Welcome, to ‘Geared for Combat’, a series
where we explore and discover new ways of weaponising your champions. In this first video in the series, we cover
Thresh, The Chain Warden. Thresh is traditionally used as a support-tank,
owning hard crowd control, fair damage, and the ever-useful lantern. With the ability
to set up kills for his lane partner or his team, even from the support role, Thresh can
be quite the playmaker. However, with up to a 200% AD ratio on his
next auto attack, and on-hit damage equal to the number of souls harvested, it may prove
possible, and even tempting to greedily set up those kills, for yourself.
With a skillshot functioning as both a stun, a short pull, and gap closer, as
well as the incredibly fast knockback of Flay, Thresh has high synergy with cooldown reduction,
and building like a tank can help him survive in close quarters in order to let off all
of his utility. Thresh’s active ability scalings are low,
save for The Box, so Thresh is ill-suited to ability power builds, though with an infinite-scaling
on-hit, building for magic damage is far from impossible. Thresh’s base attack damage at level 1 is 48, the fifth lowest in the game, and it doesn’t
get much better since he has the sixth lowest attack growth in game, at merely +2.2 per
level. Even at level 18, his base AD sits at 85.1, remaining the fifth lowest. As a
result, items like Trinity Force and Sterak’s Gauge which work with base damage, are discouraged.
Thresh also suffers from a short attack range, at only 450 units, another detriment to using
his damage capabilities. His base attack speed is 0.625 attacks per
second, and gaining +3.5% per level to reach 1.001 at level 18.
However, Thresh suffers from a unique nerf, where unlike every other champion, his attack
wind up time is reduced only a quarter as quickly, at only 0.25% reduction per 1% bonus
attack speed, unlike the 1:1 ratio that every other champion has. This means Thresh is weaker
at Orb walking than others, and thus is not suited to squishy marksman builds that rely
on kiting to survive. However, this is not as lethal a nerf as one may think, as due
to the nature of your charging Flay passive, it can be more optimal for Thresh to wait
and build up a single stronger attack while moving instead of attempting to move between
several smaller attacks. Thresh has a standard, flat 30 magic resistance
as with all ranged champions, and has the lowest base armour of any champion in the
game, as low as 16 armour with no scaling per level, instead gaining 0.75 bonus armour
with every soul acquired. With a permanently low base, Thresh has increased vulnerability
to the percentage bonus armour penetration of the Last Whisper line of items. Thus, he
could never be as durable as other true tanks, such as Maokai. However, having mostly bonus,
and in fact, infinite bonus armour has its synergy with the Unyielding mastery as well
as Thornmail, which reflects damage back to auto attackers based on your bonus armour.
Health ranges from fair at level 1 with 561 hit points, to fairly high at level 18 with
2141, outdoing most other champions, including several tanks.
Thresh has 335 movement speed, equal to most other tanks.
To take an alternative, yet effective approach to gearing Thresh for combat, Top lane is
most suitable. Thresh is far too fragile to be played effectively as a jungler or marksmen,
and low range just further drives him away from the latter. Top lane, being home to many
tanks, suits Thresh well, where he can even gain a strong upper hand against many of the
common melee top laners. To make full use of both Thresh’s offensive
and utility capabilities, it is essential we split the item slots into a few groups.
The first, one slot dedicated to our boot choice. Second, either two to three offensive
item slots for damage, and in accordance with that choice, two to three defensive item slots.
This is to ensure a build that works with Thresh’s flexible kit, and maintains enough
durability to still comfortably use his close range abilities. Though, not at the cost of
damage. Depending on the game, one can itemise as few as even one offensive item, and prioritise
tankiness, or vice versa, though a maximum of three offensive items is strongly recommended.
Due to the huge versatility in Thresh’s kit, it is impossible to simply choose one
build to rule them all. Instead, you can split offensive Thresh builds into two categories,
burst and poke, or sustained DPS. In either case, the usual AD starting items
suit Thresh well. Doran’s Blade will grant raw attack damage, as well as a small boost
to your hit points which can make all the difference in early engagements. Alternatively,
if you’re confident such will not be necessary, you can opt to take The Cull instead, which
allows you to pay back its own gold cost, and even make a profit once you kill one hundred
minions and sell the item. Where necessary, you may also choose Doran’s Shield, Corrupting
Potion, or even Cloth Armor as defensive starting items.
