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Thresh Build Guide by IceCreamy

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League of Legends Build Guide Author IceCreamy

Taking out the Thresh!

IceCreamy Last updated on September 17, 2013
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Support Role
Ranked #16 in
Support Role
Win 50%
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
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.



Offense: 1

Honor Guard

Defense: 17


Utility: 12

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Hey everyone, welcome to my guide on Thresh.

First off, let me tell you a bit about myself, and why I think I can teach you about this champion. I'm a support main for my team Team 5 Vices (T5V), a team that consists of gold+ Dutch players. We regularly beat diamond players with our team, which says a lot about our teamwork, but also our individual skill. I personally play Thresh whenever I can, he gets banned a lot and that's for 1 simple reason - everyone fears they are up against me. I mean... he's a really strong champion, with good AA poke from his E's passive, and a lot of CC. But mostly, people hate his lantern, and the insane plays you can make with it.

This guide will take you through the basics and more advanced ways of Thresh. I will explain my cheat sheet, mention other options and the way he goes with/against other champions in both laning phase and team fights.

Hope you enjoy!

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Considering the passive on Flay, I used to take the following runes:

Greater Mark of Attack Damage, Greater Seal of Armor, Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist and Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage.

However, since I always end up with the lowest gold, and I feel like that's really holding me back, I've started using Greater Quintessence of Gold instead.

Greater Mark of Armor is a good choice too, since Thresh does not get any Armor/level like other champs getting some extra is always good. Especially against strong early game ADCs like Draven, those are the ones you'll like.

The choice between Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist and Greater Glyph of Magic Resist is pretty even. If you're up against an ADC/supp that dish out a lot of magic damage (think Corki, Sona) then taking the flat ones is good, but usually the scaling ones are better.



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I personally love those masteries, but there are plenty of other good options. Since Thresh' abilities require him to stand close to the enemy, I like taking defensive masteries. Others might prefer more utility based masteries, which will probably look something like this:

Masteries that I don't take in either, but are not completely bad are:
Sorcery, Deadliness , Blast , Arcane Knowledge , Perseverance, Legendary Armor , Reinforced Armor , Awareness and Intelligence .

Last but not least (or maybe least... Idk): Wealth , Biscuiteer and Explorer . It seems many people take those, and they might be good, but imo on Thresh you really need the defensive stats and these just do not fit in. Explorer is nice to counter early invades, and Biscuiteer gives some useful sustain but I render Wealth utterly useless. 50 gold really isn't worth your mastery points.

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Summoner Spells

Exhaust is really good for shutting down the enemy ADC, it will reduce their damage, attack speed and movement speed.

Flash allows you to escape from nasty situations, or go in offensively.

Those two are pretty standard, optional others are:

Ignite is a good spell if you are up against a Sona, Soraka or any healing champion, particularly if you want to play hyperaggressive.

Heal is nice if you're up against a poke lane. His Dark Passage isn't the fastest skillshot, and since Thresh has no healing abilities whatsoever this could be nice. Examples of poke champions in bot lane are Ezreal and Lulu.
It has most use in team fights though, since you can give everyone an HP boost.

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Thresh' passive is Damnation. Instead of gaining Armor per level like every other champion, Thresh can pick up souls, from which he gains Armor and Ability Power. Souls can be dropped by nearby enemies upon their death.
Enemy Champions, Baron Nashor, Dragon, the largest monster from any neutral camp and siege minions always drop a soul. Small neutral monsters, caster minions and melee minions have a 33% chance of dropping a soul.
A good indication of how many souls you should have, is multiplying the amount of minutes the game lasts by 3.

His Q is Death Sentence. It sends out a hook in a straight line, and if it hits anything it will pull Thresh and his target closer together twice, suppressing it. If he activates it again, he will fly towards his target, but the suppression stops. If his target Flashes or uses another ability to change positions he will fly along, so be cautious you don't end up under a tower or in the middle of 5 enemies.

