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Thresh Build Guide by Flammabubble

Support Threshing your opponents every game

Support Threshing your opponents every game

Updated on January 29, 2013
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League of Legends Build Guide Author Flammabubble Build Guide By Flammabubble 5 4 35,914 Views 32 Comments
5 4 35,914 Views 32 Comments League of Legends Build Guide Author Flammabubble Thresh Build Guide By Flammabubble Updated on January 29, 2013
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Introduction + Quick list of terms

Hey there, I'm Flammabubble and this is my Support Thresh guide. I've played a number of games with Thresh on the public beta, and this is the build I’ve had the most success with. His kit has a really nice number of different uses from enabling some terrifying ganks, to easily allowing teammates to escape danger and everything in between. The pull on his Death Sentence is comparable to a Blitzcrank Rocket Grab or Nautilus’ Dredge Line and is an incredibly powerful tool for initiating fights. His Dark Passage has numerous uses both offensively and defensively, and is probably the most exciting part of his kit. Flay gives him that little extra CC pre-6 to again, enable offensive or defensive play, and finally his ultimate The Box has an incredibly powerful slow, that can really help to create opportunities for your team to capitalise on.

As Thresh has only just been released, this guide is subject to change, but this is the build that I have been going with so far and I find it to be very effective.

List of terms

This is a quick list of the terms used in this guide. I'm aware that newer players to the game may not know what I've shortened words to, so this is just in case.

AP: AP stands for Ability Power, and it is what gives magic damage to abilities
AD: Ad stands for Attack Damage, and it is how much your basic attacks do to the enemies (before taking into account their armor)
CDR: CDR stands for Cooldown Reduction. This refers to reducing the time it takes for your abilities/skills to come off of cooldown once they've been used
CC: CC stands for Crowd Control. This means skills that stop you doing what you would like to do, for example being silenced, knocked up, stunned or snared are all forms of crowd control
CV: CV stands for Clairvoyance and it is a summoner skill in League of Legends
GP5: GP5 stands for Gold Per 5, and means the amount of gold generated every 5 seconds
AOE: AOE stands for Area of Effect, and refers to skills that deal damage/have an effect in an area, not just on one champion
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*Incredible amounts of CC in his kit making for some really secure kills.
*Lantern can be placed to enable sudden ganks or sudden disengages, good for turret diving and stealing buffs
*Gets very tanky as long as you stack his passive, which really helps him scale well into late game
*Still able to be relevant in team fights
* Can be baited into getting killed with souls
* Ultimate rather lackluster other than the very strong slow
* Flay can be quite difficult to get the right way round
* Strong lane phase trades off with poor late game
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Playing Thresh

Thresh may have some similar abilities to other champions, but the intricacies of his kit are quite different from what we’ve seen in league before, so let’s go through his kit.

His Passive is Damnation, when enemies or minions die near him, they will sometimes drop souls (Champions and large minions will always drop a soul). Souls can be collected to give Thresh bonus armour and Ability power. This scales indefinitely and so it’s important to keep picking up souls no matter what period of the game it is. This is the tradeoff for him not gaining armour per level, but if you keep getting it stacked you can be quite damaging and very innately tanky later on. It is important to note that enemies can see dropped souls as well, but ONLY when they have vision of Thresh, and they can use this to their advantage. Don’t put yourself in danger when picking up souls otherwise the enemy team may capitalise on it.

His Q is Death Sentence, and how appropriate a name it is. This is a skillshot grab that is similar to Nautilus’ Dredge Line. On the first cast when it hits an enemy, it pulls them slightly towards Thresh, and remains attached. You can reactivate it in order to pull yourself to the enemy. This does not pass through minions, so while you can use it to grab enemies to you, you can also use it to escape by grabbing onto jungle minions and pulling yourself to them. I will usually max Death Sentence last, as I prefer to max Flay before it in order to maximise the slow amount. However if you feel you want to maximise damage output early, it might be worth putting some extra points in Death Sentence. The mana cost does not increase with levelling, and the cooldown is reduced.

