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Thresh Build Guide by Vynertje
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Threats & Synergies
Introduction to the guide and author
This is a quick guide to Thresh, in which I will give you a quick rundown of how to play and build Thresh or support in general. I play support in Diamond 1 (used to be Master in Season 5) and have quite some experience playing Thresh, although he is not my main support by any means. The main reason for writing this guide is because I think most of the guides on Thresh out there really lack in different aspects. I hope to correct that in this quick guide.
This guide will consist of three parts: pre-game setup, build and gameplay. These three should give you a good overview of what you can do with him and how you should do that, and also where I think other guides really miss the point. Hopefully you will agree with me after reading this guide; if you do not, please leave a comment and I'll gladly discuss it with you.
If you're interested in watching me play League (and maybe Thresh) occasionally, check out my stream! I always try to give commentary on my gameplay, which could help you improve your gameplay further as well.
+ Combines high kill potential in lane with massive defensive utility in late game
+ Very fun and challenging to play
+ Strong in any kind of meta/botlane due to his versatility
- Usage of relic shield is a bit awkward
- Very high skill cap; playing him well requires a lot of experience and practice
- Good utilization of his skillset may require a certain level of teamwork
Probably the main reason to pick Thresh is because he offers pretty much every thing you may look for in a champion. In lane, he has super powerful tools to dominate a lane and get kills, but combines that with lots of defence as well. You can pair him with Caitlyn and do well as a long-ranged duo with lots of disengage, but also combine him with Graves to secure kills with his lockdown. Combined with a very unique set of skills this makes him very fun to play; you won't get bored quickly.
On the flipside, he has a few weaknesses that balance him out a bit. First of all, he has no in-skill sustain and therefore your ADC will have to rely on occasional Relic Shield procs and lifesteal to sustain. This means he does have a few though matchups (although he can win all, they're just a lot harder to play correctly). Furthermore, he's very though to play correctly because he has so many tricks to master, this makes him quite challenging to fully master. Also, using Relic Shield is a b*tch because he's a ranged champion.
For Thresh I run a very standard page that combines a lot of defensive stats with some offense. Combined, these make for a very powerful laning phase.
Attack damage marks are great because of two reasons. First, Thresh is a ranged champion, meaning that it is much easier to constantly hit your enemies with basic attacks. Secondly, attack damage scales with Flay, meaning you get some extra benefits from it. Even if we don't max Flay first, it's still the best choice for offensive marks.
Flat health is great for extra defence in bot lane. You'll often be dealing with multiple damage threats, so you shouldn't go full armour either way. Health makes you a bit stronger and durable, giving you more possibilities to all-in your enemies.
Because so many supports right now deal magic damage and because Thresh does not gain magic resist per level, getting some magic resist in runes is mandatory. Flat is far superior to scaling because of two reasons. Firstly because the support also deals magic damage, secondly because supports usually do not level as quickly as solo laners or carries; meaning you don't get the added benefits of scaling runes until very late into the game.
Masteries as well are rather standard. 0/12/18 is the best setup that combines defence with solid utility goodies. It is a band-aid for sustain issues, improves your roaming capabilities and makes you much more durable in fights. I would never recommend deviating from the main lines of this setup.
However, you can consider replacing a few low-tier masteries. Tough Skin can be used for defensive purposes if you do not plan on roaming early or if you're in a very difficult lane. Runic Armor can be used when having a lot of heals in your team to use over the little bit extra power in the early levels.
Flash is 100% mandatory for pretty much any champion. It allows you to make plays or avoid ganks, something no other spell can allow you to do to that same degree. Don't even consider anything else.
One of the ways this guide deviates from others is in the use of Ignite. This is essentially a spell that makes the difference between an average and good Thresh: it gives you much more kill potential in situations where enemies could otherwise just run away (possibly using heal) and live. It should be used in any situation in which you feel like you have chances winning.
Exhaust on the other hand lacks a lot of the dominance. Instead, it is much more considered a way to neutralize a lane: it does not aid your own offensive potential as much as it hurts your enemies ability to kill you. In a lane where you think you have a certain edge to kill (even if it's only through better mid-game scaling), you should generally go Ignite instead. One of the only champions I may recommend going Exhaust against is Kalista, as she's impossible to lock down otherwise.
Relic Shield, 3x Health Potion and Stealth Ward
This should be your standard start for the large majority of your games. Relic Shield should be used for Thresh instead of Ancient Coin for a number of reasons. Firstly, Relic Shield offers combat stats (health) whereas Ancient Coin only gives some self-sustain. Secondly, Relic Shield does not only offer sustain for yourself, but also for your ADC. This makes your sustain issues less prevalent and combined with potions it allows you to deal with high-poke lanes better. Thirdly, the build path into face of the mountain is generally considered much better (due to the effective stats) than talisman of ascension. Last hitting with this thing will generally take some getting used to, but it is much better in the long run. One tip I can give to use it more effectively is to coordinate with your ADC through pings if you want to last hit a minion, so they won't take it themselves.