When building for burst, your priority is to increase your total attack damage to make
excellent use of your 200% AD ratio. Though any AD item can work, B.F. Sword is a fair
goal for your first recall, and will be a satisfactory amount of burst until you finish
your essential second item. Once mid game begins, teamfights will be difficult
without any defensive items due to your low range. So, quickly include Rapid Firecannon
in your item build, preferably after you have powered your passive with a chunk of AD, be
it from B.F. Sword, Cauldfield’s Warhammer, or even a Serrated Dirk. Rapid Firecannon
will increase your first auto-attack’s range to 600, making it much easier to safely land
that empowered strike. Attack speed and critical hit chance is also most welcome. At this point,
you can further increase your cannon’s damage by finishing your AD item, or skip on to defence
if the game is not in your favour. The most versatile option to pair with Rapid
Firecannon would be none other than Essence Reaver, providing a hefty amount of attack
damage, critical chance, and granting 30% CDR so long as you have Rapid Firecannon.
As mentioned, CDR has incredible synergy with Thresh’s kit, making him a worthy peeler
or disrupter while still itemising for damage output.
Alternate options are any of the lethality items such as Duskblade of Draktharr, though
if one is feeling adventurous, Infinity Edge can certainly pack a luck-infused punch.
Moving on to defensive slots, you need to aim for a good amount of health, armour, and
magic resistance. It is arguable that Thresh benefits less from armour items than health,
since he already gains armour infinitely from souls, so while sitting on say, a Giant’s
Belt and Spectre’s Cowl is fair defence, with the popularity of lethality in today’s
matches, or if the enemy simply has high physical damage, buying armour earlier becomes essential,
and vice versa with magic resistance for high magic damage. Randuin’s Omen works well
against critical strikes, and Sunfire Cape works brilliantly up close, when the perks
of Randuin’s wouldn’t be put to good use. Frozen Heart can seem tempting, but lacking
health in these item slots may leave you very vulnerable to alternative damage types. The
cooldown reduction is overkill if also running Essence Reaver. If running Duskblade and you
desire a third offensive item, taking Edge of Night for its defensive perks or Ghostblade
for its mobility can add some additional lethality punch to Duskblade’s true damage hit, granting
even more burst to your strike. The next option is a health and magic resistance
item. The Cowl line of items, Banshee’s Veil, and Spirit Visage, both provide a fair
number of defensive stats, Banshee’s Veil having the edge in spell resistance, and Spirit
Visage boasting superior health and regeneration, as well as 10% cooldown reduction, allowing
you to cap your CDR with Essence Reaver. Your sixth item is up to you, and what you
feel is necessary for the game. Additional offense can help keep your squishy opponents
down, the Last Whisper line of items can help break through their attempts at defence, and
while Void Staff can do similarly, its ability power is somewhat wasted on Thresh’s poor
ratios. Alternatively, more defence can never go wrong. You can either stack resistances,
or buy pure health items, in which case, Frozen Mallet provides a fair chunk, while even adding
some extra hurt and utility to your strike. For boots, you can either use the standard
defensive Ninja Tabi or Mercury Treads as required, or empower your strike further with
Sorcerer’s Shoes, as your 200% AD ratio delivers its payload in the form of magical
damage. Buying these offensive boots early can grant rather impressive damage to squishy
opponents in the early game, both from your 200% AD strike, and your ability base damage.
And that just about covers the “burst” build, very powerful for annihilating squishy
champions, much like a kind of ranged assassin, but trading some power for strong utility
and defence. Moving on to the second build path, the ‘DPS’,
your offensive items have a wide selection of option, and which you begin with depends
upon your build goal, the enemy team composition, and your lane opponent. Guinsoo’s Rageblade
is the core of almost any DPS build for Thresh, providing extreme value in stats of attack
damage and attack speed as it stacks up, and doubling your on-hit effects every other auto
attack. As you stack on more items, and more souls are acquired, the effectiveness of this
item only gets better and better. Building from Pick axe, this gives you fair burst potential
for the early game, to then turn into a midgame powerhouse once complete. However, Rageblade
is best as a compliment to other on-hit effects, and since your innate one requires stacking
throughout the game, it is better to buy it later, after you already have at least one
on-hit item of your own, and once you’ve acquired more souls.
An item with a strong emphasis on Attack Damage is Blade of the Ruined King. Building from
longswords and Bilgewater Cutlass, it has fair potential for burst in the early game,
as well as fair sustain to aid with troublesome lanes.
A defensive start against magical damage is Wit’s End, providing fair on-hit magic damage,
and stealing magic resistance to a target. As a result, you can gain a maximum of 65
magic resistance from Wit’s End alone, which exceeds even Spirit Visage’s pure resistance
value, while also providing strong offensive ability. The shredded magic resistance will
also cause your other magic damage, including even Sunfire Cape, to deal increased damage.
