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Thresh Build Guide by Dark Zero X25

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League of Legends Build Guide Author Dark Zero X25

Thresh - Which Soul Reaper Would You Like to Be?

Dark Zero X25 Last updated on February 18, 2013
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Team 1

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: 9

Honor Guard

Defense: 10


Utility: 11

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Hello all! Welcome to my guide. I would like to introduce you to my build of Thresh, the Chain Warden. This is what I always use for him and it works out great for me. Any helpful comments will be looked at in order to help this guide further.
Thanks for reading!

Revised Version 1.2:
Edited the Rune page.

Revised Version 1.1:
Changed AP Carry build to show Fiendish Codex instead of Needlessly Large Rod to follow up on season patch.

Revised Version 1:

Fixed certain Chapters to look cleaner and better.
Added summoner spell page
Added a few more pros/cons.
Changed the Skill Sequence page to the Champion Abilities and Skill Sequence page while adding more information.
Changed the Team Work page to Gameplay and Team Work page and added more information on playing style.

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There's Gotta be Lore, Right?

Thresh is a twisted reaper whose hungry chains ensnare the souls of the living. A moment's hesitation at the sight of his ghostly visage and there is no escape. He leaves in his wake hollow corpses, their souls ripped loose and trapped in the sickly green light of his lantern. The Chain Warden takes sadistic joy in tormenting his victims, both before and after their deaths. His grim task is never complete, and he stalks the land for ever more resolute spirits to unravel.
Thresh carves careful, deliberate paths through Valoran. He handpicks his targets individually, devoting his full attention to each soul in turn. He isolates and toys with them, gradually eroding their sanity with his twisted, maddening humor. Once Thresh takes an interest in a soul, he does not relent until he possesses it. He then drags those he captures back to the Shadow Isles for an unimaginably dreadful fate. This is his only purpose.
Little is known about the Chain Warden's past, and many of the details live only in nursery rhymes and campfire tales. They tell of a sadistic jailer from centuries past who took great delight in torturing his wards. Patient and brutal, he used a variety of methods to break his victims' minds before their bodies succumbed to his grisly designs. Chains were the jailer's preferred instruments of terror. Their shrill scrape marked his dreadful approach and promised agony to those he visited. His dark reign went unchallenged until his prisoners escaped during a massive riot. They overwhelmed him, and without ceremony or remorse, hanged him from his own chains. Thus began the unlife of the horrible specter known as Thresh, or so the tales go.

Thresh now haunts the land, leaving an aftermath of horror and despair. However, there is a devious purpose behind his dark machinations, and the meager spirits of average men are insufficient. He seeks stronger souls. Only when he has broken the wills of Valoran's most resilient warriors will he finally have what he needs.

"There are few things as invigorating as taking a mind apart, piece by piece."

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Pros / Cons


He can switch from support to carry and vice versa.
Great support combos.
Able to stay in his lane for a longer period of time.
Great initiator of team battles and ganks.


Having lack of communication or knowledge of dark passages' ability when playing with people.
Can be squishy during the early game.
Does not have a heal or stun ability like other supports (like Kayle and Lulu.

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Let's Start with Masteries!


These masteries are made for whichever role you choose during the game.

For offense, I use Summoner's Wrath , Sorcery , Blast , and Arcane Knowledge to get that extra ap power and cooldown reduction to damage the opponent better when supporting or carrying. For the defense, I build health from Durability and Veteran's Scars to keep from using my pots too early in the game. I applied Hardiness for that little boost in regular armor and used Resistance because Damnation only applies to strengthening ability power and regular armor. The utilities are for that extra support and sustain for Thresh that the atk and def masteries won't give. Gettting a mana boost from Meditation and some cooldown reduction from Mastermind really helps during the game. I've tried using Biscuiteer because it lets you stay in lane for a little bit longer, but it really isn't a must have item so you could move it to either Greed for a bigger boost in gold, or anything else you want to use.