Core items are the items you should be getting in every game, no exceptions at all. These are the most important items for Thresh and for a support in general; they should never be replaced, not even in the very late game.
|Sightstone is obviously one of the most important items for a support. Sadly, the nerfs in patch 5.22 reduced the amount of stacks it can carry, but it remains the core behind any support build. Vision control can help you do multiple things: it helps you control objectives, it helps avoiding ganks and it helps to set up plays. In general, you should get either this or Mobility Boots if you get 800+ gold on your first base, in which I would recommend Sightstone if you're looking to continue the laning phase. When using sightstone, you should strive to have all 3 wards on the map at the same time, which may require you to base regularly or upgrade to Ruby Sightstone for the extra stack.|
|Mobility Boots are very cheap boots that give you an extreme amount of movement speed out of combat. These boots are a must-buy for any support because they enhance your roaming potential greatly; allowing you gank other lanes more effectively or allowing you to get in position for a hook. Furthermore, they also help out warding a lot because it speeds up your movements all over the map. Get this first if you're looking to roam a lot early on, otherwise complete Sightstone first.|
|Vision Wards are the key to good ward control and you should pick one up every time you can. The goal should be to always have one pink ward on the map, and a second in your inventory in case it is destroyed or you need to place it somewhere else. If you do so, you'll find that your vision control will end up being much better: not only does it allow to clear vision in an area, it is also an extra ward you can have on the map (4 instead of 3) which can last forever if you place and defend it well.|
|Once you complete Sightstone, there is little need for extra wards because of the ward cap. Instead, you should swap it for a Sweeping Lens, which allows you to clear the enemy's vision instead. Later in the game, I generally recommend swapping to Oracle Lens because of the slightly longer duration, sometimes allowing you to clear more wards than you would be able to do on your own|
face of the mountain
|face of the mountain should generally be your first 'finished' item. The reason why I think it is so important for Thresh is because it offers a great mix of stats: health is great to be a bit more tanky and. cooldown reduction (CDR) is great because it means more hooks, flays, lanterns etc. The other build path ( eye of the equinox) does also give a similar amount of stats, but lacks the CDR and does not have an active, therefore the only benefit of it over face of the mountain is the extra ward stack you get and improved slot efficiency (you can combine gold income and vision in one item, instead of two). In my opinion, that is not worth it.||
eye of the equinox
These items are amongst the most common items to finish on Thresh in a full build. There are always other things to consider, but have a look at these first before the others.
|Zeke's Harbinger is perhaps one of the easiest ways to increase your ADC's damage in a teamfight. It gives 50% (flat) crit chance which is a massive damage increase later in the game. You should always get this if you're playing with a carry that one way or another utilizes crit chance in their builds and gameplay. It depends a bit on the meta whether there are champions that fall outside of this category or not, but as of 5.24 one of the only champions I would not buy it for instantly is Kalista, but even then it is worth considering if there aren't more important items to get.|
|Locket of the Iron Solari is a great item to get when you're facing a lot of magic damage threat. This can be through many ways, for example an AP top laner + mid laner, but also jungler/support can be taken into account if they deal some significant form of damage. It is not as effective when there is only one magic damage threat so I would not recommend it in such cases. The alternative is Banner of Command, which I will explain a bit further below.|
|Turbo Chemtank is not such a great item on itself but the active comes very handy in many different situations. If you (as a team) are having trouble forcing engages, creating picks or catching up to your enemies in general, this item can solve most of these problems. It can allow you to get in range for that important hook on a sole target which you otherwise wouldn't have the movement speed for. Therefore, I generally get this when I'm looking to engage.|
These items are situational alternatives for the three items mentioned above. Some items are practically mandatory for certain situations whereas others can be substituted in when you don't need any of the above.
|Mikael's Blessing is a very situational item. I think it can be rather effective in a situation where you're only looking to peel for your (likely immobile) ADC and when there is a lot of hard CC on the enemy's side. For example, when you're playing with Miss Fortune against a Leona where you cannot guarantee her from being safe. However, this item becomes redundant when your ADC buys a Quicksilver Sash, which also limits its usefulness a bit. The stats are very mediocre for thresh which makes it a bit iffy to use in most situations, but in the right situation it can still be worth the consideration.|
|Banner of Command is the alternative to Locket of the Iron Solari. The reasons to get it remain mostly the same: when you're facing a lot of magic damage. However, it also has a second niche: when you're looking to win through splitpushing or minion pressure. This is a rather advanced tactic and requires a lot of coordination and patience to pull off correctly, but if you use the active on a wave in botlane and then continue to push toplane or pressure baron, you can force the enemy to have to make a call: defend the bot wave and give up the objective, or let bot wave push on and defend. The stats are terrible for Thresh so it is very important to make use of this strategy if you decide to buy this.|
|Randuin's Omen and Frozen Heart are the two armour items to consider if you need further defence. In general, I think Randuin's Omen is the option that gives you the most defence and will make you last the longest in a teamfight due to the health. However, in a lot of scenario's the extra CDR from Frozen Heart may actually give it the upper hand because more CDR = more hooks, more utility and more kills. Just keep the 40% CDR cap in mind.|
|Zz'Rot Portal is a bit of an odd item. Recently (patch 6.3) pro teams have started picking it up because of a few reasons. Firstly, the pushing power is pretty good and it can turn any lane into a pushing lane, forcing the enemy to defend that lane and destroy the portal. You can use that time to push a different lane 5v4. The second reason is because the base stats make the item incredibly cost-efficient right now, 60 armour and magic resist for only 2700 gold is pretty insane. That makes the item extremely good for a support that wants to pick up a combination of armour and magic resist for one of his later item slots.|
First of all, you should always level your ultimate ( The Box) whenever possible. After this you have a bit more freedom: you can generally go two ways. The first one is to max Death Sentence from the start and have it at rank 5 by level 9. This is generally best for roaming and early skirmishes because the cooldown on your hook is massively reduced; with some CDR you can throw out a hook every 8 seconds. The other path is to put a few (one or two) extra points in Flay between levels 4-5, maxing Death Sentence by level 9 or 10. The nice thing about this is that it slightly increases your damage in short trades and reduces your reliability on hitting Death Sentence. However, the downside is that it results in a higher cooldown on Death Sentence until level 8, which can also slightly hurt your kill potential.
