks

Thresh's abilities chain together to initiate, lock down and disrupt the enemy team. It is important you learn when to jump into the battle and when it is best to skirmish on the edges or pull an enemy away from the group.


The passive component of Death Sentence means your auto attacks really hurt, especially if you let it charge up first. So auto attack the enemy every chance you can without losing cs, auto attacks are free! When Death Sentence is fully charged a small sound will play and the buff icon will turn red, this takes 10 seconds in total.

Heavy Attack
/ >

Land your Death Sentence on the enemy, wait for both tugs and then activate it again to leap at them. Once you reach the enemy attack them and then Flay them away as you back off. Performing the same combo under your own turret but using Flay to pull the enemy with you can force them to take a free turret shot. This can be pretty mana intensive, so only perform it when there's a chance you'll get a kill or force them out of lane. Landing a Death Sentence into Flay combo when your friendly Jungler stops by can almost guarantee a kill for one of you. Remember to drop Dark Passage on yourself for the shield to minimize counter harass.

Kill Combo
/ > > >

First wait until your Death Sentence is fully charged up, activate Death Sentence to jump onto the enemy and lock them in The Box, wait to see if they break a wall on their own or Flay them into one, Ignite them and continue to auto attack. This can outright kill an enemy very quickly! It is preferable to wait until you have a larger minion wave than they do before making a kill attempt.

Last Hitting

Once you have a couple ranks in Death Sentence and have collected some souls your auto attack will become really strong, especially if you wait between attacks. You will be able to last hit minions from half health or even one-shot them when fully charged... however resist the urge to do this! If you kill the minions too fast you will slowly push the lane, let the minions continue to attack each other a little longer and kill them at the last moment.
When last hitting under the tower, let the tower attack melee minions twice and then last hit them, once you have a Bloodthirster you can last hit melee minions after one tower shot. Even from early on caster minions will only require one tower hit before you can last hit them.


When you have an empty lane to yourself you will want to farm! Auto attack each minion once to get them low, and then Flay sideways to execute them all at once, make sure you last hit like normal if your minions get an enemy low. You'll have to spend most of your time auto attacking through the wave, as continued use of Flay will cause mana problems.

Collecting Souls

It is important you pick up as many souls as possible, however this can make you vulnerable to free harass. Souls last for 14 seconds, so when one spawns you have time to plan how you will grab it or to wait until you can pick up more than one soul at a time.

The easy solution is to simply walk into the creep wave to quickly grab the soul and accept any harass you have to. You can throw your lantern to collect souls, though this will waste mana and Dark Passage has a long cooldown, I recommend using the Lantern only when you would have missed 2 souls.

Here's a few tips for manipulating the lane to collect souls without forcing yourself into poor positioning.

When a soul spawns, position yourself so that the soul is between you and your enemy. Rather than walk up to the soul and then back, instead go for a harass auto attack on the enemy and then back off. In this way you will have harassed the enemy, collected a soul and drawn the attention of the enemy minions. When you back off the minions will follow you a short distance and now be closer to your side of the lane, following minion kills should spawn souls in an easier to reach location.

Another method is to spend most of your time near the lane brush. When a soul spawns duck into the brush, back out to the soul and then quickly back to the brush again. This will limit the chance the enemy has to target you for harass.

If pushing the lane isn't an issue, you can Flay the enemy minion wave to pull it to a more favorable position. Or you can use a Death Sentence grab to better position an enemy Siege minion, which will always drop a soul.

The best method for easily collecting souls and last hitting is to bully and zone your opponent. If you can harass the enemy enough that they don't want to trade with you, you can stand behind their minion wave and pick up souls instantly as they spawn while denying your enemy gold and experience.

Remember, you're aiming for 50 souls by the 15 minute mark and 100 by 25 minutes. So collect souls from the jungle whenever you can also and always grab the enemy champion's soul when you contribute to a kill, they're the extra juicy ones!
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Laning and Ganking

Laning Phase
Early on you want to try to stall the lane and focus on last hitting. In the bottom lane Thresh exceeds at making early aggressive plays, but up top you just want to free farm so that when team fights do occur enemies will be shocked by your deceptively high damage.
Use Health Potions to keep yourself healthy and harass your enemy only when you wouldn't lose cs in doing so.

Jungle Gank
So your friendly jungler has come to visit, it's time to set up a kill. Use a full combo on the enemy, It all comes down to whether you land your Death Sentence hook or not. You can essentially be as obvious as you like as long as that hook lands, wait for both tugs and then activate again to leap at the enemy and Flay towards the jungler. This should make it easy for them to perform their initiation and your combined damage to finish the kill. Use The Box if it is available to secure the kill.
If your jungler has no gap closer, throw Dark Passage to them just as you throw out your hook. This can devastate the enemy by putting you both right in their face instantly, though it can also broadcast your intent pretty quickly when you throw a lantern behind you for no apparent reason.

