Thresh Build Guide by CFCryo
The Most In-Depth AD Thresh Guide (ALL Roles, Primarily Top)By CFCryo | Updated on May 18, 2020
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Runes: Top/Mid/ADC Fleet Footwork - Best AD Runes (Safe)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+8 Magic Resist
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+10% Attack Speed
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
+9 Adaptive (5.4 AD or 9 AP)
Threats & Synergies
Representative of the typical BIG JUGGERNAUT TOP, Darius has huge damage when you get caught. This is an example of someone you should probably take Aftershock for. For Darius specifically, use Flay (E) to push him towards you, pulling yourself inside of the Q circle. Pushing him away from you takes too long, and he's likely moving away from you already, perfectly landing you in the outer circle. If you die once, don't try anything funny again, or it won't just be once.
Ranged Top laners usually have more range than Thresh, leading to a disadvantage. Gnar's manaless Q can poke pretty well, and though his range is short, it's enough to hurt Thresh more than Thresh can hurt him. That said, Thresh Flay is an incredible ability that keeps Mega Gnar at bay, and can pull Tiny Gnar into danger by any misstep. You don't need to take Aftershock against him, and you have a fair shot of outdamaging him in certain situations (Barely coming out of Mega), but Gnar's jump can be stopped easily by Thresh flay. Use this to your advantage with a Lantern Gank!
My second favourite champion reworked into this... abomination. Semi-jokes aside, he is TOUGH. The manaless Q spam may be dodgeable and even Flayable sometimes, but the pressure can build as he never has to stop doing them. Harass him when his Q is down, and since you're immobile, you are gonna take a lot of damage and possible death if he lands W on you. Keep careful watch of his E and try to know when he has it up, as that's what'll get you caught by his Q and chained up. Take Aftershock. Even though I play a lot of Aatrox, he's still a struggle for Thresh.
Skill Matchup. You'll have to learn her Q and riposte habits in order to avoid getting riposted further. You can get away with Qing your vulnerable side in anticipation for her poke, allowing you to get a hefty trade afterwards (kite her E though) with lantern shield. Watch out, as she might start Riposting immediately after her Q poke to catch you out. Flaying towards yourself is INSTANT, so you can get away with it and she has to rely on anticipation rather than reaction. Use this to your advantage, but act cautiously and try not to be easy to read. Beyond riposte and CC, her poke can hurt a lot, so avoid exposing yourself when you can, and if you do, hit her back a bit while kiting. I recommend sustain options like early vamp scepter or Doran's Shield.
Very much a skill matchup. Riven's third Q can be repelled by a well-timed Flay. If mistimed, it will still hit you and you'll be knocked back. Clever use of Riven's stun can guarantee you get hit by the third Q, however, so make sure you carefully use distance. Sometimes Flaying away won't be the answer. Stuns do NOT stop your Q animation, so if you predict a stun, use your own one to minimise her advantage. There's a lot to learn here, so best to learn by just playing.
Naturally Nasus is no match for a lane-bully early game, but you have to act fast before he starts building against you. On-Hit builds will favour the lategame for peeling Nasus, but are hopeless at killing him after the first or second back. Going Crit AD will have superior mixed damage that isn't hurt too hard by Wither. Taking AD and Electrocute, plus any lantern ganks you can get, will absolutely destroy Nasus. Lategame, whether you're on-hit or not, your amazing CC will keep Nasus off your team.
Despite the dodge of his E, he's not particularly threatening. Watch out for him holding onto his third autoattack (post level 6), as he can do significant burst to outtrade you with careful management of his abilities. The main reason he's so easy is because he only has one gap closer and no movement speed. Flaying the jump will keep him off you, though he may still be able to land the stun. If he does prematurely E as he leaps, use your Q instead for the same reasons as the Fiora matchup, the stun will NOT interrupt your Q animation, so you'll minimise his advantage. From there you can hit him back before flaying him away for distance, and kite to outtrade. When his Q is on cooldown, he is extremely vulnerable to poke and bullying. You'll be more worried about pushing too far and getting ganked, so don't let your guard down.
Urgot may be a big scary juggernaut, but his engage is predictable and the majority of his damage is in his shotgun knees passive, which relies on positioning. Thresh E is the master of displacement, so you can prevent him from ever getting at least half of his shotgun passives off, minimising Urgot's damage. The ultimate from Urgot is of course, a huge threat. Avoid getting caught by his E at all times, particularly if you're low. A good Urgot can use their ult to slow you first, then engage to get you low enough just in time to execute you with the same ult. So long as you're careful and don't misstep, this is a cakewalk.
Poke champions hurt pretty bad, since you can't poke at the same range. Senna's CC is no laughing matter either. However, with Aftershock and Barrier, if you can catch her out, she's even squishier than you.
Tanks your poke and engage, and isn't easy to take down. His lockdown is no joke, but his ability to engage before level 6 isn't very good either besides perhaps in a Lucian lane.
Range and mobility, you basically can't poke her, and she isn't easy to catch either. If you can, good for you! You can stop her escape by flaying her, but otherwise, this is one of the worst-matchups for "AD Support" Thresh. Luckily, with the nerf of Black Mist Scythe, you'll never be "required" to poke the enemy to get gold since you just don't build that anymore.
Damaging and has an escape. However, the escape is quite slow, and easy to stop with E, and quite feasible to stop with Q.
Immobile target, easy to lock down. Her slow means nothing when she's locked down even harder, but beware she DOES do damage. That's what aftershock and barrier are for.