In general, I level Q whenever I can. I only find myself getting extra points in Flay when I'm playing against either short ranged but super mobile lanes (i.e. Ezreal) or against lanes like Sivir + Morgana with many spell shields. Note that even in many of such scenario's it may be beneficial to max Death Sentence first: a lower cooldown means you can fire the hook another time during the downtime of spellshields or escapes ( Morgana's Black Shield is about twice the length of your max level hook).
|Whenever a minion dies near Thresh, there is a random chance of a soul dropping. This soul grants some armour and ability power, meaning you should pick them up whenever you can. However, there are some caveats: in some scenario's, you may take a lot of damage for picking up a soal, in which you should just let it go instead. Furthermore, you can pick them up using Dark Passage instead but just be wary that this is a valuable spell to have on cooldown, so it may not always be a good idea to do so.|
Death Sentence is Thresh's bread and butter skill. It gives him the offensive abilities he needs to be able to dominate his lane. It's a tricky one because of the cast time and therefore requires practice to use correctly. First of all, the cast time means that max-range hooks are very hard to hit directly. Of course, you can try throw it out based on movement prediction but that is not as effective because your enemy essentially has 4 ways to dodge: to the front, back, left and right and finally, to stand still and do nothing at all.
Instead, you should look to force your enemy in a position where he can only dodge one way, and then throw your hook in that direction. This is something that requires a lot of practice and skill to 1) recognize when someone is out of position and 2) to capitalize on it correctly. However, some tips that may help you out are mentioned below:
Dark Passage is relatively self-explanatory but comes with a few things to keep in mind. First of all, use movement prediction! Generally, you want to throw it down at a place just an inch in front of the person you're trying to lantern, so he doesn't have to change his pathing. However, if there is a lot of crowd control coming down on that person you may want to put it right on top of him.
Moreover, it is important to be aware of the snapping-range (the range where the lantern snaps back to you). Generally, you want to stand on the edge of it and immediately start moving once your ally activated it, but this requires a bit of practice to be completely aware of the timings.
Finally, you can combine Dark Passage with gap closers while the person being transported is in mid-air. For example, you can Flash after it is activated to increase the distance created, or combine it with Death Sentence to transport someone over even larger distances. The latter mostly requires good timing on your allies' side (when to activate), the former on your side (timing Flash between activation and arrival).
Just like Dark Passage, this spell is relatively self-explanatory but has a couple of things that make it very difficult to use correctly all the time. Probably the most difficult thing is that you need to aim it backwards as well if you want to hit someone, which can be quite difficult to do quickly (especially if you're using smartcast: you may want to try it without smartcast if you find this difficult). Also, try to learn the maximum range of this spell very well so you can use it to create openings for your Death Sentence easily.
Furthermore, another very important element of this spell is that it can be used to interrupt movement abilities like Tristana's Rocket Jump or Leona's Zenith Blade but not instant abilities like Flash or Ezreal's Arcane Shift. This can be used both offensively (to interrupt people getting away) and defensively (to avoid people getting to your ADC) in a very similar way to Janna's Howling Gale. Therefore you should always consider whether you should use it at the beginning of a fight/trade or save it to cancel these movement spells.
|Finally, The Box is Thresh's ultimate ability. Again, this can be used defensively (to slow people down from getting to you) and offensively (locking them down). Very important to realize is that it has a delay before it deploys and activates, which you need to be aware of to avoid embarrassing moments. Also, some dashes do break the walls (those that can be interrupted with Flay as well) whereas others do not.|
I hope this guide helped you in one way or another. Please leave me feedback in the comment section below if there's anything you think could be improved or would like me to elaborate further on, I read all comments and generally get back to you the same day. Also feel free to drop an upvote if you think it was great or downvote when you think it sucked.
Furthermore, if you have any general support questions, feel free to hop by my Support Help Thread where I take people's questions with regards to supporting.