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Greater Mark of Magic Penetration

Greater Seal of Scaling Mana Regeneration

Greater Seal of Magic Resist

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Seal of Health Regeneration

Greater Glyph of Scaling Ability Power

Greater Glyph of Mana Regeneration

Greater Glyph of Magic Resist

These are the runes I use for any of my AP champions (like Ahri). I simply increase AP a little and work on health and mana regen along with armor and magic resist. I use scaling, but the regular tier 3 runes will work too. Comment on the guide for rune ideas and I will test run them! :D

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Summoner Spells

Support Spells:


I changed up the summoner spells for the support build. Flash is good in some cases, but Heal and Exhaust are the right way to go because Thresh doesn't come with a heal ability or a slow ability like Kayle and Lulu (who is very annoying to play against). Always try to use Exhaust to get early game kills since I never really had a need for it in mid to late game for the team fights.

AP Carry Spells:


The AP Carry spells are Ignite and Flash the majority of the time. Flash is a great escape item while ignite helps get the early game kill. Now, you can try Ignite for the support class because I have used it before if the carry in the lane can't get to the enemy champ, but you would be supporting so you shouldn't have to worry about that.


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Champion Abilities and Skill Sequence*

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

The abilities for Thresh aren't that complicated to understand. First, his passive ability, Damnation,
causes minions and heroes to leave their soul behind. When you pick these up, your ability power and armor will increase. There is no limit to how many souls you can collect, but there's a catch. Riot Games has made a system that makes a "price" on a soul. The value of a soul starts at 1 and steadily decreases until it caps out at 100 souls, making every soul after that worth only a 0.5 point increase for your ap and armor.

His next ability, Death Sentence has two different abilities. For its passive, it allows Thresh's auto
attack to deal AD magic damage (yes, ad and not ap, making him possibly an adc as well) 1) how many souls he has collected and 2) the time that has passed since his last attack. What do they mean by his last attack, exactly? Well, for when he uses Death Sentence, you can see that the picture for the passive effect above the stat bar turns red, then yellow, and back to it's original color. This is to show the length of time that has passed since his last attack so the player knows how much extra damage is being put into their auto attack.

When Thresh was fist introduced, people who I have played with didn't understand what dark
passage did for ally champs. With Dark Passage ready to go, Thresh tosses out the lantern. Once tossed, any nearby allies at the drop of the lantern gain a shield that absorbs damage starting from 60 to 180 until it disappears. The second effect allows an ally champion to grab the lantern and return to Thresh, gaining the shield in the process. While this ability is active, Thresh can also gain the shield by either being next to the lantern when it is dropped, or by moving out of the radius of the lantern for it to come back to him and give him the shield. SOMETHING TO REMEMBER: AN ALLY CHAMPION CAN ONLY GAIN THE SHIELD ONCE!

His fourth ability, Flay simply pushes enemy minions or champs in the direction Thresh is facing while dealing damage to your enemy as well as slowing them for 1.5 seconds. This is a good way to stall your enemies to have you and other allies to flee from the scene. It can also be a great combo with Death Sentence to get those pesky minions out of the way that you may grab when using death sentence. I suggest maxing this second or last to make better use of this ability.

Finally, his ultimate, The Box (what a very generalized name), Thresh summons a square cage that kinda looks like a boxing ring. When active, any enemy champion that tries to go through the walls are heavily damage and are their movement speed is slowed by 99% when hitting the wall. You can activate his ult and use either Death Sentence to bring an enemy champion inside of it, or use Flay to keep an enemy inside or throw them into the wall.


  • Honestly, whether you're carrying or supporting, your Death Sentence and Flay are your best friends. It gives you the best control over the lane and the second ability of Death Sentence is situational. Don't use it unless you know you can live, or pull off your ult for the team battle.
  • With Dark Passage, no one really knows what it does. You're best bet is maxing this second or last because of the armor protection. When people start to understand what it does they will start to utilize its ability to return to Thresh and out of harms way.
  • Flay is a very nifty ability to have. Just remember to always have flay ready after using Death Sentence to keep your enemy close for either you or the carry to take them out.
  • The Box is great for keeping opponents next to you in order for you to deal lots of damage. This also goes great with initiating a team battle if you're close to the enemies. If you're losing the team battle, you can always use your ult to try to help get your teammates out of the team fight, but at the risk of you dying for the cause.

