League of Legends Champion Review: Thresh, the Chain Warden


12 months without a support champion and now we get two almost back to back? Don’t even think of complaining. Riot has just given us a soul-stealing lich that wields Just Cause’s grappling gun, and that combination is every bit as fun as it sounds.

If you want to see exactly how Thresh reaps while he rules, look at his official profile. The TLDR version: the grim reaper loves to toss lesser beings around like crumpled paper and trap them inside evil prisons that make you wish you were dead.

Everyone collects something

Thresh collects souls. Don’t judge him—it’s tough for an undead slaver to find hobbies that fit his lifestyle, and the minigame provided by Thresh’s passive for picking up the tasty morsels of life left behind by the deceases is actually pretty fun.
Whenever a unit “near” Thresh dies (without hard data, it seems similar to the range Warwick’s Blood Scent passive), it has a chance to drop a soul. Souls are floating orbs that shimmer and hang out for roughly 20 seconds. Thresh needs to walk near them or throw his lantern with his W ability to collect them. Each soul collected gives him permanent ability power and armor.
Enemy teams can see the souls spawn if they can see Thresh (meaning that they won’t spoil any potential ganks), setting up a fun minigame where Thresh tries to grab the souls without getting in too much trouble. It keeps the early game monotony of playing support in check and never felt annoying or pointless.

Enemies can occasionally force you to let good souls go to waste on the field.

Move it or lose itAny leftover monotony is quickly squashed by Thresh’s Q ability, which is a classic skill-shot grab similar to Nautilus’s Dredge Line. Unlike Dredge Line, though, Thresh’s Death Sentence spreads the pull over 1.5 seconds and stuns the champion for the duration.
It’s hilariously fun to grab a champ and watch their teammates panic as you drag them helplessly into harm’s way. Coordinating these pulls with your teammates is key—it’s very frustrating if your partner doesn’t hop in to take advantage of a sweet pull.
Even without a teammate, Thresh has enough movement-based abilities to make you feel powerful. I was able to solo-kill their carry at one point by dragging her into my tower, following it with E, which moves everything in a line either towards or away from me, and then throwing down my ultimate, which creates a box of walls around me that deals massive damage and slows anyone that breaks it. As she struggled to run away, I finished her off with an auto-attack of Thresh’s bone whip, which looks wicked.
The best part about Thresh’s ability kit for longtime support players is that they’re extremely visible and obvious to your teammates. It’s rare for someone to thank, or even notice, a Nami who applies a buff to them, but when you grab the enemy squishy AD Carry from the back lines, pull them into the open, and then leap onto them and trap their entire team in an ult so your teammates can clean up for an ace, you get freakin’ standing ovations.
I’m not a vain person, but I still appreciate getting comments like “Thresh just saved my life. Perfect timing bro.”

If Ezreal can’t appreciate this sort of execution set-up, he’s a lost cause.
OP or QQ?I’ve tried playing Thresh in all of the different roles, and while he can do well in top lane and survive in mid lane, I still prefer him as a traditional support role on bottom lane.
As it stands, Thresh feels very OP as a support right now, assuming you have a coordinated teammate. Expect Thresh to dominate blind pick and be banned in most ranked matches until people figure out a way to deal with him.
Finding a way to balance Thresh is going to be tough, because it’s not all raw power—it’s partially his annoyance factor, like Blitzcrank’s grabs and Nidalee’s poke. He just finds ways to make the enemy team hate their lives.
The best counter is good reaction times. Thresh’s pull has a much longer wind-up than Blitzcrank’s pull, making it easier to dodge; and the box made by his ultimate is mitigated fairly easily by a team who can rely on a tank breaking one side of it, absorbing the damage and slow effect so that everyone else can get out scot-free.
The most OP element of Thresh is his W, which allows him to throw his lantern out to shield ally champions. Any teammate can then click the lantern to get pulled back to Thresh, and it has a surprisingly long range. I’d expect the range to get cut in half before too long. Giving every champion in the game a perfect escape tool that travels over multiple walls is simply too powerful of a tool for a short-cooldown ability.

I’m not running away because I’m scared, I’m giving you a safe exit strategy.
Shut up and tell me what to doBuy this champion. Buy this champion. Buy this champion. The clutch plays he can make feel fantastic, and unless Riot goes insane with the nerfs, he’s going to be a go-to support for a long time. The only reason you should even consider not buying this champion is if you hate to have your favorite pick banned, because Thresh will be.
If you do buy Thresh, here are a few tips to get you started:1. Try on ability power: Thresh’s ultimate scales at a super high AP ratio (1:1), giving him the potential to get absolutely brutal damage down in team fights if he lands his ult right.2. Use the lantern toss for everything: Allies like Lee Sin can leap to it on their own, but you can also use it to help junglers gank your lane by tossing it to them in the bushes and leaping onto your prey.3. Poke enemy champions: Upgrading Thresh’s chain pull also gives him a passive damage boost to his auto-attacks that increases the longer you wait between attacks. Grab the Pickpocket Mastery, and punish enemy champions on your lane with heavy hits while lining your pockets with gold.