The W skill is Dark Passage. It's usually referred to as lantern, or even the Thresh express. It grants a shield to any allied champion walking over it, and grants vision of a small area around it (so you can scout brush with it!). If clicked by an allied champion, the champion will go along for the ride towards Thresh, and the lantern will disappear. You can use this skill to gather souls, as well. Be aware that enemies can "body block" it! If a large champion like Zac or Cho'Gath stands on it, it might be possible an ally can't click the lantern. Enemies can also group to block it. Another usage of this ability is to throw it towards your jungler if he comes to gank, so he doesn't have to walk all the way. This is especially useful if your jungler does not have a gapcloser.

On E we find Flay. It passively grants bonus damage on autoattacks, which is great for harassing. The bonus damage increases every 2 seconds up to 4 times. It scales really well with AD, which is why I take the marks, quints and masteries to go with it. It also scales with collected souls, making it even more important to pick them up!
The active brings out a linear skillshot, both in the direction of the mouse and on the opposite side of Thresh. It can be used to pull enemies towards him, or push them away from him, depending on where the mouse is. It can interrupt abilities such as Jarvan IV's Demacian Standard + Dragon Strike combo, or Tristana's Rocket Jump.

Last but not least, Thresh' ultimate, The Box. You can guess it, it places a box around Thresh. The first enemy to walk through on of the walls, will be slowed by 99% and is dealt damage. The other sides then deal half the damage, and slow for 49.5%. Once an enemy walks through a wall, it is destroyed.

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Skill Order

In case of a level 1 fight, you can take Death Sentence first. If not, start off with Flay, which is much more useful helping your jungler and poking in lane. On level 2 you take either Death Sentence or Flay (whichever one you didn't have), and on 3 you take Dark Passage.

Whenever you can, put a point in The Box.
In laning you want to harass, so you max Flay first.
During team fights, having an AoE shield is super useful so you max Dark Passage second.
That leaves us with Death Sentence as last ability to level up.

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

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Tips and Tricks

You don't have to activate Death Sentence if you hit it, if you can get close enough to hit Flay then it can be safer to not use it.

You can use Death Sentence to quickly cross a gap, for example towards Dragon or Baron.

If you hit a Death Sentence, and you activate it again, you've given yourself an ideal position to use The Box. This way an enemy champion can not escape unless they use Flash or another ability to evade it.

You can use Flay to knock an enemy in to a wall of The Box.

Always make good use of Flay's passive, it can catch an enemy off-guard if they don't expect such a large amount of damage.

If you are absolutely sure you can hit a Death Sentence, you can throw Dark Passage behind you. This way, if you activate Death Sentence, an ally who clicks the lantern can fly along with you, all the way towards the enemy. A good example of this can be found here.

You can use Flay to knock enemies out of allied skillshots. I know it sounds like you're a big troll but just watch this video and you'll understand my point.

If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment!

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Starting Items

I recommend taking any combination of the following items:

Sight Ward

It's essential you take at least 3 wards.

My personal preferred start:

Sight Ward Sight Ward Sight Ward Sight Ward

It doesn't really set you back as the vision this gives will pay for itself, and you will probably have enough wards to hold out until you can buy a Sightstone.
Trading a Sight Ward for some more potions works too, it all depends on what you're expecting from the game.

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Core Items

Absolutely essential for any support, in at least 99 % of all games. The ONLY reason you might not want to get it, is if you're facing a jungler with a stealth mechanic. The most obvious example is Evelynn, but Shaco or even Twitch are options too. In that case just buy a lot of Vision Wards.

A necessity on 99 % of all champs, and that includes Thresh.

Locket of the Iron Solari gives an aura that grants MR and HP regen to nearby allies, and a shield to nearby allies as an active. This is exactly what any support wants besides wards, right? Besides, it's not THAT expensive, and it's incredibly cost efficient.