Have to talk about everyone's favourite-to-hate new boy. He has some crazy powerful weapons like Flamethower and Gravity Gun, but he is immobile. He will likely outdamage you with the right equipment, especially if he's gotten a lead, but in my experience he isn't totally broken in most situations. He's squishy unless he has Scythe, and with Aftershock and Barrier you might even be able to tank him and his Chakram turret. The matchup depends on his support. You should play it safe if the enemy support has good lockdown or peel as well.
Turns out Thresh pairs better with her than Lucian after all. Senna is a great support for ADC Thresh, giving healing, lockdown, and poke. Thresh can peel and lantern Senna, and Senna can help Thresh lock down a foe, and vice-versa. Incredible pair. For Support Thresh with AD Senna, it's less good, but still has all of these advantages in the early laning phase.
The meme twin-hook lane is certainly good when you catch a squishy opponent, but there ARE better. It's really fun though.
Pyke's damage and safety are great with most ADCs, and Thresh is no exception. His hook generally is more forgiving to miss, and easier to land due to the movement. Once Pyke lands his stun, it's easy for Thresh to follow with a hook of his own and an E. Pyke's damage helps Thresh finish off foes, and when Thresh can't do it, Pyke's ultimate finishes the job.
Actually really good, and no it isn't a kill lane, but it can be! Thresh CC can help Soraka land an E root, while keeping them silenced so they can't jump away. That lack of damage can sometimes mean this doesn't lead to a kill, but prior Starfall and auto-attack poke can help lead to one. Moreover, the healing Soraka provides and peel with E keeps Thresh safe and topped up, whereas Thresh lantern and peel keeps the vulnerable Soraka safe as well. Very good lane.
Doubling down on the poke, though Sona's mana costs are abysmally high, the Q powerchord and Q aura on Thresh give incredible poke potential and can burst down an ADC with little outside help. The W and E are also incredible with Thresh, but Sona, unlike some modern champs like Pyke, actually has considerable mana costs, meaning she can't keep it up in the early laning phase for very long.
On the opposite end of supports, Janna is the peel-queen, pairing excellently with someone who is immobile and in need of it. Alongside Thresh lockdown and self-peel, this helps Janna's charge up their tornadoes if confident. Monsoon is invaluable healing peel for assassins giving Thresh a hard time, and is the ultimate in safety come late game. However, Thresh' issue later is less about being jumped on, and more about being outgunned by enemy ranged mages and ADCs if his burst wasn't enough. Since only one auto attack has high range, the 450 auto attacks that follow are very risky. Janna's shield and heal help, but not amazingly so, and she doesn't really help build leads in the early game.
Braum's passive is excellent, but Thresh has terrible attack speed and attack speed scaling stats, meaning its rather unfeasible to pull off. Not that you can't, of course you can! But also needing Thresh's abysmal range to chip in before a lockdown is confirmed? That's risky, even if Braum has a big shield in the way. This also affects Braum ability to actually peel melee attackers. Overall, there are much better supports.
Master Yi provides no CC of his own and his gapcloser isn't too reliable for ganking, but Thresh helps with all of this. If Yi spamganks a Thresh top, that Yi can get fed incredibly quickly and carry. This goes for all carry junglers, like a few more I will list and more.
Powerful, low-cc champion that benefits massively from ganking Thresh top due to lantern and CC. Read the Master Yi synergy for more details.
Champions with hard-to-land lockdown like Ekko's W benefit from Thresh ability to lockdown and reposition enemies. I'm mostly talking about junglers ganking Thresh Top, but this applies to all areas and roles really.
Champion Build Guide
[*] Added sections: 'Lanes - Top vs Mid?', 'Ability Combos', 'Jungle Thresh'.'
[*] Added runes for Jungle Thresh.
[*] Added runes for Fleet Footwork.
[*] Changed chapter title images to look better.
[*] Updated primary rune set. Changed it to Fleet Footwork as from my recent studying of my own matches/winrates, Fleet Footwork has the highest winrate... aside from... Jungle?! More details in the Items and Runes section.
[*] Edited and changed a lot of formatting and presentation in various sections.
[*] Added videos to AD Thresh in Action: 'AD Thresh.EXE' and 'ATTACK SPEED THRESH.EXE'.
[*] Added Hail of Blades runepage, listed as 'Experimental'.
[*] Added Lethality items at the top of the guide, listed as 'Experimental'.
[*] I will update the item chapter with more details when I've tested it some more.
Even though I say we all "know about" it, quite a lot of times I see people building it very inefficiently. Sure it can still work if you get fed, but what I've strived to build is consistency, to be nearly as effective, or more effective, than other builds in the current meta.
This means that I personally construct builds like this for use in Ranked, that doesn't mean, though, that you have to play them in Ranked at all, and they are certainly no "SECRET OP FREELO" build. There is a learning curve, even for a Thresh support main, to this play style, and the rewards to learning AD Thresh Top aren't even anywhere near as rewarding as putting hours into Yasuo or Lee Sin instead. It's hard to justify playing, learning, or putting any amount of time with the intention of taking it into ranked, but if despite all that you still want to do it, go right ahead.
I recommend playing about in normals, you're less likely to be flamed, and don't have to feel so much pressure to perform decently as an off-meta. Also, you probably won't be doing so hot, particularly if you're new to the idea. In fact, just don't use this in ranked.
Let's talk about what makes it work before I digress any further.
Thresh has a 80% (Level 1) Total AD Ratio on his E passive, up to a maximum of 200% (Level 5 E) Total AD Ratio. This will be turned into magic damage on-hit in addition to the base AD physical damage you're already hitting. Assuming no crits or special things like that, your charged up attack will do 100% Physical damage, and 200% bonus magic damage.