His W is Dark Passage. This is possibly the most exciting part of his kit. Dark Passage throws out a lantern when casted. This lantern gives a shield to allies who walk near it, and allies who right click the lantern will be immediately pulled back to Thresh. This allows for some very ingenious plays - it can be used to pull the jungler into lane for a gank, pull allies away from enemies to escape, it can be used to pull allies back over the wall after they attempt a dragon/baron steal. Really the possibilities are huge. What I like to do is have the jungler come through lane, then attempt to grab the enemy ADC, when they’re grabbed I throw out the lantern behind me and the jungler is immediately in the fight to be able to deal damage and help kill them. If used effectively, this is easily his best and most interesting ability. I max this skill first in order to maximise the shield and cooldown, as the mana cost DOES NOT INCREASE.

His E is Flay and is the most difficult part of his kit to master. Depending on the direction you cast it, it will either push enemies away from Thresh, or pull them towards him. The distance they move is not very much, but the cc it provides can be very helpful in securing a kill or enabling an escape. It can be difficult to get Flay to go the direction you want it to, and I advise you play a few bot games just to test how quickly you can get it to the direction you want. If you aim where Thresh is facing, it will push enemies away, if you cast it the opposite direction, it will pull them toward him. In addition, it will slow enemies for a short duration. I usually max Flay second for the maximum possible utility as the slow goes up to 40% which isn’t to be sniffed at. This is the only skill where the mana cost is increased by level, but it only goes up to 80 mana at maximum which really isn’t too much at all.

Finally, his ultimate is The Box. This creates a prism of walls around Thresh, enemies that walk through the wall take damage, and are slowed by 99%. Once a wall is broken, the remaining walls damage and slow duration is halved. This means it is most effective to place it like a Veigar stun - aim to hit as many people as you can when it is cast, that way they should all take the most damage. It is best used to disengage from fights, or to protect allies, but it does do a large amount of damage so putting it up in a teamfight is usually a good idea.
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Dark Passage Uses

I felt this deserved its own section due to how versatile an ability it is. Before I talk about the different uses for it in relation to your teammates, I should first clarify that using Dark Passage on an area with fog of war, will give you a small amount of vision around the lantern. This can be used to bush check without you having to put yourself in danger. In addition, you can use his lantern to pick up souls by throwing his W near the dropped souls. This can be used obviously, to pick up souls when it would ordinarily be too dangerous to do so.

When the game starts, make sure you tell your teammates how they use his lantern. People that haven't played Thresh may not know that you have to right click the lantern when you're near it to be transported to Thresh. Most people know what it does, but the number of people that just assume you jump when you walk near it is quite high at the moment, so be aware of that when you wonder why someone didn't click the lantern.

Setting up ganks

Ganking while the enemies have flash available
If the enemy team have Flash available, you will want the jungler to come into lane, wile you use Flay on your target. Usually, this causes the enemy laner to get scared and try to flash away, at which point you cast Death Sentence and pull yourself to them. When you are with the enemy, throw out your Dark Passage to allow the jungler / carry to jump to you. The lockdown from his Death Sentence usually allows for this to be an easy kill.

Ganking while the enemies do not have flash available
If the enemy team do not have a Flash, the gank becomes much simpler, you want to initiate using Death Sentence while throwing out Dark Passage to pull the jungler into lane. Then immediately use flay. This double CC plus a jungler if done correctly should be a kill every time.
From lane while the enemies have flash available

This can be used for both lane ganks as well as river ganks. If the jungler has a way of getting into the lane without using your lantern I would advise you to throw the lantern to your carry in order to pull them into the fight.

Defensive lanes
A Thresh lane can be very safe - he has a good amount of CC to keep people away from the carry, his Dark Passage gives a good shield, and when he hits level 6 he has the biggest slow in the game. However, none of this compares to the utility of the jump on Dark Passage.