*This is a generalization of the skill sequence. Just max death sentence first, passage and flay second or third, and obviously maxing the ult normally.

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Starting Items for Carrying:

The three pots and boots are the default build for any carry. You will also have a great advantage of sustainability because of your mastery setup. Try to open up with harassing with regular attacks and Death Sentence and Flay to do some extra damage and try to get that Ignite in for the first kill. For your first return (or first death), grab Amplifying Tome because it is a good set up to move to either your Void Staff or Deathfire Grasp.

Starting Items for Supporting:

....sight ward
These are recommended for Thresh by Riot Games. It is a great start out to put wards in your lane with the regen from bead and sustain from your pots. Plus, with Scout , your wards will get extra vision that could be vital in the early game. Take upgrade the bead into philosopher's stone later so you can get bonus gold ( kage's lucky pick will also be used after getting stone on your next recall).

Can't Forget About the Boots!

Boots boots boots. Everyone needs boots for carrying. If you push your lane brilliantly, go with the Sorcerer's Shoes for that magic pen boost. If you're getting pushed back by slows or stuns like Ashe, Amumu, Trundle, and Malphite, grab those treads for that decrease in those stuns and the magic resistance that comes with it. Now, Ionian Boots of Lucidity aren't the top choice for carrying. I use these when I am supporting, adding Enchantment: Captain because of the cd effect that the boots have and the extra move speed for my allys.

Core Items for AP Carry:

We all have those good and bad games. So, if you're not doing enough magic damage, go with Void Staff to get that quick boost of ap and magic pen. If you're doing enough damage, save up for Deathfire Grasp next.
Can't say much about deathcap. It is default for any ap carry build and is always one of the best.
If the game starts to go longer than usual, or you're fed and have a lot of gold, buy either Lich Bane or Iceborn Gauntlet. Their interchangeable and I usually get lich bane fist then gauntlet, but that's just a personal opinion.

Core Items for Support:

philosopher's stonekage's lucky pickemblem of valor shurelya's reverie
This support class is somewhat of a default class for supports that I use. It works really well with Thresh because of the extra gold that comes with the stone and pick. The emblem builds up to aegis later and kindlegem helps execute you're skills quicker and bring out reverie with the philosopher's stone that you made earlier. Locket is very useful. Once the build is finished, the team battles were a lot more efficient and my team was able to stay on top of the enemy champs.

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Gameplay and Team Work

Early Gameplay:

For early gameplay while supporting, I am usually put in the bot lane, so you would grab your 3
wards, your pots, and your bead. When you get to your lane, lay your wards down in each patch of grass: the one in the start of the river to the top, the closest grass to your tower, and the grass closest to the enemy's tower (keeping in mind that you should be careful because the enemy champs in the lane could be hiding in the grass). During the early game, try to use Death Sentence whenever your ally is nearby and you have a good shot of the opposing champ. Try not to use it too much because of its big use on mana and having a big cool down in the beginning of the game. If you get enough money, on your first recall (or death) start building the philosopher's stone. I'm usually able to build either all or most of it in one swoop because I'm able to last longer in the lane.

When you decide to troll on your ally by building a carry build in bot, the same rules apply as top, but
you get the satisfaction of trolling your ally when a kill steal occurs. But, if you decide to go mid, get Death Sentence and use the same technique you would do when you would be in bot lane: hook them in (or jump on them) attack them, and combine with ignite to get an early game kill. The easier way is to wait until you get Flay at level two and use it after death sentence. Obviously, you would've brought your beginning carry items Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions. When you get the advantage in lane and do the first recall (or die first), buy yourself the Amplifying Tome that will build up to either Deathfire Grasp or Void Staff depending on if you do enough damage to the enemy or not.