That doesn't mean you have to wait 10 seconds for a full-charge all the time, however. Any seconds you wait will increase your damage by a % ratio proportional to the time you wait. So a half-charge on your Flay (Visible on the buff you can see that changes colour), will do 100% Total AD magical damage, which is still double the damage of a normal auto attack pre-mitigation.
With this passive alone, Thresh has very good poke in just auto-attacks, especially when timed around this passive. This potential is why his auto-attack range, for a ranged champion, is abysmal at only 450 units of range.
The waiting, hit-and-run style poking of Thresh's auto attacks with this mechanic has great synergy with Energise items, especially with their buff in Season 10. You can play around not only your E passive charge-up, but around the on-hit damage of Energise items like Kircheis Shard and Stormrazor to deal massive poke damage to your lane opponent.
The most important energise item for Thresh, considering his abysmal range, is Rapid Firecannon, increasing the energised attack's range to 600. Now, you can poke laners more easily and harass them hard, and have a much safer method of using your crazy E passive damage from a much fairer distance.
Every Energise item deals 120 magic damage on-hit. With Stormrazor as well, that's 240 magic damage, plus 55 AD which gives an additional 110 magic damage with Level 5 Flay.
Once you achieve 100% Crit by adding on Infinity Edge and Essence Reaver, you get even more AD, and the physical portion of your damage becomes 225% Total AD, with the 200% Total AD magical damage passive on E, plus tons of Energise on-hits, you'll hit and crit incredibly hard for that first auto attack.
It takes a while to get a feel for how much damage your auto attack is going to do depending on how far it is charged. There is much more to it than just going for assassination's on low or squishy targets, and that can only be realised through practice and experience, but I will try to put into words the 7 years of AD Thresh I have experienced.
Though I detested ADC Thresh, with the new Energise line of items and Stormrazor providing crit chance, I see it as maybe not "perfectly viable", but certainly not trash, and playable if only with some weaknesses.
With the AD Support items, you can also throw some damage onto him even in his main role. It compromises on durability and the ability to dive into enemy teams, but it's payoff is, if nothing else, extremely fun.
I also play other off-meta such as Tank Kassadin, Draintank Warwick, Tank Lissandra (Support but sometimes Jungle), and AD or AP Skarner.
I have a YouTube channel based around off-meta and my main champion, Thresh. The content ranges from guides to off-meta, to commentaries, to live games (More soon). There's also some good meme content on there, check them out on the Channel here!
Doran's blade is the standard start for AD champs, and helps with poking your opponents down in lane, and of course with 3% lifesteal and 80 HP as well helping you survive.
If you don't need immediate HP in a safe lane, Cull is a nice choice for a slight economical advantage. The on-hit lifegain it has synergies with attack speed as well so it's great for going into On-Hit builds in particular.
is nerfed for Ranged champions but can still provide decent regeneration through laning phase, but if you're up against someone particularly oppressive like Gnar, Jayce, Kennen or Teemo, Corrupting Potion can give you more "bursty" healing to keep up.
Support Starting Items
Spectral Sickle and its upgrades give more AD than Shoulderguards, and can be farmed well against certain matchups. The AD payoff may seem small, but remember your ratio is literally tripling your attack damage.
Steel Shoulderguards have more HP and hp regen however, which is overall more useful and that's why it's the Meta. Safer, easier, but less AD. Practice Thresh support with this if you're inexperienced, and definitely take against strong poke lanes, as Spectral Sickle isn't outpoking any real mage or support.
A note on Steel Shoulderguards and Relic Shield, don't ever use it on Caster Minions. Always save one for the Cannon minion every third wave, and otherwise, take Melee minions. Your gold income and therefore your quest progress depend upon the gold you get, so make sure you're using these slow-charging... charges... on worthwhile minions. Casters give pathetic amounts of gold, so can really put you behind compared to someone ignoring them and taking melees and cannons instead.
Full Crit Build
The four items of Full Crit:
The first two items are absolutely core. Usually, you'll start with Stormrazor as it is the best damage you can get for your "one-shot" in one item, then follow with Rapid Firecannon that so you have the range to use it in teamfights without high risk. The next two items give you 100% Crit Chance. You can rush the Crit Chance by taking 2x Cloak of Agility then upgrading them into whatever you need. The 100% Crit Chance is quite a powerspike and so it can be worth rushing it like this.
With Infinity Edge, you increase your physical damage portion of your auto attack far further, and Essence Reaver keeps your Flay, Lantern and Box on a shorter cooldown for self-peel and assistance.
However, you can opt for Phantom Dancer and Statikk Shiv as alternative 3rd/4th items for their defensive and waveclear properties respectively, without giving up 100% crit chance. Statikk Shiv will provide another 120 magic damage, but Infinity Edge AD alone gives 160 magic damage on the first hit, not even counting the critical strike damage. Phantom Dancer will provide no on-hit damage at all, but has the defensive benefit of its shield, and attack speed helps you shred down tankier targets that don't just go down in one or two hits.
After your 4 crit items, your boot choice can either be Sorcerer's Shoes for scaling your magic damage against squishies, or Berserker's Greaves to have more attack speed to shred tankier foes. If you're up against squishies that you wanna one-shot, go for Sorcerer's Shoes.
Defensive items include Guardian Angel, Dead Man's Plate, and Maw of Malmortius. Though the other two are self-explanatory, Dead Man's Plate gives great defensive stats and movement speed. The latter helps you get in range for auto attacks on fleeing targets, and also gives 100 bonus damage on-hit when you've charged up Momentum. It's a defensive item that provides more damage and utility that works incredibly with Thresh kit, and so I almost always buy DMP on AD Support Thresh when I can get it.