When you're not picking up souls and being generally agressive, while your skills are on cooldown you want to position yourself slightly behind your carry. Still within experience range, and close enough to be able to get back into position for a gank or soul collection. But standing behind them while your skills are on cooldown means that if you are to get ganked, unless they go directly for you over the carry, you should be able to get away to turret faster, and pull your carry with you resulting in the both of you being safe. This renders bot lane an incredibly difficult lane to shut down without help from the mid lane as well.

Other uses

One of the most amusing uses of Dark Passage is to help safely steal Baron. Obviously if you want to just snipe baron from a team, you jungler can flash in and try to smite steal it, but previously if they had no other form of escape they would be trapped in with the entire enemy team. Thresh's lantern provides the perfect escape whether successful or not. Additionally don't forget that you can use his lantern to check if they're taking baron, as again, it gives you vision.

Obviously this can be used with Dragon and buffs alike, however one of my favourite things to do is throw Dark Passage to the AD carry during a teamfight. It will give the shield to anyone that goes near it, and if the ADC feels threatened or out of position, they can click it and jump immediately to me, allowing them to safely reposition themselves. This combined with an Ezreal really makes him hard to pin down because of all the jumps.
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Summoner Spells

Flash is, in my opinion, an absolute must for Thresh. While he has his Dark Passage that he can grab onto minions with, he has no real escape which can leave him vulnerable. Also, being able to flash out of places yourself and put your lantern where you were to save an ally that can't escape has saved me more than once.

Exhaust is still an incredibly strong spell. If the carry takes Ignite/ Cleanse, then it can definitely be a great option to help escape, catch up and ensure a kill, or swing a 1v1 fight. I will take it usually to ensure early kills, as Thresh's CC is very strong and Exhaust just helps to add to that.

Heal is still a pretty good summoner spell, especially as it heals allies for the same amount as it heals you. However I feel the utility of Exhaust beats out Heal in general, so unless the carry is taking Exhaust, I tend not to take heal.
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I generally go 0,15,15 with my Masteries, as this gives me a good amount of tank at the start of the game, and additionally allows me to have extra gold/5 and utility to keep my mana pool healthy and my gold still decent.

I'm not going to go over specific masteries too much, as really masteries are tailored to suit your own style of play and you can figure out why I chose what I've chosen, by just looking at what each mastery does, but I'll go over some of the more important ones.

In utility:
Explorer gives you a free ward at the start of the game that lasts for a minute, which I tend to use if we invade so I can put it at our buff so the enemy jungle doesn't steal it. Or I use it to check for invades from the enemy team. If you want a more detailed explanation on why I think the explorer ward is good, read the section on explorer wards below.

Greed is obviously very helpful because you won't be getting gold from minion kills, and as this build is not very gold centered with it's items, you need as much as you can get.

I like to take Mastermind because I like being able to combo Flash and Death Sentence or Dark Passage. You can flash and grab somebody, or you can over a wall and bring an ally with you with Dark Passage. Either way, having Flash up more often helps with this significantly.

In Defense

I like to take Safeguard so that I can better tank turrets, allowing for earlier and more successful turret dives.

Thresh can be caught out quite easily, and his effectiveness is highly reduced if he can't reach the opponents he needs to, so I take 2 points in Relentless to counteract this.

Other strong Masteries

Pickpocket can be a good spell on Thresh depending on how you play. I like using this point somewhere else to give me a tad more durability, but given that Thresh pulls people toward him and will be doing extra damage with his basic attacks, it could be a good alternative mastery for you to use.

