Thresh has always been an exceedingly popular pick in low elo, high elo and pro play alike. He's a well-balanced champion with a very unique and enjoyable kit. It's not a coincidence that almost every support player is, or was at some point, a Thresh main. LEC finalist Mithy is no different and he's here now to explain what makes Thresh so strong and so popular, as well as how to maximise your potential with him.
Thresh is a great laner and transitions well into mid and late game, due to the fact that he is an expert roamer and good team fighter. He does have his flaws – Thresh is a ranged support and that automatically means he is squishy. He's the type of support who needs to get in there during fights but, at the same time, he can be vulnerable in close quarters as he is not naturally tanky like other supports who have a similar playstyle.
This rune has really nice synergy with Thresh because hitting a Q on someone usually means you're about to go into the enemy's melee range. You will activate Aftershock when you hit them, then it’ll pop by the time you’re in close combat with them. Aftershock is necessary because you need the bulkiness to survive early game skirmishes. In the remainder of the page, pick up Demolish, to make it easier to pick up turret plates, Bone Plating or Second Wind and Unflinching. Second Wind works better against poke lanes, and Bone Plating is more effective against burst.
Some players like to opt for Domination as a secondary page and get Zombie Ward and Cheap Shots. Mithy prefers to spec into Inspiration and pick up Commencing Stopwatch and either Biscuits or Cosmic Insight. Stopwatch can be super helpful for Thresh since it allows you to be a bit more aggressive and make riskier plays. Tower dives are much safer when you can go golden when the going gets rough.
Grab Flash every game since Thresh doesn’t have any sort of gap closer without it. Ignite will increase your kill pressure in lane, and it works well against healing champions like Vladimir later on in the game.
Souls, which may drop upon the death of monsters, enemy minions and champions, give Thresh a permanent boost to his armour and ability power. Consequently, Thresh doesn’t get armour when he levels up like other champions do and you will have to rely on items and collecting these souls in order to get tankier.
Q: Death Sentence
This is your signature ability. Upon first cast, Thresh will hook an enemy and drag them towards himself before, upon second cast, lunging towards them and getting into their melee range. It’s almost always better to let Thresh first drag the enemy rather than immediately go in, because, for one, it gives you the time to think about whether going in is a good idea or not and, for two, it makes it harder for the enemy to survive, as they’ll be dragged away from safety
You don’t always have to engage with your Q – it’s perfect for dragging fleeing enemies back into the fray.
W: Dark Passage
Thresh’s lantern has the ability to entirely reposition an ally champion – it alone makes Thresh a phenomenal support pick for any ADC. You can use it to save allies from tight spots ( from long range and over walls too) or you can use it to bring your allies closer to you when you make a pick with your Death Sentence or Flay.
Dark Passage makes ganking Thresh really difficult.
This is another ability that can be used both defensively and offensively, since the active can either drag enemies to you, or push them away from you. The passive boosts your AA damage, making Thresh a pretty potent poker early game. Be sure to utilise your auto-attacks often during laning phase and early game skirmishes!
R: The Box
The ultimate can be extremely powerful during team fights as disengaging tool, since you can slow several enemies at the same time and stop them from advancing to your team or ADC.
Usually you will want to max Q in order to decrease the cooldown, and thus be able to engage more often. After that you can max W for the same reason – you want to be able to shoot the lantern out every time an ally is in danger, and the lowered CD will help.
Another possibility is maxing E or mix-maxing E and Q. You start the game off by putting three points in E, then you switch to maxing Q. This will make your harass stronger, but it will mean that your Q will have a heftier cooldown.
Q E or E Q
Your primary combo for engaging is either Q into E or E into Q. The former requires better aim and perhaps an element of surprise. You can trick the enemy by having Thresh face and walk towards the support, but aiming your hook on the enemy ADC. Once the enemy has been struck and dragged towards you, leap forward and wait for them to use their gap closer before Flaying them back to you. Thresh’s E can stop gap closers like Rocket Jump or Relentless Pursuit.
If, on the other hand, you start your combo with E, this gives you the opportunity to drag them back with your Q after they flee – but it requires you to somehow get into the melee range safely.
Mithy uses his E to pop Ryze’s spellshield, then seals the deal with his Q.
The lantern combo entails dragging your ally into a fight with your W right before you’ve leapt onto a target with the second activation of your Q. Your ally should click the lantern at the same time as when you have struck the enemy and then you’ll be able to drag both yourself and your ally to the enemy when you reactivate your Q.
If you can’t hit a Q onto your desired target, sometimes you can instead use a minion as a proxy. Hit the minion that’s close to the enemy, immediately leap onto them (to give the enemy less chance to react) and then you can Flay the enemy champion now that you’re in close range.
In general, Thresh will usually want to get Ancient Coin because Relic Shield is quite hard to stack when you’re playing a ranged champion. Relic Shield does offer nicer stats for Thresh however, so if you do opt for this item just make sure to get Minion Dematerializer in runes.
"If you go Relic Shield, you can make up for the fact that you're not a tank – but it will be harder to get the gold, so it's a double edged sword."
If you can afford it, pick up Boots of Mobility on your first back so that you can roam more efficiently and generate more pressure in lane. If not, pick up Nomad’s Medallion, Boots and some Control Wards.
Your first big item will be Eye of Ascension, an upgrade to Nomad’s Medallion which will allow you to carry more wards around. After that, there are a number of great items for you to choose from. Zeke’s Convergence, Redemption and Locket of the Iron Solari are just three, but you will often be buying these three every game, with varying order. You can pick up Locket first if the enemy team has a lot of AoE burst or magic damage (such as when you’re against Vladimir) or Zeke’s if you have a strong ADC. Righteous Glory is another great item for Thresh but, as the components are a bit pricey, you should avoid it unless you’re found yourself somehow fed.
"You can make up for your weakness of being too squishy if you build Righteous Glory first."
Thresh has one of the strongest levels 1-3 of all supports. At level one, help your ADC by soft-pushing – attack the minions in the first minion wave, being careful not to ruin any last-hits for your ADC, so that your ADC and you will be the first to reach level two.
Ideally, you’ve reached it first. Now you have the advantage of one extra skill – your Q – as well as increased stats. Straight away at level two, you want to engage a fight. Having E, Q, Ignite and the damage from your E passive, you are very likely to kill the enemy if you hit your abilities or, at the very least, cause them to waste their spells trying to repel you.
"Even when you're losing you still have the potential to come back in lane with your crazy hook or with a lantern gank."
If you want to take full advantage of Thresh, you will also want to try to roam a few times. Roaming mid lane is the easiest, since it’s closer to bot lane, and it’s encouraged against immobile (or flash-less) mid lane champions, particularly when they are pushing your mid laner’s turret. Try to also coordinate your roams with your jungler, so you can both gank at the same time. When you reach mid lane, it’s better to leave your Q for later than to start off with it because at long range it’s easily dodged.
Thresh is a powerful team fighter since his kit has a lot of AoE damage and CC. Although he’s good at engaging due to his Q, you will usually want to have a different teammate start off the fights and save your abilities for picking enemies off in the chaos and for peeling for your ADC.
"You excel when other people on your team can engage and you can follow up."
Mithy keeps his eyes on Patrik and manages to keep him alive.
In conclusion, Thresh is a support that’s been topping the tier lists for several seasons now and is regularly played all the way from iron to pro play. His fun, risky and challenging playstyle hooks players in and never lets them go.
Special thanks to OG’s superstar support, Mithy. We look forward to seeing Origen continue to dominate in the upcoming Summer Split.