On-Hit DPS Build
There are a LOT of item choices you can make for On-Hit Thresh. He's a bit like a blank-slate that you can build almost anything on, though of course there exist sub-optimal choices like Nashor's Tooth. It may provide on-hit damage and make use of AP from souls, but believe it or not, that AP passive doesn't even outdamage Wit's End at level 9 in the vast majority of situations.
is a solid item for any on-hit build, scaling with enemy HP rather than your own stats, and providing attack damage to scale Thresh E passive, attack speed to scale soul passive, and lifesteal that works with it's own on-hit to give the sustain a Top laner needs.
doubles all other on-hit effects with it's passive, and most importantly provides a ton of attack speed and hybrid penetration to scale Thresh' on-hit damage. With the amount of attack speed you're stacking, it really isn't hard to get it to 6 stacks, but it can be a bit weak on it's own before you've collected a decent amount of souls. It's never usually a good first item, so build it after another on-hit item.
may have reduced healing for Ranged Champions, but the attack speed, damage, and magic resistance are certainly no joke. Extremely good to build against AP top laners like Teemo, Kayle, Ryze, etc. Just be sure to mix in some health like Bami's Cinder if magic resist alone won't cut it.
, a Hurricane of Souls, triples your on-hits for an AoE attack. This means all on-hit items you build like Blade of the Ruined King and Wit's End, plus the damage equal to your number of souls. This is great in teamfights as a Diver or a Peeler for shredding the enemy team while almost drain-tanking off of Wit's End and Blade of the Ruined King's healing on-hits. The AoE makes for excellent waveclear as well, allowing for speedier, safer farming of minions and monsters, thus faster and more-reliable soul harvesting.
I'd say pick a maximum of three on-hit items, then take the rest as defensive. Sunfire Cape, Thornmail, and Frozen Heart are great armour options, and Spirit Visage, Adaptive Helm, and Abyssal Mask are great magic resistance items, just bear in mind you'll already have resistance from Wit's End if you've built it, so don't overcommit to the stat when the enemy has barely any AP. You'll have to choose according to what your team needs and what the enemy team has, and in my opinion, that is the beauty of this clean-slate On-Hit Thresh, as he is a true Jack of All Trades.
Your first non-support item should be Rapid Firecannon. You will gain AD once your Black Mist Scythe or Pauldrons of Whiterock evolves, and you need to make sure that the gold the item has granted you goes into something useful first and foremost. As mentioned before, without the range from Rapid Firecannon, it's very hard to be useful in teamfights. Taking it early not only gives good burst damage, but guarantees you'll be able to poke and be useful when the time comes.
Naturally, some of these items are pretty expensive, like Stormrazor and Essence Reaver. They're crit items that provide utility either in SR's slow, or ER's CDR. Their build paths are fairly forgiving but B.F. Sword can be sometimes hard to come by. If they're out of reach, you can instead opt for Dead Man's Plate.
can make up for the lack of Relentless Hunter if you haven't got that, and gives bonus damage as well to channel through your Rapid Firecannon range. The Health and Armour build paths are greatly beneficial against the botlane ADC, and of course for the rest of the game as well.
Boot choice can vary depending what you need, but Boots of Mobility are often a good choice for the active Thresh, Ionian Boots of Lucidity can make up for the otherwise huge-lack of CDR in the rest of the items, and defensive boots are always welcome when their passives are useful.
The usual array of support items are also available should you need their active abilities, and should not be ignored, particularly Mikael's Crucible. Extra damage won't help when your ADC, or yourself, are locked down by an enemy's crowd control.
Items and Runes
UPDATE: (03/05/2020) - Fleet Footwork is my recommended rune. It's safe, synergies with Energize items, and helps Thresh in two ways he is weak. First, he has no sustain which can be horrid as a top laner. Gaining sustain allows you to stay and defend turrets, not miss waves, and outsustain your opponent. Second, the movement speed helps you get in range of instant Flays and position for The Box or Death Sentence, as well as usual kiting and chasing needs.
Why did I update it? Check out this:
Runes ranked by winrate:
Jungle ( Aftershock) - 69.23% (18/26 Games)
Fleet Footwork - 68.97% (20/29 Games)
Electrocute - 50% (Tied, higher sample size) (6/12 Games)
Aftershock (Not jungle/support) - 50% (3/6 Games)
Press the Attack - 43.39% (23/53 Games)
Dark Harvest - 35.71% (5/14 Games)
Predator - 20% (1/5 Games, could need further testing)
As you can see, sample sizes vary from fair to basically not enough, but it's what I can do as a single person. All of these were taken from Normal Draft Pick as well, so take results with a grain of salt, but there are no rankeds mixed in. My Normal Draft games tend to feature anywhere between Mid-Silver to Mid-Platinum players in rank on average. Regardless, all games were at least in similar environments.
The previously-recommended Press the Attack with the highest sample size out of them came out with 43.39% winrate. That, to me, highlights it's lack of sustain being an issue. You can bully hard and go for kills to snowball victories, but it also means when you're behind, you can find it really hard to make comebacks with no sustain, and usually being bursted and out traded before you can land a third auto when you're behind a tough laner.
Fleet Footwork can be much more versatile, but though it lacks in damage, it aids aggression through speed and sustain helping you keep the attacks going. It had a winrate of 69.23% from a smaller sample size but not too tiny. It's too small to say that the winrate is an absolute, it definitely isn't, but it's more effective than the other runes I've listed in any case.