Mid Gameplay:

For mid-game items, it is a little dead at this point. It's usually somewhat of a time period for me to
save up on gold and help anybody that needs it. As a support, you should (hopefully) already have a philosopher's stone, kage's lucky pick, and Ionian Boots of Lucidity. You should be starting to get the emblem of valor or the captain upgrade on your boots. The emblem will build up to your aegis later in the game and will bring some more support along with it. After your emblem, buy the Kindlegem to start building up to shurelya's reverie when transitioning to the late gameplay.

When you're a carry, you should just be buying your Deathfire Grasp after the early game, or
Void Staff and moving on to Rabadon's Deathcap if you haven't done much damage in early game. Just keep harassing with death sentence and land killer blows with the death sentence and flay combo. Trying to buy deathcap will be done right around when late game starts. You should have at least 70 or 80 souls (maybe less) to get a lot of AP and armor so I don't think about any items that you need for defense. Defense items change from time to time in certain situations. Getting Thornmail when getting wrecked by melee heroes like Tryndamere, Garen, Darius, or tanky melee heroes like Volibear, Sion, or Blitzcrank. For either one of the support and carry classes, try setting up some ganks and team battles when it appears that your allies are ready to rush late game and shut down the enemy quickly.

Late Gameplay:

For late game, your style of gaming has few differences between the support class and the AP carry
class. First, you won't have shurelya's reverie or locket of iron solari when carrying. These two items saves lives! Reverie can get your teammates out of battle as quickly as possible and Iron Solari gives your teammates a barrier so they can take extra damage. On the other side, you should have either Lich Bane, Iceborn Gauntlet, or both. This gives you movement speed, mana, armor, AP, and the ability to slow enemies you hit because of gauntlet. The support class seems to be the better choice when in team fights, but most of the time you can't get away with your team.

Now, most of the time you're stuck with initiating the team battles (whoopie...). When initiating, you
want to grab the carry or support (NOT THE TANK!) on the other team with Death Sentence and follow through with Flay. If you don't need to use those and are already in the middle of the team fight, throw down his ult, The Box, so the enemy champions take massive damage and lose their ability to flee for a second or two. When outside or inside of the battle, you can always use Dark Passage to give your teammates armor and set up a way for one of them to flee from the battle efficiently. In combination with your Iron Solari, you give your teammates some pretty good boost to take damage from enemy attacks. By the end, you may have a lot of deaths and assists, but you are the one who tries their best to control the team battles to give the advantage to your team.

Gameplay and Team Work Summary:

  • With Thresh, you can be ap mid being a lone laner, or even be ap bot with a teammate while on the support class. When with a teammate in a lane, try not to take too much farm. The souls will show up even if you don't get the kill. As long as you keep a good amount distance so you don't get hit, but can still use Death Sentence to keep the enemy in range for your teammate.
  • Assists aren't a bad thing! Sure, not getting IP at the end of the game sucks, but you get the job done with helping your teammate in lane with the kill, while reaping the souls for your benefit in the late game.
  • While fending off enemy champs, not many people understand Dark Passage will save their life! So, you can sometimes try to stay in the back a little to use Flay when the enemy gets near to have your allies get to saftey.
  • Once team fights start, I am usually the one to initiate team battles with whoever I work with. With Thresh, I just wait until I have a clear shot of either the opponent's carry or support, like Sona, Draven, Annie, Lulu, etc. to get the advantage on the team fight. You will usually die if you get stuck in the middle, but try to fire off your ult at that time for your allies to try to get away, or continue to put the pressure on the other team.
  • Locket of the Iron Solari is another great way to pause the enemies onslaught when your allies who are starting to get their health taken out. Giving your allies the shield from it will bring some sustain to the team fight. You can also use Dark Passage in combine with locket for an ever stronger shield.
  • If the enemy is getting away or your allies are trying to run, and you're not dead from initiating, use shurelya's reverie to get your teammates out of there as fast as possible. It really comes in handy!

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Ending Thoughts

I really enjoy playing Thresh! I'm really happy that they made him for League. This is what I try to do when I am playing a game. I tried my best explaining the reasons behind the build and hope it works out for you. All comments are welcomed to help benefit this guide!