Escaping Ganks
In order for you to escape ganks from the enemy jungler, or to come out ahead in a counter gank situation, you first need to have a Sight Ward placed. Preferably you don't want to be walking too far past the river either. If there are enemy creeps nearby, or you make it to the jungle you can use Death Sentence to jump at them and gain distance. Otherwise throw Dark Passage at your feet for the shield, Flay the enemy away if they catch up and keep running. Dropping The Box as you run is a quick and easy disengage, but it's also a wasted cooldown.
Don't be afraid to use Flash, it's primary use is to dodge abilities when ganked and gain distance.
Once you've made it back to your turret remember that you can turn the pain back on the enemy by pulling them in with a Death Sentence and Flay combo.
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Tough Opponents

It is generally not expected that you will be the top lane pick, so the enemy probably won't intentionally counterpick you, there are still some champions that can cause you problems. I recommend taking Teleport when facing these champions so you can return to base more often or roam for kills.

Note: I've recently downgraded Pantheon to a medium threat. Once you master the use of Flay to counter his abilities you will win the lane early and force him to roam, he just won't want to be in lane with you.
Pantheon's Aegis Protection can negate a large portion of your harass. He can use Spear Shot to hit you from range when you go for a soul and he can close on you with Aegis of Zeonia and Heartseeker Strike will devastate you.
However, with recent practice I've found an extremely effective combo for countering Pantheon entirely. Flay will stop his Aegis of Zeonia dead, preventing both the damage and the stun but leaving him at short range, he will likely attempt to follow up with Heartseeker Strike as usual so cast Death Sentence straight after Flay so that the hook lands just as he starts the channel. He will toss out Spear Shot next so drop Dark Passage for the shield, you have negated all of his abilities with yours and are now free to auto attack him as he retreats.
When you both hit 6 you can perform kill combos with The Box, although you won't actually kill him because you were unable to achieve significant harass beforehand, you will at least push him out of lane with ease. His ultimate has little relevance in lane so he will have to roam, warn your teammates and push hard for the tower whenever he goes missing.

Akali will also last hit or harass you from range with Mark of the Assassin, you should be ok as long as you don't let her detonate it. Because of her spell vamp and energy she can out sustain you, you'll need a Vampiric Scepter and Hexdrinker as soon as possible!
Once she hits 6 she will dive you with Shadow Dance and snowball if she gets ahead, The Box can save you once and a point blank Death Sentence grab should lock her up a little, but you'll need some assistance from your jungle. Unfortunately Flay will not interrupt Shadow Dance but you can knock her out of Twilight Shroud. Again, if you hang on in farm until late game you will end up becoming her counter by protecting your team mates in the back line and preventing her from assassinating them.

Much like Akali, Lee Sin can out sustain you because of his Energy and Lifesteal. You can interrupt his Resonating Strike and prevent the damage with a well timed Flay. If he builds as a tank you'll be unable to kill each other, but if he starts off with damage your kill combo should do more than his, if you can catch him. Get some assistance from your jungler and focus on farming for late game.

These are the opponents I've had some trouble with, though generally end up winning once the laning phase is over. Outside of these three I have found Thresh able to bully most other lane opponents and out farm them. Let me know how you go against other common top laners.
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In teamfights, the most important decision for Thresh is where you want to be, and where your team needs you most. This will largely depend on who is and isn't fed or farmed.
Into the Frey!
You can dive in with Death Sentence and initiate the fight with The Box on as many enemies as possible, while using Dark Passage to bring a tank or assassin along for the ride. By being in the thick of the fight you can target anybody and should be able to cause significant pain even to enemy tanks, however this may lead to a quick death without dealing much damage.

Babysit Duty
You can stick to your AD carry and keep enemy assassins away with Flay and a defensive placement of The Box, while using a short range Death Sentence just for the CC. However your damage potential may be wasted if you are in fact stronger than your teams ADC by comparison to the enemy assassin.

All In
If the enemy has a particularly fed champion, make it your mission to bring them down without regard for your own safety. Land a Death Sentence on them or somewhere near them, use Flash and Flay to make a path to your target. Lock them down with The Box and hopefully kill them before they kill you.

"The Blitzcrank"
The best option of all is not to engage in a 5v5 until you first catch an enemy out of position. A Death Sentence grab followed by a backwards Flay to pull them further away from their friends can quickly create an advantage for your team to fight or take an objective.

Remember, if you've had better luck in the laning phase than your teammates, it's ok to sit on the edges of the fight and assume more of a carry role, dealing damage and using your abilities to protect yourself.
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Thresh is a unique and highly entertaining champion to play. His disruptive abilities offer great opportunities to outplay your opponent, mastery of them can be extremely satisfying. Your allies will love you, your enemies will rage with frustration.

I hope you will give AD Thresh a go yourself and will welcome others choosing Thresh as their toplane Bruiser or ADC of choice.

Please Upvote if you found the guide useful, I'd appreciate some feedback before you decide to downvote as this is my first guide. If this receives a positive response then a similar style guide for Toplane and ADC Jayce will be my next.

Once again a special thanks to jhoijhoi and all the teams I played with while I tried whacky item combinations on AD Thresh.

Now go trap some souls with Thresh!

- Manefisto
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