That said, if I continue on with some of the more neutral, lower sample size rune sets like Electrocute (6/12 Games won) and Aftershock (3/6 Games won), maybe I'll find another winner. Theoretically though, Fleet Footwork sounds the best by rounding out Thresh's flaws and allowing him to function properly as a top laner without sacrificing too much on aggression. The above runes could just as well end up the same as Press the Attack with further play since they lack sustain, so who knows.
I've left my old writings on the runes below for those interested, and of course, there is the adaptability of Thresh to consider. Some of these runes can be used regardless of their winrate in certain matchups and win, or at least, not lose. Press The Attack is still ridiculously good at damaging opponents early on and bullying hard.
There is also a new contender Grasp of the Undying which I currently have 50% winrate on... 2 games... So I'll keep trying that out and see how it goes!
is good for bullying in lane for attack speed builds, and Electrocute achieves the same, but more bursty/hit-and-run rather than attack-speed based.
Taking either of these aggressive options is usually good paired with Resolve for Demolish. So the cool thing about taking Electrocute is that you can have both Resolve and Relentless Hunter for AD builds. The movement speed is great for catching up to someone to deliver that huge AD payload.
is a more safe option and 'good' at all times but not exactly excelling in anything. It provides sustain for any role you take Thresh in, something he severely lacks, and has some synergy with the Energize effect. It is slightly better in AD builds for that reason, and is a great choice for ADC Thresh.
is very powerful, mostly for bot lane where you and your support can poke your opponent down to low health. That said, it is a bit 'win more' in laning, so there's little point in it if you're unable to poke your opponent or hard engage with your support. Very powerful rune, however. Only thing to watch out for is that it will NOT activate unless someone is already below 50% HP, so you'll more likely be two-shotting people even with this rune. For real one-shotting, you're better off with...
similarly grants access to the Domination tree with Relentless Hunter for AD builds, and allows you to roam from Mid lane extremely well. Unlike Dark Harvest, it does work from the first auto attack, and is the most realistic rune to help you "one-shot". Though, the more you focus on that goal only, the closer you are to becoming a straight-up troll, so caution, sometimes memes should just be dreams.
is the hardcore defensive option, and completely mandatory on Support Thresh. Since your first item is usually Kircheis Shard, you'll need some defensive stats to make plays at all, and Aftershock will handle that, similar to Aftershock on Pyke.
In top lane and otherwise, Aftershock is a great rune to deny enemy combo damage. Darius lands an Apprehend on you? Quickly Flay him towards you to activate Aftershock and hopefully dodge the Q ring, then the bonus defensive stats will help you tank the rest of the damage and survive.
Thresh is a versatile champion, so he has some versatility in rune choice, but here's a tl;dr:
Top Lane On-Hit - Press the Attack
Top Lane Full AD - Electrocute
Top Lane Bad matchup/Tank - Aftershock
Mid Lane Full AD - Predator
ADC Safe - Fleet Footwork
ADC Aggressive - Dark Harvest
AD Support - Aftershock
Jungle - Aftershock
For more detail on Jungle items and runes, check the Jungle Thresh section I've added further down the guide.
Flash is mandatory in all lanes for playmaking, catching up, escaping (especially since you have no dash outside of Q'ing a minion or monster).
Ignite is used when you bully your opponent and can secure a kill with it. As a ranged top laner, Thresh has decent dominance over many melee top laners.
Teleport helps get back to lane to keep up CS and soul farming, but more importantly it allows you to teleport to bot or Dragon fights to support with your massive utility and formiddable mid-game damage.
That said, if you find yourself only using TP to get back to lane every 6 minutes, maybe you should consider another spell. Sometimes and in some Elos, TP just won't be as good as it is in Pro play.
Standard ADC spells with Heal for movespeed and keeping you and your support alive. The movespeed can get you in range for a final auto-attack burst or for a Flay if need be.
You could also go Exhaust which is fairly standard, and Ignite can work, but since you aren't building tank outside of Steel Shoulderguards, you're a very easy target similar to squishy supports like Senna and Soraka. Therefore, Barrier can help you keep your damage up and deny some focus. Exhaust can do the same but only "protects" you from one source, but may have overall better utility. I usually prefer Barrier.
Of course, you can take Ignite but you may find the lack of extra defense with this squishy start may be your downfall.
First of all, what lane is best for AD Thresh?
In general, I would say Top is best. You get to bully enemies in lane, transition into any combination of On-hit, Tank, and Burst you like, farm souls without much worry (boosting on-hit and tank potential), and scale well. However, Burst builds with Dark Harvest may struggle to proc at all against tough or sustaining matchups, and you're better off with Fleet Footwork or Electrocute most of the time against competent laners.
Mid is more limited, but has different potential. Taking Predator can only really effectively be used in mid to support roams to either top or bot, allowing for some interesting Burst and literaly one-shots towards lategame. Dark Harvest can also be taken, as both of them can struggle to help you in lane, but have great potential when you roam, Predator is a little better for that though.
ADC is the home of the one-shotting Thresh. Dark Harvest belongs in bot lane truly, and with the protection of a support, plus the combo damage you and an ally can inflict with your CC, it's not too unreasonable to proc Dark Harvest during laning. Of course, Fleet Footwork can be used more defensively as well. In ADC, you should only build 100% Crit Thresh, as on-hit just doesn't do the damage and has low range, it just will not come close to other ADCs in viability. Crit Thresh though has potential other ADCs do not have, and you must capitalise on that.