No matter what, during the mid game YOU are responsible for carrying this around. It's crucial that you deny the enemy vision, so your jungler can gank, or so you can take an objective without the enemy even knowing it.

Assist in taking objectives or forcing lane control, and are particularly useful when an Oracle is too risky or too expensive to buy. Of course, they also allow you to clear brush without having to facecheck it, or spot ganks from stealthed champions.

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Optional Items in early-mid game

Kage's Lucky Pick Philosopher's Stone

It can be really effective to buy this. Not really my cup of tea but I can't deny it's good in situations where you're up against a lot of champions who rely on autoattacking, or if you're getting harassed a lot. The stats it gives also aren't bad to have :)

It's great because it gives gold, damage and builds into Shard of True Ice and more importantly Twin Shadows.
Kage's Lucky Pick

Philosopher's Stone
It's okay because it builds into Shurelya's Reverie, but the stats are a bit unnecessary.

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Boots and Enchantments

Ninja Tabi are what I end up with mostly, but Mercury's Treads are a must have against a CC heavy enemy team. Alternatively if the enemies are warding a lot, you could take Boots of Mobility so you can roam around and clear wards. They're also useful for initiating since you can get to the enemy faster.

Enchantment: Homeguard are my personal preference, but if you like, you can take Enchantment: Captain instead.

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Optional Items in late game

Shurelya's Reverie Zeke's Herald Shard of True Ice

Shurelya's Reverie has a really great active, and builds out of a Philosopher's Stone. The CDR is of course also very nice :)

Twin Shadows is really good for chasing, if 1-2 enemies got away with low hp this will give their position away, and it will slow them down. It's really good for disengaging too, if your team wants to run away after getting hammered this will slow the persuers down. It also builds from Kage's Lucky Pick.

Randuin's Omen is great if the enemy has a lot of auto-attackers in their team such as any ADC, Jax, Irelia, Tryndamere, etc. It also keeps getting better if you keep collecting souls.

Warmog's Armor is awesome against teams with a good mix of AD and AP.

Banshee's Veil is great against one-hit-wonders such as Nidalee, or against champions that rely on a combo such as Lux and LeBlanc.

Sunfire Cape goes very well with your kit, and gives very nice stats.

Zeke's Herald is really good to have with an AD based team comp. The stats are also great!

Frozen Heart is also good against AA-reliant teams but the stats are not as good as Randuin's Omen's.

Mikael's Crucible has a very nice active, and builds out of Philosopher's Stone but the stats are pretty much wasted.

Shard of True Ice is okay, but I consider Twin Shadows better.. It does build out of Kage's Lucky Pick.

Only buy those when there's absolutely nothing else to be built. They give some nice bonuses but they're not worth the sacrifice in items and especially wards.

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Full Build

Just to be clear, you will almost NEVER reach a completely full build. Quite frankly you don't even want to, as your job is buying wards.

Example full builds:

Vs. high AP:

Vs. high AD:

Shurelya's Reverie

Vs. balanced:

Shurelya's Reverie

My personal preference (aka what I end up with mostly):

Shurelya's Reverie

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is absolutely essential. Your #1 priority! I'm going to write my own warding guide, so when it's done I will link it here so you can read it :) But to get you going, this video gives some good tips that I didn't know yet, it's a good watch!

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Early Game

In case of a level 1 team fight, try to catch out an enemy with Death Sentence. If you do your team will likely pick up first blood. Don't hesitate using a ward, it will be worth the gold your team gets for first blood.

If there's no fight, you go help your jungler (if he starts at the buff closest to your lane). Use Flay to knock the buff away a bit, and tank a couple of hits. This will really set your jungler ahead, while you will regen it quickly.

In lane, try to harass enemies with autoattacks, while actively picking up souls. If you're not sure you can pick one up - don't.