If you go further down the defense tree, there are some very strong masteries such as Legendary Armor . Given that you are buying a lot of armour and magic resistance, it can be very strong. As I prefer to have some points in utility however, I don't take Legendary Armor
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Standard support runes

These are the runes that I take as standard on Thresh. The increased GP5 means that you stay much more level with the rest of the team in gold, and you're able to buy more wards and items to help the team. However, I have occasionally run Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed in order to help get myself in position to land Death Sentence, the choice is up to you. As Thresh does not gain armour per level apart from with his Souls, I find it helpful to take a lot of Armour on my runes to make up for that lack of Armour early game. Finally the scaling magic resistance will allow you to scale nicely into late game and be pretty tanky all round.
*Scale well into late game with the Magic Resistance and extra Armour
*The bonus GP5 really makes a difference at the start of the game
*You start with a good amount of Armour
*Run out of mana more than you would with Mana regeneration
*Armour gets shredded quite hard at the moment, health runes might not be a bad idea either
*Don't do as much damage as a page with more AP
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SO! Items huh? In this section I'll run through a quick reasoning behind my item choices, and some possible alternatives depending on how the game is going.

Starting Items

I start with a Rejuvenation Bead and some wards. Quite often I will take 2 sight ward 1 Vision Ward, as there is a lot more emphasis on being able to remove enemy wards with Vision Ward now that Oracle's Elixir is much less powerful, however you're very welcome to start with 3 sight ward if you so wish.
philosopher's stone kage's lucky pick

These 3 items are the main 3 that I will build. I initially build the philosopher's stone for my gp5, followed by Boots. This allows me to have the extra mobility to land my Death Sentence and enable kills. I will also try to pick up an early kage's lucky pick in order to build it into a Twin Shadows as soon as possible.

These are the only 2 types of boots I reccommend on Thresh.

These are first on the list. I highly reccommend these if the enemy team is AD heavy and does not have much CC.
These are for if the enemy team is has more CC, and if they have a lot of AP damage.


This is the enchantment I tend to take as it gives me the extra movement speed to chase down and grab enemies. I don't usually take Enchantment: Captain however if you feel that you have enough speed it's not a bad choice.

Early Game Items

This refers to items you'll want to complete around the midgame.

This is in my opinion, the most important item on Thresh. By completing it first, you can pull yourself to an enemy, and then shield yourself and allies near you allowing you to tank a good amount of the damage you would be receiving. It's a very strong item at the moment, and the armour and health it gives as well is a very nice addition to your stats.

This is the second Item you'll want to complete. This is a core support item and can really push your team ahead in the mid game giving you that extra longevity to win those teamfights. Aegis really gives Thresh more innate tankiness to help him survive when he's grabbing enemy team members. Really, your mid-game items are focused on giving you and your team the edge in teamfights, which both Aegis of the Legion and Locket of the Iron Solari do very well.

This is a core item on Thresh. I go a slightly less gold heavy build by buying a Twin Shadows over a Shard of True Ice, and so you want to save as much money as you can with the Sightstone. Ruby Sightstone obviously giving you a good amount of extra health to help beef you up a bit early.
Mid Game Items

Thresh is the only support I currently build a Twin Shadows on as standard. If the enemy team don't have a lot of AP, it might not be worth getting as I like to buy it to round out his magic resistance. However, it gives you bonus AP for your ablilities to do a little extra damage, but the real reason I buy it is the active and the movement speed boost. The active can be really helpful in finding enemies that are out of position that you can grab, or enemies that are waiting to ambush you, it's a really nice active to have. In addition, the bonus movement speed is always good.

This item gives you yourself a little more longevity so that you can be of more help in teamfights. The slight increase to the aura is also worth it as it makes a bigger difference the earlier you get it.

Late Game Items

These should be the last items you end up building, and will vary slightly depending on the enemy and your own team composition.

This is later than most people tend to build a shurelya's, but I much prefer having the extra gp5 production so I build this a little later. You can of course build it earlier if you need to, but I find it's just as good later on. It gives you extra health and cooldown reduction, both of which are quite important on Thresh.