Support is the home of standard Thresh, but also AD Thresh. Here you will almost always be slightly tanky, for example, Dead Man's Plate after your Black Mist Scythe and Rapid Firecannon. It is 100% a SITUATIONAL build if you're playing to win though. You can't always get away with it, and should consider whether AD is viable at all, or if you should just go with the standard Thresh builds.
Jungle is just special. Easily one of the riskiest things to do, but can be a ton of fun. You probably aren't playing to win, but who knows what tilt and autofill might bring out of you.
I think we've covered top vs mid quite well, and all of them have been covered in the video guide in the video guides section... Except Jungle.
The first thing we're going to talk about is this:
Flay [E] > Death Sentence [Q
All too often you'll see Thresh players throw out hopeful Qs that miss, but 20% of the time they land that hook. This is fine if you've maxed Q with 40% CDR like a support, but we aren't doing that. We're maxing E, then W, with Q maxed last.
As a result, your Q cooldown is precious. Sometimes you have no choice but to bet on it, but when you can use Flay instead, USE IT. The slow from Flay will guarantee your enemy cannot dodge the Q stun without a dash or Flash.
Additionally, here's another important note:
Combo - Quick Q
Recast Q immediately once it lands at close range.
I say 'at close range', because the closer you are, the more effective this is. Let me explain how this works.
When Q lands on an enemy, that enemy is stunned for 1.5s. Thresh is locked out of auto attacks for as long as he's got a hook on that enemy. You can recast Q at any time to jump towards them, ending the Q once you reach them.
HOWEVER, the enemy is STILL stunned for 1.5s. This means that you unlock your own auto-attacks while the enemy is still stunned. You can see this as a 'free-auto' or even 'burst' damage by double-casting Q quickly at close range, meaning that while you can't auto-attack for maybe 0.25-0.5s depending on distance, the enemy can't retaliate for a full second of you being able to attack. This usually means enough for one auto-attack on AD builds (which will have charge up, and the movement will add Energy to your Energize passives), or two on attack speed builds.
This might SOUND minor, but it's those minor differences in damage that spell victory and defeat.
This might also be unclear, so here's a clip from an OLD video of mine that explains it visually (Timestamped link):
Very old video, wow. Sorry about mic quality. I've improved since then I promise.
Now let's talk about some other combos.
Stormrazor Auto Attack > Death Sentence [Q] OR Flay [E] > Other ability
Bilgewater Cutlass / Blade of the Ruined King Active Ability > Death Sentence [Q] OR Flay [E] > Other ability
By using the slow from Stormrazor's auto attack, or Bilgewater/BOTRK's active, you can easily walk up and land a Flay, causing another slow to guarantee Death Sentence. Alternatively, particularly with both Stormrazor and Rapid Firecannon, you can hit someone for the slow, then immediately follow up with Death Sentence for a higher chance to land from quite a distance.
Death Sentence [Q] > The Box [R] > Flay [E]
Hook first is risky business as we've mentioned, but sometimes it's the only option and best option available. OR you can combo from Stormrazor like mentioned in Combo 2.
You can see we do The Box straight after Hook, not after Flay. When Death sentence is in the air, before and after landing, you can use Ult. Once you've confirmed the hit on your hook, cast R. This way, you will pull them towards you, and as soon as the 1.5s stun is up, use Flay to pull them further into your Box walls for damage and insane slow, guaranteeing the Box to land. This can be an insane burst of damage that, although I hate this argument, can really surprise opponents.
Landing The Box is actually a huge deal, not just for its damage, but the 99% slow. Even if they flash immediately, the slow still keeps them essentially locked down, easy to hit with a few more auto attacks. If you have AD instead of attack speed, you can even catch up while charging your attack first, then continue attacking once you've caught up.
When I play ranked, which I rarely do, I peak at Gold most seasons just to get the Victorious Skin reward, and never really have time nor motivation to rank up further, though I plan to do just that in 2020!
So what I'm trying to say with this guide and my channel's guides, I suppose, is that though I cannot say for sure if he is viable, but if someone more capable comes along to learn AD Thresh, maybe THEY can shine at a higher elo. I've had comments before saying they've played my builds (Thresh and AD Kassadin/Tank Kassadin) at Higher Elos than I'm at, and had fun with and performed decently well.
To reiterate, I literally cannot say for sure if they're competitively viable, I would be more comfortable declaring that they just aren't, but until I rank up and find out for myself, it's impossible for me to give a satisfactory answer for you.
What I will say is this:
- If you want to climb easily, this is not the answer you're looking for.
- If you're already determined to climb with off-meta like this, then maybe you can try it if losses and learning won't deter you.
- But no matter what, no build will ever guarantee rank, and no off-meta build is guaranteed to be superior to the rest, more often the opposite.
There are disadvantages to taking it, especially if you underperform. Squishy AD Thresh can't freely peel and dive as much as a tankier support Thresh. But with some control, macro and game knowledge, On-Hit Tanky DPS Thresh could, but will no longer be in the bot lane to help the ADC early.
There are champions that can fill the role of ranged top like Jayce, and champions who can be a strong bruiser lategame.
What is unique to Thresh is that he is both at once and more. He has an absolute ton of potential due to his pockets of power and his versatility depending on how he is played and built, as a result:
I cannot claim he is totally "viable", but I will not listen to neighsayers who do not have years of AD Thresh data and exploration to back their negative claims.
That is the issue with off-meta. You can only prove and disprove them on paper and in theory because there is never a big enough sample size. When that sample size appears, it's already meta (Blue Ezreal).