If you want to commit to a fight, make sure you have wards! Nothing's worse than going in, winning a fight, until the enemy jungler (or maybe mid) suddenly appears and you and your ADC both die.
If you win a fight, and you're sure no one is coming, push the lane and either hit the tower a bit or go recall. If you're uncertain if you're safe, just go back. Really sucks picking up a kill or 2 and then dying just because you're greedy for exp/gold on minions.

Also, don't be afraid to grab a kill if you need to. Better be safe than sorry! However, whenever you can, try to let your ADC get the kill.

Try to get 1-2 pink wards in your first back. If you have more than the enemy support, put one at Dragon, and use any others in lane so your jungler/mid are free to gank.

Last tip on laning phase; be EXTREMELY wary of enemy Teleports (this includes Twisted Fate's Destiny). It's incredibly annoying, and there's no real escape if you're in too deep. When committing to a fight, make sure the enemy has no wards behind your lines to Teleport to. In TF's case, just don't fight if he has his ult up.

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Lane Partners/Counters

Thresh works very well with strong early game champions. Caitlyn, Draven and Graves can provide a high amount of damage in a short time, which combines great with Thresh' CC.

He also works great with ADCs that also bring some CC, like Ashe and Varus. If you manage to chain the CC, the enemy can't even move and will die in a matter of seconds.

Champions that are solely based on late game prefer more passive supports. Thresh doesn't go well with Vayne at all.

Generally speaking, a Thresh really hates playing against an ADC with a quick blinking ability, such as Ezreal's Arcane Shift, Graves' Quickdraw or Vayne's Tumble. There's 2 negatives to those:
1. Hard to hit Death Sentence.
2. If you manage to hit it before they blink, they can use it when you reactivate it, and fly at them, meaning you might just end up in a really unfavorable position.

For supports, Zyra isn't fun. She has all the brush control, and even worse she can block your Death Sentence with a plant.
Lulu also isn't fun, with her long range poke she can deal some serious damage without you getting anywhere near her.
Janna is a special one - if she manages to hit a Howling Gale on you when you've just activated Death Sentence the second time, you're pretty much done for. The rest of your CC is short ranged and you're getting nowhere near anything anymore.

Supports that Thresh loves playing against are Blitzcrank ( Rocket Grab on you? You mean no need to hit Death Sentence anymore? Or Rocket Grab on carry? Dark Passage, np!) and Leona.

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Mid-Late Game

Always keep the map warded. Use the wards from Ruby Sightstone to get some vision around the area you think a fight will occur. Use Vision Wards at Dragon and Baron when appropriate.

In team fights, try to initiate with Death Sentence. If you hit it, watch what your team does. If 3 guys jump in immediately, there's no need for you to do the same - go protect your carry with all you've got left. If only your tank goes in, go along with him and use The Box and Flay to lock up your target.
Always remember to use your item actives when appropriate - something I often forget and really sets me back.

If you won a team fight, try to push as hard as you can, and only take Dragon or Baron on the way back. Towers are closer to the fountain than the neutral objectives. On the other hand, don't stick around for too long; spend your gold timely or prepare to pay for it.

When attempting to take Dragon or Baron, ward nearby brush to spot incoming enemies who might attempt a steal. Most importantly; make sure your team is on the same page in case an enemy comes. You can ignore him, or go kill him and come back for your objective later. It really sucks having 2 on Baron while 3 attempt to kill the enemy and fail...

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General Affinity/Counters

To show how much Thresh loves Syndra, watch this video.

Thresh dislikes playing against champs with pets or static defenses. They can use their stuff to block your Death Sentence. I'm thinking Shaco, Mordekaiser, Zyra, Heimerdinger, Malzahar, Annie. Doesn't mean you should't pick Thresh anymore, just be wary of the possibilities these champions have.

This section will be expanded later!

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Final Words

So, that's it, all I wanted to share about Thresh.

If you have any suggestions on how to improve my guide, or if you just want to compliment me with my incredible knowledge, don't hesitate to leave a comment.

Thanks so much for reading!