Your allies will benefit as well. Nashor’s Tooth has a utility edge, providing
20% Cooldown Reduction, which is a stat hard to come by in this build path. It also provides
a higher amount of upfront attack speed, ability power, which is seldom useful besides The
Box and its own passive, which deals damage equal to 15% of your ability damage on-hit.
This includes the ability power you gain from souls, which is 0.75 for each, and the ability
power you gain from stacking Rageblade, and other ability power items if you choose to
build them. Eventually, it all adds up, but it would take a long time for Nashor’s Tooth
to start outdamaging the other options. That covers your primary choices of offensive
items, and if you would like some damage statistics to compare them, there is another video I
have that tests them which you can find in the video description. Choose anywhere between one to three, and
unless you’re going for the sole Blade of the Ruined King, always try to incorporate
a Rageblade. What you choose and your build order should never be set in stone. Thresh
has a lot of strength owing to his adaptability and versatility, so this is a trait that must
not be ignored. If the enemy laner is a troublesome mage, rush Wit’s End, if you can dominate
the opponent, take a Pick Axe to really nail them down and start towards Rageblade.
Again, your defensive choices mirror how you would take
them on the burst build, though Wit’s End and Sunfire Cape are a nice pairing. When
using Wit’s End, it provides a nice amount of magic resistance, so you can place your
need for anti-magic on an afterburner while you prioritise armour and more damage if you
already have it. Also of note is the synergy between the life-stealing Blade of the Ruined
King and Spirit Visage, with its increased regeneration amplifying the heal. Similarly,
you can finish a magic damage build with Hextech Gunblade to heal from all of your damage types.
This would also include Sunfire Cape and Thornmail, allowing you to heal from the damage dealt
by these items. Your boot choice is similar to the burst path,
just with the added choice of Berserker’s Greaves, incase you need additional attack
speed, though in magic damage builds that desire more damage, Sorcerer’s Shoes may
be preferable, since you likely have more than enough attack speed already.
That just about covers the DPS build, which is focused on item synergy, adaptability,
and mixed damage to absolutely shred your opponents, big or small, tank or carry.
As for gameplay and strategy, it can take some time to adapt from a support Thresh mindset
to a fighting Thresh mindset. Being able to take on an opponent by yourself is always
a plus, but experience is required to learn your limits well, as with any champion. One
with their roots in support play may find it hard to find this limit without dismissing
Thresh as someone who shouldn’t ever leave bottom lane, though after some time spent
adapting, Thresh can really hammer down on some lane opponents who are either squishy,
or melee, or those unfortunate enough to be both, due to his very potent early game damage
and crowd control. Early ganks become almost guaranteed kills due to the potential of the
lantern gank, which can come from behind your own tower, straight from the jungle or a regular
river gank that can close the gap stealthily and so much faster than a jungler is capable
of on their own. With two chunks of damage on your Flay passive
and Flay itself, taking Flay at level 1 can actually be pretty sizeable burst damage in
the first minutes of laning, Flay even doubling up as a disengage to deny the enemy trading
back. It is possible to cheese an enemy at level one, though it is far more reliable
if you can reach level 2 before your opponent and use Death Sentence to catch them after
a flash. With low base armour, however, minion damage can render this an easy-to-fail cheese,
and should not be done without care. So, refrain from generating Sodium Chloride should you
attempt and fail this tactic. As with most champions, if you begin to fall behind, cease
building offensive items, and build up defence to prevent further deaths.
Your mid game and late game is where Thresh can shine, bringing powerful utility and fair
damage to teamfights, and having such versatility in item choice can let you perfectly mould
yourself to fit your team composition and battle the opponent’s one.
Truly, Thresh as a fighter and bruiser encompasses the traits of a jack of all trades, able to
itemise for physical, magical, and hybrid damage types, and be as tanky or damaging
as he chooses. However, he is also truly a master of none,
and is no equal to an assassin’s burst, or a marksman’s DPS, and even due to the
unique nature of his armour and lack of health or resistance ratios, he cannot tank quite
as well as a tank no matter what he builds. However, he can do them all at the same time,
and is the only ranged utility tank currently in the game. He boasts a unique adaptability
on top of some of the most useful spells in the game. As Thresh, “free their souls,
and let the wheel of fate churn again. Use your hatred to reave their souls. Become the
‘Soul Reaver’- The angel of death.” Thanks for watching. Join me on the next “Geared
for Combat” guide, where we shall be forging AD Kassadin. See ya then.