Well I hope I haven't sounded either too proud or too casual about this. I personally want to believe in the build as much as I can, but I cannot use my personal opinions to sway people towards the wrong thing. That's why, first and foremost, I present this as a fun alternative to the usual Thresh, and I recommend you give it a try, but not to be too quick to dismiss it if it doesn't work immediately. There is a learning curve, like any other champion.
Thresh jungle sounds either like the most ambitious ganker ever or the worst idea you've ever heard. To be honest with you, it's a bit of both. There are better junglers who can achieve similar ganks, similar scaling, similar damage, and plenty who can do better. So if you're doing Jungle Thresh, you're not doing it because it's the META. You're doing it because it's Jungle Thresh.
Let's have a pros and cons section for our Jungle Thresh boi:
[*] Powerful CC leads to powerful lockdown for ganks.
[*] Able to farm a LOT of souls from jungle camps like Krugs and Razorbeaks.
[*] Can scale well with certain builds. Lot's of builds to choose from.
[*] Did I mention he ganks hard?
[*] Surprisingly healthy clears done right.
[*] SLOW clears early.
[*] Squishy, vulnerable to invades.
[*] Slow clears means slow counter-jungling.
[*] Weak damage means slow objective-taking.
[*] Long cooldowns and skillshots mean missing abilities ruins the whole gank.
[*] Stealing Thresh from perfectly functioning support lanes.
[*] Though he is very versatile, other champions specialise in any of these areas at like 500% efficiency compared to Thresh.
He's definitely risky, but at this point, you don't care. You just want to play Jungle Thresh. I get that.
So let's talk build.
As mentioned in the [updated] items section, there is a certain core item for clearing jungle camps quickly.
Bami's Cinder gives not only a powerful AoE DoT (Area of Effect Damage Over Time] that is especially good at dealing with jungle monsters, but also has been buffed to deal a burst of damage on your next crowd-controlling ability. It is used well on Thresh's Flay to clear the swarmy camps like krugs and raptors. The health of course also alleviates some of Thresh's squishiness, and combos well with the armor you receive from souls, AND from the double armor runes you'll take for jungling. Yes, if you missed the rune section, you take Attack Speed, Armor, Armor in your runes.
But do you take Enchantment: Cinderhulk? Well, you don't have to. Bami's Cinder fixes the problem already. You could go for Sunfire Cape instead. Cinderhulk scales well with lots of HP, so if you plan on building Frozen Mallet for example, it could be a great idea to go Cinderhulk. However, what if you wanted other options?
Bloodrazor is an item that is very unique to junglers. Blade of the Ruined King may be similar, but Bloodrazor has so much attack speed and a better shredding passive, dealing max HP percentage damage rather than current. The attack speed synergies incredibly with the huge amounts of souls you'll be focusing on farming in the jungle.
Yes, there is a bit of stupidity in this, as we're playing a slow-clearing jungler as a permafarming jungler with no innate sustain. It's stupid. Yes, but what else are you going to capitalise on?
Before we move on to that, let's look at the other option.
Warrior provides CDR and a huge chunk of AD. You can follow it up with Rapid Firecannon to get strong oneshots, but this is a powerspike delayed by jungle budget, and the necessary purchase of Bami's Cinder. Can be really fun if you just get a frick ton of kills from ganks though. I'd say Cinderhulk and even Bloodrazor might be more consistent.
Jungle Clear Route
I'll keep this short and sweet. Here's the optimal route:
Red > Wolves > Gromp > Blue > Gank/Crab > Gank > Gank > Recall
The ganks at the end are optional, you don't ahve to do three, but camping the same lane can work, especially with Red Buff, and going from top to bot can be really effective. You want to make use of that ranged red buff while you have it.
And some alternatives in case of invades or you wanna gank bot, etc:
Red > Gank
Blue > Gank > Gromp/Krugs
Blue > Gromp > Wolves > Red > Gank/Crab > Gank/Krugs
How to Jungle Clear
Naturally, jungle clearing with Thresh can be messy if you don't know what you're doing. I'm going to explain the key things you need to do for a healthy clear:
Lantern Pathing Block
Against monsters particularly, the Lantern can block their movement, giving many extra seconds of free attacks (i.e. the camp isn't attacking you cos they're walking around the lantern). This is easiest to do on Krugs and Blue Buff, weakest on Gromp.
In jungle we take W second for the shield and pathing block. The shield will help you absorb some extra damage, since you can't kite forever. You'll either be leaving leash range or they'll catch up with you. If they catch up after the lantern pathing block, this is where the shield comes in.
The shield should also be used when they're GOING to attack you, such as when you leave Blue Buff's leash range, and you have to cross past him again.
Against almost all jungle monsters, and as all jungle champions, you should aim to kite every three auto attacks. So you go three auto attacks, walk back, and repeat. This way, the jungle monster's attacks are so slow that they do two attacks, and you do three.
Against Gromp, you want to kite between every attack that so when Gromp has its increased attack speed buff for the first few attacks, Gromp only does one attack for every one of yours. When you kite Gromp, you lower its attack speed by doing this (this also works against attack speed melee champions, but they (sometimes) are smarter than Gromp).
However, as a ranged jungler, things are a little different. You want to have the above concepts in your head still, but you SHOULD kite after every attack since there's many attacks you can get for free by using your range. However, when you leave leash range and have to walk past them, you should REVERT to the melee kiting method of 3:2 of your attacks:monster attacks for optimal clearing and healthiness.
I have an example video of Thresh jungle clears which I will link here:
Make sure you read the new section on souls.