This should actually be your full item build, as you want to leave one slot free for sight ward. However, if you want to switch out one of the items I've suggested, or you want to build that 6th item, I would reccommend choosing from the list below.


IF the other team has a lot of AD and you feel like you're being squished out of fights, definitely build this. The extra armour helps you stay in fights longer, and the active can really swing battles.

I've been toying with the idea of an Iceborn Gauntlet over a Frozen Heart, but I think the extra armour that the Frozen Heart provides means that Frozen Heart wins out. I would buy this if you're still finding yourself short on armour, or you're having trouble with a fed AD carry.

This item means you really shouldn't have any mana problems, and additionally gives you some extra magic resistance to bolster your longevity against magic damage. Also, the unique active can be incredibly powerful in disengaging fights or saving important players on your team. It means they don't have to build something like a Quicksilver Sash if they don't have Cleanse, and gives them another item slot to work with. I will buy a Mikael's if the carry is getting heavily cc'd and we need to make sure they survive.

Sunfire Aegis is a little less support centered, but the large amount of health and armour it gives is really strong. Additionally, Thresh will be amongst the enemy team a lot of the time due to his Death Sentence, so the passive burn on Sunfire Aegis will do a good amount of damage. The particles for Sunfire Aegis also look really cool on Thresh, seriously go try it.

Finally this is if you find the enemy team is killing you far too fast and you just want to be able to survive that extra bit longer. Health is currently stronger than resistance items at the moment, and the 1000 health that Warmog's Armor give is incredibly helpful. I would not build this as standard at all, again it's a situational item.
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Yes this is a chapter entirely about wards.

If you can't afford an item, buy some extra wards. If you would run out of space for wards by buying an item, buy wards and wait to have the gold. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to always have wards to put down. There is a much larger emphasis on Vision Wards now that oracles are less powerful, and so buying some can really allow for a much safer laning phase, and a much stronger late game as if you can get rid of the enemy teams vision, you control the map.

This is a general guide to ward locations. If you are Blue team, the ward numbers are red, if you are purple team, the ward colours are blue.
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Explorer Ward vs no Explorer Ward

I've seen a number of people claiming that the Explorer's Ward and the Total Biscuit of Rejuvenation are not helpful, and putting a point in them early isn't worth it. Certainly without the Explorer's Ward as a support there's no point getting the biscuit alone, but I would definitley say that Explorer's Ward is worth the valuable points you spend.

I generally use Explorer's Ward as follows, I will put it down in the river at 1:55 when minions have reached lane. It lasts for 1 minute, so any pre-level 3 ganks will be covered by it, and it means I can put down my normal ward later. This is crucial, because it means that if the enemy support wards river within this time, I know where they have warded, and so I can Vision Ward it and get bonus gold. This then allows early ganks because they have no vision. In addition, if they try to use a Vision Ward on my Explorer's Ward, they get less gold and I am able to Vision Ward back, and regain ward dominance. It's definitely a good way to stary.

Explorer's Ward is also good with invades. It can be placed at your buff while you invade an enemy, meaning you can kill their jungler when they try to leave, or it can be placed offensively to get vision of a buff to steal it. In addition, you can place it so that it covers the river and makes sure you are not being invaded by the enemy team.

The Total Biscuit of Rejuvenation is not an amazing item in itself, but it's worth it for the Explorer's Ward, and it also gives you a nice little boost if you need to stay in lane a little longer, or keep yourself topped up on health. Honestly, there's no reason not to take these masteries.
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Hopefully you like this guide, I've found it to be a strong build on Thresh,but will make sure to update when I have new ideas. Thresh is a very strong champion, his early game CC is comparable to Blitzcrank, making him incredibly strong in lane. If you have any suggestions on how to improve this guide then please let me know, it's only my 4th guide so I'm still quite new at this!
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24/01/13 - Guide created
26/01/13 - Added section on Dark Passage specifically
30/01/13 - Edited masteries
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