In order to scale, we want to farm the jungle a lot in order to gain a TON of souls. Since Thresh is a slow-clearing jungler, we want to make sure we get Hunter's Talisman first, then quickly get Bami's Cinder to increase clear speed dramatically. This way, Krugs and Razorbeaks are actually viable to take.
Next you need to finish skirmisher's saber, it will give you some damage reduction and true damage against a chosen target, helping you tank and deal damage at the same time whenever you smite an enemy. You have tons of CC already and will be taking Boots of Mobility in all likelyhood, so you do not need Blue smite.
Either jungle item will give you a bit more sustain, allowing you to farm for much longer. Be sure to carefully take crabs as well, as they will give even more sustain, and of course, a guaranteed soul. Using Death Sentence to stun the crab, then full combo it during that time with a 100% charged autoattack will bring it's hp down quickly, just careful to not get it stolen. You burst it at first, then devolve to weak auto-attacks to finish it off. Best to save Smite for Crabs.
At this point, you can either buy Enchantment: Cinderhulk which will increase clear speeds a little more and make you tanky, or Enchantment: Bloodrazor which will, in my experience, clear faster still than Cinderhulk. With Bloodrazor and Bami's Cinder you can wipe your jungle at decent speed, nothing too fast, but decently. Make sure you use your Dark Passage shield, blocking, and kiting to stay healthy.
Given enough time, you'll have the armor and on-hit damage to take on anyone, especially squishy AD champions. I suggest building tanky quickly if you've build Bloodrazor. Guinsoo's Rageblade can be fun, but high DPS doesn't mean anything if you only live for one second.
This is the real strength of Jungle Thresh, but on it's own it's nothing special. That's why we have that whole section on souls and building damage and scaling. Master farming that so you have something to fall back on if ganks don't work out or aren't available for whatever reason.
I've been ganking from the jungle with Thresh since his release. Jungle Thresh was the first thing I did with him. So I've got some experience as how to go about ganking. Where and when to gank is a whole other world.
General ganking combo
Approach from river > Flay[E] > Death Sentence [Q] > The Box [R] (If available)
You might be thinking, why not hook first?. Hooking first invites enemies to Flash out unscathed, or just juke you without it. Starting with E will slow your enemy down, making your Q almost impossible to juke without a dash, and even then, the slow is enough for your laner to catch up and help with the beatdown. If they Flash before you hook... Well then. You can of course predict their Flash as well to try and look cool.
Approach from behind enemy (Tribush) > Auto attack > Flay [E] > Death Sentence [Q] > The Box (If available)
Why auto attack? Because that may apply Red Buff if available. Also, when approaching from behind, enemies have to move through you. Even if they Flash over you, you'll likely still catch them easily with Flay, and that leads to an easy catch with Q while they're slowed.
Approach from river > Death Sentence [Q] > The Box [R] > Flay [E]
Starting with Death Sentence is more common before you get Boots of Mobility to get in range for just straight up Flaying them. Sometimes enemies burn flash first so you'll be forced to hook anyway. That's what starting hook is good for.
Additionally, you can see we do The Box straight after Hook, not after Flay. When Death sentence is in the air, before and after landing, you can use Ult. Once you've confirmed the hit on your hook, cast R. This way, you will pull them towards you, and as soon as the 1.5s stun is up, use Flay to pull them further into your Box walls for damage and insane slow, guaranteeing the Box to land. This is a general combo and I'm gonna copy paste this description to the ability combo section I need to do.
One more example:
Approach from behind tower > Enter lane brushes undetected >
From here you can either:
Exit brush > Flay immediately > Death Sentence > The Box
Death Sentence FROM brush > The Box > Flay
The latter combo is the same as Combo 3, but from a brush, undetected, which means the enemy cannot aim to juke you, and it's your own aim and prediction that will decide if it hits.
The first of these two is more guaranteed, but less likely to hit from within the brush. Usually, you'll have to step out at the right time.
Anyway, that's enough examples, the rest you can work out yourself from experience.
When and where to gank?
First gank strategy can be used to think of what jungle pathing you're going to take. However, you usually start on bot side and make your way towards top as you clear, so typically, you'll be ganking top or mid lane first.
After that, you can just walk down river, with or without taking crab, and gank mid, then again to bot. You can also camp enemies effectively if you deny vision with an early sweeper trinket and control wards. Aim to gank from behind lanes (Tribush in top/bot, side entrances behind the river in mid) when you can to easily burn Flash and land easy Flays.
When Dragons and Heralds are spawning, you can use them to decide where to gank, if viable. When Dragon is about to spawn, enlisting the help of your bot lane by ganking them can be a good idea. You could also gank mid lane, then ask them to help you 4 man gank bot lane, then take dragon. Additionally, with careful planning, aim to countergank the enemy jungler, then use their death to spell out a Dragon or Herald. Typically, ganking top lane can lead to getting a Herald.
Sometimes, you might just want to go for Turret platings, and the Demolish rune helps a lot if you had space for it. Camping a single lane and just shredding platings can be extremely effective if they're a snowbally champion, and can actually outvalue early dragons sometimes if that laner proceeds to carry. If they proceed to give up shutdown bonus and feed, then your team will blame you for losing dragons and being terrible, not blame the feeding teammate. Ah well.
Point is, be careful with your planning. This goes beyond Jungle Thresh now, jungling is just a big brain task.
(Season 10, December 2019
(April 2017, Most Detailed AD Thresh Guide)
Hope you enjoy, and hope it helps learn this complicated AD boi.
Most of these will have commentary, and hopefully I add to this section with more live games, as most of them are replays for now. Others are just memetages.
The rest will be Season 9:
Hope they're insightful, or at least, entertaining!